• Image Credit: Toyota

A Two-Week Process to Determine Which New Cars Are Best for Families

Want to know which are the best cars for families on the market today? Kelley Blue Book has your answer - or answers, we should say, in plural, because this year the editors of the authoritative car buying guide named no less than sixteen winners. The exhaustive selection process started with 24 finalists, all of which were tested extensively not for performance or towing capability as you might expect of other tests, but by metrics that matter most to families.

“For two weeks’ time we drove, lived-with, folded-down-seats-of, paired-phones-to and installed-baby-seats-in each and every one of the contenders,” said KBB.com editor Jack R. Nerad. “We loaded cargo, contorted ourselves into third rows, watched movies on rear-seat screens, toted rowing teams to marinas – in short, we did everything that you and your family might do with a vehicle day-to-day."

As you might have guessed, the final list doesn't include any sports cars or convertibles, but they do vary between sedans, wagons, crossovers, sport-utes, and minivans. Scroll on through to see which vehicles made the cut.

  • Image Credit: Honda

2016 Honda Civic

The Civic is not only one of the smallest entries on this list, and one of the newest, but was also KBB's Overall Best Buy of 2016. If you need a small car to move a small family around, the people who literally wrote the book on the subject say the Honda is the one to have.

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2016 Honda Accord

The Honda Accord may very well be the quintessential family sedan, and now that it's been comprehensively revised, Honda's largest four-door is more fitting of its place on this list than ever before. According to KBB, it has a "roomy, high-quality interior," and now comes with "added style and safety" as well as a "solid drivetrain" that returns "good economy."

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2016 Kia Optima

KBB not only named the new Kia Optima to this list, but also as its Midsize Car Best Buy of 2016, lauding the Korean automaker's latest family sedan as "stylish, feature-packed, [and] family friendly."

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2016 Chevy Malibu

KBB notes that Chevy's new Malibu features an "all-new redesign," as well as "additional safety and efficiency, comfortable and accommodating interior [that] makes it easy to stay connected." It's also one of the few domestic models on this list, alongside two more from the Bowtie brand.

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2016 Chevy Impala

Need something bigger than the Malibu? Chevrolet's larger Impala also made the list thanks to its "roomy cabin and trunk, technologically sophisticated, contemporary looks, [and] multiple drivetrain choices." Customers can order one up with a 2.5-liter inline-four, a 3.6-liter V6, or a flex-fuel version that can run on either gasoline or compressed natural gas.

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2016 Hyundai Sonata

The latest Hyundai Sonata is a more sophisticated and refined affair than the model it replaces. But according to KBB, the new Sonata is all about value: "Value pricing and class-leading warranty combined with solid resale value" make it a top choice.

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2016 Honda HR-V

Looking for a crossover that doesn't break the bank and is small enough to get around town? Check out Honda's new HR-V. KBB found it to have a “surprisingly roomy second row” to make it “great for a small family in the city.”

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2016 Honda CR-V

Moving up a size to make room for the smaller HR-V, the latest Honda CR-V is “versatile, enjoyable and practical.” It also “makes excellent use of space” and is “one of the roomiest small SUVs available,” according to KBB. “Enviable resale value” helps seal the deal for those in the market for a crossover just the right size for their family.
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2016 Subaru Outback

Can't decide between a conventional wagon and a taller SUV? That area is Subaru's expertise, and long has been with the crowd-pleasing Outback. KBB found it to have “outstanding room for both passengers and cargo” along with “excellent AWD and capable off-roading abilities.”
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2016 Kia Sedona

If you need space to transport your family and all their stuff, and aren't put off by the prospect of being seen in a minivan, the Kia Sedona could be just the ticket. The Blue Book lauds it for its “style and function, modern interior, [and] impressive available safety features at [an] affordable price.” The editors also found it to have a “less bulky feel compared to other minivans.”
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2016 Honda Odyssey

Honda absolutely dominated this gathering, with no less than six entries on the sixteen-place list. And that includes the Odyssey minivan. The KBB jurists liked it for its “unparalleled combination of flexibility, seating, on-road dynamics and features.” They particularly liked the Wide Mode that “easily fits three car seats across [the] second row.”
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2016 Toyota Sienna

Need all-wheel traction with your minivan? Look no further than the Toyota Sienna, which is the “only minivan to offer optional AWD.” The self-styled Swagger Wagon is also “versatile, flexible, capable” and boasts “high resale value and IIHS Top Safety Pick+” rating, making the Sienna a compelling option among minivans.

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2016 Nissan Pathfinder

The crossover section of this year's list kicks off with the Nissan Pathfinder. KBB particularly liked the “available around-view monitor, no child seat hassle with EZ Flex & Glide system” and its comfortable ride which the editors described as “pitch-perfect on the road.”
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2016 Toyota Highlander

Whether you're more inclined towards an economic inline-four, a powerful V6, or hybrid propulsion, the Toyota Highlander has you covered with an “unsurpassed level of powertrain choice.” Kelley Blue Book also appreciated its “solid combination of comfort, quality, space and convenience features.”
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2016 Honda Pilot

The largest of Honda's growing range of crossovers, the new Pilot is billed as “the family-friendliest midsize SUV in existence.” KBB also appreciated the “sophisticated suite of available driving technologies” and “all-star accommodations.”
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2016 Chevy Tahoe

The only proper body-on frame, truck-based SUV on this list is also the largest. Kelley found that the new 2016 Chevy Tahoe “offers towing and off-roading capabilities” as well as “various connectivity features” and can accommodate “up to nine people and gear” without breaking a sweat. Of course if the Bowtie badge isn't to your liking, you could always go for the GMC Yukon, bling out with the Cadillac Escalade, or step up to the Suburban if you need even more space.
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