Relying on a methodology that collates auto reviews from across the industry—and also takes into account safety and reliability ratings, passenger and cargo space, and levels of family friendly content—the experts of U.S. News & World Report recently announced their 2014 Best Cars for Families.
Setting the pace were Mazda and General Motors, with the former having more segment winners (four) and award-winning vehicles (three) than any other brand, and the latter ringing up six segment trophies to lead all manufacturers. Needless to say, the Mazda's own SKYACTIV family of powertrain and chassis technologies managed to hit the sweet spot for U.S. News, backed by their unique mix of driving dynamics and high EPA grades, while the top family choices from GM were notable for their more premium approach to transportation: The General's award winners included two from Cadillac, two from Buick, Chevrolet's new range-topping full-size sedan and a full-size SUV that starts at nearly $45,000.
Getting down to the nitty-gritty here, the 2014 Best Cars for Families included:
- Mazda Mazda3—Recognized in both the Compact Cars and Hatchbacks categories for its "powerful engine, upscale cabin and sporty handling."
- Buick Verano—The premium subcompact sedan garnered the Best Family honor among Upscale Small Cars.
- Mazda Mazda6—Completely redesigned for the 2014 year, the Mazda6 bested other Midsize Cars like the Toyota Camry and Ford Fusion Hybrid (see below).
- Cadillac ATS—The ATS is "capable of hanging with the best German sport sedans" according to U.S. News editors, and won the publication's Upscale Midsize Car segment.
- Chevy Impala—Editors lauded the Impala for "a high-quality interior, aggressive styling and wealth of available features" in the Large Cars class.
- Cadillac CTS—In addition to earning the nod as most family-friendly Large Luxury Car, the third-generation CTS also was named Motor Trend Car of the Year in 2014.
- Ford Fusion Hybrid— The ability to achieve 47 mpg in all facets of EPA testing seemed to make a difference in the Hybrid category.
- Subaru Outback—Standard all-wheel drive and a versatile rear cargo hold help the Outback remain an ideal family entry in the Wagons segment.