Good family cars can be found in a variety of different automotive segments. It's not necessarily true that a good family car has to seat as many people as possible, or haul more cargo than a moving van - it simply has to meet the specific needs of the family that will be driving it on a daily basis. Sometimes the situation calls for the space offered by a minivan, while in others it might require the comfort and maneuverability of a sedan. Some people also live in climates where the security of all-wheel drive calls a crossover into play, or find themselves in situations where their towing needs dictate the choice of a larger SUV.
Let's take a look at 10 good family cars that can fill a number of different daily driving roles.
Good Family Cars - 01 - 2013 Honda Odyssey
The 2013 Honda Odyssey has, for many people, become the definition of what a good family car should look like in minivan form. The Honda Odyssey offers seating for up to eight passengers, provides 148 cubic feet of interior storage space, and can even be ordered with a reasonably high quotient of premium equipment to help the road trip miles pass by more smoothly. Top-tier versions of the van, which come with a six-speed automatic transmission, provide fuel mileage of 28-mpg on the highway, and all versions of the Odyssey are outfitted with a 248 horsepower, 3.5-liter V-6.
Good Family Cars - 02 - 2013 Toyota Highlander Hybrid
The 2013 Toyota Highlander Hybrid combines the practicality of the standard Highlander crossover with the Japanese brand's battery-assisted drivetrain know-how to create a very fuel efficient people mover. The Toyota Highlander Hybrid delivers 28-mpg in city driving and 28-mpg on the highway, which is head-and-shoulders above many of its competitors. It also manages to maintain its seven-passenger seating as well as deliver all-wheel drive, a tow rating of 3,500 lbs, and 94 cubic feet of interior storage space with the second and third rows folded forward. 280 horsepower are on offer in the crossover from a combination of a 3.5-liter V-6 and three electric motors.
Good Family Cars - 03 - 2013 Volkswagen Tiguan
The 2013 Volkswagen Tiguan is priced affordably for families that want a little more capability than what a standard hatchback has to offer. The Volkswagen Tiguan is a compact crossover that provides five passenger seating as well as 56.1 cubic feet of cargo space, but more importantly it rides on a compliant chassis that willingly absorbs bumps in the road without a second thought. Interior trappings are also semi-upscale in the inexpensive Tiguan, which is motivated by a 2.0-liter, turbocharged four-cylinder engine rated at 200 horsepower. Enthusiasts will be happy to note that a six-speed manual transmission is standard with the crossover, with a six-speed automatic (and all-wheel drive) optional. Fuel mileage for the Tiguan is listed at 26-mpg on the highway.
Good Family Cars - 04 - 2013 Dodge Charger
The 2013 Dodge Charger reminds us that there was a time when a full-size sedan was thought of as the pinnacle of what a good family car could be. The Dodge Charger's ample interior room is a big plus for the aggressive-looking four-door, as is its thrifty and powerful standard V-6 that displaces 3.6-liters and delivers up to 300 horses and 31-mpg on the highway when outfitted with its available eight-speed automatic transmission. Of course, for performance fans the Charger mixes responsibility and hooliganism when ordered in R/T trim, which comes with a 370 horsepower, 5.7-liter Hemi V-8, matched with a five-speed automatic transmission. Both versions of the Charger's drivetrain can be given additional rough weather capability thanks to optional all-wheel drive.
Good Family Cars - 05 - 2013 Ford Expedition
The 2013 Ford Expedition is still hanging around to offer traditional full-size SUV benefits to families who need an extra dose of toughness in a daily driver. The Ford Expedition is based on the same platform as the F-150 full-size pickup, which means that when it comes to towing boats and campers it rises to the task with a rating of 9,200 lbs. Part of this utility oomph comes from with the Expedition's standard 310 horsepower, 5.4-liter V-8 engine, which also generates 365 lb-ft of torque (a low-range four-wheel drive system can additionally be spec'd with the Ford). Inside, the Expedition dazzles with eight passenger seating and up to 130.8 cubic feet of total cargo space when ordered in extended-wheelbase XL trim.
Good Family Cars - 06 - 2013 Nissan Quest
The 2013 Nissan Quest is an alternative minivan for families that would prefer a dash of extroverted styling in place of the traditional boxy looks of most vehicles in this class. The Nissan Quest is also notable for providing handling that is several notches above the competition. The Quest's passenger compartment handles seven passengers with ease, and it can also swallow 108 cubic feet of gear thanks to second and third-row seats that fold forward quickly and easily. The Nissan's fuel mileage of 25-mpg is aided and abetted by the continuously-variable automatic transmission that handles the 260 horsepower output of its 3.5-liter V-6.
Good Family Cars - 07 - 2013 Toyota Camry
The 2013 Toyota Camry has long been the mid-size sedan of choice for singles, couples, families, and even retirees. The Toyota Camry's family car cred has long been established through its roomy passenger compartment, its respectable fuel mileage (up to 35-mpg when ordered with its 170 horsepower four-cylinder engine), and its exceptional reliability. The Camry can even be optioned with a 268 horsepower, 3.5-liter V-6 for those who crave better acceleration (culminating in a 0-60-mph time in the six-and-a-half second range). It's rare to find an affordable sedan that is as versatile as the Toyota Camry.
Good Family Cars - 07 - 2013 Kia Optima
The 2013 Kia Optima can be thought of as the value-oriented, style-forward, upstart-answer to the Camry. There was a time when the Korean automaker was unable to crack the good family car nut, but that era is now behind us thanks to excellent efforts like the Kia Optima. The Optima matches the Camry almost note-for-note when it comes to fuel mileage and power, and it does so without the need for a six-cylinder engine (a turbocharged, 274 horsepower 2.0-liter four-cylinder marks its range-topping drivetrain). It also comes with a great warranty as well as a long list of available features that push the Optima into near-premium territory.
Good Family Cars - 09 - 2013 Honda Crosstour
The 2013 Honda Crosstour is a crossover version of one of the most popular mid-size sedans around, the Honda Accord. For whatever reason, the Honda Crosstour has had trouble catching on amongst families seeking a practical ride, which is a shame given that it provides 51.3 cubic feet of cargo space as well as the option of all-wheel drive for handling snowy or wet conditions. The Crosstour is motivated by the choice of either a 192 horsepower, 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine or a 278 horsepower, 3.5-liter V-6, with the former delivering fuel mileage of 31-mpg on the highway.
Good Family Cars - 10 - 2013 Chrysler Town & Country
The 2013 Chrysler Town & Country continues to hold the fort for Chrysler's family car aspirations. The Chrysler Town & Country builds on the engineering acumen that made minivans a household word when first introduced in the 80's by offering a premium experience that prides itself on a high level of available luxury items. These include a heated steering wheel, heated seats for the first four positions, and a Blu-Ray entertainment system. Under the hood, the Chrysler hustles along thanks to its 283 horsepower, 3.6-liter V-6, and its six-speed automatic transmission helps the van achieve 25-mpg during highway cruising.
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