Ah, the Soccer Mom — the term might not be considered flattering, but the fact is that there are a lot of parents (moms and dads) who live active lifestyles that require shuffling their kids to and fro. We’ve picked 10 vehicles that make great haulers for active families. Soccer moms of the world, prepare to be saluted as we present our choices in alphabetical order.
10 Best Soccer Mom Cars
Photo Credit: General Motors
2018 Chevrolet Traverse
It is lucky for us that the Chevrolet comes at the top of the alphabet, because no vehicle better embraces the soccer mom stereotype than the Traverse, which is one of our favorite large crossovers. The Traverse is carpool-friendly, hauling as many people as jumbo-sized SUVs like the Chevrolet Suburban (up to eight) while still maintaining enough cargo space for — well, for soccer stuff. It’s a nice change from typical three-row SUVs, which often lose nearly all of their luggage space when all three rows are in use.
Chevrolet has just redesigned the Traverse for 2018, and the new one is smooth, luxurious and packed with kid-friendly technology, including power ports galore and a WiFi hotspot that keeps your kids connected on long road trips. If you’re going to embrace your inner soccer mom, the Traverse is a great choice.
Photo Credit: Chrysler
2018 Chrysler Pacifica
Before soccer moms were known as soccer moms, they drove minivans. And really, what’s wrong with a minivan? There is no more space-efficient vehicle, and the Chrysler Pacifica proves that. It’s a living room on wheels with more comfortable back seats and more cargo space than nearly any SUV.
The Pacifica was introduced just last year, and it’s not the same frumpy old minivan you might be used to — instead, it’s cool and luxurious, and can be had with a brilliant rear-seat entertainment system to entertain the kids. Eco-aware families should consider the Pacifica Hybrid, a plug-in hybrid that can run up to 33 miles on battery power before the gasoline engine turns on. That means that most families will be able to make their daily rounds without using a drop of gas.
Photo Credit: Dodge
2018 Dodge Durango
The Dodge Durango may well be one of the most underrated SUVs on the market, especially for active families who do more than play soccer. Its butch styling says “soccer dad” more than “soccer mom,” but this roomy SUV is great for those who need to do heavy lifting.
V6 models can tow up to 6,200 lbs and V8 models can tow up to 8,600 lbs, enough to handle boats, campers and horses. We’ve found that many smaller SUVs are hopeless with a trailer, no matter what their tow rating says, but we’ve pulled a loaded two-horse trailer with the Durango and it does the job better than some of the small pickup trucks we’ve driven. (Just pay careful attention to the weight ratings; a very heavy trailer may limit what you can carry in the cabin.) For families who want to venture beyond the soccer field, the Durango is a compelling option.
Photo Credit: FIAT
2018 Fiat 500L
Soccer moms in Europe (who, we suppose, would be called football mums) don’t necessarily drive SUVs or minivans; instead, they drive tall hatchbacks like the FIAT 500L. Here in the U.S., the 500L is unique, and that’s why we put it on this list. Its tall back seats and huge glass area (especially if you opt for the panoramic sunroof) give everyone a great view of the world outside, and its small size makes it easy to park and relatively cheap to fuel.
Fiat offers an array of bright colors, and the 500L’s unique shape will make it easy for your kids to find in a parking lot full of look-alike SUVs. Fiat’s reputation for quality doesn’t exactly match that of Honda or Toyota, but most of the 500L owners we’ve talked to love their cars — in no small part because they are refreshingly different.
Photo Credit: Honda
2018 Honda HR-V
Not all soccer parents have big families, which means they don’t all need a big SUV or van. The subcompact crossover segment is booming, and in our opinion, the Honda HR-V is one of the best. Based on the Honda Fit hatchback, the HR-V is extraordinarily space-efficient, and it offers more back-seat and cargo space than most of its rivals — which makes it easy to fit bulky baby seats and, of course, soccer gear.
Other advantages of the HR-V’s small size: It’s extraordinarily fuel-efficient and fits into tight parking spaces that other SUVs would need to cruise on by. And if you’re a devoted stick-shifter, you’ll be pleased to know that the HR-V is one of the few SUVs that can be had with a manual transmission. If the HR-V is too small, we’d consider Honda’s bigger CR-V, one of the best vehicles in the compact SUV segment.
Photo Credit: Mercedes-Benz
2018 Mercedes-Benz GLC
Who says having kids means giving up on the finer things in life? The Mercedes-Benz GLC-Class is a comfortable and practical five-seat SUV, yet it provides a long list of optional amenities for which Mercedes cars are known — the only limit being your imagination and your budget.
All of the Mercedes SUVs are good, but we think the GLC strikes a nice balance on size: It has plenty of room for a family of four, and yet it’s small enough to be easy to maneuver and park. And if you’re worried about taking kids around in your posh Benz, just remember that grape jelly is way easier to clean up when spilled on leather seats than on cloth upholstery.
Photo Credit: Subaru
2018 Subaru Outback
The Subaru Outback has long been a favorite for parents with a sense of adventure — or those who live where the weather gets nasty. Long before every automaker fielded some sort of SUV, the Outback was safely plying snowy roads, its all-wheel drive and extra ground clearance ensuring the kids would get to school (much, we’re sure, to their chagrin).
Today’s Outback is roughly between a station wagon and a typical crossover; it sits up high and offers great visibility, but is a little lower and sleeker than an SUV. Subarus are known for longevity and loyal buyers, and there are countless owners who buy Subaru after Subaru, racking up 150,000 miles or more before trading in. Test drive an Outback and you’ll see why owners love them so.
Photo Credit: Toyota
2018 Toyota Avalon
Who says a soccer mom has to drive an SUV, minivan or wagon? There are plenty of big sedans that do just fine as family cars, and the Avalon is a great example. This roomy four-door offers plenty of back-seat space for growing kids, and its trunk holds plenty of cargo — not as much as an SUV, perhaps, but there’s adequate room for sports equipment and bulky art projects.
Sedans like the Avalon hold the road better than most SUVs, and Toyota offers a hybrid variant that gets excellent fuel economy. The Avalon is a great alternative for soccer moms who want something a little different.
Photo Credit: Volkswagen
2018 Volkswagen Atlas
One of the newest players in the big-SUV market is the Volkswagen Atlas, and we think it’ll be a hit among parents with active kids. The Atlas has plenty of space for passengers in all three rows, and it maintains a modicum of cargo space even with all three rows in place — making it perfect for those times when your kid says, “Hey, can we bring a couple of friends to the game?”
But the Atlas’ advantages go beyond space: It’s also good to drive, with a comfortable ride and responsive handling (though it’s a bit short on power). Volkswagen’s attempt at a luxurious interior is a middling effort, but the no-nonsense control layout is just one less distraction for a harried parent who needs to keep their eyes on the road.
Photo Credit: Volvo
2018 Volvo V90
Back in the 1980s and '90s, big, boxy Volvo wagons were the haulers of choice for busy parents — and with the advent of the all-new V90, maybe that time will come again. The V90 may be big, but it sure as all get-out isn’t boxy; in fact, it is long and low, sleek and svelte, and without question one of the sexiest station wagons ever created.
And yet practicality does not suffer for the V90’s good looks: There’s still plenty of cargo and back-seat space, plus an elegantly simple interior that coddles harried parents with soft leather and tasteful trim.