While many families increasingly rush to buy SUVs or minivans, don’t assume they’re mandatory. Many of today’s sedans, hatchbacks, and station wagons can still be the perfect fit for your family’s life — and compared to similarly sized SUVs, they're typically less expensive, more fuel efficient, and more fun to drive. Many also offer SUV-rivaling all-wheel drive. Today, we’re singling out 10 of the best cars for families, prioritizing spaciousness and safety along with comfort, driving pleasure, and overall value. These 10 models span a variety of sizes, styles, and prices. We’ve sorted them by base price, from lowest to highest. Keep reading to find the perfect choice for your family.
2019 Honda Fit
The 2019 Honda Fit may look too small to be a great family car. But Honda has packed amazing spaciousness into this subcompact hatchback, making it great for families who have a tight budget or cramped parking quarters. The Fit has as much cargo room as some small SUVs, and you can fold the rear seat in various configurations to handle taller or longer items. It’s also available with many advanced safety features, and the EPA estimates it can achieve up to 36 miles per gallon in mixed driving. True, some families will want even more room or a quieter ride. But give the affordable, fuel-efficient Fit a try before you buy something bulkier and more expensive. Prices start at $16,190.
2019 Honda Civic
If your family doesn’t fit in a Fit, another Honda might be just the thing. The ever-popular 2019 Honda Civic, one size larger than the Fit, is another model that punches above its size class for interior roominess. Available as a family-friendly four-door sedan or five-door hatchback (along with a more singles-friendly two-door coupe), the compact Civic boasts rear seat and trunk space on par with some mid-size sedans. It also offers delightfully sporty handling — making it a great choice for driving enthusiasts — along with a long list of standard safety features and top crash-test scores. And even though it’s bigger and faster than the Fit, some Civic versions match the smaller car's 36-mpg EPA fuel economy rating. With the interior space of a larger car and the fuel efficiency of a smaller one, the Civic is a great family car. It’s priced from $19,450.
2019 Hyundai Sonata
Mid-size sedans are sometimes known as “family sedans” — and for good reason. They offer ample space for everyone to spread out, plus a big trunk for everyone’s stuff. The 2019 Hyundai Sonata provides exactly that, plus top-notch safety ratings, user-friendly controls, and a long list of available luxury, safety, and convenience features... all for less money than most competitors. It’s not as fancy as some cars in its class (at least until it’s redesigned later this year as a 2020 model), but the 2019 Sonata provides family-friendly functionality and value. And while the base model doesn’t get outstanding gas mileage at an estimated 29 mpg in mixed driving, the Sonata is also available in gas-electric hybrid and plug-in hybrid variants for families who want to minimize their gasoline usage. Prices start at $22,300.
2019 Toyota Prius
For maximum fuel savings from a functional, affordable package, the 2019 Toyota Prius is one of today's best family cars. With more interior space than its closest competitors, thanks in part to a versatile five-door hatchback body, it sips gas while still offering room for everyone. Like other hybrids, it combines a gasoline engine with an electric motor to reduce fuel usage, yielding EPA ratings of up to 56 mpg in mixed driving. And if your family has to face wintry weather, you might enjoy the optional all-wheel drive system — a new feature for 2019. The Prius comes standard with a suite of advanced safety features at its base price of $23,770.
2019 Nissan Altima
The 2019 Nissan Altima mid-size sedan costs more than the competing Hyundai Sonata, but it has many qualities that make it a stellar car for families. Newly redesigned this year, the Altima features supremely comfortable seats and exceptionally easygoing driving manners, along with lots of standard safety features, a spacious rear seat, top crash-test performance, and available all-wheel drive. The EPA estimates it will get up to 32 mpg in mixed driving with its 182-horsepower base engine, and even its punchier 236-horsepower turbo gets a relatively thrifty 29 mpg. The Altima is priced from $23,900.
2019 Buick Regal
While many mid-size sedans have big trunks, they can’t handle everything your family might throw at them. True, you can fold down their rear seats to fit long, low items — but you’re otherwise limited to what you can fit into the trunk or wedge into the passenger cabin. The 2019 Buick Regal is more flexible. It’s available in two body styles: the Sportback five-door liftback and the TourX station wagon. Both versions let you fold down the rear seat to open up one giant cargo hold, just like in an SUV. The European-built Regal also boasts sportier handling than you might expect from a Buick. Its peppy 250-horsepower engine gets 26 mpg in mixed driving, or 24 mpg with its optional all-wheel drive system. Prices start at $25,070.
2019 Volvo V60
If you aren’t shopping on a tight budget, many luxury brands also offer excellent cars for families. One great option is the newly redesigned 2019 Volvo V60 mid-size station wagon, which starts at $38,900. Volvo wagons are no longer ubiquitous in upper-middle-class suburban driveways, but we think folks are missing out. The new V60 has a cleanly styled exterior; a gorgeous, high-tech cabin; and spirited driving performance. And since this is a family car, it also has a roomy cargo hold, lots of standard safety features, and fuel efficiency of up to 28 mpg in mixed driving. The V60 comes in a choice of front-wheel drive or all-wheel drive, and a “Cross Country” model adds a few SUV-like styling cues and a higher ground clearance.
2019 Lexus ES
Many of today’s relatively affordable luxury sedans are small and sporty. That’s great for driving enthusiasts, but families who want something fancy might long for more rear legroom and a smoother ride. Enter the redesigned 2019 Lexus ES. This mid-size sedan offers generous accommodations, and it’s focused more on comfort and quietness than driving thrills. That said, this latest model also offers livelier handling responses than previous iterations — all while improving passenger comfort and ride composure. You don’t get the vault-like feel of a high-end luxury car, but the ES provides a stylish design, a posh cabin, a quiet ride, and lots of features at prices starting from $39,600. We’d pick the 44-mpg ES 300h hybrid as a fuel-sipping family car, but the V6-powered ES 350 also tempts with its smooth, strong acceleration and still-decent 26 mpg.
2019 Mercedes-Benz E-Class Wagon
When cost is no object, the station wagon version of the 2019 Mercedes-Benz E-Class is perhaps the best car for families you can buy. Priced from $64,200, the mid-size E-Class wagon is a positively sublime machine that can do nearly anything you ask of it. It can purr silently at one moment and snarl forward with heart-stopping acceleration the next. Its cabin is a work of art, with artful design and sumptuous materials, yet it also has room for you to throw in 64 cubic feet of cargo. There’s even a small rear-facing third-row seat that lets the car hold seven passengers. Sure, those passengers might be more comfortable in a huge SUV or minivan — but we challenge you to find one with the looks, the moves, or the overall grace of the E-Class.
2019 Audi A7
As magnificent as we find the Mercedes-Benz E-Class wagon, it's obviously a family car. If you’re willing to trade some interior space for a more soul-stirring design, we’ll suggest the 2019 Audi A7. It’s part of the “four-door coupe” class that also includes such design leaders as the Mercedes-Benz CLS and the BMW 6 Series Gran Coupe. But with its liftback configuration, the A7 far more family-friendly — it sneaks an amazing amount of utility into its low, sleek body. The newly redesigned A7 also features Audi’s most high-tech interior yet, along with sterling driving dynamics whether you’re seeking excitement or comfort. Prices start at $68,000.