When you have a growing family, buying a car becomes a lot more serious. It’s no longer about the sleek look and fuel economy. Now, it’s about safety and convenience. The vehicle needs to fit your child’s car seats, suit your lifestyle, and get you where you need to go. But there are so many choices out there; deciding which one is best can be overwhelming.
To help you choose the right vehicle for your family, we’re sharing a round-up of the top family vehicles. We’ve investigated the car seat installation process of each vehicle. We’ve also read countless reviews from parents like you on the functionality of these SUVs, minivans, sedans, and pickups. Here are our top picks for family vehicles:
10 Best Family Vehicles With Kids:
Best Family SUVs
The Honda Pilot is a three-row SUV ideal for a family with more than two children. You can get the Pilot with captain’s chairs or with a stowable middle seat, putting the capacity at 7 or 8 passengers. Realistically, five car seats can fit in an 8-passenger Pilot safely! All rear seats have removable headrests and top tether anchors for forward-facing car seats. Plus, four of the seats have integrated lower anchors.
The Honda Pilot has up to 57.3 inches of hip space in the second row, making this a good pick for a 3-across car seat situation. The third row is narrower, with about 45 inches of hip room. So you won’t fit three seats back there, but two will be no problem! (However, there isn’t much space behind the third row for cargo.) Other features families enjoy include a passenger seat shelf, lots of charging options, including a wireless charging pad, ample cup holders, and advanced safety features. These include road departure mitigation, automatic engine braking, lane assist, and a multi-angle backup camera.
The Volkswagen Atlas holds 6 or 7 passengers since the third row only seats two. Those back two seats have rear tethers for front-facing seats, and all second-row seats, whether you choose bench or captain’s chairs, have full LATCH systems. The headrests on all seats can be removed to accommodate forward-facing car seats or boosters. Another big plus for families is the car seat-friendly tilt of the second row that allows easy third-row access.
The second row, if you choose the bench option, has 58 inches of space, plenty for 3 car seats. The Atlas has more cargo space than the Pilot, with 20.6 cubic feet of room, and it includes the same convenient charging capabilities with USB ports, USB-C ports, and even a wireless charging pad. Advanced safety features on the Atlas include blind spot monitoring, lane departure warning, front assist, rear traffic alert, and more.
Here’s another higher-capacity SUV with up to 8 passengers. Families love the convenience of this car because it has several handy storage nooks, kid-friendly handles and levers, extra under-the-floor cargo space, and 19 cup holders. What they didn’t like so much was the limited headroom in the third row (2.6 inches less than the Honda Pilot).
For car seats, you’ll be set with top tethers anchors on all the rear seats and usable LATCH in the second row. That second row has 57.5 inches of space, which can work for 3 car seats. The headrests are also removable, and you’ll have similar advanced safety features to the other SUVs mentioned, like blind-spot detection and collision braking.
For more 3-across SUVs, check out our list of the Best SUVs for 3 Car Seats.
Best Family Minivans
The Honda Odyssey is often considered one of the best minivans for families and with good reason. It seats up to 8 with a removable center seat and has a ton of space for its passengers. The second row has 64.8 inches of hip space, and even the third row has 48.4, which is a considerable amount and should be enough for any car seat requirements! With the right combination of car seats, the Odyssey can actually accommodate six children safely. We can’t say that about many vehicles!
You’ll love that the Odyssey has the car seat-friendly tilt for third-row access. It also features a “magic slide” function where you can shift and move the second-row seats to buckle a kiddo into a car seat easily. You can even push them to the middle of the car to allow other kids to pile in the back. This is really handy! (We should note magic slide can only be used in 7-passenger mode.)
There’s plenty of cargo space with 32.8 cubic feet for storage capacity in the back, and the whole thing has 17 cup holders, which is perfect for your next family road trip. For safety factors, the Odyssey has a multi-angle rearview camera and other standard features required by the National Highway and Traffic Safety Association. The vehicle also rides really smoothly, and most drivers say the front seats feel as roomy as the back, meaning everyone is comfortable!
The Kia Carnival is another minivan favorite with more safety features than the Odyssey. It includes pedestrian detection, driver attention warning, lane assistance, parking distance warning, rear-occupant alert, and more. The Carnival even has an intercom and video screen in the back rows! (Oh, and your kids will appreciate the rear seat entertainment system featured in the pricier trim levels.)
It has similar space with 66.4 inches in the second row and 50.4 in the back, holding 7-8 passengers. All seats have LATCH and top tether anchors except for the third-row middle seat, which only has a tether. The headrests are removable too, which helps with forward-facing/booster compatibility. Unfortunately, the Carnival doesn’t have car seat-friendly tilt or sliding seats for third-row access. Other features of the Carnival include 12 charging ports and 11 cup holders.
Best Family Sedans
If you have under three children, you may be considering a sedan instead of an SUV or minivan for fuel economy and easy maneuvering. When choosing, you just need to be sure you can fit the appropriate number of car seats! You can in the Accord, with 55.4 inches of space in the back row and removable headrests. All the back seats have top tether anchors, and the two outer seats have LATCH anchors.
Since it’s a smaller vehicle, there isn’t much cargo room, but 16.7 cubic feet isn’t awful for a sedan. The Accord also has plenty of advanced safety features like collision warning, lane assist, and a multi-angle rearview camera.
The Toyota Camry is often considered one of the most reliable cars on the market. These things are known to run forever! The newest versions have plenty of additional safety features, including lane assist, road sign assist, auto high beams, collision warning, pedestrian detection, rear-seat reminder, and more.
It has standard cargo space at around 15 cubic feet, and the second row has 54.7 inches of hip space. You can install any type of car seat in any seat with removable headrests (only in more luxury options). Like most sedans, the Camry has top tether anchors in all backseat positions and lower anchors on the two outboard seats.
Best Family Pickups
Pickups can be another roomy and practical option for families, with 62.9 inches of space in the back row and up to 89.1 cubic feet of truck bed space. That means lots of room to hold cargo and plenty of room to hold three car seats! The only downside to the car seat situation is the tedious top tether situation. Make sure you read the manual, and, as always, bring your car seat with you to the dealership and practice installing it before you buy.
As far as advanced safety features go, the Chevy Silverado boasts collision alert, pedestrian braking, lane assist, auto high beams, and a following distance indicator. Overall, it’s a good choice for families that need the combined functionality of a family car and a practical truck.
The Ford F150 is another great pickup option with advanced safety features like rear cross-traffic alert and blind spot monitoring. However, it also has a confusing top tether situation. It has almost as much hip space as the Silverado at 62.6 inches and plenty of bed space. The headrests can be removed if needed. Parents also like the unique Ford F150 gear shift stowaway feature that essentially makes a little desk for you between the driver and passenger seat. It’s really handy!
Best Family EV
To be honest, we don’t love Teslas for car seat installation. It can be really tricky to get a safe install, and many car seats just aren’t compatible with the unique vehicle seat shape of Tesla’s vehicles. Plus, it’s clear these cars were made more for style than family functionality. However, if an electric vehicle is a must for you, the Model X is your best bet, with up to 7 seats available. There are top tether anchors on all rear seats and several sets of lower anchors as well.
With the 6-seat Model X, you’ll enjoy car seat-friendly tilt for third-row access. But this feature is not available in the 7-seat mode. In both versions, there’s plenty of hip space in the second row too, at 58.9 inches for the 7-seat option and 59 inches for the 6-seat option. Families also love the Bluetooth charging stations and, of course, all the bells and whistles that come with a Tesla. (Particularly, you’ll probably get used to the cabin camera!)
Choosing a vehicle for your family should start with safety and functionality.
Deciding on a new vehicle isn’t easy, no matter what. But it’s especially difficult when you need to consider safe car seat installation! This list of vehicles should provide you with plenty of options that are practical, comfortable, and car seat-friendly. But make sure that no matter what vehicle you choose, you bring the whole family and your car seats to the dealership. Test out installation and buckling before you buy to make sure it’s something that works for you. Functionality is everything!
If you’re unsure of car seat safety practices or want more information about vehicle safety, make sure you head to the Safe in the Seat blog. We have all the information you need to keep everyone in your family safe in their seats. Both in your current vehicle or in your new one!