One of the most popular reasons for a new car is to accommodate a growing family. With that in mind, CarNewsCafe has chosen ten cars in five categories that offer excellent value, family-friendliness, and a good safety record. Our picks are chosen for the budget-minded, MPG-oriented, and in sedan, wagon, crossover, and minivan/SUV categories.
Budget Minded Family Car Picks
For the family on a budget, these two cars will satisfy both the pocketbook and the needs of a small, but growing family. They can seat at least five people and have room enough to carry the inevitable kids’ stuff that goes along.
2015 Mazda Mazda3
The Mazda3 is a great little car that offers versatility, a fun driving experience, and plenty of value for the dollar. With a starting price under $18,000 and plenty of goodies for under $20k, it’s a solid choice in the compact market that still has plenty of room to handle a family, especially in its hatchback model.
2015 Nissan Versa Note
The Versa Note may not be the flashiest or fastest-paced car on the road, but it’s the most budget-minded and versatile you’ll find. Although the Versa sedan makes up about half of this vehicle’s sales, the Note hatchback is the better of the two for families. With a base price nearing the $14,000 mark and an excellent package point at well under $20k, the Versa Note can match anyone’s budget.
Great MPG Family Choices
For those who value fuel economy above nearly all else, we have cars for you. These are vehicles which maximize fuel-sipping and do not fit into any of our other categories. They seat at least five with room to spare for groceries and your stuff.
2015 Toyota Prius V
Not surprisingly, the MPG-centric Prius is on our list. Specifically the V model, which is slightly larger and offers more space and comfort for families without sacrificing much in the way of high mileage. This is the most spacious and family-friendly of the Prius line.
2015 Volkswagen Golf TDI
The diesel model of the popular VW Golf has always been its mileage champion. For those who spend a lot of time on the highway and freeway, the Golf TDI is an excellent family choice with room for five, enough cargo space for groceries, and a great driving experience. The Golf has been updated for 2015 with more interior space and better dynamics. You’ll find its Sportwagen cousin on our station wagons list below.
Top Choice Family Sedans
These sedans impressed us with their family carting capability and everyday use as both commuter cars and soccer game runabouts. Our picks in this category are two of the best midsize sedans offered on the market today.
2015 Chrysler 200
The infinitely improved Chrysler 200 is a new benchmark in sedans for the midsize segment. With plenty of style, excellent ergonomics, and a choice of two perfectly-tuned powerplants, it’s a top shelf pick for any family.
2015 Subaru Legacy
The Legacy went from blah to awesome in one generation. The all-new 2015 Legacy is now a top pick in the midsize category and features great styling, excellent interior fit and finish, and legendary Subaru all-wheel drive. It’s surprisingly fuel efficient and amazingly astute as a daily driver as well.
Best Family Wagons Picks
The station wagon is not dead. Long live the station wagon. Here are our favorites this year.
2015 Volkswagen Golf Sportwagen
Newly minted for 2015, the Sportwagen joins the Golf family where it belongs. It’s bigger, lighter, looks better, and has a lot of excellence. We prefer the TDI for fuel economy and general value, of course, but the turbocharged gasoline option is a great pick as well. The interior is bigger than expected and family-friendliness is built-in thanks to its station wagon design.
2015 Volvo V60
The only luxury vehicle on our list, the V60 deserves a lot of attention and acclaim. Its price tag might be higher than the others we’ve considered, but the Volvo has plenty of value and excellence to make up for that higher monthly payment. With the best safety rating you can get, great fuel economy, and more room than many crossovers can offer, the V60 is also available in all-wheel drive and with several engine options to suit your family’s needs.
Minivan/Crossover Family Choices
Finally, we look at the minivan and crossover, both of which are the top choice for many families today. These are heated categories with some of the best vehicles on the market competing for top spots.
2015 Kia Sedona
The Kia Sedona is one of the most-improved minivans on the market, but manages to retain its value-oriented price point and trim offerings. This big, spacious, and even good-looking minivan now tops the charts as our family van of choice.
2015 Nissan Murano
All-new for 2015, the Murano is an excellent combination of great looks, excellent driving dynamics, and family friendliness. As one of the most upscale crossovers you’ll find, it’s price tag is surprisingly affordable despite its limousine looks. An excellence choice for any family looking for a big upgrade.