12 Best Family Cars of 2018 – Kelley Blue Book

12 Best Family Cars of 2018 – Kelley Blue Book

Every year Kelly Blue Book assembles a
list of the top family cars. We analyze road manners, safety, cargo space, child
seat readiness, general usability, and of course value to identify superior SUVs
and minivans ideally suited to family duty. Heads up, for 2018 we’re once again focusing on mainstream SUVs and minivans. But just to be clear, depending
on your needs, a luxury SUV or family sedan could be the best choice. With that
out of the way here’s a brief look at this year’s winners. Starting with a new
face we have the 2018 Chevrolet Equinox. A full 400 pounds lighter than the
previous Equinox the latest version is a fine driving, tastefully styled, and thoroughly practical compact SUV. Beyond standards like push-button start and a 7-inch touchscreen with Apple CarPlay and
Android Auto, Chevy also offers a 360 degree camera system and an engine
lineup that includes a highly-efficient 1.6-liter diesel that returns 39 highway
mpg and a 2-liter turbo mill delivering a robust 252 horsepower. Well rounded
and well sorted the Equinox is a great ride for small families. In similar
fashion the popular Honda CR-V joins our list yet again, with its quick-release,
flat-folding second row seats, multi-level cargo floor, and spacious
rear quarters that accommodate rear-facing child seats without ruining
legroom up front. Easy to drive, efficient, safe, and offering outstanding resale
values the Honda CR-V is an easy SUV to recommend. Lightly updated for 2018 the
Subaru Outback offers more than 73 cubic feet of cargo space, 8.7 inches of ground
clearance, and standard all-wheel drive, making it a fantastic choice for
outdoorsy, adventure-seeking families. A refined ride, good fuel economy, a freshly
updated interior, and available Eyesight active driver assist technology round
out Subaru’s supremely functional wagon. Moving up to midsize SUVs we have the
all-new 2018 Chevrolet Traverse. For larger families its 8 passenger
capacity, spacious cargo hold, smart-fold second row seat and countless storage nooks are a major boon. Meanwhile the standard Teen Driver feature allows
weary parents to monitor the driving habits of their young uns. The all-new
2018 Chevy Traverse is a welcome addition to our family car list. Not only
does the Honda Pilot grace this year’s family car list, it also scored our
coveted midsize SUV Best Buy award for 2018. Driving that win is a thoughtfully
crafted interior that can seat up to eight actual adults along with plenty of
cargo behind them. Efficient, roomy, safe, and rich with value the Honda Pilot is a
top choice if you need a three row SUV. At the same time the three row Toyota
Highlander remains a top seller. Reliability and resale values figure
into the Highlanders popularity but families in particular will appreciate
its 8-passenger cabin, nearly flat folding second and third row seats, handy
in-floor storage area, spacious cargo area, and efficient optional hybrid powertrain. Smartly designed and handsome with low long-term ownership costs Toyota’s
midsize-er is a smart SUV buy. A new addition to our family car list is the
all-new 2018 Volkswagen Atlas. VW might be late to the mid-sized SUV game but the
Atlas has quickly established itself as a front-runner in the category, in large
part because it’s…well…large. For instance the tallest member of our
editorial staff, Rich, at six-foot-five fits just fine in the rear most seats. Even with its maximum 7 passengers aboard a respectable 20.6 cubic feet of
cargo space remains. Size aside the Atlas has macho style, is satisfying to drive,
and features a long 6-year/72,000 mile warranty. It might be new to the SUV game but the VW Atlas deserves a look. What if you need room for nine people,
like the tow, and occasionally venture off road? Then the 2018 Chevrolet Tahoe
is a good choice with its strong body-on-frame construction, available
four-wheel drive, and 8,600 pound tow capacity. For 2018 the Tahoe
lineup has expanded with a sub $45,000 Tahoe custom model and a racier RST trim rocking a 420 horsepower V8. Otherwise the standard Tahoe marches on with a
capable 355 horsepower V8, a quiet cabin, and an 8-inch touchscreen with
Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. For big family fun the Chevy Tahoe is a big
winner. If you prefer the blue oval, have we got an SUV for you? The 2018 Ford
Expedition is roughly 300 pounds lighter than the previous model with an
independent rear suspension that delivers superior ride quality while
also improving third row roominess. Powering the Expedition is a
turbocharged 3.5-liter V6 and 10-speed automatic transmission combo producing
up to 400 horsepower. The EcoBoost V6 is powerful and yet returns up to 24
highway MPG. Smart, spacious, and richly equipped the Ford Expedition is a
seriously good full-size ride. Minivans might seem lame but beneath their
practical facade hides some of the smartest design and coolest tech on the
road. Take the Chrysler Pacifica. Its second row Stow n’ Go seats feature a
cantilevered arrangement for enhanced third row foot space and for cargo
hauling they fold completely into the floor. You can also equip the Pacifica
with foot-activated sliding side doors, a 360-degree camera system, and there’s
even a plug-in hybrid version that can cover more than 30 miles without using
any gasoline, while also being eligible for a $7,500 federal tax credit. Easy to
live with and a pleasure to drive the Chrysler Pacifica exemplifies smart
minivan design. Another fine minivan choice is the 2018
Toyota Sienna. It’s getting on in years but the current generation Sienna offers
some nice enhancements for 2018 including lightly revised styling and a
new 8-speed automatic transmission. Among the Sienna’s core strengths are flexible
seating for up to 8, a wealth of child seat latch points, and driver Easy Speak,
which amplifies the driver’s voice for rear seat passengers. Boasting excellent
resale values and solid reliability the Sienna is also the only minivan offered
with all-wheel drive. Fear not, winter drivers. The Sienna has your back Rounding out our family car list is the
all-new 2018 Honda Odyssey, a vehicle we’ve described as maybe the best family
car in the world. That bold statement is backed up by
effortless driving dynamics, top-tier roominess and functionality, and advanced safety tech. Speaking of, aside from the lowest LX trim all Odyssey’s come
standard with Honda Sensing, a suite of active driver aids that bundles adaptive
cruise control, lane keeping assist, and collision mitigation braking. Primo
reliability and resale values further bolster the Odyssey’s stellar reputation. Blending robust safety, handy technologies, and a cleverly arranged
cabin the Honda Odyssey represents the pinnacle of family car greatness. And
with those lofty words let’s conclude our best family cars of 2018. For a
deeper dive into what made these vehicles so superbly family-worthy
check out our complete coverage on kbb.com. And if you’re looking to buy a
car for your family or otherwise Kelly Blue Book is here to help

About the Author: Michael Flood


  1. I always like your reviews. I also feel there is some weird love affair with Honda. According to Consumer Reports the Odyssey has had Average reliability. Also EVERY model of the Sienna has Toyota Safety Sense…which wasn't mentioned. Yet, Honda, which they don't put it on EVERY model is praised for having it. There are times when bias creeps in. I'd like to see that correct, if at all possible.

  2. What happened to family sedans? Since when is a SUV a car? I submit that the Hyundai Sonata should have been on your list because it is large, with plenty of cargo space, and can seat 5 adults in comfort. It has a 100,000 mile warranty and can be purchased at 15% below MSRP at almost any Hyundai dealership in the USA. What kind of discount do Honda dealers give? You are lucky to get 5% off. Hyundai vehicles are now rated as reliable as Honda automobiles. I like the Honda CR-V, but the Subaru Forester is just as good and has better visibility and handling.

  3. I don't know why but these guys have some strange love with Honda 😂😂😂😂😂😂😂😂😂😂 I'm not saying that i hate honda , honda is one of my fav car company but still you can include some others like nissan and all 😅

  4. Pilot is a good choice people. I have had my Elite for a year and it’s the best. Plenty of space and comfort and features

  5. Toyota desperately needs to overhaul their whole lineup. There hasn't been a new Sequoia since 2007, Highlander since 2013, Sienna since 2011, or RAV4 since 2013. Toyota thinks they can get by with offering "reliable vehicles" that haven't been changed for a decade. It's already starting to catch up with them.

  6. You guys seem again as honda bias. Honda's are not that great guys, driving (most models too stiff), part prices are high(dealer, and lack of automaket), especially when working on them, they are big pain in the ass… yet i agree – hondas tech is on point.. I work in the body shop everyday so I see cars everyday 🙂

  7. I’m wondering if you would recommend the Kia Sorento? I’m in the market and it’s highly rated by Consumer Reports and a few other independent reviewers. Is there something specific that kept it off this list? I also found it odd that the Tahoe (gas guzzler) made the list along with the Pacifica which has always been plagued with reliability issues.

  8. Ive been in a new highlander, I wasn't impressed. It felt very bland and wasnt all that comfortable either. I prefer my 04 Pilot EX. The thing is comfy and makes great use or space to the point that it feels larger than it looks. I miss the old boxy look

  9. Has anyone seen the Netflix documentary – 'Dirty Money – ep1'? Talks about how dodgy VW is as a company. Does anyone know how VW's diesels are now? after the scandal?

  10. Really! No mention of the standard Toyota Safety Sense P on the Highlander and Sienna, but you guys are just eager to include that Honda Sensing comes standard on the Odyssey on all but the lowest trim. Toyota's initiative in offering its safety suite STANDARD on almost its entire line-up is class leading in itself

  11. I feel like the moment you put Chevy on your list you disqualify yourself from ever assigning value to any automobile ever. And you've got 3 of them. Mahk just passed out.

  12. Why is the jk wrangler on the list? It is a reliable, fun and configurable 4×4. You can get a 2 door or 4 door with a standard 6 speed manual with optional 5 speed automatic. You can remove the doors, fold / remove the roof and fold the windshield down too. I have a 2017 white unlimited sport ( 4 door ) automatic with the hardtop for 29 grand. It doesn't have a lot of modern stuff like remote start, power leather seats or a screen that connects to your phone. It is still a great vehicle that still holds it's value.

  13. A fully loaded $45k Equinox that still lacks features of its competition is still tops in its class? Find that hard to believe considering the horrid fit and finish I've been seeing

  14. After reading all the comments (up to this point), I'm wondering why so many people commented on an alleged Honda bias, yet not even a single person mentioned anything about Chevy…??? 3 Honda vehicles made this list, but 3 Chevy vehicles also made this list. Why does no one mention that? Maybe there is some sort of unintentional (or intentional) bias, or… Maybe Honda and Chevy just make good vehicles… 🤔

  15. Minivans are for people without taste.
    Tahoe is the best overall. V8 and nice design, good reliability, comfortable and good resale value.

  16. I see the owners of all these auto journalists YouTube channels (since they’re owned by the same media company) are being paid Honda quite well…The magic doesn’t seem to be working because the Honda sales are still down.

  17. Your videos are incredibly helpful–I've enjoyed driving my CX5! I'm looking for a family car now, and one thing I'd love to see in a video about family cars is car seats. Yes, it's great to know that tall adult (or teen) can fit in the backseat of a car but that's not why I'm in the market for a SUV w a third row. Would love to know if the third row is accessible with two car seats in the second row. Would love to know how many tethers are in the car.

  18. You rate Honda Pilot as top SUV but it had lot of issues like software glitch that I experienced as my dashboard displays all systems failed when my car is parked and locked. You tubers had posted several videos of the same issue and it is still existing in my car. Dealers and Honda engineers are not able to fix this issue still. Are you not knowing of these issues and you recommend customers a Honda Pilot?

  19. Just got a 2018 nissan pathfinder, roomy, handles well, looks and feels luxurious, 20 in city and 27 highway(mpg). Why did it not make the list? It seats 7 persons perfectly.

  20. People actually realize that Toyotacane our with their safety tech after Honda right? I remember Honda coming out with Honda Sensing than maybe after Toyota comes out with Toyota safety sense ? Honda also was almost the first car company to pair up for Apple Car play. Toyota still doesn’t have that. I just think Honda is a superior automaker. Yes Toyota sells more and are also just as great but most of their stuff is borrowed from other car companies there always steps behind other automakers Subaru, Mazda, & BMW.

  21. My family and I have a Peugeot 3008 2015 Crossover and it's great for vacations, long roads or short roads. I can easily fit in my dog and 4 family members in, and without the dog, 5, maybe even 6 people can fit.

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