Families across America are getting their tax refunds and going on vacation, upgrading their flat screen or perhaps, just perhaps, using that return to upgrade their vehicles.
When it comes to what type of vehicle is best for your family, the choices are endless, but there are a few places where you can get some information on the vehicle that may be best for you and your brood, including the new 2018 Best Cars for Families list from U.S. News & World Report.
The magazine annually puts more than 100 vehicles — this year 127 models — through their paces to provide winners in 11 categories along with some feedback about why they were picked. These vehicles generally have a wealth of features that make cars appealing for families.
Tech features, such as in-car wireless Internet, teen driver controls, automatic braking, surround- view cameras and hands-free cargo doors were considered alongside traditional criteria such as passenger and cargo space, the magazine noted.
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Ford, Audi and Honda tied with the most awards won by individual brands with two awards each. The Ford Expedition, the Best Large SUV for Families, and the Ford Edge, the Best Two-Row SUV for Families, won their respective classes on the strength of their large, comfortable cabins.
The Edge seats up to five people while the Expedition can seat up to eight across three rows. Both also offer in car Wi-Fi and Apple CarPlay – two features that go a long way toward keeping the entire family connected and entertained. The Ford Edge also won the 2018 Best Two-Row SUV for the Money award for having the best combination of quality and value in its class.
Audi had a fine showing on this year’s list with the Q5 taking the Best Luxury Midsize SUV title while the A6, the Best Luxury Midsize Car for Families. The German maker’s entries won in large part because their backseats are larger than the competition.
That extra space makes it easier to install car seats, keep kids in boosters from kicking the front seats and give teens or older relatives plenty of space to stretch out. Both the Q5 and A6 also have plenty of safety tech, including automatic braking, surround-view cameras and lane keeping assist.
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Some of the other winners included:
- Best 3-Row SUV for Families: 2018 Chevrolet Traverse
- Best Midsize Car for Families: 2018 Toyota Camry
- Best Luxury 2-Row SUV for Families: 2018 BMW X5
Honda captured a couple of honors as well. The Honda CR-V won Best Compact SUV for the fourth year in a row. It’s the CR-V’s seventh win overall, maintaining its place as the top compact SUV for families with more passenger and cargo space than the competition.
Families can also outfit the CR-V with a number of features to make life easier, such as Wi-Fi and a hands-free cargo door. Available safety features on the CR-V include lane keeping assist and automatic braking.
The Honda Odyssey was redesigned for 2018 and was named the Best Minivan for Families. The Odyssey boasts a slew of innovative features, such as an in-cabin video system that monitors backseat passengers, a vacuum, a cooler and a system that projects the driver’s voice into the third row – something that can help drivers keep the peace without straining their vocal chords.
Both the CR-V and Odyssey won 2018 Best Cars for the Money awards for having the best combination of quality and value in their classes.
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“The baseline for a good family car is a roomy and comfortable interior,” said Jamie Page Deaton, managing editor of U.S. News Best Cars. “However, the very best family cars not only keep everyone comfortable, but also offer the latest in safety and connectivity features for every stage of family life. The Best Cars for Families award winners have what it takes to entertain toddlers, help teen drivers develop good driving habits and even help older family members stay on the road longer.”