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Best new cars for Small Families
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Top Picks for Small Families

Small families often look at sedans, hatchbacks, station wagons, SUVs and minivans, so our short list — compiled from a pool that included our Best Bets and all the newer cars we've driven since — included dozens of contenders. Our experts looked at safety features, gas mileage, interior comfort and driving refinement to pick the winners.

 Best New Car for Small Families
2014 Hyundai Santa Fe Sport
Starting MSRP $25,825

Hyundai has been winning over car shoppers with impressive designs teamed to equally impressive lists of features for the money. The redesigned Hyundai Santa Fe Sport adds impressive utility to the mix with a large cargo area and spacious backseat. It won over our editors with its composed driving manners, luxurious cabin and tech features that any parent (or grandparent) can easily master. A few editors even called it "fun to drive," which is a rarity in a class where the driver often isn't the top priority.
 Best Deal for Small Families
2013 Hyundai Elantra
Starting MSRP $17,760

Compact sedans don't always make ideal family cars, but more and more, households are trying to make the most out of a new car. For many, the most important thing is making sure the backseat can hold child-safety seats comfortably. In that regard, the Hyundai Elantra earns top scores in our Car Seat Check, but that's not all the small sedan offers. In our recent Compact Sedan Challenge, it placed a close second, scoring well in categories including ride and handling, mileage, comfort and, of course, value against seven of the best-sellers in the segment.

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Suggestions for Small Families
2014 Chevrolet Equinox  Recommended for Small Families Chevrolet Equinox (2014)
Starting MSRP $25,315

Good mileage and comfortable seats are the Chevrolet Equinox's calling cards, but it's the flexible backseat that gets it on this list. The rear bench slides forward and back with ease to accommodate full-size adults and bulky child-safety seats.

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2014 Chrysler 300C  Recommended for Small Families Chrysler 300C (2014)
Starting MSRP $37,910

Road trips can be fun in any car, but if you're driving a large, luxurious sedan with a blissful ride and plenty of power, they're more enjoyable. The Chrysler 300C has plenty of room for car seats and a trunk that could swallow a toy chest.

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2014 Honda CR-V  Recommended for Small Families Honda CR-V (2014)
Starting MSRP $23,775

The Honda CR-V is our reigning compact crossover champion, topping the field in a 2012 Shootout. It wins buyers over with a spacious and open cabin, deep cargo area and good mileage, and it's easy to get in and out of whether you're young or old.

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2013 Kia Sportage  Recommended for Small Families Kia Sportage (2013)
Starting MSRP $19,850

Sporty in looks and driving style, the Kia Sportage is surprisingly family-friendly, from an easy-to-use multimedia system to numerous cubbies of all the right sizes in all the right places.

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2014 Mazda CX-5  Recommended for Small Families Mazda CX-5 (2014)
Starting MSRP $22,190

Great looks inside and out, top-notch materials and an easy-to-fold second row make the Mazda CX-5 an attractive all-around performer. Families might want to pick the larger 2.5-liter engine to move everyone with confidence.

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2014 Subaru Outback  Recommended for Small Families Subaru Outback (2014)
Starting MSRP $24,320

If you want an affordable and capable all-wheel-drive family wagon, the Subaru Outback is hard to beat. The large backseat and wide cargo space so won over three editors that they've bought one for their own families.

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2014 Toyota Prius v  Recommended for Small Families Toyota Prius v (2014)
Starting MSRP $27,560

A Toyota Prius with more space is a win for green-minded families. The added cargo room (about 12 cubic feet) does have a negative impact on mileage, but it seems to be the right amount of green sacrifice for family friendliness.

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2014 Volkswagen Passat  Recommended for Small Families Volkswagen Passat (2014)
Starting MSRP $21,665

Not every family needs a utility vehicle to shepherd it to soccer practice or take a short road trip. The Volkswagen Passat's roomy backseat, large trunk and pleasant ride make it a good option.

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