We get it: Your growing family has outgrown your car, but you’re still not ready to turn in your cool card and become one of those … those, ulchhh, minivan people. On second thought, TBH, we don’t really get it. As automotive journalists, we drive everything from a Mitsubishi Mirage to a Maserati Levante, and for us that sort of arbitrary image consciousness takes a backseat to choosing the right tool for the job.
But since the modern American family seems to have decided for some reason that SUVs are less lame than minivans, and because we just so happen to own a Chrysler Pacifica, our Best of 2017 vehicle, and a Volkswagen Atlas, our Best of 2018 pick, we decided to pit the two against each other to determine which was the superior family hauler, irrespective of caché.
Related: 2018 Volkswagen Atlas Helps Ease First-Time Parent Jitters
My colleague, Cars.com reviewer and mom of three Jennifer Geiger, and I each drove both cars back-to-back on a 30-mile circuit taking us from Cars.com HQ in downtown Chicago, through the surrounding suburbs, and back downtown via both fast-moving highways and slower town roads. We then rated each vehicle across 10 categories deemed essential for family duty. Each category is worth a maximum of 20 points.
So which vehicle came out on top? Read on to see how each scored.