NEWS

Best Cars for Big Families 2016

By Mike Hanley

December 29, 2015

Large families need a car that can comfortably carry six or more and their stuff, so we consider wagons, crossovers, SUVs and minivans.

16Honda_Odyssey_OEM.jpg 2016 Honda Odyssey | Manufacturer image

Best Car for Big Families

Minivans have fallen out of favor as car shoppers have gravitated toward crossovers and SUVs, and while there are many utility vehicles that are good for carrying big families, it's hard to top a minivan when your primary objective is moving people (and stuff) in comfort. With spacious seating for up to eight, the Odyssey impresses us on many fronts. It offers a carlike driving experience with good maneuverability, an easy-to-stow third row and even a built-in vacuum cleaner on select trim levels. Whether you have kids in car seats or teenagers sprawling about, the Odyssey is an ideal choice for big families.
 

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Used
2016 Honda Odyssey Touring
118,400 mi.
$24,972 $252 price drop
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16Nissan_Rouge_OEM.jpg 2016 Nissan Rogue; | Manufacturer image

Best Deal for Big Families

We've been impressed with the Rogue since Nissan redesigned it for the 2014 model year, and with its optional third row, it's a credible choice for shoppers who need an SUV that can accommodate a large family for a low price. The Rogue offers a refined driving experience, an efficient four-cylinder drivetrain that gets an EPA-estimated 28 mpg in combined driving and a nice interior. If you need more seating capacity than what you'd find in a two-row small SUV, but aren't ready to make the leap to a full-size model, the Rogue is worth a look.

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Used
2016 Nissan Rogue S
63,490 mi.
$14,999
Great Deal | $1,526 under
Used
2016 Nissan Rogue S
60,486 mi.
$16,995
Great Deal | $779 under
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16Acura_MDX_ES.jpg 2016 Acura MDX | Cars.com photo by Evan Sears

Recommended for Big Families

Parents make sacrifices for their kids all the time, but with an MDX, your family vehicle doesn't have to be one of them. With seating for up to seven people in three rows, the MDX can accommodate your whole crew while pampering Mom and Dad with standard luxury features like heated leather front seats, tri-zone automatic air conditioning and a power tilt/telescoping steering wheel. The MDX also works for kids, with one-touch access to the third row and an optional rear entertainment system with a 16.2-inch widescreen display. There may be a luxury badge on the grille, but the MDX is a family vehicle at heart.

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Used
2016 Acura MDX 3.5L
65,287 mi.
$28,395
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Used
2016 Acura MDX 3.5L
30,487 mi.
$31,252
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16Buick_Enclave_OEM.jpg 2016 Buick Enclave | Manufacturer image

Recommended for Big Families

This full-size crossover is big on the outside, and that gives you more room inside for strollers, sports equipment and other family gear. Even with all three rows up, the Enclave has 23.3 cubic feet of cargo room, more than many of its competitors offer. Available with front- or all-wheel drive, the Enclave is powered by a 288-horsepower V-6 engine and it can tow up to 4,500 pounds when properly equipped. The most luxurious of GM's full-size crossovers, the Enclave offers optional heated and cooled front seats, and a heated steering wheel too.

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Used
2016 Buick Enclave Leather
63,268 mi.
$26,995
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2016 Buick Enclave Premium
73,716 mi.
$25,401
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16Chevrolet_Traverse_ES.jpg 2016 Chevrolet Traverse | Cars.com photo by Evan Sears

Recommended for Big Families

The Traverse is the most affordable of GM's full-size crossover SUVs. It has room for up to eight in three rows and a large cargo area behind the third row. The Traverse has a base LS trim if you want to keep the price low, or it runs all the way to the top-of-the-line LTZ that comes with leather upholstery, heated and cooled front seats, navigation and remote start. All models have V-6 power, and the Traverse is available with front- or all-wheel drive.

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Used
2016 Chevrolet Traverse 1LT
113,348 mi.
$16,995 $1,000 price drop
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Used
2016 Chevrolet Traverse 1LT
98,134 mi.
$19,442
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16Ford_Expedition_OEM.jpg 2016 Ford Expedition; | Manufacturer image

Recommended for Big Families

The Expedition is one of the few full-size SUVs that provide the kind of spacious passenger accommodations suggested by its exterior bulk. Some competitors' cabins are far less roomy than their  footprint would lead you to believe — especially in the third row — but the Expedition's passenger space and comfort is good in all three rows of seats, making it an ideal choice for families with children who seem to be getting taller by the week. A powerful turbocharged V-6 engine and a refined driving experience are also Expedition hallmarks.

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Used
2016 Ford Expedition Limited
28,250 mi.
$37,990
Great Deal | $4,874 under
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Used
2016 Ford Expedition Limited
75,973 mi.
$32,634
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2015-Ford-Expedition_EL_OEM.jpg 2016 Ford Expediton EL; | Manufacturer image

Recommended for Big Families

One of the downsides of regular-length full-size SUVs is that when all of the seats are in use there's not much space behind the third row for all the stuff that comes with carrying a large family. Enter one of our favorite extended-length full-size SUVs: the Expedition EL. With 42.6 cubic feet of cargo room behind the third row, the Expedition EL has more than double the cargo space of the regular-length Expedition. Along with the extra cargo room you get the Expedition's good driving manners and spacious seating for up to eight.

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Used
2016 Ford Expedition EL XLT
108,472 mi.
$26,500 $1,169 price drop
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Used
2016 Ford Expedition EL Limited
67,756 mi.
$36,000
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16Ford_FLEX_OEM.jpg 2016 Ford Flex; | Manufacturer image

Recommended for Big Families

Not everyone wants a minivan or an SUV to haul the family around, and if that's you, there's the Flex. While its boxy profile has a look all its own, its carlike ride height is a plus for people who have trouble stepping into a higher-riding SUV. Three rows mean room for up to seven, and the second row is one of the roomiest around, making it ideal for growing teenagers. The standard V-6 engine provides adequate power, but the optional twin-turbo V-6 that churns out 365 horsepower turns the Flex into a family hot rod.

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Used
2016 Ford Flex SEL
32,395 mi.
$27,000 $2,000 price drop
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Used
2016 Ford Flex SE
53,852 mi.
$23,750
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16GMC_Acadia_OEM.jpg 2016 GMC Acadia | Manufacturer image

Recommended for Big Families

The Acadia has room for up to eight in three rows and a large cargo area that measures 24.1 cubic feet. The standard V-6 engine makes 281 horsepower in most trim levels, but the upscale Denali model gets a 288-hp V-6 and luxury features like perforated leather upholstery, heated and cooled front seats, a heated steering wheel and a two-panel panoramic moonroof. If your family excursions include trailering, the Acadia is rated to tow up to 5,200 pounds when properly equipped.

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Used
2016 GMC Acadia SLT-2
83,325 mi.
$24,990
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Used
2016 GMC Acadia SLT-2
80,155 mi.
$25,000 $750 price drop
Great Deal | $1,318 under
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16Toyota_Highlander Hybrid_OEM.jpg 2016 Toyota Highlander Hybrid; | Manufacturer image

Recommended for Big Families

Think a three-row crossover can't get nearly 30 mpg in combined driving? Think again. The Highlander Hybrid is rated at 27/28/28 mpg city/highway/combined and comes standard with all-wheel drive. That kind of estimated gas mileage is significantly better than competing full-size crossovers and minivans, and you still get all of the cargo room and three-row seating of the regular Highlander. The starting price is on the high side, but it's for the well-equipped Limited trim that has a power liftgate, power moonroof, tri-zone automatic air conditioning, leather upholstery, navigation and active safety features like blind spot warning.

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Used
2016 Toyota Highlander Hybrid Limited Platinum
61,905 mi.
$36,000
Good Deal
Used
2016 Toyota Highlander Hybrid Limited Platinum
60,080 mi.
$37,998
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