NEWS

Best Cars for Small Families 2016

By Jennifer Geiger

December 29, 2015

Small families often look at sedans, hatchbacks, wagons, SUVs and minivans. Our experts looked at safety, mpg, comfort and ride.

16Nissan_Rouge_OEM.jpg 2016 Nissan Rogue; | Manufacturer image

Best Car for Small Families

Flexibility puts the Rogue at the top of its class. The Rogue has a handy cargo-management system that helps separate and organize the cargo area. It's not only versatile, it's good-looking, fuel-efficient and affordable. Busy families expect a lot out of their vehicle, and the Rogue delivers.

Shop the 2016 Nissan Rogue near you

Used
2016 Nissan Rogue S
63,490 mi.
$14,999
Great Deal | $1,626 under
Used
2016 Nissan Rogue S
51,458 mi.
$19,995
Good Deal
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16Honda_Fit_OEM.jpg 2016 Honda Fit; | Manufacturer image

Best Deal for Small Families

At first glance, Honda's subcompact Fit might not look like a good choice for families, but its backseat offers impressive amounts of head- and legroom and its cargo area expands thanks to magic: the Magic Seat, that is. The backseat flips and folds flat, making room for science fair project supplies or a must-have antique-shop find. The 60/40-split seat bottoms flip up to accommodate taller items like an upright bicycle. Add in the Fit's low base price and small families on a budget should find the Fit magical indeed.

Shop the 2016 Honda Fit near you

Used
2016 Honda Fit LX
31,881 mi.
$18,590
Home Delivery
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Used
2016 Honda Fit EX-L
145,249 mi.
$12,900
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16Chevrolet_Equinox-LTZ_OEM.jpg 2016 Chevrolet Equinox; | Manufacturer image

Recommended for Small Families

Size matters to small families looking for a comfortable, roomy family-hauler, and the Equinox is just right. Although it's in the compact SUV class, its backseat legroom is generous and the seats themselves are winners. The Equinox's flexible backseat slides forward and back with ease to accommodate full-size adults and bulky child-safety seats. The Equinox's two sets of lower Latch anchors are exposed, making them easy to use when installing a car seat, and its top tether anchors are clearly marked for quick connection.

Shop the 2016 Chevrolet Equinox near you

Used
2016 Chevrolet Equinox LTZ
87,084 mi.
$20,000 $500 price drop
Good Deal
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Used
2016 Chevrolet Equinox LT
60,861 mi.
$18,699
Good Deal

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16Chevrolet_Impala_OEM.jpg 2016 Chevrolet Impala; | Ma

Recommended for Small Families

There's a reason the Impala won Cars.com's Best of 2014 Award — several reasons, actually.  Small families will have plenty of room in the Impala, with adult-friendly levels of head- and legroom in the cushy backseat, as well as a trunk large enough to swallow all the gear your family can throw in it. Add to all that its comfortable, refined road manners and the Chevrolet Impala makes for an impressive family road trip sedan.

Shop the 2016 Chevrolet Impala near you

Used
2016 Chevrolet Impala LS
82,840 mi.
$18,995
Good Deal
Used
2016 Chevrolet Impala LT
92,982 mi.
$16,899
Good Deal
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16Honda_CR_V_OEM.jpg 2016 Honda CR-V; | Manufacturer image

Recommended for Small Families

Honda has a full SUV lineup, from the tiny, new HR-V to the redesigned three-row Pilot, and small families should check out the compact CR-V. Winner of our Compact SUV Challenge in 2015, it does many things well, and offers a good blend of comfort, features and fuel economy. Its ample legroom and easy-to-access Latch anchors are accommodating for child-safety seats, and its cargo area is mammoth compared to others in the class. Bonus: Its backup camera is standard. And the optional side-view LaneWatch camera gives drivers an expanded view of the road next to the car for added safety.

Shop the 2016 Honda CR-V near you

Used
2016 Honda CR-V Touring
64,904 mi.
$25,220
Fair Deal
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Used
2016 Honda CR-V EX-L
86,604 mi.
$20,800 $700 price drop
Great Deal | $2,882 under
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16Mazda_CX-5_SO_ES.jpg 2016 Mazda CX-5; | Cars.com photo by Evan Sears

Recommended for Small Families

Mazda's compact SUV delivers two things that others in the class just can't beat — style and fun-to-drive road manners. The CX-5 looks like nothing else on the road with its bold face and curvy body. Handling is a strong suit — it's agile around corners and maneuverable, making parking a breeze. It has a practical side too, though. With excellent fuel economy and enough backseat space to comfortably accommodate two child-safety seats, small families looking for a well-rounded compact SUV should check it out.

Shop the 2016 Mazda CX-5 near you

Used
2016 Mazda CX-5 Grand Touring
41,211 mi.
$23,325 $175 price drop
Fair Deal
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Used
2016 Mazda CX-5 Grand Touring
88,207 mi.
$20,999
Good Deal
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16Subaru_XV-Crosstrek_OEM.jpg 2016 Subaru Crosstrek; | Manufacturer image

Recommended for Small Families

Utility, space and all-wheel drive: Subaru's small SUV delivers all three. The Crosstrek is one of the smallest vehicles on this list, but its interior is deceptively large. Winner of our Subcompact SUV Challenge, its backseat accommodates two child-safety seats with ease, and the cargo area can easily swallow a stroller. It has rugged, go-anywhere styling and the goods to back it up, with 8.7 inches of ground clearance and standard all-wheel drive. Families looking for a vehicle that can tackle both carpool runs and off-the-beaten-path adventures won't be let down.

Shop the 2016 Subaru Crosstrek near you

Used
2016 Subaru Crosstrek 2.0i Premium
62,920 mi.
$20,999
Great Deal | $1,062 under
Used
2016 Subaru Crosstrek 2.0i Premium
56,122 mi.
$22,750
Good Deal
Hot Car
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16Subaru_Forester_OEM.jpg 2016 Subaru Forester; | Manufacturer image

Recommended for Small Families

Subaru's compact SUV has a lot to offer. Its affordable all-wheel drive, excellent safety ratings and competitive fuel economy make it a must-see. It also has advanced safety features unavailable on many others in this segment. Although the Forester is compact in size, its backseat easily has room for two child-safety seats. Bonus: The Forester's easy-to-access lower Latch and top tether anchors ease installation. Behind the seats, cargo room is also stroller-friendly.

Shop the 2016 Subaru Forester near you

Used
2016 Subaru Forester 2.5i Limited
20,455 mi.
$20,990
Great Deal | $874 under
Used
2016 Subaru Forester 2.5i
42,878 mi.
$23,990
Good Deal
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16Subaru_Outback_OEM.jpg 2016 Subaru Outback; | Manufacturer image

Recommended for Small Families

The anti-SUV crowd will find a lot to like about this midsize wagon. The Outback's taller ride height means great visibility and its wagon body style translates into plenty of cargo room. Messy families (Oxymoron? Or simply redundant?) should appreciate the cargo area's removable, washable rubber cargo floormat, taking the headache out of carrying muddy shoes and sandy beach accessories. But don't let its rugged styling and attitude fool you; the cabin is comfy and full of convenience features.

Shop the 2016 Subaru Outback near you

Used
2016 Subaru Outback 2.5i Limited
50,398 mi.
$23,650 $300 price drop
Good Deal
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Used
2016 Subaru Outback 3.6R Limited
55,000 mi.
$24,267
Good Deal
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16Toyota_Prius-V_OEM.jpg 2016 Toyota Prius V; | Manufacturer image

Recommended for Small Families

For high-mileage families who try to be green and want to save a little green at the pump, Toyota's hybrid wagon is a good choice. The Prius v is the pumped-up version of the Prius hybrid and delivers more cargo room, a must-have for families of any size. The Prius v beats the Prius with an additional 12.7 cubic feet of space for a total of 34.3 cubic feet behind the second row. The backseat won't disappoint either; there's ample room for two car seats.

Shop the 2016 Toyota Prius v near you

Used
2016 Toyota Prius v Four
77,125 mi.
$20,995
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