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November 10, 2023

Choosing Your Family's Ride: 10 Top Cars for 2023

In 2019, 257 existing car models were offered in the U.S. market. This figure was expected to increase to around 285 by 2023. With so many choices, how do you boil it down to make the best decision for you and your family? 

Written by

Sarah T.

The quest for the ideal family car has never been more critical in this fast-paced world, where family life demands convenience and safety. Fortunately, we've done the legwork for you. Get ready to explore the top 10 family cars of 2023, each designed to meet your unique needs and keep your loved ones safe and comfortable on the road.

Discover the Best 10 Family Cars for 2023: A Comprehensive Guide

In a world where the daily hustle and bustle of family life never seems to slow down, having the right car can make all the difference. Your family's mode of transportation isn't just a means of getting from point A to point B; it's a sanctuary on wheels, a space where shared memories are created, and a fortress of safety for your loved ones. 

Here, we explore the vehicles that excel in the factors that truly matter for families. Safety takes the front seat, but it's far from the only consideration. Spaciousness is crucial for those endless soccer practices, family road trips, and everyday carpools. Efficiency ensures you're not breaking the bank with each trip to the pump. 

Technology, from entertainment systems to advanced safety features, keeps everyone content and secure. Price, of course, plays a significant role in ensuring your dream car aligns with your budget. And let's not forget the importance of real-world reviews and feedback from other parents who've been in your shoes.

So, let's embark on this journey to discover the top 10 family cars of 2023, meticulously chosen for their performance in these key areas. Join us as we explore the vehicles that offer peace of mind, comfort, and convenience for you and your family on the road ahead. 

Whether planning for daily school runs, epic road trips, or everything in between, this guide will help you make the informed choice that suits your unique family needs.

Your Family’s Safety Comes First 

Here is our list of ten top family-friendly cars for 2023 (in alphabetical order).

  1. 2023 Honda CR-V
  • Safety: The 2023 Honda CR-V is well-equipped with Honda Sensing, offering features like adaptive cruise control, collision mitigation, and lane-keeping assist. According to the IIHS (Insurance Institute for Highway Safety), these family cars demonstrate exceptional safety features, including advanced front crash prevention for vehicle-to-vehicle scenarios, superior front crash prevention for vehicle-to-pedestrian situations, and good-rated headlights.
  • Space: The Honda CR-V comfortably accommodates five passengers with its spacious 103.5 cubic feet of passenger volume, while providing ample cargo space of 39.3 cubic feet with the rear seats up and an expansive 76.5 cubic feet with the rear seats folded down.
  • Efficiency: The 2023 Honda CR-V, with 2WD, achieves excellent fuel efficiency at 28 mpg in the city and 34 mpg on the highway. For even better mileage, consider the 2023 Honda CR-V Hybrid, which delivers an impressive 43 mpg in the city and 36 mpg on the highway with 2WD.
  • Technology: The 2023 CR-V introduces upgraded driver-assist features like blind-spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic alert, and adaptive cruise control, alongside a driver-attention monitor and a rear-seat reminder. The infotainment system now offers clearer menus and quicker response times. The EX-L trim boasts a larger 9.0-inch touchscreen with wireless smartphone connectivity and wireless charging, a step up from the 7.0-inch system in the EX and Sport trims, which still support wired Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. 
  1. 2023 Hyundai Ioniq 5
  • Safety: Hyundai takes safety seriously, and the Ioniq 5 showcases advanced safety technology with features like lane-keeping assist and adaptive cruise control. Its electric platform adds an extra layer of safety. The NHTSA awards the 2023 IONIQ 5 an impressive 5-star rating.
  • Space: The 2023 Hyundai IONIQ 5 offers a spacious cabin with generous headroom of 39.8 inches in the front and 38.7 inches in the rear, or 39.1 inches in the front and 37.5 inches in the rear for the Limited Trim. It provides ample cargo space with 59.3 cubic feet when the rear seats are folded down and 27.2 cubic feet when they're up, along with a comfortable passenger interior volume of 106.5 cubic feet.
  • Efficiency: As an electric vehicle, the Ioniq 5 offers exceptional efficiency, giving you zero-emission peace of mind and a generous range. Crafted with a high-capacity design and exceptional energy density, it provides the IONIQ 5 with a robust 77.4 kWh of electric power. What's more, this advanced battery comes with the assurance of a 10-year/100,000-mile limited warranty, ensuring long-term peace of mind. While some modern SUVs achieve 30 mpg, and hybrids can reach 50 mpg, the 2023 IONIQ 5 RWD stands out with remarkable EPA estimates, offering an impressive 132 mpge in the city and 98 mpge on the highway. If you opt for all-wheel drive, it still provides a commendable 113 mpge in the city and 90 mpge on the highway.
  • Technology: he IONIQ 5 SEL elevates your driving experience with enhanced LED headlights for superior nighttime visibility and upgraded leatherette seats. It adds convenience with a hands-free smart liftgate and wireless charger. A standout feature is Hyundai's Highway Driving Assist 2, offering advanced driving assistance on the road.
  1. 2023 Hyundai Santa Fe
  • Safety: The Hyundai Santa Fe boasts a prestigious five-star safety rating from the NHTSA, the highest accolade for vehicle safety. This is largely attributed to its array of advanced safety features, which we'll delve into shortly.
  • Space: The Hyundai Santa Fe offers practical cargo space, featuring 36.4 cubic feet behind the rear seats, and a generous 72.1 cubic feet with the seats folded down, a feature particularly handy for family adventures. This two-row midsize SUV comfortably seats five, making it a versatile choice for family journeys.
  • Efficiency: The fresh Hyundai Santa Fe SE, SEL, and XRT trims come with an EPA-estimated 25 mpg in the city and 28 mpg on the highway, offering a range of approximately 442.5 miles in the city or 495.6 miles on the highway for each 17.7-gallon tank of fuel.
  • Technology: The Santa Fe includes an 8-inch touch screen, wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, Bluetooth, four USB ports, and HD Radio as standard. Optional features encompass a 10.25-inch touch screen, navigation, wireless device charging, a premium 12-speaker Harman Kardon audio system, a 12.3-inch digital gauge cluster, dual-zone automatic climate control, digital key, proximity keyless entry, push-button start, and a panoramic sunroof.
  1. 2023 Subaru Outback
  • Safety: Subaru's reputation for safety is upheld with the Outback, featuring the EyeSight driver assistance technology for added security. The NHTSA has granted the 2023 Subaru Outback an impressive 5-star overall safety rating.
  • Space: In the 2023 Subaru Outback, you'll find a comfortable and roomy cabin with 42.8 inches of legroom in the front and 39.5 inches in the rear. With generous headroom, measuring 40.1 inches in the front and 39.1 inches in the rear, it offers an airy feel, even for models equipped with a moonroof. Shoulder room is ample as well, with 58.1 inches in the front and 57.4 inches in the rear. Furthermore, this versatile vehicle provides substantial cargo space, with 32.6 cubic feet when the rear seat is in place, expanding to a capacious 75.6 cubic feet when the rear seat is folded down.
  • Efficiency: For the 2023 Subaru Outback, the fuel economy ratings vary by trim level. Overall, you can expect an estimated 32 mpg on the highway and 26 mpg in the city, showcasing its balance between city and highway efficiency.
  • Technology: On the base model of the 2023 Subaru Outback, you can count on key technology features, including the standard EyeSight® Driver Assist Technology, LED Steering Responsive Headlights, and SUBARU STARLINK® Multimedia with Apple CarPlay® and Android Auto™ compatibility.
  1. 2023 Toyota RAV4
  • Safety: The 2023 Toyota RAV4 achieved an outstanding five-star overall safety rating from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, including five stars in the side crash test and four stars in the frontal crash and rollover tests.
  • Space: The 2023 Toyota RAV4 offers 37.6 cubic feet of cargo space behind the rear seats, making it roomy enough for everyday needs, and a spacious 69.8 cubic feet with the rear seats folded down for larger cargo. It features a standard manual liftgate for convenience.
  • Efficiency: This SUV impresses with its standard EPA-estimated 27 mpg in the city and 35 mpg on the highway. Paired with its 14.5-gallon fuel tank, you can enjoy an estimated 507-mile range on a single tank of gas.
  • Technology: Every RAV4 trim level now features an upgraded Toyota Audio Multimedia system with OTA updates, Android Auto, Apple CarPlay, cloud-based navigation, satellite radio, Amazon Alexa, and a six-speaker audio setup.
  1. 2023 Ford Expedition
  • Safety: The 2023 Ford Expedition boasts a coveted five-star safety rating as awarded by the NHTSA, which takes into account the vehicle's performance in rigorous crash tests and its comprehensive array of advanced safety technologies.
  • Space: With three rows of seating and ample cargo capacity, the Expedition excels in space. You can comfortably accommodate up to 8 passengers, with abundant extra cargo space, all while enjoying its remarkable towing capability.
  • Efficiency: While it's a larger SUV, it offers reasonable fuel efficiency for its class. The rear-wheel-drive model achieves a fuel efficiency rating of 17 mpg in the city and 23 mpg on the highway, while the all-wheel-drive version records 16 mpg in the city. Remarkably, both the Expedition and Expedition Max demonstrated their capability by delivering an impressive 20 mpg during the 75-mph fuel economy route test.
  • Technology: The 2023 Ford Expedition is tech-savvy, featuring available Ford Co-Pilot360™ technology for a safer journey. Enjoy your road trip tunes on the go with the available B&O® Unleashed Sound System by Bang & Olufsen®, boasting a remarkable 22 speakers, making it an unmatched audio experience in its class.
  1. 2023 Honda Odyssey
  • Safety: The Odyssey minivan is loaded with safety features, including adaptive cruise control, lane-keeping assist, and excellent crash test ratings. Considering the various phases of NHTSA safety testing, the 2023 Honda Odyssey achieved a perfect 5-star overall rating.
  • Space: It's designed with families in mind, offering a spacious cabin, versatile seating, and abundant storage options. The 2023 Honda Odyssey boasts impressive cargo space options, with 32.8 cubic feet behind the third row, 89.2 cubic feet behind the second row, and a generous 144.9 cubic feet behind the first row for all your family's storage needs.
  • Efficiency: While not as efficient as some SUVs, the Odyssey balances space and family comfort. That said, you'll enjoy consistent fuel efficiency with an impressive rating of 19 mpg in the city, 28 mpg on the highway, and 22 mpg combined across all trim levels.
  • Technology: This family-friendly vehicle comes loaded with Honda Sensing®, an all-encompassing suite of cutting-edge safety and driver-assist technologies. These advanced components encompass the Collision Mitigation Braking System™, Lane Keeping Assist System, Adaptive Cruise Control, and the Road Departure Mitigation System.
  1. 2023 Honda Pilot
  • Safety: The 2023 Honda Pilot, proudly American-made, secures the IIHS's highest distinction – the 2023 TOP SAFETY PICK+ (TSP+) rating. This accolade stems from top-notch ratings in Crash Avoidance & Mitigation, encompassing vehicle-to-pedestrian avoidance during both day and night, as well as stellar headlight performance. Impressively, this recognition brings the total of Honda models achieving 2023 TSP ratings to seven.
  • Space: With three rows of seating and ample cargo space, the Pilot offers versatile family-friendly interior room. You have versatile cargo space with 87.0 cubic feet behind the first row, 48.5 cubic feet behind the second row, and 18.6 cubic feet behind the third row. The cabin offers ample headroom, ranging from up to 39.1 inches in the front to 39.3 inches in the rear, while providing comfortable legroom with up to 41.0 inches in the front, 40.8 inches in the middle, and 32.5 inches in the rear. Additionally, it offers spacious shoulder room, reaching up to 61.9 inches in the front, 61.7 inches in the middle, and 59.5 inches in the rear.
  • Efficiency: It provides a balanced blend of power and efficiency for a midsize SUV. The 2WD trims offer a notable fuel efficiency rating of 19 mpg in the city, 27 mpg on the highway, and 22 mpg combined, as per the 2023 EPA mileage ratings. Meanwhile, the AWD trims provide a commendable 19 mpg in the city, 25 mpg on the highway, and 21 mpg combined.
  • Technology: In the 2023 Pilot, user-friendly technology seamlessly merges with the modern cabin. It features a digital instrument display, standard Apple CarPlay® and Android Auto™ compatibility, and an available larger touchscreen for an enhanced tech experience.
  1. 2023 Kia Telluride
  • Safety: The Kia Telluride is known for its safety features, including blind-spot monitoring and lane departure warning. The Kia Telluride achieves the highest rating of "Good" in all crashworthiness and collision mitigation tests conducted by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, leading to its well-deserved recognition as a 2023 Top Safety Pick+.
  • Space: It offers a spacious interior with three rows of seating and substantial cargo capacity. Even when all seats are occupied, there's ample room for all your essentials, with 87 cubic feet of cargo volume behind the first row, 46 cubic feet behind the second row, and 21 cubic feet behind the third row.
  • Efficiency: Despite its size, the Telluride offers decent fuel efficiency for a midsize SUV. The 2023 Kia Telluride showcases different fuel efficiency ratings based on its drivetrain options: AWD models offer 18 mpg in the city and 24 mpg on the highway, while FWD versions provide 20 mpg in the city and 26 mpg on the highway.
  • Technology: The 2023 Kia Telluride offers a premium experience without the luxury car price tag. The SX trim impresses with its deluxe features, such as a 12-way power driver's seat, stylish black-painted 20-inch rims, a Harman/Kardon stereo, front and rear sunroofs, and comfortable second-row captain's chairs.
  1. 2023 Toyota Highlander
  • Safety: The 2023 Highlander received a stellar safety rating from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, earning an impressive five out of five stars overall, with five stars in the side crash test and four stars in the frontal crash and rollover tests.
  • Space: It provides a family-friendly cabin with ample space for passengers and cargo. The Highlander falls within the midsize SUV class with standard cargo space. You'll find 16 cubic feet behind the third row, 48.4 cubic feet behind the second row, and a generous 84.3 cubic feet when both rear rows are folded down. While a manual liftgate comes standard, optional features include a power liftgate and a hands-free power liftgate for added convenience.
  • Efficiency: The Highlander offers hybrid options for excellent fuel efficiency. Conventional Highlander trims offer up to 29 miles per gallon, while the 2023 Highlander Hybrid demonstrates remarkable efficiency with an impressive 36 miles per gallon.
  • Technology: Technology enhancements take center stage, with dual 12.3-inch screens gracing the Limited and Platinum models, offering an advanced visual experience. Convenience gets a boost with power-folding mirrors on the Limited and Platinum trims. Plus, an available hands-free power liftgate further elevates the Highlander's functionality. Not to be forgotten, there's an improved wireless charger location integrated into the dash.

Safety First: How These Cars Measure Up

Ensuring the safety of your family while on the road is a top concern. Fortunately, the top ten family cars for 2023 have not only risen to this challenge but have excelled in securing the well-being of their passengers. Each of these vehicles has been rigorously evaluated, and their commitment to safety is demonstrated through impressive certifications and ratings.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) are the two principal organizations responsible for evaluating vehicle safety. Several cars in our top 10 list have garnered the highest accolades in safety ratings, such as the coveted 5-star overall safety rating from the NHTSA, setting the gold standard for vehicle safety. 

The IIHS has also recognized several vehicles with the prestigious 2023 TOP SAFETY PICK+ (TSP+) designation, showcasing their excellence in safety across a range of evaluations, including crash avoidance, mitigation, and headlight performance.

From advanced driver assistance features to robust crash structures, these cars prioritize your family's safety, earning your peace of mind mile after mile.

Space and Comfort: More than Just Room

While ample cargo space is essential for family travel, the top 10 family cars for 2023 go beyond the basics, offering exceptional space and comfort for your journeys. Each vehicle brings its unique character to the table.

The 2023 Honda Odyssey stands out with its exceptional cargo versatility, providing 144.9 cubic feet behind the first row for everything you might need to carry. The 2023 Kia Telluride combines seating comfort with roomy cargo space, offering 87 cubic feet behind the first row. The 2023 Toyota Highlander balances midsize SUV standards with 84.3 cubic feet of cargo when both rear rows are folded down.

These family cars prioritize not just space but also comfort, offering ample legroom, headroom, and customizable seating arrangements to ensure that everyone on board enjoys the journey. Whether it's a long road trip or a daily school run, these vehicles make family travel a comfortable and spacious experience.

Fuel Efficiency and Environmental Impact

In a world where every drop of fuel matters, the 2023 family cars aim to strike a balance between fuel efficiency and environmental responsibility. As the Energy Information Administration (EIA) predicts a more wallet-friendly $3.57 per gallon of regular gasoline in 2023, compared to the $4.05 price tag of 2022, the emphasis on fuel efficiency becomes increasingly significant. 

It's a welcome relief for families looking to stretch their budget further, especially considering the challenging times when gasoline prices peaked at $4.11 per gallon during the first half of 2022.

Yet, the pursuit of fuel efficiency is not solely about saving money. Cars are notable contributors to air pollution, releasing significant levels of nitrogen oxides, carbon monoxide, and particulate matter. A staggering 80 to 90% of a car's environmental impact is tied to fuel consumption and emissions of greenhouse gases and air pollutants.

To minimize your car's carbon footprint, it's imperative to choose models with high fuel efficiency and low emissions while also considering materials with recycled or renewable origins. Regular car maintenance, cutting down on unnecessary trips, and eventually recycling or donating your old vehicle when it's no longer needed all contribute to a more eco-conscious approach to family transportation. 

Technology and Entertainment Features

In an era where technology intertwines seamlessly with our daily lives, the 2023 family cars have adapted impressively. From the intuitive infotainment systems to advanced driver-assist features, these vehicles cater to the tech-savvy family.

The 2023 Honda CR-V offers enhanced driver-assist features, including blind-spot monitoring and adaptive cruise control, making each journey safer and more convenient. The IONIQ 5 introduces upgraded LED headlights, a hands-free smart liftgate, and Hyundai's Highway Driving Assist 2, reflecting a commitment to advanced technology.

With Apple CarPlay® and Android Auto™ compatibility across several models, such as the 2023 Subaru Outback, these cars ensure you're always connected. Meanwhile, the 2023 Ford Expedition delights audiophiles with the B&O® Unleashed Sound System by Bang & Olufsen®, featuring an impressive 22 speakers.

Technology and entertainment are integral to modern family life, and these cars deliver on all fronts, enhancing your family's driving experience.

Price Points: Getting the Best Bang for Your Buck

When it comes to selecting the perfect family car for 2023, understanding the price range, the factors that influence pricing, and the best time of year to buy a car, is crucial. Most of the vehicles in our top 10 list offer a broad spectrum of price points, allowing you to align your choice with your family's budget and preferences.

According to Kelley Blue Book, the Honda CR-V is not only their highest-rated compact SUV of 2023 but also a Kelley Blue Book Best Buy Award winner, with pricing starting at $28,410. The totally redesigned fourth-generation Honda Pilot is exceptionally roomy, loaded with exceptional technology, and boasts the segment’s family-friendliest interior tricks, and it starts at $36,300. On the higher end of our picks, the 2023 Ford Expedition starts at $53,875.

Price variations are influenced by factors such as engine size, the level of integrated technology, available upgrades, and even the choice between leather or fabric seats. While some models, like the 2023 Honda CR-V, strike a balance between affordability and features, others, such as the tech-savvy 2023 Hyundai Ioniq 5, might come at a premium.

As you explore the market, it's important to consider your family's needs, lifestyle, and financial priorities. Each of these top 10 family cars for 2023 offers a blend of value, quality, and functionality, ensuring there's an ideal choice for every budget and taste.

Conclusion

As far as family-friendly cars in 2023, our top 10 contenders stand out with their impressive safety features, spacious interiors, advanced technology, and versatile pricing options. Whether you're seeking a compact SUV, a roomy minivan, or an adventure-ready crossover, these models cater to a variety of needs and budgets. 

With innovations like Honda's CR-V, which earned the title of our highest-rated compact SUV, and the versatile Ford Expedition, there's a family car to meet every expectation. These top 10 family cars for 2023 ensure you find the perfect balance between practicality and modernity.

FAQs

What safety certifications should I look for in a family car?

When considering a family car, look for safety certifications such as the IIHS Top Safety Pick and NHTSA 5-star overall safety ratings. These designations signify that the vehicle has excelled in rigorous crash tests and includes advanced safety features, providing peace of mind for you and your loved ones.

Are there hybrid or electric options among the top family cars of 2023?

Yes, among the top family cars of 2023, there are hybrid and electric options. The 2023 Hyundai Ioniq 5 and the Honda CR-V Hybrid offer eco-friendly choices with impressive fuel efficiency. They provide an environmentally-conscious alternative for families seeking to reduce their carbon footprint while enjoying the features and space of a family-friendly vehicle.

How do the top family cars fare in terms of resale value?

The top family cars of 2023 typically hold their resale value well. Models such as the Honda CR-V, Subaru Outback, and Toyota RAV4 have a history of strong resale performance. Their reliability, popularity, and reputation for durability contribute to their ability to retain value, making them smart long-term investments for families.

Which cars offer the best technology features for kids?

The best cars for families in 2023 offer excellent technology features for kids. The 2023 Honda Pilot and the Kia Telluride stand out with rear-seat entertainment systems, keeping children engaged on the road. With features like touchscreen infotainment systems, smartphone connectivity, and ample USB ports, these cars ensure a seamless and entertaining ride for the whole family.

Are there financing or leasing options available for these top family cars?

Yes, there are financing and leasing options available for the top family cars. Dealerships often offer various financing plans, and leasing can be a cost-effective choice for some. Refinancing through RateWorks is also an option to secure more favorable terms, making these family-friendly vehicles even more accessible for budget-conscious buyers.

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