It’s been a long time since SUVs were frowned upon as being cumbersome, heavy-cargo vehicles, designed for off-road. They’ve proven themselves as the car of choice for families with kids and car manufacturers have been trying to make them even more appealing to those customers.
This year brought us some really nice models from Toyota, Jeep, and Ranger Rover, as well as brands which – until recently – were hardly associated with “family” cars like Bentley and Porsche. Now 2018 promises even broader range of SUV models to be presented to the market. Their features are already announced and it is clear what we can expect. It is going to be hard to pick one that’s best, but perhaps our list will help you choose the one that’s best for you.
This old-school SUV will get your vote if you are a fan of tough-looking vehicles. The 2017 TRD Pro comes with the impressive 270 horsepower and 5-speed transmission. With its greater ground clearance, under-body protection, and electronically controlled suspension that adapts to different types of terrain, we could say that its main purpose is to get you wherever you’re going. If you plan to get off the beaten path, that’s the car for you. Toyota is known for their reliable vehicles and you can be confident that this SUV won’t let you down.
When we talk about Atlas, it comes down to three things – it’s big, it’s functional, and it looks good. The inside space is more than plenty, with room for 7 passengers and/or lots of cargo. The 280-horsepower going out to all four wheels is just enough to make it more agile than one would expect by looking at it. And the curvy design adds a distinguishable modern feel to it, so you can drive in the city with confidence and pride.
You may be tired of hearing about Tesla, but we feel that our list wouldn’t be complete without their large Model X. Its standard model comes with seats for six, but it is possible to opt in for 7 seats. It is mostly known for its electric motor, making it extremely cost-efficient, compared to its gasoline and diesel engine rivals. And don’t get us started on its futuristic Falcon Wing doors. But there is a lot more to it that could make you want to make it yours. It is definitely built with families in mind, focusing on comfort and safety.
Santa Fe has long been a top selling SUV and has a well-deserved place in every “Best SUV” list. It is popular mostly thanks to the competitive price – quality ratio with a very low base price which makes it perfect for families. Even though its V6 engine is far from being astonishing, Hyundai achieved great results when it comes to safety, comfort and overall performance on the road. They also made sure to include quite a few of the latest technology features – some of them being AndroidAuto and Apple CarPlay – as available options. Overall, Hyundai Santa Fe is a great family SUV.
Yes, the Ford Expedition that we know will now be called Ford Expedition MAX. As you probably imagine, the change in name is because this SUV is getting bigger in size. It will be almost a foot longer while – fortunately – losing on its weight. The engine has the staggering 450 horsepower and you can opt for a 10-speed automatic transmission, making it a real pleasure to drive. It will also come with a much-needed facelift, and a modern look, as you can see on the images. With a price of about $47k, it is worth thinking about taking this wonderful family vehicle to your garage.
2017’s Pathfinder was a pleasant surprise with several tasteful design tweaks, making it stand out of the crowd. In addition, it got some important technical enhancements, a safety boost, and more power (which was a major downfall in previous models.) The 284 horsepower V6 engine is great, but if that’s not impressive enough, think about the Forward Emergency Braking, the Intelligent Cruise Control, and other driver assist features which granted it a 5-star rating from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. The base model comes with a price of just above $31000, which is an excellent price, considering the features included.
This is probably the most practical SUV in our list. With Pilot, Honda managed to combine everything that makes for a perfect family vehicle. With lots of inner space, fun to drive both in the city and on the highway, safe and beautiful Honda Pilot is a top pick for a family SUV. Its three rows of seats allow for a very comfortable trip for not 7 but 8 passengers. All rows can be folded, and the SUV easily turns into a spacious cargo-truck. To no surprise, this SUV has a Top Safety Pick+ from the IIHS, and we all know this is an important factor when choosing a family car. The price of about $34000 positions the model in the mid-range, but looking at the interior you could easily think that it is on the edge of luxury.
There are many more family SUV models on the market, each of them with their advantages and downfalls. The best SUV for your family might not be on our list, but there is definitely one out there that would meet – and surpass – all your requirements. Before you start looking, our advice is to decide whether you need a low-, mid-, or luxury range model to limit the options. And even after you’ve compared all the numbers, make sure to go to your local dealer and actually try before you buy. Often the difference between two is the way they make you feel.