This year’s top family cars have stellar safety ratings (of course), plus the extra space, cupholders, and entertainment systems to keep your crew comfy. Here’s how we ranked them:
Crash Tests We considered models that received a five-star overall safety rating from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, which conducts crash tests on new vehicles; a few picks hadn’t received their rating at press time.
Car-Seat Checks Certified child-passenger safety technician Abbie Patterson, owner of the consulting company Super Car Seat Geek, installed an average-size infant seat, convertible seat, harnessed booster, and backless booster in more than 50 contenders.
Without further ado, here are our winning family cars of 2020.
Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid
The only hybrid minivan on the market keeps up with its gas-powered sibling. You’ll offset the higher price with a federal tax credit of up to $7,500 (details at the EPA’s fueleconomy.gov) and savings at the pump. Your family can travel an astounding 520 miles on a full tank and a single charge, twice the distance of most minivans.
How It Drives. It’s nearly as fast as the classic Pacifica. Two electric-drive motors combine with a V-6 engine to give you around 260 horsepower.
Car-Seat Compatibility. You’ll be able to install a seat in each of the captain’s chairs and two more in the third row. Adjustable head restraints in the second row can make installation easier.
Fun Extras. By upgrading to the Hybrid Limited ($45,845+), you’ll nab heated front seats while the kids get 10-inch touch screens on the backs of the front seats that they can use to stream video from a smartphone.
The Sedona’s starting price is three to five grand less than comparable minivans, giving you a lower monthly payment or wiggle room to add an entertainment system.
How It Drives. It steers as easily as a smaller vehicle so you can pull into tight parking spaces at Target and navigate around road construction cones. The automatic eight-speed transmission, boosted from a six-speed starting with the 2019 model year, helps you shift confidently.
Car-Seat Compatibility. You can fit four to five seats: two in the back row and, if you opt for the LX ($30,400+), potentially three in the middle row. (The entry-level trim includes space for only two second-row passengers.)
Fun Extras. Score a pair of touch screens on the back of the front seats when you add the rear-entertainment package ($1,500) to the EX ($33,700+). Your kids will be thrilled that they can watch their fave Netflix shows.
It’s the only minivan available with an all-wheel transmission. When you’re racing home from the park in a thunderstorm, you’ll be grateful that you opted for the $2,500 upgrade.
How It Drives. It’s best on the highway, where it sails over bumps with ease and accelerates quickly thanks to the powerful 296-horsepower V-6 engine.
Car-Seat Compatibility. You can fit two car seats or boosters in the second row and two more in the third row. Install a booster seat in the center or driver’s side, where the buckle stalks are less rigid.
Fun Extras. Sibs won’t bicker over whose turn it is to choose the movie thanks to the split screen on the Blu-ray entertainment center with wireless headphones on the XLE ($37,790+) or SE Premium ($43,885+). Baby Shark for the toddler, Toy Story for the older kid, peace and quiet for you!
You won’t find a vehicle more versatile for carpooling or chauffeuring around a large squad of your own. It holds up to six car seats if you opt for the EX ($34,790+) or higher trim. Plus, Honda upgraded to an automatic ten-speed transmission for 2020 to give you a smoother ride.
How It Drives. The V-6, 280-horsepower engine goes from 0 to 60 miles per hour in less than seven seconds, the fastest of our winning minivans.
Car-Seat Compatibility. With five sets of lower anchors and a tether for every seat in the second and third rows, you can install your seats wherever you’d like.
Fun Extras. When you don’t have the max number of passengers, you can remove the center seat from the middle row and slide the other two seats together to access the back row easily. If you get the rear-entertainment system on the EX-L ($40,160+), kids can watch a Blu-ray or stream video on a 10-inch screen that pulls down from overhead.
Even with the lowest starting price of our three-row-SUV winners, it offers a generous four-year or 50,000-mile warranty plus two years of free regularly scheduled maintenance.
How It Drives. It feels comfortable, steering and braking with ease. Safety features like automatic headlights and heated side mirrors come standard.
Car-Seat Compatibility. Opt for bench-style seating to fit three narrow car seats or boosters across the second row and two more in the third row. If you’re installing a high-back booster or a forward-facing car seat in the third row, you may need to remove the head restraint to get the correct angle for the seat. (Replace it if you remove the car seat.)
Fun Extras. On the SE and higher ($34,095), each row has its own climate control so kids can crank up or turn down the AC by themselves.
The Highlander got a makeover for 2020, improving its look, safety features, and engine. A hybrid version ($38,200+) is rolling into dealerships now.
How It Drives. Thanks to a superior suspension system, the Highlander handles far more gracefully than you’d expect for a 4,500-pound vehicle. The new safety systems—including one that displays road signs on your dashboard—come standard.
Car-Seat Compatibility. Go for bench-style seating in the second row rather than captain’s chairs if you need to install four car seats or boosters. You’ll fit three in the second row and another in the center seat of the back row.
Fun Extras. On the XLE model and above ($39,600+), you can wirelessly charge your phone in the center console, plus you’ll get heated front seats.
If you like everything about the Honda Odyssey except that it’s a minivan, the Pilot is a great option. On its rear-entertainment system, kids can watch Blu-ray discs or stream video on a screen that pulls down from overhead.
How It Drives. The ride is quiet and smooth. You can opt for a six- or nine-speed transmission, depending on the trim. Consider the nine if you expect to put on a lot of highway miles.
Car-Seat Compatibility. You can fit up to five car seats: three in the second row and two in the third.
Fun Extras. On the EX and higher ($34,790+), the second-row seats will fold and move forward (even with a car seat installed) when you push a button, making it easier to get to the back.
It’s the most mod-looking SUV in its price range. The curvy shape helps hide its size.
How It Drives. With a turbocharged four-cylinder engine, the SUV gives you power when you need it and saves on gas when you don’t. It gets about 15 percent better gas mileage than other vehicles in its class.
Car-Seat Compatibility. You’ll comfortably fit four seats. If you need to install a forward-facing seat in the back row, put it on the passenger’s side since the tether is there. It’s okay to put a booster on the driver’s side.
Fun Extras. If you usually have to stand on your tippy-toes to close your trunk, you’ll love the feature on the Touring model ($38,910) that allows you to program how high you want it to open.
The back row isn’t contoured, so it fits three average-size car seats, one of the few two-row SUVs with this perk.
How It Drives. A forgiving suspension and automatic eight-speed transmission provide a smooth ride.
Car-Seat Compatibility. Fab! We fit an infant seat behind the driver, a narrow booster in the middle, and a forward-facing seat on the passenger’s side.
Fun Extras. Opt for the convenience package ($935) to add wireless charging to the SEL ($34,355+).
You can expect a smooth ride and precise handling.
How It Drives. Its engine is powerful; the Equinox handles much better for its size than you’d expect.
Car-Seat Compatibility. It’s easy to spot the tethers and lower anchors. Since the middle seat doesn’t have a headrest, you can install only a forward-facing seat or a high-back booster there.
Fun Extras. Add wireless headphones and a DVD player for $1,995 on any trim.