The Best Family Cars of 2022

Upgrade your "second home" with the help of our annual Parents Best Family Cars shopping guide featuring the top minivans, SUVs, and sedans on the market for families in 2022.

Happy mother looking at her son in a baby seat. Young female preparing kid for a trip
Photo: Getty Images

Our cars are our havens, family pods, a respite from the outside world. They're where we connect, catch up and sing our hearts out, whether driving to the playground or the Grand Canyon. But cars are changing as quickly as our kids do, and with each new model year there is a lot to consider. So Parents' car experts, including Scotty Reiss, founder of A Girl's Guide to Cars, dug deep and did the research on what's new and what's next, considering all the things families need to know if they plan to buy a new car in 2022.

Here's how we made our picks: The pandemic required us to get creative, but we tested each car thoroughly. After checking safety ratings from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, the Parents team requested photos and measurements of the seats and safety-restraint systems for the contenders. Parents automotive experts test-drove more than 35 semifinalists to help make our list of winners.

What You Need to Know For 2022

Technology has evolved greatly over the last few years, giving cars even more capability on the road and more function inside. Here are some common details that you'll see in most new cars:

  • ADAS, or advanced driver assist systems: Designed to watch and warn the driver for things like traffic speed, pedestrians, and impending crashes, these systems also help to reduce driver stress. They work in concert and are the precursor to self-driving cars. Most come as a standard suite, though some functions are offered as an option. Systems typically include adaptive cruise control, adaptive high beam headlights, pre-emergency braking, lane departure warning and assistance, blind spot warnings, and pedestrian detection.
  • More horsepower, smaller engines, better fuel economy: Car makers have finessed the amount of power generated by smaller engines. But HP is still an important measure of how competently a car will perform merging into traffic and on the highway, especially with a full load of passengers and gear.
  • More and more cars have an electrified version: the three most common versions are the hybrid, the plug-in hybrid electric vehicle (PHEV), or the full electric. Each offers different mileage ranges, charging times and benefits, though electric cars tend to be roomy and powerful due to the battery design, which is typically stored under the passenger cabin between the wheels.
  • Most electric car buyers charge their cars at home, and they can be charged via a standard household outlet (typically gaining about 6 miles per hour of charging), on a 220V or 240V household outlet, similar to a clothes dryer outlet (typically gaining about 20 miles per hour of charging), or at a DC fast charge station (typically charging the battery to 80 percent in 40 minutes or less). Each model has a user app, there are charge station apps, and models have built-in systems to assist drivers with charging.
  • There are tax incentives for electric cars and PHEVs, but check with a tax professional to understand the savings.

Also, when considering your children's car seat needs, keep in mind:

  • Children's car seats are designed to install with either the LATCH system (lower anchor and tethers for child passenger car seats) or a seatbelt, but not both, and LATCH systems have a weight limit of 65 lbs (seats + passenger). Installation of a child passenger car seat with a seatbelt meets federal standards as long as the seat is tightly installed and can't move.
  • Car seat LATCH systems are great, but complete systems are not required for every seat: Tethers are found on the shoulder or rear of the vehicle's seat and are required for every second and third row seat; lower anchors are not required for all seats, so they often are found only in the center row and sometimes in one or two third row seats. We note where they are for each car detailed here.

When car shopping, have an open mind and focus on the details that matter most to you and your family. The shortage of cars and their components continues, so having options for first, second, and third choices can save frustration and heartbreak.

Scan our winners and keep in mind these tips when it comes to how car shopping has changed during the pandemic:

Make an appointment for a test-drive. It's critical to try before you buy, but due to pandemic restrictions and supply issues, you might not be able to just walk into the showroom and ask for a trial run, so call to make an appointment and check vehicle availability. Keep in mind, too, that some dealers may actually offer to bring the car to you for a test drive.

Know your budget and pricing expectations. Short supply has made it more difficult to meet demand, so while it may be more difficult to score a bargain, it's still smart to do your research and have solid expecations about pricing. It's always worth negotiating to land on a price and payment plan you're comfortable with. And while your dealer may not budge much on the price, you can still negotiate for extras and take advantage of options like contactless signing and delivery.

Check your trade-in value. Do your research and set realistic expectations when trading in your used car, especially as supply chain issues have increased values across the board. Keep in mind that you don't have to trade your old car in to the same dealership where you plan to buy. Services like Carvana and CarMax mean both buyers and sellers have more options than ever before.

Ready to find your next ride? Here are our Best Family Cars for 2022.


Despite the frumpy minivan image, these are still a staple in many driveways for their unbeatable utility, convenience, and flexibility. When it comes to space for kids, friends, gear, luggage, and more, minivans just can't be beat.

01 of 25

Best New Minivan: Kia Carnival

Kia Carnival
Kia Carnival

$32,300+; 290 horsepower V6 engine estimated to get 22 MPG

Kia replaced the budget/family/kid-oriented Sedona with the Carnival MPV, or multi-purpose vehicle. With seating for seven or eight, it's great for kids—but also well-suited for discerning adults: the top of the line SX Prestige version features "VIP lounge" captains chairs that are heated and cooled, have extendable foot rests, and offer all the amenities of a limousine, from private screens to premium sound.

How It Drives
The Carnival won over many skeptical car reviewers for its power and handling; it drives more like an SUV than a minivan. It's capable and easy to manage while delivering a quiet, comfortable ride. Kia's ADAS system is standard and offers a lot of extra features, including adaptive cruise control.

Family Friendliness
Sliding doors and slide-and-fold center row seats make getting in and out of the third row easy. There are five total LATCH systems—three in the center row (with a bench seat) and two in the outboard third row seats. Kia also included safe exit assist, which blocks the passenger doors from opening if a vehicle is approaching, a rear seat reminder, and 6 USB charge ports (including two in the third row).

Wow Factor
Even at the top of the line, this minivan is priced less than $47,000, and that's with all the spoilers such as a rear seat entertainment system, adaptive driver assist systems, and premium audio.

02 of 25

Best Fuel-Efficient Minivan: Toyota Sienna

Toyota Sienna 2022

$34,560+; 243 horsepower 4-cylinder hybrid engine estimated to get 36 MPG

Toyota eliminated the gas-only engine option in the Sienna, which now offers a gas-electric hybrid engine. Add AWD (a $2,000 upgrade) and it can go the distance on almost any road. Fuel economy is improved by 40 percent over the non-hybrid model.

How It Drives
Sienna was the first minivan to add AWD, which quickly became popular among snow belt drivers and those with steep driveways. The Woodland Edition ($45,350) has standard AWD and is even more capable for wilderness adventures. It has higher ground clearance, larger wheels, 3,500 lb. tow capacity and an on-board 1,500-watt power outlet for inflating air mattresses or running an outdoor kitchen. Toyota Safety Sense, the brand's ADAS system, is standard.

Family Friendliness
Toyota added a motion-activated lift gate and side doors, so with the key in your pocket or purse, just kick a foot under the motion icon and the door will open. There is seating for seven or eight; the center row has a removable center seat to create captains chairs, and the center row seats slide forward for more leg room. The center outboard seats and rear center and passenger side seats have LATCH systems. The third row is easiest to access via a center pass-through between the captains chairs.

Wow Factor
36 MPG and AWD are pretty stunning for a minivan. But with great storage, including a space under the front center console that will hold a large handbag, as well as storage in the center console, door panels and, of course, the deep cargo well in the rear, there's room for everything. There are also two outlets and USB ports for every passenger.

03 of 25

Best Luxury Minivan: Chrysler Pacifica

2022 Chrysler Pacifca Limited S
Chrysler Pacifca

$37,095+ before PHEV tax incentives; 287 horsepower V6 engine estimated to get 22 MPG

Chrysler designed this minivan to look more like a luxury car than a family van. With an elegant dashboard design, leather upholstery, contrast piping, and even bolster pillows on the top-of-the-line Pinnacle edition ($54,167), you might forget it's a minivan.

How It Drives
The Pacifica also drives like a luxury car with a quiet ride, responsive suspension, and quick acceleration. The PHEV version, starting at $48,478, delivers 260 HP and has a range of 30 miles of all-electric driving before the hybrid motor takes over, getting 38 MPG. AWD is not available with the hybrid, but can be added to the gas model for $2,795.

Family Friendliness
With a motion activated rear liftgate, on board vacuum, and Chrysler's famous Stow 'n Go second and third row seats (not available in the hybrid) that fold flat into the floor, the Pacifica offers superior utility. The third row is easy to reach either by folding the center seats forward or passing between the captains chairs. There are LATCH systems on the two outboard seats in both the second and third rows.

Wow Factor
This is the only minivan with a PHEV motor and that is fantastic. Plugged in daily, most families can drive for weeks or months without buying gas. The Pacifica is also the only minivan with both a sunroof over every row and a standard in-car entertainment system (optional for the other minivans).

04 of 25

Best Minivan Tech: Honda Odyssey

Honda Odyssey 2022

$33,040+; 280 horsepower V6 engine estimated to get 22 MPG

Family-friendly and tech-loaded, the Honda Odyssey has the most versatile, customizable cabin of any minivan. The center row has a removable center seat to create captains chairs; center row seats slide forward or back and with the middle seat removed, they can slide side to side. The media screen is adjustable and there's lots of storage in the center console and front seat thanks to the push button gear selector.

How It Drives
This van has plenty of power for confidence merging onto the highway even when fully loaded. But it still feels and handles like a large vehicle, making owners grateful for the sliding doors in tight parking lots.

Family Friendliness
The Odyssey is all about together time. There is an entertainment screen—that drops down from the ceiling—with wireless head sets and AUX ports for wired headphones. There's also a built-in vacuum and berber carpets that are designed to clean up quick and easy. Three sets of LATCH anchors in the center row and two in the third row offer plenty of car seat options, all easy to find and use.

Wow Factor
For parents who want to monitor the kids, the Cabin Watch system on the front media screen can see every face in every seat via a built-in camera on the ceiling. The Cabin Talk speaker and microphone system allows front seat passengers to talk to those in the third row, and the Social Play List function lets any passenger share their music via a BlueTooth connection.

Three-Row SUVs

These are not just cool and capable family cars, they are make-or-break vehicles for the automotive industry too, which is why the competition to make more of these, and make them better, continues. That makes them a great bet for families looking for space, utility, and a smooth ride.

05 of 25

Best Full-Size Luxury SUV: Acura MDX


$48,000+; 290 horsepower V6 engine estimated to get 22 MPG

A full-sized SUV with minivan smarts, Acura incorporated many of Honda Odyssey's best features into this chic, sporty, fun to drive SUV.

How It Drives
The MDX has been engineered for a fun drive experience and delivers a more powerful feeling than its HP rating might indicate. Put it in sport for an even smoother ride. Dial in to comfort mode for quiet highway cruising. When the weather demands it, snow mode delivers extra traction. The brand's ADAS, called Acura Watch, offers every safety technology.

Family Friendliness
Can't decide on captains chairs or a center row bench? You get the best of both: the middle seat in the center row pops out when you don't need it. And the multimedia system includes the Social Playlist and Cabin Talk features developed for the Odyssey, so it's easy to include everyone in the conversation and DJ'ing. There are three LATCH anchors in the center row, but none in the third row.

Wow Factor
This SUV is a looker. Its proportions and details are sporty and elegant. Buyers will appreciate its family-friendly features when the kids are in tow, but they'll love how it looks and feels when they have it all to themselves.

06 of 25

Best 3-Row ECO SUV: Volvo XC90 Recharge

The all-new Volvo XC90
Volvo XC90 Recharge

$64,800+ before tax incentives; up to 455 horsepower 4-cylinder turbo engine with a PHEV electric system estimated to get up to 35 miles of electric range and 27 MPG (gas only)

The idea of skipping the gas station every week makes the premium price of this 6- or 7-passenger SUV a little easier to swallow. The 2022 Volvo XC90 Recharge standard model can travel about 18 electric-only miles. The extended range (a $2,800 upgrade) can go 35 miles on a charge, so daily charging can mean regularly driving on all electric. The Recharge model carries more luxury appointments, standard AWD, and a $13,900 premium over the entry level gas model, a 4-cylinder turbo that generates 316 HP.

How It Drives
Drivers will get the sensation of instant acceleration and the feeling of flight in this SUV. Volvo has focused its engineering to be fast and precise, aided by the electric motor. Even the gas-only model has more power than most in this category.

Family Friendliness
Volvo is a brand known for safety, adding top tech features to its rigorous safety design. On the interior, buyers can choose between center row captains chairs or a bench, which will accommodate three car seats. The third row seats two and is reachable via center row seats that slide and tilt. Each of the three center row seats move forward and back independently, which is great for positioning car seats. There is a built-in booster seat option in the center row, and the two outboard seats have LATCH systems, but there are none in the third row.

Wow Factor
Volvo has taken the idea of family luxury to heart, infusing elegant design to every seat, incorporating a large vertical multimedia screen on the center dash, and even adding details like a cooled glove box. The Recharge models offer the true luxury of skipping the gas station.

07 of 25

Best Adventure SUV: Nissan Pathfinder

2022 Nissan Pathfinder - Montana image 01

$34,640+; 284 horsepower V6 engine estimated to get 23 MPG

Recently redesigned with a more modern and rugged look and meant to go off road, the Pathfinder continues to be a solid option for families, especially those who need AWD for adventurous weekends or challenging winter driving.

How It Drives
Despite seating for 7 or 8 passengers, this SUV feels confident on the road and not oversized. Nissan worked to improve the drive experience for the 2022 redesign and its Pro Pilot Assist ADAS features are standard, adding confidence on the road.

Family Friendliness
Seating for 8 sets this SUV apart from many in its class. Buyers can chose "peacemakers," or center row captains chairs (available on SV, SL, and Platinum grades), that give passengers their own space and more visibility. Seating, floor mats, and surfaces are easy to clean. Center row outboard seats are LATCH equipped as is the driver's side seat in the third row.

Wow Factor
Buyers who go all in for the Platinum edition ($48,440) will treat the whole family with center row captains chairs, a panoramic sunroof, and a premium Bose sound system.

08 of 25

Best Value: Volkswagen Atlas

Volkswagen Atlas

$34,335+; 236 horsepower 4-cylinder engine estimated to get 23 MPG

This family-built 6- or 7-seat SUV has been a top seller since it was first introduced in 2018, and for good reason. The third row is built for full size humans, buyers can choose between center row captains chairs or a bench seat that fits three car seats, and there's still plenty of room for cargo. The Atlas also has enough options, including two different engines, AWD, and varying levels of luxury, so there's a comfortable price point for every buyer.

How It Drives
This is a big SUV and you see and feel it from the driver's seat. It's tall and feels more like a truck than a car. Buyers might opt for the more powerful V6 276 horsepower model if they plan to fill every seat. And those who need AWD will pay an additional $1,900 for 4 Motion. VW's ADAS suite, which it calls IQ Drive, is standard and works quite well.

Family Friendliness
Second row seats can slide and tilt to allow access to the third row, even with a car seat installed (using the LATCH system, not a seat belt). There are three LATCH systems in the center row, but none in the third row.

Wow Factor
VW refined the design of this SUV, which looks sharp and crisp. And buyers can opt for the Digital Cockpit system, similar to that of sister company Audi, for premium high-tech function and feel.

09 of 25

Best For Road Trips: Subaru Ascent


$32,795+; 260 horsepower 4-cylinder turbo engine is estimated to get 22 MPG

Subaru was late to the three-row SUV game, but Ascent drivers are glad this love-driven brand finally got there. With seating for up to 8 passengers, this SUV delivers all the capability that Subaru owners love (and demand).

How It Drives
Don't let the horsepower ratings fool you. The turbo engine delivers a bit more torque than might be expected (277 lb., actually) for a peppy ride. And Subaru's Eyesight ADAS suite uses cameras to monitor the road the way the human eye does, with focused and peripheral views keep the Ascent safely on course.

Family Friendliness
Turns out that all the things Subaru prepared for—owners who spend a lot of time outdoors, who live in places with "mud season," and who have dogs—work well for families, too. This car is durable and easy to clean while being comfortable and nicely appointed, especially in the top level Touring edition ($45,945). There are outboard LATCHes in the center row and one set in the third row on the driver's side.

Wow Factor
Subaru added an Onyx edition to the lineup for 2022, giving this capable, all-weather SUV a black-tie look that goes seamlessly from the campsite to country club.

10 of 25

Best Quiet Ride: Honda Pilot

2022 Honda Pilot

$38,080+; 280 horsepower V6 engine that is estimated to get 23 MPG

This family workhorse is a favorite for its reliability and interior space; the third row is sized for full-size people and good for daily use. For 2022, Honda added more standard equipment to this 7- or 8-passenger SUV and eliminated the base model. The 2023 model is expected to get a full overhaul and will likely add a hybrid to the lineup.

How It Drives
This is a full size SUV and its height and size can be felt from the driver's seat. However with a V6 engine and 280 HP, it gives plenty of confidence on the highway, and for even more capability, AWD is available.

Family Friendliness
The center row seats slide and tilt forward for rear seat access, there's a good amount of cargo space behind the third row. There are LATCH systems on the center row outboard seats, one anchor in the center seat, and on the passenger's side in the third row.

Wow Factor
There is a large center console between the front seats that has a flat retractable top and a raised back lip, great for stashing a handbag or small backpack. Honda also offers special lifestyle editions, including the TrailSport model with enhanced off-road capability, and the Black Edition with chic style details.

11 of 25

Best Luxury Redesign: Jeep Grand Cherokee L

2022 Jeep® Grand Cherokee

$39,725+; 290 horsepower V6 engine estimated to get 22 MPG

The Jeep love runs deep for so many, but without a third row it was a no-go for some families. So Jeep led its recent redesign with the Grand Cherokee L and with no compromises in Jeep performance.

How It Drives
This is a large SUV, and drivers need to command that power on the road. But that's exactly what Jeep fans would expect: Capability, even on off road trails, yet a comfortable ride for city and highway driving. Jeep has upgraded its ADAS suite for even better semi-autonomous assistance.

Family Friendliness
With seating for 6 or 7, the third row is large and comfortable, even for tall people, and second row seats slide and tilt for easy access. Jeep added carpets that are easy to clean, USB ports for every passenger, and cup holders that can also hold a phone. There are three LATCHes in the center row, but none in the third row.

Wow Factor
Jeep's new interiors are stunning, adding luxury to the adventure. The UConnect multimedia system got a serious overhaul and is intuitive and easy to use. And its "Hey Jeep" voice-activated assistant operates many functions, from turning on the windshield wipers to setting the cabin temperature.

12 of 25

Best Braking: Mazda CX-9

2022 Mazda CX-9

$35,630+; 227 horsepower 4-cylinder turbo engine estimated to get 23 MPG

A few years ago Mazda shifted from building budget cars to premium cars, upgrading everything from how it paints its cars (Crystal Soul Red is the most beautiful paint color in the business) to a quiet ride and finely edited interiors that rival pricey European brands, though some of these features are only available on upper trims (priced from $37,780).

How It Drives
The hand-in-glove cabin design, with snug seats and everything at your fingertips, is typical of Mazda, which operates on a 'horse and rider as one' design philosophy. This, and the zippy drive performance the brand is known for, makes it a favorite of people who love to drive. Then Mazda gave drivers even more to love: using premium fuel raises the power to 250 HP and torque to 320 from 310.

Family Friendliness
With seating for 6 (with captains chairs) or 7 (with a center row bench), access to the third row is easiest with the captains chairs option. Center row seats need to be folded forward to reach the third row and can't be accessed with child passenger seats installed in the outboard position. The hand-in-glove design can feel less roomy for some families. There are two LATCH systems in the center outboard seats but none in the third row.

Wow Factor
With no compromises approach to design and engineering—the brand offers leather seats in five of its six trim levels, AWD is standard—and a reputation for reliability, Mazda has built a solid fan base. Details like head up display, premium sound, and the responsive drive experience make this affordable SUV feel truly premium.

Two-Row SUVs

Not every family needs a three-row SUV, and for those who don't, a 5-passenger SUV can offer ample cargo space and is easier to drive and park.

13 of 25

Best Steering System: Chevrolet Equinox

2022 Chevrolet Equinox

$25,800+; 170 horsepower 4-cylinder turbo engine estimated to get 27 MPG

Chevrolet redesigned the ever-popular Equinox for the 2022 model year, adding exterior style details and more features inside. With durable, flexible interior space, great connected car technology, and standard ADAS systems, the Equinox is a solid go-to SUV with no compromises on style.

How It Drives
With 170 HP, the Equinox is confident and capable on the road and better suited for in-town driving, though the roomy cabin is comfortable for road trips. AWD (+$1,600) allows it to take on weather challenges, though this system is not designed for off-roading.

Family Friendliness
With fold-flat rear seats and lots of cargo space, this SUV can do double duty for passengers and gear. There are two LATCH seats for installing car seats and lots of legroom (nearly 40").

Wow Factor
Chevrolet continues to deliver a lot for the price. At the base level the Equinox offers wireless Apple CarPlay/Android Auto, WiFi, active noise cancellation, and a touch screen multimedia system, OnStar connected services and a teen driver system that allows parents to set parameters and get reports.

14 of 25

Best Compact Hybrid SUV: Subaru Crosstrek Hybrid

2022 Subaru Crosstrek Hybrid

$23,145+ before tax incentives; 137 horsepower 4-cylinder engine estimated to get 17 miles of electric range and 35 MPG

This plug-in electric hybrid carries a $13,200 premium over the base model, though it's also loaded with luxuries similar to the top of the line Crosstrek Limited ($28,995+). Buyers love the compact feel, the distinct paint choices and overall cuteness.

How It Drives
Its smaller size makes it easier to manage in traffic, and with the instant acceleration from the electric motor, fun to drive. Subaru's EyeSight ADAS system help drivers stay on course and reduce traffic stress.

Family Friendliness
This is Subaru's smallest SUV and though it has two LATCH systems, the 36.5" of legroom may mean that front seat passengers have less legroom with kids car seats installed, especially rear-facing seats. And the rear seat does not have its own air vents, a consideration for families.

Wow Factor
Subaru has been marching toward the electric car future without compromising its capability, and the Crosstrek is an important player. The PHEV version takes the brand closer while still allowing buyers the confidence of a quiet gas-fed hybrid engine, too.

15 of 25

Best Redesign: Hyundai Tucson

2022 Hyundai Tucson

$25,800+; 187 horsepower 4 cylinder turbo engine estimated to get up to 29 MPG

Redesigned for 2022, Hyundai, known for delivering more features and technology for the money, delivers a lot. ADAS, a multimedia system, and many luxe features are standard. The front end got a distinct new look, as did the rear tailgate. Inside, the Tucson has a more modern, intuitive look and feel to its controls, which includes a push button gear selector.

How It Drives
Sporty, agile and capable, there are no surprises here, good or bad. The hybrid is estimated to get 38 MPG and the PHEV with 261 HP, has an all electric range of 33 miles, and estimated 38 MPG from the hybrid engine.

Family Friendliness
With seating for 5, this compact SUV can fit two child passenger car seats; there are two outboard LATCH sets for car seats. There is ample cargo space for strollers and gear.

Wow Factor
Hyundai ups the luxury factor in its hybrid ($29,700+) and PHEV models ($35,400+), which are only available in AWD. The blind spot alert system is camera-based and displays a video view of the lane next to the car when the turn signal is activated.

16 of 25

Best Sporty Electric: Ford Mustang Mach E

2022 Mustang Mach-E

$43,895+ before tax incentives; 266 horsepower from a 68kWh battery with 247+ miles of range

Ford jumped into the electric car market with the Mustang Mach-E, and designed it to be all that Mustang is—powerful, fun to drive, iconic—with battery-powered performance, four doors and the height and feel of an SUV. The result has been overwhelming. Mach-E was named 2021 Utility of the Year by North American Car, Truck, and Utility Vehicle of the Year, and a 2022 World Car of the Year finalist. Popularity ensued; it's essentially sold out.

How It Drives
With three battery options for a range of 270 to 314 miles per charge, the Mach-E delivers on the fun factor: acceleration is instant and the drive is precise. Put the system in one-pedal driving and recoup energy and battery range when driving downhill or in stop-and-go traffic.

Family Friendliness
Though there is plenty of legroom, Mach-E's coupe-like style sacrifices a bit of headroom in the rear, but the panoramic sunroof adds an open feel. There are two LATCH sets and with the right children's car seats, buyers may be able to install three across the rear seat.

Wow Factor
This is a Mustang, in all it does: it's sleek, sexy, and sporty, but has room for everyone. And all-electric driving is a dream.

17 of 25

Best For Road Trips: Subaru Forester

2022 Subaru Forester

$25,895+; 182 horsepower 4-cylinder engine that is estimated to get 29 MPG

With a more traditional SUV shape and a squarish rear end, this compact SUV has more headroom, legroom, and cargo space than the slightly larger but more bullet-shaped Outback, making it ideal for families who don't need a third row. Subaru packs it with standard features like its EyeSight ADAS system and standard all wheel drive.

How It Drives
Despite its boxy shape, the Forester is easy to handle on city streets and steep or slippery trails. It's easy to park and maneuver in traffic.

Family Friendliness
Easy-to-clean interiors, lots of cargo space, and legroom make this a favorite for Subaru fans, especially those with kids or fur babies. Two sets of LATCHes allow for child car seats in the outboard rear seats.

Wow Factor
Subaru added the Wilderness edition capability to the Forester for 2022; with increased ground clearance (9.2" vs 8.7"), enhanced AWD, all-terrain tires, and cladding around the wheel wells and lower side rails, its exterior is just as sporty and resilient as its interior.

18 of 25

Best Quiet Ride: Buick Envision

2022 Buick Envision

$31,500+; 228 horsepower from a 4-cylinder turbo engine estimated to get 27 MPG

The darling of luxury buyers on a budget, Buick delivers premium materials and design at an affordable price. In the compact Envision SUV, buyers can choose the level of luxury and still get a good deal, with the top of the line Avenir model priced at just over $42,000, AWD included.

How It Drives
Designed for daily in-town driving and family road trips, the 228 horsepower engine delivers confidence and comfort. For drivers who need added capability in rough weather, AWD is available for $3,650 more.

Family Friendliness
Though it has more rear seat legroom than the 2020 model and two sets of LATCHes for child passenger car seats, families with rear-facing convertible car seats may find it's not enough. The Envision may be better for families with kids in booster seats and beyond.

Wow Factor
Buick really loads up the luxury at the top end, with quilted leather, premium Bose sound, and wireless Apple CarPlay/Android Auto, once again earning its reputation as a great value in premium SUVs.

19 of 25

Best City SUV: Volkswagen Taos

2022 Volkswagen Taos

$23,495+; 158 horsepower 4-cylinder engine estimated to get 32 MPG

The smallest in the VW family of SUVs, this is a great SUV for the city or small families. It comes with a nicely edited selection of features. Even in the base model buyers get a full ADAS suite, connected phone technology, and roof rails.

How It Drives
With its small size and designed more for low-speed city driving, the 4-cylinder engine is capable but not overly powerful.

Family Friendliness
This is a small SUV and better suited for families with one or two small children. Rear seats are fixed and do not slide forward or back, though they do recline a bit. There are rear seat air vents and USB ports. The Taos offers two sets of child car seat LATCHes and a good amount of cargo space for groceries and gear.

Wow Factor
For buyers who want all the high-end VW goodies—digital cockpit, leather seats, 4 Motion AWD, panoramic sunroof—the Taos delivers at just about $32,000.

20 of 25

Best Family-Friendly Electric: Hyundai Ioniq 5

2022 Hyundai IONIQ 5

$44,000+ before federal and state tax incentives; 225 horsepower generated by a 77.4 kWh battery with a 303 mile range

Ioniq 5 is Hyundai's flagship electric car: It has a unique look, an open cabin design, flexible space, lots of leg room, great battery range, and fast charging. It can be recharged to 80% in 18 minutes at a DC fast charge station (or overnight with a level 2 charger). With a modern look and top-drawer electric car function, this car won a number of awards, including World Car of the Year for 2022.

How It Drives
The main motor generates 225 HP, which is plenty to power this compact SUV confidently. But AWD adds a second motor and 95 additional HP, taking it to 320, more than enough for this compact SUV (though the range drops to 256 miles). Behind the wheel it's fun, responsive, and the one-pedal driving, called i-Pedal, is among the best at adding mileage back to the range.

Family Friendliness
The open cabin design is just that: Rear seats recline and slide forward or back; the center console between the front seats slides forward or back, and with a flat floor there's room for lots of stuff. There is ample cargo room, USB ports for every seat, and a household plug under the rear seat. There are two LATCHes in the rear outboard seats.

Wow Factor

The flexibility of the cabin and novel design, including the single-pane flat screen multimedia system, really won over critics and fans. Expect more cars that look like this from Hyundai.

Family Sedans

While sedans are popular among drivers, especially those who are budget-focused, they can be tough for daily family driving. Though sedans are easier for kids to scramble into, lifting a toddler into a child passenger car seat and securing the harness can be murder on an adult's back. Sedans are better suited for older kids who don't need help buckling in.

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Best Sporty Hybrid: Toyota Camry Hybrid

2022 Toyota Camry XSE Hybrid

$27,980+; 208 horsepower 4-cylinder hybrid engine that is estimated to get 53 MPG

You can't go wrong with this sedan. It's roomy and reliable, and with Toyota's proven hybrid system, it has unbeatable fuel economy.

How It Drives
With DNA derived from Toyota's experience building cars for NASCAR, the Camry delivers both precision and power on the road.

Family Friendliness
Toyota's mid-size sedan, the Camry offers a lot of passenger space for the price; there are two LATCHes, rear air vents, and cupholders in center seat fold-down arm rest.

Wow Factor
Toyota will always relish the Camry, it seems. It continues to get sportier and better looking with every model year and 2022 is no exception.

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Best Luxury Sedan: Lexus ES350

lexus es350

$41,875+; 302 horsepower V6 engine estimated to get 26 MPG

With eight trims and four different hybrid models, all priced under about $51,000, there are plenty of luxury options for buyers who want the reliability of Lexus and the typically great dealership experience.

How It Drives
This is an under-the-radar driver's car, with a very refined drive feel and sporty handling (thanks to sport mode).

Family Friendliness
Like the Toyota Camry, with which the ES shares its foundation, there is room for kids, car seats, and gear in the cabin and in the trunk. Rear seat passengers will find more comforts, though, with USB ports and plush leather seating.

Wow Factor
This is an elegant, luxurious car that surprises at every turn. Especially in sport mode.

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Best Sporty Sedan: Nissan Maxima

2022 Nissan Maxima

$37,840+; 300 horsepower V6 engine estimated to get 24 MPG

Nissan has relegated budget driving to its smaller sedans and focused on practical luxury in the Maxima. It incorporates Nissan's best design details, from a sporty perforated leather steering wheel to leather seats and a driver-focused cockpit.

How It Drives
Though it carries a sports-car-like 300 HP, it's tuned for all passengers' comfort, precise but not rough.

Family Friendliness
Rear seat passengers can sit back and enjoy the beautiful leather and center armrest with cupholders. There is a panoramic sunroof and heated rear seats in the premium trim. Two outboard LATCH systems accommodate child car seats.

Wow Factor
You don't expect this much luxury from the Nissan Maxima, especially at the entry level: Leather heated power front seats, chrome trim details, navigation, and Nissan Safety Shield 360 ADAS system add up to a car that spoils front and rear seat passengers.

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Best All-Weather: Subaru Legacy

2022 Subaru Legacy

$23,495+; 182 horsepower 4-cylinder engine estimated to get 30 MPG

Those who want to feel the love of Subaru for its reliability and AWD but don't want an SUV don't have many choices, but this is a good one: the Legacy sedan.

How It Drives
With 182 horsepower, this sedan is confident and capable; upgrade to the 4-cylinder turbo for 260 horsepower and the Legacy promises a lot more power and fun. Subaru's EyeSight ADAS system helps to take the stress out of driving in heavy traffic.

Family Friendliness
This spacious cabin has rear seat air vents, armrest cupholders, and power ports. The outboard seats have LATCHes for installing children's car seats.

Wow Factor
Leave it to Subaru, which proves that a capable AWD sedan can be this elegant at this price.

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Best Sedan Redesign: Honda Civic

2022 Honda Civic

$22,550+; 158 horsepower 4 cylinder engine is estimated to get 35 MPG

Redesigned for 2022, the classic Civic is larger and roomier than ever and offers more rear seat amenities for passengers.

How It Drives
This compact sedan is agile, easy to drive, and easy to park.

Family Friendliness
The rear seat is larger than in prior models. There are LATCHes in the outboard seats.

Wow Factor
The design of this car is much improved. The front and rear ends are more elegant and classic. Inside, Honda spanned the dashboard with a mesh grille that hides the air vents and lends a modern look and feel.

Cars With a Tax Advantage

Buying a plug-in hybrid or electric car may qualify you for a federal tax credit of several thousand dollars. Search for a list of eligible makes and models (including some of our winners).

Browse More Best Car Winners

Want more buying options? Check out our 2021 winners for teen drivers and our favorite luxury car picks for the whole family.

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