The best family SUVs

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The best two- and three-row SUVs based on quality, safety, fuel efficiency, and space

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January 01 2022 12:00 am

SUVs have eclipsed the minivan as the most popular vehicle choice for family hauling. While there are only a handful of minivans to choose from, there are countless family-friendly SUVs on the market to accommodate families of all sizes. 

To help narrow down your choices, iSeeCars determined the Best Family SUVs across multiple SUV categories. Just as families come in all sizes, so do the best choices for a family vehicle. These cars achieved a score of 8.0 or above (out of 10) on iSeeCars quality analysis that takes into account long-term reliability, value retention, and highest average safety ratings over the last five years from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). They also have above-average cargo space and fuel economy ratings for their respective segments.

Important Safety Features and Technologies

When choosing a family vehicle, it’s important to consider a car’s driver assistance features. Newer vehicles are more likely to have these advanced driver assistance features, but there are other safety features that are commonly found on older model vehicles. Here are some important safety features to consider:

  • Automatic Emergency Braking — when forward sensors detect an imminent collision they can apply the brakes, even when the driver doesn’t
  • Automatic High Beams — the vehicle can automatically switch between low beams and high beams when appropriate
  • Blind-Spot Monitor — alerts the driver when another vehicle is in the blind spot to reduce the chance of a collision during a lane change
  • Cross-Traffic Alert, Forward and Rear — sensors monitor the movement of vehicles passing in front of, or behind, a parked vehicle, alerting the driver to potential collisions
  • Driver Attention Warning — monitors driver behavior and creates an audible and visual warning if the driver shows signs of distraction or fatigue
  • Forward (or Pre-) Collision Warning — alerts the driver of a potential or likely collision; this system sometimes works with Automatic Emergency Braking to apply the brakes if the driver doesn’t
  • Lane Departure Warning — alerts the driver when the vehicle begins to drift out of its lane
  • Lane-Keeping System — monitors the vehicle’s position in its lane and makes steering corrections to help keep the vehicle centered
  • Parking Sensors, Front and Rear — produces audible warnings when parking a vehicle to help the driver understand how close the vehicle is to a solid object (another car, wall, etc.)
  • Radar (or Smart) Cruise Control — uses sensors to maintain a set distance from vehicles traveling in front of the primary vehicle, thus reducing the need for driver input to maintain a set speed
  • Rear Seat Reminder — reminds the driver to check the rear seat area before exiting the vehicle and can sound the horn if rear-seat movement is detected after the vehicle is locked
  • Safe Exit Assist — monitors street traffic when a car is parked to reduce the likelihood of opening a door when another vehicle is approaching or passing by
  • Surround View (or 360-Degree) Camera — provides an overhead view of the vehicle to see how much space is available on all sides when parking

These safety technologies may come standard on some vehicles, or may only be available in higher trims.

Best Family SUVs by Vehicle Category

Here are the best family SUVs from smallest to largest.

Best Family SUVs by Vehicle Category
Vehicle CategoryVehicleiSeeCars Quality ScoreAverage New Car PriceAverage Used Car Price
Best Small SUVSubaru Outback9.0$26,795 – $39,945$15,977 -$29,773
Best Midsize SUVToyota Highlander8.9$34,910 – $49,015 $21,781 – $36,577
Best Large SUVFord Expedition9.0$49,025 – $76,825$20,749 – $57,000
Best Small Luxury SUVAcura RDX8.9$38,400 – $51,000$17,593 – $35,997
Best Midsize Luxury SUVAcura MDX8.6$46,900 – $60,650$20,879 – $38,989
Best Large SUVLincoln Navigator8.6$76,185 – $98,125 $24,297 – $74,841
Best Hybrid SUVToyota Highlander Hybrid9.2$38,150 – $50,415$24,983 – $41,995
Best Luxury Hybrid SUVLexus RX 450h8.9$40,160 – $46,910$24,000 – $48,493

Best Family SUVs: Small SUVs

Small SUVs are ideal for families that don’t require a third row of seats, but still want a flexible people hauler. Here are the Best Small Family SUVs:

Best Family SUVs: Small SUVs – iSeeCars
RankVehicleiSeeCars Quality ScoreCombined MPGCargo Volume (Cubic Feet)
1Subaru Outback8.726-29 32.5 
2Honda CR-V8.729-30 37.6-39.2 
3Subaru Forester8.72928.9-31.1
4Toyota RAV48.628-3037.5-37.6
5Kia Sportage8.421-2630.7
6Hyundai Tucson8.323-2531.0
7Ford Escape8.226-3037.5
Small SUV Averages2530.5
  1. Subaru Outback 

iSeeCars Quality Score: 8.7 (Reliability: 8.0, Value Retention: 8.1, Safety: 10)

Combined MPG: 26-29

Cargo Volume: 32.5 cubic feet

Average New Car Price: $26,795 – $39,945

Average Used Car Price: $15,977 to $29,773

Earning the top spot is a popular car for outdoor enthusiasts, the Subaru Outback. Although the vehicle is technically classified as a wagon, the Subaru Outback comes standard with all-wheel drive and has the cargo capacity and utility of a compact SUV. It comes standard with a suite of safety features, including rear-seat reminder, forward collision warning, automatic emergency braking, and steering-responsive automatic headlights.

A new Subaru Outback costs between $26,795 and $39,945 and a used Subaru Outback for sale costs between $15,977 to $29,773.

  1. Honda CR-V

iSeeCars Quality Score: 8.7 (Reliability: 8.2, Value Retention: 8.3, Safety: 9.6)

Combined MPG: 29-30

Cargo Volume: 37.6-39.2 cubic feet

Average New Car Price: $25,350-$35,150

Average Used Car Price:$15,497-$27,999

The small but mighty Honda CR-V earns the second spot. It’s one of the most spacious vehicles in its class, with a cargo capacity that’s comparable to larger midsize SUVs. It also returns excellent fuel economy, earning an estimated 28 mpg in the city and 34 mpg on the highway for its front-wheel drive models. It comes standard with a continuously variable automatic transmission and a 190-horsepower turbocharged four-cylinder engine. A suite of standard safety features are available, which include forward collision warning, automatic emergency braking, lane departure warning, and lane keep assist.

A new Honda CR-V costs from $25,350 to $35,150 and a used Honda CR-V costs between $15,497 to $27,999.

  1. Subaru Forester

iSeeCars Quality Score: 8.7 (Reliability: 7.9, Value Retention: 8.1, Safety: 10)

Combined MPG: 29 

Cargo Volume: 28.9-31.1 cubic feet

Average New Car Price: $24,795-$34,895
Average Used Car Price: $13,900-$27,998

A second Subaru, the Subaru Forester ranks third. Its base model fares just above the segment average for cargo space, offering up to 31.1 cubic feet of cargo space and 76.1 cubic feet when the rear seats are folded down. All other trims have 28.9 cubic feet, which is just below the segment average. It also provides comfortable seating for five passengers with ample head and legroom. It does, however, stand out from the pack for its fuel efficiency, earning 29 combined MPG compared to the segment average of 25. The Forester also comes with the same standard safety features as the Outback, including rear-seat reminder, automatic emergency braking, and steering-responsive automatic headlights.

 A new Subaru Forester costs between $24,795 and $34,895 and a used Subaru Forester for sale costs between $13,900 and $27,998.

  1. Toyota RAV4

iSeeCars Quality Score: 8.6 (Reliability: 7.9, Value Retention: 8.3, Safety: 10)

Combined MPG: 28-30 

Cargo Volume: 37.5-37.6 cubic feet

Average New Car Price: $26,150-$36,080
Average Used Car Price: $15,899-$27,917

The Toyota RAV4, which is the best-selling compact SUV in the United States, ranks fourth. The RAV4 has an upscale interior that offers above-average passenger and cargo space for the compact crossover SUV segment. It was fully redesigned for the 2019 model year, with a stronger powertrain as well as updated interior and exterior styling. The newer RAV4s offers more standard features than competitors, including Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, a 7-inch touchscreen infotainment system, and pedestrian detection. The RAV4 has one engine choice, a 2.5-liter four-cylinder that makes it one of the most fuel-efficient vehicles in its class. For drivers who want even more fuel-efficiency, hybrid and plug-in hybrid versions are also available. 

A new Toyota RAV4 costs between $26,150 and $36,080, and a used Toyota RAV4 costs between $15,899 and $27,917.

  1. Kia Sportage

iSeeCars Quality Score: 8.4 (Reliability: 7.5, Value Retention: 8.1, Safety: 9.6)

Combined MPG: 21-26 

Cargo Volume: 30.7 cubic feet

Average New Car Price: $24,090-$35,250
Average Used Car Price: $12,255-$22,988

The Kia Sportage compact SUV ranks fifth. Known for its value, the Sportage has impressive driving dynamics and offers a comfortable ride. On the inside, it features a roomy and stylish interior.  The Sportage has one of the lowest starting prices in its class and offers a compelling list of standard features, like an 8-inch touch screen, Android Auto, Apple CarPlay, voice recognition, Bluetooth connectivity, and a USB port, making it a great choice for a budget-friendly family SUV. 

A new Kia Sportage costs between $24,090 and $35,250 and a used Kia Sportage for sale costs between $12,255 and $22,988.

  1. Hyundai Tucson 

iSeeCars Quality Score: 8.3 (Reliability: 6.9, Value Retention: 8.1, Safety: 9.8)

Combined MPG: 23-25
Cargo Volume: 31.0 cubic feet

Average New Car Price: $23,700-$33,450

Average Used Car Price: $13,217-$22,494

The Hyundai Tucson, which shares a platform and many of the same features as the fifth-ranked Kia Sportage, ranks sixth. The Tucson offers a comfortable ride and is easy to maneuver thanks to its small size. It also has an attractive cabin and comfortable front seats. 

A new Hyundai Tucson costs between $23,700 and $33,450 and a used Hyundai Tucson for sale costs between $13,217 and $22,494.

  1. Ford Escape

iSeeCars Quality Score: 8.2 (Reliability: 7.9, Value Retention: 7.7, Safety: 9.2)

Combined MPG: 26-30
Cargo Volume: 37.5 cubic feet

Average New Car Price: $24,885-$36,155

Average Used Car Price: $11,887-$22,495

The Ford Escape ranks seventh. The Escape rides comfortably and offers above-average passenger and cargo space for its class. The compact crossover comes with two turbo engine options: a standard 1.5-liter three-cylinder with 181 horsepower and a 2.0-liter four cylinder with 250 horsepower on higher trim levels. The base engine delivers above-average fuel economy and comes with standard safety features including blind spot monitoring, rear cross traffic alert, forward collision warning, automatic high-beam headlights, and automatic emergency braking. 

A new Ford Escape costs between $24,885 and $36,155 and a three-year-old Ford Escape for sale costs between $11,887 and $22,495.

For more small SUVs to consider, check out the iSeeCars ranking of Best Small SUVs.

Best Family SUVs: Midsize SUVs

Midsize SUVs bridge the gap for families who require a little more space than a small crossover can provide, but don’t want a full-size SUV. Some of these SUVs have an optional third row of seats that can be folded down to maximize cargo space.

Best Family SUVs: Midsize SUVs – iSeeCars
RankVehicleiSeeCars Quality ScoreCombined MPGCargo Volume (Cubic Feet)* 
1Toyota Highlander8.82316.0/48.4 
2Honda Pilot8.722-2318.5/46.8 
3Ford Explorer8.713-2421/43.9
4Ford Edge8.621-2439.2
5Hyundai Santa Fe8.424-2636.4
6Nissan Murano8.323 32.1/67
7Dodge Durango8.215-2217.2/43.3
8Kia Sorento8.124-2612.6/45
Nissan Pathfinder8.021-2316.6/45
Midsize SUV Averages21.426.3

*Vehicles with two figures represent space behind the third row and with third row folded down

  1. Toyota Highlander

iSeeCars Quality Score: 8.8 (Reliability: 8.6, Value Retention: 8.1, Safety: 9.6)

Combined MPG: 23

Cargo Volume: 16.0/48.1 cubic feet

Average New Car Price: $34,910-$49,015

Average Used Car Price: $21,781-$36,577

The Toyota Highlander earns the top spot as the best midsize SUV for families and as the Best 3-Row SUV. The Toyota Highlander is a capable crossover with a comfortable, high-quality cabin and three rows of seats. The Highlander comes standard with a suite of safety features including cross traffic alert, traffic sign recognition, lane departure warning, forward collision warning, and pedestrian detection. A hybrid version is also available for added fuel efficiency. 

A new Toyota Highlander costs between $34,910 and $49,015 and a used Toyota Highlander costs between $21,781 and $36,577.

  1. Honda Pilot

iSeeCars Quality Score: 8.8 (Reliability: 8.3, Value Retention: 8.3, Safety: 10)

Combined MPG: 22-23

Cargo Volume:18.5/46.8 cubic feet

Average New Car Price: $32,550-$50,220

Average Used Car Price: $18,285-$35,883

The Honda Pilot crossover ranks second in the midsize SUV category. The Honda Pilot is a spacious three-row crossover SUV for those seeking a family-friendly hauler without the bulkiness of a full-size SUV.  It’s available in all-wheel-drive or front-wheel drive and is a popular minivan alternative with spacious seating for up to eight passengers.

A new Honda Pilot costs between $32,550 and $50,220 and a used Honda Pilot costs between $18,285 and $35,883.

  1. Ford Explorer

iSeeCars Quality Score: 8.3 (Reliability: 8.1, Value Retention: 6.8, Safety: 10)

Combined MPG: 13-24

Cargo Volume: 21/43.9 cubic feet

Average New Car Price: $32,225-$54,480

Average Used Car Price: $16,942-$34,997

The Ford Explorer ranks third. The Explorer has multiple powerful turbocharged engines to choose from and drives comfortably. The most efficient engine is the four-cylinder paired with rear-wheel drive, which achieves 24 mpg while providing more-then enough power for most family needs. Adding all-wheel drive drops the efficiency slightly to 23 mpg, which is still above the segment average. It also has plenty of cargo space, with three rows of seats and a list of standard features that include active safety features and an intuitive infotainment system with an 8-inch touchscreen included with the base model. 

A new Ford Explorer costs between $32,225 and $54,480 and a used Ford Explorer costs between $16,942 and $34,997.

  1. Ford Edge

iSeeCars Quality Score: 8.2 (Reliability: 7.8, Value Retention: 6.8, Safety: 10)

Combined MPG: 26-30

Cargo Volume: 39.2 cubic feet

Average New Car Price: $31,250-$43,110

Average Used Car Price: $14,994-$30,513

The Ford Edge ranks fourth. The Edge offers similar technology and safety features as the Ford Explorer, but the Edge comes standard with a larger infotainment touchscreen at 12 inches. The Edge only has two rows of seats and less powerful engine choices, as well as a lower starting price, making it a more practical option for families who don’t require a third row of seats. 

A new Ford Edge costs between $31,250 and $43,110 and a used Ford Edge costs between $14,994 and $30,513. 

  1. Hyundai Santa Fe

iSeeCars Quality Score: 8.2 (Reliability: 8.1, Value Retention: 6.5, Safety: 10)

Combined MPG: 21-26

Cargo Volume: 36.4 cubic feet

Average New Car Price: $26,850-$42,300

Average Used Car Price: $15,580-$29,037

The Hyundai Santa Fe ranks fifth for its combination of quality and value. The two-row SUV fits five passengers. The Santa Fe consistently earns high rankings for predicted reliability and has above-average fuel economy for its class. It has an upscale interior and comes standard with safety technology like adaptive cruise control and blind-spot monitoring. 

A new Hyundai Santa Fe costs between $26,850 and $42,300, and a used Hyundai Santa Fe costs between $15,580 and $29,037. 

  1. Nissan Murano

iSeeCars Quality Score: 8.1 (Reliability: 7.8, Value Retention: 7.5, Safety: 9.0)

Combined MPG: 23

Cargo Volume: 32.1/67 cubic feet

Average New Car Price: $32,610-$45,710

Average Used Car Price: $15,845-$31,983

The Nissan Murano ranks sixth. The two-row Murano comfortably seats five and has an efficient V6 engine. The Murano also has many active safety features and an intuitive infotainment system. 

A new Nissan Murano costs between ​​$32,610 and $45,710, and a used Nissan Murano costs between 15,845 and $31,983.

  1. Dodge Durango

iSeeCars Quality Score: 8.1 (Reliability: 8.3, Value Retention: 8.1, Safety: 8.0)

Combined MPG: 15-21

Cargo Volume:17.2/43.3

Average New Car Price: $31,995-$80,995

Average Used Car Price: $18,749-$37,984

The brawny Dodge Durango, ranks seventh and is available with two or three rows of seating. The Durango is available with multiple powertrain options: a standard 293-horsepower 3.6-liter V6 engine, a 5.7-liter Hemi with 360 horsepower, and a 6.4-liter Hemi V8 with 475 horsepower.   The 3.6L Pentastar V-6 engine is the most efficient, providing a fuel efficiency of 19 mpg in the city, 26 mpg on the highway, and 22 mpg combined. 

A new Dodge Durango costs between $31,995 and $80,995. A used Dodge Durango for sale costs between $18,749 and $37,984.

  1. Kia Sorento

iSeeCars Quality Score: 8.1 (Reliability: 7.5, Value Retention: 6.8, Safety: 10)

Combined MPG: 24-26 

Cargo Volume: 12.6/45

Average New Car Price: $29,390-$42,590

Average Used Car Price: $12,485-$26,990

​​Redesigned for 2021, the Kia Sorento is similar to the Hyundai Santa Fe and shares the same platform. It has an upscale interior while being among the lowest-priced vehicles in its class, making it an excellent value. Unlike the Santa Fe, it offers three rows of seating, making it a practical choice for larger families. 

A new Kia Sorento costs between $29,390 and $42,590 and a used Kia Sorento costs between $12,485 and $26,990.

  1. Nissan Pathfinder

iSeeCars Quality Score: 8.0 (Reliability: 8.0, Value Retention: 6.0, Safety: 10)

Combined MPG: 21-23

Cargo Volume: 16.6/45 cubic feet

Average New Car Price: $31,680-$44,610

Average Used Car Price: $14,240-$28,493

Introduced as a rugged body-on-frame SUV in the 80s, the Nissan Pathfinder has evolved into a family-friendly crossover. Available with front- or all-wheel drive, the Pathfinder offers three rows of seating for up to seven passengers. The Nissan Pathfinder has a roomy interior with high-quality materials, an intuitive infotainment system, and an array of safety features.   

A new Nissan Pathfinder costs between $31,680 and $44,610, and a used Nissan Pathfinder costs between $14,240 and $28,493.

For more midsize SUVs to consider, check out the iSeeCars ranking of Best Midsize SUVs.

Best Family SUVs: Large SUVs

Large SUVs are the heavyweights of family hauling. These body-on-frame models offer three full rows of seating and an abundance of cargo capacity, but they sacrifice maneuverability and fuel-efficiency due to their large size. Built on truck platforms, these vehicles also have high towing capacity.

Best Family SUVs: Large SUVs – iSeeCars
RankVehicleiSeeCars Quality ScoreCombined MPGCargo Volume (Cubic Feet)*
1Ford Expedition8.31920.9/63.6 
2Chevrolet Tahoe8.316-2425.5/72.6
3GMC Yukon8.216-2325.5/72.6
4GMC Yukon XL8.116-2341.5/93.8
Large SUV Averages17.733.4 

*Vehicles with two figures represent space behind the third row and with third row folded down

  1. Ford Expedition

iSeeCars Quality Score: 8.3 (Reliability: 8.8, Value Retention: 6.0, Safety: 10)

Combined MPG: 19

Cargo Volume: 16-24 cubic feet

Average New Car Price: $49,025-$76,825

Average Used Car Price: $20,749-$57,000

The Ford Expedition ranks first as the best large SUV for families. Unlike its rivals with V8 engines, the Expedition has a twin-turbo V6, giving it better gas mileage than the rest of its class. Ford introduced a new base two-row trim for the 2021 model year, which makes the vehicle available as a two- or three-row SUV for the first time. It has vast cargo and passenger space with 19.3 to 20.9 cubic feet behind the third row, which expands to 57.5 to 63.6 cubic feet with the rear row folded down. 

A new Ford Expedition costs $49,025 to $76,825, while a used Ford Expedition for sale costs from $20,749 to $57,000.

  1. Chevrolet Tahoe

iSeeCars Quality Score: 8.3 (Reliability: 8.7, Value Retention: 8.0, Safety: 8.0)

Combined MPG: 16-24

Cargo Volume: 25.5 cubic feet

Average New Car Price: $48,000-$72,600

Average Used Car Price: $26,994-$50,916

Ranked second is another American full-size SUV, the Chevrolet Tahoe. Fully redesigned for 2021, it has three available engine options, including two powerful V8 engines and a turbo diesel inline-six. The Tahoe features impressive cargo and passenger space, and its redesign increased its legroom and added standard safety features. The Tahoe has 25.5 cubic feet of cargo space behind the third row, which grows to 72.6 cubic feet when the third row is folded down. The third-row can fold down with the touch of a button for ease of loading, and it features an abundance of storage options.

The Tahoe is also among the more affordable vehicles in the large SUV class, with a new Chevrolet Tahoe costing between $48,000 and $72,600. If you opt for a used Chevrolet Tahoe, you can expect to pay between $26,994 and $50,916.

3-4. GMC Yukon/GMC Yukon XL

iSeeCars Quality Score: 8.2 (Reliability: 8.6, Value Retention: 7.9, Safety: 8.0)

iSeeCars Quality Score (XL): 8.1 (Reliability: 8.7, Value Retention: 7.5, Safety: 8.0

Combined MPG: 16-23 MPG

Cargo Volume: 25.5/41.5 cubic feet (XL)

Average New Car Price (Yukon): $50,700-$71,400

Average Used Car Price (Yukon): $28,985-$56,985 

Average New Car Price (Yukon XL): $53,400-$74,100

Average Used Car Price (Yukon XL): $28,814-$57,150

Ranked third and fourth respectively are the GMC Yukon and its extended variant, the GMC Yukon XL. Also redesigned for 2021, the Yukon and the Yukon XL share a platform with the other full-size GM SUVs, including the Chevrolet Tahoe and the Chevrolet Suburban. All these full-size GMs will pull more than 8,000 pounds, making them great options for families with regular towing needs. 

A new GMC Yukon costs between $50,700 and $71,400 and a used GMC Yukon costs between $28,985 to $56,985. A new GMC Yukon XL costs between $53,400 and $74,100 and a used GMC Yukon XL costs between $28,814 and $57,150.

For more large SUVs to consider, check out the iSeeCars ranking of Best Large SUVs.

Best Family Luxury SUVs

Best Family SUVs: Luxury Small SUVs

For families who want a refined SUV, but don’t require a great deal of passenger and legroom, here are the best luxury small SUVs for families.

Best Family SUVs: Luxury Small SUVs – iSeeCars
RankVehicleiSeeCars Quality ScoreCombined MPGCargo Volume (Cubic Feet)
1Acura RDX8.723-2429.5
2Volvo XC608.223-2529.7
3BMW X38.023-2728.7
Small Luxury SUV Averages22.223.3
  1. Acura RDX

iSeeCars Quality Score: 8.7 (Reliability: 7.7, Value Retention: 8.5, Safety: 10)

Combined MPG: 23-24

Cargo Volume: 29.5 cubic feet

Average New Car Price: $38,400-$51,000

Average Used Car Price: $17,593-$35,997

The Acura RDX is the best small family SUVs in the luxury segment. The luxury version of the Honda CR-V, the Acura RDX is fun to drive and delivers great fuel economy at 24 combined mpg for its front-wheel drive version and 23 combined mpg for its all-wheel drive version. The RDX has one engine choice, a 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder. It has two comfortable rows of seats and the interior is filled with high-quality finishes. The RDX comes standard with safety features including adaptive cruise control, forward collision warning, automatic emergency braking, and road departure mitigation. 

A new Acura RDX costs between $38,400 and $51,000 and a used Acura RDX costs between $17,593 and $35,997.

  1. Volvo XC60

iSeeCars Quality Score: 8.2 (Reliability: 7.6, Value Retention: 6.9, Safety: 10)

Combined MPG: 23-24

Cargo Volume: 29.7 cubic feet

Average New Car Price: $41,700-$55,000

Average Used Car Price: $15,575-$41,994

The compact Volvo XC60 ranks second. The XC60 comfortably seats five people, and includes two comfortable and spacious rows of seats. The XC60 earned the highest safety designation from the IIHS, the Top Safety Pick+, and has a long list of standard safety features.  A new Volvo XC60 costs between $41,700 and $55,000, and a used Volvo XC60 can be found for $15,575 to $41,994.

  1. BMW X3

iSeeCars Quality Score: 8.0 (Reliability: 7.7, Value Retention: 6.4, Safety: 10)

Combined MPG: 23-27

Cargo Volume: 28.7 cubic feet

Average New Car Price: $43,000-$56,600

Average Used Car Price: $18,931-$44,501

The compact BMW X3 ranks third. The X3 comfortably seats five passengers and has above-average cargo space for the class, with 28.7 cubic feet of space. It has multiple engine options including a turbocharged four-cylinder and a twin-turbo six cylinder. The BMW X5 has a number of standard infotainment features, including a 10.2-inch touch screen, Apple CarPlay, a WiFi hotspot, Bluetooth, as well as standard advanced safety features like front and rear parking sensors, rear cross traffic alert, forward collision warning with pedestrian detection, and lane departure warning.  

A new BMW X3 costs between $43,000 and $56,600, and a used BMW X3 costs between $18,931 and $44,501.

For more luxury small SUVs to consider, check out the iSeeCars ranking of Best Luxury Small SUVs.

Best Family SUVs: Luxury Midsize SUVs

Here are the best luxury family SUVs in the midsize class. These vehicles are ideal for families that occasionally require a third row of seats, but can regularly collapse the third row when they need to maximize cargo space.

Best Family SUVs: Luxury Midsize SUVs – iSeeCars
RankVehicleiSeeCars Quality ScoreCombined MPGCargo Volume (Cubic Feet)*
1Acura MDX9.021-2216.3/39.1
2Audi Q78.320-2114.2/35.7
3BMW X58.118-2333.9
Midsize Luxury SUV Averages19.323.1

*Vehicles with two figures represent space behind the third row and with third row folded down

  1. Acura MDX

iSeeCars Quality Score: 9.0 (Reliability: 8.8, Value Retention: 8.1, Safety: 10)

Combined MPG: 21-22

Cargo Volume: 16.3/39.1 cubic feet

Average New Car Price: $46,900-$60,650

Average Used Car Price: $20,879-$38,989

The Acura MDX earns the top spot and debuts an all-new version for 2022 after skipping the 2021 model year. It has a capable 290 horsepower V6 engine and offers spacious seating for up to seven passengers across three rows. The third row can comfortably seat children, while the seats are cramped for adults. The second-row middle seat can function as a seat or console, or it can be removed for easy access to the third row.The MDX has 16.3 cubic feet of cargo space with the third row intact, and 39.1 cubic feet with the rear row folded down. The redesigned MDX offers more cargo and passenger space than the previous generation, and includes more standard features such as a rear-seat reminder (to protect against leaving children unattended) and wireless Android Auto and Apple CarPlay. It also has new standard driver assistance features like blindspot monitoring, drowsiness monitoring, and rear cross traffic alert. 

A new Acura MDX costs between $46,900 and $60,650, and a used Acura MDX costs between $20,879 and $38,989.

  1. Audi Q7

iSeeCars Quality Score: 8.3 (Reliability: 7.6, Value Retention: 7.4, Safety: 10)

Combined MPG: 20-21

Cargo Volume: 14.2/35.7 cubic feet

Average New Car Price: $54,950-$72,000

Average Used Car Price: $23,147-$52,347

Ranked second is the Audi Q7 luxury three-row SUV, which seats up to seven passengers. It comes standard with leather upholstery, heated front seats, and power-folding seats in the third row. Like the Acura MDX, the third row is best for child passengers, while the front and second row have comfortable seating. The Audi Q7 has standard infotainment features including upper and lower touchscreens, a virtual cockpit, a Wi-Fi hotspot, and navigation. It has 14.2 cubic feet behind the third row, which extends to 35.7 cubic feet with the third row folded down.

A new Audi Q7 costs between $54,950 and $72,000, while a used Audi Q7 can be found between $23,147 and $52,347.

  1. BMW X5

iSeeCars Quality Score: 8.1 (Reliability: 7.9, Value Retention: 6.8, Safety: 9.8)

Combined MPG: 18-23

Cargo Volume: 33.9 cubic feet

Average New Car Price: $59,400-$82,800

Average Used Car Price: $23,594-$53,999

The BMW X5 ranks third. The BMW X5 has a simple yet sophisticated interior design full of high-end materials like synthetic leather upholstery and a leather-wrapped dashboard. The BMW X5 comes standard with a twin-turbo 3.0-liter six-cylinder engine that provides the perfect balance of power and efficiency, making it one of the most fuel-efficient vehicles in its class with a combined mpg of 23. A plug-in hybrid powertrain is also available for those who want even more fuel efficiency. 

A new BMW X5 costs between $59,400 and $82,800, and a used BMW X5 costs between $23,594 and $53,999.

For more luxury midsize SUVs to consider, check out the iSeeCars ranking of Best Luxury Midsize SUVs.

Best Family SUVs: Luxury Large SUVs

These large SUVs are the largest SUVs on the market, which makes them more expensive and less fuel-efficient. However, they have three full rows of seats that can comfortably fit passengers of all sizes, and they offer an abundance of cargo space.

Best Family SUVs: Luxury Large SUVs – iSeeCars
RankVehicleiSeeCars Quality ScoreCombined MPGCargo Volume (Cubic Feet)
1Lincoln Navigator8.717-1820.9/63.6
2Lincoln Navigator L8.51836.0/79.6
3Cadillac Escalade8.416-2325.5/72.9
Large Luxury SUV Averages17.925.1

1-2. Lincoln Navigator/Lincoln Navigator L

iSeeCars Quality Score: 8.7 (Reliability: 8.9, Value Retention: 7.2, Safety: 10)

iSeeCars Quality Score (L): 8.5 (Reliability: 8.7, Value Retention: 6.8, Safety: 10)

Combined MPG: 17-18 MPG

Cargo Volume: 20.9/63.6 cubic feet (Navigator) 36/76.6 cubic feet (Navigator L)

Average New Car Price (Navigator): $76,185-$98,125

Average Used Car Price (Navigator): $24,297-$74,841 

Average New Car Price (Navigator L): $79,385-$101,324

Average Used Car Price (Navigator L): $22,941-$77,845

The Lincoln Navigator luxury SUV earns the top spot, and the Lincoln Navigator L, its extended wheelbase version ranks second. The Navigator has a powerful 3.5-liter V6 engine that provides above-average fuel economy for the large SUV class at 18 mpg. It has an elegant interior full of high-end materials, including leather and wood trim. While the Navigator has below-average cargo space for the segment with the third row intact, it has up to 63.6 cubic feet of space with the rear row folded. The Navigator L has a wheelbase that is 9 inches longer than the standard Navigator, which provides 15 additional cubic feet of cargo space. Both Navigator models have a towing capacity of up to 8,700 pounds when properly equipped, earning it a spot on the iSeeCars list of Best SUVs for Towing

A new Lincoln Navigator costs between $76,185 and $98,125 and a used Lincoln Navigator is between $24,297 and $74,841. A new Lincoln Navigator L costs between $79,385 and $101,325, while a three-year-old used Lincoln Navigator L costs between $22,941 and $77,845.

3. Cadillac Escalade

iSeeCars Quality Score: 8.1 (Reliability: 8.8, Value Retention: 7.5, Safety: 8.0

Combined MPG: 16-23

Cargo Volume: 25.5/72.9 cubic feet

Average New Car Price: $76,195-$102,995

Average Used Car Price: $35,987-$65,499

The Cadillac Escalade ranks third. Redesigned for 2021 with new interior and exterior styling, the full-size SUV has an opulent interior that features a large three-screen digital dashboard. The 16.9-inch main infotainment system wirelessly connects to Android Auto and Apple Carplay for hands-free convenience. The new Escalade’s updated version of Super Cruise is among the most advanced driver assist systems currently available. Compared to its less-efficient V8, the Escalade achieves its best fuel economy with its turbo diesel six-cylinder engine that gets a combined mpg of 23 with rear-wheel drive and 22 mpg with four-wheel drive.The Escalade is among the most spacious vehicles in its class, providing 25.5 cubic feet of space behind the third-row seats and 72.9 feet when the third row is folded down.

A new Cadillac Escalade costs between $76,195 and $102,995 and a used Cadillac Escalade costs between $35,987 and $65,499.

For more large luxury SUVs to consider, check out the iSeeCars ranking of Best Luxury Large SUVs.

Best Hybrid Family SUVs

Best Hybrid Family SUVs (Non-Luxury):

If your family hauling includes excessive distances, a hybrid SUV might be a smart vehicle choice. Here are the best family SUVs with hybrid powertrains.

Best Family SUVs: Hybrid SUVs – iSeeCars
RankVehicleiSeeCars Quality ScoreCombined MPGCargo Volume (Cubic Feet)*
1Toyota Highlander Hybrid9.235-3616/48.1
2Toyota RAV4 Hybrid8.34037.4

*Vehicles with two figures represent space behind the third row and with third row folded down

  1. Toyota Highlander Hybrid

iSeeCars Quality Score: 9.2 (Reliability: 8.9, Value Retention: 8.6, Safety: 10)

Combined MPG: 35-36

Cargo Volume: 16.0/48.1 cubic feet

Average New Car Price: $38,150-$50,415

Average Used Car Price: $24,983-$41,995

The Toyota Highlander Hybrid is the hybrid variant of the midsize Highlander and earns the spot as the best hybrid family SUV. Like its non-hybrid counterpart, it can seat up to eight passengers with a second row bench seat and seven if you opt for captain’s chairs. It has the same features and cargo capacity as the standard Highlander, but its combined MPG improves to 36 mpg for front-wheel drive and 35 mpg for all-wheel drive.

A new Toyota Highlander Hybrid costs between $38,150 and $50,415, while a used Toyota Highlander Hybrid costs between $24,983 and $41,995.

  1. Toyota RAV4 Hybrid

iSeeCars Quality Score: 8.3 (Reliability: 5.8, Value Retention: 9.0, Safety: 10)

Combined MPG: 40

Cargo Volume: 37.4 cubic feet

Average New Car Price: $26,650-$37,180

Average Used Car Price: $19,166-$34,160

The Toyota RAV4 Hybrid ranks second. It has the same features as the standard RAV4, but offers added fuel efficiency with a combined mpg of 40. The compact SUV is ideal for families who don’t require a third row of seating.

A new Toyota RAV4 Hybrid costs between $26,650 and $37,180, while a used Toyota RAV4 Hybrid costs between $19,166 and $34,160.

For more hybrid SUVs to consider, check out the iSeeCars ranking of Best Hybrid SUVs.

Best Hybrid Family SUVs: Luxury

Two luxury hybrid SUVs fit the bill as the best family SUVs.  

Best Family SUVs: Luxury Hybrid SUVs – iSeeCars
RankVehicleiSeeCars Quality ScoreCombined MPGCargo Volume (Cubic Feet)
1Lexus RX 450h8.93016/45.7
2Lexus NX 300h8.03116.8
  1. Luxury RX 450h

iSeeCars Quality Score: 8.9 (Reliability: 9.0, Value Retention: 8.1, Safety: 9.8)

Combined MPG: 30

Cargo Volume: 16.0/45.7 cubic feet

Average New Car Price: $47,820-$53,620

Average Used Car Price: $24,000-$48,493

The Lexus RX 450h ranks first as the best luxury hybrid family SUV. The RX 450h is a midsize SUV that comes in both a two-row and three-row configuration. For the two-row version, there is 16 cubic feet behind the rear seats, and the three-row has 7.5 cubic feet behind the third  row for and 45.7 cubic feet with the third row folded down. The RX 450h gets a combined MPG of 30.

A new Lexus RX 450h costs between $47,820 and $53,620, and a used Lexus RX 450h costs between $24,000 and $48,493.

  1. Luxury NX 300h

iSeeCars Quality Score: 8.0 (Reliability: 5.8, Value Retention: 8.9, Safety: 10)

Combined MPG: 31

Cargo Volume: 16.8 cubic feet

Average New Car Price: $40,160-$46,910

Average Used Car Price: $25,475-$38,485

The Lexus NX 300h ranks second. While it doesn’t have an abundance of cargo space, it compensates with its efficiency with a combined MPG of 31. The Lexus NX 300h also comes with a suite of advanced safety features. 

A new Lexus NX 300h costs between $40,160 and $46,910, while a used Lexus NX 300h can be found between $25,475 and $38,485.

For more small SUVs to consider, check out the iSeeCars ranking of Best Luxury Hybrid SUVs.

Best Used Family SUVs by Price

Car shoppers can find used versions of the best family SUVs across a wide range of budgets.

Best Used Family SUVs Under $15,000 – iSeeCars
RankVehicleAverage Used Car Price
12014 Ford Escape$13,236
22014 Kia Sorento$13,634
32014 Hyundai Tucson$13,270
42014 Hyundai Santa Fe$13,422
52014 Kia Sportage$14,430
62014 Nissan Murano$14,432
Best Used Family SUVs Under $20,000 – iSeeCars
RankVehicleAverage Used Car Price
12016 Ford Escape$15,553
22016 Kia Sorento$17,675
32016 Hyundai Tucson$17,426
42016 Nissan Pathfinder$18,587
52016 Hyundai Santa Fe$18,124
62016 Kia Sportage$15,492
72016 Subaru Forester$18,515
82014 Acura RDX$16,763
92014 Toyota RAV4$16,960
102014 Honda CR-V$16,062
112014 BMW X3$17,046
122014 Ford Explorer$17,748
132014 Honda Pilot$18,094
Best Used Family SUVs Under $25,000 – iSeeCars
RankVehicleAverage Used Car Price
12018 Ford Escape$20,407
22018 Kia Sorento$23,378
32018 Hyundai Tucson$20,668
42018 Kia Sportage$20,381
52018 Toyota RAV4$23,511
62016 Honda CR-V$20,156
72016 BMW X3$24,433
82016 Ford Explorer$23,719
102016 Honda Pilot$24,660

Bottom Line

Finding the best family SUV doesn’t have to be a challenge. Because families come in different sizes and have different needs, the best family SUV might be a full-size hauler for some or a spacious compact for others. Whichever size SUV you choose, these safe, reliable, and efficient haulers are the best cars out there worthy of your most precious cargo.

More from iSeeCars.com:

If you’re in the market for a new or used family SUV, you can search over 4 million used and new cars, trucks, and SUVs with iSeeCars’ award-winning car search engine. It helps shoppers find the best car deals by providing key insights and valuable resources, like the iSeeCars VIN check report and Best Cars rankings. Filter by price, fuel economy, third-row availability, and other family-friendly parameters to narrow down your crossover or SUV search.

This article, Best Family SUVs, originally appeared on iSeeCars.com.

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