Minivans to full-size sedan, Kelley Blue Book chooses ‘Best Family Cars’

Hopping in the family car is a lot different in 2015 than it was, say 30 or 40 years ago, when a station wagon might have been about the best choice available.

And the differences make, well, all the difference in Kelley Blue Book’s “15 Best Family Cars of 2015.”

“Determining the best family car [in 2015] depends largely on what kind of family you have,” said KBB. “For example, if you and yours are the outdoorsy types, an SUV may be the best way to go. Urbanites might benefit from a minivan or sedan. Those in between, well, that’s what crossover SUVs are for.”

And what about the old family station wagon – or more recently the seemingly ubiquitous minivan?

“The days when station wagons were the only choice for families are long gone,” according to KBB, a vehicle valuation and information source. “The market has responded to these different circumstances with a plethora of shapes and styles to suit virtually every need.”

Indeed, two minivans – the Honda Odyssey and Toyota Sienna – actually made the final cut.

Besides the minivans, the top 15 included two midsize SUVs, two small SUVs, three midsize sedans, a full-size sedan, two small cars, two full-size pickup trucks, and a full-size SUV.

Specifically, the final list comprised four Hondas (Accord, Civic, CR-V and Odyssey), three Toyotas (Camry, Highlander and Sienna), two Chevrolets (Impala and Tahoe), and one vehicle each from Ford (F-150), Hyundai (Sonata), Kia (Soul), Nissan (Pathfinder), Ram (1500) and Subaru (Outback).

The eight runners-up in the competition were the Dodge Charger, Ford Expedition, Hyundai Santa Fe, Kia Sedona and Sorento, Nissan Rogue, Toyota RAV4 and Volkswagen Golf.

Key considerations in selecting the top 15 were comfort and driving, safety, child seats, cargo space, rear-seat entertainment and extra features that lift a vehicle above the competition, although KBB still referred to the runners-up as “solid choices for family haulers.”

And it wasn’t just Kelley Blue Book editors making the choices among 23 award finalists.

“Once again, we recruited families to assist our expert editors in this laborious evaluation, putting the Best Family Car candidates to a real-life test,” said Jack R. Nerad, editorial director and market analyst for “This year’s group of winners is deemed the most worthy of family duty.”

For more details on the top 15 and eight runners-up, see “15 Best Family Cars of 2015” online.