The vehicles here are suitable for families as they move from one stage of their lives to the next.

In analyzing our test ratings from different family perspectives, several models routinely made the cut. With these versatile vehicles, child-seat installation is a snap; cabin entry is easy whether you’re small, tall, young, or old; and the rear seats are large enough for growing teens.

These do-everything models range from small and midsized SUVs to a minivan and a luxury sedan. They are excellent at keeping everyone safe and offer plenty of room, whether your budget is tight or a bit more flexible.

You'll find specific savings for each model, including other trim variations, on the Consumer Reports car model pages linked below.

Consumer Reports Build & Buy: In addition to car research, ratings, and ranking Consumer Reports offers subscribers access to the Build & Buy Car Buying Service at no additional cost. Through this service, a nationwide network of about 9,000 participating dealers provide upfront pricing information, as well as a certificate to receive guaranteed savings off MSRP (in most states). The pricing information and guaranteed savings includes eligible incentives. Consumer Reports subscribers have saved an average of $2,954 off MSRP with the Build & Buy Car Buying Service.

Lexus LS 460

Best Cars for Families: Lexus LS 460

Overall MPG: 21
Price Range: $72,520-$82,305

High-end, large sedans are expensive but notably roomy for all. The LS 460 is Lexus’ flagship, a luxurious and highly refined sedan with a serene ride and an exceptionally quiet, feature-laden cabin. Fit and finish is superb. There’s space aplenty, whether up front or in the rear seat, especially so if you order the long-wheelbase model. The rear seat is sumptuous and provides plenty of room for child-seat installation. The 4.6-liter V8 and eight-speed automatic make this a smooth and responsive package, and fuel economy is on par with some smaller luxury sedans.

Read the complete Lexus LS road test.

Subaru Forester

Subaru Forester

Overall MPG: 26
Price Range: $22,395-$33,795 

The Forester doesn’t just hit the sweet spot among small SUVs—it’s a standout among all family-focused vehicles for comfort, cabin access, cargo-friendliness, and interior room. On top of that, the Forester is affordable, durable, and efficient, and it comes standard with all-wheel drive. Getting in and out is effortless, thanks to low door sills, big door openings, and well-positioned seats. The rear seat has plenty of head and leg room for two adults, and three can fit in a pinch. This small SUV also has top crash-test scores, great outward visibility, and advanced safety gear that’s readily available.

Read the complete Subaru Forester road test.


Lexus RX

Lexus RX

Overall MPG: 29/22
Price Range: $41,900-$57,045

The Lexus RX SUV is defined by a luxurious interior that seals out road and wind noise. The wide, supple leather seats are the definition of plush, and the ride is soft and cushy­—but the handling is rather clumsy. Big doors and chair-height seats make getting in and out a snap, and the rear seat has plenty of head and leg room; three adults can fit comfortably. The 3.5-liter V6 provides strong power and is linked to a smooth eight-speed automatic; the hybrid version gets an impressive 29 mpg overall.

Read the complete Lexus RX road test.


Toyota Sienna

Toyota Sienna

Overall MPG: 20/19
Price Range: $28,850-$46,410

After all of these years, minivans—whether you love them or hate them—do the job of hauling families around with an ease like no other type of vehicle. The top-scoring Sienna has available seating for eight. Its front doors are large for easy entry, and the sliding side doors give huge openings for passengers. The second-row Auto Access seat is a unique option. That optional, factory-installed seat is designed to swivel and power out from the van to aid passengers with mobility problems. The V6 is lively, and the ride is comfy. Bonus points for being the only minivan available with all-wheel drive.

Read the complete Toyota Sienna road test.

Editor's Note: This article also appeared in the November 2016 issue of Consumer Reports magazine.