Best Cars for New Families

Cars and SUVs that stand out in our tests for being well-suited to families with young children

mother child car newborn GettyImages-633893001

If you’re starting a family, you’ll want as many safety features as possible and plenty of room for cargo.

But we think the most important measure is how well the vehicle works with a car seat. That’s why we chose cars that did well in our assessments of car-seat fit and access. “Take your seat with you when car shopping to make sure you can get a secure installation in the rear,” says Emily Thomas, a CR automotive safety engineer who is also the mom of a toddler. “If you don’t have a child seat yet, make sure you can easily access the lower LATCH anchors because you’ll most likely be using them.” Despite conventional wisdom, our tests show that some of the easiest vehicles for installing car seats are sedans, not SUVs.

For safety, forward collision warning (FCW) and automatic emergency braking (AEB) are must-haves.

Key Criteria for the New Families Life Stage Score:
Available for under $35,000, easy car-seat installation, easy access, ample cargo space.

Subaru Forester

2019 Subaru Forester PR

Consumer Reports Consumer Reports

Life Stage Score: 82

Its winning features are standard advanced safety features such as FCW and AEB, great visibility, and standard all-wheel drive. It’s also easy to climb into and out of, and there’s plenty of room for a stroller in the back.
Price range: $24,295-$34,295

Read the complete Subaru Forester road test.

Toyota Camry Hybrid

2018 Toyota Camry Hybrid

Consumer Reports Consumer Reports

Life Stage Score: 78

Just because you have kids doesn’t mean that you’re required to buy an SUV. The roomy Camry Hybrid easily fits most car seats. Plus it gets 47 mpg overall in our tests. FCW and AEB come standard on all trim levels.
Price range: $28,150-$32,725

Read the complete Toyota Camry road test.

Honda Accord Hybrid

2018 Honda Accord hybrid

Consumer Reports Consumer Reports

Life Stage Score: 75

This car got 47 mpg in our tests and boasts a comfortable ride. Android Auto and Apple CarPlay come standard, as do advanced safety features like FCW and AEB.
Price: $25,320

Read the complete Honda Accord road test.

Honda CR-V

2019 Honda CR-V

Honda Honda

Life Stage Score: 75

Commanding view of the road, good cargo space, and easy car-seat installation. Generous door openings make for easy access.
Price range: $24,150-$34,050

Read the complete Honda CR-V road test.

Chevrolet Cruze

2019 Chevrolet Cruze Sedan

Chevrolet Chevrolet

Life Stage Score: 74

The Cruze possesses big-car qualities, such as a comfortable ride and a quiet interior. Notably, it scores well for cargo, child-seat access, and child-seat fit.
Price range: $17,995-$26,120

Read the complete Chevrolet Cruze road test.

Other Good Choices

Editor’s Note: This article also appeared in the March 2019 issue of Consumer Reports magazine.


Head shot photo of CRO Cars CIA editor Keith Barry

Keith Barry

Despite my love for quirky, old European sedans like the Renault Medallion, it's my passion to help others find a safe, reliable car that still puts a smile on their face—even if they're stuck in traffic. When I'm not behind the wheel or the keyboard, you can find me exploring a new city on foot or planning my next trip.