Top 10 Family Road Trip Vehicles for 2013 -- Edmunds.com
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Top 10 Family Road Trip Vehicles for 2013


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A family road trip can present a fun opportunity to bond with those nearest and dearest to your heart. However, to have this experience be a pleasure rather than a chore, you'll want to choose an appropriate family road-trip vehicle.

Though families come in all sizes, this article is focused on those that are larger than two. For these families, choosing a spacious vehicle is important, since nothing ruins a long road trip more quickly than cramped accommodations. As such, we've limited our selections to choices that comfortably seat four passengers or more. This means crossovers, wagons and midsize sedans. There's also a minivan for those who need the most passenger capacity.

A family road-trip vehicle has to do more than just haul passengers. With a road trip comes luggage and other gear, and choosing a vehicle that offers ample cargo capacity will allow you to easily tote your belongings. All our picks are generously endowed in this department.

Many of our picks offer family-friendly features that can keep your crew entertained on a long drive. For example, a rear-seat DVD entertainment system allows kids to watch movies of their choosing when boredom sets in.

Cutting-edge safety technology can help you avoid mishaps on your journey. Many of the choices on our list offer features like blind-spot monitors that let you know if there's a vehicle in your blind spot as you're about to make a lane change, and lane-departure warning systems that alert you if your vehicle has drifted from its lane. A couple of our choices even offer driver-fatigue monitors that track a variety of factors to determine whether the driver is dozing off behind the wheel.

Our picks for the best family road-trip vehicles are listed in alphabetical order.

  1. 2013 Acura MDX

    1. 2013 Acura MDX

    The Acura brand is known for offering tons of value, and the MDX is no exception. This SUV offers everything you'd expect from a luxury model, at a price that won't punch a hole in your wallet. Its lengthy standard features list includes a rearview camera, satellite radio and tri-zone climate control. Adaptive cruise control, a blind-spot warning system and a collision warning and braking system are all available as reasonably priced options.

  2. 2013 Ford Flex

    2. 2013 Ford Flex

    With its strikingly angular silhouette, the Ford Flex is proof that a family vehicle needn't be boring to behold. It seats up to seven passengers with ease, and even 6-footers will be comfortable in all three rows. Available features include a rear-seat DVD entertainment system, automated parallel-parking assist, blind-spot monitoring, and collision warning with active brake intervention. There's also a refrigerated console that can keep your drinks chilled on long journeys, and second-row seatbelts that inflate during a collision to mitigate injury by distributing crash forces over a larger area of the body.

  3. 2013 Honda Odyssey

    3. 2013 Honda Odyssey

    A minivan can be a useful companion on a road trip, and the Honda Odyssey is our favorite pick in the segment. Its versatile cabin seats up to eight, with second-row seats that can be configured to fit three child seats. The Odyssey's removable center console offers a useful flip-up trash-bag holder, and there's also a "cool box" beverage cooler to accommodate chilled refreshments. Available features include a blind-spot warning system and a rear-seat DVD entertainment system with a 16-inch screen capable of simultaneously displaying two different program sources.

  4. 2013 Mazda CX-5

    4. 2013 Mazda CX-5

    As one of the sportiest picks in the compact-crossover class, the Mazda CX-5 is a good bet for those seeking a vehicle that engages the driver while offering all the amenities needed for a comfortable road trip. It's also one of the most fuel-efficient picks in its class. A blind-spot warning system is available, and rear legroom is generous relative to that of other models in its segment.

  5. 2013 Mercedes-Benz E-Class

    5. 2013 Mercedes-Benz E-Class

    The Mercedes-Benz E-Class sedan is one of our top recommendations within the luxury segment, for reasons that also happen to make it an excellent choice for road trips. It's responsive enough to keep the driver entertained, while delivering ride quality that's smooth enough to transport passengers in tranquil comfort. Its elegantly austere cabin boasts a second row whose legroom is among the best in the segment. Useful road-trip safety features include an emergency telematics service, a driver-fatigue monitor, pre-collision automatic braking, blind-spot detection and a lane-departure warning system.

  6. 2013 Nissan Altima

    6. 2013 Nissan Altima

    With the Nissan Altima, you get crisp acceleration and rewarding handling that add up to create a remarkably pleasurable driving experience. Fuel economy is strong with both available engines, and a quiet cabin ensures that you can converse with those in back without having to shout. Available features include blind-spot monitoring and a lane-departure warning system.

  7. 2013 Toyota Prius V

    7. 2013 Toyota Prius V

    Given its hybrid powertrain, it's not surprising that the Toyota Prius V offers the kind of stellar fuel economy that can save you big at the pump on a long road trip. This wagon (the bigger brother to the Prius hatchback) gets an outstanding 44 city/40 highway and 42 mpg combined. What may come as a surprise for some, though, is the Prius V's palatial spaciousness, both in terms of passenger room and cargo capacity. Combine all this with its forgiving ride quality and it's clear that this wagon has what it takes to get you there in ease and comfort.

  8. 2013 Toyota Sequoia

    8. 2013 Toyota Sequoia

    If you need a gigantic SUV with plenty of hauling power, you'll want to consider the Toyota Sequoia. Its mighty V8 can tow up to 7,400 pounds, making it a winning choice for those whose road trips involve the towing of boats or campers. Within its cavernous cabin, you'll find second- and third-row seats that slide and recline, with room for up to eight passengers. Cargo capacity is generous. A blind-spot warning system and rear-seat DVD entertainment system are offered.

  9. 2013 VW Jetta SportWagen Diesel

    9. 2013 VW Jetta SportWagen Diesel

    The Volkswagen SportWagen Diesel offers roomy seating for five and a spacious 33 cubic feet of cargo capacity with the rear seats up, making it nicely sized for road-trip adventures. Its cabin is attractive to look at and it delivers a quiet, stable ride. However, its most compelling attribute is the fuel economy from its turbocharged 2.0-liter diesel engine: up to 42 mpg on the highway, depending on the transmission.

  10. 2013 Volvo XC60

    10. 2013 Volvo XC60

    You'll want your family road trip to be safe, and the Volvo XC60 offers technology that covers everything you may have worried about and then some when it comes to safety. Available features include a blind-spot warning system, collision warning and active braking, a driver-fatigue monitor and a lane-departure warning system. The spacious second row features dual, built-in booster seats for the kids, and there's a dual-screen rear DVD entertainment system available for their viewing pleasure. The XC60 also offers ride quality that's among the most agreeable in its segment.

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