For families with larger hauling needs, passenger space is paramount. But for some moms — and maybe you're one of them — the idea of shopping for a minivan holds about as much appeal as buying a new refrigerator.
While the practicality of minivans is indisputable, they aren't your only option for transporting your big family (or your carpool, gymnasts or hockey players). In fact, there are many great alternatives that provide more capability and style. And a few really haul tail. Below are 10 that rose to the top of our list.
The new Audi Q7 is one of the best-driving SUVs you can buy today. Considering its excellent road manners, all-day comfort and modern and attractive interior, you'd be hard pressed to find a better all-around performer at any price. Moms everywhere will appreciate the suite of high-tech features that assume a lot of the burden of driving, as well as the Top Safety Pick + rating from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS).
The 2016 Ford Explorer echoes the chic design of a Range Rover but at a fraction of the cost. The cabin is quiet, spacious and comfortable and a nice menu of high-tech features is available, including power-fold third-row seats and adaptive cruise control. If you're a mom who likes power (or you're buying for one), the available Ecoboost V6 engine provides it in spades.
The 2016 GMC Acadia is one of a few passenger vehicles that can accommodate eight full-size adults, which means it will handle any growth spurts your kids can muster. There's a generous 24.1 cubic-feet of cargo space behind the rear seats, and all models come standard with onboard 4G LTE Wi-Fi Internet connection. An all-new smaller, lighter and more fuel-efficient 2017 Acadia will be arriving soon and will seat up to seven passengers.
Honda's new 2016 Pilot offers a ton of useful, easy-access storage compartments as well as excellent ride and seat comfort. It has the latest in high-tech safety aids, and they helped it earn an IIHS Top Safety Pick + rating. Its V6 engine delivers robust acceleration and returns surprisingly good fuel economy for the class. There's a sophisticated all-wheel-drive system for carpool warriors who have to combat wet and snowy roads.
The Kia Sorento offers luxury-level quiet and options at a price that can't be beat. It's the only three-row crossover on this list that you can get for under $30,000, and it has the best warranty (5-year/60,000-mile comprehensive, 10-year/100,000-mile powertrain). The user-friendly controls and the attractive cabin design get high marks. The clincher is the Top Safety Pick+ designation from IIHS.
Want more "zoom-zoom" out of life? The Mazda's CX-9 is a great option. A spacious interior and easy-access third row make it practical, while a strong V6 engine and excellent steering response make it surprisingly fun to wheel around. The all-new 2016 CX-9, powered by a more fuel-efficient turbocharged 4-cylinder engine, should arrive before summer.
You could call the Mercedes-Benz GL-Class an S-Class with all-wheel drive, a third row of seats and serious ground clearance. The GL has a quiet and spacious cabin, intuitive controls, excellent visibility and the option to choose between four engines: a twin-turbo V6, turbodiesel and two twin-turbo V8s. For the 2017 model year, the GL gets a facelift and a new name: the GLS, an acknowledgement to its S-Class kinship. The 2017 models are arriving in dealerships.
Eco-minded moms with ample car-buying budgets should consider the all-new, all-electric, all-wheel-drive Tesla Model X. The Model X's cabin is whisper quiet, offers excellent visibility and seating for seven. The high-end Performance model can deliver acceleration on par with most modern day supercars without burning a drop of fuel — and that's just the beginning of a long list of its cool things.
The Toyota Highlander delivers far more for the money than you'd expect. Our reviewers give it top marks across the board for performance, comfort, value and driving enjoyment. IIHS named it a Top Safety Pick +. Adventure-lovers may want to opt for the sophisticated all-wheel-drive system to complement the 8 inches of ground clearance. And the Highlander can tow up to 5,000 pounds. Get the boat ready.
Volvo's XC90 proves that big SUVs can indeed look elegant, but its beauty is more than skin deep. Interior materials are top notch with supremely comfortable seats and all the latest technology features, including a large central touchscreen. And, as you'd expect from Volvo, it earned an IIHS Top Safety Pick + rating. Any mom — anyone, really — would feel special sliding into the driver seat.