When you're looking for the best SUV for your family, there are many factors to consider. Size, safety and performance are all part of the equation, but even top-rated SUVs and crossovers make some compromises. There are dozens of choices in almost every category, so choosing the right SUV can get complicated.
To help you narrow down your search, we'll tell you about the top-rated family SUVs and crossovers based on Edmunds' expert testing. But it's not just about what we think; it's also about your specific needs and circumstances. So let's begin with a few pieces of buying advice that apply to anyone who's shopping for the best family SUV.
By the way, if you're just here for the expert ratings and recommendations, scroll down a couple of sections and you can dive right in.
Finding the Best Family SUV for You
As a first step, we recommend identifying must-have features for your family so you can dispense with any SUVs that don't deliver. Size is a good starting point. How big is your family and how willing are your loved ones to share their space? Most compact and midsize SUVs seat five in two rows, but many also offer the option of a third row. Cargo room is important, too, since all those passengers are bound to have plenty of stuff to carry with them. The smallest SUVs and crossovers have enough room for five and not much else, while the biggest family SUVs can accommodate up to nine passengers and whatever they might bring. Don't forget that size is inversely correlated with gas mileage, generally speaking, so if you need maximum mpg, go with the smallest SUV you can live with.
Edmunds' Top-Rated Family SUVs
Let's look at the latest results from the Edmunds testing program. Our vehicle testing team subjects approximately 200 vehicles every year to a full battery of tests and rates each vehicle on a five-star scale. Only the finest performers make the cut for our top-rated lists. Here are the best SUVs for families, according to our vehicle experts.
Best 3-Row SUVs for Families
If you plan to use the third row in your family SUV, we prefer the larger vehicles in the midsize class since they use carlike platforms for refined driving dynamics. But if you also plan to do some serious towing or hauling, we'd point you toward true full-size SUVs with trucklike underpinnings, such as the new Ford Expedition. The midsize models offer enough room in the third row to seat children comfortably and even accommodate adults for shorter trips, while the full-size SUVs offer industrial-grade toughness and even more room, along with plenty of usable cargo space behind the third row.