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Best Family SUVs for 2024

Best Family SUVs for 2024

Shopping for a family SUV can get complicated. There are many variables to consider — size, safety, capability, performance, technology — and even top-rated SUVs and crossovers force some compromises. With over a dozen choices in nearly every category, picking the best SUV for your needs can seem overwhelming.

Not to worry. We're here to help you focus your search, starting with the cream of the crop according to the Edmunds testing program. Our team tests about 200 vehicles every year, putting each through a battery of tests to determine a rating. Only the finest performers make this cut, yielding SUVs in multiple sizes that are outstanding in their segments, regardless of badge or brand reputation.

Best SUVs for a family of 5 (2-row SUVs)

Two-row SUVs are a perfect starting point for most families. They offer plenty of functionality and cargo space, plus you'll have a much easier time parking in tight spots and navigating twisty roads or city streets. You'll likely save money too, both in terms of its selling price and from its better fuel economy. Unless a third-row seat is a must-have for your family, there's a lot to be said for downsizing to a two-row SUV.

1. Kia Sportage Hybrid

For those who want a family SUV but also need something more fuel-efficient, the Kia Sportage is worth considering. It does just about everything you'll want from a compact SUV. It has a smooth ride, a spacious interior, and helpful technology and driver assist features and its high fuel economy is the cherry on top. The Sportage Hybrid made such a good impression on us that we awarded it Edmunds Top Rated SUV for 2024.

Edmunds rating: 8.4 (out of 10)
Starting MSRP: $29,615

2. Honda Passport

Relaunched in 2019, this Passport is nothing like the rebadged Isuzu Amigo from the 1990s. It shares the same name and two-row configuration, but that's where the similarities end. Essentially a slightly smaller Honda Pilot, the Passport offers a stout V6 engine, standard all-wheel drive, and expansive cargo space. It also rides higher than the Pilot, making it a great pick for families that like to get out into the wild. There's even a TrailSport trim, optimized for the occasional off-road adventure. And if the Passport feels a bit too large, consider the slimmer Honda CR-V, also a perennial favorite compact two-row SUV.

Edmunds rating: 8.1 (out of 10)
Starting MSRP: $43,295

3. Subaru Outback

The Outback's wagon shape gives it the practicality of an SUV, including ample cargo space (nearly 33 cubic feet) and passenger room, but without the tall driving position that some drivers aren't sold on. Even so, the Outback packs a rugged frame and all-wheel drive system under the metal, with Jeep-like ground clearance of nearly 9 inches. The Subaru's only real deficiency is a pokey four-cylinder engine. And as long as you're not in a hurry, it returns excellent fuel economy of up to 28 mpg combined.

Edmunds rating: 7.9 (out of 10)
Starting MSRP: $30,420

4. Mazda CX-50

At the smaller end of the two-row class, the CX-50 is roomy, well-appointed, and trimmed with materials that rival more premium brands such as Audi or BMW. It's also quick and a joy to drive, with tight handling made for spirited trips through the turns. Whether that's a priority for a family SUV is debatable, but the CX-50 is inarguably the driver's pick in this group. Standard all-wheel-drive and high ground clearance also give the CX-50 light off-road capability. For a more street-oriented equivalent, check out the equally well rated Mazda CX-5.

Edmunds rating: 8.1 (out of 10)
Starting MSRP: $31,720

5. Nissan Rogue

The Rogue represents one of the best values in two-row family SUVs. Practical, fuel-efficient, and loaded with standard features and safety aids, the Rogue checks a lot of boxes for not a lot of money. Its cargo area is large and versatile, with reconfigurable floor panels for extra height and depth, and its clever in-cabin storage offers plenty of homes for personal items. The small turbo three-cylinder engine is surprisingly lively and efficient, getting up to 33 mpg combined. There are some sacrifices, including elevated road noise and a smaller back seat than competitors, but overall the Rogue is a smart pick for budget-minded buyers.

Edmunds rating: 7.8 (out of 10)
Starting MSRP: $29,810

Best family SUVs with a 3rd row

If you regularly need seating for six to eight people, we recommend a midsize or large three-row SUV. Midsize three-row SUVs typically offer ample space for kids in the back row, and at least adequate room for adults on short trips. The best examples offer plenty of leg and elbow room for both kids and adults. These are often built atop car-like platforms (which is why some call them "crossovers") for smoother ride quality and more responsive handling. And while most midsize three-row SUVs are rated to tow up to 5,000 pounds, for any serious towing of trailers or toys, we'd point you toward true full-size SUVs with truck-like underpinnings. Larger full-size SUVs typically provide even more passenger and cargo space and, true to their truck roots, offer industrial-grade toughness. That often includes robust "always on" all-wheel-drive systems to ensure traction when you need it most.

1. Kia Telluride

The Telluride continues to hold the top spot in our rankings for three-row family SUVs since its debut in 2021. It's an excellent all-around SUV that looks sharp, comes loaded with features and luxuries that typically cost extra on competitors, and offers adult-size seating in all three rows — no "kids-only" zone here. The Telluride's 3.8-liter V6 engine accelerates with authority and delivers competitive fuel economy. Factor in a compelling price starting around $37,000 and seating for up to eight passengers, plus a 10-year warranty, and it's hard to find much fault with the Telluride. If you prefer a more streamlined, classic look and some extra luxuries, consider the Hyundai Palisade. It shares the same engine, underpinnings, and many of the same in-car features but also has its own personality. Similar but smaller three-row options include the Kia Sorento and recently redesigned Hyundai Santa Fe.

Edmunds rating: 8.4 (out of 10)
Starting MSRP: $37,355

2. Toyota Grand Highlander

The regular Toyota Highlander has been a consistent three-row family SUV favorite, hampered only by a small third row and meager cargo space. The Grand Highlander remedies that with 5.5 more inches of third-row legroom and comparable cargo space to the Telluride and Volkswagen Atlas, another top three-row pick (see below). The standard turbo four-cylinder engine offers impressive fuel economy but can be slow to accelerate. There's also a hybrid version rated for up to 36 mpg combined.

Edmunds rating: 8.2 (out of 10)
Starting MSRP: $44,715

3. Volkswagen Atlas

Like the Telluride and Grand Highlander, the Atlas offers a big cabin, adult-size seating in all three rows, and ample cargo space. There's even a new off-road-inspired version with all-terrain tires and rugged styling. The Atlas's wheezy engine holds it back from our top spot, though. There's enough power for getting up to highway speeds, but the engine works hard to get there. On the other hand, fuel economy is rated at 23 mpg combined, a good return for this big VW's size.

Edmunds rating: 8.0 (out of 10)
Starting MSRP: $39,420

4. Honda Pilot

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The Pilot has long been a top pick for family SUVs, as it was among the first to offer plenty of room for both adults and kids in its third row. It's nearly identical to the Odyssey minivan counterpart in its easy driving manners, only in SUV form. And like the Odyssey, the Pilot offers all manner of clever storage nooks and spaces. Only the Pilot's somewhat dated infotainment and smaller cargo capacity keep it a notch below the top finishers in this class.

Edmunds rating: 7.9 (out of 10)
Starting MSRP: $38,495

5. Ford Expedition

Let's talk towing. While most crossover SUVs are rated to pull up to 5,000 pounds, only maximum capability will suffice for some families. If you need three rows but also need to pull a big boat, trailer or toy hauler, you'll want an SUV like the Ford Expedition. Essentially an F-150 pickup with a sizable eight-passenger cabin on top (second-row captain's chairs are optional), the Expedition pairs raw truck strength with three-row SUV space and versatility. It uses a brawny turbo V6 to pull up to 9,300 pounds when properly equipped and, despite brutish strength and traditional body-on-frame construction, remains quiet and civilized on the highway. Not surprisingly, fuel economy suffers but still sits at a respectable 19 mpg combined. Note that the Expedition ties with two other capable full-sizers, the GMC Yukon and Chevrolet Suburban. Here we give the Ford the edge based on its lower starting price.

Edmunds rating: 7.6 (out of 10)
Starting MSRP: $57,970

Finding the best SUV for your family

Before shopping, it's helpful to identify some must-have features for your family. Size is a good starting point. How big is your family and how generous are your loved ones with their cabin space? Most compact and midsize SUVs seat five in two rows, but some, like the Kia Sorento and Hyundai Santa Fe, also offer a standard or optional third row.

Cargo room is important, too, since your passengers are bound to have plenty of stuff to carry. The smallest SUVs and crossovers have enough room for five passengers and not much else, while the biggest family SUVs can accommodate up to eight passengers and whatever they might bring with them.

Remember that a larger size inversely correlates with lower gas mileage. If you need maximum mpg, look for the smallest SUV that still meets your needs. It's also worth noting that all-wheel drive generally saps fuel economy by 1 or 2 combined mpg.

Family SUV safety and technology

When your family is involved, safety is a top priority. All of today's best family SUVs will keep you safe, but consider available features that go beyond basic crash protection, such as the stability of all-wheel drive. Advanced safety systems such as automatic emergency braking and pedestrian detection are now common and can drastically reduce the severity of an accident. Options such as adaptive cruise control and lane keeping assistance can also help minimize driver fatigue on longer trips. Today's best family SUVs also offer a wide range of consumer technology, so look for features such as second- and third-row USB ports for charging phones and devices, Apple and Android smartphone integration, and wireless chargers up front to keep things cable-free and uncluttered.

Child car seats
The LATCH (Lower Anchors and Tethers for Children) protocol was introduced in 2002 to simplify the installation of child car seats. If you're shopping for a family SUV that's good for car seats, check whether your child safety seat mounts easily to the LATCH anchor points. They should be easily accessible under the rear seat cushions. Also, check to see if there's still enough room up front for driver and passenger with the seat installed in the second row. We recommend bringing your child's car seat to the dealership for a test fit.

Top family-friendly features in SUVs

Shopping for a new family SUV can highlight a dizzying array of features, all of which might seem important in theory but are sometimes of limited real-world use. Here are four features we consider especially important for family SUV shoppers:

Hands-free power liftgate: When you're approaching your car with full hands and children in tow, the last thing you want to do is wrestle with the liftgate. A hands-free power liftgate that opens by itself, typically when you wave your foot under the rear bumper with the key fob in your pocket, can be an enormous help. It's an increasingly common feature across the SUV landscape, although often limited to higher trim levels or the options list.

USB ports: Families have a lot of devices that need to be charged, so the more USB ports, the better. Many SUVs have two ports per row, enough for both front and rear passengers to stay juiced up. Some SUVs also offer a rear-seat 12-volt power port that can accept a dual-port USB adapter, while others include a household-style 120-volt outlet for directly plugging in power cords.

Rear window sunshades: Typically a higher-end feature, retractable rear sunshades help protect your little ones from the heat and rays of direct sunlight. Why buy those goofy aftermarket suction-cup sunshades if you don't have to?

Rear-seat entertainment system: Nothing's better for keeping the kids occupied on a long trip than a rear-seat entertainment system with display screens and headphones. Some systems feature screens mounted to the front headrests, just like on a plane, while others have screens that flip down from the ceiling. These systems are becoming less common with the proliferation of tablets, but some SUVs still offer larger displays that can mirror the content on tablets and devices via Wi-Fi, Bluetooth or hard-wired connection.

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