Best Minivans & SUVs For Hauling The Family (7 Great Choices)
Best All-Around: Toyota Highlander
If an SUV is more your style than a minivan is, there’s no better choice than our top-rated Toyota Highlander. Family-friendly and spacious, the Highlander offers a comfortable and quiet ride, with seating for up to eight, and a third row that’s roomy enough for three small kids. You can choose a bench seat or captain’s chairs in the second row. Controls feature big knobs and large instruments. Our tested V6 version was smooth and powerful, and returned 20 mpg overall. A 25-mpg hybrid is also available. Reliability has consistently been stellar. Seats eight.
Van-tastic! Toyota Sienna
If room for gear is more important, the Toyota Sienna wins. It shares its smooth, punchy V6 with the Highlander. It also has available all-wheel drive. Innovative and versatile interior packaging allows room for lots of stuff. The second-row center seat stows in the back when it’s not needed. A recent freshening made the Sienna quieter. Seats eight.
Weekend warrior: Hyundai Santa Fe & Santa Fe Sport
The seven-passenger Hyundai Santa Fe is one of the most pleasant and well-rounded three-row SUVs on the market. It’s functional yet stylish, without being so big that it’s too bulky to drive or park. The comfortable ride and quiet interior make it a welcome family-road-trip companion. The limo-like middle-row seats are a bonus, but the third row is cramped and hard to get to. Fuel economy from the standard V6 engine is impressive. We measured 20 mpg overall in our testing—1 to 2 mpg better than most competitors. Seats seven.
Super SUV: Kia Sorento
Forget everything you might think about Kia being a cut-rate brand. The midsized Kia Sorento’s 2016 redesign transformed it into a vastly improved SUV. The cabin is quiet and well-equipped for the money, and ride comfort has improved. Handling is responsive and secure. Fuel economy is an impressive 21 mpg overall. Available safety gear includes forward-collision warning, blind-spot detection, and rear cross-traffic alert, as well as a surround-view monitor. Good crash-test results are a plus. Seats seven.
New kid on the block: Honda Pilot
Long a top-scorer in our tests, the Honda Pilot has always been a family-friendly choice. A redesigned Pilot has just landed, and our borrowed model has us thinking that the new version has a lot of potential. We like the smooth, punchy powertrain and the spacious, quiet, and airy cabin. Clever second-row seats fold away at the push of a button for easier third-row access, and big windows offer much better visibility than most modern SUVs. We’ll know more soon, once testing is complete. Seats eight.
Honda Pilot The Mother of All Minivans: Honda Odyssey
Nothing beats the space you’ll find in a minivan. A perennial high-scorer and one of our favorites, the Honda Odyssey combines average reliability, impressive fuel economy, and surprisingly responsive handling for a vehicle its size. The versatile cabin fits up to eight occupants, with lots of storage bins and cubbies. Big sliding doors make for easy access. When you’re carting the gridiron gang’s shoulder pads, the third row folds into the floor and the second-row seats can be removed entirely. An optional built-in vacuum can suck up wayward Cheerios. Seats eight.
Have board, will travel:
If you’re looking for luxury comfort with truck-like capability, the Dodge Durango might be your best bet. It has serious towing capacity for boats or campers yet is roomy and quiet inside. Comfortable seats and a steady ride make it feel premium. The optional U-connect 8.4-inch infotainment system is one of the best—it’s easy to use and offers Wi-Fi to keep the kids occupied. Owner satisfaction is high in our surveys. Seats seven.