You want to keep your family safe whether you’re all tucked in at home or out on the road. However, picking a safe, family-friendly vehicle can be a daunting task. You need a car that offers safety, comfort, and convenience — all in a package that you can afford. Whether you’re looking for a comfy family sedan or need the extra room of a minivan, we’ve identified the year’s best cars for getting your family safely from point A to point B.
To make this list, we looked for vehicles with outstanding ratings for both safety and family-friendly amenities. For safety, we started with the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) 2016 Safety Ratings. IIHS recognizes cars based on crashworthiness, as well as crash avoidance and mitigation. Next, we looked at Kelley Blue Book’s Best Family Cars of 2016. We cross-referenced vehicles that scored well on both lists to identify our top 10 safety rated cars for your family.
These sedans are roomy enough for small families with four to five people, and they come with a moderate price tag. They all received the IIHS Top Safety Pick Plus (TSP+) rating when optional front crash prevention is elected.
1. Honda Accord
The optional Honda Sensing package, which includes adaptive cruise control and lane departure warnings, makes the 4-door Honda Accord sedan one of the safest versions yet. The addition of a split-folding rear seat also makes it more convenient for varied family and cargo needs.
2. Kia Optima
The Kia Optima’s lower anchors and tethers for children (LATCH) make car seat installation easy, and the roomy back seat feels more like a full-size sedan. The Optima also comes standard with seven airbags, a backup camera, and hill assist.
3. Hyundai Sonata
Equipped with a remote keyless entry system and a front passenger classification system to regulate airbag deployment, the 2016 Hyundai Sonata seamlessly combines luxury and safety. Growing families will love the spacious interior, while optional safety features like blind spot detection help make select packages even more secure.
4. Honda Civic
The second midsize Honda sedan on this list, the 2016 Civic offers incredible gas mileage up to 42 MPG for highway driving and 31 MPG for city driving, making it a great option for families on a budget. In addition to the optional Honda Sensing package, the car boasts other impressive safety features, including a multi-angle rearview camera and brake assist for quick stopping.
When you need more room and versatility than a sedan but still want efficient gas mileage, a compact SUV is the perfect choice. Keep your crew safe and comfortable in these top IIHS-rated vehicles.
5. Subaru Outback
The Outback combines the best of both worlds — the maneuverability of a sedan and the versatility of an SUV. Its standard all-wheel drive system brings stability and security to all road conditions and offers almost 9 inches of ground clearance. Customizable cargo room and reclining back seats help round out the appeal of this family vehicle.
6. Honda CR-V
This is the third consecutive year that Kelley Blue Book has recognized the CR-V as one of their best family cars. This crossover can easily fit two child safety seats in the second row, and when you need more cargo space, those back seats can be folded down for over 70 cubic feet of cargo room. The CR-V also comes standard with a backup camera, along with stability and traction control.
Larger families, or those that haul a lot of cargo, will appreciate the room and configurable setup of these midsize SUVs. Both of these picks received a TSP+ rating and high marks from Kelley Blue Book.
7. Honda Pilot
The Pilot packs in all the perks of a minivan without being a minivan. There are enough seats and seatbelts to accommodate eight passengers, and the cargo well behind the third row lets you haul what you need without sacrificing seat space. In terms of safety, the optional Lane Departure Warning system helps keep the vehicle in its lane while reducing driving effort and fatigue.
8. Toyota Highlander
Equipped with a Blu-ray DVD system and 9-inch screen, the Highlander will keep little ones entertained around town and during long road trips. Depending on the package you select, you may also have access to Blind Spot Monitoring and rear parking assist.
Large families that need to haul a good number of people and their gear may want to consider the roomy convenience of a minivan. Those listed below earned Top Safety Pick (TSP) ratings from the IIHS and offer plenty of family-friendly amenities.
9. Honda Odyssey
Also recognized by Kelley Blue Book as one of the best minivans of 2016, the Odyssey includes a spacious third row with plenty of legroom and can take up to three child seats on the second row. Steering control is sharp and responsive, and this minivan is friendly to the pocketbook — both for gas mileage and purchase price. Plus, thanks to an extensive airbag deployment system and rollover sensors, you can take comfort in knowing you’ll be traveling securely.
10. Kia Sedona
This minivan is smaller than the Honda Odyssey, but still manages to keep things comfortable while seating up to eight passengers. Gadget lovers will really adore the Sedona — it comes with a clean navigation system, a number of USB ports, Bluetooth streaming, and both collision mitigation and lane guidance. As a newcomer to the minivan market, this is one to watch.
Keeping your family safe is important, and buying the right vehicle provides extra peace of mind. Thanks to technological advances, safety features like backup cameras and lane guidance are becoming standard. Use this guide to help you make the right vehicle pick for your family, and once you’ve made your choice, don’t forget to consider additional safety accessories to maximize your family’s security on the road.
Written by Rebecca Edwards
Rebecca has honed her safety and security skills as both a single mom and a college director. Being responsible for the well-being of others helped her learn how to minimize risk and create safe environments. Learn more