Best SUVs for New Families

The best SUVs for families once tended to be a relatively short list, but recently, the explosion of availability and affordability of crossover SUVs, those built not on a truck platform, but on car platforms, have brought SUVs into the light of day. These family vehicles are as affordable as sedans, as well-appointed as luxury cars from just a few years ago, and even the safest SUVs are fun and invigorating to drive. The Best SUVs that you can use as family vehicles today are economical, safe and will easily last over 200,000 miles with the proper care, making them more desirable for new families than ever before.

2012 Hyundai Tucson- Starting at $19,045

The 2012 Hyundai Tucson is one of the best SUVs for families because it has a reputation of not only being one of the safest SUVs according to Insurance Institute for Highway Safety crash testing, but because in base configuration, it can be purchased for under twenty thousand dollars. This doesn’t even figure in rebates and incentives, which make it one of the best deals on new vehicles, as well. As a family vehicle, the Hyundai Tucson is spacious, providing plenty of interior room, and loaded with options packages. You can select either a five-speed manual transmission or a six-speed automatic. Coupled with any of the three engine options available, this family car gets approximately 25 combined miles per gallon. Consumer Reports gave the 2012 Hyundai Tucson their personal recommendation for this model year, thanks to its reliability, efficiency, and cost.

2012 Chevrolet Equinox- Starting at $22,995

Chevrolet really hit a home run with the Malibu, a stylish and practical car that finally put GM into a position to leverage some strength over domestic auto production. Thankfully, the design philosophy that led the way for the Malibu has been slowly transforming the other vehicles in Chevrolet’s lineup. As a family vehicle, the 2012 Chevrolet Equinox is slightly larger than the Hyundai Tucson, and though it’s fuel economy suffers for it, it is available with a 264-horsepower V6 engine and the capability to tow up to 3,500 pounds. The Equinox earned very good marks in IIHS crash testing, making it one of the best SUVs for families that you can buy in this price range, and one of the safest SUVs in production. One of the biggest advantages of the 2012 Chevrolet Equinox is the availability of a rear-seat entertainment system with noise-canceling headphones- just the thing for making the family road trip a bearable experience.

2012 Toyota Highlander- Starting at $28,090

The 2012 Toyota Highlander is in many respects the perfect SUV for new families. Although it does stand as the most expensive of the three listed family cars, it provides something that the other two do not. That is Toyota’s legendary reliability and resale value. Most owners of Toyota Highlanders have little, if anything bad to say about them. Perhaps the weakest point that should be taken into consideration is the relatively poor fuel economy, which is still on par with the Equinox, even though the Highlander is capable of towing as much as 5,000 pounds with its 270-horsepower V6 engine. Additionally, the Toyota Highlander can be outfitted with any of a number of options and packages, bringing it up to rival far more expensive and exclusive SUVs from Mercedes and BMW. This family vehicle avoids that level of pretensiousness, though. Not only did the Toyota Highlander earn Consumer Reports’ recommendation for the 2012 model year, but it also scored very well in IIHS crash testing results making it one of the safest SUVs in its category and on the road. The Highlander is also available in a hybrid model for 2012, that provides 28 combined miles per gallon, but reduces its towing capacity to just 3,500 pounds.

The best SUVs for new families have to be reliable, and all three of these family vehicles live up to that promise. With the Highlander being the largest and the Tucson being the smallest, they all fit a niche for new families, providing seating for up to five, excellent safety records and decent cargo room. These three vehicles stand as the benchmark by which other SUVs should be judged in your buying decision.

Insurance Institute For Highway Safety: Top Safety Pick 2011:
Hyundai: 2012 Hyundai Tucson:
Chevrolet: 2012 Chevrolet Equinox:
Toyota: 2012 Toyota Highlander:
Consumer Reports: 2012 New Car Preview: Consumer Reports Publications

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