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2012 Best Cars for Families

Best Cars for Families 2012

The 2012 U.S. News Best Cars for Families Awards help busy parents navigate the confusing new car market by highlighting cars, minivans and SUVs that provide the best combination of features, utility, safety and reliability. The 17 Best Cars for Families award winners provide the safety, features and ownership experience today’s families demand.

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The Winners

With 17 award winners across 18 automotive categories, the U.S. News Best Cars for Families Awards spotlight cars that will suit any family’s lifestyle and budget. Large families will appreciate the comfort and space of the seven-seat Honda Odyssey, the 2012 Best Minivan for Families. If families need rugged towing and foul-weather abilities, the Toyota Sequoia, the 2012 Best Affordable Full-Size SUV for Families, offers seating for seven and enough power to tackle what active families throw its way.

Smaller families can find plenty to like in the Subaru Impreza, the 2012 Best Compact Car for Families, or the Honda Fit, which is both the 2012 Best Subcompact Car for Families and the 2012 Best Hatchback for Families. In addition to providing a driving experience that car reviewers love, the Impreza has standard all-wheel drive and is an Insurance Institute for Highway Safety Top Safety Pick. The Honda Fit offers 20.6 cubic feet of cargo space with all seats in use, which is an unusually high amount for a small car, and more than enough space for any city family’s gear.

The Ford Edge, the 2012 Best Two-Row Midsize SUV for Families, and the Buick Enclave, the 2012 Best Three-Row Midsize SUV for Families, will appeal to families who have two or three kids, but want extra space for carpooling or for the family dog. The Ford Edge features the high-tech Ford SYNC infotainment system, which helps the driver keep everyone safer by using voice commands to control most in-car entertainment and comfort systems. The Buick Enclave has a third row that’s comfortable enough for adults, making it a great choice for families with teens.

Finding the right family car can be overwhelming. While features like rear-seat entertainment systems and wi-fi hotspots grab attention, truly family-friendly cars also offer safety, reliability and utility. The U.S. News Best Cars for Families Awards identify vehicles that offer the best combination of the bells and whistles today’s families want, and the basics they need. The winning vehicles may not put an end to back-seat squabbles, but they should make life for parents just a little bit easier.

See photos of the 2012 Best Cars for Families and also check out the U.S. News Best Car Rankings for a complete list of the best cars on the market. If you want a great deal on a new car, check out this month's Best Car Deals.