The best cars for carting kids around

Survey participants named Ford the most trusted domestic car brand. Pictured:A 2016 Ford Explorer.
Cambridge-based car-shopping company CarGurus shares its picks for the best vehicles for parents with school-aged kids. –Courtesy of Ford Motor Company

With Labor Day behind us, school is back in session. For parents, this means they will resume the role of driving their children to and from school, sports, extracurricular activities, and everywhere else they need to go.

To help consumers find the right vehicle to meet the needs of their families, Cambridge-based car-shopping company CarGurus conducted a poll to determine what is important to parents.

CarGurus’s poll found 38 percent of respondents with school-aged kids estimated they spend 30 minutes to an hour in their car with their kids every weekday. Another 33 percent reported they spend more than an hour every weekday in their car with their kids.


Based on readers’ input, CarGurus released its “Top Ten Family-Friendly Kid-Haulers.’’

CarGurus focused its selection by looking at currently available models. The cars must have received at least a four-star rating from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, offer lots of cargo space, and include “relevant’’ technology features.

“Parents have too much to do these days, so we’re trying to save people time on researching safe vehicles,’’ said Steve Halloran, CarGurus’ chief editor in a phone call.

(Disclosure: CarGurus is a technology partner, powering the Cars section search functionality.)

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See CarGurus’s pick for best family-friendly cars:

Halloran said the company’s list is meant to “eliminate guesswork’’ for parents looking for a new set of wheels. Given how much time respondents say they spend in their cars with their kids, he believes the vehicles’ technology will come in very handy.

“Any parent understands the value of an active TV to distract a child’s attention,’’ said Halloran. “It’s a tool of sedation and relaxation to minimize kids’ time for other activities like beating up their [siblings].’’

Other kid-friendly features include a vacuum cleaner, which can be found in the Honda Odyssey.


The list includes a range of midsize SUVs, minivans, and one large SUV. They range in price from $22,995 to $42,865.

Amy Mueller, CarGurus’ director of public relations and a contributor to the list, told the list is aimed at being “sensitive to the needs’’ of families.

“We were really trying to identify the cars that gave families the cargo space they needed, an extra row of seating, and of course, high safety ratings, which are a concern for most drivers’’ said Mueller. “When you look across the spectrum, you’ll find a variety [of vehicles] that appeal to different families.’’

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