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With dozens of SUV models available, choosing one can be tough. Maybe this will help. Used and new. Big and small. These are the best family SUVs.

Factors to Consider

Family packing their SUV
Family packing their SUV

The popularity of the SUV soared since the early 2000s and it’s easy to understand why. They offer versatility that’s hard to compete with. Storage space, room for passengers, a number of drivetrain options, and generally good gas mileage are all reasons people turn to the SUV, whether they’re a single driver or have a cabin full of children.

No matter the flexibility that a SUV offers, there are always key factors to consider: price, safety, and size. A low price, with a lot of safety, and a decent amount of space is ideal, right? We’ve taken those factors, and others, into account when compiling this list of the best family SUVs.

Toyota Highlander

2022 Toyota Highlander - toyota.com
2022 Toyota Highlander - toyota.com

Toyota markets the idea of having more quality family time with a Highlander. They’re not far off with that message. This three-row mid-size SUV offers so many configurations that it’s sure to attract a wide audience. A V6 engine or an optional hybrid setup? AWD or FWD? Those are some of the options to choose from in trim levels that range between $36,420 and $50,225.

All trims can seat eight people, but those higher than a LE can be arranged with second-row captain’s chairs. Legroom up front equals 42 inches and second-row space only moves down to 41 inches. Passengers in the third row can stretch their legs in a 27.7-inch space. 16 cu. ft. for cargo becomes 48.4 cu. ft. when folding down the third-row seats.

2022 Toyota Highlander - toyota.com
2022 Toyota Highlander - toyota.com

A 12.3” touchscreen makes it easy to control features of the Highlander. Of course, it’s packed with integration. Customers expect Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, Amazon, Alexa, Bluetooth, and Wi-Fi hotspot capability. Customers get that with all 2022 Toyota Highlander models. The L has less USB ports, but all others have five spread throughout the cabin. Higher trims receive front-row wireless charging and an 11-speaker JBL speaker system.

Safety isn’t lacking either. No matter the trim, every 2022 Toyota Highlander model comes with the Toyota Safety Sense 2.5+ package. From lane-keep assist and emergency steering assist to automatic braking, automatic high-beams, and road sign recognition. Those features, and more, are all there. Used models have a lot of these same features, too.

Ford Explorer

2022 Ford Explorer - ford.com
2022 Ford Explorer - ford.com

The 2022 Ford Explorer also offers a whole heap of trim options, including a seven-seat configuration with a bench in the second row. Optional captain’s chairs in the XLT eliminates one spot. Regardless of the layout, there is a good amount of legroom. There is 43 inches in the front, 39 inches for second-row passengers, and 32.2 inches for passengers in the third row. Cargo space isn’t bad either, measuring in at 18.2 cu. ft. with all the seats in place. When the seats are folded, cargo capacity increases to 87.8 cu. ft.

Not without an impressive safety suite, standard features for the 2022 Ford Explorer include blind-spot monitoring, automatic emergency braking, rear cross-traffic alert, and lane departure warning. Of course, eager shoppers can always add on adaptive cruise control, lane centering, and automatic parking assist.

2022 Ford Explorer - ford.com
2022 Ford Explorer - ford.com

Starting with the ST, a 12.3-inch digital instrument cluster becomes standard, but it’s the passengers who matter in a family vehicle, right? Tri-zone automatic climate control, satellite radio, Bluetooth, and USB ports are all expected these days, so Ford made those features standard. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are also included. Going up trim levels will get extra USB ports, wireless charging, and heated second-row seats. With a range in features and pricing, from $34,345 to $55,000, the 2022 Ford Explorer isn’t a bad choice at all.

Chevrolet Tahoe

2022 Chevrolet Tahoe - chevrolet.com
2022 Chevrolet Tahoe - chevrolet.com

The full-sized Chevrolet Tahoe isn’t a newcomer to the SUV market, but the 2021 model year was completely redesigned, now offering three engine options. A 2022 Chevrolet Tahoe can seat up to eight people and the six trims offer various engine and seating configurations. The price, of course, varies, too. A High Country Tahoe starts at $70,000 while the LS starts at $49,700.

The Tahoe comes with plenty of family-friendly features, like: a 10.2-inch infotainment touchscreen, two 12.6-inch displays mounted behind the front seats, and all the connectivity options available. Safety is abundant, too. Forward-collision warning, lane-departure warning, blind-spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic alerts, and lane-keeping assist are a few of the standard driver assists in several of the 2022 Chevrolet Tahoe trims.

2022 Chevrolet Tahoe - chevrolet.com
2022 Chevrolet Tahoe - chevrolet.com

The 2022 model, specifically, has the biggest interior yet. The third row has 10 extra inches of legroom and the second-row seats can adjust forward or back as needed. Behind the third row sits 25 cu. ft. of cargo space. With the front two rows folded down, that number increases to 123 cu. ft. All-in-all, the 2022 Chevrolet Tahoe has a lot to offer, but there are plenty of used models to choose from that won’t give up too many amenities and will also save some cash.

Toyota RAV4

2021 Toyota RAV4 - toyota.com
2021 Toyota RAV4 - toyota.com

Another big seller, the two-row Toyota RAV4 has it all: great gas mileage, a hybrid option, a lengthy list of safety and infotainment features. The 2021 RAV4 doesn’t lack in accommodating interior space either, whether it’s cargo room or cabin seating for up to five people. Legroom in front measures in at 41 inches for the driver and front passenger. Behind that, the passengers get 37.8 inches of legroom. In the far back, behind the rear seat, is 37 cu. ft. of cargo space. Folding the seats down increases that to 69.8 cu. ft., one of the highest in the compact SUV class.

Keeping everyone entertained is easier with standard Android, Apple, and Bluetooth integration. Amazon Alexa, satellite radio, and a Wi-Fi hot spot are there too. Going up to one of the higher six trims increases touchscreen size from seven inches to eight inches. A six-speaker stereo increases to an 11-speaker JBL sound system. There are also four more USB ports for passengers in the back. Dual-zone climate control is another feature that’s popular and available to add on.

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2021 Toyota RAV4 - pressroom.toyota.com
2021 Toyota RAV4 - pressroom.toyota.com

The 2021 RAV4 got a five-star NHTSA rating. Features like forward collision warning, lane keep assist, and pedestrian detection are about half the list of standard inclusions. Advanced safety features include: blind spot monitoring, rear-cross traffic alert, and rain-sensing windshield wipers. Toyota is another company that has a history of including safety features on lower trims, so considering a used RAV4 widens the buying options.

Hyundai Palisade

2022 Hyundai Palisade - hyundainews.com
2022 Hyundai Palisade - hyundainews.com

Still a newcomer, the Hyundai Palisade is now the company’s flagship SUV and largest vehicle in their lineup. Three rows seat up to eight passengers, depending on seating configurations.

Starting at $33,150, the 2022 Palisade comes in four trims. Models above the SEL have most anything a modern family could ask for. From underfloor storage compartments to a 10.25-inch color touchscreen to help with infotainment and navigation. SiriusXM, Android Auto, and Apple CarPlay are all there. There’s an in-car intercom to vocalize those polite requests for the kids in the back to settle down.

2022 Hyundai Palisade - hyundainews.com
2022 Hyundai Palisade - hyundainews.com

Speaking of the back, the third row has HVAC vents, 31.4 inches of legroom, and a 60/40 split for folding. The third-row reclines or can be power folded down. Legroom farther up isn’t bad either. The second-row measures 42.4 inches, while the front row has 44.1 inches of legroom.

Standard safety on the higher trims is comprehensive. Driver attention warning, lane keeping assist, blind-spot collision avoidance, rear cross-traffic avoidance, and highway driving assist are just a few of the many features. The lower trims have a handful of features as well, but SEL or higher is probably the way to go here. Being so new, it’s possible to save a few bucks on a used higher trim, which should still have the latest modern features.

Honda CR-V

2022 Honda CR-V - hondanews.com
2022 Honda CR-V - hondanews.com

The 2022 CR-V, Honda’s pride and joy, starts at $25,750. There’s also now a CR-V hybrid. Gas mileage isn’t bad on any of the five trims. Amenities in the Touring are the hands-free power tailgate and 4-way power adjustment for the front passenger.

Two rows in this mid-size SUV seat five people. It has a 60/40 split rear seatback, so the 39.2 cu. ft. of cargo space expands to 75.8 cu. ft. One of the nicest things about the new Honda CR-Vs is that every trim comes with the Honda Sensing safety suite. There’s no debating what features are more important because it’s all standard. That suite includes: collision mitigation braking, adaptive cruise control, lane keeping assist, traffic sign recognition, blind spot warning, cross traffic monitoring, and auto high-beam lights.

2022 Honda CR-V - hondanews.com
2022 Honda CR-V - hondanews.com

No major changes in the past few years means buying used is an option. It should be noted that a 2020 model year and beyond will get that standard Honda Sensing safety suite. Anything before that may not have every safety feature the newer Hondas come with.

A four-speaker stereo, Bluetooth, and a USB port are all standard on the base model. Moving up to other trims will get the bulk of the technology. A seven-inch touchscreen, Android Auto, Apple CarPlay, satellite radio, more USB ports are all added. There’s also a six-speaker, eight-speaker, or nine-speaker stereo.

Kia Telluride

2022 Kia Telluride - kiamedia.com
2022 Kia Telluride - kiamedia.com

Ever since it debuted in 2019 as a 2020 model year, the Kia Telluride has been turning heads. Sure, the exterior styling is on point, but the ride, handling, and features are all getting praise, too. The 2022 model of this three-row mid-size SUV has a MSRP starting at $32,790 on the base trim. The SX trim starts at $42,690. That’s a great price for a vehicle that seats eight people and has all of the features described below!

Safety is pretty standard throughout all four trim levels. Automatic high-beams are only available in the top SX trim, but forward collision warning and assist, blind-spot monitoring and assist, lane departure warning, lane keeping assist, and even highway driving assist are all included, no matter which trim is purchased.

2022 Kia Telluride - kiamedia.com
2022 Kia Telluride - kiamedia.com

Bluetooth, several USB charger ports, a driver intercom system, Android Auto, Apple CarPlay, and a 10.25-inch touchscreen are part of the standard entertainment that can be found in the 2022 Kia Telluride. The six speakers that are standard upgrade to a Harman Kardon 10-speaker system with the SX trim though.

Cargo options aren’t limited either. There is regularly 21 cu. ft. of cargo space behind the third row. A one-touch sliding and folding second row is included on all trims. 60/40 split-folding second-row seats are included in the LX and EX trims. Meanwhile, 50/50 split-folding second-row seats are included on the S and SX trims. The 50/50 split is also available on the EX trim. Moving on to the third-row options, reclining seats with a 60/40 split are included in all trim levels. Basically, a piece of furniture or a large electronic should fit in the Telluride, especially if folding seats down is an option. Family should all fit in there without issues.

Which is best?

2021 Ford Expedition - ford.com
2021 Ford Expedition - ford.com

With two incomes available, something like the Kia Telluride, Hyundai Palisade, or Chevrolet Tahoe won’t steer you wrong. There’s so much that they offer.

On a budget, a lower trim Honda CR-V is a perfectly fine vehicle. No, there won’t be as many amenities or luxury elements, but all the vehicles here have space, technology, comfort, power, and versatility. It just depends how much of that you need and if finances will allow it.

If the SUVs on this don’t quite suit your tastes, there’s good news: there are plenty of other options. The Nissan Murano, Ford Expedition, Subaru Outback, and Lincoln Navigator are just a few of the SUVs that didn’t make this list. You can explore Cars For Sale for any of those vehicles, searching by body style, make, model, and many other features. Happy searching!

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Jesse Batson

Jesse Batson earned his journalism degree from South Dakota State University. No stranger to newsgathering and reporting, Jesse spent 13 years in TV news. 10 of those years were spent working in Charlotte, NC, home of NASCAR. A highlight of his time there was being able to take a lap around the Charlotte Motor Speedway. His interest in vehicles, starting with Matchbox cars, a Big Wheel, and the Transformers, evolved into taking photos of motocross events. Now, he puts his research skills to use on car culture, reviews, and comparisons.

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