New report reveals top 2014 family cars

February 14, 2014 12:00 AM

There are specific features that consumers must assess when buying a vehicle for their family. Obviously, these buyers look for automobiles that with the proper scheduled maintenance, can ensure a safe ride for all of their loved ones. Additionally, they need to be sure that there is enough seating for every member of their family. However, there are other aspects to take into account as well, depending on the size of the family and the budget. While minivans and SUVs have always been a go-to for families, some don't require all that space. With so much to consider, it can be challenging to determine the right fit. Fortunately, Kelley Blue Book recently identified the Best Family Cars available in America for 2014.

The selection process
KBB had a wealth of data at their disposal for making their top picks - including expert ratings of more than 300 vehicles that the firm tests annually. Editors at the site were given a number of potential candidates from this list, and they then voted on which they believed to be optimal family haulers. After the responses were collected and tallied, the cars that got four or more votes were entered into a driving-and-usability test. Mainstream models from each manufacturer then went through the same real-world assessments. For example, staff members attempted to load the cargo area, installed and uninstalled car seats, invited their kids to climb in and out of the vehicles, and even gave the rear-seat entertainment systems a try. Then the panel compared notes to determine which models were superior.

The results
A total of 11 brands landed on the final list, including seven sedans, six small SUVs, five midsize SUVs, two minivans, and one hybrid wagon. It's no surprise that minivans, like the 2014 Honda Odyssey and 2014 Toyota Sienna, and SUVs, such as the 2014 Nissan Pathfinder, 2014 Honda Pilot, 2014 Ford Flex and 2014 Chevrolet Traverse, made the cut. Still, there were a few unexpected recommendations on the list.

"We were surprised at the number of sedans that made the Best Family Cars list this year," said Jack R. Nerad, executive editorial director and executive market analyst for Kelley Blue Book's "Once upon a time before minivans and SUVs, sedans were the primary family car of choice, and this year's list proves the modern sedan still makes a fine family car with the 2014 Honda Accord, Chevrolet Impala and Nissan Altima all landing a spot among the best."

Other standouts included the Honda CR-V, Nissan Rogue and Subaru Forester.

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