Just like our families, the top family cars of 2017 come in all shapes and sizes. However, one look at the school drop-offs, soccer practices, and recent sales trends make it blatantly clear that today’s top Canadian family cars are far from yesterday’s sedans. In fact, the best family cars today are actually crossovers, minivans, and SUVs with plenty of space, ample seating, and a ton of tech features. Here’s a look at our top five.
2017 Toyota Highlander
Earning the top spot due to its everyday practicality and contemporary charm, the 2017 Toyota Highlander scores high marks in comfort, versatility, and its perfect execution of both function and form. While the updated Highlander is an IIHS Top Safety Pick and has a 5-Star safety rating from the NHTSA, it features a bolder new look with a more aggressive exterior and a roomy leather-lined interior for up to eight passengers to enjoy.
As far as features go, the 2017 Highlander just about has them all. With comfortable third-row seating, a voluminous center console, Toyota’s Entune multimedia system, three-zone climate control, and much more, both you and your children will enjoy a more convenient, and most importantly, a more enjoyable ride.
Under the hood, both the LE and Hybrid models boast a 3.5-liter V6 capable of producing a generous 295 horsepower. Paired with a new eight-speed automatic transmission, it can dart from 0-60 mph faster than most cars on the road. With the ability to carry eight passengers and tow up to 5,000 pounds as well, there’s seemingly no limit to what this family-friendly vehicle can do.
- Five-Star safety rating
- Seating for eight
- Excellent infotainment system
- Lower fuel economy
- Loose handling
2017 Nissan Pathfinder
One of the key factors to consider when shopping for a family-friendly vehicle is how well it’s able to please its passengers. The 2017 Nissan Pathfinder excels in this area. With a roomy cabin that can be transitioned quickly from a cavernous 80 cubic feet of cargo space to third-row seating for seven, it’s one of the most versatile and user-friendly cars on the market.
Other neat features of the Pathfinder include an exclusive 360-degree monitoring system, motion activated power lift gate, eight-inch infotainment display, Nissan Connect Voice Recognition System, and drive-assist just to name a few.
Mechanically, the 2017 Pathfinder is equipped with a 3.5-liter V6 with direct fuel injection, boosting the horsepower of the award-winning motor up to a whopping 284. This makes it a more than capable comfy cruiser that’s ready for family trips and the open road. With an Xtronic CVT transmission as well, the Pathfinder has plenty of passing power yet maintains a respectable fuel economy.
- Roomy and inviting cabin
- EZ Flex and Glide System
- Great safety features
- Exterior styling
- Lacks seating for eight
2017 Honda HR-V
The Honda HR-V isn’t the biggest family car on this list, but the crossover’s roomy interior proves you can’t judge a book by its cover. With 60 cubic feet of cargo space, it easily offers more storage space than many of its rivals. That being said, large families may be disappointed by the HR-V’s lack of a third-row seat.
However, the Honda HR-V makes up for this by offering solid road performance and premium features typically found in pricier luxury vehicles, such as heated leather seats and an optional LaneWatch system. Nonetheless, the highlight of the Honda HR-V is its crisp and economical 1.8-liter 4-cylinder motor. Combined with a refined six-speed manual or automatic CVT transmission, this family-friendly crossover is great for running around town and moderate highway cruising.
When all is said and done, the 2017 HR-V is a fun, reliable, and fuel-efficient option with a roomy interior for young families and the versatility to adapt to any task. With so much to offer and an affordable price tag to boot, you’re certain to see more and more of these inspiring crossovers at school, the ballfield, grocery store, and everywhere else life takes you.
- Surprisingly roomy interior
- Good fuel economy
- Just the right amount of features
- Lacking some power
- No third-row seating
2017 Chrysler Pacifica
As the new and completely revamped replacement for what many consider the prototypical crossover, the 2017 Chrysler Pacifica has plenty of room, great styling, and an assortment of features made for the modern family to enjoy. Even in the less expensive trim levels, the all-new Pacifica is impeccably finished with a rich, upscale interior full of plush yet easy to clean materials.
As a replacement for the standard minivan, the Pacifica has more than enough interior room for an entire clan of family members. In addition to space, you’ll find a seamlessly integrated center infotainment console, front bucket seats, Stow ‘n Go rear seating or removable captain’s chairs, and a handy third row that disappears into the floor for quick conversion and extra cargo room when needed. It’s without a doubt one of the roomiest family vehicles on the market.
All standard Pacificas feature a capable 3.6-liter V6 engine and a nine-speed automatic transmission, allowing them to produce up to 287 horses and cruise for 28 miles per gallon of gas. The Pacifica Hybrid is equipped with the same 3.6-liter V6 but also has an electric motor and a lithium ion battery pack. While the combined horsepower output of the Hybrid is slightly lower, it offers a more respectable fuel efficiency of 33 mpg.
- Affordable pricing
- Spacious, family-friendly interior
- Nice features and finishes
- Styled like a traditional minivan
- Handling could be improved
2017 Subaru Outback
The 2017 Subaru Outback is one of the most practical and versatile family cars your hard-earned money can buy. There’s plenty that goes into making the Outback so special. From its advanced safety features and standard all-wheel drive to its fuel efficiency and great resale value, the Outback is a standout in every regard.
To say that the two-row, five-passenger crossover is capable would be an understatement. With a generous 8.7 inches of ground clearance and unique X-Mode off-road system, it inspires adventure and can travel virtually anywhere.
However, the Outback is just as at home taking the kids to and from soccer practice as it is tackling an off-road adventure. With plenty of leg room, 73 cubic feet of cargo space, nicely designed anchors for securing child seats, and a myriad of first-class safety features, it’s a great family car through and through.
Whether you decide to go with the base four-cylinder engine to achieve 32 mpg or step up to the 3.6R to enjoy 256 horsepower, the 2017 Outback is a super functional and highly capable crossover that’s ready to serve you and your family for years to come.
- Great all-wheel drive system
- Ample cargo and leg room
- Filled with active safety features
- Heated steering wheel and leather seats
- Only seats five passengers
- Wagon-like exterior