Honda, Mercedes Top Best Cars for Families List

Magazine selects winners from 256 vehicles.

by on Mar.09, 2016

Honda's new HR-V is one the 2016 Best Cars for Families award winners; one of four from Honda.

Every week thousands of families trudge out to auto dealerships across the country looking for the next family vehicle.

Now, not everyone can get vehicles as nice as Clark Griswold’s Wagon Queen Family Truckster or even his son Rusty’s Tartan Prancer, also known as the “Honda of Albania,” but there are plenty of choices, and fortunately, U.S. News & World Report, compiled the best of the best into their 2016 Best Cars for Families list.

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The winners have the best combination of safety and reliability ratings, excellent reviews from the automotive press and the space and features that keep the entire family happy, according to the magazine.

New high-tech features, such as in-car wireless Internet, teen driver controls and smartphone apps, were considered alongside traditional criteria such as passenger and cargo space.

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The Mercedes GLE captured the 2016 Best Cars for Families award for luxury two-row SUV.

“Finding the best family car can be a time-intensive process,” said Jamie Page Deaton, managing editor of U.S. News Best Cars. “Whether you need extra room for car seats or want to monitor your new teen driver, the Best Cars for Families have options for every type of family.”

The big winners were Mercedes-Benz and Honda with four awards each. Mercedes captured half of the awards in the eight luxury categories while Honda took top honors in a variety of categories.

Mercedes was lauded for its niceties such as in-car Wi-Fi, rear-seat USB ports, tri-zone climate controls, hands-free liftgates and rear sunshades – that make traveling with a family more comfortable. Mercedes winning vehicles were:

  • Upscale small car: Mercedes-Benz C-Class
  • Upscale midsize car: Mercedes-Benz E-Class
  • Luxury two-row SUV: Mercedes-Benz GLE
  • Luxury compact SUV: Mercedes-Benz GLC-Class

Honda grabbed top spots due to their large cargo spaces, value and reliability. Honda’s Odyssey minivan won for best minivan: a distinction it has held for six years running. The Odyssey’s available features, such as a 16-inch rear-seat entertainment screen that can show two different movies side-by-side, a built-in vacuum and a power liftgate, can make life a little easier for parents who have their hands full.

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The 2016 Honda Odyssey won the best minivan for families award again: the sixth year in a row.

In addition, professional car critics say the Odyssey has great driving dynamics, unlike other minivans. Honda’s winning vehicles were:

  • Minivan: Honda Odyssey
  • Three-row SUV: Honda Pilot
  • Subcompact SUV: Honda HR-V
  • Compact SUV: Honda CR-V

“Expanding the list of Honda vehicles awarded as Best Cars for Families shows our continued dedication to developing vehicles that fit the needs of family buyers, and we continue to push the envelope to bring families more of what they want in terms of leading safety performance, fuel economy, technology and spacious packaging,” said Jeff Conrad, Honda division senior vice president and general manager.

“With the HR-V, CR-V, Pilot and Odyssey all receiving this honor, Honda has a light truck in nearly every size and shape to meet the needs of families.”

General Motors and Toyota each took multiple awards, including four for GM, but they were divided over three brands: Chevrolet, GMC and Cadillac.

Of the 21 Best Cars for Families winners, six are also winners of the 2016 Best Cars for the Money awards because of their excellent long-term value. The rest of the winners included:

  • Compact car: Kia Soul
  • Hatchback: Kia Soul
  • Midsize car: Chevrolet Malibu
  • Large car: Chevrolet Impala
  • Luxury large car: Audi A7
  • Hybrid car: Lexus GS hybrid
  • Wagon: Subaru Outback
  • Luxury subcompact SUV: BMW X1
  • Two-row SUV: Nissan Murano
  • Luxury three-row SUV: Volvo XC90
  • Large SUV: GMC Yukon
  • Luxury large SUV: Cadillac Escalade
  • Hybrid SUV: Toyota Highlander Hybrid

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To determine the winners, editors evaluated 256 new cars, SUVs and minivans currently on sale. They combined professional automotive reviews, safety and reliability ratings, seating and cargo volume and the availability of family-friendly features, gave each a composite score and the highest scoring vehicle in each category was declared the winner.

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