Table of Contents
Top Family Cars to Check Out in 2023
By: James Diaz | July 28, 2023
Table of Contents
Our cars matter to us. They’re our mobile home base, our family cocoon, our sanctuary from the world’s hustle and bustle. It’s where our connections flourish, from school runs, to epic road trips, to the Grand Canyon, chatting, laughing and belting out our favorite songs!
However, like fast-growing kids, cars are evolving at breakneck speed, meaning there’s lots to consider with each new model year. That’s why at MotoPickers we’ve put together this list of essential rides. These are cars anyone buying in 2023 should be aware of.
We looked into safety scores from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety and we think the MotoPickers list we’ve got for you here will offer you and your family a prime contender as your family favorite. So let’s start the journey!
Now, let’s dive into the Best Family Cars for 2023.
Regardless of their somewhat uncool reputation, minivans are still a popular pick thanks to their unbeatable usefulness, convenience, and adaptability. Need room for kids, pals, sports equipment, bags, and more? Minivans are your perfect match!
MotoPickers Rating 8/10
Starting at $32,300+, with a 290 horsepower V6 engine estimated to offer 22 MPG, the Kia Carnival has replaced the family-and-budget-friendly Sedona as an all-star multi-purpose vehicle (MPV). Perfect for a gang of seven or eight, it’s a gem for kids, but also entices adults. In the posh SX Prestige version, you’re treated to ‘VIP lounge’ captain seats, complete with heating and cooling, extendable footrests, individual screens, and top-notch sound. This is minivan luxury!
Many car buffs shook off their doubts about the Carnival as they experienced its power and handling. At MotoPickers we think it feels more like an SUV than a minivan. It’s a breeze to drive and offers a serene, comfy ride. Plus, Kia’s amazing ADAS system comes as standard and brings heaps of juicy extras including adaptive cruise control.
Thanks to sliding doors and moveable mid-row seats, accessing the third row is child’s play. There’s a total of five LATCH systems – three in the middle row (if you have a bench seat) and two in the outer third-row seats. Clever features like safe exit assist (which blocks the doors from opening if a car is approaching), rear seat reminder, and six USB charging ports (with two in the third row) make the Carnival a family favorite.
Even the top model is priced under $47,000. And it’s loaded with superb kit, like a rear seat entertainment system, adaptive driver assist systems, and premium audio. The Carnival is definitely in town!
MotoPickers Rating 8/10
Starting at $34,560+, the Toyota Sienna sports a 243 horsepower 4-cylinder hybrid engine, estimated to offer an impressive 36 MPG. Toyota has done away with the gas-only option, putting all their eggs in the hybrid basket. If you fancy adding AWD, it’s yours with a $2,000 upgrade, making this ride a true road warrior. Fuel efficiency is also bumped up by 40% compared to the non-hybrid model.
On the Road
The Sienna was the first minivan to jump on the AWD bandwagon, quickly becoming a hit among those battling snowy stretches or steep driveways. The Woodland Edition ($45,350) comes standard with AWD and even cranks up its ruggedness for off-road adventures. It brings higher ground clearance, beefier wheels, a 3,500 lb. towing capacity, and even an onboard 1,500-watt power outlet for inflating air beds or setting up a pop-up kitchen on your outdoor trip. Toyota’s ace ADAS system, the Safety Sense, is a standard feature. All in all, it’s a superb set of kit.
Toyota introduced gesture-controlled lift gate and side doors. So, when your hands are full, a swift kick under the motion icon (with the key in your pocket or bag) and the door swings open! The Sienna can seat seven or eight, and the mid-row can be converted into captain’s chairs by removing the center seat. Plus, the middle row seats slide forward, freeing up more legroom. The outer middle seats and the third-row center and passenger side seats come with LATCH systems. Access to the third row is easy through the passage between the captain’s chairs.
Steal the Show
An AWD minivan offering 36 MPG is already notable. But there’s also abundant storage options, like a front center console space fit for a big bag, door panels storage, a deep cargo well at the back, and a center console. In short, there’s huge useful space. Plus, every passenger gets a power outlet and USB port for their gadgets.
MotoPickers Rating 8.2/10
Starting from $37,095 before PHEV tax breaks and equipped with a 287 horsepower V6 engine, the Chrysler Pacifica goes beyond your typical minivan. Its styling leans more toward swanky car than vanilla van. With a sleek dashboard, leather upholstery, stark piping, and even plushy pillows in the top-notch Pinnacle edition costing $54,167, you could easily forget you’re in a minivan.
Expect a serene ride, alert suspension, and speedy pick-up. The Pacifica actually drives more like a luxury sedan than a minivan. The PHEV variant, costing from $48,478, dishes out 260 HP and offers 30 miles of pure electric drive before switching to hybrid mode, clocking up an admirable 38 MPG. Although AWD is a no-show in the hybrid, it can be added to the gas model for an extra $2,795.
Among the Pacifica’s crowd-pleasing features, count in a movement-activated rear lift gate, onboard vacuum, and Chrysler’s famed Stow ‘n Go second and third-row seats (absent in the hybrid) that tuck neatly into the floor, boosting flexibility. The third row can easily be reached either by folding the middle seats forward or threading through the captain’s chairs. You’ll find LATCH systems on the outboard seats in both the second and third rows.
As the lone minivan with a PHEV engine, the Pacifica is a standout. With daily plug-ins, many families could go weeks or even months without a gas station visit. And as the only minivan offering a sunroof above every row along with a standard in-car entertainment system (which is optional in other minivans), the Pacifica will definitely offer the wow factor to many families. Kids will love so much about this minivan, and its looks help rank it highly as among the most stylish minivans around.
MotoPickers Rating 8.2/10
Starting at $33,040+ and boasting a 280 horsepower V6 engine estimated at 22 MPG, the Honda Odyssey is a family-friendly gem loaded with tech. Its ultra-flexible cabin stands out in the minivan crowd, with a center row that can transform into captain’s chairs, slides back and forth, and with the middle seat taken out, can slide sideways. Couple this with an adjustable media screen and abundant storage in the front seat and center console, thanks to the push-button gear selector.
The Odyssey packs enough power to merge onto highways confidently, even with a full load. However, bear in mind that it still handles like a large vehicle, and you’ll soon be grateful for the slide doors in cramped parking situations.
The Odyssey is designed for quality family time. It comes with an entertainment screen that lowers from the ceiling, complete with wireless headsets and AUX ports for wired headphones. Cleaning is made simpler with a built-in vacuum and easy-clean berber carpets. The plentiful LATCH anchors spread across the center and third rows offer numerous car seat options, and all are quickly accessible and user-friendly.
For parents keen to keep an eye on the kids, the Cabin Watch system on the front media screen serves every seat, courtesy of a ceiling-mounted camera. The Cabin Talk feature enables front seat passengers to connect with those in the back, and the ‘Social Play List’ function lets anyone share their tunes via Bluetooth. It is another example of the kind of detail that makes the Odyssey a premium option.
Tri-row SUVs Unveiled
These aren’t just nifty and reliable family wheels; they’re also crucial for the car industry’s success. That’s why the race to make more and enhance them is always on. And with their spacious interiors, practical features, and comfortable rides, they’re an ideal pick for family journeys. At MotoPickers, we think 2023 offers a bumper crop.
MotoPickers Rating 8.7/10
Starting at $48,000+ with a 290 horsepower V6 engine estimated to offer 22 MPG, the Acura MDX is like a full-sized SUV with the brains of a minivan. It cleverly borrows many of the best features from its cousin, the Honda Odyssey, crafting an all-round SUV that’s chic, sporty, and a joy to drive. It’s also a thing of some beauty, and stands out superbly well in what can be a crowded field.
The MDX is engineered to promise a fun driving experience, delivering more power than you’d expect from its horsepower. Use the sport mode for a butter-smooth ride or switch to the comfort mode for calm highway cruising. When conditions get slippery, the snow mode is your best friend, providing extra traction. The MDX comes standard with Acura Watch, Acura’s suite of safety tech.
If you can’t choose between captain’s chairs or a center row bench, in the MDX you get the best of both worlds: a center row middle seat that can be removed when not needed. The multi-media system covers features like the Social Playlist and Cabin Talk from the Odyssey, making it a breeze to keep everyone involved in the chat and music action. The MDX has three LATCH systems in the center row but none in the third row, which for some families may be an issue.
Visually, the MDX is an absolute stunner. Its proportions and details exude sporty elegance. You’ll be grateful for its family-oriented features when the kids hop in. But you’ll also relish the look and feel it offers when you have the ride all to yourself. For some buyers this will make it a perfect choice.
Volvo XC90 Recharge
MotoPickers Rating 8.5/10
Starting at $64,800 before tax breaks, the 2022 Volvo XC90 Recharge is powered by a high-octane 4-cylinder turbo engine with a PHEV electric system. It churns out a hefty 455 horsepower, promising up to 35 miles of pure electric roaming and 27 MPG with gas only. The prospect of dodging weekly gas station pit stops might take the edge off the premium price of this 6- or 7-seater SUV. The standard model offers about 18 miles of pure electric travel, while the extended range model (a $2,800 upgrade) delivers 35 miles per charge, meaning daily juicing could have you mainly relishing electric drives. This model is more luxurious, carries a standard AWD, and sits $13,900 above the basic gas model powered by a 4-cylinder turbo engine bringing 316 HP to the table.
On the Drive
It drives magically! Get ready to feel an immediate burst of acceleration and a sense of floating your way along roads in this SUV. Volvo has crafted it to be swift, precise, and powerful, enhanced by the electric motor. Even the gas-only variant towers over most in its class when it comes to power.
Volvo is famous for safety, blending top tech with a safety-oriented design. Inside, you can opt for mid-row captain’s chairs or a bench seat capable of accommodating three car seats. The third row fits two and can be accessed via sliding and tilting mid-row seats. Each of the three mid-row seats adjust back and forth independently, great news for car seat placement. Volvo also offers an inbuilt booster seat option in the mid-row and LATCH systems for the two outer seats. Sadly, none in the third row.
Volvo truly embraces family luxury by blending posh design with practicality in every seat. With a large, vertical multimedia screen in the center dash, chic details like a cooled glove box, and the fact that Recharge models allow you to bypass gas stations, it’s a definite contender if your budget can stretch a bit upwards!
MotoPickers Rating 8.5/10
Starting at $34,640+ and powered by a 284 horsepower V6 engine with an estimated 23 MPG, the newly redesigned Nissan Pathfinder is a strong player for family-focused driving, especially for those who seek all-wheel-drive for their off-road weekend quests or for tackling snowy winters.
Despite its spacious interior seating 7 or 8 folks, the Pathfinder handles like a dream, feeling powerful yet not oversized on the road. For its 2023 redesign, Nissan honed its drive experience, and the Pro Pilot Assist or the ADAS features come as a standard perk, boosting driver confidence.
Suitable for Families
Its 8-seater capacity sets the Pathfinder apart from many competitors. Buyers can opt for ‘peacemakers’ or mid-row captain’s chairs (available in SV, SL, and Platinum grades), providing passengers with their private space and enhanced visibility. Cleaning is simple, with easy-to-clean seats, flooring, and surfaces. The LATCH system is equipped in the mid-row outboard seats and the third-row driver’s side seat.
If you splurge for the Platinum Edition priced at $48,440, you’re looking at treating the family to mid-row captain’s chairs, a panoramic sunroof, and a superior Bose sound system that’ll keep everyone entertained on long drives. It’s excellent value compared to others in its market.
MotoPickers Rating 8.3/10
Starting from $34,335+ with a 236 horsepower 4-cylinder engine providing an estimated 23 MPG, the 6- or 7-seater Volkswagen Atlas has topped the charts since its debut in 2018, and it’s easy to see why. It proffers a third row that comfortably seats full-grown adults, an option between mid-row captain’s chairs or a bench seat accommodating three car seats, and ample cargo space. With flexible options including two engines, AWD, and varied luxury levels, there’s a comfy price point for all buyers.
The Atlas is truly large. From your driving seat, you’ll notice its size and presence. It’s high off the ground and feels more like a truck than a car. If you’re planning to bring a full crew aboard, consider the more brawny V6 model with 276 horsepower. Those requiring AWD will need to shell out an extra $1,900 for the 4 Motion. VW’s ADAS suite, known as IQ Drive, comes standard and performs seamlessly.
The second-row seats slide and tilt for easy third-row access, even with a car seat installed using the LATCH system. The Atlas provides three LATCH systems in the center row, but none in the third row.
VW has finessed the design of this SUV, giving it a vibrant, crisp appearance. Buyers also have the option to upgrade to the Digital Cockpit system, akin to the high-tech offerings of VW’s sibling brand Audi, for an extra dash of premium functionality and sophistication. It has a loyal following and for many buyers it will be in their top tier of choices.
MotoPickers Rating 8/10
Starting at $32,795+ and boasting a 260 horsepower 4-cylinder turbo engine estimated at 22 MPG, the Subaru Ascent arrived late to the three-row SUV party, but its arrival is certainly cherished by its loyal fans. This SUV offers seating for up to 8 passengers, encapsulating everything that Subaru enthusiasts hold dear.
Don’t let the horsepower deceive you. This turbo surprises with extra torque (277 lb. to be exact), adding a zest to the ride. Plus, Subaru’s Eyesight ADAS suite uses camera technology, mimicking human eyes to maintain the Ascent’s safe cruise down the road.
Built for Families
Subaru’s preparation for outdoor enthusiasts who combat ‘mud seasons’ and have canine companions comes in handy for families too. This vehicle is sturdily built, easy to spruce up, plush, and well-appointed, particularly in the top-range Touring edition ($45,945). You’ll find outboard LATCH systems in the center row and one set in the third row on the driver’s side.
In 2022, Subaru introduced the sleek Onyx edition, dressing this all-weather, capable SUV in a classy black-tie look. It effortlessly transitions from a day at the campsite to an evening at the country club.
MotoPickers Rating 7/10
From $38,080+, boasting a 280 horsepower V6 engine and promising about 23 MPG, Honda’s trusted trooper, the Pilot, is prized for its dependability and spacious interiors. The third row comfortably seats adults and is practical for daily usage. Honda upped the ante for this 7- or 8-seater SUV in 2022 by increasing the standard kit and scrapping the base model. The buzz is that later in 2023 there will be a major revamp and we’ll likely see a hybrid enter the lineup.
The Pilot is a full-scale SUV and you’ll be aware of its stature from the driver’s spot. Yet, with a V6 packing 280 horses, it’s confident on highways and, for extra assurance, AWD is on offer.
The middle row seats can tilt and slide forward for easy third-row access, and there’s ample cargo space even with the third row in use. LATCH systems are on the mid-row outer seats, with one each in the mid-row center seat and on the third-row passenger’s side.
A sizeable center console between the front seats features a retractable top and a raised back, perfect for stowing a handbag or small backpack. Honda spices up its offerings with special lifestyle versions – like the TrailSport, boasting off-road prowess, and the stylish Black Edition.
Jeep Grand Cherokee L
MotoPickers Rating 8.8/10
Starting at $39,725+ and armed with a 290 horsepower V6 engine offering an estimated 22 MPG, the Jeep Grand Cherokee L is the brand’s bid to win the hearts of families needing a third-row SUV, without giving up on signature Jeep performance.
This is a full-bodied SUV, demanding driver prowess on the road. But that’s just the way Jeep aficionados like it – prime on and off-road agility, merged with a smooth ride for city and highway motoring. A potent ADAS suite enhances semi-autonomous assistance to the next level.
Offering 6- or 7-seater arrangements, the third row is surprisingly roomy and comfy, even for tall passengers, and access is a cinch thanks to sliding and tilting second-row seats. Jeep considered the family factor with easy-clean carpets, USB ports for each occupant, and cup holders doubling as phone holders. The vehicle also houses three LATCH systems in the middle row but, sadly, none in the third row.
Jeep has taken interior aesthetics up a notch, adding a delightful dash of luxury to your adventurous trips. The exterior design is also among the most stylish on offer. The UConnect multimedia system has been revamped for better user experience. Plus, its ‘Hey Jeep’ voice-activated assistant can manage a host of tasks, whether it’s activating windshield wipers or tweaking cabin temperature. This is a superb option and it deserves its high rating.
MotoPickers Rating 8.2/10
Starting at $35,630+ and backed by a 227 horsepower 4-cylinder turbo engine that provides an estimated 23 MPG, Mazda made a game-changing shift a few years back. They transitioned from budget car manufacturing to premium offerings, enhancing everything from car paints (their Crystal Soul Red hue is simply mesmerizing) to a tranquil ride experience and sophisticated interiors that compete with high-end European brands. However, bear in mind that some of these features are exclusive to higher trims starting from $37,780.
The Mazda difference lies in its intuitive cabin design with its tight seating arrangement and ergonomic layout. That’s central to Mazda’s design philosophy of ‘horse and rider as one.’ This, coupled with their signature energetic drive, makes Mazda a top choice for driving enthusiasts. Here’s some more good news – if you opt for premium fuel, your power increases to 250 HP and the torque from 310 to 320.
With configuration options for 6 or 7 seats, getting to the third row is simple with the captain’s chairs option. The mid-row seats need to be tilted forward to reach the last row, and with children’s passenger seats installed, this access isn’t feasible. This is a drawback. Overall, the snug ‘hand-in-glove’ design might feel a bit tight for some families. The vehicle incorporates two LATCH systems in the mid-row outer seats but misses out in the third row.
Uncompromising on design and technology—five of six trim levels offer leather seats, AWD is a standard feature—and boasting reliable credentials, Mazda has accrued quite the fan following. Special features like head-up display, upscale sound, and a responsive drive experience, all add to the SUV’s premium feel without breaking your bank.
Two-Row SUVs Explored
Not every clan requires a three-row SUV. For those who don’t, a 5-seater SUV delivers plentiful cargo room and is simpler to maneuver and park. If you don’t need a third row, check out this MotoPickers selection of SUVs for 5.
MotoPickers Rating 8/10
Starting at $25,800+ and powered by a 170 horsepower 4-cylinder turbo engine with an estimated 27 MPG, the Chevrolet Equinox had a makeover for 2022. It now features snazzy exterior accents and extra amenities inside. This SUV boasts a robust and flexible interior, top-notch connected car tech, and a standard ADAS system, making the Equinox a reliable choice without sacrificing any flair.
On the Road
With its 170 HP, the Equinox confidently tackles your city drives. Although it’s hands-down better suited for town commutes, its spacious cabin makes it equally comfy for longer journeys. To conquer inclement weather, AWD is available for an extra $1,600, but don’t plan on using it for off-roading.
The Equinox’s rear seats fold flat, and paired with ample cargo space, it’s a multi-tasking vehicle – great for both people and gear transport. Plus, two LATCH systems are ready for car seat installation, and almost 40″ of legroom keep everyone comfy. This is class-leading space.
Chevrolet sure knows how to give you a bang for your buck. Even at the base level, the Equinox spoils you with wireless Apple CarPlay/Android Auto, WiFi, active noise cancellation, and a touchscreen multimedia system. In addition, OnStar connected services and a teen driver system lets parents set rules and receive reports about teen driving. This is great for those families with new drivers.
Subaru Crosstrek Hybrid
MotoPickers Rating 7.8/10
Starting at $23,145 before tax bonuses, the Crosstrek comes with a 137 horsepower 4-cylinder engine, boasting around 17 miles of electric range and 35 MPG. The plug-in hybrid carries a $13,200 premium over its base version, though it’s furnished with features similar to the high-end Crosstrek Limited (from $28,995+). Buyers rave about its compact feel, unique paint options, and overall appeal.
Owing to its compact size, maneuvering through traffic is a breeze. Coupled with the instant zip from the electric motor, driving the Crosstrek is pure entertainment. Subaru’s EyeSight ADAS system assists drivers to keep on track and ease traffic-related stress.
As Subaru’s tiniest SUV, it has two LATCH systems on board. But with the 36.5″ of legroom, front seat passengers might compulsorily buddy-up with the dashboard when kid’s car seats are installed, particularly those rear-facing. Caveat: the rear seat lacks dedicated air vents, so consider this before family road trips.
Subaru is marching straight into the electric auto future, uncompromising on performance, and the Crosstrek is a key player. The PHEV version brings the brand closer to this goal, while still offering the peace of a stealthy gas-fed hybrid powertrain.
MotoPickers Rating 8.3/10
From $25,800+ and armed with a 187 horsepower 4-cylinder turbo engine with an estimated reach of 29 MPG, the Hyundai Tucson, redesigned in 2022, continues to serve up a suite of features and technologies at a great value. Standard perks include ADAS, a multimedia system, and lots of luxury add-ons. It flaunts a distinctive new face, a revamped rear gate, and interactive, modern-look controls inside, even introducing a push-button gear selector.
On the Move
Defined by a sporty and nimble ride, there’s nothing unexpected with the Tucson – and we mean that is a positive! The hybrid version is projected to hit 38 MPG, while the PHEV touts 261 HP, an all-electric radius of 33 miles, and an estimated 38 MPG using the hybrid engine.
As a compact 5-seater SUV, the Tucson can handle two child passenger car seats thanks to two LATCH sets. Plus, it holds plenty of cargo space for essential gear and strollers.
Hyundai injects luxury into its hybrid ($29,700+) and PHEV models ($35,400+), available exclusively with AWD. An attention-grabbing feature here is the camera-aided blind spot alert system, which offers a real-time video view of the adjacent lane when you flick the signal switch. All models look good and Hyundai have managed to create a design with real street-appeal.
Ford Mustang Mach E
MotoPickers Rating 9/10
Starting at $43,895 before tax incentives and boasting a battery-fueled 266 horsepower from its 68kWh pack, promising a range of 247+ miles, Ford is making waves in the electric car realm with the Mustang Mach-E. This car combines Mustang’s trademark power, thrill-factor, and iconic stature with battery-dependent performance, with an SUV-like stature and four-door convenience. The effort has paid off, as the Mach-E snatched the 2021 Utility of the Year title from the North American Car, Truck, and Utility Vehicle of the Year, and was a 2022 World Car of the Year finalist.
With three battery alternatives promising a range of 270 to 314 miles per charge, the Mach-E packs a punch in fun. Acceleration is immediate and drive precision is dialled to the max. Employ the one-pedal driving mode to regain energy and extend your battery range during downhill rides or in traffic.
While the Mach-E has ample leg space, its coupe-like design means less headroom in the back. However, a panoramic sunroof compensates with an airy feel. Two LATCH systems are present, and with compact children’s car seats, it could potentially squeeze three on the rear seat.
True to its Mustang DNA, the Mach-E is effortlessly sleek, glamorous, and sporty, yet accommodates the whole gang. Plus, driving on pure electric power feels absolutely great.
MotoPickers Rating 8/10
Starting at $25,895+ with a 182 horsepower 4-cylinder engine that’s estimated to clock 29 MPG, the Subaru Forester flaunts a classic SUV shape and a box-like rear, adding to the overall space. This compact SUV provides more headroom, legroom, and cargo capacity than the somewhat larger but sleeker Outback, making it a prime choice for families not needing a third row. Subaru equips it with standard perks like EyeSight ADAS system and all-wheel drive.
In spite of its blocky build, the Forester handles like a dream on city roads and tricky tracks. It’s a breeze to park and navigate through traffic.
With easy to clean interiors, abundant storage space, and plenty of legroom, this is a hit among Subaru fans, especially those juggling kids or furry friends. It accommodates child car seats in the rear side seats with two sets of LATCH systems.
Subaru boosted the 2022 Forester with the Wilderness edition, ramping up the ground clearance to 9.2″ (from 8.7″), upgrading AWD, adding all-terrain tires, and cladding the wheel wells and lower side rails. This has transformed its outer look to match the sporty and robust spirit of its interiors.
MotoPickers Rating 8.1/10
From $31,500+ and packing a 228 horsepower 4-cylinder turbo engine anticipated to hit 27 MPG, the Buick Envision is the belle of the ball for discerning yet budget-keen luxury buyers. This compact SUV allows buyers to pick their decadence level without breaking the bank, even topping out with the Avenir model at just above $42,000, complete with AWD.
Crafted for everyday city driving and family vacations, this SUV’s 228 horsepower engine secures a comfortable and reassured ride. For those needing that touch of extra prowess in dicey weather, AWD is yours for an added $3,650.
While the rear seat legroom is enhanced from the 2020 model and provides two sets of LATCH systems for children’s car seats, families with rear-facing convertible seats might find it a bit of a squeeze. As such, the Envision might be cozier for those families with kids in booster seats or older.
When it comes to the upscale levels, Buick piles on the luxury with quilted leather, high-end Bose sound, and wireless Apple CarPlay/Android Auto, solidifying its reputation as a stellar bargain in the luxury SUV world.
MotoPickers Rating 7.7/10
Starting at $23,495+, sporting a 158 horsepower 4-cylinder engine estimated to give you 32 MPG, the Volkswagen Taos, the smallest in VW’s SUV lineup, is ideal for city dwellers or small families. It hosts a streamlined selection of features; even the base model serves up a full ADAS suite, phone connectivity tech, and roof rails.
The compact design and the 4-cylinder engine, while efficient, are more tailored to low-speed urban drives rather than providing blazing power.
Being a small SUV, it’s best suited for families with one or two little ones. The back seats are fixed and though they don’t slide they do recline a little. Rear seat passengers get their own air vents and USB ports. The Taos provides two sets of child car seat LATCH systems and enough cargo hold for your groceries and gear.
The Wow Factor
For those desiring the full VW treatment – digital cockpit, leather seats, 4 Motion AWD, panoramic sunroof – the Taos delivers everything at around $32,000.
Hyundai Ioniq 5
MotoPickers Rating 9/10
Starting at $44,000+ before federal and state tax deductions, armed with a power-packed 77.4 kWh battery generating 225 horsepower and a journey range of 303 miles, the Hyundai Ioniq 5 stands tall as Hyundai’s electric car flagship. It wows with its unique aesthetics, open cabin layout, versatile space, generous legroom, impressive battery life, and swift charging. You can charge it to 80% in 18 minutes at a DC fast charging station (or overnight with a level 2 charger). No wonder it bagged several awards, including the 2022 World Car of the Year.
Thanks to the main motor’s 225 HP, this compact SUV navigates the roads with aplomb. Up the ante with AWD, which adds a second motor and an extra 95 HP, soaring the total to 320—packs a punch for this compact SUV (though the range does dip to 256 miles). Behind the wheel, it promises a fun, responsive drive and its one-pedal driving, known as i-Pedal, tops the charts for reclaiming mileage.
The open cabin design is precisely what it implies: a wide room for movement and storage with reclining, sliding rear seats; movable center console; and a flat floor for stowing things. There’s plenty of cargo space, USB ports for all, and even a household plug under the rear seat. It also features two LATCH systems in the rear side seats.
With a flexible cabin and innovative design, including a one-pane flat screen multimedia setup, it’s hardly surprising it won over critics and fans. Look forward to more Hyundai cars channeling the Ioniq 5 in design.
Family Sedans Showdown
Sedans are often a crowd-pleaser, especially for drivers on a tight budget. However, they can be a little challenging for constant family use. While kids might find it easy to hop into, the process of hoisting a toddler into a child car seat and fastening the harness could give any adult a backbreaking experience. In essence, sedans are more tailored for older kids, those who can buckle themselves in without needing a hand.
Toyota Camry Hybrid
MotoPickers Rating 8/10
Priced from $27,980+ and backed by a 208 horsepower 4-cylinder hybrid engine expected to achieve 53 MPG, this sedan is a sure thing. It’s spacious, reliable, and thanks to Toyota’s tried-and-tested hybrid system, its fuel efficiency is second to none.
Channeling its Nascar roots, Toyota ensures the Camry offers both accuracy and punch on the streets.
As Toyota’s mid-size sedan, the Camry presents an abundance of passenger space for a bargain. It comes fitted with two LATCH systems, rear air vents, and cup holders nestled in the center seat fold-down armrest.
Toyota’s love affair with the Camry is evident. Each year brings an edgier, more appealing design, with the 2023 version holding true to this trend.
MotoPickers Rating 8.6/10
Starting at $41,875+ with a 302 horsepower V6 engine estimated to give you 26 MPG, the Lexus offers a wealth of luxe choices with eight trims and four hybrid models, all priced under roughly $51,000. This car ensures buyers can enjoy Lexus’ reliability and signature dealership support.
This one’s a sleeper when it comes to performance—with superbly polished drive mechanics and sassy handling (shout-out to sport mode). It zips along with ease, and is far faster than its luxury sedan look implies.
Sharing its fundamentals with the Toyota Camry, the ES provides ample space for kids, car seats, and gear both inside the cabin and the trunk. However, those in the back will have a more premium experience with the addition of USB ports and plush leather seating.
Every twist and turn in this refined, opulent vehicle brings a delightful surprise, especially when it’s flexing in sport mode.
MotoPickers Rating 8.8/10
Priced from $37,840+ and kitted out with a 300 horsepower V6 engine touted to get 24 MPG, Nissan has shifted budget motoring to its smaller sedans, focusing the Maxima on practical opulence. It features Nissan’s pinnacle design touches, which include a sporty perforated leather steering wheel, leather seats, and a driver-centric cockpit.
Despite packing a sports-car-worthy 300 HP, it’s dialled in to maintain comfort for all on board. Steering is precise without being harsh, and the ride is deeply comfortable.
Those in the back can luxuriate in the fine leather and center armrest with cup holders. The premium trim elevates the experience with a panoramic sunroof and heated rear seats. A pair of outboard LATCH systems provide for child car seats.
The Nissan Maxima defies expectations with its luxury, starting from a surprisingly affordable base. Leather heated power front seats, chrome trim accents, in-built navigation, and Nissan Safety Shield 360 ADAS system all combine to make this one car that pampers both front and rear seat occupants. It also looks fantastic and the rakish bonnet and sculpted lines make it our MotoPickers favourite Sedan when it comes to style.
MotoPickers Rating 8/10
Starting at just $23,495+ with a 182 horsepower 4-cylinder engine estimated to net 30 MPG, the Subaru Legacy sedan is a great bet for those seeking Subaru’s legacy of reliability and AWD prowess, without opting for an SUV.
The sedan, with its 182 horsepower, is confident and apt; make the switch to the 4-cylinder turbo for a meatier 260 horsepower, and the Legacy promises loads more zing and fun. The added comfort of Subaru’s EyeSight ADAS system makes tight traffic situations less stressful.
The roomy interior features rear seat air vents, armrest cup holders, and power ports. Convenient LATCH systems in the side seats make installing children’s car seats a breeze.
Trust Subaru to offer something as capable as this AWD sedan that’s also this classy, at such an accessible price point. For many families, that value proposition will be key.
MotoPickers Rating 8/10
Priced from just $22,550+ and propelled by a 158 horsepower 4-cylinder engine, the redesigned 2023 Honda Civic is expected to deliver 35 MPG. The rejuvenated classic Civic now boasts more size, extra space, and enhanced features for back-seat passengers.
For a compact sedan, the Civic is sprightly, a breeze to handle, and it parks like a dream.
The back seat now offers more room than before, accommodating your family with ease. For child seats, LATCH systems are available in the side seats.
The Wow Factor
The Civic’s design has undergone an impressive makeover. The front and rear ends are now more refined. Inside, a stylish mesh grille spans the dashboard, ingeniously hiding the air vents for a trendy, modern aesthetic. For families who don’t require huge space, the Civic will be a good option.
Essential Updates For Car Lovers in 2023
Over the last few years, tech advances have supercharged our cars and given them greater road presence and functionality. So here’s a rundown of hints and common features you should look out for in 2023.
Advanced Driver Assist Systems (ADAS)
These systems are the watchful eyes that monitor traffic conditions, pedestrians, and that help you avoid bumps and crashes, lessening your stress levels. They’re essentially the building blocks of future self-driving cars. While most come standard, others are offered as add-ons. Usual features include adaptive cruise control, adaptive high beam headlights, automatic emergency braking, lane departure warning and assist, blind spot alert, and pedestrian detection. If you’re checking out a car for 2023, make sure to look for these safety essentials.
Remember, horsepower isn’t everything. Carmakers have managed to pack in more performance despite the engine size being smaller. Don’t be put off just because the engine is just a 1.2 liter! But that doesn’t mean horsepower isn’t vital – it’s still a crucial measure of a car’s performance, particularly when navigating traffic or highway cruising with a full load.
Electric is the new normal!
From hybrids to plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEVs) and fully electric counterparts, each variant offers different mileage, charging times, and perks. Electric cars particularly, with batteries usually stored under the cabin, boast spacious interiors and commendable power.
Charging at home is easy. The majority of electric vehicle owners juice up their cars at home, and it can be done through a standard outlet, a 220V or 240V outlet (like the one your clothes dryer uses), or at a DC fast charge station. Various apps and inbuilt systems also assist drivers with charging.
And don’t forget the tax incentives. Electric cars and PHEVs are typically eligible for tasty tax incentives.
Seats for Kids
When it comes to kids’ seats, here’s what to keep in mind.
Car seats are designed to install with either a seatbelt or the LATCH system (lower anchors and tethers for children), but not both. And remember, the LATCH system has a weight limit. Not all car seats need a full LATCH system. While tethers are needed for every second and third row seat, lower anchors aren’t mandatory for all seats.
When shopping for a car, keep an open mind and focus on what truly matters to your family. With some ongoing shortages of cars and related components, keeping a flexible mindset about your top choices can save disappointment.