Three Family Carriers That Satisfy Every Budget


Editor’s note: So you need a car. But not just any car – the perfect new car for your specific lifestyle. Whatever your needs, interests or budget, you’ve come to the right place. Welcome to Find Your Ride, a limited series of car-choosing tips for real people.

Carting around a family is a chore – and it doesn’t matter getting everyone out on time. All three of these vehicles offer plenty of room for people, pets, and cargo, but also provide flexibility if your family size grows a bit. When shopping in this category, we suggest you focus on safety and comfort. The three choices here all offer active and passive driver-assist technologies, like radar cruise control, lane-keep assist, and automotive braking, that help keep you planted on the road and help you in case of emergency. All three choices are available with three rows of seating and enough overall space for an average-sized family to spread out without feeling cramped.

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Economy Buy: Kia Telluride (MSRP $33,000)

The Telluride has been around for a few years now and has been a huge hit. It’s technically a crossover, and there aren’t many other non-SUVs found at its price and size intersection (Hyundai’s Palisade, the Telluride’s sister vehicle, is another). It should be at the top of your list if you need a large vehicle that handles well and offers relatively good fuel economy – the Telluride achieves up to 26 mpg on the highway.

The base model comes standard with front-wheel drive (all-wheel drive is available), an eight-speed automatic transmission and a 391-hp 3.8-liter V6. It has a nearly full suite of driver assists as standard and can tow up to 5,000 pounds with the proper gear. In Gear Patrol’s review of the Kia Telluride, we said “the Telluride is sophisticated enough to go from school bus to office-ready commuter or date night.” It offers up to 87 feet of cargo space and two USB ports…in each row…along with plenty of other family-friendly features.

Also consider: Honda Odyssey, Volkswagen Atlas

Further reading: 2020 Kia Telluride Review: A 3-Row Family SUV to Pamper You

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Sweet Spot: Chevrolet Tahoe (MSRP $52,000)

Chevrolet’s full-size Tahoe SUV probably needs no introduction, as its many iterations have been a mainstay in the United States for decades. The Tahoe is a full-size SUV, not a crossover, and is equipped as such. Unless you’re exploring higher trim levels, base engine choices are a 355-hp 5.3-liter V8 and a 277-hp 3.0-liter turbodiesel V6. The latter impressed reviewers, thanks to its hefty 460 lb-ft of torque and combined EPA mileage of 23 MPG (the V8 averages just 18 MPG in combined driving).

Higher trim levels also unlock the availability of driver-assist features (Premier trims, starting at $69,000, offer adaptive cruise control, for example). There’s a reason the Tahoe and its siblings — Chevrolet Suburban, GMC Yukon, Ford Expedition — have been around for so long. It’s hard to beat the presence and capacity of a huge SUV when you need to get a group from points A to B.

Also consider: Ford Expedition, GMC Yukon

Further reading: Review: The new 2021 Chevy Tahoe is a little bigger and definitely better

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Upgrade Option: Volvo XC90 Recharge (MSRP $65,000)

For those who can handle a higher price tag, family transportation options get very polished and pretty cool. Example: the Volvo XC90 Recharge plug-in hybrid. Volvo’s premium safety, technology and styling prowess are well documented, and the brand’s large XC90 SUV, which can be configured with a third row of seats, is chock-full of family-friendly features. The XC90 Recharge’s gas and electric motors produce a total of 400 horsepower and work together to power the SUV’s all-wheel-drive system. Building on Volvo’s historic safety record, its comprehensive suite of driver assistance features, called Pilot Assist, combines a range of disparate technologies into one cohesive system that works incredibly well.

While the XC90 Recharge starts at just $65,000, buyers with a higher budget will want to add options, of which there are plenty. It is very easy to configure an $80,000+ sticker version of this vehicle. People who don’t want the added benefit of electric motors should still consider the standard XC90 – an equivalent non-hybrid will cost around $10,000 or less cheaper.

Also consider: BMW X5, Mercedes-Benz GLE-Class

Further reading: Volvo Just Dramatically Improved Its Best Sedans, Wagons and SUVs

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