Buying the right car for your family is no easy task. Pre-family, your main criteria may simply have been “does it look good”, “can I get it in yellow”, or “how fast does it go”. But with a brood to think about, priorities change, and things get a little more complicated. With loved ones in tow, we find ourselves more interested in the safety rating of a car, its trunk capacity, and whether or not the audio system is loud enough to drown out backseat bickering.
Fortunately, 2021 has a fantastic lineup of family cars and we’ve picked out 5 of the best for you to consider:
2021 Toyota Camry
Coming in both a hybrid and a standard model, the new Toyota Camry not only looks great but is one of the safest cars on the road. Whereas other manufacturers have set aside the family-sedan, Toyota continues to attract buyers looking for a stylish mid-size family car.
In 2021, all models of the Camry come with Safety Sense 2.5+. This is Toyota’s suite of safety features including:
- Pre-collision system
- Pedestrian detection
- Lane departure alert
- Steering assist
- Automatic high-beams
- Lane tracing assist
- Road sign assist
- Dynamic radar cruise control
While some of these features have been in previous versions of Toyota Safety Sense, the 2.5+ works even better in low-light, and the onboard software more accurately detects cyclists and pedestrians that may be on the carriageway. Aside from the safety suite, there are a host of other family-friendly features that make the Toyota Camry 2021 really appealing. For those who opt for the hybrid model, you can expect a mileage of 52 mpg and 25 for standard, keeping the Camry in line with the competition.
Inside the cab, you’ll find plenty of mod-cons too. In the back, you’ll find a generous 38-inches of legroom, making car seat installation easy, as well as the LATCH anchors you’d expect. Comfort-wise, the Camry comes with dual-zone climate control and the option for heated and ventilated seats. And for those long journeys, there’s WiFi connectivity, Apple Car Play, Android Auto, and Amazon Alexa built-in, allowing you to control your music and the car’s dashboard by voice.
2021 Mazda CX-5
The Mazda CX-5 is an affordable SUV that is on the smaller end of the scale, making it ideal for city driving as well as long journeys. Now in its second generation, the compact CX-5 still boasts five accommodating seats, powered by a 187-hp, 2.5-liter engine as standard. This setup feels plenty powerful in a small SUV but can be upgraded to a 250-hp turbocharged version if need be. Safety-wise, Mazda has kept up pace with their competitors, delivering a wide range of features to keep you and your family safe:
- Lane departure alerts.
- Traffic warnings when backing up.
- Automatic emergency braking, preventing you from having forward collisions.
- Radar cruise control – effectively allowing the car to drive itself in cruise situations, including starting and stopping.
- Pedestrian detection, day or night.
- Blind-spot monitoring.
With the safety box checked, it’s time to look at the fun stuff. Despite it being classed as a compact SUV, the CX-5 is plenty roomy, with heated front and rear seats available. There’s a 30.9 cubic feet trunk, underfloor storage, and a high ceiling that makes the car feel much bigger than it actually is.
Of course, it being 2021, Mazda CX-5 sports all of the latest in-car technology too, with a 10.5-inch multi-purpose screen, WiFi hotspot ability built-in, high-power USB ports, and even remote start, a nifty feature that lets you warm or cool your car remotely from the Mazda smartphone app. Perfect for those cold winter mornings or sweltering summer afternoons.
2021 Honda Accord
Perhaps the king of family-sedans, the Honda Accord is now seen as a stalwart for the sector. With exceptional handling, improved mileage, and an affordable hybrid option, the 2021 Accord offers a great driving experience for you and your family. One of the most stand-out aspects of the Accord is its styling. While still very much a family car, the Accord looks good with plenty of paint options available. The beefier nose and LED strip lights are especially nice, making the car look a lot more expensive than it is. In terms of safety, the 2021 Honda Accord is right up there, offering an impressive array of features that will get you and your family home safely:
- Emergency brake application.
- Lane departure mitigation system.
- Blind-spot checking technology.
- Rearview camera for backing up, with traffic monitoring built-in.
- Rear seat occupant reminder, ensuring seatbelts are applied.
In addition, the Accord features some smart features like unlocking and locking your car without the need to handle your keys. When carrying small children and three bags of shopping, you’ll be thanking the Honda engineers for that one. And the trunk is plenty big enough for a sedan, at 16.7 cubic feet, one of the biggest in the range. Niceties-wise, there’s plenty on offer. There’s the now-standard Android Auto, Apple Car Play, and WiFi hotspot connectivity, but also a wireless phone charging dock. There’s also a heads-up display that projects information such as speed, directions, and caller-ID directly within your eye line as an optional extra.
2021 Subaru Outback
A great wagon for those looking for cargo space and leg-room, the Subaru Outback is one of the few SUVs in its class that actually boasts all-wheel drive, perfect for all your off-road family adventures.
One of the more affordable cars in its class, the Outback is built for both city-driving and rugged environments, with 9-inches of ground clearance and roof rails as standard. And to keep your family safe when adventuring, there’s plenty of features onboard, winning a spot in the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety’s top picks. You can expect:
- AEB (Auto Emergency Braking).
- Electronic stability monitoring, preventing you from losing control of the car.
- Lane keep assistance.
- Driver attention detection, warning you of signs of fatigue.
- 360-degree airbag system.
- Reversing camera and blind-spot warning.
- Steering responsive headlights.
With many models to choose from, the Outback accommodates a wide range of budgets. However, the car shines when off-road, with a suspension that keeps the ride smooth and comfortable.
2021 Volvo XC90
With a hybrid version offering 55 mpg, seven seats, a beautifully designed interior, and a slew of safety plus convenience features, the 2021 Volvo XC90 stands out amongst the pack of family cars available. Starting at the higher end of the budget scale, the XC90 brings with it the luxury and detailing that you’d expect from a premium SUV, cutting no corners in terms of quality. Keeping your journeys safe is Volvo’s own suite of safety-tech, with nothing left to chance:
- Rear cross-traffic monitoring when backing up.
- Forward collision alerts when crashing is likely.
- Blindspot warnings.
- Road sign detection.
- Intellisafe Assist: dynamic cruise control that can keep you at a safe distance from the car in front.
- Driver drowsiness detection.
- Trunk grill option to prevent pets or cargo lurching forward due to emergency braking.
Of course, being one of the more luxurious models on the list, there are some excellent extra features on offer too. Four-zone climate control, for example, will keep everyone in the family happy, no matter what their temperature preference. There are also the usual infotainment systems available and even a massage function on some models. The hands-free liftgate and parking assist are especially useful, making the XC90 a real showpiece.