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Best Family Car Options for Large Families in 2023

Recently I went on a 11 day road trip with a car full of kids and luggage and scooters and a bunch of other stuff and it made me realise it was probably time to upgrade our car. 

So, I asked in our Facebook community for everyone’s opinion on what they thought was the best family car option. Then I checked out their suggestions for which one would suit us!

Throughout this article I will go through the most popular large family car suggestions and outline the pros and the cons. I am interested in petrol as well as hybrid family cars.

I wrote this up mostly for myself, based on my budget, but I perhaps it will help you too?

Mitisbishi Outlander

Mitsubishi Outlander for families

This is the car that we hired on our road trip holiday. This is the car that started me thinking that a larger, newer car might be on the card for our family this year. After I drove it for 2 weeks, I got a good feel for what I liked and didn’t like about this car.


  • it is a comfortable ride
  • 8 inch touch screen infotainment system
  • improved temperature control throughout all rows of seats
  • easy access third row
  • good visibility
  • enough space for car seats
  • lots of luggage space
  • smartphone integration & excellent sound system


  • slow to accelerate
  • squishy brakes
  • uncomfortable headrest positions

I really enjoyed driving this car. The space was there for us and in my opinion it was comfortable. The new versions start at around $32, 000.

But I did go to look at a few more…  

Hybrid Toyota Kluger 

Toyota-Kluger hybrid - large family car

So, while I was researching, I found out that there is a new 7 seater hybrid Toyota Kluger coming on to the market. This is exciting and will be Toyota’s first 7-seat hybrid SUV! 

Here is what I have found out so far:


  • petrol-electric hybrid option
  • all wheel drive
  • 4.9m-long (longer than previous versions creating lots of internal space )


  • it has not arrived into Australia yet, so if you are in a hurry to upgrade, this isn’t the car for you
  • price is not yet known but expected to be around $50, 000. 

Toyota Sunshine Coast (who I called to double check) have further confirmed that the Kluger will arrive in Australia with the brand’s Safety Sense suite of technologies, including AEB, adaptive cruise control, and lane trace assist. It sounds like it will be a strong contender for the best family car!

I will be checking this one out when it arrives!

Honda CR-V

Honda CR-V best family car

This was a super popular choice among those that commented on our post. I dug a little deeper and found out what there was to love about this car.


  • power – it feels like you are driving a car with a bit of oomph
  • it is huge on the inside and really well appointed
  • heaps of luggage space
  • easy (and fun) to drive
  • super comfortable seats
  • good visibility
  • smartphone integration 


  • city car not meant to go off-road
  • the infotainment system is a bit hard to navigate
  • the voice control can be a bit laggy

Overall, this is a lovely car. Really fun to drive and responsive. It was certainly big enough for our family and all our stuff! A brand new Honda CR-V starts at around $31, 000.

Ford Escape

Ford Focus family car

I have to admit, I do love the look of this car. This was another one mentioned by our audience. Here is what I found out.


  • it is big and has plenty of luggage space
  • a smooth, quiet ride
  • simple to navigate infotainment system
  • easy to install child safety seats
  • the seats were easy to move and gave a lot of space making it easy to get in and out


  • poor fuel economy
  • interior is a bit outdated
  • steering felt a bit weird… :-/

I didn’t feel like this car lived up to my expectations in terms of a nice car to drive. It is big and smooth, but it just didn’t *do it* for me. With a starting price of $38, 000 this one is still on my list, but I have dropped it towards the bottom. 

Mazda CX-9

Mazda-CX-9-SUV family car

This car (along with the Outlander) was probably this most mentioned by our readers. It is a comfortable vehicle with great performance stats

It is a strong contender for our new car… here’s why!  


  • iActivsense suite of tech features
  • fuel efficient without losing a lot of power
  • lovely to drive, lovely interior
  • 9 inch touch screen infotainment system


  • third row is a bit hard to get in and out and is a bit cramped for larger people
  • less luggage space that the other cars

While it may not be spacious enough for all families, we found the amount of room to be more than adequate. Ultimately, the CX-9 is a smart buy that has far more pros than cons. Prices for a new vehicle start at $46, 000. 

… so for now… I cannot make a decision! Hopefully I will soon!!

Photo of author

Janine Mergler

Janine Mergler is a veteran Queensland teacher, graduating from QUT with a BEd majoring in Social Sciences. After many years in the classroom, Janine moved on to academia. She has proudly trained new generations of teachers in her role as a lecturer at Queensland University of Technology Faculty of Education. She has also worked in the Queensland Government as an education specialist, developing education resources and delivering community awareness programs to help families conserve water. Currently she is the owner and editor of Families Magazine, a publication specifically targeted at parents who value a quality education for children.  Janine leads a team of professionals who write about family lifestyle, early childhood, schools and education information and family-friendly events.

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