Buying Guides

5 Great Used Family Vehicles

Wheeled sanity for your insane troops

Amos Kwon, Editor-In-Chief

Buying a brand spanking new vehicle just may not be in the cards for you because of cost-cutting, but you still need a great car, SUV, or minivan for your family. You can get a great deal these days on cars that are in great condition with low mileage, otherwise known as used. You just need to be selective, so we offer up seven great option for vehicles that are still in excellent shape. Here are the ones we chose, in no particular order.

2017 Dodge Durango

Best

for muscle car fans

  • PROS: Spacious for seven adults, great available V8 powertrain hauls ass, Uconnect infotainment system is very easy to use, towing capability is impressive,drives smaller than it actually is, muscle car looks in an SUV.
  • CONS: Can get thirsty with the V8 engine, some sub-par interior materials, V6 is sluggish.

The Durango has soldiered on longer than anyone expected and for good reason. It's a roomy and capable SUV that can fit seven adults while towing up to 7,200 lbs with the HEMI V8 engine (6,200 lbs with the Pentastar V6). The big rear doors allow easy access to the large third row, and all passengers (adults) will find the Durango to be a comfortable ride. Expect prices to range from the low $20K up to the mid $30K mark.

2017 Subaru Outback

Best

for small suburban families

  • PROS: Spacious and well-appointed interior (in higher trims), good off-road capability thanks to standard all-wheel drive, excellent safety scores, attractively styled, efficient under four-cylinder power.
  • CONS: Driving dynamics are soft, acceleration is slow with the four-cylinder engine, noise levels are higher than we'd like.

The Outback has a cult following for a reason. It's Subaru's best-selling vehicle, and it's a station wagon. That fact alone should get your attention since wagons don't sell well, to begin with. The Outback's reputation is superb for families thanks to solid safety, great optional EyeSight Safety System equipment, and roominness that competes with crossovers that are bigger on the outside. Expect to pay between the low $20K and low $30K price range for a good one, depending on trim level.

2016 Jeep Grand Cherokee

Best

for Off-Roaders

  • PROS: Space for seven, tougher than most SUVs with real off-road capability, well-appointed cabin, great engine options, comfortable for five, design that stands up for years.
  • CONS: Less than average reliability.

The Jeep Grand Cherokee is like an American Range Rover. It's handsome inside and out, as well as seriously capable when it goes off pavement. In higher trims, the cabin is truly luxurious with high-grade leather, solid ergonomics, and a great Uconnect infotainment system. For the 2016 model year, all non-SRT trims received updated steering, tires, and suspension for a better ride and improvde driving experience. It's one of the best American SUVs on the market that will satsify the whole family, and with the V8 engine, it's a powerhouse. Look for prices between the low $20Ks and the mid-$30Ks.

2018 Chrysler Pacifica

Best

for Upsized families

  • PROS: Excellent V6 power across all trim levels, huge amounts of space in all rows, carries 8 people in comfort, super-easy Stow 'N Go seating provides cavernous cargo space, beautifully designed for a minivan.
  • CONS: Throttle response is a bit slow on takeoff, V6 can get thirsty.

The Pacifica proves minivans aren't dead yet, and it's a superb family hauler that makes long hauls and noisy families more than manageable thanks to well thought-out space, brilliant storage options, and enough power to satisfy parents in a hurry. The instrumentation and the Uconnect system are some of the best you'll find in any vehicle, and the easy rotary shifter makes quick work of gear changes. In Limited trim, it has just about everything you need, and it easily borders on premium in terms of looks and materials. Look for used examples ranging from $22K to $35K.

2017 Buick Enclave

Best

for Luxury Lovers

  • PROS: Sophisticated styling looks handsome coming or going, plenty of space for 5-7 and optional captain's chairs available, high grade interior materials, great cargo space with seats in place and folded flat, supremely quiet and cushy ride, very safe.
  • CONS: Font on control buttons is too small, can feel underpowered when fully loaded.

The Enclave is the rightful king of the Buick crossovers since it does just about everything well. Easy to drive, nicely appointed, and as smooth as a luxury sedan, the Enclave is popular for a reason. Its looks have slightly changed since 2017, but only via slight refreshes. The 288 horsepower V6 engine is great for most occasions, but it can feel taxed when the Enclave is loaded to the gills. On the plus side, it's more than sufficient for most daily tasks. The 2017 model still looks great today, and it gets top scores in crash testing, making it ideal for drivers and families.

What do I gain from buying used?

  • Depreciation is greatest within the first two years of the vehicle's life, so you can avoid that hit by purchasing a 2-year old vehicle in great condition.
  • If it's only a couple of years old, it will still have modern technology like Bluetooth and a touchscreen infotainment system that's current.
  • They may also still have the factory warranty depending on mileage.

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