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One of the most important decisions you’ll have to make as an adult is to choose a safe and reliable daily driver for your family. Whether you’re shopping for your first family car or upgrading to a newer and/or a larger vehicle, one way to get more bang for your buck is to shop for used family cars.

7 Best Used Family Cars

When it comes to shopping for a family car, it’s important to consider factors like ride comfort, fuel economy, safety features, and maintenance costs. Here’s a list of the best used family cars that should tick most, if not all, of your boxes:

Second-Generation Toyota Sienna (2011-2018)

2018 Toyota Sienna Toyota US Newsroom
Second-generation Toyota Siennas are known to have decent gas mileage and a spacious cabin for a minivan. Image source: Toyota US Newsroom.

Second-generation Toyota Siennas are known to have decent gas mileage and a spacious cabin for a minivan, which is perfect if you’ll be driving up to eight passengers.

You can purchase a used front-wheel-drive model for less than $20,000. If you prefer to drive an all-wheel-drive minivan, you may need to shell out a little more than that. Although this might lead to a decrease in fuel economy, you can get more traction with an AWD vehicle under bad weather conditions.

Fourth and Fifth-Generation Subaru Forester (2014-2018 and 2019-2021)

2020 Subaru Forester Subaru US Media Center
Fourth- and fifth-generation Foresters are generally dependable SUVs. Image source: Subaru US Media Center.

Fourth- and fifth-generation Foresters are generally dependable SUVs. All Subarus come with a standard all-wheel-drive system, and the late-model redesigns have been praised for their upscale interior and advanced safety features.

Owners of the latest Forester models can also enjoy ample head and legroom in their cabin, which is great for long drives. The base trim features a 2.5L Subaru Boxer four-cylinder engine, but XT and Sport trims are also available if you’re looking for more power.

Eighth, Ninth, and Tenth-Generation Honda Accord (2008-2020)

2020 Honda Accord Touring Honda Newsroom
The Honda Accord is great for small families, and it can comfortably seat up to five people. Image source: Honda Newsroom.

There are a lot of reasons why the Honda Accord makes a great family car. This sedan is great for small families, and it can comfortably seat up to five people. It is most known for its excellent ride quality and handling.

But if you think the Accord is only as good as its latest redesign, you’re wrong. You can find a used Accord for $5,000 with plenty of life in it, and a $20,000 budget can get you a newer model with low mileage.

Later models of the Accord come with advanced infotainment systems, driver assistance technology, automatic high-beam headlights, and more. The base trim features a 2.4L I4 engine available in a six-speed manual or continuous variable transmission. For those looking to get an extra kick out of their Accord, a 3.5L V6 with 284 horsepower is also available in a six-speed automatic.

MK 7 Volkswagen Golf (2015-2021)

2018 Volkswagen Golf VII Volkswagen US Media Site
The MK 7 is available in gas, diesel, and plug-in hybrid variants. Image source: Volkswagen US Media Site.

Comfort and precision are just some of the things you can enjoy when you drive a seventh-generation Volkswagen Golf. With the model’s exceptional styling, spacious cabin, and excellent fuel economy, it’s no surprise it has been branded as the “go-to” used family car.

The MK 7 is available in gas, diesel, and plug-in hybrid variants. The diesel engine offers the best fuel economy on the highway with an impressive 40 miles per gallon (mpg). You can also score a performance-focused Golf with its GTI and R models.

Second-Generation Ford Focus (2005-2011)

2009 ford focus SES sedan Wikimedia
The 2005-2011 model years of the Ford Focus are relatively more dependable than other generations. Image source: Wikimedia.

The Blue Oval finally makes an appearance on our list thanks to the Ford Focus. Units from the 2005-2011 model years belong to the more dependable generation, with many owners praising this model for its low ownership costs.

First and Third-Generation Mercedes Benz C-Class (1993-2000 and 2007-2014)

1998–2000 Mercedes Benz C280 Wikimedia
First- and third-generation Benzes from the C-Class boast spacious cabins and excellent fuel economy. Image source: Wikimedia.

If you’d like a family car that offers a touch of luxury, you can’t go wrong with the Mercedes Benz C-Class. First- and third-generation Benzes from the C-Class boast spacious cabins and excellent fuel economy.

First-generation C-Class models were already equipped with advanced safety features like front side airbags and brake assist, which is one of the reasons why owning an older model is still a great idea. Meanwhile, the third generation’s Sport and Luxury trim lines are known for their advanced infotainment systems.

Fourth-Generation Volkswagen Passat (2012-2022)

2020 Volkswagen Passat
The 2012-2022 models of the Volkswagen Passat make great family cars because of their standardized airbags and electronic safety systems. Image source: Volkswagen US Media Site.

Rounding out our list is the Volkswagen Passat. The 2012-2022 models of the Volkswagen Passat make great family cars because of their standardized airbags and electronic safety systems. Just like the Volkswagen Golf, the diesel-engined Passat is popular among drivers because of its great gas mileage.

The Passat is available as a five-speed manual or six-speed automatic with the 2.5L engine, a six-speed manual or six-speed DSG with the TDI engine, or a six-speed DSG with the VR6 engine.

Getting More Mileage Out of Your Used Family Car

Do your research before purchasing a used family car. It’s a good idea to ask for recommendations from families with lifestyles similar to yours. Once you have your top choices nailed down, read up on the common problems associated with each model to find out what parts may need to be repaired or replaced over time.

Pre-loved vehicles need proper care and attention for them to last a long time. With the daily wear and tear that comes with the job of transporting multiple passengers, you’ll need to take extra steps to keep your vehicle running as it should.

Following your car manufacturer’s recommended maintenance schedule is essential to prolonging your vehicle’s lifespan. Make sure to stay on top of oil changes, tire rotations, and filter replacements to keep your daily driver on the road for years to come.

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