Best Cars for New Parents

Best Cars for New Parents

Congratulations! You are a new parent, and now you need a family vehicle.

Every parent has three priorities in a family vehicle; Safety, Reliability, and Practicality. Our list will start with the smallest family vehicle and move up the ladder to the largest.

Are you looking for a vehicle to comfortably seat the whole family? Check out all our picks for the best family vehicles.

Read about how we rank our cars >>

Best Cars for New Parents Comparison

Nissan Sentra SVMazda CX-30Honda CR-VToyota Sienna AWD

Base Price

$23,225 $26,525 $35,455

Suggested Trim Price

$33,225 $30,535 $45,310

Passenger Volume

96 cu. ft.
94.1 cu. ft.105.9 cu. ft.159.7 cu. ft.

Max Cargo Volume

14.3 cu. ft.
45 cu. ft.75.8 cu. ft.101 cu. ft.

IIHS Rating

Top Safety Pick
Top Safety Pick
Top Safety Pick
Top Safety Pick+

IIHS LATCH Ease of Use Rating


EPA-Estimated Annual Fuel Cost

$1,600 $1,450 $1,200

1. Best on a Limited Budget: Nissan Sentra SV

Nissan Sentra Best New ParentsNew parents on a tight budget still need safety, and the Sentra SV delivers. It is an Insurance Institute For Highway Safety (IIHS) Top Safety Pick. Although the Sentra resides in the compact car class, it is roomy for its segment. Let’s be frank, though. It makes this list because the Sentra SV is priced at just $21,470 before dealer discounts. Nissan is also offering 0% financing on the ‘21 Sentra at the time this story is published.

We tested the Nissan Sentra SV back to back with a pricey European sedan the same size and double the price. We enjoyed the smoother ride and peppier engine of the Sentra more. In the latest J.D. Power Durability Study, Nissan ranked higher than Infiniti and Volvo.

Those families looking for reliable, safe transportation will find the Nissan Sentra SV fits the bill.


  • SV trim includes Android Auto and Apple CarPlay
  • Fun to drive
  • Roomy interior for its class


  • Small cargo volume
  • Few amenities at this price point

Current Nissan Sentra Deals & Incentives

YearMakeModelCash Incentives (up to)Best Avail. APRLease OffersExpiration

You may qualify for additional deals and incentives, check out this month's Nissan deals here.

2. Best Small Crossover: Mazda CX-30

Mazda CX-30 Best New ParentsThe Mazda CX-30 is a small crossover that blends all of the best attributes of a sporty sedan with a small utility vehicle's practicality. This is the perfect small family vehicle for new moms and new dads not yet ready to give up the zoom zoom of vehicle ownership.

Unlike some of our picks on this list, there is no particular trim that we feel is better. That depends on your taste and how many amenities you wish to buy. In its base FWD trim, the CX-30 is priced just over $23K. The top-trim Turbo Premium Plus with AWD is priced at $35,225. However, at that $35K price point, the Mazda CX-30 is a steal compared to premium brands that offer far less performance and features for much more money.

Drop the rear seats, and one can stuff in 45 cubic feet of family needs, three times that of the Sentra. This is why small crossovers are all the rage.

The CX-30 is the smallest crossover on our list, but it has a huge cargo volume compared to any sedan with its footprint.


  • Superb styling
  • Outstanding performance
  • Good cargo space


  • Not as roomy in the second row compared to CR-V
  • Fuel economy is the lowest on our list

Current Mazda CX-30 Deals & Incentives

YearMakeModelCash Incentives (up to)Best Avail. APRLease OffersExpiration

You may qualify for additional deals and incentives, check out this month's Mazda deals here.

3. Best Family Crossover: Honda CR-V EX AWD

Honda CR-V New ParentsHonda’s CR-V is one of the top-selling family nameplates in America, and for good reason. It is a practical, roomy, and safe family vehicle that can easily handle the needs of a family of four.

We love the CR-V because of its practicality but also because it is enjoyable to drive. Its 1.5-liter turbocharged engine is both frugal and powerful for the class. Take a glance at our chart above and note the whopping 75.8 cubic feet of cargo space. That is with the second row folded, but even with the second row up and holding your little ones, it still offers 39.2 cubic feet of space. The EX trim also does not have a massive glass roof. That means you can use a soft roof-top cargo bag for more space on vacations.

The CR-V will offer a new mom or new dad an easier experience loading and unloading junior than smaller crossovers like the CX-30 from Mazda. The back seat is “huge” and one of the largest in its class. This SUV is considered mid-sized by many.

We have a definite favorite trim in the CR-V line. The EX AWD line is the real value spot. We’d skip the CR-V Hybrid for two reasons. First, it does not save that much in fuel costs per year, and second, Honda steals your spare tire if you opt for the hybrid engine.

It provides all of the amenities one expects in a well-equipped family vehicle for new parents and foregoes the stuff that drives the price up to the high $30Ks.


  • Most well-rounded vehicle for new parents
  • Retains its value well
  • Roomier than you think


  • LATCH rating is less than perfect

Current Honda CR-V Deals & Incentives

YearMakeModelCash Incentives (up to)Best Avail. APRLease OffersExpiration

You may qualify for additional deals and incentives, check out this month's Honda deals here.

4. Best for New Parents With Plans for a Large Family: Toyota Sienna XSE AWD

Toyota Sienna Best New ParentsSome new parents are already planning ahead to have a large family. For those wise moms and dads, we suggest a look at the all-new 2021 Toyota Sienna. The Sienna is unusual in two big ways. First, its hybrid powertrain will save its owner $14,000 in fuel costs by comparison to a Honda Odyssey over its lifetime. Second, it combines all-wheel drive with this green engine, something that the Chrysler Pacifica does not do.

A quick glance at our chart above shows that the Sienna scores highest across the board. It has the highest safety rating, the largest cargo and passenger volume, the best LATCH rating, and also the best fuel economy.

Our pick of the available trims is the XSE AWD. To this, we would add the Plus Package With Options from the build tool. It has some handy features, but we feel every family vehicle should have a spare tire, and that package adds it. The total price is $45,310 in this configuration before dealer discounts. Note that the Sienna includes Toyota Care, which is two years of included maintenance.

The value of the Sienna only gets better when one considers Toyota’s reputation for quality, durability, and reliability.


  • Top scores on every family vehicle specification
  • Amazing fuel economy
  • 7-passenger seating


  • More than most new parents need
  • Pricey for those on a budget

Current Toyota Sienna Deals & Incentives

YearMakeModelCash Incentives (up to)Best Avail. APRLease OffersExpiration

You may qualify for additional deals and incentives, check out this month's Toyota deals here.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the best car for a new parent?

Some of the best vehicles for new parents include:

  • Nissan Sentra SV
  • Mazda CX-30
  • Honda CR-V
  • Toyota Sienna

What makes a good car for new parents?

Some of the features to look out for include good safety and reliability ratings. Specifically high ratings for the IIHS LATCH Ease of Use Rating.

What is the safest vehicle for a baby?

The Toyota Sienna earns the highest possible score from the Insurance Institute For Highway Safety, the Top Safety Pick Plus rating.

What is the best mom car?

The answer depends on mom’s priorities. We find that the Honda CR-V appeals to many new parents who want a combination of safety, space, and practicality.

Which family car offers the best green engine choice?

The 7-passenger Toyota Sienna combines AWD and a hybrid engine to earn a 35 MPG EPA rating.