You have many options to choose from when selecting the best family vehicle, including a range of sedans, crossovers, SUVs, and minivans. this can make narrowing it down to just one and making a buying decision quite difficult. You've got to find a model that fits your family’s needs and your budget while still being fun to drive.
To help guide you through the process, we've created a list of the seven best family vehicles under $35,000. With a mixture of sedans, compact SUVs, and crossovers, you're sure to find something to fit your needs.
A family vehicle must, first and foremost, fit your entire family. If you're a family of three or four, a standard sedan will work fine. However, if your family stretches to five or more, you may need to look into a three-row SUV or minivan to haul everyone comfortably.
On top of space, safety is another critical area. We suggest only considering vehicles with an IIHS Top Safety Pick or Top Safety Pick+ rating. You also want to lean toward vehicles with advanced safety features.
Finally, the vehicle's standard features matter too. From adaptive cruise control to touchscreen infotainment systems with Android Auto and Apple CarPlay, these features make long commutes a breeze.
Let's dive in.
Need to haul people and their luggage safely? Here are the seven best family cars for under $35,000.
The 2023 Chevy Malibu has lived with the same basic design since 2016, but it was quite modern when it debuted, so it remains a good look in 2023. Where this mid-size sedan really shines, though, is its 967.7 mm of rear legroom and spacious 445-litre trunk. This is plenty for any family who prefers a sedan to an SUV.
This sedan is also quite up-to-date in terms of technology, despite its age. The 2023 Malibu LS (the base model) and higher comes standard with an 8-inch touchscreen infotainment system with wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. Plus, you get 16-inch aluminum wheels, a rearview camera, automatic headlights, a sound-deadening windshield, and more.
As for safety, all 2023 Malibu models include automatic emergency braking with pedestrian detection, forward-collision warning, lane-keep assist, lane-departure warning, OnStar, and more.
With a base MSRP of $29,747, the 2023 Malibu is a solid option, and you may find a pre-owned Malibu for even more savings.
Ford has stepped away from building sedans, as it now only offers SUVs, trucks, and the Mustang. Redesigned in 2020, the 2023 Ford Escape features a sleek and modern look with stylish headlights and a swoopy body that’s sure to look good for years to come.
It features loads of interior room too, offering up to 1,851 litres of cargo room and a second row that slides 15 cm to accommodate taller riders with up to 1,035 mm of legroom. This cabin also includes an 8-inch touchscreen infotainment system, an 8-inch digital gauge cluster, Wireless Android Auto and Apple CarPlay, and so much more.
The Ford Escape’s MSRP starts from $32,849, so you can add some options before reaching the $35,000 cap. There is also a large used Ford Escape market where you can save even more cash.
The Subaru Forester is a legend on Canadian streets, so its spot here is well-earned.
The 2023 Forester not only has standard all-wheel drive for snowy conditions, but it also boasts a timeless design that never seems to age. Plus, it is equipped with standard Bluetooth connectivity, steering-wheel controls for the audio system, a 6.5-inch touchscreen, Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, and a rearview camera. Higher-trimmed models get an 8-inch touchscreen and premium audio.
Plus, with the base MSRP starting at $30,995, you can add some options and accessories before nearing the $35,000 target. You can also look into the robust used Forester market and score an even better deal.
The Forester also boasts standard all-wheel drive (AWD), so taking it off-road is definitely in the cards without buying some hulking full-size SUV.
On top of all this, this crossover has roomy rear seats and plenty of cargo space.
The Toyota Camry might as well have invented the family car space, so it belongs here. This sedan boasts sleek and sporty styling, especially in the SE trim, which squeaks in under the $35,000 budget at $33,804. If you’re looking for better fuel economy, a new Camry LE Hybrid will fall about $200 over budget, but you may find a used Camry Hybrid within your budget to maximize fuel efficiency.
Even the base SE trim is relatively well-equipped with a standard 7-inch touchscreen with Apple CarPlay and no Android Auto. It also includes adaptive cruise control, power features, LED headlights, and Bluetooth.
On the safety front, the 2023 Camry landed a Top Safety Pick+ award from the (Insurance Institute for Highway Safety) IIHS. It also features top-line safety features, including standard adaptive cruise control, automatic emergency braking with pedestrian detection, and active lane control.
The Nissan Altima has been around forever and entered its sixth generation with the 2019 redesign. The 2023 Altima boasts a sporty look and feel wrapped around a family-friendly cabin with 895 mm of rear legroom and 437 litres of luggage space.
Inside, the Altima has plenty of tech too. This starts with a standard 8-inch touchscreen infotainment system with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, an available 12.3-inch touchscreen, a power driver’s seat, and more. It also has lots of standard safety tech, including automatic headlights, automatic emergency braking with pedestrian detection, blind-spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic alert, and more.
All this rings in at a base MSRP of $31,198. You can also move into the better-equipped STR trim for $34,098. For an even better deal, check out a used Nissan Altima.
The 2023 Hyundai Tucson is a spacious and well-equipped compact family SUV with plenty of room in the back seat to stretch your legs and loads of cargo space without forcing you to step into a large SUV. It also has unique styling and is sure to grab some attention.
Standard features are plentiful in this small crossover, keeping road trips exciting. It comes standard with Bluetooth connectivity, cloth upholstery, and an 8-inch touchscreen with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility. Even the mid-range Preferred trim will barely fit under the $35,000 cap, and it includes an upgraded audio system, adaptive cruise control a leather-wrapped steering wheel, remote start, and more.
On top of all this, the Tucson is a safe crossover, earning a 2023 IIHS Top Safety Pick+ award. Standard safety and driver-assistance equipment includes forward-collision warnings with automatic emergency braking, blind-spot monitors, active lane control, and a rearview camera with rear cross-traffic alert.
The Tucson’s MSRP starts at $31,156 and rises to $33,556 in the Preferred trim. However, you may get even more features at the same or better price by looking into a used Hyundai Tucson.
The only compact car on our list is the 2023 Honda Civic. This model is designed for a growing family that’s on a tight budget but refuses to compromise on quality and style, The 2023 Civic comes in seven trim levels and all but the range-topping Touring are in the $35,000 budget. The Touring checks in a few hundred bucks over budget, so the used Civic market may be an option.
Even the base Civic LX-B comes well-equipped for a $28,230 sedan. It features a standard 7-inch colour touchscreen infotainment system, Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, USB ports, a 7-inch digital gauge cluster, automatic climate control, and more. You may be able to find an EX trim within your $35,000 budget, but it'll be close.
There is plenty of room inside too, as the second row has 950 mm of legroom and the trunk specs out with 419 litres of space.
Safety is also top-notch with its standard driver-assist features like automatic emergency braking, lane-departure warning, active lane control, road departure mitigation, adaptive cruise control, automatic high beams, blind-spot monitoring, traffic sign recognition, and rear cross-traffic alerts.
Skip the hassle of a traditional car dealership when shopping for the best family vehicle and head to Clutch.ca, Canada's first online vehicle retailer. We allow you to complete the shopping process 100% online, then we bring the vehicle to you.
On top of that convenience, all our used cars sold online go through a 210-point inspection and reconditioning process and include a 90-day or 6,000-km warranty. We also offer a no-risk 10-day or 750-km test-own period. If you don't love your Clutch vehicle within the first 10 days or 750 km, you can return it for a full refund or exchange it for another.