While our list of 12 Best Family Cars of 2017 makes it clear that SUVs and minivans are the most popular options for today's families, they aren’t for everyone. There are plenty of appealing 4-door choices, from compact to full-size, with a wide range of pricing options. Here are the best mainstream family sedans (and one hatchback) for families, as selected by the Kelley Blue Book editorial staff.

In order of starting sticker price:

2017 Honda Civic Hatchback

Starting Price: $21,375 (w/automatic transmission)

Having kids doesn’t mean you have to head straight to the minivan display at the dealership. If you don't yet (or no longer) need the sheer size of a prototypical family car, the 2017 Honda Civic can be a high-value, highly satisfying alternative. And while the familiar Civic sedan qualifies as a smart choice, the all-new hatchback model is even smarter.

The newest generation of the Honda Civic is larger, more refined, and is available with more tech, safety and interior features. Honda has introduced many variants of the Civic, but the model with the potential for the best combination of fun and practicality is the hatchback. The hatch comes standard with a 1.5-liter turbocharged engine, backed by either a 6-speed manual or continuously variable transmission. It has aggressive, angular styling that places it squarely outside of the typical econo-hatch set.

Yet none of that detracts from the hatchback's -- or Honda's -- inherent practicality. The 5-passenger hatchback provides space for more than 46 cubic feet of gear behind the front seats, or about 26 with the rear seats up (the sedan's trunk holds 15.1 cubic feet of cargo). In addition, with the continuously variable transmission, highway fuel economy is as high as 40 mpg with a range of more than 420 miles on a single tank of gas. There's a bevy of safety features available, including Honda's excellent duo of the LaneWatch blind-spot camera and Honda Sensing suite of safety features. And you can get into Honda's new hatch for not a lot more than $20,000, a price point that'll be especially appealing when you're paying for that palate of diapers at the local membership warehouse -- and you won’t need a larger vehicle to carry them home.

2017 Hyundai Sonata

Starting Price: $22,435

Named to Kelley Blue Book's most recent lists of 10 Best Sedans Under $25,000 and 10 Most Comfortable Cars Under $30,000, the Hyundai Sonata is also a strong family car choice in the sedan category. Its styling runs on the conservative side, yet the value in this car is bold and undeniable. Not only does the 2017 Sonata have the lowest starting price in the segment -- lower by $150 from its 2016 MSRP -- at just over $22,000, but it comes with a long list of standard equipment. Features like Bluetooth, 7-inch touchscreen, automatic headlights, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto connectivity, rearview camera, BlueLink safety telematics and seven airbags, plus Hyundai's excellent 10-year/100,000-mile powertrain warranty, come standard with every Sonata. Safety options include smart cruise control, blind-spot detection, lane departure warning, rear cross-traffic alert, and dynamic bending light, which aims the headlights toward the direction of travel, even on curving roads.

The Sonata is one of the most comfortable midsize sedans on the market, its interior seeming larger than the car it's in. The cabin is smartly designed as well: controls are easily at hand, noise levels are low throughout, and both rear-seat legroom and trunk space are surprisingly generous. When stowing gear, if you have the fob with you, the trunk will open automatically if you simply stand there for a few seconds. There are also welcome optional features that'll ensure the comfort of passengers on longer journeys, such as heated rear seats, rear-seat vent controls and rear-window sunshades. So passengers can sit back and enjoy the ride, and you can enjoy driving one of the best midsize sedan values out there.

2017 Chevrolet Malibu

Starting Price: $22,555

The midsize sedan segment is one of the most competitive out there. One way to survive here is to offer a combination of tech and family-friendly features you won’t find in the competition. Take, for example, the recently redesigned 2017 Chevrolet Malibu. While it's clearly the best-looking modern Malibu to date, what sets it apart is its roomy interior filled with tech-savvy amenities aimed at improving everything from safety to connectivity.

Chevrolet's Teen Driver safety suite is an optional feature that can put parents' minds at ease while their kids are behind the wheel. Teen Driver can monitor how the car is being driven, set up warnings when the car is driven over a parent-set speed, and mute the car's stereo system until front-seat passengers are buckled in. And before the kids roll their eyes and say, "Aw, mom," they can also get a report card with positive reviews. Other safety features include adaptive cruise control, lane-keep assist, front pedestrian braking, low-speed forward automatic braking and automatic park assist.

The Malibu is well prepared to keep everyone as connected to the outside world as they desire, with the MyLink display that serves as command center for available Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. The Malibu is also available with built-in 4G LTE Wi-Fi that allows up to seven devices to use the Malibu as a hotspot. There is a bevy of USB ports on board, as well the option of a wireless charging station. You can get into a 2017 Malibu for less than $23,000, a reasonable price point at which to start building your high-tech family machine.

2017 Kia Optima

Starting Price: $23,095

The Kia Optima's recent redesign cemented its place as last year's Midsize Sedan Best Buy award winner and a family-car favorite. The 2017 Optima continues to be a smart alternative for buyers who don't need a crossover. Kia's stylish midsize sedan is packed with value, but along with a standout warranty and oodles of standard features come a satisfying driving experience, the availability of forward-thinking tech features, a refined ride, plus a roomy interior and one of the largest trunks in the segment.

On the value front, the Optima is offered with three gas engines offering up to 37 highway mpg, a hybrid that'll net 46 mpg on the highway, and a plug-in hybrid capable of travelling up to 33 miles on electricity alone before operating like a traditional hybrid. Starting at a hair over $23,000, the Optima comes standard with a rearview camera, hill-start assist, Bluetooth connectivity and seven airbags, plus a limited powertrain warranty that'll cover the car for 10 years or 100,000 miles.

Additional family-friendly goodies include a 360-degree surround-view camera system, forward collision alert with automatic braking, adaptive cruise control and lane departure warning. There's also the UVO eServices app, which lets you use your smartphone to find your parking spot (always a plus when leaving a big amusement park for the day), calling for roadside assistance, or checking vehicle diagnostics. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto connectivity and navigation are also available.

2017 Honda Accord

Starting Price: $24,130 (w/automatic transmission)

Kelley Blue Book's 2017 Best Buy Award Winner in the midsize sedan category, the Honda Accord has spent over 40 years establishing itself as a smart, practical choice for buyers. As explained in KBB's most recent Best Buy Awards, "while quality and value remain at the core of its appeal, the Accord has grown and evolved with the times. Today, this famously well-rounded sedan is a popular choice with drivers across generations, from Baby Boomers to Gen X to Millennials." This is a sedan that appeals to family members of all ages, and is built with quality and reliability that make it a smart hand-me-down for younger family members when they are old enough to drive.

While "practical" isn't known to be synonymous with "fun," the Honda Accord provides a surprisingly rewarding driving experience, while keeping all passengers comfortable. The Accord offers one of the most diverse lineups in its class, with 4- and 6-cylinder engines, two transmissions, the choice of sedan or coupe bodystyles, and the availability of an ultra-efficient hybrid powertrain.

A rearview camera comes standard at the Accord sedan's starting price of just over $23,000, and when that model is equipped with the continuously variable transmission, Honda's excellent Honda Sensing suite only adds $1,000 to the bottom line. It includes lane departure warning, lane-keep assist, adaptive cruise control, forward collision warning and more. Honda's LaneWatch, which adds a camera view of the car's passenger-side blind spot, comes standard on EX models and above.

2017 Chevrolet Impala

Starting Price: $28,175

The 2017 Chevrolet Impala has been named a Kelley Blue Book Best Buy in the Full-Size Car category for three years running. This sedan's spacious interior offers alluring quiet, plus the availability of forward-thinking tech that'll appeal to passengers of all ages: in-car Wi-Fi connectivity, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, 11-speaker surround sound and wireless charging. There's no shortage of safety equipment and services, via the OnStar communication system, as well as forward collision warning with automatic emergency braking, lane-departure warning, adaptive cruise control and blind-spot monitoring. And this is all part of a car that is comfortable for long road trips and rounds of "punch buggy," with a best-in-class 18.8-cubic-foot trunk that will swallow up your family's getaway gear, plus any souvenirs they may pick up along the way.

Even better, the Chevrolet Impala offers value, both at the dealer lot and after you buy. You can get into an Impala for around $28,000 and build your ideal family car from there. Starting from the base model, you can spend a little over $1,000 to step up to the optional 305-horsepower V6 -- a low entry fee for smooth, easy power and a respectable highway fuel economy rating of 28 mpg. The Impala continues its value quest in the long run, as reflected by its title as the most recent Kelley Blue Book 5-Year Cost to Own Award winner in the full-size car category.

 

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