The 2016 Honda Pilot Could Be the Ultimate Family Car

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We like to think we know the family-car shopper. Besides our diligence in checking just how well child-safety seats fit in new vehicles, we also happen to be a staff with a lot of kids of various ages at home. That's one of the reasons the redesigned 2016 Honda Pilot, unveiled at the 2015 Chicago Auto Show, is so interesting to us.

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To be a great family car — like the 2015 Hyundai Santa Fe, winner of Cars.com's Family Car of the Year — it needs to not only handle all the kids' wants and needs, but also take care of the adults. After all, it's important that Mom or Dad remain sane on even the shortest drives.

By David Thomas | February 16, 2015 | Comments (16)

2016 Honda Pilot: First Look

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Competes with: Hyundai Santa Fe, Dodge Durango, Toyota Highlander, Ford Explorer

Looks like: A pumped-up Honda CR-V

Drivetrain: 3.5-liter V-6 engine, six-speed or nine-speed automatic transmission, optional all-wheel drive

Hits dealerships: Summer 2015

Honda's big SUV got a huge styling change when it went from the sleek, angular first-generation model to the boxy, not-so-attractive second-generation model. For 2016, it's coming full circle — the redesigned Pilot got a very stylish update for the 2016 model year.

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The new Pilot is longer than the one it replaces, which increases interior room — something the previous model didn't exactly lack, being one of the few three-row SUVs on the market that could accommodate three child seats across the second row. The field has changed a lot since the Pilot was last redone in 2008, with competitors all having received at least one update in the time the Pilot has soldiered on unchanged, but now the new Pilot has arrived to up Honda's game in this hot-selling segment.

By Aaron Bragman | February 12, 2015 | Comments (9)

2015 Ford Expedition Review

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"Updates to the 2015 Ford Expedition create one of the nicest-driving big SUVs ever, but the disappointing lack of cosmetic updates means few people are likely to notice," says Cars.com reviewer Aaron Bragman.

2015 Ford Expedition Expert Review

Cars.com photo by Aaron Bragman

By Jennifer Geiger | February 9, 2015 | Comments (0)

Can the 2015 Mercedes-Benz GLA-Class Pull Family Duty?

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I've been trying to get a Mercedes-Benz into my family's fleet for some time, but the luxury brand's offerings usually come in a little higher than our budget allows. I tested the 2014 CLA-Class with the hopes that this sub-$30,000 sedan could work for my family of three, but quickly determined the four-door "coupe" was not intended for families, even small ones. My scheming started again with the 2015 GLA-Class. I wondered if the three of us would fare better in the subcompact crossover, which starts at $32,225 including a destination charge, than in the CLA-Class.

Related: 2015 Mercedes-Benz GLA-Class Expert Review

On paper, the GLA250 offers more passenger room and cargo space than the CLA250 thanks to its crossover body style. It's no surprise that the GLA250's cargo area is larger at 17.2 cubic feet behind the backseat compared to the CLA250's 13.1 cubic feet. My stroller fit in the GLA250's cargo area easily, but in the CLA250 I had to remove one of the stroller's wheels to fit it. When the GLA250's 60/40-split rear seats are folded, there's 43.6 cubic feet of cargo space. The GLA250 also boasts an additional 6 inches of rear legroom (33.9 inches) over the CLA250, which is impressive considering both cars have the same 106.3-inch wheelbase.

The GLA250 is fun to drive, but it doesn't have the same heft and solidity on the road as others in the Mercedes lineup. At times, the seven-speed dual-clutch transmission shifted harshly and hunted for the right gear. Coupled with the engine's jarring stop-start technology, the drive experience was much less refined than other Mercedes-Benz models I've driven in the past.

By Carrie Kim | February 6, 2015 | Comments (2)

Which Cars Fit Three Car Seats?

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UPDATED FEB. 5, 2015: Parents are often searching for the automotive holy grail: a car that's not a minivan and can fit three child-safety seats across the backseat. It's a short list.

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In the more than four years that Cars.com editors have been installing car seats into test vehicles, we’ve come across several vehicles that can hold three car seats across a backseat.

The 2015 Ford Expedition is the latest vehicle to land on our list. This full-size SUV easily handled three car seats across the second row, and the third almost held three car seats — we suspect that it would work with narrower child-safety seats.

As we come across more cars that fit three child-safety seats, we'll add to this list. For now, here are the cars from our Car Seat Checks that can fit three car seats in the second row:

By Jennifer Newman | February 5, 2015 | Comments (0)

2015 Ford Expedition: Car Seat Check

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Why mess with a good thing? Ford has updated a few things in its 2015 Expedition — an updated look for its front end and a new turbocharged 3.5-liter EcoBoost V-6 engine — but for the most part, this three-row SUV remains unchanged. When it comes to families and child-safety seats, that's a plus.

More Car Seat Checks

The Expedition joins our growing list of cars that can fit three car seats across its second row. It nearly fit three across the third row too; while we could fit three car seats back there, the space was too narrow — 50.2 inches of hip room compared to the second row's 59.9 inches — to allow a child's hand to reach between the car seats to buckle the booster's seat belt.

How many car seats fit in the second row? Three

How many car seats fit in the third row? Two, but nearly three

By Jennifer Newman | February 3, 2015 | Comments (0)

2015 Kia Sedona Review

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"The redesigned 2015 Kia Sedona is a well-executed family-hauler that will keep Mom, Dad and the rug rats comfortable and entertained; while it's leaps and bounds ahead of its predecessor, though, it doesn't quite leapfrog its competitors," says Cars.com reviewer Jennifer Geiger.

2015 Kia Sedona Expert Review

Cars.com photo by Evan Sears

By Jennifer Geiger | February 2, 2015 | Comments (0)

Versatile 2015 GMC Canyon Appeals to Families

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When I think of my family's transportation options in Los Angeles, pickup trucks are not the first to come to mind. Sure, full-size trucks can be fine family haulers, but they seem too big for L.A.'s tight streets, and I'm too keen on creature comforts and technology to ever consider a smaller truck.

Related: 2015 GMC Canyon Video

That's until I test-drove the 2015 GMC Canyon midsize pickup at a media event in Los Angeles. This truck really schooled me. It offers all the luxuries and upgrades I'm usually looking for in a crossover, but still provides all of a pickup's utility without any sacrifices. Its manageable size and all the bells and whistles could really appeal to many families — including my own.

The redesigned Canyon joins its sibling, the Chevrolet Colorado, in revitalizing the midsize pickup truck segment. Both trucks are offered in extended- and crew-cab models, and both have a 200-horsepower, 2.5-liter four-cylinder or an optional 305-hp, 3.6-liter V-6. Buyers can choose between rear- and four-wheel drive, too.

By Carrie Kim | February 2, 2015 | Comments (2)

2015 Lincoln Navigator Review

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"The 2015 Lincoln Navigator full-size SUV is easy to drive and provides exceptional comfort in all three rows of seats, but it needs a richer interior to truly compete in the luxury class," says Cars.com reviewer Mike Hanley.

2015 Lincoln Navigator Expert Review

Cars.com photo by Evan Sears

By Jennifer Geiger | January 30, 2015 | Comments (1)

2015 Toyota Sienna: Car Seat Check

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Toyota updated its minivan for 2015 and while most of the changes are cosmetic, like tweaked front-end styling outside and a new control layout and nicer materials inside, parents should be happy about a useful addition to the third row. For 2015, the Toyota Sienna now has two sets of Latch anchors in its third row, up from one.

More Car Seat Checks

The 2015 Sienna performed well in our Car Seat Check thanks to loads of legroom room, but hidden second- and third-row tether anchors kept it from earning more top grades. The Sienna is available with a three-passenger second-row bench seat or a pair of captain's chairs; our model had the captain's chairs.

How many car seats fit in the second row? Two

How many car seats fit in the third row? Two

By Jennifer Geiger | January 29, 2015 | Comments (1)

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