Skip to main content

Why Toyota goes 3 for 5 in KBB Best Family Car Awards

KBB’s 15 Best Family Car’s list includes three of Toyota’s most important family cars. Why didn’t two make the cut?


Kelly Blue Book’s annual 15 Best Family Cars list is unique in a way. Unlike many lists that are either just the publication’s editors’ picks, or just a survey, KBB melds the two in its 15 Best list. Actual families are used as part of the input and the KBB experienced staff also adds their input. This year, three important Toyotas made the list, but 2 very important family cars from Toyota did not. Here’s why.

Toyota Best Family Car Winners

Of the 15 models KBB named to this year’s Best Family Cars, the Toyota Camry, Highlander, and Sienna earn a spot. What is one thing that all three of these cars have in common? Safety. Each of these three vehicles is an Insurance Institute for Highway Safety Top Safety Pick Plus rated vehicle. That is the highest rating possible in the land of the free and home of the brave. At the end of the day, is there anything more important in a family car than safety?

Toyota Family Cars Not Named
So which important Toyota family cars did KBB’s judges overlook? The RAV 4 and Corolla. Although the Camry is the top family car in terms of total sales in the US, the second largest market segment is the compact sedan and that is the Corolla’s job at Toyota. Compact crossovers are also important family vehicles and the RAV 4 didn’t make the cut. Each of these vehicles has an area or two where the competition is ahead.

For the Corolla, the main issue is safety. The Corolla cannot earn the IIHS TSP+ rating because it does not meet the qualifications in two important areas. Corolla tops most lists for cost of ownership and has best in class fuel economy, but safety matters. The RAV 4 also falls down on safety, but has other issues. Although it is competitive, the RAV 4 is not a fuel economy standout in its class. Also, it does not offer the same level of content that vehicles like the new Honda CRV do in terms of comfort or safety.

Here at Torque News we always highlight the Toyota wins in industry lists and ratings, but feel that it is only fair that we point out the loses as well, and add some perspective on why Toyota did not take home top rankings.

Related Stories:
2015 Subaru Outback deemed most worthy of family duty
2015 Toyota Highlander is the safest crossover in its class
2015 Toyota Sienna only top rated minivan for safety


libertyx (not verified)    February 23, 2015 - 5:02PM

"Although it is competitive, the RAV 4 is not a fuel economy standout in its class. Also, it does not offer the same level of content that vehicles like the new Honda CRV do in terms of comfort or safety."
Here's the features Toyota dropped in the 2013 and later RAV4: V6 Engine option
3rd row option
Full size spare tire
Optitron gauges
Headlamps "ON" indicator
Valet key on some models
LED tail lights & brake lights
Auto OFF headlights (except Limited)
Variable intermittent wipers on LE
Seat fold-down levers in cargo area
Sliding adjustable 2nd row seats
Door sill protectors
12v Power outlet in cargo area
Large under floor storage compartment
Sunglasses storage bin
Sun visor extensions (except Limited)
Dual-level center console storage
Locking glove box
Upper glove box with door
Footwell lighting (Limited)
110V AC power outlet (Limited)
Real Leather seating
Cross bars on roof rack
Hill Assist Control (HAC)
Downhill Assist Control (DAC)
Longer tonneau cover with headrest clips
Fender flares on Sport and Limited
Body colored front and rear bumpers
XM Satellite radio (except with Navigation)
Auto Up/Down driver's power window on LE

libertyx (not verified)    February 23, 2015 - 6:20PM

All the features that have been removed I value in my 2012 RAV4 V6. I bought the 2012 new, after learning what the 2013 would bring. With the strong performance, my wife calls our 2012 RAV "the Camaro".

John Goreham    February 23, 2015 - 7:56PM

In reply to by libertyx (not verified)

Perfect nickname! If I am not mistaken, your RAV4 was Toyota's fastest vehicle from 0-60 MPH that year. I own a very similar vehicle. '07 Highlander V6. I only wish mine had the 3.5, but honestly, the 3.3 is plenty. Like you, I bought mine knowing what the next model redesign would be.