Kbb.com names top 10 family cars of 2011

The family of today comes in as many shapes and sizes as the vehicles best suited to them. In the distant past this was simply a choice of a sedan or station wagon from a handful of makes and models. Now the head of household has to choose from a dizzying array or minivans, crossovers, SUVs and hatchbacks of all different sizes.

Safety, comfort, economy of operation, child-friendliness, a reasonable price and high value retention are all taken into consideration. The authors believe all of the vehicles on this year's Top 10 Family Cars of 2011 list will provide excellent service and an exceptional owner experience for those who choose them.

"This year was especially difficult for the kbb.com editors to narrow down the Top 10 Family Cars of 2011 choices, as there is such a variety of new cars on the market today that have appealing features for the American family; capable versatility, value, safety and economical factors, to name a few," said Jack R. Nerad, executive editorial director and executive market analyst for Kelley Blue Book's kbb.com. "Just as there is no perfect family, there is no perfect family vehicle that is just right for all families, all the time. However, there are many great options available on the market today in various segments, and the kbb.com editors chose a wide variety of what we feel are the Top 10 Family Cars that should be on every family's consideration list for 2011."

2011 Ford Explorer - $27,487
The 2011 Ford Explorer is a wholly new vehicle. Every Explorer before featured truck-style body-on-frame construction. The 2011 Explorer is a car-based crossover vehicle with unibody construction that delivers a smooth ride, tight handling and remarkable fuel efficiency. It won’t tow or go off-road as well as the older models, but it perform up to the needs of the family of today.

2011 Honda Odyssey - $26,980
What kbb.com calls the Gold Standard of minivans, the Honda Odyssey, was an easy choice. Designed for the whole family, especially the driver, the 2011 Odyssey features responsive handling and a comfortable highway ride. The kids will love the 16-inch rear video display, which can function as two side-by-side monitors, showing two movies at once.

2011 Hyundai Sonata - $20,145
The popular and economical 2011 Hyundai Sonata has been a high sales performer due to its compelling mix of design, quality and value. The Sonata also carries a boatload of safety features, features one of the best warranties available along with a fuel-sipping hybrid model. Whether it’s needed to go from hauling children to transporting clients on a daily basis, the 2011 Sonata is a pragmatic choice for the practical buyer.

2011 Volkswagen Golf - $18,390
In Europe, wagons and hatchbacks enjoy the popularity sedans do in the U. S. The Volkswagen Golf is to families there what a Toyota Camry is here. Starting under $20,000, the little hatchback’s versatility, driving dynamics and an upscale interior, make the 2011 Golf a perfect family car that also provides a little fun.

Other models on their list include the Chevy Traverse, Ford Flex, Jeep Grand Cherokee and Kia Sorrento.

However, we have to question their expertise in picking the Chevrolet Suburban as their number one pick and including the Chrysler 300C at number eight.

While the Suburban is big enough for the largest of families, we feel its price and cost of operation make it a poor fit for a list stating cost, economy and resale value as its criteria.

For more information on the list or other vehicles included visit the Top 10 Family Cars of 2011.

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