More American families are looking at a plug-in vehicle for the road ahead. Electric cars are quickly making inroads in the national auto market. With that in mind, many shoppers are asking – what are the best electric vehicles for families?
These models are some of the most popular family electric vehicles on the market right now, from a variety of automakers betting big on the plug-in phenomenon and its greener future.
What exactly makes a car a great family car? First, lower emissions. Greener cars emit less of the carbon products that can harm the environment – leading to a better future for our kids. Then there’s cool new technology such as in-dash navigation, entertainment and communications, and a myriad of safety features that prevent collisions. Another plus on many of these all-electric family cars in their quiet ride!
Take a look at some of today’s most popular EVs and hybrids. Each of these can be great for carting the whole family around! We rated these cars on both seating and cargo space (how many kids and pets you can cart around, along with all of that baby gear!). We also noted safety features like lane-keeping, blind spot sensing, adaptive cruise control, as well as fun infotainment options.
Kia Niro EV
Starting Price: $38,500
Range: 239 mi.
The Kia Niro electric crossover is something of a dark horse in the plug-in market. Kia has only recently come to prominence as a top manufacturer for American car buyers in general.
However, the Kia Niro EV is an attractive option for families that want to stop gassing up and instead rely on electrical energy for transportation. The Kia Niro EV has a nice grill and all of the stylings that this model is known for. Moreover, it seats five and does so comfortably.
The plug-in comes with an estimated range of 239 miles, putting it among the highest in its class. It’s available in two trim levels and includes a lot of infotainment integration in the top EXP premium model.
Additional features include a competitive in-dash navigation system with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility, LED lighting, sunroof, leather front seats, and more.
As a stylish way to get the family around, this EV from Kia is roomy and handles well. It’s a top pick for buyers focused on both value and family transportation, who like Kia’s rise to the top.
Starting Price: $36,620
Range: 238 mi.
For a family EV from an American manufacturer, the Chevy Bolt ranks high on the wish list of many consumers.
The Bolt has 238 miles of pure electric range and can recharge the battery in just over 9 hours. It also has a ton of safety gear and good ratings in available crash tests. New safety tech includes forward collision alert, front pedestrian braking, and automatic emergency braking.
The Chevy Bolt’s top trim gets a rear camera mirror, heated front seats, and other attractive features. As a family car, the Bolt has a lot of cargo room for long-distance adventures.
Starting Price: $29,990
Range: 226 mi. (top)
The Nissan Leaf has earned its stripes in the electric vehicle world. Unlike some of the other models on this list, Nissan’s pure EV model has been running on American streets for quite a few years. Some people think of the Nissan Leaf as the “Prius” of pure electric vehicles – used models are now common around the average neighborhood, and this family-friendly car is more widely available than some other options.
The 2019 Leaf comes with an estimated range of up to 226 miles, with a 40- 62 kWh lithium-ion battery.
Available in a variety of trim levels, it comes with safety gear like Nissan Intelligent Mobility, as well as advanced airbag system car, tire pressure monitoring, and more.
Buyers also like the Leaf’s driving and convenience features that Nissan says will allow drivers to “outsmart traffic.” Nissan says the Leaf helps drivers to watch out for intrusions all around them with top safety gear aimed at assisting defensive driving in a full range of scenarios.
Other advanced technology includes connected car features, as well as available infotainment for a vehicle that can accommodate the whole family. Nissan also promotes the instant torque that you get powering up this electric vehicle from a dead stop.
On top of performance, the Leaf offers everything the family needs, from legroom to energy economy. It’s a workhorse for the plug-in fan, with an excellent track record and competitive design.
Starting Price: $31,895
Range: 125 mi.
For fans of the traditional Volkswagen Golf, the VW e-Golf EV is a pure electric take on this classic favorite. It’s similar in size and style, but updated with numerous convenience and drive features, along with modern safety tech to give everyone peace of mind on the road.
Safety features on the VW e-Golf include adaptive cruise control, a blind-spot monitor, lane assist, park assist, and more. With decent range (125mi. est.), the VW e-Golf does not sacrifice on performance, with 214 pound-feet of torque and a drive that the company calls “agile.” Fast charging is another popular feature, and regenerative braking is just part of the German engineering that helps to optimize this Volkswagen plug-in with top EPA ratings. VW has also programmed in three modes for the e-Golf: normal, eco, and eco+ settings for variable battery use.
VW also cites a high-tech cockpit with voice command and gesture control technology in the cabin, as well as VW’s Car-Net security and service suite and e-mobility features that help you respond to weather and other challenges capably.
It’s a hatchback imbued with what Volkswagen refers to as “sleek lines,” but it’s as functional as it is attractive, and it’s a great family ride. Building on Volkswagen’s history of fuel economy innovation, now you can drive a Golf with no gas engine at all!
Tesla Model 3
Starting Price: $35,000
Range: 322 mi. (top)
Want a plug-in from a company that ONLY makes electric cars? Tesla has a reputation for being pricy, but the all-electric 2019 Model 3 stays competitive on price, with a sticker around $35,000, albeit for the base model – pricing tends to go further above this mark due to dealer cost and other factors. Still, Tesla is bringing its EV into the general buying audience by matching others’ price points.
For their money, buyers get award-winning range, with 322 miles estimated on a full charge, and Tesla’s all-wheel-drive dual-motor design for handling. This family car will accelerate from 0-60 in 3.2 seconds, but it also has a lot of what family car buyers want. It’s not as competitive on cargo capacity (with 15 cubic feet, including the iconic front trunk). Still, it has a raft of safety features and Tesla’s proprietary autopilot design that, used responsibly, can help to prevent many different kinds of accidents.
The Tesla Model 3 gets top ratings at Edmunds and elsewhere for its style, handling, and safety. It also has a lot of what Car and Driver call, “future is now” technology – with standard navigation, Bluetooth and USB connectivity, and a lot more geared toward the new tech-savvy driver.
In a sense, Tesla is using an innovative ‘edge system’ designs to profoundly change what today’s sophisticated car computers look like, and that’s another reason that buyers are jumping on board. As for family driving, the range and handling, along with the safety features, appeal to head-of-household shoppers.
Starting Price: $60,700
Range: 60 mi.
For family car shoppers who want something from that perennial name in German-made luxury, BMW is offering a genuinely innovative vehicle, equipped with all of what you’d expect from this top-of-the-line car designer.
The reinvented 2019 BMW X5 impressed Motor Trend and other sources, while the all-new 2020 BMW X5 is similarly turning heads with increased range and battery capacity.
Technically, the BMW X5 is a hybrid with plug-in capacity. Still, BMW put more effort into making the new X5 models independent of a gasoline engine so that drivers don’t have to worry about range in getting where they need to go every day.
With leather interior features and sporty style to burn, the 2019 BMW X5 also gets high marks from safety researchers, partially by including new tech like collision warning, lane departure warning, crash imminent braking, and dynamic brake support.
IIHS top safety ratings are yet another part of the BMW X5’s family appeal.
Starting Price: $20,300
Range: 258 mi. (top)
The Hyundai Kona electric’s 64 kWh battery offers an EPA-estimated range of 258 miles. There’s relatively ample cargo space, and in terms of safety gear, this compact SUV comes with lots of standard technology, including collision avoidance assist, driver attention warning, and blind-spot collision warning systems.
An Edmunds review shows how the Hyundai Kona compares well to options like the Chevrolet Bolt and Tesla Model 3, and Consumer Reports highlights the vehicle’s appeal this way:
“The Kona is playful and inexpensive, making it one of the more appealing subcompact SUVs. Its snazzy styling helps it stand out from some of its more drab rivals, and its smart packing creates quite a bit of versatility despite its compact proportions.”
The Kona’s all-wheel-drive capacity also adds to its quality as a ride for the whole family, in every season.
Starting Price: $21,295
For fans of next-generation vehicle technology, the Toyota C-HR doesn’t disappoint. The C-HR, which Toyota is rolling out for 2020, comes with a low price tag of just over $21,000 for the base trim.
It’s understandable that Toyota, which pioneered hybrid vehicles years ago, would be aggressive in the pure EV space. The C-HR is Toyota’s response to this growing segment, with a small SUV that offers plenty of safety gear and excellent handling, as well as attractive style for the road ahead. Toyota has made Apple CarPlay standard in this EV, although a factory navigation system is optional.
There are a lot more features that interested shoppers can check out in breaking Toyota specs on the 2020 C-HR. The EV version is currently only available in China and scant on information. Still, if it’s like prior models, it will have both Apple Car Play and Android Auto, along with ten airbags and a Safety Sense and pre-collision warning system for safety.
Tesla Model Y
Starting Price: $40,200
Range: 300 mi
Another Tesla? Yes. The Tesla Model Y has the same all-wheel-drive dual-motor design mentioned above on the Model 3, with a 300-mile estimated range.
As for safety, a low center of gravity, rigid body structure, and large crumple zones help to protect drivers and passengers.
There are, of course, many of Tesla’s competitive safety features included, along with the famed autopilot software. Many of the Model 3 features, such as the attractive proprietary tech systems, are also built into the Model Y.
Electric Vehicles for Families in 2020 and Beyond
All of these top electric car models can be excellent choices for family transportation. Remember when the minivan revolutionized family driving? Now the electric vehicle is helping to take us where we need to go without all of the greenhouse gas emissions, mechanical problems, and costly fuel prices of the traditional gasoline engine car. Take a look to see just how well automakers have been adapting to the demand for the EV plug-in to accommodate the zeitgeist where shoppers want green transportation and the versatility of a new all-electric car.
Excited about all of these and can’t decide on just one? With Steer, you can get access to them all! Be the first to drive them as they join the Steer fleet in 2020. Learn more here!