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And the winner is… best cars for families

In the market for the family car? The one that will take the kids to soccer games, the grocery store, even on camping trips? Seems like a tall order, but U.S. News Best Cars, a known source for car rankings and reviews, can help you make the right choice.

U.S. News editors combined the consensus opinion of automotive critics with safety, reliability, passenger and cargo volume data as well as an index of family-friendly features to release the 2012 Best Cars for Families Awards, featured at usnews.com/cars-families. These awards help busy parents navigate a confusing automotive market by identifying the cars that offer the best combination of factors important to everyday families.

Eight brands won awards across 18 automotive categories, including cars, SUVs and minivans. Honda and Ford led the pack with four winning vehicles each, while Acura, Buick, Subaru and Toyota had two wins each.

“American families need cars that are safe, reliable and designed to make life easier,” said Jamie Page Deaton, Managing Editor of U.S. News Best Cars. “The winning vehicles provide the best mix of the bells and whistles today’s families want with the basics they need. From the rugged towing and foul-weather capabilities of the Toyota Sequoia, to the comfort and space of the Honda Odyssey, to the high-tech features to keep teen drivers safe in the Ford Taurus, this list offers a vehicle for every type of family.”

Some highlights:

Honda CR-V was named Best Affordable Compact SUV for Families, cited for “A stylish redesign for 2012, plus strong reliability ratings, a comfortable passenger cabin, versatile cargo space [including a handy cargo shelving system] and a voice control navigation system makes the CR-V the best choice for families in this competitive class.”

The Buick Enclave was chosen as the Best Affordable 3-Row Midsize SUV for Families, as “In addition to being an IIHS Top Safety Pick, the Enclave has an unusually roomy third row for a midsize SUV [with] safety features like rear-view cameras, voice controls and OnStar.

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