For families in pursuit of the right car, the search itself can feel like an overwhelming undertaking. SUVs are an easy way to cover any accommodation concerns, but for the family looking for practicality while also saving some money upfront and at the pump, a large vehicle like an SUV may not be the right buy.  For this group, our selections for the top family-friendly midsize sedans may be well worth your time!

2013 Kia Optima

  • When it comes to safety, it’s hard to beat to the 2013 Kia Optima. Not only has the Optima earned a top five-star rating for overall safety in government crash tests, but the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) gave the vehicle an “Acceptable” rating (second highest) in its small-overlap frontal-offset crash test.
  • Manufactured with a “European flair,” the Optima’s interior is quite inviting. Equipped with a spacious cabin and no shortage of “soft-touch materials,” the Optima doesn’t skimp on comfort and legroom.
  • With 15.4 cubic feet of trunk space (big enough to fit as many as 3 bags of golf clubs), the Optima is average amongst competitors in its class for cargo area.
  • The 2013 Kia Optima is one of our top picks for a midsize sedan. With evocative styling, strong engine choices and a long list of features, it’s easy to see why. (Edmunds)

2013 Mazda 6

  • In government crash tests, the Mazda 6 received four out of five stars for overall crash protection, including three stars for frontal-impact protection and four stars for side-impact protection. IIHS also awarded the Mazda 6 its highest score of “Good” for frontal-offset impacts, while roof strength tests yielded a second-best “Acceptable” rating.
  • The interior of the Mazda 6 has a true modern feel, outfit with plenty of curves and sweeping lines. The drawback, however, resides with its presence of low-grade plastics.
  • The Mazda 6’s 16.6 cubic-foot trunk ranks it as one of the biggest in its class for cargo space.
  • The 2013 Mazda 6 earns high marks for its sporty driving dynamics and spacious interior. But there are newer family sedans that might suit you better. (Edmunds)

2013 Honda Accord

  • In a similar class with the Kia Optima, the Honda Accord earned very high marks for safety in 2013, receiving five out of five stars for overall and side crash protection. The Accord also earned the IIHS’ top rating for “small overlap front crash” testing – particularly noteworthy, as most vehicles scored poorly for the new-at-the-time test. Also worth mentioning is the Accord’s LaneWatch blind-spot system, which instantly switches the center display screen to a low and expansive view of the passenger side of the car.
  • A high-quality look and feel underscore the Accord’s marks for interior design, as the overall cockpit design has been called “elegant” and “well-constructed” per Edmunds. The Accord also comes with remarkable leg and shoulder space for occupants.
  • The trunk on the 2013 Accord has 15.8 cubic feet of cargo space – more than 1 cubic foot larger than the previous model.
  • The fully redesigned 2013 Honda Accord returns to the top of the family-sedan class with a mix of excellent packaging, superb fuel economy and rewarding performance. (Edmunds)

2014 Chevrolet Malibu

  • Much like our other representatives in this buying guide, the Malibu is a standout when it comes to ensuring the safety of its passengers. Not only did the Malibu earn five out of five stars for overall crash protection, but IIHS also awarded the Malibu its highest possible rating of “Good” in the moderate-overlap frontal-offset, side impact, roof strength and rear-impact tests. However, it did only earn a “Marginal” rating in the newer small-overlap frontal-offset tests.
  • With a cabin area that borders on “entry-level” luxury from a design perspective, Malibu is an appealing option for those who seek the feel of a luxury car at a discount. Though comfortable, the Malibu doesn’t offer as much shoulder, hip and legroom when compared to other competitors in the class.
  • Built with 16.3 cubic feet of trunk space, the Malibu is among the most accommodating vehicles in its class when it comes to cargo room.
  • The 2014 Chevrolet Malibu competes in a class overflowing with talent. Although it doesn’t stand out as an all-star pick for a midsize family sedan, the Malibu’s credentials are solid. (Edmunds)

2013 Volkswagen Passat

  • Along with earning top marks for overall safety in government crash (5 out of 5 stars) and IIHS testing, the 2013 Passat also comes with its Intelligent Crash Response feature, which in the event of a crash, automatically cuts off the fuel supply, unlocks the doors and turns on the hazard flashers.
  • “Spaciousness is the operative word when describing the Passat’s cabin,” according to Edmunds. With occupant space approaching full-size sedan dimensions, the room afforded inside the Passat – coupled with its high-quality interior feel and design – is among the best in class.
  • Following the “spaciousness” refrain, the Passat also offers ample trunk space with 15.9 cubic feet of cargo.
  • Distinguishing itself with European-style refinement and an efficient diesel option, the 2013 Volkswagen Passat is a solid choice for a family sedan. (Edmunds)