Once upon a time, when families were shopping for a vehicle, a station wagon was the obvious choice. Then the minivan burst onto the scene, which was particularly popular with mothers of children playing a certain sport, with full-size sedans remaining for families less on-the-go. The latest favorite? The ubiquitous crossover SUV that everyone seems to love, regardless of demographic. In other words, there is no shortage of choice when it comes to shopping for a people hauler. Here’s a guide highlighting the strengths of each class.

The Modest Minivan

There is arguably no better vehicle for flying under the radar than the minivan. Long regarded as a favorite of soccer moms, there’s good reason for that, as the van’s inherent boxy shape is perfect for shuttling a full load of people, as well as hauling a ton of sports gear in the back.

The Dodge Caravan, first released in the early 1980s, is the perfect example. The fifth-generation long-wheelbase Dodge Grand Caravan has seating for seven and a whopping 144 cubic feet of cargo space. Contemporary models are becoming increasingly technology-forward, such as the Honda Odyssey, which comes complete with an optional rear-seat entertainment system and on-board vacuum cleaner.

The Sensible Sedan

While sedan sales are not as strong as they once were, there is still a strong case to be made for these four-door five-seaters. They’re usually lighter in weight compared to utility vehicles, which translates to better fuel economy. They also are the most mature-looking in appearance, meaning they are equally well-suited transporting the family to dinner as they are pulling up to a business meeting.

Looking for something with a little zing? There are a number of attractive sport sedan options. The range can be anywhere from a six-cylinder Subaru Legacy, to a tarmac-peeling twin-turbo V8 BMW M5. Pining for extreme levels of luxury? Korean automakers have come a long way, now producing executive cars including the Kia Cadenza and Hyundai Equus.

The Do-It-All Crossover

No auto segment has exploded more in the last few years than the crossover. Unlike traditional SUVs that were basically trucks without a bed, modern iterations are based on passenger vehicles, so they drive and handle similarly to smaller vehicles.

They’re also available in a multitude of sizes now: the recently introduced small subcompact (Honda HR-V, Mazda CX-3), medium compact (Ford Escape, Toyota RAV4) and large (Honda Pilot, Audi Q7). Originally, SUVs had a reputation for being able to venture into rugged terrain for a little muddy fun, and certain brands continue the tradition by outfitting specialty equipment to its products.

Top of mind are the Jeep Cherokee, which has always been offered in four-wheel drive and continues to be perfect for weekend off-road excursions. The Nissan Pathfinder, among others, features hill descent control that automatically applies the brakes during steep declines so the driver can focus on steering.

Have your heart set on a different vehicle? Search our inventory of thousands!