Getting ready for your first baby is a lot like preparing to ride out a hurricane: Hoard the supplies and hunker down for a wild ride, one that is often messy, unpredictable and dripping — sometimes literally — with excitement, terror... and mysterious liquids.
One way to get ahead of the chaos is to plan what you can, and one thing you can figure out in advance is your ride.
Many of Cars.com's editors know this time all too well — our staff is loaded with parents, grandparents, godparents and even dog parents. Here are our picks for a family car that checks all the boxes.
2018 Chevrolet Bolt
Save the planet one trip at a time by choosing a Chevrolet Bolt EV for your family car. This compact hatchback is an electric vehicle with an EPA-estimated 238-mile range. It also has a surprisingly roomy interior, with plenty of room for a rear-facing infant seat.
2018 Chrysler Pacifica
Even though first-time parents would have way more room than they'd need (unless they had triplets or quadruplets), a minivan like our Best of 2017-winner Chrysler Pacifica still makes a lot of sense. Power-sliding side doors are helpful when your hands are full of baby gear, and the sliding doors and taller ride height make it easier to use car seats than in a lower-riding car.
2018 Honda CR-V
Honda’s compact SUV seems purpose-built for new parents and small families. True, there is no pretense of sportiness, but it doesn't look cheap — and in exchange you get a work truck for your new job. The CR-V hits the big three for a new family: space, economy and safety.
2019 Subaru Ascent
Size and comfort are important when choosing a family car, but so are features. Subaru's new three-row Ascent SUV offers an appealing blend of all of these must-haves. Some family-friendly standouts include loads of standard safety equipment, 19 cupholders (or baby bottleholders, sippy cupholders, snack cupholders ...) and — back to the mysterious liquids — spill-resistant cloth seats.
2018 Volkswagen Atlas
Some first-time parents want to go big for the first car — like three-row-SUV big. Our Best of 2018 Volkswagen Atlas is massive on the inside but drives like a smaller car, and has real room in the third row for adults, which is necessary if you live near family or have friends nearby with older kids. You can fit an infant seat in the middle and have plenty of room for a pair of grandparents flanking your little one, plus there’s bonus room in the third row for older cousins. In back, there’s room for everything parents plan to carry, plus all the unplanned stuff we inevitably end up carrying.