If you've got a family and have some cash to spend, these are the cars we recommend.
When considering a new family car, value for money is often a top priority. Most families live on a budget, so they aren't as likely to go drop six-figures on a car that will end up being covered in stains, crumbs, and Happy Meal wrappers. We considered these models for our Family Fun award, but we also wanted to highlight the more expensive family haulers we drove this year. Unlike Family Fun, the Family Luxury Car award does not have a price limit.
Any of the three finalists we selected could have been the winner. Some cars that just missed the cut include the Genesis G70, Maserati Levante, Mercedes-Benz E63, Mercedes-Benz GLE, and Volvo XC60. You may be wondering why our final three are all SUVs. Well, families are buying SUVs, so we thought our list should reflect that.
We tested the 2019 Audi Q8 on a European holiday with the family, where everyone came away bewitched by the car's charm. The Q8 is the only SUV Coupe on this list and for good reason - it is by far our favorite on the market right now. Competitors like the BMW X6 and Mercedes GLE Coupe just aren't as attractive as the Q8. We love how Audi managed to build a sportier version of the three-row Q7 without making it look awkward.
Under the hood, it packs a turbocharged V6 producing 335 horsepower with a clever mild-hybrid system to improve the smoothness of the stop-start function. We had a chance to sample the diesel powertrain in Europe, which was also incredibly refined. Audi's cockpit is minimalist perfection and the technology like the Virtual Cockpit looks stunning.
With a starting price of $67,400, the Q8 is the least expensive car on this list, though it is also the least powerful. That will soon change when the RS Q8 arrives next year with 591 hp.
The number of people who will take their SUV to the Nurburgring is minuscule, but of the cars we tested this year, the 2019 Alfa Romeo Stelvio Quadrifoglio is the one we'd put up to the task. It packs a 2.9-liter twin-turbo Ferrari-derived V6 under the hood, shelling out a monstrous 505 hp. This is good for a 0-60 mph time of just 3.6 seconds and a Nurburgring lap time of 7:51.7 (a previous record for SUVs). It may not be the quickest SUV around the ring anymore (thanks RS Q8), but the Stelvio QV is still the most fun SUV we've ever tested.
The steering is joyous and makes us wish other manufacturers could copy it. It is also one of the few SUVs that shrinks when you push it hard, making you feel like you aren't driving a tall vehicle. This was nearly our winner but the $79,995 Stelvio falls a bit short in terms of practicality and it isn't nearly as luxurious as the other family cars on this list.
We were a bit dubious when the 2019 BMW X7 was first revealed. We didn't like the giant kidney grille and we didn't think it could be better than a Range Rover. Boy, were we wrong. The grille becomes much more tolerable in person and adds to the imposing statue of the X7. Inside, BMW spoils occupants with exquisite touches like a crystal shift knob, quilted leather, and ambient lighting. The standard air suspension provides a pillow-like ride and then you get to the impressive engine options.
The base inline-six engine produces a commendable 335 hp while the twin-turbo V8 delivers a meaty 456 hp. But neither of these engines was enough for BMW, who introduced an M50i variant with a whopping 523 hp and a 0-60 mph time of just 4.5 seconds. That's insane for a three-row SUV!
Pricing for the X7 starts at $73,900 but it can easily climb above $100,000 depending on engine choice and options. There may never be an X7 M but Alpina is working on a 600 hp version that could be among the best SUVs we see next year.