Audi A6

Audi A6

Millions will travel the roads during the holiday season, including families looking for safe, reliable transportation. If your plans for the coming year include extended travel, one gift the whole family might enjoy is a new vehicle.

Consumer Reports auto experts compiled a list of 10 suggestions for families. It includes models that have done well in safety tests, in our reliability ratings, and that we've found to be comfortable, quiet, and spacious during our testing. Seats that are comfortable and provide enough support for a long drive were a prerequisite to make our list. Enough room to keep Mom, Dad, and the kids in a festive spirit was also required, especially since journeys this time of year often include the traditional holiday traffic jam.

Here are our picks. All 10 are CR-recommended vehicles, listed alphabetically along with their significant road-trip attributes. In some cases, we have noted the specific trim in which the features can make a significant difference to driver and passenger comfort.

Audi A6. This upscale family car is a good choice, with a comfortable, well-appointed, quiet cabin and excellent seats. The all-wheel drive version we tested has a controlled, steady ride and relatively good fuel economy while sedan models have a big trunk for hauling suitcases, and a wagon is available for bulkier vacation gear.

BMW 5 Series. Agile handling and a comfortable ride, excellent seats, and a quiet, well-crafted interior make the BMW 5 Series a good choice for long-distance travel. The available six-cylinder and V8 engines are all very smooth. The 5 Series is available as a sedan or wagon, and with rear- or all-wheel drive.

Cadillac CTS. The Caddy CTS strikes a good balance between sporty and comfortable. Like the Audi and BMW, the CTS has good handling and a comfortable interior with great front seats for less money than those European models. Two smooth V6 engines are available, both matched with responsive automatic transmissions.

Honda Accord EX. Our top-rated family sedan, the Accord is roomy and comfortable, with ample storage and logical controls. Agile handling and a compliant ride are pluses. The Accord also gets points for its smooth four- and six-cylinder engines, excellent reliability, and impressive crash-test results.

Honda Odyssey EX. For families who need more room, the Odyssey offers three rows of seats for up to eight passengers. The rear seat folds into the floor for more cargo room. Our top-rated minivan also earns points for reliability, high levels of fit and finish, and surprising agility for its size.

Infiniti M. Our top pick among luxury sedans, the M is roomy and comfortable with a well-appointed interior and logical controls. At home cruising on the highway, the M is also quite capable on twisty roads. Reliability is above average, and all-wheel drive is available.

Lexus RX. With a spacious and quiet interior as plush as those found in some luxury cars, this well-rounded SUV is very refined and comfortable. The V6 engine is smooth, and all-wheel drive combined with standard electronic stability control make it a good choice for winter driving. Reliability is very good.

Toyota Avalon. Quality materials, lots of interior room, and even a reclining backseat (in some trim levels) make for a limo-like interior. Very quiet and comfortable, and with a smooth and quick V6 engine, Toyota's biggest sedan is a good value with excellent reliability and crash-test results.

Toyota Highlander Limited. Built on the same platform as the upscale Lexus RX, this more-affordable midsized SUV has many of the same virtues. It is quiet and refined, with good fit and finish. The Highlander has earned excellent reliability ratings. Unlike the RX, the Highlander has a third seat, although it is only big enough for children.

Toyota Sienna XLE. Toyota's minivan offers seating for up to eight, and like the Odyssey, it has a third seat that folds into the floor. While not as agile as the Odyssey, it is quieter, with a comfortable ride and impressive crash-test and reliability ratings. All-wheel drive is available, which you can't get with the Honda.

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