Top-Rated 2021 Family Cars in Quality According to Consumers

Jeff Youngs | Aug 31, 2021

Look at the current automotive landscape and it may seem like SUVs have entirely taken over. While it is true that the majority of new-vehicle sales are of the SUV variety, the venerable family car still has a loyal following. After all, these midsize and large sedans offer most of the benefits of their SUV counterparts but are generally less expensive and more efficient. Sure, you sacrifice a bit in the way of towing, off-road capability, and ride height, but most SUVs never venture beyond a well-manicured gravel road, let alone into the canyons of Moab.

Also, don't forget about minivans. If you have a big family—or even an average size family and a lot of stuff—minivans are tough to beat for their seating and cargo capacity. They offer the same commanding view of the road as most compact and midsize SUVs, and some are even available with all-wheel drive (AWD). This list of the top-rated family cars for quality includes these talented people-movers, too.

2021 Nissan Maxima 40th Anniversary Teaser

Each year, J.D. Power conducts its Initial Quality Study (IQS) to identify the highest-quality new cars, trucks, SUVs, and vans, according to the people who own them. The IQS surveys tens of thousands of verified new-vehicle owners, who provide valuable feedback on the problems they've experienced with their vehicles during the first 90 days of ownership.

This consumer-provided data is compiled, and each model's quality score is reported using "problems per 100 vehicles," or PP100. A lower PP100 score reflects higher vehicle quality. Insights gleaned from the IQS are then used by auto manufacturers to improve the quality of their new vehicles and by consumers to help them make better-informed car-buying decisions.

In the list below, we've highlighted the ten highest-rated 2021 family cars in quality, according to the people who own them. This list of the best new family cars includes models from the Midsize Car, Large Car, and Minivans segments, presented in descending order by PP100 score; the model with the highest quality is at the end.

10. 2021 Kia Sedona - Find the best Kia deals!

2021 Kia Sedona Front Quarter View

The Sedona rides off into the sunset following the 2021 model year, replaced by the excellent new Kia Carnival. However, before it takes its final bow, the Sedona is available in LX, EX, and SX trim levels (the base L trim is discontinued).

The Sedona offers helpful convenience features such as second-row sliding door handles with an intelligent key button, hands-free rear power liftgate, Slide-N-Stow second-row seating, and a dual-screen rear-seat entertainment system. For 2021, the Camel Beige interior is no longer available on the LX trim, and Venetian Red exterior paint disappears. Other than that, the 2021 Sedona is entirely carryover.

The PP100 score for the 2021 Kia Sedona is 158. This is the same as the Hyundai Sonata, but the two models are in different segments, so it does not represent a tie. The Sedona receives a quality award from J.D. Power in the Minivan segment.

9. 2021 Hyundai Sonata - Find the best Hyundai deals!

2021 Hyundai Sonata N Line Silver Front Quarter View

The Hyundai Sonata midsize sedan lineup offers something for everyone. There's the mainstream Sonata, available in SE, SEL, SEL Plus, and Limited trim levels; an efficient Sonata Hybrid, available in Blue, SEL, and Limited trim levels; and the sporty Sonata N Line, offering 290 horsepower and sporty dynamics. A 4-cylinder engine powers every Sonata, and all pair with an automatic transmission.

For 2021, the Sonata SEL Plus adds standard 19-inch alloy wheels, the Limited adds a standard 6-way power-adjustable passenger seat, and Safe Exit Assist is now standard on SEL, SEL Plus, and Limited trims.

The PP100 score for the 2021 Hyundai Sonata is 158. This is the same as the Kia Sedona, but the two models are in different segments, so it does not represent a tie.

8. 2021 Mazda Mazda6 - Find the best Mazda deals!

2021 Mazda Mazda6 Carbon Edition Front Quarter View

A proper driver's car, the Mazda6 offers more than just four doors and seating for five in a midsize sedan package. Indeed, Mazda has gone to great lengths to make sure that Mazda6 owners actually enjoy driving their car by giving it engaging driving dynamics.

Last refreshed for the 2018 model year, the Mazda6 soldiers into 2021 in Sport, Touring, Grand Touring, Grand Touring Reserve, Signature, and a new Carbon Edition with an exclusive color scheme and styling. Other changes for 2021 include standard Apple CarPlay and Android Auto capability on the base Sport trim, and the Grand Touring gets wireless Apple CarPlay.

The PP100 score for the 2021 Mazda Mazda6 is 146.

7. 2021 Chevrolet Malibu - Find the best Chevrolet deals!

2021 Chevrolet Malibu Front Quarter View

Nothing says "American family sedan" quite like the Chevy Malibu. Depending on your perspective, this can be a good thing or a bad thing. What's not up for debate is that the Malibu offers tremendous value. The base Malibu L is priced at an affordable $23,265 (including the $995 destination charge). It comes standard with a user-friendly infotainment system with an 8-inch touchscreen, a Wi-Fi hotspot, and 15.7 cubic feet of trunk space.

Enhancements for 2021 include available wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto capability, a new Sport Edition (available on LT), Buckle to Drive technology, and one new exterior paint color: Cherry Red Tintcoat.

The PP100 score for the 2021 Chevrolet Malibu is 143.

6. 2021 Toyota Camry - Find the best Toyota deals!

Toyota Camry XLE Blue Front Quarter View

Made in America, the Toyota Camry offers a compelling blend of quality, affordability, efficiency, and, yes, even style. No longer a bland 4-door sedan, the Camry is much more attractive than it used to be. Similar to the Hyundai Sonata, both gasoline and hybrid Camry models are available.

For 2021, all Camry models debut Toyota Safety Sense 2.5+, the automaker's latest advanced driving assistance systems (ADAS) suite. Additionally, each trim level gets exterior and interior updates, including a new front fascia, new wheels, and a "floating" multimedia screen. There are also several new stand-alone options and equipment packages.

The PP100 score for the 2021 Toyota Camry is 140.

5. 2021 Toyota Avalon - Find the best Toyota deals!

2021 Toyota Avalon XSE Nightshade Gray Front Quarter View

Sharing a platform with the Camry, the Avalon is Toyota's largest sedan. It was redesigned for the 2019 model year, introducing a new coupe-like design gaining popularity throughout the auto industry. It's available in a variety of trim levels— XLE, XSE Nightshade, Limited, Touring, and TRD—as well as a gas-electric hybrid version.

New for 2021, AWD becomes an option on the Avalon for the first time, available on XLE and Limited trims. Other new items for the 2021 Avalon include an XSE Nightshade version, a summer tire option and new colors for the TRD, a new Lithium-ion battery for the Hybrid, and Android Auto compatibility and USB-C charging ports for all trims.

The PP100 score for the 2021 Toyota Avalon is 134.

4. 2021 Nissan Altima - Find the best Nissan deals!

2021 Nissan Altima Silver Front Quarter View

One of two Nissan sedans on this list, the midsize Altima offers tremendous bang-for-the-buck. Redesigned for the 2019 model year, the Altima is available in five trim levels: S, SV, SR, SL, and Platinum. All-wheel drive is available on all but the base S (standard on Platinum), and buyers can choose among two 4-cylinder engines, including Nissan's recently introduced variable-compression turbo. An Xtronic continuously variable transmission (CVT) is standard on all 2021 Altimas.

Enhancements for the 2021 model year include revised trim level content and a new SV Premium package.

The PP100 score for the 2021 Nissan Altima is 122. The Altima receives a quality award from J.D. Power in the Midsize Car segment.

3. 2021 Dodge Charger - Find the best Dodge deals!

2021 Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat Triple Nickel Front Quarter View

A throwback to the days of big, powerful American sedans, the Dodge Charger is one of the last remaining large, rear-wheel-drive, 4-door muscle cars on the market. With engines that range from robust to downright absurd, the Charger is sure to put a grin on any driver's face.

Joining the lineup for 2021 is the new Charger SRT Hellcat Redeye, which Dodge claims is the world's most powerful and fastest mass-produced sedan. It has a pavement-pounding, supercharged, 797-hp, 6.2-liter Hemi V8 engine, all for the low price of $78,595 (excluding destination).

The PP100 score for the 2021 Dodge Charger is 108.

2. 2021 Chrysler 300 - Find the best Chrysler deals!

2021 Chrysler 300S White Front Quarter View

While the Chrysler 300 shares a platform with the muscular Dodge Charger, the Chrysler is aimed at a more luxury-oriented crowd, though with a standard 292-hp V6, it has adequate power. The 2021 Chrysler 300 is offered in three trims: Touring, Touring L, and 300S.

For 2021, Chrysler simplifies the 300 lineup and delivers additional standard equipment. Front and rear park assistblind-spot warning, and rear cross-traffic warning are newly standard on the Touring L and 300S. Additionally, Red S Appearance package exterior content is now standard on the 300S.

The PP100 score for the 2021 Chrysler 300 is 92.

1. 2021 Nissan Maxima - Find the best Nissan deals!

2021 Nissan Maxima Red Front Quarter View

Nissan refers to the Maxima as a "4-door sports car." Is it a genuine sports car? In a word, no, but with crisp handling and deceptively quick acceleration provided by its 300-hp 3.5-liter V6 engine, the Maxima doesn't disappoint in the sportiness department. Available in SV, SR, and Platinum trims, the Maxima comes well equipped with standard leather seats, navigation, and NissanConnect connected services on all trims.

The big news for 2021 is the arrival of a special, limited-production 40th Anniversary Edition. Building on the top Platinum trim level, it adds special paint, 19-inch gloss black wheels, red leather seats, heated rear seats, as well as exterior and interior trim upgrades.

The PP100 score for the 2021 Nissan Maxima is 85. The Maxima receives a quality award from J.D. Power in the Large Car segment.

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