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Top 10 Family Cars Under $10,000

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Find out which wagons, crossovers, and SUVs are the best family cars available for under $10,000.

A Family Car on a Budget

It’s a wonderful time to be in the market for a pre-owned family car, or as many in the auto industry call them, SUV. SUVs have been around for decades, and they have recently been the best-selling automobile category in the US. So, you’ll be able to find some excellent examples that fit in the best family cars under $10,000 category. Thanks to their size, they’re perfect for families. Since families also come with stuff, that extra room comes in handy.

Father Buckling Kids into Family Car
Father Buckling Kids into Family Car

But you’re not just limited to SUVs in this price range. Some of the best family cars available are wagons, crossovers, and minivans that still give you the features you want with available carrying capability. The bottom line is that it’s not hard to fit your personal needs in today’s pre-owned market. Here’s a wide range of used options to consider as your next family car when shopping for under $10,000.

2007 GMC Yukon

2007 GMC Yukon - carsforsale.com
2007 GMC Yukon - carsforsale.com

The GMC Yukon has three rows and will carry 7-8 passengers. If you fill up every seat, you don’t have a tremendous amount of space behind the third row to store family items. The third row is removable, but you’ll need two adults to do the work since it’s heavy. The Yukon is available as a short or long wheelbase. The long wheelbase Yukon XL has greater cargo capacity behind the third row. Under $10,000 you’ll find a very capable 5.3-liter V8, which has decent fuel economy at 15/21 mpg city/highway. You may be able to find one with a 6.2L V8 in this price range, but know that all that power comes at the price of lower gas mileage.

2008 Toyota Highlander

2008 Toyota Highlander - carsforsale.com
2008 Toyota Highlander - carsforsale.com

The 2008 Toyota Highlander’s design was considered a radical departure from the previous generation. Designed in Toyota‘s California design studio, it definitely looks more in tune with the family car segment than what was offered before. The Camry-derived V6 found in the Highlander produces 270 horsepower and 248 lb-ft of torque, which is more than enough to haul what you need. If you find a model with the optional four-wheel-drive, you probably won’t find the need to use it much, but for those possible instances of snow and mud, you’ll be glad you have it. Gas mileage is 18/24 mpg (city/highway) for two-wheel-drive models and 17/23 mpg for those with four-wheel-drive.

2009 Audi A3

2009 Audi A3 - carsforsale.com
2009 Audi A3 - carsforsale.com

Audi‘s have always provided reasonably priced European luxury designs with a laser focus on sport driving performance. If you want a family car that is less of a people getter and more of a thrilling ride, then this Audi may be the best family car option for you. The 2009 Audi A3 has performance, quality, and surprising practicality – especially in its hatchback styled form. You can find the Audi A3 wagon as either a front-wheel-drive or all-wheel-drive. It can also be found carrying either a 2.0L turbocharged I4 engine making 200hp or a 3.2L V6 engine making 250hp. It’s worth noting that the 4-cylinder gets up to 21/30 mpg city/highway. Not bad numbers for this segment.

2009 Saturn Outlook

2009 Saturn Outlook - carsforsale.com
2009 Saturn Outlook - carsforsale.com

The 2009 Saturn Outlook is much larger than it looks. With 116 cu-ft of cargo room, it is one the largest three-row crossovers you’ll find. And if you want to stay away from a minivan, this 8-passenger vehicle will be your best bet as a family car alternative. Its 3.6L V6 is a good combination of power and gas mileage, with 17/24 mpg city/highway. The Outlook’s engine is quiet and the handling is more nimble than other competing SUVs of the same time.

You’ll also want to check out the other GM versions of this crossover found in the Traverse, Acadia, and Enclave of the same year. These corporate cousins are based off the same GM model and can offer different options, styles, and luxury trim levels.

2010 Toyota Sienna

2010 Toyota Sienna - carsforsale.com
2010 Toyota Sienna - carsforsale.com

For the best family car, it doesn’t get much better than a minivan. As much as we may not like the stigma associated with that big rolling box, the right model can make life so much better. For a minivan offering, we looked towards Toyota, who is consistently producing reliable, durable, safe, and comfortable automobiles.

The Sienna is one of the most spacious minivans available and has room for eight family members and friends. Plus, an available all-wheel-drive option for those trips to the mountains, but not too far into them. All 2010 Sienna’s have a 3.5L V6 engine with 266hp and a five-speed automatic transmission. Fuel economy is 17 mpg city and 24 mpg highway for front-drive models and the AWD versions reach 16 mpg city and 21 mpg highway.

2010 Toyota Venza

2010 Toyota Venza - carsforsale.com
2010 Toyota Venza - carsforsale.com

The Toyota Venza was built on the same platform as the Camry, and in the same manufacturing plant. The tall automobile is roomy and comfortable for use as a family SUV. It has a sedans drivability, but the roominess of an SUV, perfect for errands, carpools, or groceries. The Venza’s I4 engine makes 182hp and 182 lb-ft of torque while reaching an EPA-estimated 21/29 mpg city/highway. An optional V6 has 268hp and 246 lb-ft of torque reach 18/25 mpg with the optional all-wheel drive. The 2010 Toyota Venza may not be as modernized and technologically packed as the current generation, but they’re still worth a look as a family car.

2010 Subaru Forester

2010 Subaru Forester - carsforsale.com
2010 Subaru Forester - carsforsale.com

The Subaru Forester has a devoted and adventure-loving following. It’s a compact SUV that seats five family members, offers excellent cargo space, and the ability to get through most any terrain. Even though it’s considered an SUV, it’s more of a compact crossover and can offer better handling than most of its competition.

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It comes standard with Subaru’s AWD system and a 2.5L four-cylinder engine rated at 170hp. EPA fuel economy for the Forester is an estimated 20/26 mpg City/Highway when coupled with the automatic transmission. There’s a more powerful and turbocharged Forester XT that channels 224hp to its wheels if you really want to feel the rally heritage. If you’re looking for a family car masquerading as an ultimate family adventure vehicle, the 2010 Subaru Forster may be your choice.

2010 Honda CRV

2010 Honda CR-V - hondanews.com
2010 Honda CR-V - hondanews.com

Honda’s CR-V has always been a well-loved family hauler. You get that Honda reliability, while also getting a crossover that’s larger than a compact, but not quite a midsized SUV. That extra room leaves you with more interior space, while still providing a highly maneuverable sized vehicle to take your family around in.

The CR-V is still the best-selling crossover in the country and it’s because of safety, comfort, and versatility. Honda’s CR-V consistently scores at the top in safety tests, and inside you get 73 cu-ft of cargo capacity. For 2010, the CR-V is powered by has a 2.4L I4 engine and gets up to 21/28 mpg City/Highway for gas mileage. Even though that engine won’t be competitive at the dragstrip, the CR-V provides great handling in turns and offers an acceptable ride for any family vacation.

2010 Toyota RAV4

2010 Toyota Rav-4 - carsforsale.com
2010 Toyota Rav-4 - carsforsale.com

You would be hard-pressed to find a more capable, comfortable, and safe SUV for your family than the RAV4. Used Toyota RAV4s are still excellent automobiles even today. Thankfully, since it has been so popular over the years, you can find many different models and years to choose from.

Toyota provided the RAV4 with an optional third row, but you’ll have more cargo room if you stick with a 5-passenger model for your family. However, it is nice to know you have those extra seats when you need them, so don’t be afraid of this option if you’re doing more people hauling than grocery getting.

The standard engine is a 179hp 2.5L engine and a 5-speed automatic transmission. You can look for front-wheel and 4-wheel-drive models depending on the type of trips you plan on taking the family. Gas mileage is great with 22/28 City/Highway, so you won’t break your budget on fuel with this option.

2010 Acura RDX

2010 Acura RDX - carsforsale.com
2010 Acura RDX - carsforsale.com

Acura has been known for their predictability. And there are also no surprises when it comes to interior and exterior styling, which are likewise excellent. It’s a great to note that the same can also be said for their reliability and safety. The Acura RDX has been at the top of the luxury compact segment rankings for many years. Even though the interior isn’t the most imaginative, it comes loaded with some excellent standard features. You’ll love the dual-zone climate controls, sunroof, Bluetooth, leather seats, and that all-important rear-view camera. For the 2010 Acura RDX, you’ll find a 240hp 2.4L I4 engine that makes up to 19/24 mpg city/highway.

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Steve Mitchel

Steve's first car had pedals, and he's been filled with passion for four wheels ever since. He lives and breathes the car life as a technologist, futurist, and writer while keeping up with the whys, hows, and plans of the automotive industry. His automotive journey began with a fully restored Triumph TR3b that he sadly never appreciated until decades later. Ownerships of X-1/9's, BMW's, an SVT and a Dodge Ram Hemi have given way to the house of Audi Sport. You'll also find him as an endurance athlete on the bike in SoCal, but you'll know he's thinking about cars.

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