We recommend you start your search by looking at the Honda Pilot, the Cars.com Family Car of the Year and the winner of our $37,000 SUV Shootout. The Pilot is a roomy, functional SUV that seats eight and has a convenient control layout. Plus, it was rated a Top Safety Pick for 2012 by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. The IIHS conducts a battery of crash tests widely regarded as more stringent than the federal government’s tests.
Though we put the Pilot at the top of our list, we caution that road noise and ride quality are two things that may be of concern. Neither is out of line for an SUV, but you may find the Chevrolet Traverse preferable in those areas. The Traverse has a composed, comfortable ride and less wind and road noise than the Pilot. The eight-passenger 2012 Traverse — not the redesigned 2013 — finished second to the Pilot in the Shootout and was a 2012 IIHS Top Safety Pick.
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