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A blue 2020 Toyota RAV4 is shown driving on a muddy path after visiting a used Toyota Dealer near Vinings.

The Best Toyota Models for Families to Buy Used

There are many decisions you make as a parent that you might not have considered in your younger years. For instance, your choice of vehicle is directly related to the safety, convenience, and comfort it affords you and your family, whether you’re traveling a few blocks down the road or across state lines. For this reason, the research required to find the best used vehicle when upgrading is substantial. The good news is that your search can be drastically shortened, so long as you only stick to the best brand for families: Toyota.

Toyota has long been known for its reliability and safety, making it a smart choice when deciding what vehicle will transport you and the ones you love. In fact, a quick search pulls up several Toyota models that fit the bill when shopping for a new-to-you vehicle. The one you choose depends on several factors, particularly what each model can provide you and your passengers. Read on to learn more about some of the best Toyotas to consider when shopping at your local used Toyota dealer.

Factors to Consider When Shopping for a Family Vehicle

Parenting is an adventure in and of itself, and choosing the right vehicle becomes especially important for families as they transition from one to two or three kids. When looking for a used family car, a model’s safety, convenience, and dependability are frequently top priorities.


First and foremost, safety should always come first, especially when selecting a car. Safety features are something Toyota is known for emphasizing in its vehicles—for instance, safety features like stability control and rearview cameras are a must. Along with that, more advanced features—like blind spot monitoring and lane-keeping assistance—are also crucial. This means that vehicles with top safety ratings from agencies like the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) are in great demand.

Where does Toyota stack up in the ratings? Both the RAV4 and Venza received Top Safety Pick ratings from the IIHS for the 2021 model year, with the RAV4 also receiving top marks in the 2020 year. The slightly larger Highlander also received top marks in the 2020 and 2021 years. Additionally, all three were Top Safety Pick recipients for the 2022 model year.


As the number of children increases, so does the need for comfort and convenience. In order to make room for strollers, car seats, sports equipment, and other necessities for the occasional family trip, you need a vehicle with a roomy interior that is thoughtfully designed. Toyota offers a range of SUVs and minivans that satisfy this demand without sacrificing comfort. For instance, the Sienna—a minivan mainstay in the Toyota lineup since 1998—offers 18 cupholders in its 2021 version. (If you’re counting, that’s more than double its eight-passenger capacity!)


With so much on your plate, you shouldn’t have to deal with a car that breaks down frequently or necessitates frequent trips to the mechanic. Thankfully, Toyota’s reputation for dependability goes a long way toward easing your mind when shopping for a used vehicle, allowing you to focus on other demands. In fact, when researching reliability ratings, Toyota models score favorably, with average ownership costs staying well under $500 a year.

A silver 2020 Toyota Highlander is shown driving on a road.

Used Toyotas to Consider as Your Next Family Vehicle

Now that you know a few things to consider when looking for your next family vehicle, let’s look at which Toyota models specifically work well for your growing needs. The following offers further details about a few options that have already been mentioned, giving you even more reason to consider them as you head to your local Toyota dealer.

Toyota RAV4

The Toyota RAV4 is the perfect option for your growing family if your daily driving requires you to navigate tight spaces or if you’re not completely confident with driving a larger SUV. While the RAV4 is on the smaller end of the Toyota SUV lineup, it packs a punch with its amenities. The RAV4 is in its fifth generation, and it offers both a hybrid and a gas-powered powertrain option, allowing you to optimize fuel efficiency. Additionally, you’ll enjoy easy access to your favorite apps thanks to a seamless connection to Apple CarPlay and Android Auto on models from 2020 and newer.

The RAV4 is also equipped with a collection of safety features that fall under Toyota’s Safety Sense umbrella. Notable available features include automatic emergency braking, lane departure warning, and forward collision warning. Toyota’s RAV4 is also fun to drive, with responsive handling and quick acceleration. Plus, you’ll enjoy the elevated driving position, especially if you’re new to the SUV world.

Toyota Highlander

The Highlander—the RAV4’s slightly bigger sibling—gives you everything the RAV4 delivers and more. For many, the Highlander is seen as Toyota’s entry-level luxury SUV. Used vehicles that are from the 2020 model year and newer are part of the fourth generation, which offers excellent control and a smooth ride.

You’ll find room for eight on the inside, which might seem like too much, but when you add in a few of your children’s friends or your in-laws, it’s just right. The Highlander also offers a sleek and modern exterior as well as a powerful engine under the hood, allowing you to haul up to 5,000 lbs when properly equipped; this is enough for a travel camper or transporting a UTV for a weekend of family fun.

Toyota Sienna

For many families, not only do you need to decide when to upgrade to a larger vehicle, but you also need to decide if you’re Team SUV or Team Minivan. The truth is, there are strong arguments for each. Fortunately, Toyota’s attention to detail and thoughtful designs support both sides, making your decision a victory regardless of which team you support.

When shopping for a used Sienna, you’ll find you have the choice between the standard front-wheel drive or an all-wheel drive powertrain. With the front-wheel drive setup, you gain outstanding fuel efficiency with an average of 36 MPG combined. All-wheel drive, of course, favors traction.

The Sienna also offers great comfort with a smooth ride, premium cushioned seating, and plenty of legroom in all three rows. Additionally, thoughtful designs—such as its 18 cupholders, storage cubbies, and second-row sunshades—make the ride pleasurable regardless of which seat you’re in.

A white 2021 Toyota Venza is shown driving on a city street.

Toyota Venza

While the Toyota Venza shares the same wheelbase as the RAV4’s hybrid version, it’s actually longer overall. When shopping, you’ll find that models from 2021 or newer have all-wheel drive. You’ll also find that, despite its beginnings as a gas-powered vehicle, the newest Venzas are hybrid only; this is good news for families looking for space and sustainability.

Additionally, you’ll find clever designs that keep everything organized, as well as a comfortable ride. Ultimately, the Venza is a great option if you want a sleek, new-to-you vehicle that offers modern amenities and attention to detail. But regardless of which Toyota you choose, you’ll be sure to find one that meets your family’s needs.

Check Out a Used Toyota Today

Growing families frequently discover that a used Toyota is the ideal choice for their next family car. This is due to Toyota’s dedication to offering vehicles with an emphasis on safety, dependability, and comfort. Whether you’re just starting a new chapter in your life and need more space or you need to upgrade your current family vehicle, Toyota is a trusted option that will last for many years to come.

Check out the family-friendly Toyota options mentioned above at your local Toyota dealership to determine which one works best.