Edmunds: 10 vehicles that make hauling kids easier

This photo provided by BMW shows the 2017 BMW 340i, an example of a vehicle that has features parents will love. One feature in particular is the car's rear window sunshades, which keep passengers in the back seat cool and protected from direct sunlight. (Fabian Kirchbauer/Courtesy of BMW of North America, LLC via AP)

Certain features can make a vehicle more useful for family-hauling duty

Looking for a vehicle to haul around your growing family? While a bigger and roomier car, minivan or SUV is likely a top priority, there's more to a family's needs than just "bigger is better." Certain features can make kid-hauling a lot easier and safer, and focusing on these features can often give you a wider variety of vehicles from which to choose.

Edmunds rounded up 10 SUVs, minivans and cars that offer features it thinks parents will love. Note that the pricing below is for the trim level required to get the highlighted feature.

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BMW 3 SERIES

THE FEATURE: Built-in rear window sunshades. After dark-tinted windows, rear door sunshades are the best defense against strong sunlight and prying eyes. The 3 Series' mesh fabric shades manually clip to the top of the window frames or retract into the door when not in use. Owners will like these a lot more than flimsy aftermarket sunshades that attach with suction cups.

STARTING MSRP: $39,745 (2017 BMW 330i)

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CHEVROLET EQUINOX

THE FEATURE: Multiple USB ports. Traveling families often need to connect or charge more than one device. The problem is that many vehicles have just one USB port. But the all-new 2018 Equinox offers up to six USB ports: two up front, two in the center armrest bin and two charge-only USB ports for rear passengers.

STARTING MSRP: $27,695 (2018 Chevrolet Equinox LT)

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CHRYSLER PACIFICA

THE FEATURE: Stow 'n Vac vacuum cleaner. You can get the Pacifica with an optional onboard vacuum cleaner. It can easily clean up the typical kid-created detritus and dirt, and it stows away in the side of the vehicle's interior. The retractable hose has enough length to reach the entire cabin.

STARTING MSRP: $44,790 (2018 Chrysler Pacifica Touring)

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FORD EXPLORER

THE FEATURE: MyKey. The Explorer, along with many other Ford vehicles, has this special feature. When activated, MyKey primes the Explorer to encourage younger drivers to develop safe habits. Owners can set certain parameters on the vehicle, such as a top-speed limit or maximum volume for the stereo. Perfect for the times when teen drivers get behind the wheel.

STARTING MSRP: $32,105 (2017 Ford Explorer base)

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HONDA ODYSSEY

THE FEATURE: CabinWatch. This overhead interior camera shows a detailed view of the all-new 2018 Odyssey's second- and third-row seating. It's a surprisingly useful and effective feature for keeping track of what the rear occupants are doing. You can even check in on an infant strapped in a rear-facing safety seat.

STARTING MSRP: $45,450 (2018 Honda Odyssey Touring)

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HYUNDAI SONATA

THE FEATURE: Blue Link's remote engine start. Hyundai's Blue Link service allows you to start the Sonata using your smartphone, which provides extra time for the car to automatically detect the temperature inside and set the climate controls to a comfortable level. It also can warm up the engine on cold days or get the air conditioning cranking on hot ones.

STARTING MSRP: $24,585 (2018 Hyundai Sonata SEL)

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MAZDA CX-9

THE FEATURE: A tilt-up second-row seat. Normally, a rear-facing child safety seat installed on a second-row seat can keep you from sliding the seat forward to access the third row. But the CX-9 has a seat design that still allows you to slide the second row forward, even with a safety seat installed.

STARTING MSRP: $32,460 (2017 Mazda CX-9 Sport)

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TOYOTA CAMRY

THE FEATURE: Safety Sense-P. Every all-new 2018 Camry comes with this safety package, which bundles advanced driver safety aids such as adaptive cruise control, forward collision warning with automatic emergency braking, and lane departure warning and intervention. It's a nice safety net to have in a time in which driver distraction can be a major problem.

STARTING MSRP: $24,380 (2018 Toyota Camry L)

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VOLKSWAGEN ATLAS

THE FEATURE: A hands-free liftgate. If your hands are full, it can be a real hassle to unlock a SUV's liftgate and access the cargo area. The all-new Atlas not only has a power-operated liftgate but hands-free operation, too. Just walk up to the vehicle with the key in your pocket, wave your foot underneath the rear bumper, and the liftgate opens automatically.

STARTING MSRP: $38,015 (2018 Volkswagen Atlas SE With Technology)

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VOLVO XC90

THE FEATURE: A 360-degree surround-view camera. Why settle for just a rearview camera? The XC90's surround-view camera system can display a complete view, including people, cars and other possible hazards to the side and the front of the vehicle. It makes parking a lot easier and provides extra information about things you can't see from the driver's seat.

STARTING MSRP: $47,895 (2018 Volvo XC90 T5 Momentum)

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EDMUNDS SAYS: Getting select features on your new vehicle can further improve its usefulness for family-hauling duty. Use our guide to 10 of our favorites.

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This story was provided to The Associated Press by the automotive website Edmunds . Brent Romans is a senior editor at Edmunds. Instagram: @brent.romans

Related links:

— 2017 New Car Buying Guides http://edmu.in/2t7ar7D

— 25 Tips for Easier Family Car Shopping http://edmu.in/2vq7ILH

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