So based on these criteria, here are the top 10 best cars for mom:
1. Kia Sedona
This 7-passenger minivan is not the most luxurious of options but it has some attributes that can’t be overlooked. The Sedona receives top marks in crash tests and is fully equipped with an onslaught of additional safety features to protect your precious cargo. With an average of 21 mpg and a starting MSRP for the 2012 model at under 25,000 this minivan offers some serious bang for your buck. Plus my favorite thing about Kia is the 100,000 mile, 10-year warranty which is the best of any manufacturer. You can’t beat that making the Sedona is super affordable, roomy and safe choice for moms.
2. Toyota Sienna
This minivan offers some nice upgrades for mom like remote start, moon roof, cargo organization compartments and LED interior lighting options, but these come at a higher price with the 2012 models ranging from $25,000 to $39,000. The Toyota Sienna can hold 8 passengers and gets some bonus points for safety. Not only does the Sienna perform excellent in crash tests but it is also the only minivan available that offers all wheel drive – a big plus for those in colder climates that worry about hitting patches of black ice in the winter.
3. Honda Odyssey
This minivan offers more bells and whistles than the Kia Sedona and Toyota Sienna. The Odyssey lives up to Honda’s stellar reputation and comes equipped all sorts of technology such as voice recognition navigation software, one touch third row seating maneuverability and an ultra-wide entertainment system in the back! Although the MSRP is almost $29,000 for the basic model, if you drive a lot and your kids drive you crazy in the process then the flat screen in the back may be worth every penny.
4. Mazda Mazda 5
The Mazda 5 is a smaller, attractive minivan with some nice perks. For one, since it is smaller, moms report it’s “fun” and easy to drive and maneuver in parking lots and it gets a great 28 mpg on the highway. Also since it’s a bit smaller, you can pick up a new Mazda 5 for just under $20,000, which is big deal for moms on a tight budget. However, the fact that the Mazda 5 can only hold 6 people in 3 rows is deal breaker for some moms with large and/or growing families.
5. Toyota Sequoia
If you’re one of those moms who just can’t succumb to a mini-van then opt for a large SUV, but prepare yourself to pay for it. Large SUVs cost an average of $10,000 to $20,000 more than minivans and offer the same amount of space. One of the best-rated and affordable large SUVs is the Toyota Sequoia, with a modest MSRP of $40,000. The Sequoia gets top ranks for safety and reliability and is plenty roomy.
6. Chevrolet Suburban
The Suburban gets high marks for safety and reliability like the Sequoia but offers even more cargo room and has a greater towing capacity. Some moms love this, but keep in mind this is one large vehicle to park and maneuver through small spaces. The price is good though, also beginning around $40,000.
7. Ford Explorer
Ford has built a better reputation for itself and its vehicles over the past few years and truly one of the most reliable and the most affordable large SUVs is the 2012 Ford Explorer. You can get a brand new 7 seater Ford Explorer starting at only $28,000 that gets a remarkable 28 mpg (highway), which is fantastic for a large SUV. Although the Ford Explorer is not as large as the Sequoia or the Suburban, for many moms the price difference more than makes up for this.
8. Ford Escape Hybrid
Hybrid cars, electric cars, fuel-efficient cars, they are all the way of the future. If you’re ready to jump on this inevitable trend then consider the Ford Hybrid Escape. The Escape is the most fuel-efficient SUV boasting 34 mpg highway and 31 mpg city. While those numbers don’t knock your socks off, realize that we’re still talking about a sizeable SUV here and that the MSRP begins at only $30,000.
9. Dodge Caravan E85
Running off E85 or Ethanol technology, the Dodge Caravan is a huge and powerful vehicle; 7 seats, V6 engine and 175 horsepower. The Caravan is known as a flex fuel vehicle and gets a respectable 16 mpg (highway) for its size. The best part about the Caravan is its rock bottom price, new models start at only $22,000. However, know that this minivan has pretty much no frills whatsoever.
10. Toyota Prius V
If saving money through fuel efficiency is high on your list then consider the Prius V, which blows all competitors out of the water with a whopping 42 mpg in the city. The Prius V also has 60% more cargo room than its predecessor making it a viable option for moms who don’t mind sacrificing the third row seating of a minivan or large SUV but still need ample room.
Jessica Drew is a freelance writer, editor and mom who blogs about a variety of topics including money, cars, homes and gutters.