Getting the Facts
So you're in the market for a car. Copious seating and lots of cupholders may be alluring, but they don't mean a vehicle is as family-friendly as it should be. Even crash tests -- by far the best way we have to gauge overall safety -- don't cover everything a parent needs to know. For instance, will the vehicle easily accommodate car seats? Is that third row wedged in so tightly that even an elf would be squeezed for space? Are there design features that could be hazardous to a curious toddler? Down to the day we roll the new car into the driveway, many of us parents still don't know the answers to these crucial questions, largely because we don't know what features to look for.
So what's a car-shopping parent to do? We've teamed up with car seat experts and the auto-safety gurus at Consumer Reports to help you make the safest choice for your family. Keep in mind that this is a wish list. Just because a car doesn't have everything we've pointed out, it doesn't mean you should skip it altogether. You have to weigh what features will matter most for your family and your lifestyle. For example, if you don't intend to move your car seats around, it may not be a big deal if a car's LATCH anchors are difficult to access. If you're a big carpooler, it might be. It's all about asking the right questions so you know what you're buying.