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Where to Put the Extra Car Seat? Buying an SUV for the Growing Family

by Holly Duce on January 25, 2013

For the longest time, my husband and I did what we could to get the most out of our four-door sedan, but when Kaitlyn(our third child) was on the way, we decided it was time to move on to a vehicle that offered more room. I’m not a huge fan of the SUV and minivan, but since we couldn’t fit two car seats in the back and Jeremiah wasn’t quite ready to travel without one yet, and with all of the extra toys and diapers as well, we decided the best option was to shop for the most eco-friendly used SUV or minivan that we could find.

Buying a used car is particularly good for the environment. According to TheTruthAboutCars.com, the amount of carbon emissions released into the atmosphere occurs mostly during the production of a car. Besides, used cars are more affordable and use the same or similar technology as the new models. For anyone shopping for a used car, there are wonderful online resources like Edmunds.com, Kelley Blue Book (KBB.com) or Kiplinger.com. These sites offer updated information on which used cars are rated as the safest, most fuel efficient and affordable. This way, you will know what you’re looking for before you take the family to look at minivans and SUVs at the buy-here-pay-here used car dealership. After doing my own research, I narrowed my favorites down to these top three. These vehicles met my standards for safety, fuel efficiency and affordability. I won’t tell you what my choice was in the end, yet.

Compact SUV/Crossover: 2005-2010 Honda CR-V

The Honda CR-V rated strong in crash-test ratings and is not quite a mammoth in terms of size, but still not a “small” car either. It was rated high for fuel efficiency by Edmunds’ staff even though it carries a CR-V inline-4 engine rather than a V-6. The only changes that have been made to this SUV, between 2005 and 2010 is 14 more horsepower. So, if speed isn’t a deal breaker for you, you could even look out for the redesigned model (which had minor tweaks) that was released in 2007.

2008 Subaru Outback 2.5i

With six airbags and 26 miles to the gallon, the 2008 Subaru Outback 2.5i rates high in both safety and fuel efficiency (at least in the minivan/fuel engine vehicles). It comes with lots of cargo space (34 cu/ft) and all-wheel drive and extra seating, with two car seat safety features. It also rated well with the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS).

Midsize SUV/Crossover: 2005-2010 Ford Explorer

This midsize SUV has truck-like features (which is why my husband liked it) while still having the option of third-row seating (which is why I liked it). This is actually Ford’s most versatile family vehicle and, with a V-8 engine, it can tow anything and is still rated high for safety and the kids loved some of the family-friendly features that it had.

Ok, since you’re probably dying to know, we decided to go with a 2008 Ford Explorer. It has all of the features that we loved, including a DVD player and navigational device (my husband is constantly getting lost). All of these models were exceptional vehicles for their individual reasons, but in the end we were happy to buy an American-manufactured midsize SUV. Since everyone’s experience shopping for cars and SUVs can be different, let us know what your thoughts are on these models and if you have any to contribute to the list of suggested cars!

This is a guest post from¬†Sonny Rodriguez.¬†Sonny’s loves living in the country, where she cares for her menagerie of six chickens, two goats and three llamas. Being a freelance writer for environmentally friendly cars and smartphone apps, Sonny feels that she gets to experience the best of both worlds; living in nature and writing about nature friendly technology.

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