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AAA releases its list of family friendly vehicles

Updated:
Lots of focus on family values these days and now car manufacturers claim to be focusing on families in many of their newer models.

AAA and Parents magazine put some of the new cars to the family friendly test and came up with a list of 15 favroites.

News on 6 reporter Rick Wells has the final results.

AAA and Parents magazines have teamed up for the fourth annual list of best cars for the family focusing on convenience, practicality and safety.

Sally Lee: "The safe family car is the thing we really want to focus on."

So the evaluators looked at braking systems, side curtain air bags and crash test ratings. And when they got the original list of about 200 cars down to 20, they gave the cars to staffers with families and to Parents magazine readers.

Sally Lee: "We put our strollers in the back, secure our car seats, our infant car seats. We go shopping we go car pooling and we make sure they really work for families."

They divide the list into five categories, minivans, SUV's, sedans, station wagons and economy, with three favorites in each category.

In minivan category they liked the Honda Odyssey’s side curtain airbags for each row of seats. In the SUV category, the Volvo has outlets for cell phones and portable DVD players. The Durango's second row seats recline good for family trips. In sedans, the evaluators liked the fact that the Accord is a hybrid for 2005. And the Chrysler 300 is plenty big. In the station wagon group, the Mazda has room for two car seats in the back with plenty of cargo room.

Sally Lee: "We have the Ford Freestyle which is actually a wagon but it seats 7 people."

The economy group has three cars that are fun and safe with room and great family features. They also looked for enough of the latest gadgets to make families actually want to be in the car on long trips.

For more information check out the April issue of Parents Magazine or their web site.
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