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Smartest Cars for Families 2012

  • Courtesy of Chevy

    Chevrolet Traverse

    By the numbers: Three rows, up to eight seats, 17 mpg city/24 mpg highway

    Carpool 2.0: Sliding second-row seats that children as young as 7 can operate. Play tunes on your smartphone through the sound system using wireless Bluetooth.

    Mommy, I can do it: The seat belts are easy for kids to snap themselves into.

    No sticky seats: The cup holders can accommodate juice boxes and sippy cups. Price: From $29,510;

  • Courtesy of Chrysler

    Chrysler Town & Country

    By the numbers: Three rows, seven seats, 17 mpg city/25 mpg highway

    Chuck E. Cheese on wheels: Upgrade to get two nine-inch screens with Sirius Backseat TV and game connectors.

    Know when to fold 'em: Press a button and the third-row bench seat folds into the floor.

    Mudroom on the move: When the second-row seats aren't folded away, the space doubles as a storage compartment. It's the perfect spot for concealing sweaty soccer gear.

    Price: From $29,995;

  • Courtesy of Honda

    Honda Odyssey Touring Elite

    By the numbers: Three rows, eight seats, 19 mpg city/28 mpg highway

    Game-changer for lane-changers: The Blind Spot Information System provides an extra pair of eyes on the road (in the form of radar sensors). The door-mounted indicators illuminate when the sensors detect trouble.

    One DVD screen, two happy siblings: The split-screen monitor helps you entertain two kids at once.

    Price: From $43,675;

  • Courtesy of Infiniti

    Infiniti JX

    By the numbers: Three rows, seven seats, 17 mpg city/23 mpg highway

    Backup when you back up: Should objects be detected behind, the collision sensors prompt a warning and, if unheeded, automatically stop the vehicle. Four external cameras provide a 360-degree view of your surroundings.

    Your to-do list is on the dash: Sync appointments from Google Calendar into the navigation system.

    Price: From $40,450;

  • Courtesy of Toyota

    Toyota Prius V

    By the numbers: Five seats, 67 cubic feet of storage with the rear seatbacks down (that's approximately 98 paper grocery bags), 44 mpg city/40 mpg highway

    Appy family: The dashboard doubles as a tablet. Toyota's Entune multimedia system lets you use the in-dash touchscreen to tune in to The Muppets station on Pandora, search Bing for the nearest Pinkberry, or get live traffic reports.

    Price: From $26,400;

  • Courtesy of Volkswagen

    Jetta SportWagen TDI

    By the numbers: Five seats, 30 mpg city/42 mpg highway

    Fender-bender mender: The SportWagen automatically immobilizes the fuel pump, unlocks doors, and activates hazard warning lights after certain types of collisions. It also offers side-curtain-airbag protection.

    No more fumbling for keys: If yours are in your pocket or purse, the door will automatically unlock when you touch the door handle. Now press the start button and head home.

    Price: From $25,260;

  • Courtesy of Nissan

    Nissan Quest: LE Model

    By the numbers: Three rows, seven seats, 19 mpg city/24 mpg highway

    Go crazy at Costco: When your arms are full of grocery bags, use the one-touch unlock/open power system for the side doors and rear liftgate.

    For that mysterious backseat smell: The “air scrubbing” system reduces odors and filters allergens.

    Dad-proofed: The rearview cameras are a lifesaver when all that's visible is the bunk bed you're schlepping home from Ikea.

    Price: From $27,750;