What SUV or Crossover to buy



In the market for a new car my Ford Focus won't make it any more.

I'm not too picky I just want

1. Safe
2. Able to fit two carseats don't know what brand yet
3. All wheel drive
3.No more than $28000


New member
I like my 2012 Dodge Journey .... As long as you don't need 3 across it's pretty great :) Easy to drive, smooth, comfortable, lots of good options in even in the basic models. I feel pretty safe in it :)

ETA: my basic front wheel drive model was $21,000 sticker price .... I think the AWD sport model was 25,000 sticker price.


New member
I have a Tribeca and love it and bought it a couple years old for significantly less than your budget, but if I only needed a 5 seater I would get an Outback or a CRV, depending on trunk and passenger space needs (Outback ia bigger).


New member
In terms of safety, the small/midsize SUVs with AWD that have earned the top rating (TSP+) from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety *and* a 5-star overall rating from NHTSA testing are the Subaru Forester & Outback, Volvo XC60, and Mercedes M-class. The Subarus are solidly within your price range, though it's possible you could score a deal on one of the others.

I wouldn't view this as a definitive list because many vehicles have not yet been tested by one organzation or the other, and some have incomplete data. I may also have missed 1 or 2 vehicle models in my review of the lists.

And of course, newer vehicles are such an improvement over older models (when you consider now-standard features like Electronic Stability Control) that smaller differences in test scores may not be terribly meaningful. Still, that may be a starting point for you.

Two other vehicles I like in this category are the Nissan Rogue and the Subaru Impreza wagon. The Rogue was totally redesigned for 2014 and hasn't been safety-tested yet; it has some nice features like a 360 camera system and optional folding 3rd-row seat. The Impreza wagon has plenty of cargo space and is cheaper and more fuel-efficient than some of its SUV cousins despite having a great AWD system and good safety scores.

I have to say, despite a slightly lower score on one of the IIHS crash tests, the Honda CR-V is also a great vehicle with lots of family-friendly touches like storage cubbies, and good reliability and fuel economy. I would still consider it a top contender.


New member
If you FOR SURE only need to fit two child restraints, I adore my RAV-4. Not possible to do 3 across and the optional 3rd row (which I don't have) is miniscule.

I have the V6 Limited 4WD with all the bells and love to drive it.


Forum Ambassador
If you want something smaller, the Subaru SV CrossTrek is nice. It's an Impreza on steroids. And while I could never do a 3 across with the 2 seats I have currently, someone else did one recently here with 2 Radians and something else I believe.

Its IIHS crash rest results are great including the new small overlap test. No results from NHTSA yet.
Last edited:


New member
I actually need to fit 3 seats.

2 carseats for infant twins that I will have installed. I also need space for a bacless booster seat for a 5 year old about once a month.

I'd like to have them all on one row if possible.


New member
What seats will the babies be in now and down the road? Do you want the babies side by side and the 5yo outboard?

Would you ideally like a highback booster for the 5yo? Or is a backless preferable because its so rare that she rides with you?


New member
The babies have yet to be born. They are due very soon.

I'm to be their nanny. Parents and I haven't decided on carseats for them, but I will have the seats installed all the time as I will be caring for them fulltime and transporting them on a regular basis.

The 5 year old is my niece, I have her in my car about 1 or 2 times a month. Typically, I pick her up from daycare and use the backless booster her mom has left for me.

I haven't figured out how I want everyone positioned. I had thought for purposes of loading in it might be easier to have the baby seats on the end and have the space in the middle for the booster when my niece is riding, but she still needs the shoulder belt at a minimum so I don't think that will work.

Ultimately I just want all the kids to be safe when riding with me. I prefer to have them all in one row. There is something about kids in the way back that I don't like.


New member
It sounds like you could put the 2 infant seats in the outboard (window) seats, which will probably be easiest for you day-to-day. Your niece can use a narrow backless booster like the Bubble Bum in the center seat on the days that she is with you; she'd just have to climb over one of the infant seat bases. All of the vehicles that have been mentioned have 3-point seatbelts in the center.

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