Best mom-friendly cars that are not minivans

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By Catherine Holland By Catherine Holland

PHOENIX -- Moms are busy. They need vehicles that can transport kids, haul sporting gear, make room for the dog, and still have enough space for groceries too. But not every woman is a minivan mom. So AAA Auto Expert Jim Prueter breaks down his picks for some of the top parent-friendly vehicles that are not minivans.

Ford Flex ($30,900) *When it comes to the 2013 Ford Flex, don't think outside the box, because all the good stuff is inside the massively roomy box. *Mom will love the top-end Limited with its three rows of seats, blind-spot warning system, rear backup camera, adjustable pedals, 25-mpg highway fuel economy and huge panoramic sunroof. The Flex earned an IIHS Top Safety Pick for 2013.

Subaru Forester ($21,995) *You've got to love a safe car for mom, and the Forester is one of the safest vehicles on the road. It was recognized by the IIHS as a Top Safety Pick, which is the highest possible rating a vehicle can get. *This combined with standard all-wheel drive, an oversized rear lift-gate, huge 74.7 cubic feet of cargo space and ample room for five and it's easy to see why this vehicle is so popular with moms everywhere.

Nissan Altima ($22,550) *The Altima offers excellent gas mileage and roomy interior, making it a practical option for a mom with one or two children. *The Altima earned the highest possible crash test rating and a Top Safety Pick from the IIHS.

Cadillac CTS Sport Wagon ($39,205) *AAA auto experts love the Cadillac CTS Sport Wagon's mix of performance, luxury and utility. *Moms who own this vehicle say they love the practicality of a wagon.

Hyundai Elantra GT ($18,545) *With curvy, attractive styling, flashy wheels and an enormous sunroof, the Hyundai Elantra GT is super easy and loads of fun to drive at a bargain price. *The roomy interior, fuel economy and the 10 year 100,000 mile warranty that comes with it are also impressive.

Toyota Prius v ($26,170) *The new Toyota Prius v combines the cargo space of an SUV with the fuel economy of a hybrid car. It gets an impressive 44-mpg city - 40-mpg highway and has been named an IIHS Top Safety Pick for 2013.

VW Jetta SportWagen TDI ($20,595) *You won't mistake the Sport Wagen for a sports sedan, but if you're looking for a comfortable ride, quiet interior, a cavernous cargo area and outstanding fuel economy, this is the ride for you.

Acura TSX Wagon ($31,860) *An excellent choice for an entry-level luxury vehicle. With more than 61 cubic feet of interior space, it's more than adequate for most needs. *It comes standard with an impressive number of technology and operating features, excellent crash test results and traditional excellent build quality, reliability and resale value.

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