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Nine child seat-friendly cars for new moms, and not a single minivan

Getting a bulky, 15-pound child seat in and out of a car is just one of struggles facing new mothers, so we selected a set of cars to make life easier. While most new cars work with child seats, these nine vehicles offer easy access and a comfortable height.

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Wayne Cunningham, Antuan Goodwin
2015 BMW X4
1 of 9 Wayne Cunningham/CNET

BMW X4

The X4 is a new model from BMW, a small SUV-style car with a coupe-like rear-end. Sitting higher off the ground than a sedan, it offers each access to the rear seats. Being a BMW, its build quality and driving dynamics solid. Two engine options combine power and efficiency, helping to keep the monthly gasoline bill low, and all-wheel-drive adds safety when the roads get slippery. With X4, the young ones will get an early taste of BMW handling.

2015 Kia Soul EV
2 of 9 Antuan Goodwin/CNET

Kia Soul EV

It’s perky, it’s green, and it doesn’t use a drop of gasoline. The Kia Soul EV boasts a fully electric powertrain that delivers over 90 miles of whisper quiet driving on a single charge. That’s an entire weekend’s worth of zero-emissions errands and activities, according to our experience, without worrying about stopping to plug in. And although the Soul has a compact city footprint, it’s also packing a lot of interior space for cargo, car seats, family, or friends.

2015 Lexus NX 200t
3 of 9 Antuan Goodwin/CNET

Lexus NX 200t

This sharply styled crossover is sure to appeal to trendy moms with avant garde taste. The angular NX looks like a modern art museum on wheels and unlike anything else in the neighborhood. Beneath the form is app-powered Lexus Enform function which fuels the busy mom’s drive with concierge-like services and music by Pandora. At the end of the day, the NX can even make dinner and a movie plans with dad via OpenTable and MovieTickets.com. About the only thing is can’t do is find a babysitter.

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4 of 9 Wayne Cunningham/CNET

Lincoln MKC

Lincoln’s mid-size SUV combines good cargo capacity and seating accessibility with a stylish and easily maneuvered vehicle. Moms will enjoy a few novel features in the MKC, such as a push-button transmission and automated parallel parking. The former clears up space on the center console while the latter takes the stress out of parking maneuvers for moms frazzled by the demands of the little ones. Most important, the THX audio system can serve up high-fidelity lullabies to put the babes to sleep.

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5 of 9 Wayne Cunningham/CNET

Mercedes-Benz GLA250

For moms living in a space-challenged area or just prefer a smaller car, the Mercedes-Benz GLA250 offers compact size but SUV versatility. This compact SUV sits reasonably high, making for easy cabin access, and the cabin will coddle passengers with typical Mercedes-Benz refinement. Average fuel economy in the high-20s will help reduce the household budget, and moms can enjoy adaptive cruise control and automated parking to handle some of the daily driving load.

2015 Nissan Murano
6 of 9 Josh Miller/CNET

Nissan Murano

One of our bigger selections for this list, the new Murano is a crossover that a new family can grow into. Not so high up as to make cabin access difficult, the Murano maintains an urban character, with styling that will definitely turn heads. With an economical continuously variable transmission, the Murano won’t experience the kind of jerky gear shifts that can wake dozing toddlers. For help in parking lot maneuvering, a camera system with a top-down view of the Murano shows exactly how close you are to obstacles and other cars.

2015 Porsche Macan Turbo
7 of 9 Josh Miller/CNET

Porsche Macan Turbo

Porsche may seem an unlikely automaker for a new mom, but the Macan is really a good fit. This compact SUV offers easy access to the seats, plus rear cargo area to throw in all those extras you need to keep baby comfortable. The Macan’s phenomenal handling character makes it a good way for mom to burn off stress while taking the scenic routes, and give the little ones a jump-start at a career as a race driver.

2015 Subaru Outback
8 of 9 Wayne Cunningham/CNET

Subaru Outback

The Outback is a family stalwart, an SUV with good access for attaching a child seat and plenty of cargo space. Standard all-wheel-drive makes for all-weather safety, while the EyeSight safety system can prevent collisions. Big enough to grow into, the Outback can serve for suburban shopping runs, drop-offs at daycare and weekend camping trips, giving the tykes a lifelong love of the great outdoors.

2015 Volvo XC60
9 of 9 Antuan Goodwin/CNET

Volvo XC60

Perhaps no one values vehicle safety more than a new mother, but these moms must also to simultaneously keep eyes on the road ahead and on the precious cargo tucked into the car seat behind them. Volvo has built its reputation on safety, so it’s no surprise that the new XC60 is packed to its spacious gills with safety tech that can help. This includes the automaker’s standard City Safety system, which alerts the driver of vehicles and pedestrians stopped ahead. If necessary, it can also automatically brake to avoid a collision.

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