Best Cars for Families
(U.S. News and World Report)

If you are a mother or are about to become one, chances are an SUV is your vehicle of choice, safety and tech features contribute most to your sanity behind the wheel and you don't let anyone else control the car stereo. In the lead-up to Mother’s Day, conducted a survey about mothers and their automotive preferences. The survey was conducted over the Internet and was completed by about 1,900 people, 1,309 of whom said they are mothers or soon-to-be mothers.

The survey found that 10.4 percent of mothers spend the majority of their day driving around their kids. However, 38.4 percent said that they spend the majority of their day at work and 35 percent spend it cooking and grocery shopping for their family.

It turns out that moms are not keen on the idea of driving a mom-mobile. When asked if they drive such a vehicle, 70.3 percent chose the answer “No, I refuse!”, 21.9 percent said yes and 7.7 percent have plans to buy a mom-mobile in the future. When asked what type of vehicle they would like to trade in their mom-mobile for, only 8 percent of mothers said they'd buy a minivan. The most popular types of vehicles mothers would like to buy, according to the survey, are sport utility vehicles (38.1 percent), crossovers (18.9 percent) and sedans (15.8 percent).

Perhaps not surprisingly, moms value safety features more than any other type of feature in a vehicle. When asked what helps keep them sane on the road, safety features are the most popular, with 32.2 percent of moms choosing that answer. After safety, the top answers are either a great sound system or hands-free technology and Bluetooth capability.

When in the car, the 71.6 percent of mothers say they control the music that is played. According to the survey, 12.6 percent of moms give stereo control to their teenagers, while only 10.9 percent allow their spouse to control the music. Moms are aware of numerous distractions behind the wheel as well. The leading distraction when driving cited in the survey is other drivers, which garnered 44.4 percent of responses. The next most distracting thing behind the wheel is a cellphone, followed by thoughts about work or family issues.

Our Best Cars for Families awards highlight the cars, vans and SUVs that have the space, safety and reliability families need, as well as the comfort, performance and features they want. Top crossovers and SUVs for families include the compact Mazda CX-5, two-row midsize Jeep Grand Cherokee, three-row midsize Buick Enclave and large Chevrolet Tahoe, just to name a few.

If you're shopping for a vehicle that will keep your family safe in a crash, you can sort all of our vehicle rankings by the safety score and find out more safety information for a particular vehicle by clicking on the safety tab in that vehicle's review.

In the market for a new car? Check out the U.S. News rankings of this year’s best cars. Then, look for a great deal on a new vehicle by checking out this month’s Best Car Deals. Also, be sure to follow us on Twitter and Facebook.