It's all about finding a balance between safety, reliability, and affordability.
The 2009 Toyota Camry, 2009 Honda Accord, 2010 Volkswagen Jetta and 2002 Volvo v-70 may all have something in common: their size.
"The larger cars, the SUVs, have more of a chance for rollover. If you get into a smaller size compact car, you run into the issue of when they get hit. The result's not so good," said auto broker Jeremiah Mowry.
And while they're used cars, they still boast good gas mileage, easy maintenance, and a little bit of bling, like navigation systems, leather, and sunroofs.
For those who want to put their kids in a new car, the 2012 Hyundai Sonata got top marks, and for those who want to take parenting to the next level, a device called Blue Link, which will set parameters how far your kids can go and how fast.