Full-size cello, tennis and golf equipment, room for medium-size dogs. Would like a power tailgate and decent safety features.
You have several good choices that should have the room you need, offer a power liftgate and earn high safety ratings. The list includes the Honda Pilot (the Cars.com Family Car of the Year) and its better-dressed cousin, the Acura MDX, as well as the Chevrolet Traverse and Lexus RX 350.
All of those car-based crossover SUVs are among Cars.com’s Best Bets for 2012. To earn that distinction, they need to score well in the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety’s rigorous crash tests to be named Top Safety Picks. They also are midsize or larger and should have room for your cello, dogs and sports equipment (maybe not all at the same time).
You might also add the Buick Enclave to your list as a more luxurious version of the Traverse and the Toyota Venza, a wagon/quasi-SUV based on the Camry, though it may not have enough room.
To make sure you choose a vehicle that meets your space needs, why not bring the cello and the pooches along with you to a dealership to find out before you buy? You should probably call first, and how the dealership reacts might help you decide if you want to do business with them.
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