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Sport Utility Vehicles are very trendy.  The rugged styling and the "freedom" of being able to climb mountains and cross streams is a powerful marketing message.  Still, most consumers rarely use large SUVs for anything but commuting and hauling family.  Some simply don't realize that there are many other vehicles that not only get better fuel economy, but are actually safer as well.  Many of these safer models have third row seating to carry more passengers or cargo, while others have advanced AWD systems for light off-road duty and superior bad weather performance.  A number can even tow 3,000 to 6,000 pounds.  Large, truck based SUVs are finally improving in safety with each new model year, but many are still inferior in terms of overall safety.  Here are some of the safest choices if you are looking for a crossover, SUV or minivan.  They are also great alternatives if you're considering a truck-based model.  Our criteria (discussed below) are very tough.  The recommendations don't include models with just average or missing crash test results. They also don't include models that lack important safety features.  Most other publications and webpages that rate the "safest" cars, SUVs and minivans often overlook one or more of these important factors, so please research carefully for your family!

Recommendations for Safe, Family SUVs, Minivans and Cars:
(2006 and newer models only, unless otherwise indicated)