Group tests, evaluates cars for busy mothers

February 12, 2008 3:59:23 PM PST
A group of women hopes their research will help busy mothers better chose new vehicles. Nina Cypher is on a mission. The South Loop mother is at the Chicago Auto Show looking for something new.

"I have three children. I thought I wanted an SUV, but I think it's time to move on to the minivan," said Cypher.

When it's all said and done, the final decision could likely be Cypher's. Experts say 70-percent of all car-buying decisions are influenced by women.

"I'll probably do more of the research on the vehicles," said Rosanna Diaz, Albany Park mother.

A website called wants to help Diaz. The group of women take a look at the vehicles, road-tests them for two weeks at a time, and then evaluates them based on performance and values.

"We load the kids in, test out the latch connectors and the car seats, and the cargo space? to really ensure that the car that we're driving would really be a perfect vehicle for the people who visit our website," said Sara Lacey, mom-reviewer.

Today at the Chicago Auto Show, the motherproof women handed out awards to vehicles that ranked highest in their test drives. Among the winners: Chrysler. They won for best mini-van and best overall value mainly for new mom-friendly features which they've put into their cars.

"You'll see things like swivel and go seats that allow you to turn the The center," said Wendy Orthman, Chrysler.

Automakers said the awards from their target buyers are highly coveted. The mom-reviewers say the prizes certainly don't come easily.

"We put it through the wringers. We go through carpool, grocery shopping and date night, some nights," said Lacey.

They're doing all that research so busy moms won't have to.

"How do you flip the seats? I want to know that it's easy. I want to know I can do this," said Cypher.

2008 Mother Proof Awards:

  • Minivan

  • Chrysler Town and Country
  • SUV/Crossover (three rows)

  • Hyundai Veracruz
  • SUV/Crossover (two rows)

  • Mazda CX-7
  • Wagon/Hatch

  • Volvo XC70
  • Sedan

  • Chevy Malibu
  • Hybrid

  • Toyota Highlander Hybrid
  • Best Overall Value

  • Toyota Highlander Hybrid
  • Just for Fun

  • Volvo C30
  • Best Latch Connectors

  • Mini Cooper