I will be moving to the USA next week and will be looking to buy a family car when I get there. Our family car here in Germany has been a trusty 2000 Saab 9-5 Aero Wagon, which i comfortable, fast, huge inside, and despite having a few maintenance issues it has been very reliable (it's a fourteen year old daily driven car, something will always break).

The car that will replace it doesn't need to be as fast (my wife drives it most of the time), has to have better gas mileage (the Saab drank gas pretty well under boost...), have enough room in the rear seat for a baby seat, and ne reliable. Trunk space is nice, but I could augment with a roof top box if there are incentives for a smaller car (fuel economy, for example). Oh, the car also needs to be automatic. Yes, I prefer driving manual myself, and my daily driver has a clutch, but this being my wife's car it needs to have only two pedals (trust me, I tried teaching her manual, but she gave up). Things I don't NEED but will take are the new amenities you find in never cars, like Bluetooth, powered rear lift gate (who needs that?), etc, etc.

Cars I have considered: Saab 9-3 SC, Saab 9-5 Combi, Mazda 5, Honda Element (I like the box on wheels), Honda Fit, VW Jetta Sportwagen TDI, Volvo wagons etc. My wife would like sliding rear doors, so the Mazda 5 is a prime one right now.

If you own or have experiences with any of these prime people movers please chime in. Tell me about how they drive, which transmissions just suck the life out of the car, which ones to avoid like the plague.