Ok, here is the deal. I am married and have a 14 month old son and 9 year old greyhound. We currently drive a '97 Outback and '02 Protege5. Neither of these cars gets NEAR the mpg they should imho. So, what to do....

Ultimately I would like to replace the Outback (anywhere from 18-22 mpg city and 27-30 mpg highway....ugh) with something roughly midsize that can hold our child and dog when the need arises. I see our options as:

1)Highlander: seems perfect, mpg isn't enough to justify huge price tag
2)Escape: seems nice, little leery of Ford b/c of reliability.
3)Civic. Does anyone know if the '06 Civic Hybrid will be any different (other than styling and body changes) than the '05?
4)Camry Hybrid: anybody know the mpg and when that will hit the market? Will they have a wagon version of the Camry Hybrid?
5)Prius: This is the safest bet, but I am concerned that it won't fit my dog....and while I don't want an oversized vehicle, I do want to be able to bring my dog in at least one of my vehicles.

So, I can only justify such a purchase right now if it gets good mpg, fits our needs, and gets a nice tax break. Otherwise we will just keep the vehicles we have (our next vehicle WILL be a hybrid, just not sure when that will be.)

Thanks!