Not at all, you can buy a used Volvo or a used truck as cheaply if not cheaper than you can buy a smaller vehicle--how is that classist?? I'm far from rich, but I choose to spend money in certain ways that I feel are most important for my family. Some families with very little money choose to spend their money first and foremost on eating organic food. Some choose to spend their money on health care. Some choose to spend on a specific car. Some choose to spend on a specific carseat. Some feel if they've done the best the can on car and carseat, the have the wiggle room to make the choice to do a less safe, but still safe move on placement. I *personally* believe that a safe car and a safe carseat in a less safe placement (but still within the requirments) affords as much if not more safety than the car that passes safety tests with minimum safety requirments and a seat that passes with minimum safety requirments placed in the safest location in that less safe car.
I do however believe it is somewhat classist to assume that the OP can afford to ship her car, or ship all her stuff or do any number of other things that will cost her a lot of money to make a trip she's obviously trying to make on a bare bones budget.
I believe we all make the choices that are appropriate for OUR family. Your choices will be different than mine. Provided we are operating within the standards and law, there are factors that will make your choice better sometimes and mine better others.
As I said at the beginning of this thread--nobody knows what part of the vehicle will be destroyed in an accident. I've seen accidents where the backseat has been completely obliterated, sheared off and crushed, but the front seat was intact--I've seen the reverse. As a parent--I can guarentee you that if my child is in killed in an accident like the first one--I won't be free of guilt just because my child was in the "safest" spot for her--no I will wonder until I die if she'd still be alive had she been in the front. If she were killed in the front seat, I'd wonder until I died if she may still be alive if she had been in the back. All I'm trying to say is that just because the rear middle seat is the "safest" doesn't mean it will always be the safest. I think it's important to also consider things like a the fact that a stressed and distracted mama is more likely to be in an accident in the first place. I just think that when ALL the factors are taken into account ie; type of vehicle, type of seat, type of road beng driven on, placement of seat, mental status of driver, that you will always have one or two of those factors that could be better--placement is a factor, just as mental status of the driver--which plays a bigger role in which accident is impossible to know until the accident occurs.
I fear that sometimes people are lulled into a false sense of security--where they think that if the seat is good and the placement is good, they don't have to worry about other factors. Similar to the people in 4 wheel drive vehicles that I pull out of my ditch all winter long.