2018 Subaru Outback with 3 car seats vs. other car/suv options

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tsukune
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2018 Subaru Outback with 3 car seats vs. other car/suv options

Post by tsukune » Tue Jul 25, 2017 9:53 am

I'm looking for a new car and possibly new car seats.

Current situation:
Acura TSX (2006)
4 year old forward facing in Clek Fllo
2 year old rear facing in Cosco Scenera NEXT
Also have a Cybex Aton and Evenflo Tribute LX
Third child on the way

What we're looking for:
Station wagon, crossover or compact/medium SUV (no minivan or large SUV) - prefer something rugged as I don't want to baby the car and worry about dings and scratches too much as we live in NYC
Budget: 20-40k ideally, for new/used but will consider premium vehicles up to 60-70k, but then would probably look to buy those used.
Need to fit three seats across, ages 5, 3 and newborn
Safety is a top concern
Reliability is a top concern (last thing I want to deal with is constant recalls, replacements, visits to the shop, etc. My Acura mainly consumes gas and oil and standard maintenance after 150k+ miles over 10 years)
Decent cargo space
Plan to use the car 10+ years, might swap for larger Crossover or SUV in the future specially if there are more hybrid options available
Nice to haves: 200+ hp engine, hybrid
I don't think we need or want a third row option

What are my best options for cars and carseats?

So far I've come up with:
Subaru Outback - concerned about oil leak issues, and possibly CVT issues
Mazda CX-5
Toyota RAV4
Honda CR-V
Acura RDX
Volvo, Lexus, Audi, BMW, Mercedes crossover + wagon options - concerned about reliability and ongoing maintenance costs with some of these, ability to fit three carseats in a row, price

Open to any carseat combination regardless of price.

Thanks!
Last edited by tsukune on Tue Jul 25, 2017 11:42 am, edited 2 times in total.

bloom2708
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Re: 2018 Subaru Outback

Post by bloom2708 » Tue Jul 25, 2017 11:24 am

Lots of choices.

I would not lump Lexus in with the German autos and Volvo. Lexus is Toyota luxury.

Drive a CPO Lexus RX 350 (450h is the hybrid version) in your price range. But, do it after driving some of the others. Or, drive one first and skip the rest. :wink:

Just one idea.
"We are here not to please but to provoke thoughtfulness" Unknown Boglehead

Rupert
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Re: 2018 Subaru Outback

Post by Rupert » Tue Jul 25, 2017 11:35 am

You might want to change the title of your post because right now only people who know something about or are really interested in Subaru Outbacks are probably reading it.

Why isn't the Toyota Highlander Hybrid on your list? Little bigger than what you've listed, but I think you'll find the third-row option (even though it's a tiny third row) nice to have. Yes, you can technically fit three carseats abreast in a couple of the cars you've listed, but it's not going to be comfortable for the poor kid in the middle or for the adult who has to buckle the straps for that poor kid in the middle.

stimulacra
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Re: 2018 Subaru Outback with 3 car seats vs. other car/suv options

Post by stimulacra » Tue Jul 25, 2017 11:59 am

With three kids I would reconsider adding a minivan to your consideration list. Rent one for the weekend. School age kids LOVE them, especially great for transporting their friends and cousins around… their value becomes apparent when doing multi-stop errands around town with multiple kids in tow; less fussing around with latches and buckles in a hot crowded parking lot.

Honda CRV and Mazda CX5 are solid choices. I would add Subaru Forrester to that same list. You might need to bring all three carseats to the test drive to see if they'll fit. I think it'll be tight and not sure if you can use all three set of latch anchors at once if doing 3 in a row.

Might consider a late model Highlander or Pilot for the additional space.

Subaru Outback, been reading a lot of issues about windshield replacements being a common occurrence, not helped by the fact if you have the EyeSight package it has to be OEM replacements.

I have an Audi station wagon, maintenance is definitely higher than Japanese or American options. I do most minor repairs myself but keep a few k handy in case something semi-major crops up.

researcher
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Re: 2018 Subaru Outback with 3 car seats vs. other car/suv options

Post by researcher » Tue Jul 25, 2017 12:02 pm

It's only a matter of time before the minivan crusaders show up and explain that you can't possibly live without an Odyssey or Sienna.
Don't listen to them. They are wrong.

I think the first 4 cars on your list are all perfectly acceptable options, although the Honda CR-V would be your best option. Here's why...
Outback - I share you concerns regarding these known issues. Also consider that the Outback is nearly a foot longer than the Honda or Mazda, which is less than ideal for a vehicle in NYC.
Rav4 - This is a perfectly fine driving appliance, but everything about it feels a step below the Honda and Mazda.
CX-5 - Very impressive redesign. This will be my next vehicle. However, I only have 2 kids. The rear seat space, particularly the middle position, is tighter than the Honda. It has a noticeable center hump in the floor, and the center console protrudes into the rear seat space.

This leaves the CR-V. Good all around vehicle with plenty of second row and cargo space.

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topper1296
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Re: 2018 Subaru Outback with 3 car seats vs. other car/suv options

Post by topper1296 » Tue Jul 25, 2017 12:22 pm

Subaru oil leak issues are a thing of the past just like the tranny issue older Acuras used to have.

Rupert
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Re: 2018 Subaru Outback with 3 car seats vs. other car/suv options

Post by Rupert » Tue Jul 25, 2017 12:40 pm

researcher wrote:It's only a matter of time before the minivan crusaders show up and explain that you can't possibly live without an Odyssey or Sienna.
Don't listen to them. They are wrong.

I think the first 4 cars on your list are all perfectly acceptable options, although the Honda CR-V would be your best option. Here's why...
Outback - I share you concerns regarding these known issues. Also consider that the Outback is nearly a foot longer than the Honda or Mazda, which is less than ideal for a vehicle in NYC.
Rav4 - This is a perfectly fine driving appliance, but everything about it feels a step below the Honda and Mazda.
CX-5 - Very impressive redesign. This will be my next vehicle. However, I only have 2 kids. The rear seat space, particularly the middle position, is tighter than the Honda. It has a noticeable center hump in the floor, and the center console protrudes into the rear seat space.

This leaves the CR-V. Good all around vehicle with plenty of second row and cargo space.
Hey, I'm one of those minivan people, but even I wouldn't want to drive and park a full-size minivan in NYC. Since you mention vans though, let me throw out a used Mazda5 as an option. It's a mini-mini-van that they don't make anymore, but it is really a perfectly-sized vehicle to meet OP's needs.

thangngo
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Re: 2018 Subaru Outback with 3 car seats vs. other car/suv options

Post by thangngo » Tue Jul 25, 2017 12:41 pm

tsukune wrote: What we're looking for:
Station wagon, crossover or compact/medium SUV (no minivan or large SUV) - prefer something rugged as I don't want to baby the car and worry about dings and scratches too much as we live in NYC
Budget: 20-40k ideally, for new/used but will consider premium vehicles up to 60-70k, but then would probably look to buy those used.
Need to fit three seats across, ages 5, 3 and newborn
Safety is a top concern
Reliability is a top concern (last thing I want to deal with is constant recalls, replacements, visits to the shop, etc. My Acura mainly consumes gas and oil and standard maintenance after 150k+ miles over 10 years)
Decent cargo space
Plan to use the car 10+ years, might swap for larger Crossover or SUV in the future specially if there are more hybrid options available
Nice to haves: 200+ hp engine, hybrid
I don't think we need or want a third row option

What are my best options for cars and carseats?

Thanks!
Have you looked into Nissan Rouge? My SO has a 2014 model and it checks all the box above, except for the hybrid. Plus, it looks cool, has good mileage, and can handle a corner like a car.

Are you sure you want a hybrid? At the moment, the cost of obtaining a hybrid car outweighs the benefits. Why don't you lease a cheap crossover and wait until the technology is established and cost of a hybrid is more reasonable?

researcher
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Re: 2018 Subaru Outback with 3 car seats vs. other car/suv options

Post by researcher » Tue Jul 25, 2017 2:06 pm

thangngo wrote:Have you looked into Nissan Rouge? My SO has a 2014 model and it checks all the box above, except for the hybrid. Plus, it looks cool, has good mileage, and can handle a corner like a car.
The Nissan Rouge is a very poor choice and it would be at the bottom of my list.

The Rouge is ranked #11 out of 14 vehicles in this segment. In addition, the Nissan CVT has been plagued with problems.
The other vehicles on your list are much better choices.

http://www.caranddriver.com/nissan/rogue

onourway
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Re: 2018 Subaru Outback with 3 car seats vs. other car/suv options

Post by onourway » Tue Jul 25, 2017 2:23 pm

If you are willing to buy new car seats, you can fit 3 across in almost any car. We have used the Diono Radians in several cars 3 across. It actually becomes much more problematic once one or more of the kids reaches booster seat age as fitting 3 narrow car seats with their own dedicated harness belts isn't a big deal. Fitting a booster seat that needs regular access to the car's shoulder belt is a lot more difficult with 3 car seats/boosters.

I am very much partial to station wagons myself as well, but our primary family vehicle has been a Volvo XC90. It has been flawlessly reliable - it's now 7 years old with 80k on it and we have done nothing but replace consumables. We did not use the 3rd row for years because with 3 car seats access was nearly impossible - but since two of our kids have reached the age where they can buckle their own seat belts we've been using it more regularly. The kids LOVE the independence that the 3rd row brings them, we love that they finally have some space. However there is virtually no luggage space when both 3rd row seats are in place so most trips they are all back in the 2nd row or at most one of them gets the 3rd row.

In addition to the safety aspects that Volvo brings, another valuable benefit is the availability of their integrated booster seats. These are available in some cars like the XC90 in the center position of the 2nd row, or in the XC70 and other models in both the outboard positions. These can be converted from adult to booster seats in seconds, and they almost completely mitigate the space issues I discussed above. They are essential to us being able to get 3 across at this age in the 2nd row of at least two of our cars.

Best of luck!

thangngo
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Re: 2018 Subaru Outback with 3 car seats vs. other car/suv options

Post by thangngo » Tue Jul 25, 2017 2:32 pm

researcher wrote:
thangngo wrote:Have you looked into Nissan Rouge? My SO has a 2014 model and it checks all the box above, except for the hybrid. Plus, it looks cool, has good mileage, and can handle a corner like a car.
The Nissan Rouge is a very poor choice and it would be at the bottom of my list.

The Rouge is ranked #11 out of 14 vehicles in this segment. In addition, the Nissan CVT has been plagued with problems.
The other vehicles on your list are much better choices.

http://www.caranddriver.com/nissan/rogue
It's from my own experience that it's not the case. We've been driving it for 4 years and 65k miles and there have been no issues so far (fingers crossed). The CVT issue seemed to be from 2006. Have you had any experience with it?

https://cars.usnews.com/cars-trucks/nissan/rogue/2014

OP: you should test drive those vehicles. Pay close attention to how it drives, comfort level, second row space for car seats, and cargo space. I drove a 2015 CR-V rental, it's too noisy which can affect your sleeping children and too small compared to other crossover in the segment. I would go for a Lexus RX 350 if it fits your price range. It offers library-like quietness, comfort drive, plenti of space, and a luxurious cabin for you in 10-15 years to come.

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Re: 2018 Subaru Outback with 3 car seats vs. other car/suv options

Post by *3!4!/5! » Tue Jul 25, 2017 2:44 pm

We've had various configurations of 3 car seats in our 15 year old Outback (which is a little smaller than current models). It works fine.
onourway wrote:If you are willing to buy new car seats, you can fit 3 across in almost any car. ...
Right. There's a huge amount of discussion on the internet about fitting various numbers and configuartions into various cars, especially since many people can't afford to change vehicle, and have to mange with their current one, so they figure it out.
stimulacra wrote:With three kids I would reconsider adding a minivan to your consideration list.
Minivans are a terrible choice for 3 kids, as they no longer come with 3-person 2nd-row bench seats, so you are forced to use 3 rows, which I regard as a major lifestyle downgrade.

Almost any 2-row vehicle works, so it makes no sense to consider 3-row vehicle that force you to use 3 rows.

researcher
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Re: 2018 Subaru Outback with 3 car seats vs. other car/suv options

Post by researcher » Tue Jul 25, 2017 3:16 pm

thangngo wrote:It's from my own experience that it's not the case. We've been driving it for 4 years and 65k miles and there have been no issues so far (fingers crossed). The CVT issue seemed to be from 2006. Have you had any experience with it?

https://cars.usnews.com/cars-trucks/nissan/rogue/2014

I drove a 2015 CR-V rental, it's too noisy which can affect your sleeping children and too small compared to other crossover in the segment.
It is good to hear that you have not experienced any issues in 65K miles of driving. But if I was the OP, I wouldn't rely on your sample size of ONE.

There is plenty of info documenting recent Nissan CVT issues, and you are wildly incorrect about the issues ending in 2006.
Known CVT issues (with TSBs) exist through at least the 2016 model year.
https://www.cars.com/articles/2013-2016 ... 683183828/

My friend has a '15 or '16 Altima with the same transmission and it is absolutely horrible. It has been at the dealer several times, though I'm not sure the issue has been resolved yet.

Your information on the CR-V is also outdated.
It has been completely redesigned from the 2015 model you drove, getting both quieting and larger.
In fact, the CRV has more backseat space, more cargo space, and is quieter than the Rogue.

Tex1234
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Re: 2018 Subaru Outback with 3 car seats vs. other car/suv options

Post by Tex1234 » Tue Jul 25, 2017 3:22 pm

You need to look out overlapping seat belts. You can tell by buckling all the belts in the back and if any of them cross over each other that's a bad thing. With the car seats installed you don't want the seatbelts to rub or touch. You can cross the RAV4 off your list now, the overlap in that car is significant.

You have some pretty narrow seats, so I would bring them to your test drives and make sure you can install them.

Keep an eye on your kid in the Scenera Next, it's outgrown at 40" or when their head is within an inch of the top of the shell, and it's outgrown forward facing before rear facing so they'll need a new seat at that point. If you want them to continue rear facing you can pass down the Clek and get the 5 year old a new seat (a forward facing only seat is cheaper than a convertible). The Graco Tranzitions/Wayz or Harmony defender are good narrow forward facing only choices. And then the new baby can use the Scenera Next when they outgrow the infant seat.

Installing the outboard seats with seatbelts will help you gain more space because you can pull the seats closer to the door than you can when using the lower anchors.

This link has more tips https://csftl.org/three-across-update/

I've heard the Honda Pilot works well.

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Re: 2018 Subaru Outback with 3 car seats vs. other car/suv options

Post by stimulacra » Tue Jul 25, 2017 3:32 pm

Didn't realize this would be in NYC… 

With that in mind my top three choices would be:

1) 2017 Mazda CX-5: They just had a nice mid-cycle refresh so you get a sharper newer visual design but all of the major platform bugs have been shaken out.

2) 4th or 5th gen Honda CR-V: I'm still on the fence about the styling of the new CR-V but otherwise have read good things about it. The previous gen set the benchmark for compact crossovers.

3) Subaru Forrester: Consumer Report top pick for the segment. The tall boxy shape gives it amazing visibility in all directions. The styling is the most staid but they offer the only real performance option if you get the turbocharged XT version.

Some upscale alternatives might be the Audi Q5, VW Touareg, and BMW X3. They're not going to be Toyota or Honda reliable but there's enough of them around on the road that they're considered bread-and-butter models for their manufacturers so reliability isn't as big of an issue versus a decade or two ago.

tsukune
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Re: 2018 Subaru Outback with 3 car seats vs. other car/suv options

Post by tsukune » Tue Jul 25, 2017 3:42 pm

Thanks for the replies so far. Also, thank you for sticking to the topic and not suggesting minivans and large SUVs only. Parking either of those options is very costly and cumbersome in NYC. We are sold on getting a 2 row car, and might only consider a 3 row if the car is not very long compared to an Outback and we have the choice to fold down part/all the third row for cargo space or (very) occasionally use the third row for humans. Getting back on track:
The RAV4 it seems is not highly recommended for installing 3 in a row due to overlapping seat belts in the back (same problem with the Rogue).

So far I'm looking at:

Subaru Outback, Honda CRV, Mazda CX-5, Lexus RX 350, Volvo XC 90/70, Audi A4 Allroad, possibly Audi Q5 (Q7 seems a little large)

researcher
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Re: 2018 Subaru Outback with 3 car seats vs. other car/suv options

Post by researcher » Tue Jul 25, 2017 4:10 pm

tsukune wrote: Getting back on track:
The RAV4 it seems is not highly recommended for installing 3 in a row due to overlapping seat belts in the back (same problem with the Rogue).

So far I'm looking at:
Subaru Outback, Honda CRV, Mazda CX-5, Lexus RX 350, Volvo XC 90/70, Audi A4 Allroad, possibly Audi Q5 (Q7 seems a little large)
I would take all the luxury brands off your list, based on info from your original post...
"I don't want to baby the car and worry about dings and scratches as we live in NYC...Safety is a top concern...Reliability is a top concern."
Given your primary requirements, it seems like you would just be throwing money away on those luxury brands.
What do those brands offer that you want, other than maybe 200+ HP?

One thing I forgot about (until you mentioned the overlapping Rav4 belts), is the rear seat belt configuration in the CRV...
- The outside seat belts are mounted fairly high on the "C" pillars. This makes the shoulder belt cut uncomfortably across your neck.
- The middle seat belt is mounted in the roof, making it awkward and uncomfortable to use.

On the Mazda CX-5, all three seatbelts are mounted to the seats, which means they are more comfortable and easier to use. This is one of several reasons I'm choosing the CX5 over the CRV.

tsukune
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Re: 2018 Subaru Outback with 3 car seats vs. other car/suv options

Post by tsukune » Tue Jul 25, 2017 6:44 pm

My initial budget above was 20-40k and I'm willing to buy used, so I thought the luxury brands might be worth a look. Besides 200+hp, I wanted to include some luxury vehicles to keep my options open in case there was a better solution with regards to fitting 3 carseats better, cargo space, safety, driving experience, and reliability as well. You do make a good point though, at 40k or even 50k no matter how rugged, used or great the vehicle is, I might be more sensitive to dings and scratches that are inevitable in NYC on the third world roads and in the crypt like garages. With a 20-30k car, I'm more likely to treat it like a 'beater'. All things considered, I'd still like to keep my options open and include the luxury options (<60k used or new) for now. My hope is to move out of NYC in the next few years. Still no minivans or massive SUVs - I don't need or want them.
researcher wrote:
tsukune wrote: Getting back on track:
The RAV4 it seems is not highly recommended for installing 3 in a row due to overlapping seat belts in the back (same problem with the Rogue).

So far I'm looking at:
Subaru Outback, Honda CRV, Mazda CX-5, Lexus RX 350, Volvo XC 90/70, Audi A4 Allroad, possibly Audi Q5 (Q7 seems a little large)
I would take all the luxury brands off your list, based on info from your original post...
"I don't want to baby the car and worry about dings and scratches as we live in NYC...Safety is a top concern...Reliability is a top concern."
Given your primary requirements, it seems like you would just be throwing money away on those luxury brands.
What do those brands offer that you want, other than maybe 200+ HP?

One thing I forgot about (until you mentioned the overlapping Rav4 belts), is the rear seat belt configuration in the CRV...
- The outside seat belts are mounted fairly high on the "C" pillars. This makes the shoulder belt cut uncomfortably across your neck.
- The middle seat belt is mounted in the roof, making it awkward and uncomfortable to use.

On the Mazda CX-5, all three seatbelts are mounted to the seats, which means they are more comfortable and easier to use. This is one of several reasons I'm choosing the CX5 over the CRV.

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Re: 2018 Subaru Outback with 3 car seats vs. other car/suv options

Post by nhdean » Tue Jul 25, 2017 6:49 pm

One of my cars is a 2017 outback. I have one car seat in it. I could put two in but there is no way I could put a third one in. I would look at the GMC Acadia.

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Re: 2018 Subaru Outback with 3 car seats vs. other car/suv options

Post by *3!4!/5! » Tue Jul 25, 2017 6:59 pm

nhdean wrote:One of my cars is a 2017 outback. I have one car seat in it. I could put two in but there is no way I could put a third one in. I would look at the GMC Acadia.
Terrible suggestion. Subaru Outback has more "rear hiproom" (a crucial measurement in this context), and almost 3 times the "Cargo capacity" (reference edmunds.com).

As I said, we've had various configurations of 3 car seats in our 15 year old Outback (which is a little smaller than current models), and they all worked fine.

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Re: 2018 Subaru Outback with 3 car seats vs. other car/suv options

Post by Katietsu » Tue Jul 25, 2017 7:09 pm

I have rented several of the cars you have suggested and used two car seats or booster seats in them. I do not have experience with the specially designed narrow seats but I can not imagine 3 car seats across in the vehicles I have used. Layout and dimension wise, I would would get a used Mazda 5 if I had 3 kids in NYC. But, a Mazda 5 will likely not meet you performance desire.

Coolmompicks.com recommends a Ford Edge or Chrysler 300 for a car that can handle 3 seats in a 2nd row. The Edge is a pretty nice driving vehicle that seems to be overlooked a lot.

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Re: 2018 Subaru Outback with 3 car seats vs. other car/suv options

Post by BanquetBeer » Tue Jul 25, 2017 7:11 pm

I don't like the outback - it's too small for me (driver seat). Think the forester would be better.

That said, I'm probably more interested in the Honda CR-V. Mazda is more money for driving performance but you're in a med SUV with 3 kids so what does that really get you?

Are you getting AWD? Might push you towards a Subaru as that is the standard option vs additional $ in the others

tsukune
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Re: 2018 Subaru Outback with 3 car seats vs. other car/suv options

Post by tsukune » Tue Jul 25, 2017 7:26 pm

I've seen hundreds of posts and blogs littered all over the web with successful safe installs of 3 carseats/boosters in numerous 2-row vehicles whether sedan, wagon, SUV, minivan, etc. Its just a matter of finding the right seats and not choosing a terrible car that is incompatible with multiple car seat installations. The Outback has a lot of success stories. I'm hoping we won't spend the rest of the thread discussing how the Outback can't handle 3 car seats and why I need to get a giant vehicle, that I don't need and certainly don't want.

*3!4!/5! wrote:
nhdean wrote:One of my cars is a 2017 outback. I have one car seat in it. I could put two in but there is no way I could put a third one in. I would look at the GMC Acadia.
Terrible suggestion. Subaru Outback has more "rear hiproom" (a crucial measurement in this context), and almost 3 times the "Cargo capacity" (reference edmunds.com).

As I said, we've had various configurations of 3 car seats in our 15 year old Outback (which is a little smaller than current models), and they all worked fine.

tsukune
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Re: 2018 Subaru Outback with 3 car seats vs. other car/suv options

Post by tsukune » Tue Jul 25, 2017 7:34 pm

I'm 5'9 so I think the Outback should be fine. I don't need to get AWD drive and have driven safely with my Acura in NW weather for 10 years. I think this time though I'm going to get AWD most likely as an added safety feature. Performance is not the top of my list. Utility, safety, reliability come first, but I'd like to get something that doesn't feel underpowered in the aggressive driving atmosphere around NYC/NJ when being able to quickly merge onto a highway can be a life/death matter. I have no interest in racing and driving for fun. I have 205hp and it feels adequate, anything lower I'm not sure I'd be happy with my decision.

BanquetBeer wrote:I don't like the outback - it's too small for me (driver seat). Think the forester would be better.

That said, I'm probably more interested in the Honda CR-V. Mazda is more money for driving performance but you're in a med SUV with 3 kids so what does that really get you?

Are you getting AWD? Might push you towards a Subaru as that is the standard option vs additional $ in the others

btenny
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Re: 2018 Subaru Outback with 3 car seats vs. other car/suv options

Post by btenny » Tue Jul 25, 2017 8:03 pm

I have a 2013 Outback with 3.6 r engine and the 5 speed . It has tons of power and great reliability and drives nice. AWD works great. Mine does not have the eyesight so my windshield was $220 after a rock broke it. It would sell for $20k. I highly recommend it.
Good luck.

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Re: 2018 Subaru Outback with 3 car seats vs. other car/suv options

Post by nhdean » Tue Jul 25, 2017 8:29 pm

*3!4!/5! wrote:
nhdean wrote:One of my cars is a 2017 outback. I have one car seat in it. I could put two in but there is no way I could put a third one in. I would look at the GMC Acadia.
Terrible suggestion. Subaru Outback has more "rear hiproom" (a crucial measurement in this context), and almost 3 times the "Cargo capacity" (reference edmunds.com).

As I said, we've had various configurations of 3 car seats in our 15 year old Outback (which is a little smaller than current models), and they all worked fine.
Sorry you are wrong! Please go and look at one before you make statements like that.

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William4u
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Re: 2018 Subaru Outback with 3 car seats vs. other car/suv options

Post by William4u » Tue Jul 25, 2017 8:38 pm

If not for the NYC thing, I'd recommend a minivan. Any Honda, Toyota, Subaru, or Mazda that you listed would work well. With three kids even the small SUVs are going to be tight, though. A Highlander or Pilot would be bigger and can get a third row. But NYC is hard for parking. You can fit three in the back of a small SUV like a RAV 4, but it will be tight.

A Prius V is a SUV crossed with a Prius. It is smaller than a RAV 4, but not by much, and it might be a better NYC car. A Lexus RX350 is sweet and roomy if you can afford one, and it is very reliable and low cost to own (little maintenance, unlike other luxury cars). Lots of family own the lexus and love it.

patngordo
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Re: 2018 Subaru Outback with 3 car seats vs. other car/suv options

Post by patngordo » Wed Jul 26, 2017 7:22 am

I totaled my CX-5 in Jan 16, love that car, but needed the replacement to accommodate 3 across, and the CX5 wouldnt, because of the hump in the middle of the seat. So I got the Outback, with 3 Diono Radians,I rear facing, all 3 installed using the seat belts.
It has worked out great. Its nowhere near the driving experience of the CX5 obviously, but otherwise a good solution so far. Price was around 31k in the Ltd trim.
When the oldest gets too big for the 5 point restraint seat, but still too small for the seatbelt, I will put him in a RideSafer vest.
PS: you will probably want the 3.6L engine though. I have the smaller one, which is fine for where I mostly drive, Charlottesville, VA, but you specified something that will jump when you want it to.
Last edited by patngordo on Wed Jul 26, 2017 8:01 am, edited 1 time in total.

takeshi
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Re: 2018 Subaru Outback with 3 car seats vs. other car/suv options

Post by takeshi » Wed Jul 26, 2017 8:01 am

tsukune wrote:no minivan
What about something like the Mazda 5? I don't know a whole lot about them but they seem like mini mini vans. Not currently in production but you mentioned you were considering used.
tsukune wrote:Volvo, Lexus, Audi, BMW, Mercedes crossover + wagon options - concerned about reliability and ongoing maintenance costs with some of these, ability to fit three carseats in a row, price
As someone else stated above, Lexus shouldn't be lumped with the rest. If you use the Lexus dealer then, yes, maintenance costs are a bit higher but a Toyota dealer or good independent can offer lower costs. As for reliability, Lexus is more akin to Toyota.
thangngo wrote:Have you looked into Nissan Rouge?
Rogue. Rouge is something entirely different.
Last edited by takeshi on Wed Jul 26, 2017 8:12 am, edited 1 time in total.

Incendiary
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Re: 2018 Subaru Outback with 3 car seats vs. other car/suv options

Post by Incendiary » Wed Jul 26, 2017 8:11 am

Do you have to use seatbelts to get three across? LATCH system won't do?

onourway
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Re: 2018 Subaru Outback with 3 car seats vs. other car/suv options

Post by onourway » Wed Jul 26, 2017 8:18 am

Incendiary wrote:Do you have to use seatbelts to get three across? LATCH system won't do?
Few vehicles have LATCH placement for the center position so yes, you would need to use a seatbelt in that location.

patngordo
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Re: 2018 Subaru Outback with 3 car seats vs. other car/suv options

Post by patngordo » Wed Jul 26, 2017 8:31 am

I prefer the seatbelts. The Dionos are heavy seats, and the kids can get heavy enough where the combination exceeds latch specs.

tsukune
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Re: 2018 Subaru Outback with 3 car seats vs. other car/suv options

Post by tsukune » Wed Jul 26, 2017 8:41 am

I am fine using seatbelts for installs. That's what I've done with all 4 carseats we own in every car. Maybe once I used latch in a rental car. My kids are very small for their age. 4yr old is 31lbs and 2yr old is 21lbs!

Updated options:
Subaru Outback, Honda CRV, Mazda CX-5, Lexus RX 350, Volvo XC 90/70, Audi A4 Allroad, possibly Audi Q5 (Q7 possibly), Prius V

I'm aiming to test drive at max 5 dealerships so I don't give myself too much of a headache. Please suggest adds, deletes, substitutions to my list based on experience of 3 car seats in a row with roughly my age kids (5,3,newborn) and my other parameters (super safe, reliable with low-ish maintenance costs - I don't plan to use the dealer much for maintenance unless its included, no minivan or large SUV, rugged, 200+ hp to keep up with aggressive driving in NY/NJ, max $50k, willing to buy new/used)
Last edited by tsukune on Wed Jul 26, 2017 8:50 am, edited 1 time in total.

Incendiary
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Re: 2018 Subaru Outback with 3 car seats vs. other car/suv options

Post by Incendiary » Wed Jul 26, 2017 8:49 am

onourway wrote:
Incendiary wrote:Do you have to use seatbelts to get three across? LATCH system won't do?
Few vehicles have LATCH placement for the center position so yes, you would need to use a seatbelt in that location.
I meant for all three, even if the outer two have the LATCH capabilities. I'm told people have put three across in my model car, but I can't see how a third would fit in the middle. I used LATCH, though.

patngordo
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Re: 2018 Subaru Outback with 3 car seats vs. other car/suv options

Post by patngordo » Wed Jul 26, 2017 9:03 am

Tsukune, I only know the CX5 and the Outback. The Outback works fine. I couldnt make the CX5 work for 3-across (its wide enough, but a big hump in the middle) or I would have bought one, especially since they added a half-liter to the engine. Love that car.
But that was 18 months ago, looking at the '16 models. Things change.
This guy is trying to find a solution.
http://www.thecarcrashdetective.com/201 ... cx-5.html/

mmmodem
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Re: 2018 Subaru Outback with 3 car seats vs. other car/suv options

Post by mmmodem » Wed Jul 26, 2017 9:26 am

Father of a 6, 4, and newborn here. I suggest you consider keeping the Acura until it dies. Or at the very least keep the car until after number 3 arrives. It may not come as timely as you plan. The longer you wait the safer the cat you can buy with the same money. The longer you keep the Acura the more you have for retirement and education for 3 children.

Only one expensive Diono Radian needed to be added to our collection. It goes in the middle where there is least space to install a carseat. A regular carseat goes behind the driver and the rear facing carrier goes behind the passenger. This allowed easy ingress and egress from the right side of the street for all children.

I opted to keep my existing Prius. DW got a Mitsubishi Outlander SUV 3 months before number 3 arrived. Currently, I begrudgingly drive her behemoth SUV daily. :confused I failed to convince her to wait until after birth and now the SUV doesn't work for her. She drives my old Prius.

We have some $600 worth of car seats in each car and small umbrella strollers that fit the trunk along ice chests, skis, tents, etc. Basically, anything large that requires an SUV or folded seats, we replaced with smaller slimmer models. A few hundred $ here for things that fit the car better is less money than a new vehicle.

irishnick23
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Re: 2018 Subaru Outback with 3 car seats vs. other car/suv options

Post by irishnick23 » Wed Jul 26, 2017 10:23 am

I've never understood why people are reluctant to buy Subarus. The company has a pretty admirable business model, they always rank highly in auto reviews, and for 4wd cars they are incredibly efficient. CVT is a totally reliable transmission that basically just exists to get more mpg's. I own a Subaru Outback (2014 premium) and never plan on buying from another another brand of car. I had the windshield wiper recall but it wasn't an urgent issue and the dealership was incredibly helpful when they replaced the wipers for me (they comped an oil change for my troubles). A Forester might be a better bet than an Outback for your situation (not quite as long as the Outback but slightly more internal space). Both the Forester and Outback are excellent cars though.

IF you for some reason decide not to go with Subaru, I do consider it to be part of the holy trinity of Japanese car manufacturers with Toyota and Honda and think you can't go wrong with cars from either of those companies too. Just don't buy American. American cars are terrible and European cars are over priced.

tsukune
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Re: 2018 Subaru Outback with 3 car seats vs. other car/suv options

Post by tsukune » Wed Jul 26, 2017 10:28 am

I like your advice a lot. I am all for slimming down our possessions and baggage in the car, even on long trips. Being in NYC, we would only use the car with the kids for weekend trips and longer trips, almost never on regular weekdays. Of course once we move to the suburbs or another part of the country in a few years, we'd use the car with kids everyday. Currently the car is also used for commuting about 100 miles a day, 3 days a week. The Acura TSX drives just fine at 150k+ miles and has no mechanical issues whatsoever. We just did a 1000+ mile trip just fine in our Acura with the 13.2 cu.ft of trunk space + a few things spilled over into the back seat. We barely ever put our stroller in the car. My problem with the TSX is that it is built 'sporty', so the back seats are bucket seats and it has been incredibly annoying to try to fit car seats in there, we had to try, buy and return several seats that would not install securely (and yes we used a professional tech to help us too and agreed with us about the seats and incompatibility). The harsh truth is that a huge percentage of car seats are not installed securely. We are very particular about getting a tight install, and it's not something we can compromise on. Its very unlikely we'd be able to find a combination of Infant seat (currently we have the Cybex Aton which is tiny) and 2 regular convertible car seats with one forward facing and other rear facing (currently we have the Clek Fllo which is VERY narrow just lke a Diono Radian and we have the Cosco and Evenflo seats which are cheapo seats but very light and narrow also) that will fit our fussy Acura TSX. it is a bit of a pain to put the kids into the seats now, but its not too bad as everyone in the family is skinny and small! I like the options I'm considering as they offer a bit more room to install seats, more room to put kids into their seats, and more cargo space for long trips.
mmmodem wrote:Father of a 6, 4, and newborn here. I suggest you consider keeping the Acura until it dies. Or at the very least keep the car until after number 3 arrives. It may not come as timely as you plan. The longer you wait the safer the cat you can buy with the same money. The longer you keep the Acura the more you have for retirement and education for 3 children.

Only one expensive Diono Radian needed to be added to our collection. It goes in the middle where there is least space to install a carseat. A regular carseat goes behind the driver and the rear facing carrier goes behind the passenger. This allowed easy ingress and egress from the right side of the street for all children.

I opted to keep my existing Prius. DW got a Mitsubishi Outlander SUV 3 months before number 3 arrived. Currently, I begrudgingly drive her behemoth SUV daily. :confused I failed to convince her to wait until after birth and now the SUV doesn't work for her. She drives my old Prius.

We have some $600 worth of car seats in each car and small umbrella strollers that fit the trunk along ice chests, skis, tents, etc. Basically, anything large that requires an SUV or folded seats, we replaced with smaller slimmer models. A few hundred $ here for things that fit the car better is less money than a new vehicle.

tsukune
Posts: 29
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Re: 2018 Subaru Outback with 3 car seats vs. other car/suv options

Post by tsukune » Wed Jul 26, 2017 10:35 am

I am not reluctant to buying a Subaru. I am concerned about the recalls though and the reliability issues all over the web about oil leaks, having to change engines, bad powertrain, CVT, gasket failures, etc. I have had no such issues with my Acura in 11 years, nor did I have any issues at all with my Honda prior to that, so I'm not used to taking the car into the shop for anything but routine (cheap) maintenance. I am however considering other options besides the Subaru as the Subaru I'd want would be about 35k (3.6R) while the other luxury options might not be much more. Keep in mind I live in NYC where parking is $400-1000 per month in my area (yes you should drop your jaw and roll your eyeballs!) and so the slightly higher cost of the car (at least on a monthly basis) can be justified.
irishnick23 wrote:I've never understood why people are reluctant to buy Subarus. The company has a pretty admirable business model, they always rank highly in auto reviews, and for 4wd cars they are incredibly efficient. CVT is a totally reliable transmission that basically just exists to get more mpg's. I own a Subaru Outback (2014 premium) and never plan on buying from another another brand of car. I had the windshield wiper recall but it wasn't an urgent issue and the dealership was incredibly helpful when they replaced the wipers for me (they comped an oil change for my troubles). A Forester might be a better bet than an Outback for your situation (not quite as long as the Outback but slightly more internal space). Both the Forester and Outback are excellent cars though.

IF you for some reason decide not to go with Subaru, I do consider it to be part of the holy trinity of Japanese car manufacturers with Toyota and Honda and think you can't go wrong with cars from either of those companies too. Just don't buy American. American cars are terrible and European cars are over priced.

MindTheGAAP
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Re: 2018 Subaru Outback with 3 car seats vs. other car/suv options

Post by MindTheGAAP » Wed Jul 26, 2017 10:42 am

tsukune wrote:I am fine using seatbelts for installs. That's what I've done with all 4 carseats we own in every car. Maybe once I used latch in a rental car. My kids are very small for their age. 4yr old is 31lbs and 2yr old is 21lbs!

Updated options:
Subaru Outback, Honda CRV, Mazda CX-5, Lexus RX 350, Volvo XC 90/70, Audi A4 Allroad, possibly Audi Q5 (Q7 possibly), Prius V

I'm aiming to test drive at max 5 dealerships so I don't give myself too much of a headache. Please suggest adds, deletes, substitutions to my list based on experience of 3 car seats in a row with roughly my age kids (5,3,newborn) and my other parameters (super safe, reliable with low-ish maintenance costs - I don't plan to use the dealer much for maintenance unless its included, no minivan or large SUV, rugged, 200+ hp to keep up with aggressive driving in NY/NJ, max $50k, willing to buy new/used)
It may qualify as too big for you because it has a third row but we have a 2013 Nissan Pathfinder with three kids (almost 5, 3.5, 10mos) and fit three car seats (x2 Clek Funf and an infant carrier) across the middle row (infant carrier behind driver). We leave the third row down 95% of the time for groceries and strollers, etc. Has about 35k miles on it after 4 years and has been great to us so far. No issues with the CVT as documented above. May be worth looking at - especially since you can get it in a hybrid, too.
"One of the funny things about the stock market is that every time one person buys, another sells, and both think they are astute" - William Feather

thangngo
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Re: 2018 Subaru Outback with 3 car seats vs. other car/suv options

Post by thangngo » Wed Jul 26, 2017 10:52 am

irishnick23 wrote:Just don't buy American. American cars are terrible and European cars are over priced.
Kudos to your blanket statement! Ignorance is a bliss.

Hope you enjoy your time driving your Japaneses car :sharebeer

irishnick23
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Re: 2018 Subaru Outback with 3 car seats vs. other car/suv options

Post by irishnick23 » Wed Jul 26, 2017 10:57 am

tsukune wrote:I am not reluctant to buying a Subaru. I am concerned about the recalls though and the reliability issues all over the web about oil leaks, having to change engines, bad powertrain, CVT, gasket failures, etc. I have had no such issues with my Acura in 11 years, nor did I have any issues at all with my Honda prior to that, so I'm not used to taking the car into the shop for anything but routine (cheap) maintenance. I am however considering other options besides the Subaru as the Subaru I'd want would be about 35k (3.6R) while the other luxury options might not be much more. Keep in mind I live in NYC where parking is $400-1000 per month in my area (yes you should drop your jaw and roll your eyeballs!) and so the slightly higher cost of the car (at least on a monthly basis) can be justified.
irishnick23 wrote:I've never understood why people are reluctant to buy Subarus. The company has a pretty admirable business model, they always rank highly in auto reviews, and for 4wd cars they are incredibly efficient. CVT is a totally reliable transmission that basically just exists to get more mpg's. I own a Subaru Outback (2014 premium) and never plan on buying from another another brand of car. I had the windshield wiper recall but it wasn't an urgent issue and the dealership was incredibly helpful when they replaced the wipers for me (they comped an oil change for my troubles). A Forester might be a better bet than an Outback for your situation (not quite as long as the Outback but slightly more internal space). Both the Forester and Outback are excellent cars though.

IF you for some reason decide not to go with Subaru, I do consider it to be part of the holy trinity of Japanese car manufacturers with Toyota and Honda and think you can't go wrong with cars from either of those companies too. Just don't buy American. American cars are terrible and European cars are over priced.
I guess reluctance is a bad word. But I know plenty of people who own subarus, and have owned them for much longer than myself, and not one of them has complained about reliability issues (well, one family has, but they bought their subaru from a shady used car dealer). Many are driving their cars well into the 200k range, and again, any mechanic has nothing bad to say about CVT (most just say, "It's different so people freak out"). Don't forget that Subarus also tend to hold their value longer than a lot of other vehicles.

Either way, it's your choice which car you get, but don't be freaked out by the overblown reports in the media about issues. Subarus are great cars, very reliable, and if you buy from a Subaru dealer you can be sure the car will be fine.

stimulacra
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Location: Houston

Re: 2018 Subaru Outback with 3 car seats vs. other car/suv options

Post by stimulacra » Wed Jul 26, 2017 12:38 pm

irishnick23 wrote:I've never understood why people are reluctant to buy Subarus. The company has a pretty admirable business model, they always rank highly in auto reviews, and for 4wd cars they are incredibly efficient. CVT is a totally reliable transmission that basically just exists to get more mpg's. I own a Subaru Outback (2014 premium) and never plan on buying from another another brand of car. I had the windshield wiper recall but it wasn't an urgent issue and the dealership was incredibly helpful when they replaced the wipers for me (they comped an oil change for my troubles). A Forester might be a better bet than an Outback for your situation (not quite as long as the Outback but slightly more internal space). Both the Forester and Outback are excellent cars though.

IF you for some reason decide not to go with Subaru, I do consider it to be part of the holy trinity of Japanese car manufacturers with Toyota and Honda and think you can't go wrong with cars from either of those companies too. Just don't buy American. American cars are terrible and European cars are over priced.
I drove a Saabura (Saab rebadged WRX wagon) for 10 years. It was an awesome car and I was proud to put 160k miles on it before it got totaled. Subaru didn't offer a comparable vehicle at the time so I ended up getting something else.

I think Subaru is a great Japanese brand. My critique with the lineup:

1) Current gen Outback: Victim of it's own success I feel like. Pretty much all of my friends own one of these cars. The 2.5 feels a little sluggish if fully loaded with gear and 4 adults in the vehicle. Left turns in Houston traffic can get dicy. The 3.6 is a lot better but fuel economy isn't competitive IMHO and the additional $$$ to upgrade to the 3.6 can get you in the door with more upscale models from other brands. They retain their value supremely well, to the point, that it's hard to find a meaningful bargain shopping used.

2) Subaru Forrester: none, I would consider this vehicle if in the market for one. Styling is bland but everything is in the service of function and practicality. The XT trim is particularly fun to drive although I worry about it being top heavy since it's so tall.

3) Impreza / WRX: They need a wagon version of the WRX again.

4) Subaru Levorg: They need to bring this to the U.S. This fills the gap left when they pulled the Legacy Wagon GT from the U.S. market.

CodeMaster
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Re: 2018 Subaru Outback with 3 car seats vs. other car/suv options

Post by CodeMaster » Wed Jul 26, 2017 12:42 pm

worlds best kept secret! try the Lincoln MKZ Hybrids... most comfortable , super powerful and reliable feeling car at a STEAL PRICE due to it being so unknown / unpopular yet. i got to drive one for a month... it was pure joy every single day

onourway
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Re: 2018 Subaru Outback with 3 car seats vs. other car/suv options

Post by onourway » Wed Jul 26, 2017 12:45 pm

irishnick23 wrote: I guess reluctance is a bad word. But I know plenty of people who own subarus, and have owned them for much longer than myself, and not one of them has complained about reliability issues (well, one family has, but they bought their subaru from a shady used car dealer). Many are driving their cars well into the 200k range, and again, any mechanic has nothing bad to say about CVT (most just say, "It's different so people freak out"). Don't forget that Subarus also tend to hold their value longer than a lot of other vehicles.

Either way, it's your choice which car you get, but don't be freaked out by the overblown reports in the media about issues. Subarus are great cars, very reliable, and if you buy from a Subaru dealer you can be sure the car will be fine.
Subaru isn't even remotely on par reliability wise with Toyota and Honda. They are consistently in the bottom half of long-term reliability ratings.

Those ratings certainly reflect my experience as the 'car guy' whom all my friends and acquaintances come to with car issues. Beyond 100k miles their reliability is very poor.

http://dashboard-light.com/reports/Subaru.html

CodeMaster
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Re: 2018 Subaru Outback with 3 car seats vs. other car/suv options

Post by CodeMaster » Wed Jul 26, 2017 12:52 pm

To OP, whats your car changing history look like btw?

I always think I want a car for next 10 years, but it usually always gets changed 3 to 5 years instead.

noco-hawkeye
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Re: 2018 Subaru Outback with 3 car seats vs. other car/suv options

Post by noco-hawkeye » Wed Jul 26, 2017 1:02 pm

I have an outback, wife has an Odyssey. The van is indeed a bit wider and longer, but it's not a huge delta from what I see in our garage parking spots.

If we had 3 kids, I'd definitely go for 3 rows of seats. Having 2 rows of seating and 3 kids sounds seems like not enough room to grow. Does it matter if you get a 2 row of seats car - and then buy a new car in 3-4 years? That seems like a waste of money to me, but some people like to buy cars frequently.

Minivans offer the most space / ability to carry a lot, for the least amount of money. If you don't like the stigma of a minivan, just say so - and buy a 3 row suv. Highlander and Pilot would be good starting spots, but they don't have nearly the same amount of space on the inside as a minivan.

tsukune
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Re: 2018 Subaru Outback with 3 car seats vs. other car/suv options

Post by tsukune » Wed Jul 26, 2017 1:42 pm

Had a Honda for 5 years, then Acura for 11 years. I like things that last. If we need another car down the line, I plan to keep the first one.
CodeMaster wrote:To OP, whats your car changing history look like btw?

I always think I want a car for next 10 years, but it usually always gets changed 3 to 5 years instead.

tsukune
Posts: 29
Joined: Tue Nov 29, 2016 10:00 pm

Re: 2018 Subaru Outback with 3 car seats vs. other car/suv options

Post by tsukune » Wed Jul 26, 2017 1:45 pm

No minivans. No large SUVs. Don't need it. Don't want it. Costs too much to park in NYC (yes garages charge a few hundred extra to park large cars, that's on top of $400-$1000 in my area - I'm hoping to pay no more than $500-600 for parking). Car will be used for commuting so minivan and large SUV are impractical. Car will be used with kids on weekends for perhaps 5 hours max driving time and on longer trips/long weekends/vacations on occasion.
noco-hawkeye wrote:I have an outback, wife has an Odyssey. The van is indeed a bit wider and longer, but it's not a huge delta from what I see in our garage parking spots.

If we had 3 kids, I'd definitely go for 3 rows of seats. Having 2 rows of seating and 3 kids sounds seems like not enough room to grow. Does it matter if you get a 2 row of seats car - and then buy a new car in 3-4 years? That seems like a waste of money to me, but some people like to buy cars frequently.

Minivans offer the most space / ability to carry a lot, for the least amount of money. If you don't like the stigma of a minivan, just say so - and buy a 3 row suv. Highlander and Pilot would be good starting spots, but they don't have nearly the same amount of space on the inside as a minivan.

KT785
Posts: 79
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Re: 2018 Subaru Outback with 3 car seats vs. other car/suv options

Post by KT785 » Wed Jul 26, 2017 1:51 pm

onourway wrote: Subaru isn't even remotely on par reliability wise with Toyota and Honda. They are consistently in the bottom half of long-term reliability ratings.

Those ratings certainly reflect my experience as the 'car guy' whom all my friends and acquaintances come to with car issues. Beyond 100k miles their reliability is very poor.

http://dashboard-light.com/reports/Subaru.html
I have to question the data you linked to in your post--I'm not familiar with the source (not that that's determinative in and of itself) but suspect the data is quite old as many of the brands on that list haven't existed in years (Saab, Pontiac, Mercury, Hummer, etc.).

Consumer Reports slots Subaru's brand reliability between Honda and Acura in their most recent brand reliability survey: http://www.consumerreports.org/car-reli ... -stack-up/

To the OP, I bought a 2017 Subaru Outback after also considering the Toyota Highlander and Mazda CX-9. My wife and I are planning on starting a family soon, so the need for a 3 row crossover is certainly not warranted now (if ever). I ultimately opted for the practicality, safety, and value of the Outback over the others and have been very happy with my choice.

One point of data that I don't think has been mentioned, the rear doors on the Outback are larger and open wider than most other cars I looked at in this class and suspect that would help getting kids and car seats in and out quite a bit easier . . . it certainly helps our 10 year old Lab on ingress and egress compared with my wife's Nissan Rogue. :D

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