Family expanding - Time for a 3 row SUV

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kamikazekid
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Family expanding - Time for a 3 row SUV

Post by kamikazekid »

Our family is expanding! We have a 5.5 yo, and a new baby due in March. My parents and in laws both live outside US and often visit us for longer durations (3+ weeks) to as long as 2 months). I am in the market for a 3 row SUV - aim to buy closer to October.

Option 1 - Buy a gently used Pilot or Highlander or CX9 or Subaru Ascent. I have ruled out VW Atlas.
Option 2 - Buy a new Telluride or Pallisade.

Prefer Option 1 - I will get the latest safety features and wont pay premium. I doubt if dealers will budge even slightly on prices for Telluride/Pallisade since they are apparently selling like hot cakes.

Question for the community :
1. Are there folks on the forum who have first hand experience with either of the vehicles listed in OPtion 1 ? Hard to choose between them so looking for guidance. Want to know your overall satisfaction with the vehicles in Option 1 and if I should be researching other candidates.
2. Would you in my position go with Option 1 or 2?

My current cars are a Sedan (100 k miles) and a SUV, (150k miles) both Hondas . I plan to sell the sedan since it doesnt do to well in the new england snow.....
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Kenkat
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Re: Family expanding - Time for a 3 row SUV

Post by Kenkat »

First one in to recommend a minivan :wink:
Topic Author
kamikazekid
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Re: Family expanding - Time for a 3 row SUV

Post by kamikazekid »

:) Wife wants nothing to do with one. I am not fighting that battle ! :D
02nz
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Re: Family expanding - Time for a 3 row SUV

Post by 02nz »

kamikazekid wrote: Fri Jul 24, 2020 4:25 pm :) Wife wants nothing to do with one. I am not fighting that battle ! :D
Crossover/SUVs scream "soccer mom," minivans are so much cooler! :D

I'd also look at a Mazda CX-9.
senex
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Re: Family expanding - Time for a 3 row SUV

Post by senex »

Have experience with Pilot, though a few years back. It was a good car, Honda dependable, owned it for about 10 years, drove well, no problems.

Also have owned an Odyssey, which is more comfortable and way more voluminous, both passenger and cargo, and the sliding doors make child seats WAY easier to wrangle. Can't help you with an irrational spouse, though.
somekevinguy
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Re: Family expanding - Time for a 3 row SUV

Post by somekevinguy »

My wife didn’t want a minivan either. We bought an odyssey and now she loves it. We have 3 kids and had a highlander already.

The odyssey is far superior to the highlander in every way for family trips (more comfy, easier to get in and out, doors that don’t trap the kids in or risk getting fingers crushed or bumping into the car next to you etc, cargo room...).

Might be worth a test drive at the least...
Azsnowbird
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Re: Family expanding - Time for a 3 row SUV

Post by Azsnowbird »

We bought a 2020 subaru ascent. We love it.
sambb
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Re: Family expanding - Time for a 3 row SUV

Post by sambb »

2020 highlander.
RonSwanson
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Re: Family expanding - Time for a 3 row SUV

Post by RonSwanson »

Buy a minivan like the Odyssey. The 2021 Sienna looks great too.

My wife didn't really want one either and now there is no going back. If you have enough people to need three rows, you also have enough people to need more storage space and convenience.
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Nate79
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Re: Family expanding - Time for a 3 row SUV

Post by Nate79 »

We love our Ascent. Highly recommend it.
BUBear29
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Re: Family expanding - Time for a 3 row SUV

Post by BUBear29 »

If you need additional space inside for roadtrips, I’d recommend a tahoe or yukon. We considered the ones you listed (minus the pilot although it seems quite large) and they did not have enough room for us to not feel cramped on roadtrips. We got the yukon and can’t imagine having a different vehicle.

My friend just bought the VW Atlas and loves it. So it really depends on your uses/needs.

Regardless, if you ever roadtrip, I highly suggest getting a car with a hitch and you should buy a hitch cargo carrier with cargo bag. Saves a ton of room inside on roadtrips.

Good luck!

PS As a boglehead, I feel obligated to say I would love a minivan (the ultimate cost-conscious utilitarian vehicle), but like many others have claimed, wife is anti-minivan.

PPS Whichever you choose, find out when the new models come out and as soon as they start shipping, go to the dealership and ask if they are selling any dealer rentals/demo vehicles.
Last edited by BUBear29 on Fri Jul 24, 2020 6:50 pm, edited 3 times in total.
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vineviz
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Re: Family expanding - Time for a 3 row SUV

Post by vineviz »

Kenkat wrote: Fri Jul 24, 2020 4:00 pm First one in to recommend a minivan :wink:
Me too. The Odyssey is hands down better for kids than a Pilot.
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BradJ
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Re: Family expanding - Time for a 3 row SUV

Post by BradJ »

somekevinguy wrote: Fri Jul 24, 2020 4:53 pm My wife didn’t want a minivan either. We bought an odyssey and now she loves it. We have 3 kids and had a highlander already.

The odyssey is far superior to the highlander in every way for family trips (more comfy, easier to get in and out, doors that don’t trap the kids in or risk getting fingers crushed or bumping into the car next to you etc, cargo room...).

Might be worth a test drive at the least...
I second this. Word to any adult, you aren’t cool anymore and a SUV won’t help that, and a minivan won’t make it worse. Vans are awesome, how the side doors open is worth the price alone. Also, if you a are DIY’er, those suckers are more versatile than a truck in terms of loading things.
Parachute07
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Re: Family expanding - Time for a 3 row SUV

Post by Parachute07 »

We bought a gently used Highlander because neither of us wanted a minivan. We traveled a bunch with family last year and ended up renting minivans repeatedly in our travels and now strongly, strongly regret not buying one. The third row in the Highlander is almost useless as there's barely enough leg room for a kid and if you have the third row up there is almost no cargo space - hard to even fit a stroller in there, forget about any luggage or anything. By contrast, we fit 5 of us and all of our bags for a trip that was 3 weeks long in a rented minivan.

If you can, I highly recommend renting each type of vehicle you're considering. Twenty or thirty bucks for a day's rental night save you a costly mistake.
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vineviz
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Re: Family expanding - Time for a 3 row SUV

Post by vineviz »

BradJ wrote: Fri Jul 24, 2020 6:56 pm Also, if you a are DIY’er, those suckers are more versatile than a truck in terms of loading things.
So true. Last week I hauled a 4x8 sheet of drywall back from Lowes in my Odyssey. A refrigerator the week before that. 20 bags of mulch and topsoil the week before that.
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Balefire
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Re: Family expanding - Time for a 3 row SUV

Post by Balefire »

Happy repeat owner of CX-9.
Highly recommend.
Neither has ever given us any issues besides regular maintenance.
Driving dynamic excellent.
If the GT or signature trim, I would compare it to any luxury SUV
BradJ
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Re: Family expanding - Time for a 3 row SUV

Post by BradJ »

vineviz wrote: Fri Jul 24, 2020 7:07 pm
BradJ wrote: Fri Jul 24, 2020 6:56 pm Also, if you a are DIY’er, those suckers are more versatile than a truck in terms of loading things.
So true. Last week I hauled a 4x8 sheet of drywall back from Lowes in my Odyssey. A refrigerator the week before that. 20 bags of mulch and topsoil the week before that.
I don’t anyone who “took the plunge” and regretted a minivan purchase. I’ll say an over used phrase, it’s a game changer.

The REAL question is Sienna is Odyssey, but that is for another post. (Hint, the answer is Odyssey.)
Parachute07
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Re: Family expanding - Time for a 3 row SUV

Post by Parachute07 »

Let me add to that: we love our Highlander. It just isn't nearly as good as a minivan. It's not really practical for a third row vehicle.
novemberrain
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Re: Family expanding - Time for a 3 row SUV

Post by novemberrain »

I don't have direct experience with Telluride/Palisade; but I have direct experience with it's predecessor in the Hyundai family. And I would recommend to stay away from anything that manufacturer makes. Always in the repair shop for one reason or the other. In 2019, it was in the repair shop for like 12-15 times. Had many life and death situations while it.
28fe6
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Re: Family expanding - Time for a 3 row SUV

Post by 28fe6 »

I know you are asking about SUVs, but I still recommend a minivan.

I test drove a new Ford top of the line full size SUV. It was nice but it literally had less interior room than our minivan. We were trying to figure out how we could fit out usual cooler, suitcases, and stroller and concluded that if we "upgraded" to this mega SUV we would need to get a bumper carrier just to carry what we fit routinely in the minivan.
Balefire
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Re: Family expanding - Time for a 3 row SUV

Post by Balefire »

Happy repeat owner of CX-9.
Highly recommend.
Neither has ever given us any issues besides regular maintenance.
This may be because it is one of the few cars still made in Japan.
Driving dynamics excellent.
If the GT or Signature trim, I would compare it to any luxury SUV

Biggest downside is that entering the back seat is not as easy other SUVs
Last edited by Balefire on Fri Jul 24, 2020 8:06 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Family expanding - Time for a 3 row SUV

Post by Flyer24 »

Topic moved to Personal Consumer Issues.
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Re: Family expanding - Time for a 3 row SUV

Post by radiowave »

I have a late 2017 Honda Pilot, bought new. Zero problems last 3+ years. It does very well in CO winters w AWD (front range, Denver metro area and environs). I'm getting about 23 MPG local, 26-30 MPG long distance depending on terrain (we have a few hills here in CO). Good visibility, easy third row access and when you put both rear seats down, plenty of cargo space. Recommend the Honda roof rack and if you have any intentions of towing a trailer the hitch package with transmission cooler.
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tjf9
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Re: Family expanding - Time for a 3 row SUV

Post by tjf9 »

We retired our 2005 Odyssey (250k miles) for a 2017 Highlander Hybrid about 3 years ago. We loved our minivan when the kids were small - so easy to get the little ones in and out of, and tons of room. The third row was actually usable with car seats in the second row - I'm not sure that would be true with the Highlander. I would have bought another minivan, but my husband is the main driver and he wanted a vehicle that wasn't so low to the ground. We've loved the Highlander as well, but it can't carry nearly as much and the 3rd row isn't terribly comfortable for the teenagers (who are each about 5'8"). But the safety features are excellent (reassuring as my kids learn to drive) and the 360 degree camera is a super cool feature.
kimura king
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Re: Family expanding - Time for a 3 row SUV

Post by kimura king »

my top picks for a midsize would be a highlander, pilot, and explorer. I've heard good things about the kia sorento too, mostly since it is priced well.
bogledogle
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Re: Family expanding - Time for a 3 row SUV

Post by bogledogle »

Telluride.

Yeah, you are not going to get a discount, but it's worth the sticker price IMO. I did a couple of test drives and the lane keep/dynamic cruise is awesome. You should try it out.
System1
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Re: Family expanding - Time for a 3 row SUV

Post by System1 »

I would get an SUV with sliding doors with young kids and a comfortable 3rd row, this vehicle is also called a mini-van by some. We got the Odyssey because of the 3 seats in the 2nd row (I have 4 kids), but the Sienna wins if you plan to have adults sit in the large captain chairs in the second row. Getting kids into the 3rd row is so much easier in the mini-van. We usually run with one of the 2nd row seats out, unless needed for seating. If you plan to drive in snow, like I do, then you should get snow tires anyway, FWD is just fine. Also, yes, the lower loading height as mentioned above is really great. I drive a Town and Country "utility vehicle" and load it up with whatever.

Have your wife drive both and see if she can tell the difference between them. Chances are the Odyssey will drive/handle better than everything on that list except the CX-9. Also, if you really look at the profiles of these vehicles you will hardly be able to tell the difference.

Good Luck!
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kamikazekid
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Re: Family expanding - Time for a 3 row SUV

Post by kamikazekid »

Dear Bogleheads
Thank you for the thoughtful responses. The minivan topic has been broached this am with the spouse :)
I was frankly surprised to see such strong support for minivans - it seems to me that those who have one are really strong advocates given the utility one derives from it - 3rd row access, larger storage, car seat access etc.
I will test drive a couple of minivans and a couple of 3 row SUVs and take it from there.
Thanks!
tibbitts
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Re: Family expanding - Time for a 3 row SUV

Post by tibbitts »

kamikazekid wrote: Sat Jul 25, 2020 8:38 am Dear Bogleheads
Thank you for the thoughtful responses. The minivan topic has been broached this am with the spouse :)
I was frankly surprised to see such strong support for minivans - it seems to me that those who have one are really strong advocates given the utility one derives from it - 3rd row access, larger storage, car seat access etc.
I will test drive a couple of minivans and a couple of 3 row SUVs and take it from there.
Thanks!
I don't own a minivan but just recommended someone else purchase one, and so far it's working out well for them, so I would definitely consider one. But each person is different and you have to try all the models you'd consider to see which ones fit you best. Also you have to consider if you want AWD or even real 4x4, or towing capacity, which will severely limit your choices.
blastoff
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Re: Family expanding - Time for a 3 row SUV

Post by blastoff »

kamikazekid wrote: Fri Jul 24, 2020 4:25 pm :) Wife wants nothing to do with one. I am not fighting that battle ! :D
You are wise.
A Honda pilot is a minivan with doors that don't slide and a bit less space. Don't tell anyone.
RonSwanson
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Re: Family expanding - Time for a 3 row SUV

Post by RonSwanson »

kamikazekid wrote: Sat Jul 25, 2020 8:38 am Dear Bogleheads
Thank you for the thoughtful responses. The minivan topic has been broached this am with the spouse :)
I was frankly surprised to see such strong support for minivans - it seems to me that those who have one are really strong advocates given the utility one derives from it - 3rd row access, larger storage, car seat access etc.
I will test drive a couple of minivans and a couple of 3 row SUVs and take it from there.
Thanks!
Cool. The SUVs certainly have more bells and whistles but the vans are finally catching up. I have the 2020 Odyssey and like it a lot. Wish it had the 360 parking camera and looks like the new Sienna is going to have that as an option. The Sienna also sports on-demand 4wd with electric motors on the rear wheels.

All new Odyssey models feature their in-house Honda 10 speed transmission. It is very smooth.

We waited until our 3rd kid to get the van. Looking back it would have been worth it for the 2nd kid.
Bryzzo2016
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Re: Family expanding - Time for a 3 row SUV

Post by Bryzzo2016 »

Honda Odyssey.
destinationnc
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Re: Family expanding - Time for a 3 row SUV

Post by destinationnc »

Minivan
Gadget
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Re: Family expanding - Time for a 3 row SUV

Post by Gadget »

We bought a 3 row SUV after kid one. Got smarter after kid 2 and got a minivan. If we were smarter, we would have gotten a minivan from the start.
srt7
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Re: Family expanding - Time for a 3 row SUV

Post by srt7 »

senex wrote: Fri Jul 24, 2020 4:30 pm Have experience with Pilot, though a few years back. It was a good car, Honda dependable, owned it for about 10 years, drove well, no problems.

Also have owned an Odyssey, which is more comfortable and way more voluminous, both passenger and cargo, and the sliding doors make child seats WAY easier to wrangle. Can't help you with an irrational spouse, though.
Not really. Automobile choices are subjective and liking a certain kind doesn't make one irrational. There's a reason why a market exists for SUVs.

I don't know about OP but I'm not having that discussion with a pregnant wife :D
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8foot7
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Re: Family expanding - Time for a 3 row SUV

Post by 8foot7 »

I thought this thread would have been a useful repository of experiences with three row SUVs, and am disappointed to see how many folks have taken it off track to talk about minivans.
srt7
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Re: Family expanding - Time for a 3 row SUV

Post by srt7 »

Option 1 is definitely the way to go as with kids the vehicles are going to see a lot of spills, stains etc.

I've never owned any of those but have friends who do. Pilot and Highlander owners are the happiest with their SUVs.
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Lalamimi
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Re: Family expanding - Time for a 3 row SUV

Post by Lalamimi »

How old are the parents? Do all 4 come at same time?? Can they climb into the 3rd row seats in an SUV? Assume you have to put the kids on 2nd row. I would buy an SUV with a bench back seat, and rent something larger when the family comes if you don't own 2 vehicles.
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Re: Family expanding - Time for a 3 row SUV

Post by Isabelle77 »

We have a 2019 Honda Pilot with a third row that I use to cart 5 kids to school in the mornings (well, I did, back when there was school). 2 kids in the third row, 2 kids in the captain seats in the 2nd row, and my oldest in the front with me. Worked great.

My biggest advice is to actually get into the third row and see how it fits an adult. My daughter is 5'10" and she's ok in this Pilot but our old one was horrible for her. We tried several others before deciding on this car because the third row was so tight.
atikovi
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Re: Family expanding - Time for a 3 row SUV

Post by atikovi »

8foot7 wrote: Sat Jul 25, 2020 10:37 am I thought this thread would have been a useful repository of experiences with three row SUVs, and am disappointed to see how many folks have taken it off track to talk about minivans.
You know better than that.
kamikazekid wrote: Fri Jul 24, 2020 3:56 pm Option 1 - Buy a gently used Pilot or Highlander or CX9 or Subaru Ascent. I have ruled out VW Atlas.
Option 2 - Buy a new Telluride or Pallisade.
OP already listed the vehicles they are interested in and asked for help deciding between which one, yet half the replies are about something different. Something THEY would buy. :oops:
aude
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Re: Family expanding - Time for a 3 row SUV

Post by aude »

We have a 2020 Ascent and a 2010 Odyssey. We love the Ascwnt but the third row is no good for adults over about 5’ 9” and the cargo capacity is far lower than the Odyssey. With three kids and car seats, plus stroller(s) I’d have a hard time recommending the Ascent.
aude
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Re: Family expanding - Time for a 3 row SUV

Post by aude »

VW Atlas has useable third row for all heights and has a slick feature to allow third row access with car seats in place in second row. Still, we chose not to deal with VW based on prior experience.
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Re: Family expanding - Time for a 3 row SUV

Post by bloom2708 »

I would get a gently used Ascent.

Telluride and Palisade are almost unseen. No reason to pay $5k over MSRP or more.

I have a Ford Expedition EL. 8 seats. Tow. Cargo. Comfy. It is a beast but the 3.5L V6 Ecoboost is super.
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vineviz
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Re: Family expanding - Time for a 3 row SUV

Post by vineviz »

atikovi wrote: Sat Jul 25, 2020 12:38 pm
8foot7 wrote: Sat Jul 25, 2020 10:37 am I thought this thread would have been a useful repository of experiences with three row SUVs, and am disappointed to see how many folks have taken it off track to talk about minivans.
You know better than that.
kamikazekid wrote: Fri Jul 24, 2020 3:56 pm Option 1 - Buy a gently used Pilot or Highlander or CX9 or Subaru Ascent. I have ruled out VW Atlas.
Option 2 - Buy a new Telluride or Pallisade.
OP already listed the vehicles they are interested in and asked for help deciding between which one, yet half the replies are about something different. Something THEY would buy. :oops:
I’ve seen many comments from users with experience with at least one of the choices proposed by the OP.

One crucial key to good decision making is a willingness to question your initial assumptions, so I don’t think a little pushback on that is out of line.

Many people started where the OP is (expecting more kids and thinking minivans are out of the question) only to realize we were being narrow minded. Or, like me, we tried the Honda Pilot believing it to be a good substitute for the Odyssey only to realize our error.
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wolingfeng
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Re: Family expanding - Time for a 3 row SUV

Post by wolingfeng »

3 rows, nowadays they make minivan really sleek, should check it out. For Toyota and Honda minivan, they come standard safety feature with auto braking, lane assist, blind spot monitoring and adaptive cruise, etc. the new 2021 sienna even comes standard as hybrid with impressive mpg for minivan, only downside is second row you cannot take them out, only can push all the way to front, so cargo space is compromised, like you cannot put a really big item like 4 ft by 12 ft boards etc.. (not 100% sure on dimension), but it would be smaller than competitors.

I have 2018 Honda Odyssey, the only thing I would double check for bigger cars are width of the car, make sure it can comfortably fit in your garage if you have one... because mine barely fit and it’s quite annoying. Otherwise SUV I am guessing most likely have better handling/acceleration etc, but definitely a lot smaller 3rd row and cargo space.
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Re: Family expanding - Time for a 3 row SUV

Post by finite_difference »

I’d vote Telluride or CX-9.

Maybe also check the Volvo XC90.

A Honda Odyssey costs less and gets better mpg, but the above are valid choices if you don’t mind paying a bit more for a vehicle that is not a minivan.
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RocketShipTech
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Re: Family expanding - Time for a 3 row SUV

Post by RocketShipTech »

Of course minivans have more room, they’re 8 to 12 inches longer than 3 row SUVs.

The question is do you need all that extra space all the time to compensate for the inconvenience of a longer vehicle.
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Re: Family expanding - Time for a 3 row SUV

Post by atikovi »

vineviz wrote: Sat Jul 25, 2020 12:56 pm One crucial key to good decision making is a willingness to question your initial assumptions, so I don’t think a little pushback on that is out of line.
OK then, I suggest a Suburban if space is more important, or a BMW X5M if the driving experience is.
anthonyphamy
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Re: Family expanding - Time for a 3 row SUV

Post by anthonyphamy »

Why does this forum seem to recommend the Honda Odyssey for a van choice, and why not the Toyota Sienna?
tibbitts
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Re: Family expanding - Time for a 3 row SUV

Post by tibbitts »

atikovi wrote: Sat Jul 25, 2020 12:38 pm
8foot7 wrote: Sat Jul 25, 2020 10:37 am I thought this thread would have been a useful repository of experiences with three row SUVs, and am disappointed to see how many folks have taken it off track to talk about minivans.
You know better than that.
kamikazekid wrote: Fri Jul 24, 2020 3:56 pm Option 1 - Buy a gently used Pilot or Highlander or CX9 or Subaru Ascent. I have ruled out VW Atlas.
Option 2 - Buy a new Telluride or Pallisade.
OP already listed the vehicles they are interested in and asked for help deciding between which one, yet half the replies are about something different. Something THEY would buy. :oops:
It's the same when someone asks if it's the "right time" to buy Apple or FB - it's Bogleheads, you have to expect people to suggest "reasonable" options.
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