3 Kids and 2 Dogs - Next Vehicle

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ddurrett896
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3 Kids and 2 Dogs - Next Vehicle

Post by ddurrett896 » Wed Feb 25, 2015 11:26 pm

My wife and I are looking to replace our smallest vehicle, a Rav4. We have 1 child, 1 on the way and a 3rd within 2 years plus 2 dogs.

Current Vehicles:
Toyota 4runner
Toyota Rav4

Requirements:
- Seating for 5 including car seats, so 3 rows
- 4x4 or AWD

I've narrowed it down to a Toyota Sequoia and a Chevy Suburban, but looking for any insight. I obviously like Toyota's and have never owned a Chevy, but the 3 rows + large rear storage in the Suburban caught my eye. Let me know if you have any recommendations. Thanks!

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Minsc
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Re: 3 Kids and 2 Dogs - Next Vehicle

Post by Minsc » Wed Feb 25, 2015 11:33 pm

I've got 3 kids, 2 mastiffs and drive an Honda Odyssey. It is great, no awd, but I get around in the midwest snow just fine so far.

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ClevrChico
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Re: 3 Kids and 2 Dogs - Next Vehicle

Post by ClevrChico » Wed Feb 25, 2015 11:46 pm

Three kids in car seats forces you into needing three rows. (As you've planned.)

Minivans are the most space efficient. The Nissan NV caught my eye, as it has tons of space. There's lots of good choices.

We have two little kids, big dog, grandparents, and we manage with two sub-compact cars. It's very rare that we're all going somewhere together at the same time. (Why take everyone grocery shopping?) If it does happen, we take two cars for short trips. For long distance, we rent a van about twice/year. The dog gets walks, but usually stays at home these days.

texasdiver
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Re: 3 Kids and 2 Dogs - Next Vehicle

Post by texasdiver » Thu Feb 26, 2015 12:43 am

Sienna AWD

At least take a look at one before dumping the cash on a Sequoia which is very long in the tooth and out of date. Only reason to get the Sequoia is if you need the larger towing capacity.

reason-logic
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Re: 3 Kids and 2 Dogs - Next Vehicle

Post by reason-logic » Thu Feb 26, 2015 2:37 am

Ford Expedition, better than Suburban

Miriam2
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Re: 3 Kids and 2 Dogs - Next Vehicle

Post by Miriam2 » Thu Feb 26, 2015 2:41 am

We love our Chevy Suburban. Never owned a Chevy until 1999 when we bought our first Suburban. Drove it 10 years, 156,000 miles, serviced it regularly, never needed anything except regular maintenance and a new transmission at 90,000 miles. Loved the car so much I had Chevy put in a brand new Chevy transmission. I now own my second Suburban, 5 years old, only needs regular basic maintenance. I'm keeping it until I croak. :D
It drives so smoothly and quietly on the highway. The seats are comfortable, the arm room, leg room, head room is so generous. It simply holds everything going anywhere and hauls anything. With 3 rows of seats, you can put one kid in each row, and the car is so big, they can't reach each other to tease. :happy

zadie
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Re: 3 Kids and 2 Dogs - Next Vehicle

Post by zadie » Thu Feb 26, 2015 7:11 am

Honda Odyssey is a nice van but is pretty bad in the snow.

Toyota sienna is also nice but has run flat tires (no spare) which was a deal breaker for us.

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Re: 3 Kids and 2 Dogs - Next Vehicle

Post by TheOscarGuy » Thu Feb 26, 2015 7:44 am

Miriam2 wrote:never needed anything except regular maintenance and a new transmission at 90,000 miles.
I was reading your post thinking *I* should get a suburban even though I don't need one -- until I read the bit about transmission :D 90K is pretty low mileage to be needing a new transmission, especially given this is supposed to be a rugged body on frame vehicle.

My vote is 2008+ sequoia. Because it is a Toyota.

Userdc
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Re: 3 Kids and 2 Dogs - Next Vehicle

Post by Userdc » Thu Feb 26, 2015 7:51 am

zadie wrote:Honda Odyssey is a nice van but is pretty bad in the snow.

Toyota sienna is also nice but has run flat tires (no spare) which was a deal breaker for us.
We put snow tires on our Odyssey in the winter and we haven't had any traction issues. But we do live in an urban area that is quickly plowed, so those snow tires might even be overkill.

zadie
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Re: 3 Kids and 2 Dogs - Next Vehicle

Post by zadie » Thu Feb 26, 2015 7:55 am

next winter, I'll definitely try snow tires. I get stuck in my own driveway.

angelescrest
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Re: 3 Kids and 2 Dogs - Next Vehicle

Post by angelescrest » Thu Feb 26, 2015 8:05 am

I dunno, you're currently at one child, but you want to get w car that you won't need yet for a few years? And how do you know about the third before even having the second? We had our second recently, and it feels like 4x the work as 1. We are so done. :-). Just saying...

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Re: 3 Kids and 2 Dogs - Next Vehicle

Post by Jack FFR1846 » Thu Feb 26, 2015 8:28 am

You have 1 child and one on the way. Subaru outback. Plenty of room for your actual need with great resale and decent fuel mileage. A suburban will depreciate more in 3 years than a top of the line outback costs. Add to that the suburban's legendary hunger to eat transmissions and for the brake lines to rust and burst, I would think twice about it. I had a yukon xl when I regularly pulled an enclosed 18 foot race car trailer, an 18 foot boat and plowed snow in the winter. Just over 100k miles, I had 3 brake line failures and paid over $2k to replace them all plus the front calipers. The ac died(compressor) and both front windows stopped working. If you buy yourself a $50k suburban, dump it before the warrantee period ends.
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OpenRoad
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Re: 3 Kids and 2 Dogs - Next Vehicle

Post by OpenRoad » Thu Feb 26, 2015 8:30 am

ClevrChico wrote:Three kids in car seats forces you into needing three rows.
Not true. You can easily fit three car seats into one row - the only exception I could see is if you have 3, all in pumpkin seats. We do this now quite easily.

On side note, of our friends that bought a full size SUV, 1 Ford Expedition, 2 Sequoias - they all constantly complain about the gas. One ended up buying a third car as a daily kid hauler and just uses the Sequoia for family trips/towing boat/etc.

So, I guess my recommendation is to buy something smaller and more efficient - we chose a Highlander.

texasdiver
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Re: 3 Kids and 2 Dogs - Next Vehicle

Post by texasdiver » Thu Feb 26, 2015 8:38 am

My 2004 Sienna (bought new in May 2003) now has 260,000 miles on it. According to the dash computer the lifetime mileage is 25.2 MPG. It is a FWD not the AWD. In the past 12 years and 260,000 miles of driving the ONLY unscheduled repairs have been (1) replace the air conditioning compressor at 180,000 miles, and (2) replace the lower control arms on the suspension at 240,000 miles. Otherwise all I have done is replace the fluids as scheduled and replace the timing belt twice as scheduled. The engine is still running as smooth and quiet as the day I bought it and still not burning a drop of oil.

I installed a Class 3 hitch and brake controller and haul a 3500 lb Fleetwood Arcadia popup camper all over between Texas and Florida. With the seats out I have hauled dozens of sheets of plywood, mulch, Ikea furniture, gravel, etc. etc.

Best car I have ever owned by far. I hope to get another 5 years out of it.

JLJL
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Re: 3 Kids and 2 Dogs - Next Vehicle

Post by JLJL » Thu Feb 26, 2015 9:21 am

texasdiver wrote:My 2004 Sienna (bought new in May 2003) now has 260,000 miles on it. According to the dash computer the lifetime mileage is 25.2 MPG. It is a FWD not the AWD. In the past 12 years and 260,000 miles of driving the ONLY unscheduled repairs have been (1) replace the air conditioning compressor at 180,000 miles, and (2) replace the lower control arms on the suspension at 240,000 miles. Otherwise all I have done is replace the fluids as scheduled and replace the timing belt twice as scheduled. The engine is still running as smooth and quiet as the day I bought it and still not burning a drop of oil.

I installed a Class 3 hitch and brake controller and haul a 3500 lb Fleetwood Arcadia popup camper all over between Texas and Florida. With the seats out I have hauled dozens of sheets of plywood, mulch, Ikea furniture, gravel, etc. etc.

Best car I have ever owned by far. I hope to get another 5 years out of it.
Nice review, thanks. Good luck on the next 100,000.

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Re: 3 Kids and 2 Dogs - Next Vehicle

Post by bloom2708 » Thu Feb 26, 2015 11:22 am

We opted for the 7 passenger Ford Explorer. We did the 2-3-2 configuration with 3 kids.

Better (but not good) gas mileage than the Expedition/Suburban/Yukon XL.

Not cheap, but they are nice and the new style seems to be holding their value well. We plan to drive for 10 years +.
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texasdiver
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Re: 3 Kids and 2 Dogs - Next Vehicle

Post by texasdiver » Thu Feb 26, 2015 12:36 pm

OpenRoad wrote:
ClevrChico wrote:Three kids in car seats forces you into needing three rows.
Not true. You can easily fit three car seats into one row - the only exception I could see is if you have 3, all in pumpkin seats. We do this now quite easily.

On side note, of our friends that bought a full size SUV, 1 Ford Expedition, 2 Sequoias - they all constantly complain about the gas. One ended up buying a third car as a daily kid hauler and just uses the Sequoia for family trips/towing boat/etc.

So, I guess my recommendation is to buy something smaller and more efficient - we chose a Highlander.
My wife has a 2014 Highlander. I have an older 2004 Sienna. My wife likes how the Highlander looks but frankly the Sienna is a superior vehicle in just about every way. More space, better driving position, better 3rd row and cargo capacity. Easier access from the side with the sliding doors. And they basically have the same engine and platform.

bungalow10
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Re: 3 Kids and 2 Dogs - Next Vehicle

Post by bungalow10 » Thu Feb 26, 2015 1:38 pm

ClevrChico wrote:Three kids in car seats forces you into needing three rows. (As you've planned.)
No, it doesn't. We have had three in car seats and currently have two in boosters and one in a car seat. Up until recently we were driving a 2005 Chevy Impala (still have) and a 2006 base model Highlander (no third row, just traded in).

Three car seats can fit in the back of a four door CIVIC. I understand wanting more space, but saying a third row is a need is a stretch.

We live in rural Wisconsin and I commute to Chicago frequently. Never needed AWD. Most cars on the road to Chi-town from Madison don't have AWD. So again, another want that some like to categorize as a need.

FWIW - we just bought an Odyssey. Love it.
An elephant for a dime is only a good deal if you need an elephant and have a dime.

stingray5688
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Re: 3 Kids and 2 Dogs - Next Vehicle

Post by stingray5688 » Thu Feb 26, 2015 1:57 pm

Might take a look at the GX. Lexus version of the 4Runner, but nicer with V8 and full time 4x4. Cost isn't too much different from sequoia, depending on options on either. MPG in both the sequoia and GX will be dismal though, probably around 16 mpg mixed.
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surfstar
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Re: 3 Kids and 2 Dogs - Next Vehicle

Post by surfstar » Thu Feb 26, 2015 2:41 pm

Mazda5 if you care about MPG. Pick up a used stick shift for a great deal.

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ClevrChico
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Re: 3 Kids and 2 Dogs - Next Vehicle

Post by ClevrChico » Thu Feb 26, 2015 8:10 pm

bungalow10 wrote:
ClevrChico wrote:Three kids in car seats forces you into needing three rows. (As you've planned.)
No, it doesn't. We have had three in car seats and currently have two in boosters and one in a car seat. Up until recently we were driving a 2005 Chevy Impala (still have) and a 2006 base model Highlander (no third row, just traded in).

Three car seats can fit in the back of a four door CIVIC. I understand wanting more space, but saying a third row is a need is a stretch.

We live in rural Wisconsin and I commute to Chicago frequently. Never needed AWD. Most cars on the road to Chi-town from Madison don't have AWD. So again, another want that some like to categorize as a need.

FWIW - we just bought an Odyssey. Love it.
Okay, I take it back. You're the first people I've heard of having three kids in car seats in the same row. The tradition for everyone in the flyover country is moving to a minivan at kid number three. It must be Boglehead sensibility to stick with two rows. :-)

youngcrv
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Re: 3 Kids and 2 Dogs - Next Vehicle

Post by youngcrv » Thu Feb 26, 2015 8:18 pm

Another vote for a Siena. We have a 2008 Sienna. 130K miles. Very trouble free. Drives great. Wish it would get better gas mileage, but compared to a Suburban or Sequoia, its very fuel efficient.

texasdiver
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Re: 3 Kids and 2 Dogs - Next Vehicle

Post by texasdiver » Thu Feb 26, 2015 11:06 pm

OP has 1 child now, one on the way, and plans for a 3rd shortly.

If you plan to keep this car until the kids get into school age then you will most certainly find frequent occasions when more than 3 kids are in the car. I'm a dad and I work so I'm hardly Mr. Mom but I'm always finding that I'm running around with an extra kid or two on weekends as we bring friends with us places or do shuttling around. The Sienna is perfect for that. Something like a Suburban or Sequoia would be OK too. But some 2-row vehicle like say a Grand Cherokee is not going to fit the bill. Based on the experience of raising 3 girls I would NEVER consider anything other than a 3 row vehicle.

The other issue is that the kids won't always be babies. Maybe (depending on the brand of carseat...I have my doubts) maybe you can fit 3 infants across 1 row of seats in their car seats. But trust me, you do not want to take that 8 hour drive to the beach with 3 adolescents jammed elbow to elbow. Yikes. Get a 3 row vehicle so they can each have their own seat and space.

bungalow10
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Re: 3 Kids and 2 Dogs - Next Vehicle

Post by bungalow10 » Fri Feb 27, 2015 8:45 am

ClevrChico wrote:
bungalow10 wrote:
ClevrChico wrote:Three kids in car seats forces you into needing three rows. (As you've planned.)
No, it doesn't. We have had three in car seats and currently have two in boosters and one in a car seat. Up until recently we were driving a 2005 Chevy Impala (still have) and a 2006 base model Highlander (no third row, just traded in).

Three car seats can fit in the back of a four door CIVIC. I understand wanting more space, but saying a third row is a need is a stretch.

We live in rural Wisconsin and I commute to Chicago frequently. Never needed AWD. Most cars on the road to Chi-town from Madison don't have AWD. So again, another want that some like to categorize as a need.

FWIW - we just bought an Odyssey. Love it.
Okay, I take it back. You're the first people I've heard of having three kids in car seats in the same row. The tradition for everyone in the flyover country is moving to a minivan at kid number three. It must be Boglehead sensibility to stick with two rows. :-)
It's just a difference of needs versus wants. Sure it may be common to get a minivan with kid #3, but it is not a need. Big families existed long before minivans. I love our van, but we got along just fine without it. It's a luxury.
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Re: 3 Kids and 2 Dogs - Next Vehicle

Post by Boglegrappler » Fri Feb 27, 2015 8:51 am

If you want a (negative) learning experience, buy something other than a Toyota.

Another 4runner would be a good choice, or a highlander, if you can live with smaller. If you want to go big, I'd look for a used land cruiser. They're expensive, but IMO they are the best vehicle available. The sequoia would be decent, and larger than the land cruiser, but its not quite as solid, I think. They're trying to figure out what to do with it. The Tundra its based on was redesigned slightly for 2014, but the changes to the Sequoia (mostly sheet metal) haven't happened yet.

tivattom
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Re: 3 Kids and 2 Dogs - Next Vehicle

Post by tivattom » Fri Feb 27, 2015 9:33 am

I would encourage you to look into a Ford Flex.

We were very pleasantly surprised with the Flex's looks and the way it drives. We bought a used on 3 years ago and are looking to buy another one when we need to replace our other car. They are available with AWD, too.

leod
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Re: 3 Kids and 2 Dogs - Next Vehicle

Post by leod » Fri Feb 27, 2015 1:48 pm

you can check the redesigned Honda Pilot for 2016, slightly bigger then the new highlander and can seat 8.

angelescrest
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Re: 3 Kids and 2 Dogs - Next Vehicle

Post by angelescrest » Fri Feb 27, 2015 1:52 pm

leod wrote:you can check the redesigned Honda Pilot for 2016, slightly bigger then the new highlander and can seat 8.
+1, that Pilot looks like a major leap forward for Honda's larger SUV. If I were on the market for a new 3 seater, that would be at the top,of the list.

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Re: 3 Kids and 2 Dogs - Next Vehicle

Post by NW_rider » Fri Feb 27, 2015 2:16 pm

The Expedition/Suburban/Yukon XL is best if you want to use all 3 rows and still have the cargo area for luggage or dogs (not sure what breeds you have). For pretty much all the other vehicles listed the 3rd row seat eats up much of your cargo area.

My parents still have their '93 Suburban. They've had to dump quite a bit of money on various things to keep it running. It was great for hauling 8 people, coolers & gear, and towing a raft trailer on our summer trips. Gas mileage was terrible though.

We have been very happy with our '11 Sienna (FWD). Haven't tested it in snow yet, but the run flat tires on the AWD were a deal breaker for us too. We have 2 kids in car seats so we keep the 3rd row folded down to have a large cargo area for vacations and trips to Costco, it's easy to pop the 3rd row up when we have family visiting. Gas mileage has been in the 20's and the only issue has been our toddler putting a penny in the cd player.
boroc7 wrote:I dunno, you're currently at one child, but you want to get w car that you won't need yet for a few years? And how do you know about the third before even having the second? We had our second recently, and it feels like 4x the work as 1. We are so done. :-). Just saying...
+1 We are stopping with 2, can't believe we ever talked about having 4! Lol
Last edited by NW_rider on Fri Feb 27, 2015 2:20 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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G12
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Re: 3 Kids and 2 Dogs - Next Vehicle

Post by G12 » Fri Feb 27, 2015 2:17 pm

tivattom wrote:I would encourage you to look into a Ford Flex.

We were very pleasantly surprised with the Flex's looks and the way it drives. We bought a used on 3 years ago and are looking to buy another one when we need to replace our other car. They are available with AWD, too.
I bought a new Flex last year, FWD with the regular V-6, and haul 3 large dogs around. I like it a lot, and it does have the option to go with the EcoBoost engine and AWD.

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DonCamillo
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Re: 3 Kids and 2 Dogs - Next Vehicle

Post by DonCamillo » Fri Feb 27, 2015 3:08 pm

zadie wrote:Honda Odyssey is a nice van but is pretty bad in the snow.

Toyota sienna is also nice but has run flat tires (no spare) which was a deal breaker for us.
The run flat tires (including their replacement cost) was an important reason I bought the Odyssey instead of the Sienna. Honda salesmen know this. It is the first thing they mention when they find out you are considering a Sienna. The Odyssey also has about 10 cubic feet more space. Some of the luxury features on the Sienna were tempting, though. The first thing Toyota salesmen mention is that the Sienna is the only minivan with all wheel drive. In ice, I drive my wife's Civic to work. Wife is retired.

The most important consideration for me was that our local Honda dealer has much a more user friendly service department than the local Toyota dealer. My wife has been using that dealer for years for her Civic. Son's girlfriend has a Toyota.

Difference between Minivan and SUV is that the former is built on a car frame while the latter is built on a truck frame for higher towing capacity.
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thatme
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Re: 3 Kids and 2 Dogs - Next Vehicle

Post by thatme » Fri Feb 27, 2015 3:38 pm

boroc7 wrote:
leod wrote:you can check the redesigned Honda Pilot for 2016, slightly bigger then the new highlander and can seat 8.
+1, that Pilot looks like a major leap forward for Honda's larger SUV. If I were on the market for a new 3 seater, that would be at the top,of the list.
+1. I own a 2013 and have been very happy with it. I'm not planning to trade up, but I really like the 2016 model.

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