SUV options with 3 little kids

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tsukune
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SUV options with 3 little kids

Post by tsukune » Wed Oct 11, 2017 3:47 pm

I started a thread a little while ago about a similar topic, but got caught up with other things and never followed through. I'm revisiting the topic and hoping to get some help.

I'm looking for a 2-row or 3-row midsize/large AWD SUV that allows me to install 3 carseats (I plan to use the narrowest carseats like the Diono Radian and Clek Fllo/Foonf) in the 2nd row with relative ease - this requires the right combination of width/hip room, 2nd row seats (bench instead of bucket), no crossing seatbelts in 2nd row. Access to third row, cargo space, HP (at least 250+), reliability, MPG, driving experience and cost are all important too, but I'm going to have to compromise somewhere I'm sure. Budget is 30-60k. If its a premium/luxury brand I definitely plan to buy used/cpo about 2-3 years old to take advantage of steep depreciation, unless new fits in my budget. I have a long list and hoping to narrow it down soon:

2-rows:
Lexus RX350 - solid option, very reliable, on the smaller side maybe
Land Rover Range Rover or RR Sport - very attractive to me as rugged, powerful, spacious, just not sure about installing 3 carseats
Mercedes GLC/GLE - conerned about reliability and maintenance costs
Porsche Cayenne - probably not practical as it may be small in the back, but looks like a great driving experience
Jeep Grand Cherokee - not sure about use of space and carseats, reliability might be an issue

3-rows:
Land Rover Discovery - very attractive to me as rugged, powerful, spacious, just not sure about installing 3 carseats
Land Rover LR4 - concerned about low MPG
Acura MDX - great option
Volkswagen Atlas - looks great on paper
Honda Pilot - great option
Volvo XC90 - great option, concerned about reliability
Infiniti QX60
Audi Q7
Toyota Highlander
GMC Acadia - might be too huge
Ford Explorer - rented this car, hated it, too much wasted space
Mercedes GLS
BMW X5
Mazda CX-9

I'm mostly looking for data points from those with 3 young children in carseats in an SUV. Ideally I want to trim this list down to 5 cars.

Lincoln
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Re: SUV options with 3 little kids

Post by Lincoln » Wed Oct 11, 2017 4:11 pm

minivan, quit fighting it
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bloom2708
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Re: SUV options with 3 little kids

Post by bloom2708 » Wed Oct 11, 2017 4:17 pm

Can the kid in the 3rd row car seat buckle their own car seat?

I would cross all the two row cars off your list. They just are not going to work, even with 3 slim seats.

A 2-3-2 configuration will not work great if the two car seats in the middle row are fixed in place. It is a huge pain to remove the seat, flip up one side, let the 3rd row kid in and then re-attach. Narrow down to the 2-2-2 configurations.

I personally do not think any vehicles are designed for 3 small kids who all need assistance buckling and tightening their car seats. On some you can open the back hatch and help secure the third row kid from the back of the vehicle.

I would narrow your list to the ones you labeled "great option" and go from there.
"We are here not to please but to provoke thoughtfulness" Unknown Boglehead

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greg24
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Re: SUV options with 3 little kids

Post by greg24 » Wed Oct 11, 2017 4:21 pm

tsukune wrote:
Wed Oct 11, 2017 3:47 pm
Access to third row, cargo space, HP (at least 250+), reliability, MPG, driving experience and cost are all important too, but I'm going to have to compromise somewhere I'm sure. Budget is 30-60k.
Your list points to a minivan. Larger cargo space, better reliability, better MPG, better driving experience, better cost, better 3rd row access.

PugetSoundguy
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Re: SUV options with 3 little kids

Post by PugetSoundguy » Wed Oct 11, 2017 4:41 pm

minivan, quit fighting it
This. Sister-in-law wants minivan (after riding in ours). Brother-in-law says no way. So three car seats in the second row of a Nissan SUV. Misery. I wince every time I see them loading/unloading the kids. And kids get bigger. A lot bigger. But they survive and so will you with an SUV and three car seats. My MIL has a Volvo SUV and likes it but the thing always seems to be in the (expensive) shop.

By the way, we have a minivan with just two kids.

t60
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Re: SUV options with 3 little kids

Post by t60 » Wed Oct 11, 2017 5:33 pm

Some of the cars OP posted are quite expensive.

Like the other's said, I'd say get a minivan, invest the savings or spend it on a fun weekend sports car. Stop kidding yourself with an SUV.

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6miths
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Re: SUV options with 3 little kids

Post by 6miths » Wed Oct 11, 2017 7:21 pm

Minivan. Odyssey or Sienna. We had 4 young children and a Land Rover Discovery. Beautiful vehicle. We managed but there was virtually no room for anything else so don't plan on driving it on a vacation. The versatility and hauling power of minivans are very hard to beat. Children are now in late teens and early twenties and I still refuse to give up the Odyssey. My pickup friends laugh but I get way better mileage and can get 4x8's in flat and carry huge amounts of other cargo inside rather than in the bed in the back.
'It ain't what you don't know that gets you into trouble. It's what you know for sure that just ain't so!' Mark Twain

chessknt
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Re: SUV options with 3 little kids

Post by chessknt » Wed Oct 11, 2017 8:37 pm

Agree with minivan, odyssey was among favorites when we looked.

No reason to get awd in a vehicle little kids are in unless you live off a dirt road or something. Appropriate winter tires are far superior for winter driving if that is the concern.

43andcounting
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Re: SUV options with 3 little kids

Post by 43andcounting » Wed Oct 11, 2017 9:24 pm

Just our experience: We have 3 young kids and bought Toyota Highlander. Good car, decent value, 3 rows can fit 8 when we have guests. But not much luggage space with 3rd row up. Kids do miss the Sienna minivan that we traded in, it had so much more space for people and luggage. Minivans are underrated.

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Sandtrap
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Re: SUV options with 3 little kids

Post by Sandtrap » Wed Oct 11, 2017 9:29 pm

Honda Pilot :D
Toyota Oddysey (minivan)

Phineas Gage
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Re: SUV options with 3 little kids

Post by Phineas Gage » Wed Oct 11, 2017 9:59 pm

We have a cayenne - love it but absolutely no way enough space for 3 kids in car seats. Our good friends have Q7 and 3 small kids in car seats and it works great for them. Audi SUVs drive nicely and feel luxurious while Q7 is still big enough to be practical.

moneywise3
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Re: SUV options with 3 little kids

Post by moneywise3 » Wed Oct 11, 2017 10:03 pm

Acura MDX

frazzlefeet
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Re: SUV options with 3 little kids

Post by frazzlefeet » Wed Oct 11, 2017 10:18 pm

Honda pilot owner here with 3 car seats currently across 2nd row. Diono radians, 2 forward facing and 1 rear. I love it!!!! No regrets about not having mini van. But the third row is permanently down for added trunk space.

Bimmer
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Re: SUV options with 3 little kids

Post by Bimmer » Wed Oct 11, 2017 10:23 pm

Can't believe I'm saying this, but I am - +1 for Minivan.
____________________________ | Bimmer | ____________________________

clutchied
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Re: SUV options with 3 little kids

Post by clutchied » Thu Oct 12, 2017 8:44 am

Bimmer wrote:
Wed Oct 11, 2017 10:23 pm
Can't believe I'm saying this, but I am - +1 for Minivan.
I love our minivan, but if I'd known my wife was going to call it quits @ 2 kids I never would have agreed to one.


I also have 4 bmw's....

SleepKing
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Re: SUV options with 3 little kids

Post by SleepKing » Thu Oct 12, 2017 8:56 am

If your oldest can safely get themselves in and out of the third row car seat, then you can consider a larger SUV like the Acura MDX or big Lexus or Tahoe, etc... personally I'd look at a Pilot or Highlander, as 3 young kids are going to wreck the interior...

Remember, while the 3rd row is on use, your cargo space is VERY limited,

If an adult has to strap and safely secure child in the third row, or you prioritize cargo space, please consider a mini van. It is simply the most practical option.

Good luck,
Sleepy

mmarreco
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Re: SUV options with 3 little kids

Post by mmarreco » Thu Oct 12, 2017 9:38 am

Honda Pilot fits 3 car sets side to side on the backseat.

smackboy1
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Re: SUV options with 3 little kids

Post by smackboy1 » Thu Oct 12, 2017 9:42 am

The most practical option is the minivan. It's not the most stylish or luxurious or technologically advanced. Getting an SUV instead of a minivan is not the end of the world, but it will involve some compromises.

We've owned almost the brands you mentioned: Audi, MB, Porsche, BMW, Land Rover, Toyota, Infiniti, Ford. For the last 10 years 150,000 miles, the work horse of our family has been the Toyota Sienna minivan. We are likely going to sell it soon because the 2 children are teenagers now and the practicality of the minivan is less important. It was the best tool that served our needs for these reasons:

- It can comfortably seat 3+ children in car seats, plus an adult in the 2nd and 3rd rows to assist, and luggage, strollers, or shopping (think Costco/Sam's Club). On long trips having an adult be able to move easily and freely between the 2nd and 3rd rows is very useful. There's plenty of room for a cooler so passengers can have snacks. Being able to have some physical separation between children in car seats can also be useful.

- 7 adults with luggage is no problem.

- Electric sliding doors. Very easy for children to open and close. Minimum chance of dinging somebody else's car in the parking lot. Being able to remotely close and open doors from the driver's seat during pickup and drop off is priceless. In bad weather, being able to remotely open the doors and quickly pile 7 people into the car is priceless.

- Children (and some adults) will destroy cars. Food, drinks, vomit, mud, snow, rain etc.. Parking lot dings are a fact of life. It's a minivan, I don't care. If someone threw up on my wife's light beige BMW leather, it would be all over.

- The 2 best minivans are Honda Odyssey and Toyota Sienna. Very reliable, well designed, inexpensive to maintain and repair. Cannot say the same of almost any of the other brands mentioned.

- Toyota Sienna is available in AWD if needed. But practically, for winter, FWD w/ winter tires will drive better and be safer in snow/ice than AWD w/ all seasons.
Disclaimer: nothing written here should be taken as legal advice, but I did stay at a Holiday Inn Express last night.

kjvmartin
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Re: SUV options with 3 little kids

Post by kjvmartin » Thu Oct 12, 2017 9:44 am

I rented a compact car back in August and they were all out of them. So, they gave me a nicely loaded SLT Acadia V-6.

What an excellent riding car! Very comfortable, roomy, powerful engine, quiet. If I ever need a 3 row car, I'll probably buy one. They also reduced the size a bit from prior models. It didn't feel significantly larger than my CR-V. I would test drive an Acadia SLT or SLT2. I was impressed enough to visit a GM/Chevy lot for my recent purchase after over 10 years of driving only imports. Now I have a Chevy.
Last edited by kjvmartin on Thu Oct 12, 2017 9:45 am, edited 1 time in total.

jhwkr542
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Re: SUV options with 3 little kids

Post by jhwkr542 » Thu Oct 12, 2017 9:45 am

Both Acura MDX and Toyota Highlander work for us. We put all the kids in the 2nd row, ages 4, 2, 10 mos. 4 and 2 year old seats are fixed. We load the 10 mo old already strapped in her car seat. 4 year old climbs in the middle seat and faces forward. The other 2 are rear facing on the sides. It works. I have no way how I'd ever climb into the 3rd row of a minivan or SUV and load the 4 year old by myself with the other 2. Seems uncomfortable and tricky.

Luke Duke
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Re: SUV options with 3 little kids

Post by Luke Duke » Thu Oct 12, 2017 9:49 am

bloom2708 wrote:
Wed Oct 11, 2017 4:17 pm
I would cross all the two row cars off your list. They just are not going to work, even with 3 slim seats
This is false. Three Diono Radians will fit in the 2nd row of most medium sized or larger vehicles. It worked in our HIghlander with a couple of inches to spare. Right now we have 2 boosters and a Diono in the Highlander. The question is whether or not you will be happy sitting 3 across when the kids get a little older.

If your oldest can buckle his/herself, I would suggest that you consider a 3 row SUV with captains chairs. The Buick Enclave that we replaced our other vehicle with has worked well for us in this situation.

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Edie
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Re: SUV options with 3 little kids

Post by Edie » Thu Oct 12, 2017 9:56 am

We just bought a minivan, and our kids are almost grown to grown (15, 17, 19, 20). I freaking love it and so does my spouse. So much cargo space, everyone is comfortable, it's unreal. I was firmly in the "never a minivan" camp, and I'm sorry for all the years we spent squeezed into SUVs. :oops: Get a minivan!

mxs
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Re: SUV options with 3 little kids

Post by mxs » Thu Oct 12, 2017 9:59 am

I have two young children and own a Honda Pilot. I wish I had a minivan instead. Toyota Sienna or Honda Odyssey, would consider the Nissan Quest as well. Get a minivan.

bloom2708
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Re: SUV options with 3 little kids

Post by bloom2708 » Thu Oct 12, 2017 10:19 am

Luke Duke wrote:
Thu Oct 12, 2017 9:49 am
bloom2708 wrote:
Wed Oct 11, 2017 4:17 pm
I would cross all the two row cars off your list. They just are not going to work, even with 3 slim seats
This is false. The question is whether or not you will be happy sitting 3 across when the kids get a little older.
Maybe "subjective" is better? What if you spend $40k on a new car and it "works" for 6 months or 12 months? Did that "work"? Or was it a patch/band aid. A pretty big expense to find out you quickly moved through a phase and now the vehicle is "too xyz".

Kids move through the car seat phases pretty fast. You refute your hard "false" claim on my statement a bit later in your own post. :wink:

Everything is so subjective with cars..hardly worth discussing..but might as well give it a try.
"We are here not to please but to provoke thoughtfulness" Unknown Boglehead

Rupert
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Re: SUV options with 3 little kids

Post by Rupert » Thu Oct 12, 2017 11:29 am

OP, with three kids in carseats, you were bound to get a ton of minivan recommendations. It would be helpful -- and you might cut off a lot of the forthcoming minivan recommendations -- if you write back to tell folks how old your kids are and whether any of them is able to buckle their own carseat. That really does make a huge difference because, while, yes, it is possible to put three narrow carseats across in many of the SUV options you've listed, that doesn't mean you or your kids will be comfortable if you do so. My kids, for example, would fight incessantly if they sat that close to each other in the car. They have to be sufficiently spaced so that they can't easily touch each other. If at least one of your kids can buckle himself/herself in a carseat in the third row (around age 5/6 is when they can reliably do this), the SUV plan is much more doable and reasonable, IMHO. Also, note that you can't easily access the third row when there are three carseats abreast on the second row even in a minivan. To access the third row in just about any automobile with that carseat configuration, you're going to have to use the rear lift gate. So if putting grandma back there is important to you and grandma can't climb through the back of the car, then you need to reconsider the carseat configuration.

researcher
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Re: SUV options with 3 little kids

Post by researcher » Thu Oct 12, 2017 12:02 pm

Here was my response to your last post on this same subject...
"I think you are getting yourself into the weeds and suffering from analysis paralysis.
You started this thread with FIVE options...along with a group of luxury models that you expressed several concerns about.
After receiving lots of helpful advice and information, you list has grown to ELEVEN models, seven of which are luxury brands!"
So in this second post, your updated list now includes TWENTY models!

You are never going to get actionable advice when there are so many vehicles on your list. Why are you comparing such disparate vehicles?
Ford Explorer vs. Range Rover Sport? GMC Acadia vs. Porsche Cayenne? Really?

You need to decide on a class of vehicle (luxury vs. mainstream), then start doing research and asking for opinions.
If having 3 carseats in the second row is a top criteria, then why not visit dealerships and fit your carseats into these vehicles?
Eliminate all of the models where the seats will not safely/comfortably fit.

daveydoo
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Re: SUV options with 3 little kids

Post by daveydoo » Thu Oct 12, 2017 12:42 pm

With three kids, you're gonna do a lot of travel with more than three kids. Oldest will be bringing a friend soon and so will the next. We have two kids and the best thing about the minivan (Odyssey) was that both kids could bring a friend, carpool, etc. It's not about exactly fitting your family but about how many kids you're likely to be carrying very soon. Plus all the hiking and camping gear fits, etc.

I don't "love" minivans and neither did spouse but there were too many compromises with the big-enough SUVs (terrible fuel economy, terrible handling, terrible visibility, ridiculous cost). Kids are now out of the house and spouse still drives her (second) Odyssey -- but I think that will change. Sorry to not answer the question.

It takes some ego strength to buy a minivan -- my spouse went from a cool 80's-era cult-classic Acura to a minivan without caring about appearances. But jamming car seats in will do that to you. (Relative broke a toe (!) doing that when we were vacationing together.)

FootballFan5548
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Re: SUV options with 3 little kids

Post by FootballFan5548 » Thu Oct 12, 2017 1:06 pm

kjvmartin wrote:
Thu Oct 12, 2017 9:44 am
I rented a compact car back in August and they were all out of them. So, they gave me a nicely loaded SLT Acadia V-6.

What an excellent riding car! Very comfortable, roomy, powerful engine, quiet. If I ever need a 3 row car, I'll probably buy one. They also reduced the size a bit from prior models. It didn't feel significantly larger than my CR-V. I would test drive an Acadia SLT or SLT2. I was impressed enough to visit a GM/Chevy lot for my recent purchase after over 10 years of driving only imports. Now I have a Chevy.
We were going through this exact exercise a few months back. We had the list narrowed to MDX, Volvo XC90, and GMC Acadia. We have only two young kids, but potential for a 3rd down the road.

We went with the Acadia Denali (highest trim), very well equipped, had everything we wanted, and was less expensive than base MDX and Volvo.

It rides very well, is pretty good on gas, and so far has given us no problems in about 4 months of ownership. We got the 2-2-2 interior setup, although they do have a 2-3-2 option as well. The trunk space is very tight when the back seat is up, that's the only curveball. For us, with 2 kids in the bucket seats, we can have the backrow down almost exclusively for now and space is not an issue.

RDB
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Re: SUV options with 3 little kids

Post by RDB » Thu Oct 12, 2017 1:14 pm

Minivan. No question. Odyssey or Sienna. We have a 2015 Odyssey and an XC90. We looked like crazy, nothing compares to the minivan. Our kids are 4, 4, 2. The XC90 and other SUVs in that size range just do not work well with 3 car seats. The cargo space is so minimal with the 3rd row in use, and the 3rd row is a sacrifice.

tsukune
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Re: SUV options with 3 little kids

Post by tsukune » Thu Oct 12, 2017 1:26 pm

Thank you all for your all the replies so far and feedback on your specific experience with 3 kids and an SUV.

Minivan - it's a no go for us. I understand the practicality etc. and I appreciate the many parents on here selling us on the concept, but please help keep the conversation to SUVs only.

Rupert - thanks for the helpful post. To answer your questions: Kids will be 5,3,0. 5yr old is forward facing and can get into and out of seat easily, not sure about buckling quite yet, but I'm hopeful. 3yr old rear facing. Infant in infant seat for the 1st year with base installed in car. Kids do not fight in car (so far!). We plan to have 3 carseats next to each other in the 2nd row 80-90% of the time, assuming we have 3 rows. Access to 3rd row is important, but as you say it won't be easy in any vehicle with 3 carseats in the 2nd row. Hence we are willing to drop the 3rd row possibly but like the optionality.

researcher - thanks for replying to previous post as well as this one. Yes I'm deliberating over this a little much, but I don't change cars often (or at all) and I want to make sure I get good use out of this steeply depreciating 'asset' that I buy. My price range is wide, hence I can consider mainstream, luxury, large, small, used, new, etc. and various disparate vehicles. And about visiting 20 dealerships with 3 carseats each time - are you serious? Do you have kids? Are they little? Do you have a job? A social life on the weekends? I am trying to eliminate models online since so much information is now available on the internet and there are forums like this with awesome smart people like yourself. I then plan to visit dealerships to look at maybe 5 cars max with my carseats before taking the plunge. To evaluate 3 carseats in the 2nd row I see 2 criteria - one is an objective criteria i.e. hip room and car width, and the second is a subjective criteria i.e. parents who have fit or have not been able to fit 3 kids in carseats in the second row - and those are the data points I am collecting in this post! In my trade and others, I've always found there to be a large gap in thinking between researchers and practitioners!

Other issues - car getting dirty/flighty on the inside, not too big a deal for us! We would opt for leather seats anyway if possible.
Cargo space - we would like decent cargo space, but we are willing to compromise on this with the 3rd row up.

So far I'm ruling out the Porsche Cayenne, Ford Explorer, BMW X5, and possibly some of the Mercedes models, probably the Jeep Grand Cherokee. Oh, and yes, I'm still ruling out minivans!

The ones that look most promising so far: Acura MDX, Honda Pilot, Volkswagen Atlas, GMC Acadia, Audi Q7, Volvo CX90.
I'm not sure about the Land Rover options in terms of 3 across in 2nd row, so looking for more experience from parents there.
The Lexus RX350 is a great 2-row option I think, can definitely fit 3 across and has decent cargo space.

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lthenderson
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Re: SUV options with 3 little kids

Post by lthenderson » Thu Oct 12, 2017 1:34 pm

tsukune wrote:
Wed Oct 11, 2017 3:47 pm
I'm looking for a 2-row or 3-row midsize/large AWD SUV that allows me to install 3 carseats (I plan to use the narrowest carseats like the Diono Radian and Clek Fllo/Foonf) in the 2nd row with relative ease - this requires the right combination of width/hip room, 2nd row seats (bench instead of bucket), no crossing seatbelts in 2nd row. Access to third row, cargo space, HP (at least 250+), reliability, MPG, driving experience and cost are all important too, but I'm going to have to compromise somewhere I'm sure. Budget is 30-60k.
The Toyota Sienna is the only minivan with AWD to my knowledge. That is what we have and it meets all your criteria and you could get one loaded with all options for the lower end of your budget. I can access the car seat in the third row through the rear hatch with half of the rear seat folded down. Not sure why you don't want crossing seat belts in the second row. All modern cars and children's car seats come equipped with the LATCH (Lower Anchor Tethers for Children) system that firmly and easily fixes the car seat to the seat and leaves the shoulder belts for when they become young adults.

Tal-
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Re: SUV options with 3 little kids

Post by Tal- » Thu Oct 12, 2017 1:56 pm

Here are my thoughts:

1: You probably want a 3rd row. Maybe you could make a 2 row work, but I'd strongly advocate limiting your 5 to 3rd row options.

2: You don't need to go luxury here - especially not in your initial list of 5 cars! I'm not strictly against luxury cars, but in the 3rd row segment, I actually think that non-luxury brands perform extremely well. If you go through all 5 and aren't in love with any, then open your search up... but start with 5 non-luxury models.

3: Read the reviews on each, but ultimately, there are lots of good options in this segment - and the choice is personal.

4: Here are my top recommendations:

Top 3...
*Pilot. Loved it, own it, and still love it. It was the clear winner for us as we found it exceptionally well designed with things like features, safety, visibility, etc. all being top-notch. It's adequately attractive, and among the better drives in the segment.
*Highlander. Lots of people love it and you can't go wrong here - but this was not our cup of tea.
*Chevy Traverse was not on your initial list, but was the surprise of our research. Good use of space, super attractive inside and out (IMO), decent stats, and reasonable price, and drove pretty well. Solid reviews. We would have been happy buying the Traverse, and this was the clear #2 on our list.

Next 2:
*Dodge Durango. Probably drives the best in the segment due to being rear wheel drive. We did not care for it, but it's similar to/smaller than the Acadia, and maybe the best feel in the class.
*CX9. If you want 5 options, I'd probably include the CX9, but it's a distant 5th in my list. The interior was way inferior to the others, it didn't have the bells and whistles as the others. We normally like the look and drive of Mazda vehicles, but were unimpressed with both on the CX9 as well.

Happy hunting!
Debt is to personal finance as a knife is to cooking.

t60
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Re: SUV options with 3 little kids

Post by t60 » Thu Oct 12, 2017 2:00 pm

lthenderson wrote:
Thu Oct 12, 2017 1:34 pm
The Toyota Sienna is the only minivan with AWD to my knowledge. That is what we have and it meets all your criteria
Aside from vehemently not wanting a minivan, of course :P

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AJTrenkle
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Re: SUV options with 3 little kids

Post by AJTrenkle » Thu Oct 12, 2017 2:09 pm

In a similar situation... we went with the new VW Atlas. It has the best legroom and functionality in the third row while still maintaining decent trunk space. Not a lot of them on the road yet so that is a risk for sure. Infotainment was good, like the simple design, and drives nice. With its interior space it is more or less a minivan without being a minivan.

NHRATA01
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Re: SUV options with 3 little kids

Post by NHRATA01 » Thu Oct 12, 2017 2:29 pm

Traverse is brand new for '18 and by most reviews vaulted up to among the top of the class.

We have had 3 of the older model and have been very content, certainly among the roomiest in the class. Kids are currently 10/8/5, but we've had one since they were 3/1/twinkle in the eye.

The Acadia used to be the same size, but shrunk in the newest revision. I know you can get it with 3 rows but it is very tight in the back.

I'm not against luxury cars either, but I honestly can't see a good reason for a very expensive luxury SUV that is really going to take a beating shuttling around 3 younger kids.

Nearly A Moose
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Re: SUV options with 3 little kids

Post by Nearly A Moose » Thu Oct 12, 2017 2:35 pm

Lincoln wrote:
Wed Oct 11, 2017 4:11 pm
minivan, quit fighting it
Honestly, and this is coming getting a guy who drive a 330 HP car before kids, just get a minivan. Every time I've rented one on vacation, I've asked myself why I bothered with my SUV. They have tons of interior space, amazing cargo capacity (seriously, i can't see out the back of my SUV on the way to the airport, but the trunk of a minivan just swallows everything up, without even putting down any seats), and the good ones have extremely well designed interior ergonomics. If you have kids and extra adults in the car, its a lot easier to get everyone into and out of a minivan. In all seriousness, I wish I had gotten a nice minivan for this stage of my life.

And do you really want to mess with kids in carseats in a Lexus/Porsche/Benz/etc. Kids will DESTROY those...
Pardon typos, I'm probably using my fat thumbs on a tiny phone.

Nearly A Moose
Posts: 559
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Re: SUV options with 3 little kids

Post by Nearly A Moose » Thu Oct 12, 2017 2:45 pm

Nearly A Moose wrote:
Thu Oct 12, 2017 2:35 pm
Lincoln wrote:
Wed Oct 11, 2017 4:11 pm
minivan, quit fighting it
Honestly, and this is coming getting a guy who drive a 330 HP car before kids, just get a minivan. Every time I've rented one on vacation, I've asked myself why I bothered with my SUV. They have tons of interior space, amazing cargo capacity (seriously, i can't see out the back of my SUV on the way to the airport, but the trunk of a minivan just swallows everything up, without even putting down any seats), and the good ones have extremely well designed interior ergonomics. If you have kids and extra adults in the car, its a lot easier to get everyone into and out of a minivan. In all seriousness, I wish I had gotten a nice minivan for this stage of my life.

And do you really want to mess with kids in carseats in a Lexus/Porsche/Benz/etc. Kids will DESTROY those...
But since you don't want a minivan (I like to think of them as road yachts), we have friends who are very happy with their Pilot. Not as many kids as you, but it's spacious and adequately appointed.
Pardon typos, I'm probably using my fat thumbs on a tiny phone.

researcher
Posts: 360
Joined: Thu Mar 12, 2015 7:05 pm

Re: SUV options with 3 little kids

Post by researcher » Thu Oct 12, 2017 2:57 pm

tsukune wrote:
Thu Oct 12, 2017 1:26 pm
researcher - And about visiting 20 dealerships with 3 carseats each time - are you serious?
I am trying to eliminate models online... I then plan to visit dealerships to look at maybe 5 cars max with my carseats before taking the plunge....
The second is a subjective criteria i.e. parents who have fit or have not been able to fit 3 kids in carseats in the second row - and those are the data points I am collecting in this post!
With two threads on the exact same topic, and having received a wealth of responses, your list has grown from FIVE to TWENTY vehicles.
Your attempt at eliminating models through online research isn't working, and is instead having the opposite impact.

I don't think you'll get the information you're seeking here...fitting 3 carseats in the second row of these 20 SUVs "with relative ease."
There are just too many variables...type of car seats, age/size of kids, varying perceptions of easy, ect.

There is no way I would personally visit 20 dealerships to check carseat fitment. But I also wouldn't have 20 vehicles on my consideration list.
I don't know how you move on from this analysis paralysis, other than actually visiting dealerships.
Across all of the responses you've received so far, only ONE vehicle could be eliminated, the Porsche Cayenne.
I'm not sure how you are going to eliminate 15 more.

t60
Posts: 105
Joined: Fri Mar 07, 2014 1:19 pm

Re: SUV options with 3 little kids

Post by t60 » Thu Oct 12, 2017 4:16 pm

researcher wrote:
Thu Oct 12, 2017 2:57 pm
I don't think you'll get the information you're seeking here...fitting 3 carseats in the second row of these 20 SUVs "with relative ease."
Pretty obvious BH is the worst place for this..OP, I suggest signing up and do some reading here: https://www.car-seat.org/forumdisplay.p ... cle-Safety

RDB
Posts: 108
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Re: SUV options with 3 little kids

Post by RDB » Thu Oct 12, 2017 5:00 pm

I will weigh in again since we now know that minivan is a for sure no. We have 3 kids (4, 4, 2). We have an Odyssey and an XC90, but it is not the current model, our third row is not great. Of the cars we looked at, I like the new XC90, Honda Pilot (do not like the exterior), and Acura MDX. I do not love paying between $120-$620 for service on the Volvo. I am sure there are cheaper places to service, but that is another discussion. If I was in your shoes, I would buy the Pilot. Having owned a BMW, Volvo, and now a Honda, I can say that I do not enjoy the luxury features of the BMW or Volvo any more than I do our Honda. That is personal opinion, if a more luxurious car is your preference, I think the Volvo XC90 and Acura MDX should be tops on your list, which it looks like they are.

shanefairman
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Re: SUV options with 3 little kids

Post by shanefairman » Thu Oct 12, 2017 5:14 pm

We were looking for a similar vehicle but at a lower price range than you.

In the end we ended up going with a slightly used Ford Transit T350 Wagon. It's a 12 passenger van with plenty of cargo space. It does lack luxury features but it's very well designed and its European engine bay really helps with the layout.

We currently only have 2 kids but have a 3rd on the way. We have two car seats in the 2nd row. There is enough room for me to move from the passenger seat to between the two car seats. I have no doubts that 3 car seats will fit just fine in the 2nd row.

The secondary market on the Ford transit is awful. The good news is you can get a 1 year old van with low miles for less than half of the price of buying new. If you hold it long term it's a great deal.

We were not expecting to get a 12 passenger van but since owning one we will likely have a few over the next couple decades.
“You must not only think for yourself, you must plan for yourself, and you must plan ahead, and you must live up to these plans. You must know exactly what you want to do.” -George Carlin, Boston Rant

sunspotzsz
Posts: 206
Joined: Fri May 08, 2009 9:35 am

Re: SUV options with 3 little kids

Post by sunspotzsz » Thu Oct 12, 2017 5:36 pm

we bought the Volvo XC90 and love it

chuckb84
Posts: 199
Joined: Wed Oct 21, 2015 10:41 am
Location: New Mexico

Re: SUV options with 3 little kids

Post by chuckb84 » Thu Oct 12, 2017 5:48 pm

Minivan. Just get over it and do it

I don't know if it is still true, but the Pilot and Odyssey used to be the same chassis, transmission and engine, the just body was different. So, if you like the Pilot, the Odyssey is the same mechanically.

Mountain Man
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Re: SUV options with 3 little kids

Post by Mountain Man » Thu Oct 12, 2017 9:10 pm

I didn't see it on your original list, but I'd suggest you look at a Chevy Suburban/Tahoe XL. It can haul all the people and stuff you want. All those small and mid-sized SUVs with three kids are a drag.

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wander
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Re: SUV options with 3 little kids

Post by wander » Thu Oct 12, 2017 9:28 pm

Minivan seems sensible. Mom can move back an forth from passenger seat anytime to assist them. Minivan has a smoother ride and slow acceleration. Shocks are not firm like SUV so it is more comfort for long distance trip.

privateer79
Posts: 91
Joined: Fri Apr 04, 2008 12:21 am

Re: SUV options with 3 little kids

Post by privateer79 » Thu Oct 12, 2017 9:49 pm

3 years ago we got a great deal on a higher trim level traverse coming off 2-yr lease, (20K miles 25k$, fully loaded, 2-2-3 configuration)

its been working great for our kids... the older one loves sitting in the "way" back, and we have captain's chairs in the mid row so we can haul grandma and grandpa around in comfort every once in a while....

essentially its almost a minivan, but styled (and able to tow) like a AWD SUV... we wouldn't have looked at it, except we rented one in florida on vacation once and were hooked.... I'd recommend test driving it at least.t

EddyB
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Joined: Fri May 24, 2013 3:43 pm

Re: SUV options with 3 little kids

Post by EddyB » Thu Oct 12, 2017 9:53 pm

Ford Flex in 2-2-2 configuration drives nicely and has real third-row seats that can be accessed even with car seats in the second row.

Slacker
Posts: 444
Joined: Thu May 26, 2016 8:40 am

Re: SUV options with 3 little kids

Post by Slacker » Thu Oct 12, 2017 10:15 pm

Many people mentioned using Diono seats so I thought it would be appropriate to add this notification:

https://www.cbsnews.com/news/diono-issu ... car-seats/

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Sandtrap
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Location: Hawaii😀 Northern AZ.😳

Re: SUV options with 3 little kids

Post by Sandtrap » Thu Oct 12, 2017 10:38 pm

Honda Pilot.
Far above the pack in long term reliability and dependability and resale value.

samta09
Posts: 56
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Re: SUV options with 3 little kids

Post by samta09 » Fri Oct 13, 2017 2:14 am

researcher wrote:
Thu Oct 12, 2017 12:02 pm
Here was my response to your last post on this same subject...
"I think you are getting yourself into the weeds and suffering from analysis paralysis.
You started this thread with FIVE options...along with a group of luxury models that you expressed several concerns about.
After receiving lots of helpful advice and information, you list has grown to ELEVEN models, seven of which are luxury brands!"
So in this second post, your updated list now includes TWENTY models!

You are never going to get actionable advice when there are so many vehicles on your list. Why are you comparing such disparate vehicles?
Ford Explorer vs. Range Rover Sport? GMC Acadia vs. Porsche Cayenne? Really?

You need to decide on a class of vehicle (luxury vs. mainstream), then start doing research and asking for opinions.
If having 3 carseats in the second row is a top criteria, then why not visit dealerships and fit your carseats into these vehicles?
Eliminate all of the models where the seats will not safely/comfortably fit.
Great advice but OP unlikely to take. New list might include MODEL X...has falcon doors easier to get in/out and look cool. To OP, seems like Minivan might be too boring despite uncompromised practicality.

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