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  1. #1
    PunkyBoo is offline Platinum level (1000+ posts)
    Join Date
    Apr 2010

    Default Suv with 3rd row seats?

    DH has finally acknowledged that we need a new car. His truck needs work that will cost more than the truck is worth. For many reasons, we plan to sell his truck, let him take my 11 year old Highlander and lease me something new with 3rd row seats (but NO minivan). We haven't shopped for cars in 11+years. If you have an suv with 3rd row seats, what do you have? What do you love/ hate about it? Why did you pick it? If you don't have one now but have looked, what would you get? We need to narrow down our options so it doesn't take us forever to sit in and test drive every larger suv of every make on the market.
    Please excuse all my typos- typing on a kindle fire!
    Member of "I Love Brussels Sprouts" Society
    Mama to DS1 Punkin (2/04) and DS2 Boo (1/09)

  2. #2
    kdeunc is offline Sapphire level (2000+ posts)
    Join Date
    Aug 2002


    DH and I both have suburbans. We have three kids and 2 100 lb dogs to transport. We really like the suburban. Our's have the captains chairs in the middle row so it is easy in and out. We also need 4 wheel drive in addition to the space so these were our best option.

    DS 1 12-02
    DS 2 12-04
    DD 07-08

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jul 2009


    I have the Acura MDX - had it for a year now and I LOVE it. Love that it is spacious, but not huge on the outside. I love the backup camera, and the fact that it handles like a car not like a huge SUV. I previously test drove the Audi Q7 and hated how slowly it responded.

    ETA: I also love that you can fit a person in the second row with two carseats, which means we can regularly fit 5 people, plus have lots of trunk space with the 3rd row folded down.
    Mom to Mr. Sunshine 9/08
    and Miss Happiness 3/11

  4. #4
    Twoboos is offline Diamond level (5000+ posts)
    Join Date
    Dec 2006


    2 years ago I had a 9+ year old Highlanderů and got another Highlander! The newer versions are just a little bigger which is the perfect size for us. (Many times I wished our old one was just a tad bigger. I think they heard me!) Love the 3rd row split seats, automatic rear door close and the fact that you can open the just rear window to put stuff in. Just love the whole thing. I'd say give it a try.

    ETA: Backup camera - how could I forget! Plus I could fit between the two carseats (could only do that very uncomfortably in the older version).
    "Every mother needs a wife." - Amy Poehler, Yes Please

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Apr 2010


    Honda Pilot

    We picked it because it allows us to keep DD's car seat in the middle (Britax Frontier 85) and still have ample room for an adult to sit next to her.

    It also has 4wheel drive, roomy cargo space and great visibility.

    Oh yes, the backup camera is the best! Love it.

    We are, however, considering running boards because it is a bit high up for little ones to climb unassisted.
    Last edited by lkoala; 12-05-2013 at 05:49 PM. Reason: car seat model - explains the need for a roomier 2nd row.

  6. #6
    Katigre is offline Emerald level (3000+ posts)
    Join Date
    Jan 2006


    Mitsubishi outlander xls has a pop up third row. We're happy with it though it only works for kids.

    Sent from my Android phone using Swype
    Mom of 4: Boy (10), Girl (7), Boy (4), Girl (2)

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Oct 2003


    We have the 2009 Ford Flex and love it. We wanted four wheel or AWD. We wanted a third rom big enough for adults to ride in. And we wanted the third and second rows to fold down completely flat--a lot of vehicles have those seats fold down but have ridges still--so dh and ds could sleep in the back if they wanted to for overnight fishing trips.

    The Flex checks all those boxes.

    We can seat seven (we have the second row as a bench). And that third row is roomy enough to be comfortable even for tall adults for long trips. It was also the roomiest feeling inside of everything we drove, even though it's basically the same size on the outside. And it had the best visibility, especially rear visibility of everything we drove. We particularly disliked how the Mazada CX9 of that year was very tight feeling inside and hard to see out of the back. Since we drive to places with a lot of kids (schools, little league fields, swim classes, etc) good visibility out the back is a very high priority for us.

    We also like the height. It is not as tall as some of the big SUVs which makes it easier for everyone, but especially our parents and little kids, to get in and out of.

    Dh tends to like German cars for that tighter fit where things don't rattle, etc. He feels like the Flex has that too.

    The main downsides for us are that it is a big-ass SUV which makes it hard to park in San Francisco. And the gas mileage isn't great--though it turns out it is exactly the same as my 2005 Subaru Forester. I think those would be true of any vehicle in that class though.


  8. #8
    squimp is offline Diamond level (5000+ posts)
    Join Date
    Jan 2004



    We had one and I really liked it. They are super popular around here. It was the best car in the snow I ever drove, and I've had 2 subarus. I don't need such a big car and didn't like parking it, so I went back to my forester and DH got a 4runner.

  9. #9
    sariana is offline Diamond level (5000+ posts)
    Join Date
    Sep 2008
    Orange County, CA


    Another Highlander owner--and lover--here. I like it for all the same reasons as PP. we have a hybrid, so gas mileage is good too.
    DS '04 "Boogaboo"
    DD '08 "Lilybear"

  10. #10
    AnnieW625's Avatar
    AnnieW625 is offline Black Diamond level (25,000+ posts)
    Join Date
    Jan 2006


    If you have an suv with 3rd row seats, what do you have?
    2006 Honda Pilot 2WD (with pretty much every option except nav., and DVD; it is the EX-L model)

    What do you love/ hate about it?
    Love: the size, I wouldn't feel comfortable driving anything bigger
    Hate: DH doesn't think that the quality of interior materials and overall feel of the car are up to par with the 1996 Honda Accord LX coupe we replaced to get the Pilot. Strange to me as this car has leather and all the niceties that were available at the time, but DH thinks it isn't as solid even though our old Accord was a middle of the road model. Mechanically speaking I am not a huge fan of the brakes as I think they are too squishy and I am on my 3rd set of brakes, but the car has 135K miles on it and we drive it about 15k miles per year. We are also on our third set of tires. I don't like the radio in it either, but it isn't horrible, but I like the one in my mom's 05 Highlander better. Of course now that would be comparing apples to watermelons probably.
    slight annoyance: gas mileage could be better we get about 19 in the city and in stop and go freeway traffic (22, I-5, and parts of 605), but for trips with zero traffic we have gotten 24-26 mpg.

    Why did you pick it?
    We did not initially have any 3rd row SUVs on our list, the dealer just happened to have one with it and the price was right so that is why we went with it. The 3rd row didn't really get used more than 2 or 3 times until DD1 was in kindergarten.

    We had narrowed our choices down to the Honda CR-V, Honda Pilot, Toyota Highlander, and a few used luxury SUVs (Volvo, Acura, Lexus, and BMW). We couldn't get a deal on the Highlander (2K more than the Pilot) and the used luxury SUVs had too many miles for the price and we drive a lot so less miles was important to us. DH would have liked a Chevy Tahoe or GMC Yukon, but DH didn't want to drive the new car in his work area so it was going to be mine and I have to park in a parking garage and don't like driving larger cars to begin with so those cars were off our list.

    We had looked at both the Pilot, and the CR-V at one of the auto shows and we liked them both, but I thought I really would be okay with the smaller CR-V, but as it turned out during our test drive we thought it was a little cramped and DH thought we would eventually need more space, and he was right.

    In hindsight the only model I think we should have looked at but didn't was the same model year Toyota 4Runner because that automatic back window would hae been really helpful, but now with all of the automatic closing rear gates it is probably a moot point for many people.

    If you don't have one now but have looked, what would you get?
    We are car junkies so we usually go to one auto show per year (either OC or LA) so we have looked at other SUVs and if we were to buy today we already have a list of potential Pilot replacements. The first choice would most likely be the Jeep Grand Cherokee because size wise it is very similar to the size of our Pilot, but it doesn't have a 3rd row. The Ford Flex, and the Ford Explorer would also be contenders. DH likes the styling of the Flex and for all of the 3 row non Suburban/Expedition XL/Yukon XL/Escalade ESV it isn't as huge (although it is long---reminds me of a 1980s large station wagon parking wise as it is long), but still has quite a bit of space to easily fit kids in whether you do two rows of seats or captains chairs and a third row bench. I did a research and drive study for the Ford Explorer last year and I was really happy and suprised by the car and for the price I thought it was a good deal and one nice thing is that it wasn't that much larger than the current models of the Pilot and Highlander. If money were no option I would look at CPO Infiniti JX crossover SUV.

    eta: for ease of test drives go through the Costco Auto Program and select the cars that you like. You then contact the dealer and schedule the test drive and then they will tell you price. Last January GM had some awesome incentives on their cars. Volvo has also had some awesome incentives like employee pricing, and $500 Costco cash card. The price listed on the Costco Auto Program website is the invoice price for the area where you live and then the dealer will go under invoice by an undisclosed amount of money (I got my VW for $500 less than invoice). You can also PM me if you want the contact information for the dealer where we bought our Pilot; that was a painless sale as well.
    Last edited by AnnieW625; 12-05-2013 at 07:35 PM.
    WOHM to two wonderful little girls born in April
    DD E, 11
    (passes the 5 step test in 06 Honda Pilot in 2nd & 3rd row, and 2017 Subaru Outback)
    DD L, 7
    (Frontier 90, & Peg Perego Viaggio HBB 120)
    baby 2, 4-2009 (our Tri-18 baby)

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