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    Thread: Help Me Out - MidSize SUV w/ Most 3rd Row Room

    1. Senior Member beng's Avatar
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      08-28-2012 03:07 PM #1
      Here's the deal. We're planning for a second kid... looking to upgrade the fleet. We're trying to avoid the dreaded mini-van... and so... we're looking at Mid-Size SUVs with 3rd row seating... which would allow us to have 2 car seats and at least two more passengers (most frequently, my in-laws).

      I've had the following on my list ...Pilot, Acadia, Highlander, Explorer and Traverse...
      I can also tell you we rented a Kia Sorrento during a trip a few weeks ago... and though it had a third seat, I wouldnt say it was very functional for a normal full-size adult. So... if all of the others I listed are like that.... then I guess we have to look at mini-vans too.

      I googled... but didnt turn up much... other than people recommending the 50k full size SUVs for the most 3rd row room. Im trying to keep the price tag under 40k.

      Any help would be appreciated.
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    2. Geriatric Member AKADriver's Avatar
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      08-28-2012 03:15 PM #2
      I don't understand why you wouldn't buy a van here. What's the dread? It's better, in every measurable way, than a large crossover. Including handling and fun to drive. Seriously. Vans have a lower CG and usually have lower-profile wheels and tires.

      Crossovers like that are for people who are too vain, egos too fragile, to buy the right tool for the job like a MAN would.
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    3. Member Mike!'s Avatar
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      08-28-2012 03:32 PM #3
      Quote Originally Posted by beng View Post
      I've had the following on my list ...Pilot, Acadia, Highlander, Explorer and Traverse...
      I can also tell you we rented a Kia Sorrento during a trip a few weeks ago... and though it had a third seat, I wouldnt say it was very functional for a normal full-size adult. So... if all of the others I listed are like that.... then I guess we have to look at mini-vans too.
      Heck, even the second row of a Sorento isn't very functional for a normal full-sized adult (I was more cramped in one than I expected to be).

      It sounds like the models you're considering are between 188" and 202" in overall length, which is a large range. The Lamdas and Explorer would probably properly be considered full-size. They're as long as a Chevrolet Tahoe, or a Chrysler 300, Dodge Charger, Ford Taurus, and other 'large' sedans.

      Anecdotally, I think the Explorer or Lambdas have the most third row room, as well as actually having room behind them if the third row is up. Of course, they are big vehicles overall too.

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      08-28-2012 03:33 PM #4
      Funk flex
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    5. Member eluwak's Avatar
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      08-28-2012 03:37 PM #5
      Adults sit in the third row of the Acadia whenever the folks are in town. It's probably the most spacious of them all, probably including full-size SUVs.
      <insert comment here>

    6. Senior Member beng's Avatar
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      08-28-2012 03:41 PM #6
      Quote Originally Posted by AKADriver View Post
      I don't understand why you wouldn't buy a van here. What's the dread? It's better, in every measurable way, than a large crossover. Including handling and fun to drive. Seriously. Vans have a lower CG and usually have lower-profile wheels and tires.

      Crossovers like that are for people who are too vain, egos too fragile, to buy the right tool for the job like a MAN would.
      They get a big fat meh fro me in terms of styling. I'm happy to chalk it up to simple vanity. I dont want to drive around a mini van, because even though Im a Dad in my 30s, I like to try and maintain some semblance of cool, maaaaan. Also, I like the functionality of an SUV...AWD, Cargo, Towing, etc.

      So there... it's because I think they're cooler. So, which one will allow me to cart my in-laws around with me, my wife and two kids, with the least amount of discomfort?

      What is a Lambda?
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    7. 08-28-2012 03:52 PM #7
      when you have adult passengers, why not move the kids to the 3rd row?
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      08-28-2012 03:53 PM #8
      Quote Originally Posted by beng View Post
      What is a Lambda?
      GM architecture name for what underpins the Enclave, Acadia, dearly-departed Outlook, and Traverse.

      It's roomy, seats up to 8, and tows up to 5,000 lbs while not being bigger or much worse on gas than a minivan. For the most part, you pick which styling and brand you prefer (the Acadia looks best to me) but there are some differences in standard and available features. The Traverse is the lowest on the totem pole, then the Acadia, then the Enclave. The Acadia is also available in Denali trim though, which puts it right up there with the Enclave.
      Last edited by Mike!; 08-28-2012 at 03:57 PM.

    9. 08-28-2012 03:58 PM #9
      Quote Originally Posted by beng View Post
      What is a Lambda?
      Lambda is the GM platform name for its full-size CUV (Traverse, Enclave and Acadia).

      The Sorento is not in the same size segment as the others; it's not even really a mid-size CUV being a bit of a "tweener."

      If you can wait a bit, the LWB 3-row Santa Fe will be out early next year (right now, only the smaller SF Sport is out) to compare along w/ the Lambdas, the Pilot, Explorer and Highlander.

      But the Lambdas are the largest of the lot; comparable to the Lambdas and bigger than the Explorer is the Ford Flex so you might want to look at that as well (probably can get a real good deal on the Flex since it's not a big seller).
      Last edited by CP1; 08-28-2012 at 04:01 PM.
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    10. Member TigerinColorado's Avatar
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      08-28-2012 04:12 PM #10
      Mid sizers only huh?
      1. Ford Flex (optional 2nd row captains chairs)
      2. GMC Acadia (optional 2nd Row Captains)
      2.5 Chevy Traverse (2nd row Capt)
      3. Buick Enclave (2nd row captain)
      4. Dodge Durango (2nd row captain chair option = EZ 3rd row access)
      5. Land Rover LR3 &4 (2nd rows are bench only)
      6. Dodge Grand Caravan R/T model (Sporty, 3 fit in 3rd row))
      7. Toyota Sienna SE AWD model (Sporty, 3 fit in 3rd row)

      Full Sizers??
      3rd rows in the Ford Expedition/L or a used Lincoln Navigator/L or a used Toyota Sequoia are impressive.
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    11. 08-28-2012 04:16 PM #11
      Try the Infiniti JX35, it has the best interior package of 7 people for a SUV.

    12. Member 2000JettaGLXVR6's Avatar
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      08-28-2012 04:17 PM #12
      Land Cruiser offers generous 3rd row leg room

    13. 08-28-2012 04:21 PM #13
      We have a Jeep Commander and its been an excellent car. Can't buy them new but they're pretty inexpensive used with low miles. The foot well on the third row is not deep but unless you plan on taking long drives with adults in the back, I don't see it as an issue.

    14. 08-28-2012 04:31 PM #14
      We were in the same situation and don't care for minivans either. We had a budget so were looking at used cars (2009 or newer). I test drove a lot of mid-size SUVs with a 3rd row:
      • Ford Explorer
      • Toyota Highlander
      • Honda Pilot
      • GMC Acadia
      • Chevy Traverse
      • Mazda CX9


      The Toyota was ok, but had really numb driving characteristics and didn't have a lot of room in the 3rd row. The Pilot felt really cheap and was SLOW. The Acadia and Traverse felt like a boat and also felt really cheap. I really liked the new Explorer, but I was looking at used cars and they were too far out of my price range. We went with a used CX9. The 3rd row has limited headroom, but is fine for anyone under 6 ft. Kids are really comfortable back there. I loved the way the CX9 drove more than any of the others.
      This space available

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      08-28-2012 05:01 PM #15
      Whats the price range you want to stay around and are you considering crossovers..

      i ask because i was in the same boat 3 years ago.. i have 3 kids and my wife hates mini vans..

      after all the looking around and trying to stay under 30K we found the dodge journey we ordered a SE with base motor for gas mileage and the 3rd row seat.. wasn't really peppy with the motor but got good gas mileage and seated everyone. even enough room to seat a full 5 kids with we took our kids friends out when needed..

      after all said and done with rebates and added option we paid under 22k out the door.. as a VW lover we really looked at the tiggy and toureg but tiggy wasn't big enought the toureg was way to much..

      we loved the journey until we needed a hauler so we got a truck..

      pros on the journey
      Price you will not find much in 3rd row at the price point of the journey..
      Gas mileage ours had the 4 cyl and did great for what it was..
      we were able to fit 2 full sized adult in the 3rd row 2nd row slide back and forth..

      Cons
      power the next motor option would of solved that but we were thinking about economics at the time (2009)..
      soft ride our had the 16 inch steel wheels and once again bigger rim option would of made if feel a bit firmer a 75 sidewall is squishy lol..

      there are a few other pros and cons but with the slight chance in styling both interior and exterior in 2011 (2009) was first model year.,

      we did love our journey base 4 cyl tow 1500 but the next motor will do 2500 if i remember correctly.

      certified used journey can be had with top options for well under 20k now and you get that added certified warranty to go with it..

      just something to look into..
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    16. Moderator PsyberVW's Avatar
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      08-28-2012 05:10 PM #16
      Quote Originally Posted by eluwak View Post
      Adults sit in the third row of the Acadia whenever the folks are in town. It's probably the most spacious of them all, probably including full-size SUVs.
      I will second this. My mom just bought a Buick Enclave and she liked these for having the most usable 3rd row in the mid size class (Acadia, Traverse? Are the same I think.)

    17. Moderator PsyberVW's Avatar
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      08-28-2012 05:14 PM #17
      I think if you really want the best value, get a mini-van. You get everything you want and much more practicality. Today these are pretty fast and high-tech too. Nothing to be ashamed of driving- great vehicles.

    18. Moderator rs4-380's Avatar
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      08-28-2012 05:24 PM #18
      I can't believe the acadia/traverse end up in the mid-size category. same size as an expedition.
      Dave

    19. Member kptaylor's Avatar
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      08-28-2012 06:01 PM #19
      When you go looking at these SUVs, try stuffing your stroller and/or baby gear in the back along with a few grocery bags. You'll probably then see why vans work so much better. We have three kids, including two teenage boys, so we had to switch to a van if we ever wanted to carry anything in the back. The SUVs just carried too little behind the third row.

    20. 08-28-2012 06:07 PM #20
      I just bought my wife a 2012 Pilot EX-L 4WD. It's a very nice truck. Utilitarian and boxy on the outside, plush on the inside and with great features. They made a ton of changes to the 2012 EX-L trim level and I got ours for $32k and some change. They were trying to get almost $38k for it on the sticker.

      It's a breeze to get into the third row even as a full size adult and the ergonomics are just superb throughout. The factory sound system is also notable...very good sound, sub in the trunk area, and nice iPhone integration via dock connector or BT audio profile. I went into the project thinking that we'd get the CX-9 or the Highlander but the Pilot really surprised me.

      Also worth pointing out is that I think the engine is actually very strong. Quite torquey off the line and it keeps up the same feeling of strength even fully loaded with all eight passengers in place. The only time you'll feel the weight is when you're merging onto the freeway with a full load, but even then it's acceptable.

      Let me know if you have any more questions about the Pilot -- happy to answer them.

    21. Member GolfTango's Avatar
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      08-28-2012 06:14 PM #21
      Saturn Outlook. Can be had cheap and are identical to its Lambada GM cousins at a fraction of the price. 3.6 goodness too.
      Last edited by GolfTango; 08-28-2012 at 06:17 PM.
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    22. 08-28-2012 06:40 PM #22
      Just wanted to add kudos to the Enclave. Wife and I test drove one on the spring. It had really good power and the trans felt smooth. On the highway and in town it's super quiet inside. And the room, wow, real three row seating for adults. Checked out the new Infiniti JX mid size/three row, third row not for adults, cramped interior. The Enclave is a Mini Van in a lux SUV shape.
      Only knocks for us was price, $51,000, and the dash, faux wood was a tad gaudy (new dash design coming for new model). We also had a hard time justifying it size wise, one child, we rarely carry a crowd. Unfortunately, they hold their value, used ones can be pricey. I like mini vans but the Mrs and family ain't having it. If I needed comfort, room, power and a quiet cabin, I would search for a good used one. Drive and sit in one after doing the same in a Pilot and others that size and see if it's worth selling a kidney. They really are nice.
      Last edited by Burnette; 08-28-2012 at 08:13 PM.

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      08-28-2012 07:28 PM #23
      Quote Originally Posted by beng View Post
      Here's the deal. We're planning for a second kid... looking to upgrade the fleet. We're trying to avoid the dreaded mini-van... and so... we're looking at Mid-Size SUVs with 3rd row seating... which would allow us to have 2 car seats and at least two more passengers (most frequently, my in-laws).
      Given your desired use, the pick here is a Traverse/Acadia/Outlook/Enclave with second row captains chairs. They have the most room in the third row plus the captain chairs let the other passengers walk to the 3rd row without messing with the child seats. A Flex with 2nd row captains would be a second pick.

      Tom

    24. Senior Member beng's Avatar
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      08-28-2012 09:19 PM #24
      This is why I love this site. Thanks for all of the suggestions. Ill update the thread after some test drives.
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      "I don't know half of you half as well as I should like; and I like less than half of you half as well as you deserve"

    25. 09-03-2012 12:07 AM #25
      ^ If you can wait a bit the Lambdas are getting a refresh starting with the 2013MY Enclave (upgraded interior) so you can either opt for the refreshed Lambdas or get a real good deal on the older models.
      Why you wouldn’t (buy an Optima SX):

      Because you have your eyes on the Frigidaire Limited Edition Camry that you saw last weekend at the neighborhood Autoplex
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    26. Senior Member beng's Avatar
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      02-01-2013 09:02 AM #26
      Spent the last three weeks or so shopping around the area... Looking at the suggestions in this thread.

      Flex: Im probably in the minority, but I like the styling... Though, its 3rd row room is very meager. Im 5'8 and I could barely get my legs into the 3rd row.

      Acadia: Really liked it. Loved the new facade on the 2013 refresh (front LEDs). Inventory was non existent though. Didnt have time to custom order.

      Traverse: My wifes fav. Was able to locate a basically loaded LTZ in my area. Drove nice. Incentives (considering it was a 2013) were awesome. Ended up with 3500 in rebates and a selling price of 100 over invoice. Not a huge fan of the green interior lighting but otherwise, i really like this thing. Totally loaded. Heated/cooled seats, 20 inch wheels, chrome running boards...

      Thanks to everyone for their help!

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      "I don't know half of you half as well as I should like; and I like less than half of you half as well as you deserve"

    27. Member SLC_Punker's Avatar
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      02-01-2013 09:09 AM #27
      Quote Originally Posted by beng View Post
      This is why I love this site. Thanks for all of the suggestions. Ill update the thread after some test drives.
      We test drove basically everything in this thread, and ended up with a Hyundai Veracruz. You can probably pick one up cheap now, like the Outlook. We liked the CX9 a lot too.

      EDIT: just saw the last post. Looks nice, enjoy!

    28. Member 200HP4dr's Avatar
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      02-01-2013 09:13 AM #28
      That looks really nice. Did you end up buying it?

      Chris
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    29. Senior Member beng's Avatar
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      02-01-2013 10:26 AM #29
      We ended up leasing. Super aggressive rates from Chevy and the residual on these is pretty good for the segment.
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    30. Member 200HP4dr's Avatar
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      02-01-2013 10:44 AM #30
      Nice. Congrats. I'm thinking of heading to the dealership today and looking at a Volt.

      Chris
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    31. Member BostonB6's Avatar
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      02-01-2013 12:00 PM #31
      Quote Originally Posted by 200HP4dr View Post
      Nice. Congrats. I'm thinking of heading to the dealership today and looking at a Volt.

      Chris

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      02-01-2013 12:10 PM #32
      Quote Originally Posted by 200HP4dr View Post
      Nice. Congrats. I'm thinking of heading to the dealership today and looking at a Volt.

      Chris
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    33. Member Mike!'s Avatar
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      02-01-2013 12:48 PM #33
      Congrats, great choice!

      I didn't care much for the original Traverse; I always thought it had Rental-Ready styling. The new 2013 is actually a good looker though, almost even with the Acadia in my book.

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      02-01-2013 08:06 PM #34
      Quote Originally Posted by beng View Post
      Here's the deal. We're planning for a second kid... looking to upgrade the fleet. We're trying to avoid the dreaded mini-van... and so... we're looking at Mid-Size SUVs with 3rd row seating...
      There's no reason to dread the space you'll get from a Mini-Van. You'll find out soon enough that there's a difference between packing 6-7ppl in a car and fitting 6-7ppl with gear comfortably.

      My Dad just picked up a brand new Mazda CX9 and I got to spend some time driving. I's a damn nice ride that meets all of your goals for ~$38K. The turn-in response and handling are surprisingly criss for a car with 3rd row.

    35. 02-01-2013 08:36 PM #35
      I don't believe anyone has mentioned this, but with car seats installed it will be almost impossible for old people to access the third row, unless acrobatic. If you want to get old people in the back, your going to need captains chairs. I have a current generation pilot with two rear facing car seats, I know from experience.

      Sent from my SGH-T999 using Tapatalk 2

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