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Old 06-19-2011, 01:56 PM   #1
VanIsleMommy
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safest vehicles for two or more kids?

requirements:

- easy car seat installation
- reasonably good gas mileage
- lots of cargo space for stroller, dog etc (would love proper safe cargo barrier)
- would love optional 3rd row seat that folds down flat, but not sure on the safety features i should look for
- i like sitting a bit higher than a compact car but i find the suv is a bit too high to get in/out of, I've put my back out numerous times lifting kids/gear
- prefer if it can accomodate tall and older kids as well for the future.

any thoughts?
 
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Old 06-19-2011, 04:29 PM   #2
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Re: safest vehicles for two or more kids?

Hi! Given your list, I'd say the Honda Odyssey, assuming a new vehicle. The Toyota Sienna is also a great van, but it really lacks in top tethers and tether locations. When I had an '05 Sienna, we called it our "apartment on wheels" because it had so much space to hold stuff.

We now have an '11 Acura MDX and I really like it a lot. It seats 7 and the 2nd row is quite huge. We don't really need the cargo space since we don't haul stuff, but the cargo area is nicely sized. Our dog is only 25 lbs., so she doesn't take up much space, though her crate, if we don't fold it down, does. One reason we bought it is because my dh is 6'5" and my 11.5 yr old is going that way too. We need a lot of leg space in the 2nd row and it had the most of the vehicles I was comparing it to. Since it's more cross-over like, it's not as jacked up as a true SUV, like a Suburban or Expedition.
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Old 06-19-2011, 07:02 PM   #3
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Re: safest vehicles for two or more kids?

I will only drive a minivan because I prefer the lower center of gravity. I feel safer in one. And I also prefer the space...and easy-ness of it all (hello, power sliding doors!).

I have a 2011 Toyota Sienna. I test drove both the Honda Odyssey and the Sienna and by far preferred the Sienna, for a number of reasons. The Sienna doesn't have as many LATCH positions as the Ody, though, so that is something to be considered if you have smaller kids, still in harnessed carseats. My oldest, 8 1/2, sits in the center of the 3rd row in his highback booster (the roofline is higher on the Sienna, which was a large deciding factor for me), so I have no need for top tethers or lower anchors back there (there is one full set of LATCH, though, in the center).

Gas mileage is great...I do ALL city driving and I average 21-22 MPG. Cargo space is AWESOME. We are leaving for a 7 day, 1,000 mile (each way) road trip in a few days, and everything I need packed will fit in the "trunk" space, including a stroller and pack n play. I don't need to collapse any of the 3rd row (not that I would anyways) and we don't need a roof carrier.

The vehicle seats are pretty straight-fwd and I haven't, yet, had any installation issues. All of the headrests are adjustable and removeable. Legroom is very generous.

Hope that helps a little.
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Old 06-20-2011, 01:10 AM   #4
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Re: safest vehicles for two or more kids?

I should also mention, DH REFUSES to get a minivan. which is completely silly... but anyways...

the honda odyssey looks promising! it may be a little too mini-van-ish for him, but worth a look for sure.

any thoughts on other crossovers like the chevrolet traverse or the toyota highlander? or the hyundai crossover (forget the name)?

we will probably end up getting used, since we really need to upgrade BOTH vehicles. my vehicle is not all that family friendly (it was dh's bachelor mobile long ago lol...) and the truck is a crewcab 2000 f150 which has a whole grocery list of carseat install issues and is starting to need repairs every month anyways. I'll be taking a downgrade from leather seats etc but I don't care as long as it's safer for me and the kiddos
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Old 06-20-2011, 02:00 PM   #5
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Re: safest vehicles for two or more kids?

It looks like you prefer crossovers. It's hard to find a midsize or larger SUV (for the cargo space you mentioned) that gets even "reasonably good" gas mileage, especially if you get a V6 engine and/or AWD.

Since you mentioned "safest" in your title, one that comes to mind as having decent IIHS and NHTSA crash test ratings would be the Kia Sorrento, the base version with 2WD and the 4-cylinder engine. You can also find them with a 3rd row seat option. That may be a good compromise for cargo space, fuel economy and safety. Design changes were made during the 2011 model year, according to the IIHS, so those made after March 2010 had the top safety rating.

The Traverse you mentioned is a very reasonable choice in terms of safety, too, but I don't think it comes with a third row seat, even as an option. The fuel economy is quite a bit lower, too.
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Old 06-20-2011, 02:19 PM   #6
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You might find that your preferences for a car for "two kids" is very different than your preferences with "or more."

With two kids, your options are nearly endless (well, you know). Now that I'm expecting my third, things that worked with two (even relatively large things, like my Honda Pilot with three rows) won't work for me. Not that it CAN'T work--just that it won't work well.

I'd say minivan is the best option. Frankly, most men (and many women) probably aren't thrilled with the idea until they actually have one and realize how amazing they are for kids.

If we didn't have a minivan, I'd want an SUV (or crossover, if they exist) with captains chairs so the third row is easy to access.
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