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  1. #1
    Carseat Crazy
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    Best vehicle for 3-5 kids that's NOT a minivan?

    OK, this is a year off but I'm researching now, I'm a HUGE researcher

    I currently have a Dodge durango with a 3rd row. I love my SUV/truck. It's getting old and we will need to replace it soon. I use the 3rd row but it's not the most ideal set up as kids have to climb over seats. I have a 7 year old who is in a TB, a 4 almost 5 year old in the CA and a 2 year old in a MA RF. I also babysit either a 4 year old boy and a 7 year old girl or a 5 year old girl and 7 year old girl. So I'd need a place to 5 seats at times. Usually 3 carseats and 2 boosters.

    Any suggestions on vehicles that are not mini vans? I LOATH mini vans(sorry ladies!). I don't mind the climbing over the seats but it is a pain. I'd also like something with a bit more back room when the 3rd row is up(which is something that the Durango does not have).

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  3. #2
    Carseat Crazy
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    A suburban? We have a tahoe and I love it. My ils have a suburban and it has a good amount of space in the back still and seats 7, i believe.
    Rachel
    DD (7/08) ~52 lbs, 47" in a Cowmoo Frontier85
    DS (4/11) ~32 lbs, 39" in an XTSL
    DS (2/13) ~22 lbs, 33" in an RXT

  4. #3
    Carseat Crazy
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    Re: Best vehicle for 3-5 kids that's NOT a minivan?

    Ford Flex. Bench 2nd row can hold 3 and 2 in third row. If you put a booster in the 2nd row, you can pull it out/scoot it over to flip the seat to get to the third row. Or, have kids climb over or load through the hatch. It has a well in the cargo area like a minivan, so a lot of cargo space with the third row up. Ford did a really good job of making this vehicle have the mini-van conveniences without being a minivan.

    OTH, sliding doors are awfully convenient with 5 kids.

  5. #4
    CPS Technician TXDani's Avatar
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    Re: Best vehicle for 3-5 kids that's NOT a minivan?

    I would suggest a Suburban, Yukon XL or an Expedition EL and get middle row captains chairs in it.

  6. #5
    Carseat Crazy
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    Re: Best vehicle for 3-5 kids that's NOT a minivan?

    Quote Originally Posted by DaniCPST View Post
    I would suggest a Suburban, Yukon XL or an Expedition EL and get middle row captains chairs in it.
    This would overcome the problem of getting to the third row. Good idea

  7. #6
    Carseat Crazy
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    Re: Best vehicle for 3-5 kids that's NOT a minivan?

    Good ideas ladies! I didn't realize the ford flex had those options. Great ideas, I'll have to look up the Expiditon EL haven't looked this one!

  8. #7
    Carseat Crazy skitle1802's Avatar
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    Re: Best vehicle for 3-5 kids that's NOT a minivan?

    I have a Suburban, 3 eldest sit in the 3rd row, 2 youngest in the middle (2nd row is a bench) and we just leave the 2nd row passenger seat flipped down for access to the back. I love it! Happy SUV shopping!
    Verla Renae~SAHM to my 5 babies!
    T - 09/02/01 D - 09/15/02 S - 05/28/05 C - 08/26/07 R - 11/22/08

  9. #8
    Carseat Crazy
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    Re: Best vehicle for 3-5 kids that's NOT a minivan?

    We have 3 currently, pg with #4. DH has a Suburban and I drive an Expedition EL ( same size as a Suburban). In the Suburban we have captain's chairs so we do 2 children in the 2nd row and 1 soon to be 2 in the 3rd row. I actually wanted a bench in the 2nd row in my EL to seat more people (friends, etc...) I keep the 2nd row L seat open, that seat folds down for easy access to the 3rd row. I fit two kids on the rest of the bench fine and 1-2 in the back with room to spare!
    DD1-13y, DD2-9y, DS1-7y, DS2-4y

  10. #9
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    Re: Best vehicle for 3-5 kids that's NOT a minivan?

    I have a Toyota Sequoia. I LOVE IT!! I can fit 3 carseats in the back. I could do 3 in the middle but then I would lose the one seat that flips, so the kids don't have to climb over seats. I have 5 kids-4 are still in carseats (3, 5, 7 & 8). 13 yo is in regular seat belt. Currently my set up is 8 yo (high back booster) far back drivers side. 6 yo (5pt harness) far back passenger side. Middle seat in back is open for friends or oldest-13yo and she has plenty of room. Middle row I have 3yo rear facing in 5pt harness behind drivers seat. Then I have 5 yo in a 5pt harness in the middle. 13yo usually sits in the middle row by the window, which does give her more room than the back row seat. At one time I had 3 5pt harness seats in the back row, but the boys just fought, so I separated them. My 2 youngest are close buddies so putting them next to each other made for a happier ride (we spend hours in the car every day).
    I will say my kids want to move around again, but I honestly am happy with their placement and I hate to reinstall carseats..lol Mostly I hate the fighting when they arne't happy with who they are sitting next to. Maybe in the summer when I clean out the whole car and 7 yo dd moves to a booster -she's getting too tall for her radian 80.
    The newer Sequoias have the singles seats instead of 40/60 split so you can flip the seat on either side of the car. Mine is a 2005 so I flip the one on the passenger side (I have the 40/60 split). There is so much room in each row for their feet. I rarely hear "mom he/she is kicking my seat" like I did when I had my Toyota Sienna or even my Toyota Previa. Yes we are a Toyota family!! LOL

    Ok I hope all that made sense. I will add that I told dh that I would NEVER go back to driving a minivan unless I had no other choice (like the Sequoia breaking down and not repairable. Only then because I have a loan on it and I still have my old Previa-which was a really good minivan. I am even looking at replacing my Sequoia in the next 2 years with a new/er one.

    Hope you find the perfect vehicle!
    Deb

  11. #10
    Carseat Crazy Marinesfamily5's Avatar
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    Re: Best vehicle for 3-5 kids that's NOT a minivan?

    We went from Durango to a Tahoe.... WE HATE OUR TAHOE.
    We can do 3 across in middle easy but have had tons of reliability issue and the interior just can't hold up to kids.

    The Ford Flex seems nice.
    Not many have room with 3rd row up. Our Tahoe has the split 3rd row but you will need both sides up to fit # of seats.
    hmmm. maybe a pacifica would work for you. the one with 3rd row. Its captains seat middle so the getting in back would be easier.
    Breana AJ SAHM to 3 crazy LO's -
    Bubba 4/04 Princess 12/05 peanut aka "big D" 05/07
    Regent...... - Regent...... - Decathlon in between

  12. #11
    Carseat Crazy
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    Re: Best vehicle for 3-5 kids that's NOT a minivan?

    The Pacifica isn't as long as the Durango so I think I'd have less room...??

    Wow, the Sequoia looks nice! Although it's a bit pricey but what larger SUV isn't huh?

  13. #12
    CPS Technician mommy-medic's Avatar
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    Re: Best vehicle for 3-5 kids that's NOT a minivan?

    Another "I LOVE IT" vote for the toyota sequoia~

    I have an 05. I can comfortably seat 8 people. I can do two car seats and an adult in the middle row and *gasp* still have shoulder room!

    I love how the middle row can tumble 60/30 split, the rear row is 50/50 split, and both rear seats can fold, slide forward, be removed, be tumbled, whatever needed to make major room for hauling kid crud.

    I had an 07 sienna that was a fantastic vehicle but I just hated being a minivan driver. I had a highlander before, but even the ones with 3rd row are too small inside. The sequoia is perfect.

  14. #13
    Carseat Crazy
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    I have been considering a car with 3rd row seating but I am not comfortable about how the back seat is so close to the back of the car. It just doesn't seem safe to me. Maybe it is fine maybe its just me... but I'm thinking if someone were to be rearended it could really hurt someone.. I have been rear ended in the past and while it didn't do a lot if damage it could have if I didn't have a hitch that went through their vehicle I have a Ford escape it was a for focus so small car to my suv didn't do a lot but if it was a truck or larger suv or van...it would have

  15. #14
    CPS Technician An Aurora's Avatar
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    Re: Best vehicle for 3-5 kids that's NOT a minivan?

    Vehicles with a 3rd row have all been thoroughly crash tested
    Anna~ RN and expired CPST (hoping to recert soon!)

  16. #15
    Car-Seat.Org Zealot skaterbabs's Avatar
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    Re: Best vehicle for 3-5 kids that's NOT a minivan?

    I have no problem using the third row, in fact my boys ONLY use the third row. My daughter uses her booster in the 40 split (we have the 60/40 split bench) and I leave the other side folded down for access to the third row. On the rare occasions when I have a fourth child with me, it's simple to fold up the 60 split and then back down again.
    Rebekah Branch, CPST from May 2005 until June 2011
    Mom to CJ (7/96, seatbelt), Gregory (4/98, seatbelt), & Joyjoy (10/03, misc. booster seats)
    "That which you create in beauty and goodness and truth lives on."
    - Denis Waitley

  17. #16
    CPSDarren - Admin SafeDad's Avatar
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    Re: Best vehicle for 3-5 kids that's NOT a minivan?

    Quote Originally Posted by RYLANSMOM View Post
    I have been considering a car with 3rd row seating but I am not comfortable about how the back seat is so close to the back of the car. It just doesn't seem safe to me. Maybe it is fine maybe its just me... but I'm thinking if someone were to be rearended it could really hurt someone.. I have been rear ended in the past and while it didn't do a lot if damage it could have if I didn't have a hitch that went through their vehicle I have a Ford escape it was a for focus so small car to my suv didn't do a lot but if it was a truck or larger suv or van...it would have
    The thing is that severe rear end crashes are relatively uncommon. Side impacts are far more common and deadly. I'd rather have my child in the center of the third row than outboard in the second row, if I was looking to minimize every possible risk. Just having your kids in any suitable rear-seating position in a correctly installed and used child safety seat cuts their risk so much that most other factors are small in comparison. Full size minivans and SUVs do have a reasonable amount of room to the back, much more than midsize SUVs with a third row.

    http://www.car-seat.org/showthread.php?t=37243 ( I need to update this someday!)

    Despite the stigma associated with minivans, models like the new Honda Odyssey are quite impressive. You just can't match the crash safety, family seating flexibility or fuel economy with any full size SUV right now. That said, I'm considering downsizing my minivan to a smaller SUV with a third row lol.

  18. #17
    Carseat Crazy
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    Quote Originally Posted by CPSDarren

    The thing is that severe rear end crashes are relatively uncommon. Side impacts are far more common and deadly. I'd rather have my child in the center of the third row than outboard in the second row, if I was looking to minimize every possible risk. Just having your kids in any suitable rear-seating position in a correctly installed and used child safety seat cuts their risk so much that most other factors are small in comparison. Full size minivans and SUVs do have a reasonable amount of room to the back, much more than midsize SUVs with a third row.

    http://www.car-seat.org/showthread.php?t=37243 ( I need to update this someday!)

    Despite the stigma associated with minivans, models like the new Honda Odyssey are quite impressive. You just can't match the crash safety, family seating flexibility or fuel economy with any full size SUV right now. That said, I'm considering downsizing my minivan to a smaller SUV with a third row lol.
    Thanks for the info..very interesting. I wouldn't.ever rule it out as I would prefer it over a van but large suvs have horrible fuel economy. Just looking at the backseat made me nervous..now I won't worry so much

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