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  1. #1
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    Dec 2010
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    need 3rd row vehicle recs

    Just found out #2 is on the way! So now it's time to start thinking more seriously about a new car. I currently have a Ford Freestyle and love the third row but with two in seats it won't be accessible because we only have 2 captains chairs and you have to fold the seats forward. It seems like all third row vehicles require that now - am I wrong? Is it still possible to configure any of the NEW vans to have two seats next to each other and a walk through at one door? Or is that a thing of the past? With most states requiring the use of booster seats until the age of 8, I'm really disappointed in the car manufacturers for not thinking about that when designing the access to the third row!

    Anyway, the other considerations are the following:

    1: anyone needing to access to the third row will most likely be an adult.
    2: my son's Britax Frontier 85 MUST be installed next to the passenger door, middle row, for car line drop off and pick up.
    3: We have a Maxi Cosi Priori and a Maxi Cosi Mico which will be used by the new addition.

    Is it possible to find a vehicle where I can meet these requirements? I don't want a third row if I can't access it and I don't want to keep my son in the third row on the off chance that I might need to accommodate others.

    Oh and there is a remote possibility that I will also be providing car pool services for my neighbor's son, to and from preschool if he and my son end up in the same class this fall which would mean an additional harnessed booster, but that one can go anywhere I guess (well other than the front obviously).

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  3. #2
    Admin - CPS Technician LISmama810's Avatar
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    I'm not sure about other models, but the Odyssey no longer enables a chair to be moved over. That's why we bought a barely used '10 so we have that option.

    However, I'll have two rear-facing seats in the second row. If one were forward-facing or a booster, we wouldn't need to move one over. I never had any problem accessing the third row through the space between the captains chairs with a FF seat installed.

  4. #3
    CPS Technician luckyclov's Avatar
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    Jun 2010
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    Re: need 3rd row vehicle recs

    I have a 2011 Toyota Sienna LE 8 passenger, but I don't keep the 8th seat in the vehicle. My 2nd row captains chairs do not move inward, so the space to access the 3rd row is through the middle of the two. I prefer it that way because the roofline is the highest in the center of the vehicle and I have my 8 1/2-year old DS1 sitting in the center of the 3rd row in a highback booster. I'm petite, but I also have no issue getting to the 3rd row.

    My almost 7-year old DD sits in the passenger side captains chair, harnessed in a Frontier85, which installs beautifully via LATCH or seatbelt (long belt path). My 17-month old DS2 sits RF'ing in a Marathon 70 in the driver's side captains chair. The "big kids" can easily load through either sliding door with no issue (yep, even on the RF'er side). Leg room is very generous.
    CPST & Mom to:
    Keep (11 yrs old, 57", 80 lbs), in an Olli, Ozzi & BB
    Sass (10 yrs old, 54", 76 lbs), in Santa Fe, Monterey & Olli
    Zilla (4 yrs old, 38", 36 lbs), FF in a PS, RXT & FR85
    Rollin' in a 2014 Ody, 2012 F-150 SuperCrew & Luigi, a peppy little 2012 Fiat 500

  5. #4
    CPSDarren - Admin SafeDad's Avatar
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    Jan 2003
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    Illinois
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    11,979

    Re: need 3rd row vehicle recs

    Quote Originally Posted by sk8nut View Post
    Just found out #2 is on the way! So now it's time to start thinking more seriously about a new car. I currently have a Ford Freestyle and love the third row but with two in seats it won't be accessible because we only have 2 captains chairs and you have to fold the seats forward. It seems like all third row vehicles require that now - am I wrong? Is it still possible to configure any of the NEW vans to have two seats next to each other and a walk through at one door? Or is that a thing of the past? With most states requiring the use of booster seats until the age of 8, I'm really disappointed in the car manufacturers for not thinking about that when designing the access to the third row!

    Anyway, the other considerations are the following:

    1: anyone needing to access to the third row will most likely be an adult.
    2: my son's Britax Frontier 85 MUST be installed next to the passenger door, middle row, for car line drop off and pick up.
    3: We have a Maxi Cosi Priori and a Maxi Cosi Mico which will be used by the new addition.

    Is it possible to find a vehicle where I can meet these requirements? I don't want a third row if I can't access it and I don't want to keep my son in the third row on the off chance that I might need to accommodate others.

    Oh and there is a remote possibility that I will also be providing car pool services for my neighbor's son, to and from preschool if he and my son end up in the same class this fall which would mean an additional harnessed booster, but that one can go anywhere I guess (well other than the front obviously).
    Most minivans and a some SUVs will allow you to have an aisle down the middle for third row access. The new Sienna allows you to easily stow that small middle seat in the rear cargo area. The new Odyssey would require you to remove their larger middle seat to stow it in a garage or house (You could also store a big captain's chair and use the middle and outer seats on each side).

    A 2010 or earlier Odyssey would allow you to stow the small 2nd row middle seat under the floor and move the captain's chairs together. That would give you a very wide entry from the passenger side. The third row is big enough for adults.

    I think most midsize SUVs will not have the third row access you need or the third row comfort for adults, either.

    The other solution for being able to fold a seat for third row access is a Ride Safer Travel Vest, a Safety 1st Go Hybrid or a backless booster.

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