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  1. #1
    Member jellopanda's Avatar
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    DH and I are looking ahead to buy an SUV in the next year or two. It will be "my" vehicle, although we will both drive it and will use it for most of our family travels. We're currently looking at a 2010 or newer Acadia, but are open to suggestions. MY requirements:
    - 3rd row seating
    - captains chairs in 2nd row
    - useable trunk space with 3rd row up
    - at least 3 TT locations
    - possible to have 3-4 child restraints, of various types. We only have 1 DD right now, but are planning for at least 2 more.

    DHs requirements:
    - AWD
    - backup cam would be cool, but not necessary Sent from my iPhone using Car-Seat.Org
    Last edited by jellopanda; 09-07-2014 at 09:17 PM.

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  3. #2
    Ambassador jess71903's Avatar
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    Re: In the market for 7-seater SUV

    I drive a 2005 Expedition, which I love. I can do almost any 3-across I want in the 2nd row, and I have 3 fulls sets of LATCH in the middle row and 1 TT in the 3rd. We put 8 people in it last year for trips to/from a theme park every day (4 adults, 1 5-stepper, 1 booster, 2 harnessed). And still had room for my Baby Jogger City Elite, an umbrella stroller, and various bags and backpacks. I think we will be looking for another vehicle in the next year or so, and I thought I'd just go for a new Expy. We don't have grandparents visiting as often anymore because 2 of the 3 sets have moved here. After looking at the newer-model Explorers, I think we may go that route, especially since gas mileage is so much better. I know a couple members here have them, so maybe they can comment.

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  4. #3
    Registered User
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    May 2011
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    Re: In the market for 7-seater SUV

    As I just mentioned in my separate post, I drive a 2009 Buick Enclave (same as the Acadia/Traverse) in a 7 passenger configuration. We really like it, and I think it meets all of your criteria, depending on what you mean by "useable trunk space." With the third row up, the trunk area is pretty narrow. It still works for us for weekend tips or regular shopping, but it's not problem free. For instance, if the Bob stroller is back there, there's not really room for a week's worth of groceries, meaning either bags or stroller have to move to the center aisle, leaving the kids (age 6, almost 4, and 6 months) to climb over it and feel a bit cramped. If I puzzle them together, I can fit both the Bob and the infant carseat stroller in the trunk. I can also fit a medium sized suitcase (or a couple banker's boxes) laying flat with the Bob sitting on top of it, but I can't get a large suitcase and a single stroller back there--don't even try adding a pack-n-play or cooler--some of that stuff will have to come up front. I can cram two lab-sized dogs back there for a VERY short trip (like 10 minutes or less), but they are best friends and are still pretty uncomfortable.

    For passenger room, we like it. Both the front and middle row are spacious even for tall passengers. The third row is not the best for tall passengers, but definitely passable for me (5'8) as long as the drive isn't much more than an hour and you're pretty friendly with the people sitting next to you. We have been able to fit a Frontier 85 and a high-backed booster in the third row for playdates, or the booster and 2 adults, but haven't tried 3 carseats across back there.

  5. #4
    Carseat Crazy
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    Apr 2013
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    I have a 2011 traverse, one of the twins of the acadia. Personally I love it. It works well for us both for around town and for road trips. I can fit 2 weeks of groceries or everything we need for a 2 week road trip. Granted, I pack light and we don't have a stroller or any baby gear. We have the 7 passenger version and adults fit comfortably in the second row captains seats. The third row doesn't really fit either dh or I, but that might have something to do with the fact that I'm 6'1 and he's 6'2! Ds1 is 5'11 and there isn't enough head support for him in the third row. Not sure if the acadia is different but the traverse does not have adjustable head rests in either the second or third row. The second rows fixed headrests are high enough that I can't imagine anyone that would have a problem with it, but it's definitely something to keep in mind for the third row. Ds2(11) fits there with growing room, and by the time dd (7) has outgrown the third row Ds1 will probably be 17 or 18 and not going everywhere with us. We also took into consideration that dh's car will more than likely be replaced by then since it's already got 100k on it. Sorry for the ramble but basically just make sure you take into consideration how long you will be keeping the vehicle and how long it will work for you given that it only has 3 top tether points and no adjustable head rests in the third row!

  6. #5
    Carseat Crazy DawgDad's Avatar
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    May 2014
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    Re: In the market for 7-seater SUV

    Bring your stuff with you on a test drive. See how much real room it has for your stuff. It should accommodate a lifestyle of a single child, but when you reach two and especially 3 kids...it could be a very cramped situation forcing you to look at roof rails and carriers for up top on ALL road trips long or short. Don't feel embarrassed at the dealership either for doing this...they are trying to sell you a $30-40K vehicle...they need you to like it so you will buy it. If they complain or object, then leave immediately. You should be able to see how your car seats install and how your strollers fit in your "future" car. It's absurd to think otherwise.

    In the end, you will most likely find that if cargo space, a usable & comfortable 3rd row, and safe car seat installation options are super important, you will need to get a large SUV (Suburban, Sequoia, Armada, or Expedition) or minivan. The former will start you at $45-50K with zero features and the latter will be fully-loaded at that price point. It may seem like a lot of car for one kid, but if you keep your cars for 10 years...then you know you are buying for the future expansion of your family.

  7. #6
    Ambassador jess71903's Avatar
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    Re: In the market for 7-seater SUV

    I accidentally came across Car Seat blog's (Jennie's) review of the 2013 Nissan Pathfinder, and now I'm intrigued by it, too. Just thought I'd mention it

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  8. #7
    Carseat Crazy
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    Re: In the market for 7-seater SUV

    Quote Originally Posted by jess71903 View Post
    I accidentally came across Car Seat blog's (Jennie's) review of the 2013 Nissan Pathfinder, and now I'm intrigued by it, too. Just thought I'd mention it
    Ooh, I think I want one! The overhead camera for parking is awesome!

  9. #8
    Carseat Crazy
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    Jan 2008
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    Before you get a Pathfinder, Google "Nissan Pathfinder 201X transmission problems". It's rather eye opening. It was on our short list too, until we found out about the transmission.

  10. #9
    Member jellopanda's Avatar
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    Thanks everyone. I am in love with the Suburban, but that price tag... AHHH!
    We will be buying used, and are trying to keep on top of all these recalls/mechanical issues/etc. DH thought I was crazy for starting my research a year in advance... Not so much now!

    Sent from my iPhone using Car-Seat.Org

  11. #10
    Member jellopanda's Avatar
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    Re: In the market for 7-seater SUV

    After doing a bit more digging on the pathfinder, apparently there are some odd rules. No RF seats in 3rd row, and no TT use on the driver's side! Weird!
    http://www.nissanusa.com/snugkids/manuals has all the info.
    ETA: The Canadian version says no harnessed seats AT ALL in 3rd row :/

  12. #11
    Carseat Crazy
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    Apr 2009
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    Louisiana
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    I have a Ford Flex that I love. I would be a six passenger if you get the center aisle version, but four car seats of most any variety will fit, as long as it's not four huge RF seats at the same time. I currently have a FR85 & new PWSGL in the second row and a TrueFit in the third, passenger side. Is has a full set of LATCH in every position except third row driver's side. The cargo area has a well, similar to a van, so many strollers will fit upright. The Baby Jogger Elite & Mountain Buggy Urban both fit upright when folded, and a Mac will lay down flat inside the well area. Banker's boxes fit two wide with room to spare in any direction, and can be piled several high. The prices on Limited models are under $30k for a year or two old, low mileage model.
    Mama to Josie (4/08, 47lbs & 49"), retriever-cat Hotrod, munchkin-cat Gizmo, and hell-cat Leggs.

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