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  1. #1
    Expectant father of twins
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    Which of these SUVs would be the best fit for infant twins?

    Hi all,

    My wife and I are expecting twins (one boy and one girl) later this year and are currently shopping for an used SUV. We're both longtime performance car fanatics so neither of our current cars (a '05 Subaru STI and a '08 Mazda Miata) is up for baby duty, unfortunately. We need to add something bigger and are hoping a SUV will fit the bill. We only need it for short trips around town. For longer road trips we plan on renting a minivan as needed.

    There are a zillion SUV choices out there, and although we've narrowed the list down somewhat, a lot of choices still remain. So I was hoping to use car seat friendliness as a way to further parry down the choices, since we'll need to fit at least two car seats in the back and carry a twin stroller in the trunk. So I was wondering if you folks would be kind enough to offer any feedback on which of the following SUVs is more likely to be a good fit for the little ones:

    2006 Jeep Grand Cherokee SRT8
    2006 Acura MDX
    2006 Porsche Cayenne S
    2006 Lexus RX 400h
    2006 Infiniti FX45
    2006 BMW X5 4.4i
    2006 Volvo XC90
    2007 Toyota 4Runner Limited

    2007 BMW X3 3.0i
    2009 Toyota RAV4 Limited
    2009 Subaru Forester 2.5XT
    2009 Mazda CX7 Grand Touring

    I've listed the trim levels where applicable, although I figure that shouldn't impact available interior space or too much else (if it does then by all means let me know). We have some flexibility in the model years, so if, for instance, the 2007 Acura MDX is a significantly better fit than the 2006 model, then that's something we can consider as well. I figure the smaller four vehicles at the end of the list are likely too small, but do let me know if I'm wrong there. We'd prefer to buy something that's just big enough but not too big, hence why we're even exploring those as options.

    I realize it is asking far too much for feedback on each specific model of car, so any general feedback such as "Acuras are usually more suitable for car seats" or "the Porsche Cayenne could be hard to find car seats for" would be more than welcome. Thanks so much for any info!

    - Future father in Oct. '09

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  3. #2
    Admin - CPS Technician joolsplus3's Avatar
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    Re: Which of these SUVs would be the best fit for infant twins?

    Hmmm...with twins, I think the only option is a Ford Excursion. Trust me, you'll love it!

    No, no, I'm kidding, I promise. Just wanted to welcome you to the board and I'm sure you'll get some fantastic input. And congratulations on your impending arrival(s)
    Julie
    CPST since 2003, pu"R"ple since 2008, three kids growing too fast since 1997, 1999 and 2006

    Don't let the perfect be the enemy of the good

  4. #3
    CPS Technician Lys's Avatar
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    Re: Which of these SUVs would be the best fit for infant twins?

    Out of the ones listed, The MDX has the better crash test ratings. And has pretty easy car seat installs. It's basically the same as a Honda Pilot.
    The Volvo is a good choice too. I've installed quite a few seats in that model SUV.
    Lysandra
    CPST, LLLL and SAHM
    Mia 13, Ian 10, Clek Olli x2, TB and BubbleBum

  5. #4
    Carseat Crazy twinsmom's Avatar
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    Re: Which of these SUVs would be the best fit for infant twins?

    I know you probably don't want to hear this, but I would seriously consider a mini van. I know, I know - definitely not cool. But baby gear (x2) and double strollers take up A LOT of room and vans have a lot more cargo space. But the main reason is the automatic sliding doors. They are a lifesaver with twins, especially when one parent has 2 infants or toddlers (or any age for that matter...). I've been driving my "looser-cruiser" - uh...I mean Toyota Sienna since my kids were about 6 months old, and it really has been great. It was a definite step-down in "coolness" from my previous 5-series BMW wagon, but after a few months with infant twins, comfort and convenience far outweigh coolness!

    Sorry, I didn't answer your question about SUVs because I don't really know about them. Best of luck with your twins! They will rock your world!


    Jack and Katie, 9 years old!
    Riding in Montereys and Maxi Cosi Rodi XRs

  6. #5
    Carseat Crazy
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    Re: Which of these SUVs would be the best fit for infant twins?

    I know its not on the list but I LOVE LOVE LOVE my 2005 Expedition

  7. #6
    CPS Technician TXDani's Avatar
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    Re: Which of these SUVs would be the best fit for infant twins?

    Performance car fanatics hmmmm...you should definitely drive a 2007+ Acura MDX but not the prior years as they aren't performers like the newer generation.

  8. #7
    Carseat Crazy
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    Re: Which of these SUVs would be the best fit for infant twins?

    I have the RAV4 Limited and I wouldn't recommend it for twins. Especially if you plan on keeping it stocked with all the goodies for twins ALL the time. I have one child, and my "trunk" is full when I have her stuff packed in there. For infrequent, fully packed outings with twins it would be tolerable.... BUT there's the issue with the weird install of seats in the center position. You should expect that your twins will take up the whole back seat and plan accordingly. We have plans for father's day and will not be able to take the RAV for me, my husband, his two kids (who live 3 hours away and are not with us much), and our daughter. The seat in the middle is covering the buckle for the driver side rear seatbelt, rending that position unusable. And this stinks to no end because we will be in 100+ degree weather and his car has no A/C.

    Yeah, I love my RAV about 90% of the time, but I just can't recommend it for twins. Seriously, I'd say cross it off your list!

    Honestly, I NEVER thought I'd be a minivan driving mom. UGH! But in the last few days I've seriously been considering one, even with just one child. So you might want to heed the previous poster's advice and check them out.

  9. #8
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    Which SUV would work best with two carseats (twins)?

    Hi all,

    My wife and I are expecting twin babies later this year and need to purchase a SUV for baby duty. We need something that will preferably fit two carseats (rear facing for infants if I understand correctly) in the back seat and still leave some space for one person in the middle to tend to the kids. And of course a twin stroller needs to fit in the trunk but I doubt that will be a problem.

    We were originally going to purchase a 2009 RAV4, but thanks to this site, I'm now aware that the RAV4's rear seat belt design is a poor choice for accomodating two carseats. That would have been a nasty surprise to find out on our own.

    To avoid any further surprises down the line, I wonder if you folks would be kind enough to offer any feedback on the suitability of the candidate SUVs we're now looking at. These consist of the following:

    2006 Jeep Grand Cherokee SRT8
    2006 BMW X5 4.4i
    2006 Porsche Cayenne S
    2008 Toyota 4Runner Limited

    Any feedback on whether some of these choices flat out wouldn't work, or which ones might be more suitable for two simultaneous carseats than others, would be much appreciated. We are first time parents so we're pretty new to the whole thing and hoping to smooth out as many bumps ahead of time as possible.

    Thanks a bunch!

  10. #9
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    Re: Which SUV would work best with two carseats (twins)?

    Oops sorry folks, I didn't mean to double post. I previously posted as an anonymous user and didn't realize my thread had been moved to this forum (it's here: http://www.car-seat.org/showthread.php?t=84225). So then today I registered and posted a thread (the one you're reading now) on the very same topic. As you can see, the list of cars has been narrowed down at this point

    Anyway my apologies for the goof-up, it was not intentional and I will read your posts in my previous thread now. Thanks again for the input, please keep it coming!

  11. #10
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    Re: Which of these SUVs would be the best fit for infant twins?

    Thanks, everybody! My aversion to minivans must be very transparent, as you guys saw right through it

    To be honest neither myself nor my wife are big fans of SUVs, either, so you'll have to be gentle with us and slowly ease us into this whole "driving a big ol' car" thing In all seriousness, we had considered going the minivan route, we're actually largely indifferent to the coolness factor -- or lack thereof -- between a SUV and a minivan. The one reason we focused solely on SUVs is because we do need it to tow things on occasion, we have a small boat and jet skis that we currently transport using an old truck that is well past its prime. Not that we'll have any time to take them out once the twins arrive, but still... one can hope, right??? Let's just call it hopeful planning for future years

    Anyhow we checked out some of the smaller SUVs, and I don't think any of them will work too well because the back seat space does look pretty small. My wife is only 5'1" (110 lbs) and I'm just 5'8" (130 lbs) myself and it looks like even we'd be pretty cramped in there with the kids plus some groceries.

    Thanks a lot for the input, we will mull this over and see what to check out next, going to spend some time this long weekend trying to get this sorted out a bit more. Cheers!

  12. #11
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    Re: Which of these SUVs would be the best fit for infant twins?

    By the way, I'm sorry for the ignorance, but can anyhere clarify what the term "3 across" means? I see it used frequently on this board and have always wondered. Does it refer to having two carseats plus a person in one row of seats?

  13. #12
    Admin - CPS Technician joolsplus3's Avatar
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    Re: Which of these SUVs would be the best fit for infant twins?

    I merged everything into one place so you can keep easy track of it Yes, 3-across just means getting three seats (or people) into one row
    And, just try it...go test drive a minivan, you may be pleasantly surprised. (I tried to fight it myself, but finally got one and am now so addicted to sliding doors that I may drive one...or a Mazda5...forever )
    Julie
    CPST since 2003, pu"R"ple since 2008, three kids growing too fast since 1997, 1999 and 2006

    Don't let the perfect be the enemy of the good

  14. #13
    Admin - CPS Technician Emeritus Jeanum's Avatar
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    Re: Which of these SUVs would be the best fit for infant twins?

    to Jools. I'm a car enthusiast at heart, tempered with a strong interest in vehicle and child passenger safety, but lack the big bucks for the true dream cars. My motto used to be I wouldn't be caught dead owning or driving a minivan and I drove a Saturn SC coupe when my first child was born. I gradually ate those anti-minivan words over time, transitioning from the SC to a Saturn Vue SUV, and then to a Toyota Sienna minivan after the Vue was in crashed and repaired and learning our second baby was on the way. The minvan's sliding doors are a godsend for accessing the back seats in tight parking spaces when you're loading/unloading the kids (and sometimes for getting into the front seat when there's barely room to open the front doors after someone parks way too close). It's also particularly handy for us as we drive around grandparents fairly regularly, too. That said, I prefer to swipe and drive DH's geeky Scion xB whenever possible for those times I don't truly need the minivan's seating or cargo capacity. So far no manufacturer has come out with a souped up performance/SS/GT version of a minivan, lol.

    Good luck with your vehicle shopping and congrats in advance on the twins.
    Regards,
    Jean

    DD1 Age 16, 66" Driver's Ed
    DD2 Age 12, 64" 5 steps

    Click here if you wish to view the full size version of my avatar

  15. #14
    CPS Technician autumnlily's Avatar
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    Re: Which of these SUVs would be the best fit for infant twins?

    I think it's so cute when the dads do the research! My hubby is the same way.

    Okay, now for the twin talk...

    Yes - sliding doors are awesome, as it is tuff to reach around to the stroller with a kid in hand and trying to wiggle between an open swinging door to get to the other kid. And, mini vans do come in AWD and FWD - not sure if that helps with the hauling decisions

    If you go the infant bucket seat route for the first year plus - really really look into a double Snap N Go stroller, it folds as small as a single stroller and is super light weight for what it is. I often traveled with it and two infant seats in our Toyota Corolla - tight but definitely doable.

    If you go straight to a convertable seat (can rear face and forward face) - look into a low sitting seat that allows both you and your wife to look over the seat when driving and have adjustability to slide the driver seat. You may even find a compatible option with one of your existing cars. We are currently considering a set of Combi Coccoro's for my parents Toyota Prius.

    And, a little unsolicited stroller advice: look into a Baby Jogger City Mini Double or at a website that allows side by side comparisons of strollers for weight, compact fold, width and so forth. I don't need a true Jogger stroller so the City Mini has been perfect. I also have the Phil & Ted e3 Sport stroller with doubles kit and love it. But, I would have never given up my double Snap N Go for that first year - it was completely worth having both a frame stroller and a true stroller.

    Okay, lots to ponder. Congrats and enjoy those babies and pamper your wife! Being 5ft 1in can be tough while carrying twins (I'm 5ft 2") and she could use some extra foot rubs!
    Misty, CPST and SK Senior Checker

  16. #15
    Forum Ambassador TechnoGranola's Avatar
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    Re: Which of these SUVs would be the best fit for infant twins?

    Quote Originally Posted by DaniCPST View Post
    Performance car fanatics hmmmm...you should definitely drive a 2007+ Acura MDX but not the prior years as they aren't performers like the newer generation.
    (although I see now that you have taken the MDX off your list but I'll babble about it anyway).

    We drive an '08 MDX and we don't have twins, but we do have 2 kids, one of which is older and needs to haul sporting gear around and a billion other bags and backpacks that I have no idea what they are for! And the baby has typical gear, like a bag full of the day's needs and a full-sizes stroller. The baby's balance bike is usually in the back too. The 2nd row seats are comfy and designed like front seats. It's bigger than our prior small SUV, but not honkin' big like the Armada, Expedition, etc. I can still parallel park it with ease but we have a ton more room inside. And it tows 5000 pounds.

    Oh, and the MDX gets amazing crash test ratings and gets a great score at http://informedforlife.org

    I am not personally satisfied with the safety ratings of the 2008 4Runner (gets 3 stars for rollover and 4 stars for frontal) or the 2006 BMW X5. We looked an '08 X5 and there were a couple nice features, but my older child thought the rear seats were horribly uncomfortable and like it was added as an afterthought (don't even get me started on the 3rd row that's available in the '08 models, it is SO bad). She was in heaven in the MDX! But, she is no longer in any form of child restraint, so a child in a car seat or booster likely won't be as discerning. But something to keep in mind if you're planning to keep the vehicle until the kids are out of child restraints.

    I will also not buy a van with their current designs. If they could make one that didn't look like a blob on wheels, I'd totally take a look. I think I would enjoy sliding doors and extra cargo room, but the blob on wheels look is just not something I can make peace with at this point.
    Last edited by TechnoGranola; 05-21-2009 at 04:51 PM.

  17. #16
    Carseat Crazy
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    Re: Which of these SUVs would be the best fit for infant twins?

    Just throwing out the Mazda5. I think that's it, the one that seats 6 and has sliding doors. A lot of people like it. It's smaller than a van, but still has the coveted sliding doors. It would be similar to a SUV if you kept the third row seats folded down. But you'd have SLIDING DOORS.

    I know it's hard to go to the darkside and drive a van. I didn't get what the big deal about sliding doors was until I actually broke down and bought one. Every time I drive my husband's sedan I am reminded why I drive my mom-car.

  18. #17
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    Re: Which of these SUVs would be the best fit for infant twins?

    Hey dad to be -

    I have almost 4 1/2 year old b/g twins. You're in for quite a ride and sleepless nights - especially that first year. Sleep as much as you can NOW!!

    I had to jump in as someone else with twins who wanted to avoid the minivan and actually has succeeded! We had a 2001 Ford Taurus when our twins were born and it's been a great family car. It has a huge truck so we were able carry a ton of stuff with us - including pnp, double strollers, luggage and so forth.

    We bought a 2008 Rav4 with the 3rd row seats this past year. My DD rides rf in her car seat and my DS is ff in his. My DD's car seat is more upright since she is older, but I'm sure 2 rf infant seats would fit just fine in this car. My DH fits okay and he's 6' tall. When we have company (like this upcoming weekend), we'll put both of our kids ff in the third row to make room for 2 more adults in the vehicle.

    Even though I like our SUV for our needs now, I'm not sure it would have worked as well when our twins were younger and smaller. We wouldn't have been able to use the 3rd row until more recently. (DS went to ff at 2 1/2 years old because he's a big kid. DD is almost at the rf limit now at 4+ years.) My other issue with the SUV is I think it would have been hard for me to lift the infant carriers into the car. I'm about 6" taller than your wife so it would be even more difficult for her.

    So more food for thought!

    Melanie

  19. #18
    CPS Technician An Aurora's Avatar
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    Re: Which of these SUVs would be the best fit for infant twins?

    My personal pick would be the Volvo XC90.
    Anna~ RN and expired CPST (hoping to recert soon!)

  20. #19
    Carseat Crazy rochelle's Avatar
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    Re: Which of these SUVs would be the best fit for infant twins?

    I second the Acura MDX and like the Honda Pilot, eventhough its not in your list.

    a close friend has the Honda Pilot, she is 5"3 and her hubby is about 5"11. we had no problems with 5 adults, 2 infants and 2 baby strollers in the Pilot. on normal days. she just put the 3rd row down for more boot space.

    I have lots of neighbours with the MDX and driving 3kids less than 2yrs old due to car pooling. no problems at all. the drivers are all ladies and their heights are 5'1" to 5'4"

    IMO the sliding doors of a minivan are great when in crowded parking lots.

  21. #20
    Carseat Crazy
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    Re: Which of these SUVs would be the best fit for infant twins?

    Quote Originally Posted by Jan06twinmom View Post
    We bought a 2008 Rav4 with the 3rd row seats this past year. My DD rides rf in her car seat and my DS is ff in his. My DD's car seat is more upright since she is older, but I'm sure 2 rf infant seats would fit just fine in this car. My DH fits okay and he's 6' tall. When we have company (like this upcoming weekend), we'll put both of our kids ff in the third row to make room for 2 more adults in the vehicle.

    Even though I like our SUV for our needs now, I'm not sure it would have worked as well when our twins were younger and smaller. We wouldn't have been able to use the 3rd row until more recently. (DS went to ff at 2 1/2 years old because he's a big kid. DD is almost at the rf limit now at 4+ years.) My other issue with the SUV is I think it would have been hard for me to lift the infant carriers into the car. I'm about 6" taller than your wife so it would be even more difficult for her.

    So more food for thought!

    Melanie
    Really?! There's enough room in the third row to put car seats? I have the RAV without the third row. But when I looked at one with, I remember the third row being so small I couldn't imagine using it for anything. Plus, with the third row doesn't it cut down a ton on the cargo space? I'm asking because if seats can fit in that 3rd row and there's enough cargo room, I might consider trading in for a 3 row RAV rather than a minivan. I LOVE my car other than the seat install issues.

    I have had no problem lifting my infant seat in and out of the car though (in and out of the 2nd row as I have no 3rd row). I'm only 5-3. Actually I love how much space is in the back seat. I have a friend who is 6-8 and can not even fit in the front seat. At all (not enough legroom or headroom). But he fits in the back seat fine with headroom to spare. And it's really easy to get the infant seat in and out of the 2nd row and get my daughter in and out of the seat.

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