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Vehicle Recomendations?

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Old 05-02-2011, 01:23 PM   #1
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My hubby and I are hopefully about to go from 0 to 4 kids (2,3,6, and 12). Neither of our vehicles will hold all of us. I will drive a minivan if I must, but would really rather not if it can be avoided. Does anyone have any recommendations for a vehicle that will hold all 6 of us without getting too terrible mpg? (We drive from Arkansas to Florida and back 1-2 times each year.)
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Old 05-02-2011, 01:30 PM   #2
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I would recommend looking at this site, you can filter by gas mileage and what not:
http://www.epa.gov/greenvehicles/

Oh and this article is a couple years old but here are some good options:
http://www.caranddriver.com/features..._suvs_-feature

Although its a bit bigger than I like (but then again I don't need to seat 6 ), I think the Toyota Highlander is a good option. They have a hybrid version as well.
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Old 05-02-2011, 01:34 PM   #3
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My friend swears by the Mazda 5. http://www.mazdausa.com/MusaWeb/disp...=MZ5#/exterior

They have 3 kids and they made a cross country trip in it with no external cargo carrier. I can't quite picture HOW, but they pulled it off.
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Old 05-02-2011, 01:37 PM   #4
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Oh and I didn't realize it but the newer Rav4s (we have an older one) have an optional fold-away 3rd row.
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Old 05-02-2011, 02:09 PM   #5
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One of my very close friends designed the transmission on the Tahoe hybrid. It has gotten very good reviews. He followed up that project with what is now the Chevy Volt - which has also gotten strong favorable reviews. I guess I bring that up to show that I suspect at least the transmission on the Tahoe hybrid should be pretty solid because the engineer behind it is a ridiculous genius!
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Old 05-02-2011, 02:41 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nelie View Post
Oh and I didn't realize it but the newer Rav4s (we have an older one) have an optional fold-away 3rd row.
I drive a 09 Rav 4 and people remark about the leg room in the back seat.

I didn't get the 3rd row. It seemed to have very small leg space for it.

How are you getting 4 kids?

I've heard so many people with kids say that minivans are the way to go.

Perhaps you could rent different vehicles for a day and drive all of you around. Trust me, the kids will let you know about their comfort. You'll be able to hear all the bickering.
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Old 05-02-2011, 02:47 PM   #7
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I drive a 09 Rav 4 and people remark about the leg room in the back seat.

I didn't get the 3rd row. It seemed to have very small leg space for it.
I figure leg room for a child is different than leg room for an adult. If their youngest are 2 and 4 and estimate that they will have the car for 10 years, then it would seem to last until the youngest are 12 and 14.

I have a standard car with a backseat I wouldn't put most adults in.
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Old 05-02-2011, 02:52 PM   #8
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Nelie, true. However, depending on state law, the smaller ones may be required to be in car seats. Those things are a bear to get in and out of the car.

I say this because Calif. requires that they be a certain weight AND age before they can get out of the car seat.
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Old 05-02-2011, 03:34 PM   #9
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I'd suggest you get a full size with a V6. You can fit six people into a mid size but you'll have no room for any stuff to go with you.

Example of a full size SUV with a V6 is the Mazda 9 or Chevy Traverse.

[EDIT] - Sorry they're called crossovers - not SUVs.
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Old 05-02-2011, 04:16 PM   #10
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Congrats on your amazing family future! I have 4 kids and drive 360 miles every other month, as well as drive 200 miles every weekend in the winter for hockey.

I have a Chevy Suburban. I could not live without it.

With all those kids, comes luggage. Yes, you can strap a turtle on top, or pull a trailer but IME, kids always need to get to their stuff while on the road and it's so convenient to have it inside.
\
Also, with those kids come friends. It's nice to have an extra seat for play dates and car pooling.

Gas? My LTZ (and the LT) has a highway gas saving mechanism where it goes to less cilanders and saves gas. It's pretty good gas mileage when compared to other SUVs.

They do cost an arm and a leg. My 2008 has almost 100,000 miles on it. Got the struts, brakes and tires replaced, but that's all it's needed. That said, it's still worth over 26K. They hold their value pretty well.

I hope this helps. I have looked at every other possibility available and the Suburban wins hands down every time I look. The interior space is priceless.
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Old 05-02-2011, 04:20 PM   #11
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With all those kids, comes luggage. Yes, you can strap a turtle on top, or pull a trailer but IME, kids always need to get to their stuff while on the road and it's so convenient to have it inside.

Also, with those kids come friends. It's nice to have an extra seat for play dates and car pooling.
Ah! I'd forgotten about friends! Yes! Do keep this in mind.

Also, check with our insurance company. They probably have customers who are in the same boat you are and can make some recommendations as far as safety issues, rate you'll pay, etc.
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Old 05-02-2011, 04:33 PM   #12
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Don't forget car seats. My daughter is five and a half and still in a five point harness seat and will be till she outgrows it (it has a 65 pound weight limit so not anytime soon). At LEAST two of those kids will still be in five point harness seats for a while and many people keep their two and three year olds rear facing which takes up even more room. The six year old will probably be in a booster with a back. You will need a third row and you probably don't want the second row to be a bench. If you install the seats next to each other, the kids fight (trust me) and if they're both on the outside, you can't get to the third row.

Just another fun thing to consider!

Congratulations!
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Old 05-02-2011, 05:25 PM   #13
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I was seriously opposed to a minivan initially but got one and LOVE it. Opted for the Town & Country with Stow n Go seating and an over head DVD system.

The stowable seating is awesome because it pretty much turns into a cargo van as we're always moving stuff and the DVD is a life saver on car trips.

Another thing I love about it is the automatic sliding doors. When I'm taking the kids to the vehicle after daycare, I'm wrangling a diaper bag, whatever school work my son's been sent home with, holding my daughter, trying to keep my son tethered and so on. Being able to push a button and not adjust all of that mess is awesome.

My mother drives a Nissan Pathfinder with a 3rd row of seats. She can fit my sisters three kids and my two in there without any problems. Three are in boosters and two are in car seats. The Nissan Armada is a longer version of the Pathfinder with more leg room and storage and (I think) a bigger engine, etc.
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Old 05-02-2011, 09:19 PM   #14
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Thanks for all the suggestions everyone.

Nelie - Thanks for the links, very helpful stuff there.

cbmare - We are in the process of adopting foster children. We don't know that we will be able to match with those kids, but those are the ones we are going to be asking about first.


Does anyone know the website for the mom who test drives cars with her kids?
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Old 05-02-2011, 09:21 PM   #15
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John - We are considering a Traverse, my brother has one, but he doesn't get the mileage that they claim. He says he gets about 20, still not too terrible for a vehicle of its size.
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