Page 1 of 5 1 2 3 4 5 LastLast
Results 1 to 25 of 108
  1. #1
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    Location
    Hell Track
    Posts
    9,599

    Another What Car Thread: Big-ish SUV's (or Minivan?)

    The family is growing, so we're looking at people haulers. I don't want a huge SUV (Suburban class), but we've been looking at two row and three row SUV's, with minivans also being an option.

    We'll probably buy a used model that's 2-3 years old. AWD is mandatory. Use is probably pretty standard for this forum; plenty of winter driving, a fair amount of time on dirt roads (although most of those roads are in ok shape). Some longer road trips. Hauling skis in the winter, bikes in the summer.

    Currently, the Mazda CX-9 is at the top of the list, but I haven't actually driven one (or even been inside one). I drove a CX-5 which is pretty similar, and I liked it a lot (just a smidge too small for what we're looking for). The review sites seem to love the CX-9 for most of the same reasons I liked the CX-5. But there isn't a CX-9 available locally, so I'll have to travel a bit to drive one (and, maybe, buy one). Other downside - there's no local Mazda dealer, so warranty issues are a pain. Anyone have anything good (or bad) to say about the CX-9?

    I've driven a few other SUV's (Explorer, Pilot, Grand Cherokee), and they were all fine, but unimpressive in one way or another. Still need to go drive a 4Runner and Highlander, which seem like the best options purely in terms of mechanical reliability. Anything else in that size that I'm overlooking? Hyundai maybe?

    I think the Sienna is the only AWD minivan option? But no spare tire has me a bit wary. It doesn't look like it gets appreciably better mileage than the SUV's, and I'd rather have a vehicle that does better on dirt roads, so I'm skeptical. But I can also see the big sliding doors being really nice. Wife is also unexcited about a minivan, purely for aesthetic reasons. I'm fine with it, and they make a lift kit for the Sienna, so there's that.

    What's the collective's experience here? Anything to look for or avoid? Any features that are mandatory? Any features that are great with kids but that might not be obvious to a currently kid-less person?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 2014
    Location
    Masshole
    Posts
    1,902
    Absolutely love our 4Runner - great handling on and off road (fire roads not heavy duty) we have a 12 with the third row and 4 adults and two kids fit well without storage. I will say that we are tight when we go away, two adults and two teens with a weeks worth of ski equipment, clothing and dry goods but we make it work. Average about 21 city and highway combind. 119K as of last week and running strong.

    Sent from my SM-G975U using Tapatalk
    Why don't you go practice fallin' down? I'll be there in a minute.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Nov 2004
    Location
    PDX
    Posts
    388
    I was just in your same boat and drove a lot of cars in the 2016-2018 range. I ended up with a 2018 VW Atlas and so far it has been great. Really big on the inside and drives like a much smaller car. I was able to get the highest model which is the SEL Premium certified pre-owed with 6 yrs and 72K left on the warranty for just over 30K and VW financed it for 0% since it was a CPO. As a tech and gear geek it has all the bells and whistles and the sound system is killer for factory. I would have been nervous about reliability of VW but the big warranty helped. Gas mileage not great either.

    Nothing against the 4-runners - if you need of road capability its the best choice but I couldn't get over the 1990's interior on a 2018 car. The Ford Explorer Sport was my second choice - faster than the VW but like the VW interior more. Honda Pilot and CX9 are probably the best reviewed in the segment but just like the styling and interior of the VW more.

    I've got to say test driving in the age of COVID is awesome. Sign a short term rental agreement and drive off the lot by yourself for an hour or two. Lets hope that sticks around after this is all gone.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Nov 2018
    Posts
    222
    A few thoughts:

    Pacifica is going AWD this year, so youíd need to go new if you want a non-Sienna van option. Reviews seem quite good.

    If kids are in your future I would give serious thought to captains chairs in the second row. When they are in car seats it means you can access the third row or trunk without removing the car seat, and when they are older its nice for them to have their own separate space for road trips. Obviously they can be more expensive and you lose a seat, so there are downsides too.

    I havenít driven the CX-9 but I love my 3 and its treated me well for 50k miles so far. Just having stood next to a cx-9 though they seem quite small - like the third row will be useless.

    We have a Yukon and like it, but if I had my druthers I would have gotten a minivan (wife doesnt like em...)

    Ive heard good things about the new Kia/Hyundai big suvs (telluride and ?), probably worth a look.


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Posts
    886
    One kid doesn't really require something new/super big. Are you guys having twins, or planning to have more than 2 kids in the future?

    I do have an AWD Sienna and it's the shit. So much better than a Suburban class SUV. But I have 3 kids. If I had 2 I'd roll in something smaller for sure.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Mar 2016
    Posts
    132
    Sienna awd is awesome. After removing seats (although can't do this for the newest model year i hear), plenty of room for skis AND a sleeping mat inside to really dirtbag it.

    Sent from my SM-G965U1 using Tapatalk

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Dystopia
    Posts
    11,183
    Had sienna AWD. Was great except for the run flat tires. Wore out quickly and super expensive. And I’d hate to get a flat on a toad trip. Might be a few days waiting in a strange town to find a replacement.

    In the other thread someone had a spare tire carrier mounted in the hitch.
    ďLife has become immeasurably better since I have been forced to stop taking it seriously.Ē
    Hunter S. Thompson

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    Location
    Bottom feeding
    Posts
    8,168
    Sienna AWD. Get a donut spare or regular sized spare and go with regular tires, no big deal. Our Honda was the same way. If you can wait the 2021 Sienna is hybrid and gets 33 mpg. Pacifica will get AWD for 2021 as mentioned. If you can't wait, go find a low mileage AWD Sienna and don't look back.
    Listen, I have a BMW 340 x-drive MT, and a Golf R w/ MT. Minivans are awesome at what they do. My beat to shit 2005 Odyssey is 265 hp, and climbs in the mountains. I drive it on all the forest roads and double tracks around here. No it's not a jeep thank Ullr, which suck.
    Throw all your crap in it, grab 7 friends and throw all their crap in it, and laugh all the way up to the trailhead, 'cuz it's a powder day, and morons in trucks are outside putting their boots on.

    Edit to add, apparently 2020 Pacificas can be had w/ AWD right before the 2021 comes out. I'd stick w/ the Sienna though due to reliability. This guy mentions the AWD around 3:30 https://youtu.be/cqcqzuAW8mQ
    Well maybe I'm the faggot America
    I'm not a part of a redneck agenda

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Sep 2004
    Location
    LV-426
    Posts
    16,896
    I haven't driven the CX9, but sat in it, when I was looking at the CX5. The CX9 would be a very nice size for a 2-row vehicle - it's gotta be about the smallest 3-row crossover out there.

    If you need the 3rd row occasionally, look at the Honda Pilot/ Acura MDX. If you don't need the 3rd row, look at the Honda Passport.
    Quote Originally Posted by powder11 View Post
    if you have to resort to taking advice from the nitwits on this forum, then you're doomed.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    Location
    Hell Track
    Posts
    9,599
    Quote Originally Posted by kathleenturneroverdrive View Post
    One kid doesn't really require something new/super big. Are you guys having twins, or planning to have more than 2 kids in the future?

    I do have an AWD Sienna and it's the shit. So much better than a Suburban class SUV. But I have 3 kids. If I had 2 I'd roll in something smaller for sure.
    Yeah, twins incoming.

    So we've been kinda waffling on the 3rd row. On one hand, I'd prefer to drive a smaller vehicle and/or have more storage space. On the other hand, being able to carry kid's friends (or grandparents, for a short drive) seems like it'll be useful.

    Which is another reason I'm gravitating towards the CX-9 - it's at the small end of 3 rows. So it can fit extra people when we occasionally need that, but it would (hopefully) drive like a smaller car for the 90% of the time when there's just 4 (or less) of us in there.

    But, of course, maybe I'm off base there and just getting something bigger is a better bet.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    Location
    United States of Aburdistan
    Posts
    6,438
    I didn't go with my wife shopping for third rows, so I can't say I've driven other options and know an Atlas is the best, but she came home with a VW atlas 2018 SEL. They are surprisingly cheap. She said it's bigger than the 4runner, which doesn't get great reviews but looks cool and has seemingly replaced the outback in mountain towns. We got the Atlas with captain seats, and conveniently a cooler fits right between the 2nd row seats for a table on road trips. When granny comes to visit and sits in the front, thanks to the space between the captains chairs I can easily go and sit in the back at 6'2". Third row is nice when we were shuttling bikes with friends as one parent watched the kids and drove down for pick-up. or when the kids get older and you want to bring their friends somewhere. Dogs can hop from the back to the front thanks to this 2nd row gap space, when the 3rd row is folded down for them.

    So far it's held up well on bumpy rocky Moab roads but it's not as confident-inspiring off-road as the wife's old 4Runner. But it's surprisingly never had issues off-road, it can handle them. As for a bigger vehicle, never under-estimate the amount of kid/baby shit you have to bring everywhere, especially on road trips.

    4runner back window roll-down I miss though, do the new ones still have that?

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Jan 2013
    Location
    NWCT
    Posts
    2,045
    I bought a CX-9 in January and love it. Tons of fun to drive - definitely the best handling 3 row SUV under 50K. The interior is also really nice - rivals cars that cost 10-20K more. With all three rows up, thereís definitely not much storage space, but if youíre only using all three rows occasionally (and have a roof box), itís totally acceptable.

    Flip side, I only bought the CX-9 (with its limited space) because we already have a Sienna, which ends up doing most of the family hauling. Like plugboots said, itís fucking awesome.




    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Posts
    886
    Oh gotcha. I'd go with a bigger ride if you're going to haul around big items - like a Chariot/Burley trailer for twins (those things are massive), or camping/weekend trips where you'll have to bring more gear than you ever imagined (on top of bringing the Chariot/Burley).

    Also, infant car seats are huge. You might have done this already, but I would put the car seats in anything you want to buy and make sure you still have legroom upfront.

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Oct 2005
    Location
    Wasatch
    Posts
    5,937
    Quote Originally Posted by toast2266 View Post
    Yeah, twins incoming.

    So we've been kinda waffling on the 3rd row. On one hand, I'd prefer to drive a smaller vehicle and/or have more storage space. On the other hand, being able to carry kid's friends (or grandparents, for a short drive) seems like it'll be useful.

    Which is another reason I'm gravitating towards the CX-9 - it's at the small end of 3 rows. So it can fit extra people when we occasionally need that, but it would (hopefully) drive like a smaller car for the 90% of the time when there's just 4 (or less) of us in there.

    But, of course, maybe I'm off base there and just getting something bigger is a better bet.
    If you want my $0.02, as the parent of a 3 and 5 year old:

    We currently have an Outback and a GX470 (similar to a V8 4Runner). We are in Utah, so we wanted a vehicle that can wheel a bit and get us into car camping spots where the Outback can't make it.

    But I often wish we had a minivan. The tall ceiling and low floor swallow cargo in a way that the crossovers and SUVs can't. Additionally, the kids can enter and exit the vehicle under their own power at a younger age. I am so sick of having to lift them into car seats at this point, and if we had the minivan, we might be done with that.

    When we owned the CX5, I liked the car a lot and the gas mileage was stellar. But I've had no seat time in the CX9.

    If you're shopping that category, I'd also look at the Kia Sorrento, Toyota Highlander, and Suby Ascent. I've driven the Kia and was very impressed. And everyone seems to think the Toyota and Suby can go toe to toe with the Mazda. I would see if Hertz car sales has a Sorrento for a sweetheart price if you want it. I remember it had some sort of a push button diff lock, which would be nice to have for sloppy conditions on dirt roads.

    Sent from my Pixel 3a using Tapatalk

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Dec 2016
    Location
    In a van... down by the river
    Posts
    5,301
    Quote Originally Posted by toast2266 View Post
    Yeah, twins incoming.
    ++vibes man.

    If it's two and done, I'd say go for the crossover or whatever.

    But if there is another in any sort of future plans, you may as well get the minivan. I'd say go for the FWD version of whatever van suits you (Honda or Toyota if you plan on keeping it until End Days) and an extra set of studded snows. Those things should pay for themselves over just a couple seasons just in the gas savings.

    We still have our Odyssey - it's an '01 that we bought in '04. That thing doesn't owe us ANYTHING...

  16. #16
    Join Date
    Aug 2006
    Posts
    5,225

    Another What Car Thread: Big-ish SUV's (or Minivan?)

    Congrats on the incoming family.

    I have 3 kids. The younger 2 are twins (now age 10). I bought a used sienna. The sienna has been good for us. At that time, we also had an older Altima and an older legacy wagon. The infant seats worked in all 3 vehicles just fine, but 3rd kid couldnít fit next to the infant seats. At the time, we lived in town. Did plenty of camping trips outta the minivan. With the 3 kids, it was the family vehicle. We once almost had a big problem on a FS road/trial in BFE when I tore a sidewall. We were able to limp out on the donut.

    10 yrs later, we live outside of town. We still have the sienna, along with a Toyota Matrix, and a 100-series land cruiser. And we have a big lab dog. The LC is now the camping and outdoor exploring mobile. All three kids in the 2nd row, dog and some gear in the back, and (when camping or skiing) most gear in the roof box or strapped to the aftermarket roof rack. I haul shit with a utility trailer behind the LC or inside the sienna.

  17. #17
    Join Date
    Oct 2004
    Location
    Seattle
    Posts
    1,467
    My situation is different since I have 5 kids, but remember as we were moving into 2 kids. With young kids, a minivan is the way to go. So much easier getting them and their crap in and out of the car. We didn't move to an SUV until they were all out of car seats (have Expedition EL). Minivans, especially with AWD, will get you 90+% of the places you'll want to get to. My car was an SUV so I could use that to get anywhere I wanted. Minivans also carry way more than you think. Until you go large class, 3rd row SUVs have no storage and you'll need a topper. But you're kidding yourself if you think you're going to be doing too much rad for the first couple years of twins. Kids are the best, though. You're going to love it.

  18. #18
    Join Date
    Dec 2003
    Location
    Nhampshire
    Posts
    5,855
    Minivan is amazeballs for infants as you get a private breastfeeding suite anywhere you go. Trust me when I say this matters. Get captains chairs and it won't require contortions to get past the kid seats (as that shit ain't folding with infant seats locked in).
    Also better in every dimension, just remember to buy good snows or handling in the winter will be horrific. 4 years in on our Odyssey and it's great.
    PS get weather techs too, great for hosing out vomit
    PPS get leather. See vomit comment

  19. #19
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Posts
    886
    Building on that vomit comment. My experience has been to not buy anything that you'd feel obliged to keep clean/nice/in perfect shape. You'll make yourself nuts. Instead, buy something that you don't give a shit about so when vomit goes everywhere, or you discover a 5-day old banana stuck between the carpet and floormat you can just laugh about it.

    For me that meant not buying the new/2-3-year-old vehicle I could afford. Instead, I bought the 8-year-old version that's in OK shape and has decently low miles. YMMV of course.
    Last edited by kathleenturneroverdrive; 06-19-2020 at 07:57 PM.

  20. #20
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    Location
    Bottom feeding
    Posts
    8,168

    Another What Car Thread: Big-ish SUV's (or Minivan?)

    These are great comments. Itís a real luxury to have our Ď05 Odyssey as a spare car that runs like a top, but looks like shit. Vomit, poop, old dog food, pine needles in June from the Xmas tree, whatever, climb in!
    Well maybe I'm the faggot America
    I'm not a part of a redneck agenda

  21. #21
    Join Date
    Oct 2005
    Location
    Wasatch
    Posts
    5,937
    Quote Originally Posted by schuss View Post
    Minivan is amazeballs for infants as you get a private breastfeeding suite anywhere you go. Trust me when I say this matters. Get captains chairs and it won't require contortions to get past the kid seats (as that shit ain't folding with infant seats locked in).
    Also better in every dimension, just remember to buy good snows or handling in the winter will be horrific. 4 years in on our Odyssey and it's great.
    PS get weather techs too, great for hosing out vomit
    PPS get leather. See vomit comment
    Agreed - having something that's easy to clean and that you don't care too much about is mission critical. Hauling two infants/toddlers will result in a full hammering of any upholstery in the car.

    Rubber floor mats and protective covers to go beneath the car seats are clutch.

    Sent from my Pixel 3a using Tapatalk

  22. #22
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    Location
    Hell Track
    Posts
    9,599
    Quote Originally Posted by skaredshtles View Post
    ++vibes man.
    heh. thanks. I'm so fucked.

    But yeah, a lot of love for the minivans in here.

    I think we definitely need AWD - our driveway is pretty steep and turns into a sheet of ice a couple times a winter. FWD studs handle it most of the time, but not always.
    So in the minivan category, that leaves the Sienna (since I don't really want to buy new, because all cost considerations aside, I'm sure the kids will completely annihilate the interior). I guess I need to go drive one.

    And yeah, sounds like the Atlas is worth checking out too. VW has super good financing deals at the moment, so maybe one is gettable for semi-cheap.

  23. #23
    Join Date
    Aug 2008
    Location
    PNW
    Posts
    1,333
    Another vote for the Atlas. Just about 1yr on a 2019 SEL with the slightly sportier RLine trim.

    We have the split bench middle seat because we wanted to be able to haul 7 on occasion. The way the middle seat flips and slides even with a car seat attached via latch system is pretty damn slick

  24. #24
    Join Date
    Mar 2009
    Location
    OR
    Posts
    1,638

    Another What Car Thread: Big-ish SUV's (or Minivan?)

    We fill the fuck out of a sequoia with 2 kids and a dog getting into regional ski/bike trips. MPG is very bad, but on the plus side itís been very solid, tows our trailer well and I got the TPMS system figured out/dialed for winter wheel swaps. The center locker has come into play every winter chasing pow.

    Iíd go awd minivan or awd transit for two freshies out of the oven

    Buying a new CX-9 or an in warranty one sounds like a bad call if service is far.

  25. #25
    Join Date
    Jan 2014
    Location
    Masshole
    Posts
    1,902
    Quote Originally Posted by muted View Post
    4runner back window roll-down I miss though, do the new ones still have that?
    Yes they do. Its such a great feature.

    Sent from my SM-G975U using Tapatalk
    Why don't you go practice fallin' down? I'll be there in a minute.

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •