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Old 07-25-2014, 09:49 PM
 
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If you are looking to buy for long term, then you need to consider many things for the future, however many of those things you just won't know until you get there.

Personally this is what my experience has been:

After my second child we often traveled by car and quickly discovered that these two children created chaos to/with each other in the car which in turn caused stress and distraction to the driver. So a 3 row vehicle was the saving grace to our dilemma. With my 3rd and 4th children, who are several years after the first 2, it is no problem at all.

After my 4th was born (I had only planned on 2 but a divorce and new marriage changed that plan) we needed a vehicle that would fit 6 of us-2 adults, 2 older teens and 2 younger-so we went with a mini van. (the suburban went with the ex)

Then I started providing child care from my home and those children would have to travel with me as I transported my own children to/from school and on errands. This presented additional challenges than just fitting my whole family.

I found that I could not put 2 car seats side by side on the 3rd seat and still fit another person like it was supposed to hold because the car seats took up too much space. I also found I could not easily get a child in/out a car seat on the third row without holding everyone up from getting in since I had to crawl in and work to get them in. We had no garage at the time so this was a major problem when it was raining and a slight problem when it was really cold/hot.

Also considering how challenging it would be to get a child out of the 3rd row in case of emergency made me not want to use it for any child that could not buckle or unbuckle themselves. Something to think about as well.

The sliding door on the mini van is a huge plus over having a regular door, particularly in grocery store parking lots where there tends to not be much room to open doors. With 2 kids you often want enough room to pull the cart up to the door to unload one child at a time while the other stays in the cart.

The storage space in the back of the suburban was larger than what I have in the mini van, but both held what I needed them to hold. Stroller, diaper bag, groceries etc. My mini van even comfortably held both the umbrella stroller and double stroller at the same time with room to spare for groceries. One mini van we test drove had a very small space in the back.

If 2 kids are involved in youth sports or other activities at the same time you will find it much easier to have 2 cars later in order to get them where they need to go when they need to be there. So that can change down the line as well.

Just a few thoughts that popped into my head reading this thread. Maybe some of it helped.
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Old 07-26-2014, 10:42 AM
 
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Since you both work from home, you can definitely be a one car family in the suburbs. It simply requires coordinating schedules. If one of you wants to go away for a weekend, the other one will need to get supplies and food into the house ahead of time. If the car is needed at home to run kids around for weekend, the spouse leaving town rides with a friend.

We own three vehicles, but we do fine during times we have been down to one for various reasons---like this past month we've had two cars are in the shop for mechanical work and inspection. I plan to use the car when my husband is home, or I'd drive him to work if I want the car for while he's away. Since you both work at home, you wouldn't have that additional complication.

It's not really a hassle and sometimes I wonder if it's even worth the extra expense for us to own multiple cars. We're paying to have the convenience that is only an absolute necessity a few times a year. We could rent cars for those times and save money.
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Old 07-26-2014, 06:18 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bmollhag View Post
Is there anyone who had a raised wagon with say 2 kids + 2 adults + dog? Was it too cramped?
Me! We were in a similar situation-- bought a 2005 Honda CR-V new when we had 2 adults and 1 dog and lived in the city. Had 2 kids in less than 2 years and moved to a house in the suburbs. I love my car but really there have been so many times I have wished we had a third row. My daughter is 6.5 and my son is turning 5 and now we carpool to her gymnastics. It is a major pain to get a third child in a booster in the backseat.

Do people keep cars for 10 years? We do. The 2005 is my "new" car LOL. It has 125k miles on it and I could see going to at least 200k but it really is too small. My husband's is a 1998 but he takes the railroad to work so he only drives to the station. I have friends who have had 3 different cars in the last 6 years so I know some people lease and change cars a lot but I love not having car loans.

If I want to put another adult in the car with our family it is really impossible. My brother lives in the city and sometimes he has to sit in the back with the kids for holidays and I know he does not enjoy it. Luckily he is a very skinny guy! I so wish I could go back in time and buy a Pilot or something. There is nothing wrong with my car, runs great, except it is too small :-(
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Old 07-26-2014, 09:51 PM
 
Location: Up above the world so high!
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Quote:
Originally Posted by randomparent View Post
If you're planning to have three kids, buy a minivan and call it good. They're not sexy or sporty but they get the job done.
Got to agree. Especially once they become school age, you will need the room for field trips, overnight parties, carpool situations etc.

I vote for the Honda Odyssey
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Old 07-27-2014, 05:52 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by redrunner+2 View Post
My brother lives in the city and sometimes he has to sit in the back with the kids for holidays and I know he does not enjoy it. Luckily he is a very skinny guy! I so wish I could go back in time and buy a Pilot or something. There is nothing wrong with my car, runs great, except it is too small :-(
Yea good point. My sister and all my in-laws live in the city. It would be nice if for holidays we had the flexibility of having more people in the car than just the immediate family. Also my husband and his friends get season tickets to sporting events and take turns on whose car they take for the carpool

I think we are going to go with the pathfinder, get the extended warranty and hope it lasts a long time. From the house we are in negotiations buying we can walk to the train, plus we barely use a car now so I think we will be able to just have one for now and perhaps get another as the kids get older and have conflicting schedules.

I still have time to decide though so keep the insights coming...

Last edited by bmollhag; 07-27-2014 at 06:11 AM..
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Old 07-27-2014, 05:55 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lovesMountains View Post
Got to agree. Especially once they become school age, you will need the room for field trips, overnight parties, carpool situations etc.

I vote for the Honda Odyssey
I'm not opposed to minivans- I'm just worried about driving them in snowy icy conditions. If down the road we do become a 2 car household I think the 2nd vehicle would be a minivan. I am just leery of having my only car be a car that is not good in weather that we have for most of the year...

Last edited by bmollhag; 07-27-2014 at 06:10 AM..
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Old 07-28-2014, 01:38 AM
 
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I agree with everyone that unless you have three kids, you should be okay with a regular sedan and you save so. much. money. for. everything. else. It's literally a whole vacation with the interest, like, a nice vacation, to someplace like Hawaii.

I can see wanting a bigger car for a bigger family but we did just fine with sub-compacts and now that we have a big car, even with four kids we hardly ever use it to capacity.

However I do think being a one-car family is unsustainable in the long run. That said, you can always wait. Every year you wait, you basically save that year's worth of payments.
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Old 07-28-2014, 04:08 AM
 
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The car forum might be a good place to ask as well. I can tell you about my experience. I only have one child who is now a teen but when he was little we had a small sedan. It worked fine for us for years. Then we acquired our fur children and we needed a larger vehicle to make trips home to see family. We bought a used Ford Explorer right before our move out of state because we knew we would be traveling back and forth. I appreciated the room. It had a 3 row seat BUT it was pretty tight getting back there. You had to fold down the rear seat for anyone to climb back to the 3rd. Okay for kids, not ideal for adults really. It came in handy when carting my son's friends around but once the 3rd row was up, there was a sliver and I mean sliver of room behind that 3rd seat. Enough room for a couple of grocery bags and you had to be careful opening the hatch because the bags might have shifted during the ride and ready to drop out and hit the ground. We rarely used the 3rd seat.

I work from home so we had our Explorer which was a huge gas guzzler and an older car that is paid off. We refuse to have two car payments at the same time. My husband didn't drive the Explorer much due to the gas consumption so we kept the miles really low on it. Just our experience our Explorer was a lemon (I know you mentioned a Nissan just providing info) and anytime it needed work, it was very expensive since it was a full size SUV. Wheel bearings, tires, etc. We found our 1999 rusty Ford Contour to be more dependable. We now have a 2004 Ford Taurus with 160K+ miles. My husband switches between the Subie and the Ford for his commute. We could live with only one car but that would mean me taking my husband to work when Im on my days off.

Anyway, we finally traded in the Explorer and we got another Sedan. We quickly learned that with a teen, a large dog and little dog was all too much for a Toyota Camry. So we traded that in and bought a Subaru Outback. The BEST vehicle I have ever owned and I could kick myself because that is really wanted I had wanted in the first place. It fits our needs perfectly. It is awesome in the snow, the back area is roomy enough for the big dog to stand up, turn around and lay down comfortably. Or trips to the home improvement store. Its been very versatile. We invested in a cargo box for the top so we put all the suit cases in that and my son has the whole backseat to share with the little dog for road trips. We have taken small trips and included my mother in the mix, everyone felt comfortable. The car is pretty good on gas to and overall has been a great car so far.

I would say when you have the 3rd child is when a mini van or large SUV would be a better choice. I have never been a fan of owning a mini van so that is personal preference. Anyway, I hope this helps.
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Old 07-28-2014, 09:07 AM
 
Location: The analog world
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MmeZeeZee View Post
However I do think being a one-car family is unsustainable in the long run. That said, you can always wait. Every year you wait, you basically save that year's worth of payments.
I don't think that's necessarily true. We've done it, with kids even. It just takes a lot of patience and flexibility. Having at least one parent who works at-home, within walking/biking distance, or can use public transportation (all of which have been available to us) helps a lot, too.

Last edited by randomparent; 07-28-2014 at 09:17 AM..
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Old 07-31-2014, 01:55 PM
 
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If you want more than 2 kids, I recommend a minivan. The 3rd row leg room in the Pathfinder will be cramped once that child gets older. If you only want the 3rd row for the extra cargo space, then the QX 60 (formerly JX 35) will be a great choice.

There's also the Ford Flex. It's not an SUV, but it's not a wagon.

If I had unlimited funds, I'd get a Porsche Cayenne or (fully-upgraded) Acura MDX. That adaptive cruise control feature is necessary for my next vehicle.

I recommend at least 32 inches of legroom. . But honestly, if you are only having two kids.
Quote:
Originally Posted by 28173 View Post
For anybody else that might be interested, below is the result of my research for most vehicles with 3rd row seats leg-room value (in decreasing order):

Honda Odyssey -- 41.1
Toyota Sienna -- 39.5
Ford Expedition -- 37.7
Lincoln Navigator L – 37.7
Land Rover LR3 -- 36.3
Toyota Sequoia -- 35.3
Chevrolet Suburban -- 34.9
Cadillac Escalade ESV -- 34.9
GMC Yukon XL -- 34.9
Ford Explorer -- 34.9 (33.2 for 2013)
Dodge Durango -- 34.5
Kia Sedona -- 34.0
Mercedes-Benz GL -- 34.0
Chevrolet Traverse -- 33.2
Buick Enclave -- 33.2
GMC Acadia -- 33.2
Ford Flex -- 33.0
Town & Country – 32.7
Mazda CX-9 – 32.4
Nissan Armada -- 32.2
Honda Pilot – 32.1
Kia Sorento – 31.7
Hyundai Santa Fe – 31.5
Subaru Tribeca – 30.9
Infiniti QX60 (In 2013, known as JX) -- 30.8
Nissan Pathfinder -- 30.7
Toyota Highlighder -- 29.9
Lexus GX -- 29.3
Audi Q7: -- 29.2
Acura MDX: -- 29.1
Jeep Commander: -- 28.9
Toyota Land Cruiser: -- 28.4
Lexus LX -- 28.3
Nissan Pathfinder: -- 28.1
Infiniti QX60 -- 28.0
Mitsubishi Outlander: -- 27.7
Chevrolet Tahoe -- 25.6
GMC Yukon & Yukon Denali -- 25.6
Cadillac Escalade -- 25.6
Chevrolet Tahoe: -- 25.4
Lexus GX470: -- 24.9
Toyota 4Runner: -- 24.1
Dodge Journey: -- 23.4

Right now I'm mostly tempted to go for the Expedition, since unlike the present GM products it also has the folding into the floor option of the seats.
Another one is Sequoia due to known Toyota reliability.
Too bad the only decent leg-room option (in latest trucks) with diesel (preferred option) is only the GL450 - too expensive and I have questions about its maintenance costs...
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