I currently drive a 2007 Toyota Camry Hybrid, which I love to hate. It's an appliance of the most boring kind. But it sure is capable and bullet proof. We are finally in a position to replace it with something more exciting!
We now have three kids (newborn, 2 and 3 years of age); all in car seats. Although my wife has the Honda Odyssey Elite, I feel my car needs to serve backup duty in a pinch. So, here is my question to you experts out there:
What alternate ride to consider that can have three kids in car seats and still be fun? I have no desire for a second van. I'd consider a sedan, crossover or SUV, but a wagon is completely fine. I'd like an all-around family-performance -vehicle. And I'd consider brands other than Lexus/Toyota.
Thanks for any suggestions.
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If fitting 3 car seats in the rear is a must, you'll want at least a vehicle that's about 73-74 inches wide, minimum 55-56 inches of hip room at back (from experience). Lots of family sedans, SUVs, wagons... Price?
EDIT: You just gave us NICE budget in between my post! 75K max!
I'd assume reliability is a must since you'll be dealing with three kids and you won't need additional headaches . So for simplicity, I'm eliminating most domestics and European imports with some exceptions below.
With some "Sporty" pretensions and rear-seat width/room to fit three car seats side-by-side:
SUVs: * are the most reliable
*Acura MDX: 45-60K
Audi Q7: 55-70K
BMW X5: 55-70K
Cadillac SRX: 45-55K
*Lexus RX F-Sport: 50-55K
Jeep Grand Cherokee SRT: 65-70K
*Porsche Cayenne: 50K+++
Land Rover Range Rover Sport: 65K++
VW Touareg: 45-65K
Sedans/Wagons: *are the most reliable
BMW 5-series GT: 60-75K
Cadillac CTS V-Sport: 60-65K
Hyundai Genesis: 40-60K
*Lexus GS F-Sport: 55-60K
Volvo V60 R-Design (sedan or wagon): 45-55K
There's plenty of choices I'm sure we'll hear, but here is what I came up with
Avalon - Newish, roomy, V6 or optional Hybrid, Toyota reliability
Fusion - Newish, improved fit and finish, I4, Hybrid/PHEV or Turbo, optional AWD, good handling dynamics
Genesis - New, reliability is yet to be seen but host of V6/V8, nice warranty, should be a fun drive
Grand Cherokee - Refreshed '14, V6, diesel, V8, modern tech, nice cabin, capable 4x4
Highlander - Always a solid bet, roomy, improved interior, V6 or Hybrid, FWD/AWD
MDX - Another safe bet, mimics the Highlander save for the Hybrid. SH-AWD is great.
All of these should be roomy and offer some decent mileage with certain powertrains as well as offer some improved handling/fun factor vs your outgoing Camry Hybrid
... requirements ...
- have three kids in car seats and still be fun
- not a van
- sedan, cuv, suv, wagon ok
- all-around family-performance -vehicle.
- any brand
- max $75K all in
- MPG is a concern due to a 100 mile RT commute
last item is too vague. i guess 14mpg is out but is 20mpg ok, or do you need 25 or 30mpg or more?
anything that can take 3 car seats and still be 'fun' is likely not going to be cheap. most sedans will be lame with 3 car seats.
won't be that much 'fun' but if mpg really important, i'd say you should get a hybrid highlander. this assumes you'll keep the vehicle long enough to justify the extra hybrid cost (many years).
if you want plenty of room to get the kids in and out, a ford flex ecoboost is pretty great (if kinda boxy).
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You know you want it . . . . 556hp of pure awesomeness. Enough room for 3 car seats and the strollers.
Seriously, being a bit more practical, it MIGHT be big enough for you and the kids. Jetta TDI Sportwagon. Awesome gas mileage, not a total bore to drive if you opt for the manual transmission. Plus its 25-30k depending on options.
I know some people will harp on VW reliability, but their models with the diesel engines are generally pretty solid. My aunt has a 1999ish diesel Beetle with 250k miles on it that has been solid as a rock for the past 5 years.
Plus the wagon version is still made in Germany, not that stupid plant that turns out Jetta sedans. Seriously DO NOT BUY a VW, new or used that was made in Mexico, lots of quality control issues coming from that factory.