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Suggestions/Advice for SUV's with 3rd row seating

kingscorpio 126 September 14, 2011 at 11:39 AM in Autos (2)
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I am looking for a SUV which has a comfortable 3rd row seating for adults in 30K-35K range.Fuel economy and reliability are the other important factors I am considering.I was interested in Buick Enclave,Chevy Traverse and GMC Acadia but a mechanic friend of mine put a serious doubt in my mind that these vehicles are not reliable.He suggested I go for Lexus.He also offered to help me buy one in dealer auctions,which according to him would be the cheapest price I can get on any vehicle.

Initially I was considering to buy a used vehicle but after looking at some online reviews and after talking to my friend I am confused Confused as to which vehicle to buy and whether to go for a new one or used one from dealer or buy from a dealer auction.

TIA for any suggestions/advice guys.

Peace!!!

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Joined Oct 2004
Pirate's Life For Me
808 Reputation
#2
First find all with third row seating:

Toyota Sequoia
Toyota 4Runner (2011+)
Ford Expedition
etc...

Then figure out what you can purchase based on your amount.
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#3
You didn't specify if you where looking for mid or full size SUV but if your looking at 3rd row seating I would look toward the full size SUV's. I currently drive a Nissan Pathfinder (midsize) and I can tell you the 3rd row seat is not functional for any normal sized adult (by normal size I mean anyone over 4' tall). The Nissan Armada (full-size) has a pretty comfortable 3rd row but you sacrifice the gas mileage of the mid size SUV. I have a friend with a brand new Honda passport and it has more room in it's 3rd row than my Pathfinder but I still wouldn't recommended it for 3 adults for an extended period of time. I have owned a Lexus sedan (is300) and driven my friends LX (Lexus full-size SUV) but I can't comment on the 3rd row seats since I have never sat back there. I can tell you I would buy a Lexus again in a heartbeat the quality was great and service was fantastic but I think you will be hard pressed finding a used low mileage LX in your price range even at auction prices.

Good luck on your hunt I can honestly say I don't envy you, I put car shopping right up there with root-canal. Big Grin
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#4
I bought an Expedition (2006). The third row was much better than the Tahoe which I was also considering. The third row folds down to be flush to make a large cargo area. The way the designed it gives a nice bit of leg/foot space when people are sitting in the back there. It is kind of like a normal seat with a floor area for your legs whereas the tahoe/yukon was just a seat on the floor of the car (if that makes sense)

I sat back there to try it out and wasnt cramped at all (6'2" tall). I am always driving so I dont ride back there ever, but I imagine most average length trips would be comfortable.

I have lowered the middle row seats, sat in the third row, propped my feet up and watched a movie or played iphone games for long waits. It was very nice!


EDIT - Found some pics:
See how much deeper the Expedition floor is:

compared to the Tahoe:
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Joined Aug 2004
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Original Poster
#5
Quote from madadd View Post :
You didn't specify if you where looking for mid or full size SUV but if your looking at 3rd row seating I would look toward the full size SUV's. I currently drive a Nissan Pathfinder (midsize) and I can tell you the 3rd row seat is not functional for any normal sized adult (by normal size I mean anyone over 4' tall). The Nissan Armada (full-size) has a pretty comfortable 3rd row but you sacrifice the gas mileage of the mid size SUV. I have a friend with a brand new Honda passport and it has more room in it's 3rd row than my Pathfinder but I still wouldn't recommended it for 3 adults for an extended period of time. I have owned a Lexus sedan (is300) and driven my friends LX (Lexus full-size SUV) but I can't comment on the 3rd row seats since I have never sat back there. I can tell you I would buy a Lexus again in a heartbeat the quality was great and service was fantastic but I think you will be hard pressed finding a used low mileage LX in your price range even at auction prices.

Good luck on your hunt I can honestly say I don't envy you, I put car shopping right up there with root-canal. Big Grin
I am looking for a mid-sized SUV.I thought about the full sized ones but I really don't need that much towing capacity at the expense of fuel economy.That is one of the reasons I was considering the GM,Chevy and Buick lambdas which I hear have the most spacious third row seating for adults with reasonable gas mileage.But I am not sure of the reliability.My mechanic friend suggested the LX and he said I could find one for around 30K in the auction.I am pretty sure it will not be a low mileage one.

But thank for your insight on the Nissan Pathfinder.Now I can cross that off of my list.I have been in my friends' CX-9 and Pilot and the 3rd row is not for adults.

Quote from madadd View Post :
You didn't specify if you where looking for mid or full size SUV but if your looking at 3rd row seating I would look toward the full size SUV's. I currently drive a Nissan Pathfinder (midsize) and I can tell you the 3rd row seat is not functional for any normal sized adult (by normal size I mean anyone over 4' tall). The Nissan Armada (full-size) has a pretty comfortable 3rd row but you sacrifice the gas mileage of the mid size SUV. I have a friend with a brand new Honda passport and it has more room in it's 3rd row than my Pathfinder but I still wouldn't recommended it for 3 adults for an extended period of time. I have owned a Lexus sedan (is300) and driven my friends LX (Lexus full-size SUV) but I can't comment on the 3rd row seats since I have never sat back there. I can tell you I would buy a Lexus again in a heartbeat the quality was great and service was fantastic but I think you will be hard pressed finding a used low mileage LX in your price range even at auction prices.

Good luck on your hunt I can honestly say I don't envy you, I put car shopping right up there with root-canal. Big Grin
Quote from PiratesSayARRR View Post :
First find all with third row seating:

Toyota Sequoia
Toyota 4Runner (2011+)
Ford Expedition
etc...

Then figure out what you can purchase based on your amount.
I did make a list.I need some input on the reliability of the American made vehicles.
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Original Poster
#6
Quote from LordOfChaos View Post :
I bought an Expedition (2006). The third row was much better than the Tahoe which I was also considering. The third row folds down to be flush to make a large cargo area. The way the designed it gives a nice bit of leg/foot space when people are sitting in the back there. It is kind of like a normal seat with a floor area for your legs whereas the tahoe/yukon was just a seat on the floor of the car (if that makes sense)

I sat back there to try it out and wasnt cramped at all (6'2" tall). I am always driving so I dont ride back there ever, but I imagine most average length trips would be comfortable.

I have lowered the middle row seats, sat in the third row, propped my feet up and watched a movie or played iphone games for long waits. It was very nice!


EDIT - Found some pics:
See how much deeper the Expedition floor is:

compared to the Tahoe:
Thanks for the pics.I remember renting an Expedition and actually sat in the back for about 3-4 hrs and didn't feel cramped at all(I'm 6') but I don't think the fuel economy is all that great,9-10 MPG if I remember it right.And what about the reliability compared to Japanese vehicles?
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#7
Quote from kingscorpio View Post :
Thanks for the pics.I remember renting an Expedition and actually sat in the back for about 3-4 hrs and didn't feel cramped at all(I'm 6') but I don't think the fuel economy is all that great,9-10 MPG if I remember it right.And what about the reliability compared to Japanese vehicles?
I get 17MPG and do a combination of city + hwy driving.

I havent had any issues with my vehicle in ~6 years. I take very good care of my car though and have a good mechanic that keeps an eye on things for me. I think how you treat your vehicle has more determination (for the most part) than who the manufacturer is. My wife is horseshit at taking care of her cars and ultimately my Dodge Ram, and Ford Expedition have done/are doing better than her Honda CRV, Nissan Altima, Dodge Intrepid, and VW Jetta.

But if you are really want a mid size SUV and want a Japanese vehicle I would lean toward the Lexus. My inlaws have a Lexus SUV and it is sharp. I am not sure about the 3rd row though. My father in law seems to secretly like my Expedition though as he mentioned he wants to get rid of the Lexus and get one.
Lexus 3rd row - looks like it will be similar to most SUVs:


Do you plan on using the 3rd row that much?
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#8
how about a Pilot?

I rented an Enclave once and it's a nice car; can't speak to reliability though.
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#9
Ive found the 3rd row to pretty uncomfortable in most the smaller suvs, its kinda like the little jump seats in the old pickups. Its there if your desperate.
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#10
Quote from LordOfChaos View Post :
I get 17MPG and do a combination of city + hwy driving.

I havent had any issues with my vehicle in ~6 years. I take very good care of my car though and have a good mechanic that keeps an eye on things for me. I think how you treat your vehicle has more determination (for the most part) than who the manufacturer is. My wife is horseshit at taking care of her cars and ultimately my Dodge Ram, and Ford Expedition have done/are doing better than her Honda CRV, Nissan Altima, Dodge Intrepid, and VW Jetta.

But if you are really want a mid size SUV and want a Japanese vehicle I would lean toward the Lexus. My inlaws have a Lexus SUV and it is sharp. I am not sure about the 3rd row though. My father in law seems to secretly like my Expedition though as he mentioned he wants to get rid of the Lexus and get one.
Lexus 3rd row - looks like it will be similar to most SUVs:


Do you plan on using the 3rd row that much?
That's some good advice.As far as using the third row,I would like to have it as we are expecting our second one and parents/in-laws visiting.A lot of people are suggesting Lexus and JD Power associates and US News gave it excellent reliability ratings.I hope I can find one within my budget.
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Joined May 2005
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#11
I'm actually looking for a 3rd row seating SUV for my family and test drove quite a few SUVs.

For your price range and important factors I would go with:

Toyota Highlander 2008+
Honda Pilot 2010-11

I can give you reviews on the ones I've tested (MDX, GX 460, Sequoia, RDX, Highlander, 4Runner) if you want.
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#12
Quote from cp44 View Post :
I'm actually looking for a 3rd row seating SUV for my family and test drove quite a few SUVs.

For your price range and important factors I would go with:

Toyota Highlander 2008+
Honda Pilot 2010-11

I can give you reviews on the ones I've tested (MDX, GX 460, Sequoia, RDX, Highlander, 4Runner) if you want.
I've sat in my friends' Pilot 3rd row seat and I felt it was tight.It will be uncomfortable for 3-4 hr trips.I think it was a 2008 or 2009 model,has anything changed in the 2010-11 model?
I'd appreciate if you can give me your opinion on the ones you've tested,especially the GX,Sequoia and the Highlander.

TIA
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#13
Quote from Dr. J View Post :
how about a Pilot?

I rented an Enclave once and it's a nice car; can't speak to reliability though.
I haven't been in an Enclave but the online reviews say that it has the most comfortable 3rd row seats for adults in the mid sized SUV category.Pilot is a nice one but I think the 3rd would be uncomfortable for adults for 3+ hour trips.
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#14
upon my research, I find the expedition the best. I always see them for sale with 200K+ miles too. They depreciate a ton the first 5 years. They start off at $40K+ and I can find 5 year old ones for $7-10K
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#15
My friend has a 2011 Pilot and 2010 was the redesign. The third row seat got more useful and it was decent but I didn't test drive it. Here are my pros and cons of the ones I've tested:

2011 Highlander Limited full options

Pros: Good power, drives like a sedan, great in snow from reviews, reliable, roomy 3rd row seat (I'm 6'2 240lbs), 2nd seats slide forward, MPG i average about 20-22 and uses 87 octane gas.

Cons: Cheap interior, door panels are plastic, a lot of plastics.

2011 Sequoia Platinum
Pros: A lot of room, 3rd row was very comfortable, power 3rd row seat, 2nd row power and heated seats, power was great and has a lot of torque, drives more like a car than a truck, locking differentials which is great for snow, many compartments to store stuff, handling is pretty good for its size.

Cons: Price is high, you probably can find a used one for 2008 in $40k range or get the lower models (SR5 or limited), MPG sucks 13 city 18 highway, big fuel tank 26.4 gallons i think, its big so maybe difficult to park.

Lexus GX 460
Pros: Smooth V8 power, nice leather interior, handles better than the 4Runner, quiet ride, great ride and very comfortable. You also receive the Lexus service which is top notch.

Cons: Rear door hatch opens sideways which makes it difficult to open if someone is parked behind you or if you parked reverse to a wall. Very expensive, premium fuel, MPG isn't great and you still can tell the interior is a 4Runner with leather and wood trim. 3rd row seat is very tight.

2011 Acura MDX Advance/Entertainment Pkg.
Pros: Great power and great handling, nice futuristic interior, comfortable 1st and 2nd row seats, a lot of high tech gadgets, quite ride, very smooth driving, basically Acuras comes loaded with options.

Cons: Expensive, 3 row seat is tight that I almost got stuck back there, 2nd row seats doesn't slide forward, premium fuel with a 24 gal tank, fuel economy is avg.

I also test drove the 2010 4Runner Limited, its similar to the GX460 without the nicer interior and the 4Runner drives like a truck.
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