Best SUV for Families

posted 10 months ago in Parenting
Post # 2
6448 posts
Bee Keeper

Following.  I’m interested in the Suburu Ascent, Honda Pilot, Toyota Sienna

Post # 3
8077 posts
Bumble Beekeeper

sarathemermaid :  we’ve been going through this same analysis as we are starting for our second kid. Honestly many compact/mid-range SUVs don’t offer that much more space than our hatchback we’re discovering! If you’re planning on having more than 2 kids (or 2 kids plus a dog which is our case) then the bucket seats in the second row will be very helpful. I’ve heard of some moms loading the oldest kid through the trunk because they can’t flip the second row for third row access with the carseats in the way. 

Post # 4
3085 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: March 2006

I have a 2017 Toyota 4Runner and love it! It’s really roomy and sits up high (I hate SUVs that still feel like a car) We only have 1 daughter, so I can’t speak to hauling extra people. I will say that if I had a need for third row seating I would ABSOLUTELY buy a minivan instead of suffering through the maddening third row seating option. If I need the extra space, I want a sliding door (think young kids door banging neighboring cars) and plenty of room for everyone to get in and out. I’ve been in a couple SUVs with third row and I almost had a panic attack just thinking about having to cram myself into that tiny back seat. 

My car is great for trips, grocery getting, and gets decent mileage (I think 17/21) but I really bought it because it felt more like a truck than a car. I was going from a lofted Jeep Wrangler to this, so sitting low to the ground wasn’t an option for me. The back seats fold flat too, which is nice for hauling stuff! We got the decked out 4wd Limited, so the heated/cooled seats are really nice and I prefer leather. Stock stereo sounds good too, which is always a bonus. Lol! 

ETA: The back window rolls down too, so when I do that and open the sunroof I can pretend I’m back in my Jeep. Man I miss that thing! Lol

Post # 5
3085 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: March 2006

pinkcorsage :  I used to love the Pilot before they changed the body style to look like EVERY OTHER SUV ON THE PLANET. I liked the old boxy body. I’m probably in the minority though. 


sarathemermaid :  Another thing to consider is blind spots. A lot of newer SUVs have weird windows in the back that don’t allow much of a line of sight. Another pet peeve of mine! 

Post # 6
526 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: June 2017

We have a Volvo XC90 (with a 3rd row of seats) and an Outback. Both are fine for our two kids and hauling things. Of note, the Volvo has OUTSTANDING safety ratings and is our preferred of the two vehicles. Both are pretty good on gas mileage (way better than my older model Toyota Highlander used to be) and are good family cars- for two kids or less. We’re now having a third. Because of the 3rd row in the Volvo, we’ll likely Use that for our “family outings” car- but I wish we’d purchased an SUV with bucket seats in the second row for easier access to the third row.  Just something to keep in mind (like buying a stroller that converts to a 2 seater!).  

Post # 7
3224 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: May 2015

If you’re planning on having more than 2 kids I would get a Tahoe. 

Post # 8
1611 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: August 2018 - Location

Following! We are also getting a new SUV in the next few months as we will stay TTC in May. 

Here are the ones we’ve test driven so far, in order of preference:

Volvo XC40

Nissan rogue

VW Tiguan

Mazda CX-5

Mitsubishi Outlander


We will still go do a few more. It’s nice to test in winter to see how the AWD performs on snow (Canada). We don’t want a third row. 

Post # 9
7032 posts
Busy Beekeeper
  • Wedding: September 2012

I drive a 2012 Toyota Highlander Limited. I bought it brand new and have had it for 6 years. I loved my car for a lot of years, and it was perfect for me when I got it. I always keep my second row as captains chairs and my thrid row folded. I like having the option to make the second row a bench and to lift the third row for use as needed. It gets good gas milage, and as a Toyota it’ll run forever and is very reliable. I initally was looking at the GMC Acadia because I come from a Groomsmen household, but on a whim made a stop at the Toyota dealership. I test drove it, and Darling Husband really like it too, so we bought it. It was much nicer than the Acadia and what you got for the price was another selling point.

When I got my car I had no kids, now I have a 9 month old (and a lab). I’ll be really honest, my next car will be a Suburban. I won’t even be entertaining anything like a Tahoe because despite being higher off the ground than my current car it will have all the same problems. The only thing keeping me from getting the Suburban now is that my car is paid off and I’m avoiding going back to a car payment for as long as possible.  

As it is, the only way to have room for groceries and all the crap you have to haul is to keep the third row folded. Just like a Tahoe (and other midsize SUV’s) if the third row is in use you have NO trunk space. My stoller takes up basically the entire back. I do not know how people will mutliple kids manage to drive small cars and small SUV’s. Like where do they put all their shit while also bringing along a stroller and other items? 

I think the only other practical option when you have a family is a minivan, but I just refuse to go that route.

Post # 10
9220 posts
Buzzing Beekeeper

I have a 2018 CR-V. I like my cars boring and reliable 😂

It’s great for just one baby and drives like a dream! But if we ever have another kid (big if), I’d want a midsize.

Post # 11
8077 posts
Bumble Beekeeper

starfish0116 :  we have 1 toddler and a large dog in a subaru impreza hatchback and frankly we just don’t bring a stroller very often, particularly if we have a lot of other things to bring. We carry her or let her walk. For long weekend vacations where we are driving we use a roof rack, but still usually skip the stroller. 

Post # 12
2471 posts
Buzzing bee

We currently have 2 grandchildren car seats at all times. We have just bought a Ford Edge (love it) and are looking at a Ford Explorer and a Subaru Ascent.

Both super safe and comfortable.

Our previous cars were both pre grandchildren, thus the necessity to replace both.

The Kia Sedona is a fabulous ride as well. My son and DIL LOVE theirs.

Post # 14
1369 posts
Bumble bee

I’ve always had a small car (still do!) and even after I had my daughter, I never wanted anything bigger.  I’m a small person and really do not like driving big vehicles.  I like small, good on gas, practical and durable cars and my VW fit that bill perfectly.  It was just over the last year that I started thinking about getting a bigger vehicle with a little more space, but nothing huge, something a little higher up with more ground clearance. I started looking at small SUV’s and cross-overs.  I ended up getting a BMW X1 and love it!!  I love that it’s a bit higher up and a bit bigger, but it doesn’t feel like a big vehicle and I don’t have any issues with parking it or getting in and out of tight spaces (most of the time).  It uses premium gasoline, but it’s very good on gas. And I love the AWD for winters here in Canada as we get a ton of snow sometimes and it has so many nice features inside. And mostly, I love the safety aspects and comfort of the X1 as I’m always driving my little girl around.  There is a good amount of space inside and in the trunk, but it is not huge.  The one thing I would change is the price, but if you want a Beemer, you have to pay for it!  LOL.

Post # 15
12 posts
  • Wedding: June 2013

sarathemermaid :  

What make and model do you drive? 2018 Volvo XC60

How safe is it? Very, very safe. The reason I bought a Volvo vs. another brand. 

How long have you had it/how long do you plan to drive it? Had it about 8 months, plan to drive it for maybe 5-6 years. 

Does it work well with kids? I bought it in anticipation of having children soon. It’s definitly a “grocery getter” and small enough I can easily put a car seat in/out. I like that it is not HUGE like a Tahoe or some other large SUV, but looking back I wish I would have gotten the XC 90 (larger version). 

How is gas mileage? Pretty good. Different mode settings can affect this (sport, eco, custom, etc)

Do you have room for kids/groceries/sporting stuff, etc.? Plenty of storage room in trunk for supplies. The back seat is very roomy. 

What would you change about your car? The color lol.

What made you choose this particular vehicle? Moving to a state where there is some winter weather (so needed AWD or 4WD). Plus planning on having kids soon, so wanted one of the safest options. I also have the convenience package which honestly makes my life easier. 

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