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Cars for Moms - comments, concerns and wants!



  • njmom91njmom91 Posts: 20
    I have been looking through the boards and at automakers websites, and I just can't seem to find anything that has the capacity for 7 - don't need it all the time so smaller rear/stow away seats are fine! - with THREE of those seats being in the middle (i.e. a bench with shoulder harnesses -a must!) that at least lists under 25K.

    Am I being delusional to think that there is one or does such a beast just not exist?? :confuse:

    The trend seems to be bucket/captains in the middle which does NOT work for me

    Thank you, thank you, thank you for any help. This has really been driving me nuts!
  • badgerfanbadgerfan Posts: 1,565
    Well, Ford Freestyle has an option for a second row 60-40 foldable bench seat, so it will seat 7. I do not know if the middle seat of this second row bench has a shoulder harness available.

    Shoulder harness is not quite as critical in the middle row of any back seat as there is virtually nothing to hit your head on in the event of a front impact, which is where the shoulder harness has its most effect.

    If kept to the base model, Freestyle can be bought for south of $25K with the rebates that are available.
  • bobw3bobw3 Posts: 2,992
    I have a Freestyle SE that can be bought for under $25K easily with dealer incentives. The middle seat in the 2nd row does have shoulder harness. I have 25,000 miles on the car and so far zero problems.

    Other options would probably be in the used car category...a used Sienna with 2nd row bench, Toyota Highlander, or Honda Pilot.
  • I have an ’04 Mustang and right after we bought our rear-facing infant seat and tried to install it I came to the realization that I was going to have to buy a new car until my dear hubby realized that the back seat of the mustang has 3 different ways to install the car seat with the LATCH system on either the passenger or driver side ( which is impossible due to the fact that you would have to have the seat up so far no one would be able to fit in it) or you can actually install it in the middle of the two seats, with the added advantage that the two front seats then nestle the car seat nicely and keep it snug. I may be a little harder to get the car seat in and out but beats me having to sell the car I love!
  • suydamsuydam Posts: 3,242
    I think the Buick Lucerne can fit 3 car seats in the back.
    '14 Buick Encore Convenience
    '17 Chevy Volt Premiere
  • cpsdarrencpsdarren Posts: 265
    "I have been looking through the boards and at automakers websites, and I just can't seem to find anything that has the capacity for 7 - don't need it all the time so smaller rear/stow away seats are fine! - with THREE of those seats being in the middle (i.e. a bench with shoulder harnesses -a must!) that at least lists under 25K."

    Perhaps the most flexible option would be a Toyota Sienna CE 8-passenger model. Those start at about 25k list but are hard to find in many areas.

    The 4x2 Highlander base model with the third row option is about 26k list, but it does have a 2-3-2 seating arrangement.
  • njmom91njmom91 Posts: 20
    Thanks everyone, I will look at the Ford. Someone also suggest the Toyota RAV4 with the optional third row, so that is now also on the radar.

    I'll keep checking back, in case someone else has something to add!
  • rockyleerockylee Wyoming, MichiganPosts: 13,993
    I do believe that would be possible, based on my observation. When I was considering one about 3 or 4 months ago, I needed atleast 2 car seats to fit plus diaper bag that was easily handy. We put it (diaper bag) in the middle of the seats. I do believe 3 car seats would be possible, but if I was a mom and had 3 kids, I'd want to own a SUV. ;)

  • Warren Clarke just did a ranking of the Top 10 2006 Luxury Cars with the Lowest TCO. Of the ten vehicles, Volvo had a whopping four on the list. No other brand even had two! As a mom, I've always wanted Volvo...maybe now I can justify what seems like the "extra" expense for one.
  • temp409temp409 Posts: 55
    Stay away from Dodge caravan rear shoulder straps don't catch in crash my daughter was badly injured. Jerk front and rear shoulder straps in ANY dodge caravan or durango something is wrong. Jerk straps in ANY other minivan ALL will catch first jerk.
  • If you look at small or mid-size SUVs, you will find that even those that seat "three" in the back are very tight... too tight if you use car seats or sometimes even boosters. It's critical to bring your kids/car seats with you to the test drive.

    I have a Highlander with the third-row seat but can't imagine getting three across the second row.

    Also be aware that the third row is very small and difficult to access in a lot of these cars, particularly in the RAV4. I also think the Freestyle would be a good choice.
  • njmom91njmom91 Posts: 20
    Thanks, definitely looking at a Freestyle, for two reasons: the dealership gives a loaner car when it is in for service, and as a single mom I can't be without a car and two: the local toyota dealerships have HORRIBLE reps. Don't want to mess with it. I know third row is tight/difficult, but it's not for constant use, just the occasional ride for friends/play dates.

    Hope to take two of the three kids with me Monday to see how they fit. Only need two in boosters and one for only a year so short term tight fit in the middle is okay(and my oldest is very skinny!). A year after that my oldest can ride up front, so the younger ones will have more room.

    So many things to consider!
  • njmom91njmom91 Posts: 20
    Finally got to test drive a Freestyle, went well, but it is REALLY hard to get to that third row.

    Suzuki's XL-7 is now on the radar too. Will check that out soon. I am a bit worried about the TCO numbers, anyone know why they are so high when the MPG is so much better then most in the mid-size SUV class? I'll post this on the Suzuki board too.
  • bobw3bobw3 Posts: 2,992
    Did you fold down & flip forward the 2nd row seat to get into the 3rd row?
  • njmom91njmom91 Posts: 20
    The model I looked at (and I want) has the bench in the middle so the fold and flip option was not available.
  • bobw3bobw3 Posts: 2,992
    Then how did you get into the 3rd row, if you did not fold and flip forward the 2nd row?
  • njmom91njmom91 Posts: 20
    Then how did you get into the 3rd row, if you did not fold and flip forward the 2nd row?

    I folded, and then climbed over. The sales man was not at all familiar with the model so there might have been an easier way, I just didn't see it.

    Suzuki is off the radar, the closest dealership is a good 25 minutes away. Too bad.
  • bobw3bobw3 Posts: 2,992
    Okay...well if you just folded it and climbed over the 2nd row seat, I can see how it was difficult. The whole 2nd row seat flips forward and when you do that it's really easy to get in the 3rd row.
  • stmssstmss Posts: 206
    Concur. As a Freestyle owner with a 2nd row bench, third row and 3 kids, it is one of the easiest vehicles to access the third row (minivans aside where access can be done between the seats). The split bench simply folds up. It is better IMO than Volvo XC90, Pilot or Highlander. The FS also has more usable leg and headroom in the 3rd row than these three - and least expensive. I think you will find that Suzuki, Rav4, Equinox, Torrent etc etc are all much smaller.

    Suggest a relook - with a salesperson who knows how the seats work.

    On another note, all our 3 kids grew up in the middle row of a Volvo wagon (third row in the back) and we are still using it. Even had three child seats across the middle at one time. Doubt it fits the $25k criteria though.
  • njmom91njmom91 Posts: 20
    Went to another dealership, this time the guy knew what he was doing and not only showed me the flip and fold feature, but how easy it is to put back. Really makes a difference.

    Got a price quote but I'll post that in the Ford Forum.

    Thanks everyone!
  • chrisducatichrisducati Posts: 394
    my neighbor just bought a Mazda 5. while it only holds six it is compact enough to get through traffic nicely. Might be a thought of some moms
  • mirde98mirde98 Posts: 95
    Also try the Mitsubishi Endeavor or Montero. Reliability is a plus on those models.
  • Help, I don't know what to buy. I have 2 toddlers and until lately, the youngest has been in her infant seat and can sit in the middle so we can still take one extra passenger with us. She is now ready for a bigger seat so the two will have to be seperated, plus, my brother-in-law is moving in and will need rides.
    I need something that has that 3rd set of seats. What do you like, SUV or Van?
  • Kirstie_HKirstie_H Posts: 11,042
    Personally, I prefer the crossover with 3rd row seating. The one that comes to mind is the Pacifica. 2nd row seats are separate, 3rd row is a bench seat.


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  • suydamsuydam Posts: 3,242
    The bliss of have room to separate fighting siblings, plus escorting not just one but probably more of their friends, added to the ease of getting car seats in and out, and the requirement that the 3rd row be something that growing children can sit in, can only be solved by a minivan. Bite the bullet! You'll love yourself. And after they are all in high school and driving themselves around, you can drive something fun again!
    '14 Buick Encore Convenience
    '17 Chevy Volt Premiere
  • Having been there and done that, I'd suggest a minivan for this reason alone: if your back starts to bother you (and mine did after carrying arounda sick toddler all day) you can actually kneel in the minivan and fasten your tykes into their car seats. Better yet, with some, you can put down one of the middle seats and kneel-walk on the floor to put on seat belts instead of the contortions you usually go through with SUV's to put them on.

    Plus most mini's get much better gas mileage than SUV's.

    Now that my kids are older and can put on their own seat belts, I have a Freestyle which is moderately priced AND has a reasonable amount of room behind that third row. And still better mileage, on average, than a full SUV.

    Good luck!
  • Ford Freestyle

    Never sat in the third row, but it is very nice inside. The ride is good. This is a very underrated vehicle in my opinion. It is one of the best at what it does.

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    Saturn Outlook

    No need to say anything else about this vehicle and its siblings. Fuel economy as good as minivans. Most space in their respective classes. Only this one is on sale right now.

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    There is a large real-life gallery of pictures here:

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    But here is an animation of how the seats work:

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    I will post pictures later of the GMC Acadia, which should be out later.

    Another vehicle to consider would be the Mazda CX-9, something I am surprised I have not heard much about. It looks very good!:

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    Oh, yes! It's a pretty one for sure.

    I'll look for Pacifica pictures if you want. Those should be easy to get these days. (Both he pictures and the cars.)
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  • We're expecting our first child in november, and we have 2 dogs (boxer and a lab) that will occasionally travel with us. We like the freestyle, but a friend just recommended the mazda 5, any thoughts?
  • fezofezo Manahawkin, NJPosts: 10,333
    You certainly shouldn't go wrong with a Mazda 5. Nice car.

    Without having tested a Freestyle I will tell you one thing. If you are buying new it will take an enormous depreciation hit right off the bat. In addition to the normal hit new domestics and some other makes take you have the additional factor of Ford's dropping the Freestyle name in the fall. This doesn't make the Freestyle a bad car - not at all. It just lowers the value of it if you want to sell because in general people don't like buying a car that is no longer made and most won't realize that the new TaurusX is just the Freestyle.
    2013 Mazda 5 Grand Touring, 2010 Toyota Prius IV. 2007 Toyota Camry XLE, 2004 Toyota Camry LE, 1999 Mazda Miata
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