We have been in the market for a third row “something” for a couple of weeks. Before this, I was oblivious to anything that offered more seating that wasn’t a Minivan… and a Minivan isn’t up my alley. Hence all the research to find different options, and I was both surprised and disappointed with the results. Surprised with how much I liked almost ALL of the options, disappointed because of how few vehicles are really out there.
One website that kept popping up during my Google searches that I eventually looked at was CarGurus. I ignored the site for the first several searches, but it turned out to be a very useful tool in finding a good deal in my area. It populates a list of your desired Make and Model in your area and instantly shows you how the vehicle is priced in comparison to the Instant Market Value. It’s at least a great jumping off point when car searching!
So these are the options we found out there. Keep in mind, we were looking for used so there may be something really neat out there that I don’t know about since we weren’t in the New Car Market.
One thing I liked about the Pacifica is the 2nd row has bucket seating (think minivan 2nd row). I love the idea of having some separation between the girls. The 3rd row lays completely flat if you need it to, but leaves very little trunk space when up. The MPG is 15 City/22 Hwy. All of the difference “trim” packages include a V6 gas engine and range in price from about $9,000-18,000 (depending of course on your area and year you are looking for).
The Traverse is the 2013 Best 3-Row Midsize SUV for Families because it has the best combination of quality, size and family-friendly features in its class. The 2nd row is a bench seat, which offers 1 extra seat for a large haul OR bucket seats. Again, the third row can lay completely flat when not in use. MPG is 17 City/24 Hwy. The Traverse has many “trim” options, all of them having a V6 gas engine with an Automatic transmission. This option is a much pricer choice, with the lowest end still in the $20,000s.
The Journey has Minivan-style interior functionality, perfect crash-test scores, interesting entertainment and communications options, attractive pricing. It is a 7 passenger, with the 3rd row seating only 2. Both second and third row seats can lay flat, leaving the entire back to haul something large if need be. MPG is 19 City/ 25 Hwy. Pricing varying between $12,000-20,000.
The Ford Explorer has long been thought of as the “mother” of all SUVs. It has optional third row seating, determined by that Trim Package. 2nd row available with bucket seating OR bench seating and 3rd row lays flat when not needed. The Explorer has substantial towing capabilities, as well as off-road abilities. MPG 14 City/ 20 Hwy. All 3 Trim packages offer V6 gas engine with an automatic transmission. Price varies between $13,000-22,000.
The Honda Pilot offers 3 row seating, with both the 2nd and 3rd rows capable of laying flat. With the 3rd row up, the trunk space is larger than in other 3rd row SUVs. All trim packages available with V6 gas engines and automatic transmissions. The Pilot feels as big as it looks. MPG is 17 City/23 Hwy. Pricing varies between $13,000-20,000.
We seriously gave the Pilot, Journey and Pacifica a look, test drive, and debate. I liked all 3 of the vehicles we looked at.
- The Pilot felt too “tall” as we drove down the interstate, and made me worry about windy days.
- The Pacifica had 2nd row bucket seats (which I thought I wanted but voted against) and has the worst MPG averages.
- The Journey has very little trunk space with the 3rd row up. (An umbrella stroller is the biggest thing that will fit)
Ultimately, after 5… yes 5… hours at the car lot last night, 8 trips to the “manager”, and 3 bottles of water later, we left with a……
Love. Love. Love.
What type of vehicle works well for your family?
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