By on March 2, 2014

07-Kia-Spectra5

Reader Daniel Latini is a car guy and has a baby on the way. He’s looking for your advice on a new ride that can carry around his family.

My wife is one of those generally temperate souls who has a few firecrackers strewn about her personality. New challenges can spark a little friction in any couple, and something popped when we saw the ultrasound pictures of our still-developing first child.

Her current steed, a middle-aged Korean compact hatch, lost a lot of luster that day. I’m sure the B&B will pelt me with shop manuals for trading a car with less than 100,000 miles, but I think there are some sound reasons to consider an upgrade.

We’re young, clueless and enthusiastic – click the jump and join us as we begin the misadventure of finding our first family hauler!

As the owner of a 2008 Kia Spectra5, my wife has spent the last few years learning about the difference between “spec-sheet” cars (those that have a lot of listed features) and quality cars (those that do not cheap out on everything else). To be fair, the Kia was almost perfectly reliable during its 53,000 miles of service with us (86k in total so far). It did provide a few ongoing headaches though. The Kia giveth and the Kia taketh:

  • Fuel economy has consistently varied between “marginal” (29 MPG highway) and “disappointing” (19 MPG city)
  • The stereo features a 6-disc changer, but it sometimes withholds the CDs like a stubborn dog playing tug-of-war
  • The transmission appears to be gaining sentience as it is takes more and more time to ponder the four forward gears. To make up for the time wasted during the decision process, it slams home every shift
  • The dash is squishy, but it buzzes like previous owners installed an aftermarket beehive

Annoyances aside, there are more practical reasons to upgrade as well. Space is a big one. A weekend trip for the wife, dog and I fills the whole cargo hold and part of the back seat. Home improvement runs can be a challenge. We also periodically drive elderly family members, so something with improved ingress and egress would be appreciated.

Safety is the larger concern though. Jack’s recent wreck has driven a lot of conversation, and the few parents I know who lost young children in car accidents say they are changed individuals as a result. While the NHSTA scores for the Spectra5 seem okay at first glance, it is important to remember that the test was toughened in 2011. The IIHS metrics are both more current and more critical, especially when concerning side-impact performance. The Kia might be acceptable in a crash, but this is not a treasured sports car or weekend toy.  Because we have the means, I am struggling to justify not providing something more robust.

So while I normally keep cars for most of their useful lives, my wife and I have agreed to see what the market has to offer. I hope to share some of our experiences on these pages, but I want to propose a question first – what is the deal with new moms wanting seven seat trucks?

Daniel: “Any idea where you want to start the search? Crossover? Sedan?”

Wife: [enthusiastically] “Tahoe!”

Daniel: [laughs] “Only if we were going to live in it. Wanna start with the CX-5? I think you might like it.”

Wife: “Tahoe! All my girlfriends want one.”

And that is mostly true. A quick poll of my wife’s friends carrying children (whether internally or externally) indicated a universal “need” for a seven-seat vehicle, usually an SUV. These are all young women in their twenties, so I imagine the SUV boom of the 90s conditioned them to some degree. Some hope to have large families, but they all currently have two kids or fewer.

The situation, to this young IT worker, does not compute. Large seven-seaters like the Tahoe strike me as an unnecessary waste of both resources and money for a family starting out. Small seven-seaters, like the redesigned Nissan Rogue, seem to fall between two stools.

What say you, B&B? Am I overblowing the safety concerns about the Kia? Are these women on to something my Y-chromosome prevents me from seeing?

Daniel Latini is twenty-something with a child on the way. A Millenial without a Twitter account, he was trained as a journalist but now works in IT. His passion for cars was ignited while helping work on his father’s Alfa Romeo Spider and was nearly extinguished when he got to drive it.

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340 Comments on “Ur-Turn: Shopping For A Family Hauler...”


  • avatar
    VoGo

    Not many folks go from a $5K hatchback to a $50K SUV like the Tahoe. Maybe a $300/month CR-V will get the job done. Very convenient, great resale, decent mileage. The Mazda is more of an enthusiast’s CUV, but Honda is typically favored by young families for getting the little things right.

    • 0 avatar
      phatcow

      As a member of the tribe of happy wife happy life, I for one think you should swing the Tahoe.

      On the other hand, the only tahoe you will be able to get for 50k would be the rental spec 1LT trims. I would budget 70k for an Ltz, and make that baby factory happy. It probably won’t be the last baby, and you might need to haul a blade chassis for your job once in a while

      • 0 avatar
        Mandalorian

        I agree, Tahoe is the way to go. The gas millage will be the same as any minivan (I owned a Tahoe). The new ones with all that fuel management stuff should be very efficient. If you buy a Tahoe, some day your kid will be driving it.

        • 0 avatar
          bigdaddyp

          I can’t believe I am going to say this, but I would cross shop the Tahoe with the new Durango. When optioned to similar equipment levels the Dodge is about 10 grand cheaper, easier to park, drive etc.

          I do think if you buy the Tahoe new and take care of it, it should last a long time. However, that’s a hell of jump going from a subcompact Kia to a full size body on frame SUV.

      • 0 avatar
        BobinPgh

        Maybe she needs a Planned Parenthood gift certificate. Sounds like she is being a bit child greedy to me.

        • 0 avatar
          DeadWeight

          Wow, that’s a pretty revolting comment, and I’m a Mr. Piss & Vinegar.

          Having said that, it’s incredible to me that so many people buy 1 1/2 tons of extra vehicle to lug around with them because they have 1 child.

          REALLY?

          And the worst part is that they’re going to spend an extra 20k to 30k to buy the damn thing, plus extra $4,000 on fuel per year to drive it.

          REALLY?

          This is essentially burning 60k of cash (between EXTRA purchase & fuel cost) that you’d BE BETTER OFF PUTTING IN A BANK ACCOUNT FOR YOUR CHILD.

          Get a damn Dodge Caravan for 20k to 23k if you need so much cargo room WITH 1 CHILD.

          WTF.

          No wonder most Americans are Stanley Johnsons, up to their eyeballs in debt.

          WTFWTFWTF

          • 0 avatar
            ClutchCarGo

            I don’t know about the women in your life, but it’s a rare woman nowadays that would willingly put herself in a minivan. No matter how much sense it would make, most women’s sense of style will not allow it.

          • 0 avatar
            phatcow

            We get it deadweight, you don’t like consumer debt and would love it if everyone would be fiscally conservative.

            HOWEVER.
            Value is subjective, and while your penny saved is a penny earned song is an oldie but goodie song to some, it is singing like Katy Perry’s Roar to many others, including myself

            Threadstarter has three members of his family and is probably the breadwinner. Probably will be more in the future. The difference between a new/reliable/non stripper crossover and a Tahoe/Yukon/ is around 30k give or take. 65000(Tahoe)-35000(Kia Sorento SXL)

            Given that ts has proven that he will keep a car for approximately 6 years, amortize the difference and you get around 5k a year + fuel difference, which in the grand scheme of things, isnt much.
            The resale of the Tahoe will be significantly better as well, as long as you get the right trim and colour combination.

            Is there value in spending 6 grand a year for a reward to yourself for working hard in your twenties? Perhaps
            Is there value in putting that 6 grand in your kid’s college fund? Sure
            Is there value in not having to go to your immediate family’s bedside at the regional Level I trauma center because you got a larger, safer, “overkill” ? Positively.

            HOWEVER
            deadweight will then start on a rant on america’s growing medical collections industry.

            —Talking/thinking point, how many of those medical bills are caused by an underprotected driver driving a 20k-23k Dodge Caravan?

          • 0 avatar
            CJinSD

            Even if the Tahoe depreciates by a lower percentage than your offered alternative, a look at my local craigslist shows that it still depreciates more than 100% of the cost of a CUV or minivan in 5 years.

          • 0 avatar
            Atum

            There are lots of vehicles better than the Dodge GRAND Caravan.

            Just saying.

          • 0 avatar
            bryanska

            LOL I love this post.

            Being in Minneapolis, I see two types of families with 1 or 2 kids.

            1) Great North Hardies. He drives one huge SUV (Tahoe, Yukon, Expedition) and she drives one small or medium SUV (Explorer, Santa Fe) They haul 2000 lbs about 6 times a year (jet ski or snowmobile). They have one or two kids and a dog.

            2) Scandinavian Yuppies. He drives an imported sedan and she drives a small crossover or wagon (CRV, X3, Edge, Subaru). They haul 200 lbs via roof rack about 6 times a year. They have one or two kids and a dog.

            Both have one or two kids and a dog. Both get along just fine. Both wouldn’t drive anything else.

            Why does one seem to need MUCH more vehicle?

          • 0 avatar

            I’m wondering why they’re even looking at new cars to begin with.

            Why shell out 50-70K on a family hauler that your child is going to trash? Moreover, are they going to have more than one child?

            Double/triple the amount of trash that they’ll produce.

            The sensible route is to get a CPO small-to-medium crossover, and pocket the savings for things that the child will actually. A young family with one child does not need a Tahoe, unless you tow on a constant basis, and/or plan on having four more kids.

            You’re right, this is the reason why most Americans are in debt…we buy stuff that we don’t need, in order to impress people that don’t even like us.

            One last thing…the author stated that he “has the means”. Does that mean that one goes out and secures a five-year loan on the hopes and dreams that you’ll be able to have the revenue to pay that monthly note? In this economy, that’s highly doubtful. Yeah, IT pays really well, but they’re also expendable, unless he’s out there getting all of his certifications (a pro tip from me to him).

            Save your money, buy only what you need, and live under your means.

        • 0 avatar
          Daniel_Latini

          I’m unclear still, BobinPgh – what should I drive to Planned Parenthood?

          • 0 avatar
            BobinPgh

            I guess for now the Kia, but really, you and her can have the choice of any car when you do family planning. A trip there will keep you and her out of a Tahoe.

          • 0 avatar
            Kyree S. Williams

            @BobinPgh

            Why on earth are you using this post as a platform for population-control? I’ll tell you what: the Internet also has an overgrown population, and there’s a disturbingly-large subpopulation of cruel and thoughtless people. But you can help to lower those numbers by staying away from a keyboard if you haven’t got anything decent to say.

          • 0 avatar
            redav

            Any fool can use a computer.

            Many do.

          • 0 avatar
            tuffjuff

            @BobinPgh

            I’m not sure how any of this equates to a population control issue, and I’m also not sure how else to respond to you without violating some sort part of TTAC’s comment policy.

            I will say that I appreciate Dan’s view on the matter of a huge SUV not necessarily being the best fit, and hope him well in talking his wife out of what is probably not the best fit for her.

      • 0 avatar
        ClutchCarGo

        While it hardly makes sense, I’ll be amazed if you can talk her out of the Tahoe and into something more suitable. For many women who are not super-comfortable with driving, big and heavy = safety. As difficult as it can be to convert a woman’s style choice with logic, I expect that pregnancy will only make that conversion more unlikely, and as another long-tiome member of the Happy Wife, Happy Life club I doubt that it would be a good idea to try based on logic alone. I would see if you can get a rental Tahoe somwhere and let her drive it for a week or two. If she still wants it, suck it up and go with a well-appointed model that will hold some trade-in value, but maybe the truckness of the beast (especially after the Kia) will help her see the benefits of a CUV.

        • 0 avatar
          BobinPgh

          Daniel, you better love, love, love your job, your going to be there a lot paying for your kids and her Tahoe (and all those Pampers!)

        • 0 avatar
          FuzzyPlushroom

          …which, I have to admit, is terrifying.

          A CR-V (or comparable small crossover) is easier to drive than some double-wide-sized Maibatsu Monstrosity, and should its driver lose control, it’s less dangerous to other motorists around it.

          If she wants to sit up high, then with a kid or two, a small crossover is perfect. If you get to three, or your two kids get to school age and start wanting to bring friends along, then it’s time to look into something with a third row – be it a midsize crossover, a minivan, or a Tahoe.

          I hope your logical approach sells it, CCG, but from a purely logical perspective, they’d be looking at a new Prius V already.

        • 0 avatar
          bigdaddyp

          I would go even further. Buy your reward facing child seat and put a 10 lbs sack of sugar in it. Then have her try and place the car seat in the Tahoe whilst holding a 15 pound diaper bag. To make it even more realistic play some Motörhead at full volume to help simulate that wonderful noise infants make when they are not happy. Bonus points if dump some ice down her back to simulate winter conditions……and that seat better be in the middle position.

      • 0 avatar
        BuzzDog

        Sigh. “Happy wife, happy life.” Again.

        Every time I read or hear that God-awful expression (often when referring to the purchase of a car or house), I’m thankful that the love of my life and I both wanted a reasonable, level-headed, win-win partnership.

        Wait until after the baby arrives, and you have an opportunity to see how that affects the budget. Only then should you think about buying ANY new vehicle. You’ll be surprised at how your and your wife’s priorities will change.

        • 0 avatar
          ClutchCarGo

          BD, some of us use that phrase as shorthand for respecting our spouses’ desires even tho we don’t share them, not as a dismissal of their opinions as irrational. My wife and I also share a very real partnership, which means that she lets me have my way at least as often as I accede to hers. There’s just no snappy rhyming name for that part of the arrangement between us.

          • 0 avatar
            BuzzDog

            Sincere thanks for that clarification.

            It’s just that when I hear it (often on HGTV with homebuyers), the pseudo-macho guy saying it comes across as though he’s trying to say, “My wife is a spoiled, ¶u$$¥whipping ϐ¡t¢#, and my survival tactic for living with this abusive shrew is to shut up and open my wallet.” It’s as irksome as when they show the huge closet, and the wife says, “So honey, where are you going to put your clothes.” I find it disrespectful, but maybe I’m too sensitive.

            Back to the issue at hand, I still stand by my advice of waiting until the baby arrives, and seeing how the budget looks.

        • 0 avatar

          I hate that phrase as well, because ultimately, no one ends up happy.

          But anyways, I agree with waiting until after the child is born. Their budget is going to change dramatically.

      • 0 avatar
        DevilsRotary86

        My jaw just hit the floor at those figures. $70,000 for a Tahoe?!?!?! It’s a Silverado with a camper shell and extra seats! For $70k I hope that the steering wheel is gold plaited and the seats are stuffed with bald eagle down. I am sure it’s a good durable truck, but why $70k? I just don’t see it.

    • 0 avatar
      Frankie the Hollywood Scum

      I’m going to beat the Honda Element drum again. It does check a lot of your boxes for a young family.

      “A weekend trip for the wife, dog and I fills the whole cargo hold and part of the back seat.”
      + Elements are great trip vehicles. A dog bed fits with room to spare between the first and second row seats. The trunk will easily hold your cargo

      “Home improvement runs can be a challenge.”
      + The Element will haul 4×8 sheets with the tailgate down.

      We also periodically drive elderly family members, so something with improved ingress and egress would be appreciated.
      = The front and rear doors open together to make a large area for getting in and out of the vehicle. But it is a little bit of a step up and back to get into the rear seats.

      Safety is the larger concern
      + IIHS top pick

      If your wife is hankering for a Yukon the Element might not be the image she is looking for. But try it you might like it and it’s a solution 10s of thousands less than some of other proposed solutions.

      • 0 avatar
        Russycle

        I love my Element, but no. For hauling kids, the suicide doors are a bit of a pain, especially in crowded parking lots. With 4 passengers, there’s not a lot of room for luggage. And don’t plan on carrying more than 4, because the 5th passenger will have no seatbelt and be sitting on cupholders.

        Great empty nester vehicle, but not that family friendly.

        • 0 avatar
          BobinPgh

          Sounds like my kind of vehicle if I needed a van!

        • 0 avatar
          Frankie the Hollywood Scum

          Among the other vertues that work for my family is the 2nd row is far enough behind the first that the kids can’t kick the back of your seat.

          True, it is a 4 person max vehicle but that will get a young family through a few years until they need to expand. Also I think you might pack heavyier than me Russcycle. For us with 2 kids and a 80lb dog the Element fits the bill niceley for a week long trip.

      • 0 avatar
        Daniel_Latini

        I appreciate the thoughtful response, Frankie. When did they stop making the Element though?

        • 0 avatar
          28-Cars-Later

          MY11

          http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Honda_Element

        • 0 avatar
          tedward

          I have to add, with an Element in my family that I borrow occasionally, that it really is a monstrous back seat back there. Tons of legroom, even if it is only a 4 seater. Drawbacks are extreme wandering in crosswinds and the rear rotors aren’t protected well from road debris, so power washing on at least a weekly basis is required if you drive on loose surfaces. Mechanically it is exactly the same as the CRV so it won’t be much to get excited about, although the manual transmission version is fun.

    • 0 avatar
      tuffjuff

      1) That Spectra5 is probably worth closer to $8-10k, than $5.

      2) You can get a well-equipped, used Tahoe in the low to mid 20′s. As somebody who doesn’t get the idea of BOF SUV’s unless you plan on towing 6,000+ pound loads dozens of times a year, I get – even less – the idea of buying a dinosaur like the Tahoe new. If you have to have a Tahoe, and I’m not saying it’s a bad car, just somewhat unnecessary, at least use the opportunity to have somebody else take the depreciation hit for you as a way to compensate for the huge gas bill you’ll endure while owning one.

      3) I agree with the idea of a Durango or similar vehicle. For the same price, CPO or used, as a Tahoe of similar vintage you get a nicer overall vehicle, more efficient and nearly as capable.

      • 0 avatar
        NN

        it took a long time for someone to mention the obvious conclusion…just get a used Tahoe. The wife is happy, you’ve spent less, they’re plenty durable, and there’s room to grow the family. The new Durango’s seem nice but they don’t have the reputation for durability and long term value that a Tahoe does. Plus, I’m pretty sure unless you are shopping the Pentastar Durango, the Tahoe will do better on gas. Real world, they’re really not much different at all than most large crossovers.

  • avatar
    TEXN3

    Don’t worry, she isn’t the only one. We agreed on the Accord to supplement an Outback 18 months ago. After that, thru a few changes we no longer needed a second vehicle and she doesn’t have to work. Wagon is gone. Private school parking lot envy has set in and we’re one if the few with a low-roofed vehicle. She wants a Pilot, Yukon, or new Explorer. That’s nice.

    I’ll admit the Accord has shortcomings as a utility hauler and dirt road driver, but I’m not interested great in a higher note right now. I’d consider an older Pilot or Explorer (chopped F150 frame with 300hp V8). I’d suggest you do the same.

    • 0 avatar
      Chicago Dude

      “Private school parking lot envy has set in and we’re one if the few with a low-roofed vehicle. She wants a Pilot, Yukon, or new Explorer. That’s nice.”

      Screw that. Those people are either way richer than you or are willing to go farther into debt than is reasonable.

      Change the playing field and beat them at something that isn’t measured in dollar signs. Go down to your local Audi dealer and factory order an A4 or A5 with the exclusive program and pick a bright, loud, awesome color that your kid(s) will love. With the new A3 arrival and the upcoming redesign of the A4, you should be no problem getting such a great deal that you are still under MSRP with the exclusive price tacked on.

      Their kids won’t shut up about your kid(s). It will drive them crazy. You win.

      • 0 avatar
        jim brewer

        Tahoe! Those glided around the pick up zone of our school. Wife wanted one. Poor visibility. I’m amazed one never nailed a kid wandering outside the school. Not such great brakes back then. They are stupid, pretentious cars.

        Try a Pentastar equipped Dodge Caravan that can kick “Stacy’s Mom’s” ass for under 20K and save the extra 20K for college.

        • 0 avatar
          tedward

          Yeah the Tahoe is actually a horrible vehicle unless you are towing a large boat or whatever around. It’s outright dangerous when carrying momentum, with a suggestion box instead of a brake pedal and basically zero visibility with no payoff aside from tow capacity. You can fit a lot in the back but not more than a minivan or other porta potty shaped vehicles. Now that I think about it, the Tahoe enjoys every single possible disadvantage a vehicle could in comparison to, well, everything else you could ever buy.

          Seriously, I wouldn’t let my wife buy one and she’s a great driver. The idea of her and the little guy finding themselves nose first in the winter landscape is worse than mildly annoying her by denying a poorly thought out vehicle choice.

      • 0 avatar

        Parking Lot Parity sells most cars at a certain price and class level. I once got caught in the school run in Scarsdale, NY, the prototypical upscale suburb. I thought I was at a car show of ultimate high end SUV. My 2008 MDX was downright embarrassing, being one whole model cycle old. Meanwhile, at my school, the one Q7 is the “winner”. At Scarsdale, you needed the Porsche or QX56…..all to ferry junior 2.4 miles to grade school.

        Parking Lot Parity also sells cars for daddy, too, around the office park. This explains why my area is full of high end cars, incompetently driven, collision warning systems annoying my Valentine One constantly.

        You need to separate your car dreams with the car for “child chasing”. I’ve oft been grateful for “seats 7″, and “swallows 4×8 sheets”. At some point, if you can afford it, you can have different tools for different jobs. If I need go to far away for something, the 17 mpg truck stays home and the 40 mpg Tdi comes out-but if you are doing a Home Depot run, or picking up teens from the movies….

        You can B and B all you want, but let mama pick out her car.

    • 0 avatar
      Chicago Dude

      “Private school parking lot envy has set in and we’re one if the few with a low-roofed vehicle. She wants a Pilot, Yukon, or new Explorer. That’s nice.”

      Screw that. Those people are either way richer than you or are willing to go farther into debt than is reasonable.

      Change the playing field and beat them at something that isn’t measured in dollar signs. Go down to your local Audi dealer and factory order an A4 or A5 with the exclusive program and pick a bright, loud, awesome color that your kid(s) will love. With the new A3 arrival and the upcoming redesign of the A4, you should have no problem getting such a great deal that you are still under MSRP with the exclusive price tacked on.

      Their kids won’t shut up about your kid(s). It will drive them crazy. You win.

    • 0 avatar
      DevilsRotary86

      “Private school parking lot envy has set in and we’re one if the few with a low-roofed vehicle.”

      I live in a middle-class/lower middle-class working suburb, so I don’t get as much of that here. But recently I took my daughter to see Seseme street live and I got a bit of that. Lots of high roof SUV’s.

      However, I personally derive a bit of perverse pride in the fact that I was the ONLY one in the whole parking lot (I really looked) who rolled up in a 2-door coupe. Acura RSX-S in my case. The families next to me pulled up in a couple of miscellaneous SUV’s that I struggle to remember (I think one might have been an Edge). I am happy to say contrary to conventional wisdom my wife, daughter, and I fit quite nicely in my little 2-door.

      • 0 avatar
        PonchoIndian

        I hope you realize that 99% of the big mouths on here with the strongest opinions and the I’m better than you attitude are now thinking that you are lying.

        You are simply a bad parent if you don’t sacrifice your two door for a minivan and hand in your man card while doing it. Oh wait, they no longer care what others think because they are “happy” to drive the minivan and talk about all the room it has and how it saves them tons of cash.

        My parents never had a 4 door until they couldn’t buy a decent largish or mid size 4 door. We made it out alive…

        I like your style!

        • 0 avatar
          DevilsRotary86

          I really don’t get much attention on here about my car. I get more noise in real life, and even then it’s not much. My inlaws saying that I should get a 4-door, and if I get a 2-door my back will regret it, blah blah blah.

          Nope, my little 2-door does just fine. Last weekend, I fit me, wife , daughter and tricycle for a trip to the park. People say my 2-door isn’t family friendly, I say everyone else overestimates the space a family needs.

  • avatar
    ...m...

    …why not strike the middle ground with a CX-5?..its safety ratings are exemplary, yet it’s still reasonably nimble, efficient, and right-sized as a suburban family vehicle…

    • 0 avatar
      golden2husky

      That is exactly what we suggested to a coworker who is just starting his family. Enough space, good safety, at least some fun behind the wheel, and respectable mileage. His wife loved it and that is what they chose. Real world mileage was a bit worse than they expected but certainly not a deal breaker. The Tahoe is a good vehicle, but certainly overkill. Unless you are expecting a few more kids, the Mazda is a great choice.

    • 0 avatar
      redav

      A friend of mine upgraded a Cruze to a 2.5L CX-5. She gets at least as good efficiency the CX-5 as she did in the Cruze & much better performance.

      I can see how someone expecting to need a ‘big’ vehicle would think it too small, but IMO, that is more about the mentality of getting more ‘just in case’ as opposed to making what you have work.

      • 0 avatar
        DeadWeight

        CX-5, Caravan, CR-V, Forrester, Equinox, etc.

        All can be had for 1/2 the price of a Tahoe (or less) and will cost $2,500 less to drive per year in terms of fuel.

        Or a 3 year old Volvo with low miles in pristine shape.

  • avatar
    Sammy B

    Mazda5? Not sure on the safety front, though. Otherwise minivan best all-around for space, comfort, and value. If you feel that’s too big, perhaps CRV or RAV4

  • avatar
    eManual

    The OP does not mention his present car nor the commuting distance of both parties. In a city environment, the Kia is probably adequate.

    If she can’t be seen in a CX-5, she’ll probably balk at a mini-van, which is a must have for most families after 2 kids. Along with a good long distance cruiser, such as an Impala, Avalon, etc., this combo should be optimal for most 2 driver families in a suburban environment.

  • avatar
    Lorenzo

    You’re not going to talk your wife out of a SUV. Your mileage comment that 29 mpg is marginal (for the Kia) makes me think you should consider a Toyota Highlander hybrid. The gas station shock would be much worse with a Tahoe.

    • 0 avatar
      DeadWeight

      If she absolutely has to have a 7 passenger SUV, the 2014 Dodge Durango has a way better ride, better interior/materials, is more refined, and more efficient than a Tahoe.

      The 2014 Durango is probably the best vehicle (in its respective class) dollar for dollar that I’ve driven in a decade, and by a wide margin.

      It’s literally luxurious, and my buddy’s wife just got one for just under 33k (AWD that snickered for 39k).

      • 0 avatar
        tedward

        The Durango is a really good recommendation (if SUV has to be chosen over minivan.) I second it’s interior quality, refinement and massive ride AND handling advantage over the Tahoe.

      • 0 avatar
        tuffjuff

        +1 for the Durango.

        Around here, they can also be had for a steal CPO. Unsure what the OP’s budget happens to be.

        • 0 avatar
          DeadWeight

          It’s incredibly underappreciated.

          I’d personally go for the 2014 because they upgraded the interior nicely, and more importantly, they paired the V6 Pentastar (great motor) with an 8 speed transmission that gets an official 18/25 (and probably does better than 25 on the highway).

          Seriously, the new Durango with the 2nd row captains chairs could/should be the new livery vehicle. Tompns of room inside, awesome seats, amazingly rigid chassis, 5 star crash ratings in every category (including side impact), tight as a drum with ZERO squeaks/rattles, triple sealed glass – and the uConnect system is pretty cool, too.

          I have no affiliation with Chrysler/Dodge in any way, but the new Durango is a better vehicle than the Tahoe, IMO, at any price.

          At about 60% of the Tahoe’s price, it’s a no brained.

          I detest SUVs and CUVs, too, but could imagine a Durango as my daily driver. That’s how good it is.

          • 0 avatar

            +1 just finished up a week with one. Brilliant.

          • 0 avatar
            DeadWeight

            Derek, any Durango review to look toward to?

            I realize Alex recently did a pretty thorough (and very good) review of the 2014, but it’s such a great vehicle.

            This is high praise coming from me, since I MAY like one out of every 7 or 8 vehicles I test drive, and may actually LOVE one out of every 20, both from a value & driveability/quality of fabrication/comfort/value standpoint.

    • 0 avatar
      tonycd

      I agree with Lorenzo’s first sentence here. I think the trick is to replicate both the roominess and the “invulnerable truck” aesthetics of the Tahoe without taking on its pointlessly non-functional, gas-hogging body-on-frame construction. Since she won’t accept the functionality of a minivan in a minivan-looking package, do what thousands do and sugar-coat the practicality pill in a large unibody skinned in SUV clothing — in other words, a Traverse/Enclave/Acadia.

    • 0 avatar
      Atum

      She probably expected higher MPG in the Spectra because it was a compact car.

      With a RWD Tahoe, which gets about 15, she’ll expect to get crappy mileage. Why? Because it’s a big truck, pretty much.

  • avatar
    heavy handle

    The Tahoe is an overpriced, antiquated, unsafe, ill-handling pig. If you are going that route, you may as well get a Wrangler and enjoy the ride.

    As noted above, the logical answer is CR-V. Screw logic.

  • avatar
    Quentin

    CUVs are hands down the best at this chore. We are previous DINKs, presently 1.5I1Ks. We had a midsize SUV and a midsize station wagon plus my wife’s fun car when we had our child. We only drove the midsize wagon except for when I knew we’d be facing snow at which point we’d haul out the SUV. The midsize SUV was simply overkill 95% of the time. A Tahoe would be even more overkill. The compact CUV market is as competitive as ever and is loaded with value. We ended up deciding to move to a Rav4 as our family vehicle. It has more space than the station wagon, but isn’t huge like the SUV. It is AWD but still does pretty decent on gas. The segment is literally designed for small families. Honda and Toyota really knock the ball out of the park with low load floors in the rear, too.

    • 0 avatar
      Quentin

      More thoughts: The CUV market really is ripe right now. For under $30k, you are in a 28+ mpg CUV with leather (def nice with a kid), smart key (amazing with kids), power lift gate, navigation, backup camera, etc. The rear load floors are low for the well thought out ones, lots of back seat space for car seats and the spouse that has to deal with the fussy baby on road trips, wide rear doors for getting the kid in the car seat, and ergonomic lifting heights for getting the kids in and out. My years as a process engineer have taught me that ergo matters. CUVs destroy SUVs and wagons when it comes to ergo.

      For a family with 1 kid, a compact CUV is absolutely perfect. I drove our ’14 Rav4 Limited through the mountains for the first time to see my family yesterday. It handled great. They are literally taller, AWD station wagons that won’t break your bank like the few wagons available today. They don’t have to look as sporty as many wagons try to, so they tend to have more cargo capacity, too. Ground clearance is a nice feature. Standard roof racks are nice for outdoors types. Throw a Curt hitch on there for bike racks or a platform to keep undesirable stuff out of the cabin. The only thing compact CUVs aren’t great at is cultivating a macho image. I DGAF, though. They are super practical and well thought out. Test drive all the CUVs that you like the look of and pick the one you like best. You’d be hard pressed to buy a bad one.

      • 0 avatar
        BobinPgh

        Wow, fussy kids, car seats, lifting kids out of the van? Sounds like loads of fun to me! Now I know why Jon (Jon and Khate + 8) never smiles.

        • 0 avatar
          gearhead77

          Wow, dumping on family life on a thread about family vehicles. Jon and Kate didn’t smile because they’re idiots.

          • 0 avatar
            BobinPgh

            I know, she was such a grouch even in Disney’s Magic Kingdom, the happiest place on Earth! See what happens when people get child greedy?

        • 0 avatar
          Quentin

          Talk about making a mountain out of a molehill. My kid is awesome 90% of the time. Well worth the adventure.

          • 0 avatar
            BobinPgh

            Probably because you see him 10% of the time, after all, you have to keep working, working, working and spending all the time at work because the markup on Pampers is ridiculously high. That and GM makes a huge profit on the Tahoe.

          • 0 avatar
            Quentin

            We cloth diaper. We couldn’t have a Prius in the garage and bins full of disposable diaper, after all. How could I be self-righteous while filling dumps with trash?!

            Seriously, though, we easily afford our child. The only weekends I work are forced by my employer because we are a skeleton crew. That is just play money that I blow on carbon bicycles. I’d gladly take my base rate and never work weekends if they’d let me. Our Rav4 is a different animal all together than a Tahoe.

          • 0 avatar
            bball40dtw

            Quentin-

            Whenever my wife and I say we use cloth diapers for our duaghter, people look at us like we are crazy. After building a diaper sprayer out of various Home Depot parts, I think they may be on the something.

        • 0 avatar
          Atum

          That’s why they got divorced.

      • 0 avatar
        Daniel_Latini

        I hear you, Quentin. You’re basically listing the highlights of the lsat few conversations between my bride and I.

    • 0 avatar
      tedward

      “CUVs are hands down the best at this chore”…Except for, you know, the wagons which outperform them in most respects (given an apples to apples showdown.) The one thing a CUV does better than a wagon is jumping over snow berms at the bottom of untended driveways. The extra height in the cargo area is a purely psychological upgrade, as you really shouldn’t put cargo above the rear seats anyway, and the roof is far harder to access on the CUV’s while not providing any extra weight rating.

      The best reason to buy a CUV is brand loyalty. As wagons have suffered from consumer neglect and then CAFE legislation the options have been drastically pared back, to the point where there are only two on the market right now that aren’t from premium brands.

      • 0 avatar
        bryanska

        You’re actually highlighting the key reason wagons aren’t better than CUVs in the year 2014: consumer neglect. Because people haven’t been buying them, makers aren’t developing them.

        Sure, a wagon is SUPPOSED to have all those things, but the reality is that manufacturers have been shoveling R&D money into CUVs for four model generations now. They’re basically awesome, balanced, perfect little machines that do a pretty good job of turning weaknesses into strengths.

        Most wagons on the US market now are afterthoughts. They waste their space with sportback glass. Their option packages are limited because of their low volume. They’re purposely tailored to the narrow segment of the market that will buy a wagon. All the honest wagons of the past are gone: Focus, Corolla, Accord, Camry, Malibu Maxx, Caprice… What’s left are stiff little sports wagons from European or luxury manufacturers. The days of the 10-year family truckster are gone, replaced by the 7-year family CUV.

        CUVs rule the roost in 2014 for a number of reasons.

  • avatar
    Trend-Shifter

    My son is a recent father of two. He has a 3 month old and a 2 year old.
    His primary car is a Mazda 3 hatchback. The car does not have enough space for all the parenting goodies such as strollers, bags and the like. You cannot fit groceries and the kids in the car! The wife needs to go food shopping without the kids. I don’t know what he would do if he wanted to pack luggage and go on a trip??

    One weekend I rented a Chevy Cruze for the wife to visit the kids while I was wrenching on the ole Audi 5000 Avant.
    All the parenting goodies fit easily into the Chevy Cruze trunk with lots of room to spare. You would not believe the large amount of trunk space unless you look for yourself.

    Until you need to pick up half the neighborhood for soccer practice this car will do the job at a LOW BUDGET and it has one of the HIGHEST SAFETY ratings.

    I drove the Cruze myself and can attest it can really handle! Take one for a drive.
    A set of performance tires would bring a smile to your face on the twisties instead lumbering in an SUV or mini-van. The Cruze would be easy to park and get good mileage.

    Now in 5 years use the Cruze for work and get a used 2013~2016 CUV, SUV or mini-van with a good safety record on the cheap for soccer duty.

    • 0 avatar
      Daniel_Latini

      Thanks for the perspective, Trend. My commuter will need to be replaced in a couple years anyway, so I’m strongly considering something like what you are proposing.

      I’ve always found the front of the Cruze to look pretty good anyway.

    • 0 avatar
      catachanninja

      Also the cruze is available in diesel so you can keep your car guy cred

    • 0 avatar
      tedward

      Trend_shifter

      I don’t know what you mean about the Cruz, it doesn’t have anything near the best rear (or front) seat legroom, nor is it in contention for top trunk volume in class. Both the Corolla and Jetta have it beat on both fronts, and I’m fairly sure they aren’t alone in that.

      As to the handling of the Cruz…please no. It is probably the least agile car in it’s class with a massive weight disadvantage (literally hundreds of pounds.) This is a car that has clearly been designed for Indiana/flat state commuters, so long as you aren’t throwing curves at it I think it would actually do a good job in that role. It’s positive attributes (aside from styling which is good) are pretty much limited to interior materials and sound levels.

      • 0 avatar
        gearhead77

        My beef with the Cruze besides that it’s a bit small inside for how large it is, are the steering and transmission. The steering is way too light at all speeds and the transmission is pretty dimwitted. This was in a low mile RS rental( under 3k), so it hadn’t been beat too bad. Maybe the turbo car is better?

        I did appreciate the ride and isolation and the interior in RS form is a nice place, especially compared to anything small wearing a bowtie before it.

        • 0 avatar
          PonchoIndian

          gearhead,
          I agree on the steering being too light. The transmission takes a very long time to learn and become acceptable. A rental driven by a few people will give the impression that its completely messed up, but it does get better.

          The RS you drove was a turbo car…

      • 0 avatar
        PonchoIndian

        tedward,

        Have to completely disagree with you on the handling of the Cruze, at least the models with the sport suspension (anything except the LS and LT1). The Eco has ranked in the top 2 or 3 in all of the comparisons of fun to drive in every magazine around consistently. It even posts some pretty stellar lane change mph speeds on the low rolling resistance tires. I don’t think you’ll find a car in its class with a better ride/handling tradeoff and fun to drive tossable nature.

      • 0 avatar
        dmchyla

        Spoken like someone that only reads car magazines and has never actually driven the Cruze. 18 months ago, I drove the previous generation 3, Focus, Cruze, and Jetta, and bought a Cruze Eco. Yes, it’s best at freeway driving, which is what I needed it for (40,000 miles in 18 months). However, even with its weight disadvantage and LRR tires, it gets around corners just fine. Not quite as sharp as the Focus, and the 3 would have been best on back roads, but for real world driving it had the others beat. Jetta was worse for handling and worse on the freeway. As far as front and rear seat room, I’m 6’2″ and it fits me fine. While our other vehicle is a T&C, our family of 5 still fits in the Cruze when we need it to.

        You should get off the internetz and go drive a few cars if you think the Corolla is even a contender in this class. Yes, the Cruze is a little heavy for the class but only 150 lbs heavier than a comparable Focus. It’s worth it for as composed as it is on the highway.

        • 0 avatar
          tedward

          You are saying this to someone who, in five minutes, is getting into a Cruz rs to drive forty miles. It isn’t an incompetent car but it simply does not handle as well as the cars you mentioned. It does on the other hand have a comfortable and quiet ride. I have thousands of miles on nearly every car in this class. When it was launched it was a sea change for compact gm products… but not for the compact class as a whole.

          I’ve briefly driven the diesel even. That one is intriguing but again, only as a highway car compared to the tdi alternative due to the extra weight and torque converter auto.

          • 0 avatar
            tedward

            Also I’m 100% dead certain it doesn’t have a competitive rear seat or trunk. I’ve babied in this car and two of its competitors and it isn’t even ballpark. At 6’2″ I can’t sit comfortably on front of my relatively upright rear facing car seat.

            Also the new corolla isn’t as awful as the last one (which was worst in class.) This new one has a huge rear seat but remains as lackluster to drive in a spirited fashion as well… The cruze.

          • 0 avatar
            dmchyla

            Then I am surprised at your comments. We agree that the Cruze at its best on the freeway. I just don’t feel that it has a huge handling disadvantage to the others in its class. It felt roomier than the Focus and had much higher quality materials than the (previous generation) 3. I went in to my test driving thinking that I would buy a Focus based on the reviews but the Cruze won me over. I think if you consider how cars in this class are actually used vs. thinking that we can all have a spirited drive on a back road every day, the Cruze stacks up very well. Great real-world MPG from my Eco as well.

          • 0 avatar
            PonchoIndian

            Tedward,

            Is it a 1LT or 2LT?

            There is a large difference in suspension tuning once you move up over the 1LT version that changes it from a highway car to a corner carver.

  • avatar
    hammy

    When starting our young family about a decade ago, we went through the same conversations. Both of us being loyal children of native Texans were raised that when you need a new ride, head down to the local Chevy dealer. Being a young family in our early 20s, we did the sensible thing and bought a lightly used Tahoe and proceeded to spend 249% of our annual income on fuel for the proceeding 7 years.

    Don’t get me wrong, the Tahoe served us well and was an absolute workhorse. But it was a terrible decision to buy in retrospect. Safety ratings, side airbags, efficiency, reliability? HAH!

    Suburban America has moved on from the Tahoe as the family vehicle du jour. It’s now the crossover or bust. Be mindful that most 7-seaters can carry 5 people and their things OR 7 people and a loaf of bread. We made the jump to a 7 seat crossover with the arrival of #2 (a Mazda CX9). You see, children make friends with other children and eventually they need to be driven places. Same with friends and family and I’d build the pyramids at Giza to avoid having to move carseats between vehicles.

    So, that’s my way of saying you’re both on point except that the Tahoe is a stupid choice. Go drive everything you can and buy what she likes and you can tolerate that fits in your budget.

    • 0 avatar
      Daniel_Latini

      Thanks for the perspective, Hammy. Are you saying you’d rather build the pyramids in South America or Egypt to avoid swapping car seats :) ?

      • 0 avatar
        BobinPgh

        The men who built the pyramids built remarkable structures that have survived 5000 years. Swapping car seats? Doesn’t last for an hour. Do you want to be known in your life for being a car seat swapping expert?

    • 0 avatar
      Hummer

      How does one spend 249% of their annual income on fuel? My DD gets 11mpg average and w/ about 15k miles a year I find it hard to spend more than $5,500 a year, which is hardly a drop in the bucket.

      Now consider current Tahoe’s get over 20mpg I doubt OP would see more than 3k a year on fuel, which is again a drop in the bucket to the trucks price, expecting 15k miles a year.

      • 0 avatar
        catachanninja

        Pretty sure 249% was hyperbole

      • 0 avatar
        KixStart

        “Now consider current Tahoe’s get over 20mpg”

        On the EPA highway test, sure. In the real world? Not so much. Fuelly reports people getting 9 to 17mpg.

        • 0 avatar
          Carlson Fan

          If I put my 25′ SeaRay that weighs close to 8K pounds behind it my Tahoe will get 9 MPG. Otherwise it averages around 16. All highway, loaded up with gear and the family of 5, I’ve gotten over 20 with it but usually 18-19. Mine is old and has the 4 speed, I’m sure the newer ones do better.

      • 0 avatar
        Hummer

        I know, but I felt it was worth addressing how little it actually is. And yes fuellly shows 9-16 but that is more associated with older trucks.

  • avatar
    Hillman

    Mini van. It is big enough to help you with the home improvements, can take bikes and canoes, great for road trips, car pools. I could go on but I think you will find it beats a Tahoe.

    • 0 avatar
      peekay

      +1. Absolutely a minivan would make the most sense. But just try to convince any young woman of that. I really don’t understand the loathing they seem to have for minivans…they want all the things minivans excel at but don’t want a minivan. And when loading kids etc into back seats in a tight parking lot, what could be better than power-activated sliding doors? But any vehicle with those is automatically considered “minivan” and crossed off the list. I really don’t get it.

      • 0 avatar
        jim brewer

        Sure. Its like they want to pretend they aren’t moms then they ostentatiously buy some behemoth to prove that they are more protective of their child than the next mom. the difference in cost saved over twenty years would pay for a year at Harvard.

        Read Jack Baruth’s review of the Town and Country to get an idea of the capability of these vehicles. A CUV makes sense, but a set of snow tires and 4 X 2 makes more sense.

        • 0 avatar
          gearhead77

          Exactly. Or Thomas Kreutzer as to why he bought what he bought.

        • 0 avatar
          Hummer

          I’m not sure why your so anti SUV, but some people value their lives more than others, and as many unibody construction wrecks I’ve seen fold like wet napkins, there’s no way I’d put my family is such a situation.

          • 0 avatar
            bryanska

            By that logic, I’ll thank you for putting MY family in that situation. An arms race doesn’t sound like fun. If you buy a body-on-frame SUV for the safety, you’re just transferring the force of impact to my family. You may want to refrain from stating that decision publicly, for liability’s sake.

          • 0 avatar
            Hummer

            It’s not like OPs wife wants a CXT or MXT as her mommy car, Tahoe’s are very manuerverable, increasingly more efficient, and very easy to drive.

      • 0 avatar
        Hillman

        My take on how to win over the social stigma of the minivan. Get your passport ready and go a few major world trips to foreign counties. With the 20-30 k you can save on a minivan over a suv you can have some really awesome trips. That way she can brag to all her friends about how her husband just took her to Europe and the Far East while you are coming out way ahead.

        • 0 avatar
          DougD

          Yup. Minivan + winter tires. The safest vehicle is the one that avoids the accident. Good driver + good tires + good maintenance.

          My wife fully agrees, minivans for inexpensive transportation so you can do more trips. An unintended consequence is you might get to see a few countries where choice of transportation is a lesser indicator of social status (basically every other country) which could give you some perspective. Take a trip before you buy!

          • 0 avatar
            PonchoIndian

            When did a minivan become inexpensive? Other than the blow out sales on the base Mopar vans, new minivans are anything but cheap.

  • avatar

    CR-V or similar CUV. For fun the Mazda is the choice, but really there are a lot of good choices in that space.

    If she is looking for something more unique you might land a Crosstour at a good price these days… But really, the packaging efficiency / space / economy are with the CUVs. If you MUST move up a size… Flex? Explorer?

    • 0 avatar
      Sam Hell Jr

      Generally agree. Would add, the lower, mildly out of fashion wagon-shaped crossovers like the Murano or the Venza are very ingress/egress/child seat-friendly. I was also impressed with the new Pathfinder, though the transmission issues gave me pause. My experience has been that many female drivers hate the sight lines out of this class of vehicles, however.

      If there’s no talking her out of a full framed SUV … I helped my mom shop that market last year, and despite its being a generation behind the times, the Pilot was the most practical-minded, comfortable, unobtrusive truck. (The seats in the Highlander were deal-breakingly bad.)

      I did like the GM family of mid size CUVs, but my Mom’s ’98 Explorer soured her on American marques, and the real world fuel economy of the GM triplets was pickup-esque.

  • avatar
    22_RE_Speedwagon

    I’m having the opposite problem. My wife is pregnant with number three and refuses to get an SUV or a minivan. She likes small cars. Due to some carefully crafted manipulations on the part of our six year old I think we’re getting her comfortable with idea of the Mazda5. There really is no other third row vehicle that small. As for me, did you know the Chevy SS has pretty much the widest backseat on the market?

    What about an acura tsx sportwagon? You can get one with the tech package at around 32K these days. It has double the cargo capacity of your kia with all the seats in place. If she insists on a full-on 7 seater then CX-9 or Durango with the 6 cylinder / 8 speed transmission are the one’s I like in that segment.

  • avatar
    raresleeper

    A minivan would likely prove to be a welcome addition for your needs as a family.

    Although she would seemingly “balk” at them, methinks the versatility of one would be right up your family’s alley.

    Take her to look at an Odyssey. Then tell me if she’ll continue “balking” at the thoughts of driving a van.

    She’s a fan of the Tahoe? Seems to me that when ladies want an SUV, it’s either Suburban or Yukon, if not some other third-row luxury ute.

    Where I live, the Germans are hot sellers, as well as some of the conservative Japanese models (Pilot, another great choice for third row SUV). Not so much Tahoe. Must be geography and demographics of the writer coming in to play.

    How about a used Land Cruiser? Sure, their expensive, but 100k+ miles on a Land Cruiser is nothing. That ‘Yota’s just getting warmed up. If they can run those across the savannahs in Africa and storm the intensely-hot deserts of the Middle East, then you won’t have any problems getting Timmy to soccer practice for years to come. Don’t expect it to be any more efficient than said Tahoe, however.

    For some reason, I personally find the extended Yukon Denali’s (of the 2006-2014 vintage) rather nice. Captain’s Chairs. Denali package. Unbreakable and reliable (albeit inefficient) GMT900 platform. They can really take a beating- no pussyfooting around with it.

    As of the 2015 model… it hasn’t grown on me yet. Suppose I’m not a fan of all things square.

    And sure, sure, it’s aged. When it comes to utility vehicles, some of the best ever made were on aged platforms. The XJ Cherokee. The MB Gelandewagon. Two examples.

    I once took a liking to the Excursion with the CAT diesel. Then I learned of the utterly weak transmissions and said “next”.

    Yes, ditch the Kia before you have to replace that transmission AND engine.

  • avatar
    pb35

    When we were ready to have kids, I purchased a Volvo XC90. Three years later, our twins were born. I would recommend the Volvo based on our experience. With the new model being announced later this year, you should be able to get a smoking deal on either a new or CPO example. You’ll get a nice, super comfortable European car without the snob appeal. Ours has been reliable enough and our dealer has been outstanding when problems do arise. Most importantly, when I wave goodbye to my family as they pull away, I’m confident they’ll be returning home.

  • avatar
    midnite_clyde

    3.6 V6 Journey. 5 seater or 7 seater. Great value, decent gas mileage. ~290 horses. Check it out.

  • avatar
    The Heisenberg Cartel

    Nobody needs a Tahoe for ONE kid. Really, there are MANY vehicles that will do the job. Someone mentioned the Cruze and that car has a ton of space for its size.if she wants a higher ride height maybe go Encore or even X1. Or GLK. Or X3.

    My last four vehicles, with a kid, have ranked in this order
    2006 Explorer: Excellent, borderline overkill
    2006 Prius: perfect, lots of rear seat and cargo space, could pass muster for two kids
    1999 BMW 3 series: big trunk, decent rear seat space, 4 adults and one car seat is rough though
    2006 Saturn Ion: back seat too small, trunk space adequate

    • 0 avatar
      Daniel_Latini

      I fully agree. If I have my druthers, we’ll do something in this direction so I can inherit it for my next commuter if we decide to have additional children.

  • avatar
    namesakeone

    Get the Tahoe–or at least test drive one. Your wife won’t let you forget it if you don’t.

    • 0 avatar
      cpthaddock

      I agree that the test driving a Tahoe should be the starting point since that’s her expressed preference.

      Ultimately you’re going to get what she wants, or face a choice between prematurely replacing the thing you got that she never really wanted or hearing about it in every argument from purchase time to … ’till death do you part.

      As long as you don’t HAVE to replace the Kia, take your time and get it right for the 3 of you.

      It took my wife 3 years to decide on what she wanted to replace her ’05 MDX with but it was worth taking the time. We wound up with a vehicle she detested initially. She recently mentioned that she loves it as much as her old MDX (which she repeatedly claimed we would have to pry from her cold dead hands). Things she had not expected to value so highly were:

      Ride comfort – it’s hard to make something that rides high ride well. Want to keep waking your kid with every pothole?

      Rear load height – our aged 15 year old dog really appreciates that, not to mention loading anything heavy or awkward …

      Adjustability – I’m 6′ and she’s 4’9″. What size range does your wife expect to go through while pregnant, maybe not this time, but next time?

      Ingress and Egress – height is not your best friend here and that goes along with …

      2nd row space – its not just whether adults can honestly use the back seats (a shocking shortcoming in many vehicles). Plan to keep the vehicle long? What if your kid is 6’3″ buy the age of 12? And in the meantime, how much space to you have to get in and fiddle with harnesses etc.

      So, take your time and enjoy the process :)

      • 0 avatar
        Daniel_Latini

        Thanks cpthaddock. Sounds like you guys were very careful in your selection process.

      • 0 avatar
        jim brewer

        My wife wanted the Tahoe–till she test drove it and experienced for herself the poor visibility and lousy brakes. On the plus side, she started being pretty careful around them during pick up time.

        A sedan instead of a minivan? I can at least understand that. A sedan has a lot of real life advantages to any 4X4.

  • avatar
    jjotto

    Subaru Forester. Honda CR-V. Honda Croostour. Toyota Rav4. Toyota Highlander. Nissan Murano.

    Low-miles used Volvo XC60.

    Lots of good choices. Set a realistic budget, test drive a few. If used, pay for a third-party inspection.

  • avatar
    sportyaccordy

    I’m not sure “keeping up with the Joneses” is a good driver of a car purchase. A CR-V, Pilot or Odyssey will do everything your wife will need the Tahoe to do while using about half as much gas and not impressing her materialistic friends. There is nothing the Tahoe does that your wife needs.

  • avatar
    KixStart

    Frankly, I’d dump the Kia and my preferred vehicle for your purpose would be a CUV (CR-V or CX-5, seems to be the best combination of space, mpg and value).

    My child had a child, panicked over the “need” for something “big enough” and went with the 3rd-seat Traverse. Even that turns out to be an expensive chore to drive with more room than needed and a much greater thirst than they like.

    But is your wife driven by what her girlfriends have? If so, then you’re screwed. Maybe you could talk her into a Lexus or BMW with a better combination of resale/operating cost. Maybe not.

  • avatar
    cgjeep

    Don’t take advise from anyone that hasn’t had a baby in the last 7 years. Modern rear facing are so friggin big and you are suppose to put the seat in the center position so it ends up impacting both front seats. Buy the car seat that you want and take it car shopping with you for fit. Trunk space is secondary. We had a first generation Jeep liberty and the car seat wouldn’t fit safely in it with us (not tall) being able to drive. You can put child on passenger side but then you compromise children’s safety. You will need a larger vehicle than you think for this. Probably nothing smaller than an Accord or Camry. After child sits facing the front (2 years) you can get smaller car. We had twins so we leased an Odyssey for 3 years as we figured we didn’t want a van for life and we wouldn’t need that much space after the lease was up. We now do fine with a Sonata and a Jeep GC.

    • 0 avatar
      Quentin

      Why is passenger side less safe than driver side? Are you more likely to get t boned from the passenger side?

      We have kept my daughter on the passenger side or the middle pretty much exclusively. It isn’t a space issue, though. It just seemed like the most practical when the 3 of us are in the car. Passenger handles the baby, driver gets the diaper bag out if the trunk.

      • 0 avatar
        heavy handle

        “Why is passenger side less safe than driver side?”
        I think cgjeep was comparing the passenger side to the middle.

        That being said, I’ve heard that the safest seat is right behind the driver because drivers will instinctively steer away from impact. In other words, cars are more likely to be hit on the passenger side.

        • 0 avatar
          Richard Chen

          Per NHTSA, the center is the preferred position if you have just one child seat, as it’s furthest from a side impact on either side.

        • 0 avatar
          cgjeep

          Yes I was comparing an outside sitting position to the middle. I chose passenger side because in a lot of cars you can’t put a rear facing child seat behind the driver and still drive as you will have to move the seat up to make seat fit. Also remember you need to leave1-2 inches of space between child seat and back of front seat to allow controlled deceleration of child seat in case of an accident. With twins both of mine have to sit in an outside position.

      • 0 avatar
        Mandalorian

        The driver usually always protects his side first, so yes passenger side is less safe.

        • 0 avatar
          Quentin

          If he were talking front seats, I’d agree wholeheartedly. Back seat is a bit more removed from the collision, though, to the point I don’t know how relevant that “save yourself” situation is. You don’t often see a head on/offset collision end up in the back seat on either side. All the small overlap crash testing is done on the driver side, too. With kids, the big concern is the whip effect which I’d think would be a T bone scenario being the biggest concern.

          • 0 avatar
            cgjeep

            Bet Jack’s kid was in center position. If had been in passenger side accident would have been much worse.

          • 0 avatar
            Jack Baruth

            He was passenger side, which was the side of the impact.

          • 0 avatar
            ajla

            “Bet Jack’s kid was in center position. If had been in passenger side accident would have been much worse.”

            He was on the passenger side.

            http://jackbaruth.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/02/021.jpg

          • 0 avatar
            cgjeep

            Good to know my foot still fits in my mouth.

          • 0 avatar
            Lorenzo

            cgjeep: foot in mouth? Hardly. You just bet and lost. Just stay out of casinos.

      • 0 avatar
        salguod

        “Why is passenger side less safe than driver side?”

        As mentioned, the center is best simply due to distance from any impact. However, the passenger side is the side facing oncoming traffic in a left turn so if the center won’t work, I’d think the driver’s side would be better.

    • 0 avatar
      DrSandman

      Wow, interesting! I still have a first-gen Liberty and find it perfectly adequate for our tall frames with our two kids and car seats. I’m 6’4″, and my wife has longer legs than me. (Yes, she is _totally_ out of my league!)

      Granted, we shopped hard for Euro-style car seats that don’t require a forklift to get in and out of the car… The Recaro seats are wonderful, compact, and very safe. Plus, RECARO!

      Agreed with the sentiment of the post here, though: buy the car seat FIRST, then take it around with you. You will weed out half of your choices without even bothering with the test drive.

  • avatar
    GeneralMalaise

    Toyota Rav4 or Highlander would be my choice. My son just bought a CX5, seems to be a nice CUV, as well. My anecdotal evidence on the Highlander is that we have a 2001 bought new that now has 224K miles on it, maintained per schedule and the thing seems to be indestructible… the quality of materials and build are top notch. If newer Highlanders are anywhere near this, seems like a great choice.

  • avatar
    RS

    Minivan or larger CUV. Gotta have space and convenience.

    My wife was extremely opposed to driving a minivan when our kids were little. I was sick of shoehorning them into her Saturn SL2…so I went out on a big limb and bought a Chrysler minivan. After her first experience loading the crew and their stuff and driving it she gave me the keys to the Saturn and told me to do what I wanted with it as the Van was now HERS. The lesson here is don’t let her tell you what she wants without the experience of trying what works best. She doesn’t have to drive it forever.

    …and BTW, that van gave us 115K trouble free miles. I’ll attribute that to faithfully sticking to the maintenance schedule. Overall, I don’t think minivan owners are a demographic that follows maintenance schedules very well and they get a bad rap. Like most vehicles, if you take care of it, it should last.

    • 0 avatar
      gearhead77

      For those who are aren’t car people or mechanically minded, maintenance gets put to the back burner, especially when kids are involved. Especially if money is an issue. Diapers, dinner or diagnosing the car. I know what gets pushed to the back burner.

  • avatar
    Zackman

    Brand-new Honda CR-V. Period.

    We have had our 2002 since new, and it has fulfilled any task we demanded of it, and never have had any problems. Wifey loves it – it’s her car. You can’t go wrong, the “fun to drive” caveat be hanged!

    A Ford Flex would be next – just add woodgrain and rename it “Country Swuire” and you’ll be good to go!

    Otherwise, a minivan may be the ticket, but I can’t recommend a serious SUV like a Tahoe, Yukon, Sequoia and such. Those can bankrupt you in gas, depending on how many miles you drive in a week.

    However, trucks are always cool, so perhaps a crew cab F-150, one of the GM trucks or a Tundra may do it for you, too.

    It all comes down to who’s going to be the primary driver. Remember, if Wifey’s happy, you will be as well!

    • 0 avatar

      CR-V FTW. Boring to drive, great at everything practical.

      • 0 avatar
        tubacity

        Some real world bad features of CRV. Rock hard right rear seat. Bring an extra cushion if you sit there. Bad to terrible rear visibility. Hard to change lanes and truly see what is in the next lane. Pray and hope cut off other drivers or crash. Wish the backup camera were on all the time but that appears to be illegal when driving forward. Subie rear visibility much better.

        Ride probably harder due to large truck size tires. Trade off for clearance, trucky look.

        • 0 avatar
          Zackman

          I always forget Subaru. They seem to make some nice rides in the Forester and Outback. Not to mention there is a “cool factor” that has an attractiveness all its own!

          Yeah – check out a Subie, too.

        • 0 avatar
          gearhead77

          That and the obnoxious Honda road noise. Does CRV get active noise canceling?

          • 0 avatar
            Zykotec

            Cant say there is much road noise in my ’07 ? But If I were to buy another CRV I’d buy another 2nd gen, and add some soundproofing. I really miss my ’03. Seats aren’t too good, but it’s the most practical and versatile car I’ve owned. And the 3rd gen isn’t available with a atick in the US (it is here though, but couldn’t find one in the short time the insurance provided a rental)

  • avatar
    cgjeep

    Get something with room for 2 kids, never know what future will bring. When we were going to have ours I wanted to get a minivan but wife wouldn’t have one as she didn’t think it was cool or sexy, or something. Sales Manager told her “an ugly woman getting out of a Corvette is still an ugly woman”. Ten minutes later we had a signed buyers order. I will always be appreciative of that sales manager.

  • avatar
    TXGator415

    As someone with a 3 month old, we chose the RDX as the baby car. Before everyone screams it’s a tarted up CRV, the 3.5 V6 makes it very quick for its class, and the rear seat is set far enough back that getting an infant carrier in is incredibly easy. The extra NHV makes is very comfortable for driving around Houston.

  • avatar
    olivebranch2006

    My mother died in 2003 from rolling her 2002 explorer at highway speeds so safety has been on my radar ever since. I used to not care but also knowing someone who has rolled a 90s era 7 series BMW at highway speeds not once but twice and walked away…. a little research shows that not all frames are created equal. my first pick is acura MDX because of shawd and top crash stores in all tests. volvo and Subaru really perform well. be careful with mid size/large SUV/cuv models because the IIHS small overlap crash test has not been performed against this category yet. I emailed a rep at IIHS last month and he said they are planning to test mid size SUVs by July. we are in the market and will wait until the results are out…

    • 0 avatar
      Daniel_Latini

      Sorry to hear about your mother, Olive. All the same, thanks for the info, though. It’ll be interesting to see how the larger classes of vehicles do in the test.

  • avatar
    BobinPgh

    You guys brag about how many kids you have “On the way” (am I the only one who finds that expression kind of gross?) And judging from the some of the answers here, your days of having a car that is the least bit fun are over. Oh, and you will be spending lots of money for car seats, minivans, Pampers. Why is it I come here to read about cars and end up reading about guys’ kids? Its boring.

    • 0 avatar
      redav

      Yes, you are the only one who finds it gross.

      • 0 avatar
        CJinSD

        The only thing I found gross on here was his appeal to infanticide. What can you expect from someone that opens an article about shopping for a family hauler to be outraged? Too bad psychology is such a fledgling science.

    • 0 avatar
      KixStart

      BobinPgh,

      Ask your parents how much fun *your* diapers were.

      • 0 avatar
        BobinPgh

        They were no fun. Worse, when I worked at a service plaza on the PA turnpike I had to empty the garbage and there were soooooo many Pampers they must have taken up at least 20% of all the waste. I can’t think of anything more wasteful than having a lot of kids and yet someone here has #4 on the way?

    • 0 avatar

      You’re complaining about people discussing their children in a thread about family vehicles?

    • 0 avatar
      Lie2me

      The one thing missing in your complaint about losing the “fun to drive” aspect that kid hauler cars lack is that you now have the kids who make up the difference by being actually a lot of fun and carrying them around in comfort and ease makes everyone happy which just keeps the fun coming.

      They grow-up and leave giving you more time then you ever dreamed possible to drive all the fun cars you missed out on, but no car is as much fun as the first time you take your kid to see Disneyworld

  • avatar
    memremkr

    I would highly recommend a GM Lambda based vehicle. You can get a new Buick Enclave in the 34-35 K range. It won’t have leather but it is a wonderful vehicle that was just refreshed, has been in production long enough that the reliability is very good, and it is Buicks best seller. The highway ride is fantastic, it has an extremely quiet cabin, and the handling is very good for a fairly large vehicle. It has tons of room inside and is available in FWD and AWD. At least take it for a drive. I do not think it will dissapoint. Gas mileage is not the greatest but hey, neither is that Tahoe.

    • 0 avatar
      salguod

      “I would highly recommend a GM Lambda based vehicle. … It … has been in production long enough that the reliability is very good.”

      Actually, no. I owned a 2010 Saturn Outlook and I’m glad it’s gone. Yes, GM’s Lambdas have fabulous design, good looking, roomy, good performers and drive very well, but they are among the worst in reliability in new cars in True Delta’s survey and they make Consumer Reports’ “cars to avoid” list every year. The forums are littered with transmission replacements, steering rack replacements, timing chain replacements, expensive AC repairs and sunroof leaks leading to electrical gremlins.

      I’d recommend any other large 3 row CUV over a Lambda. If I needed one again, I’d likely look to a Pilot or Highlander.

  • avatar
    Bored383

    when my Wife and I decided to have kids we considered our car situation. At the time she had a 1st gen xB and I had a focus. Both had been steadfastly reliable and nice cars – but the xB was a magnet for idiots hitting it. Rear ended at a light once, hit and run on the street once, and hit hard in parking lots a few times. It was in large part because of its history of having people hit it that we started looking at other cars.

    Of course my Wife’s mom friends were all “minivan!” or “tahoe!”, etc. I did 1 thing that proved to be very beneficial in the decision process: I carefully measured the garage where she would be parking whatever replaced the xB and created a spreadsheet of vehicle dimensions so we would know the footprint of whatever in regards to where it would reside. ‘Honda Odyssey? well you’ll have to give up access to the washer and dryer to park it in the garage!’

    This helped narrow down the test drive list a bit. And test drives ended up being a comparison between the xB and whatever else, so vehicles like minivans or large SUV’s just felt ridiculous. It was all. ‘yeah, there is more room – but not enough to warrant the sheer difference in bulk’

    all this is a long winded way of saying we ended up with a station wagon – a subaru outback. It has more room than the xB, provides that ‘more substantial’ bit of peace of mind, and fits in the garage with room to spare.

    So go find a (bigger) station wagon ;) Ours has 2 kids in it now and we’ve honestly never felt cramped for space

    oh yeah – take up babywearing and leave the stroller home

    • 0 avatar
      gearhead77

      I like the Outback, but sliding doors are beneficial with kids and our garage.We like the idea of the minivan because you can put adults in the third row, so trips to the store with grandparents or another adult and other short journeys can be accomplished in one car. Our boys never dug the baby wearing.

      • 0 avatar
        gearhead77

        Subie comes with CVT if you don’t shift it yourself. My wife doesn’t and doesn’t like the CVT in my Altima. We had an 03 Legacy sedan that was decent, but we were on the fence with it. I’m still going for minivan as a 2+ kids family hauler, but an Outback or Forester (3.6 Dodge Journey even) would be on my list. Don’t care for the Lambda GM SUV or anything like that. Drove my parents 2012 MDX to the Outer Banks, just didn’t see the trade off of style over stigma vs minivan. Neither did my practical wife.

  • avatar
    GST

    Tahoe, no no no.

    My wife loves her 2011 Audi Q5 with the 4 cylinder. Great interior, lots of back seat legroom, quiet. 21-27 mpg, not great but not too bad. Just in case though for the first time ever we bought an extended warranty plan. It has 60,000 trouble free miles on it so far. The only thing I don’t like is that you have to check the oil level electronically. He mother lives 75 miles away so it is accumulating miles rapidly. The first set of tires went about 45,000 miles.

    • 0 avatar
      Trend-Shifter

      That is a nice vehicle, however there is a problem with it.
      The problem is detailed here:

      Copy & paste: http://s611.photobucket.com/user/dgodsil/media/throwing-money-away_zpsa709b344.gif.html

  • avatar
    E46M3_333

    .
    Most likely your wife is going to want more children.

    Best choice is the Honda Odyssey.
    If it must be an SUV, I’d get a CRV, Pilot or MDX.

    If I were driving it, I’d buy a lightly used BMW X5. [Which is what I did, as we have three small children.]

    Tahoe is a stupid choice. If they really cost $50K, you could get an MDX for that kind of money and have a much better experience.
    .
    .

  • avatar
    mitchw

    Like I say, SUVs are the real chick cars. (check my avatar). But do consider the Ford Cmax. Great room and height, it begins at about $25K. Better yet, save your money and see what seats fit in your present car.

  • avatar
    DenverMike

    The minivan is the obvious solution, so why fight it? And what’s sexy or cool about a RAV4? Welcome back the custom van. And the modded Transit Connect sports wagon.

    http://www.blogcdn.com/www.autoblog.com/media/2009/01/transit-connect-van.jpg

  • avatar
    bullseye

    First want to say congratulations. As a father expecting #4, my 1st piece of advice is to never buy a car with a pregnant woman, but everyone has to be happy and feel safe. Try to keep cost to a minimum since your priorities will change with how you want to spend your money.

    I second the advice to see how the car seat fits and remember in a couple of years the kid will be forward facing. All car seats are not created equal with size and ease of installation. I never liked the convertible ones that go up to 100 lbs since they are huge.

    Are more children in your future and how soon? Having to buy another car when #2 comes isn’t cheap.

    Nothing will beat a minivan considering the sliding doors, space, and cost. Have your wife try and park the large SUVs in a crowded parking lot, and then try with minivan. The minivan is really easy to see out of. You have to go with something like a Suburban or Expedition for the same amount of space behind the 3rd row as a minivan. Everything else has very little space behind the 3rd row and won’t be really any better than your Kia, so something with only one back seat may be all you need.

    I just rented the Dodge Caravan with the family for a week and I was really impressed with it. It swallowed all our luggage and drove well. Don’t know about long-term reliability, but the money you’d save compared to buying a Tahoe would pay for a lot of repairs.
    Don’t forget to compare the insurance cost.

    Good luck and enjoy fatherhood.

  • avatar
    RV1458

    We got a 2012 Mazda5 and have been happy with it. Sliding doors are really nice with car seats.

    In regards to safety, it critically important that the car seat itself be properly installed. Believe it or not, most car seats are not properly installed. Do your research. Consult with a certified car seat tech. If the car seat is installed correctly, any modern car is perfectly safe for the baby. Some cars may be be safer for you, but the car seat installation is what’s important for the baby’s safety.

    • 0 avatar
      BobinPgh

      Yes, there actually is such an occupation as a certified car seat technician, but what do I know? I will never know one because I save a ton a money and get the cars I want because I don’t have any kids!

      • 0 avatar
        KixStart

        Then the rest of us are doing the heavy lifting necessary to make sure you continue to live when your working years are over? You might just think about that and be a bit more polite.

  • avatar
    oldowl

    VW Microbus. Wait…. That was about 50 years ago, when the original B & B Whiz Kids were driving us deeper into the Vietnam morass. The VW was underpowered, unsteady, unsafe but did a job with kids and stuff, and nobody got hurt. Much.

    For now, how about a CX 9?

  • avatar
    mnm4ever

    Let your wife get whatever she wants that you can afford. If you try to compromise on this you are going to regret it. She’s been driving a sorta crappy Kia for a long time, she probably wants an upgrade. And if she is in any way concerned about what her friends think then logic will never enter into this equation. It is all about image.

    If you do go with a Tahoe though, the sticker shock on new ones is insane. Certified used will give you a huge price break and thanks to GM’s glacial update pace no one will be able to tell it isn’t brand new anyways.

  • avatar
    alsorl

    How about a Ford Expedition. Your wife can still sit up high and fit in with the other big SUV mammas. Seems to be about $15000 less after rebates and she will be able to find it in the parking lot. And the new Tahoe is coming out so the old Tahoe will already be second class if your wife is so worried about these issues. You can a XLT with leather for around $34000.00 .

  • avatar
    Slocum

    Maybe your income is dramatically higher than it was when you bought the Kia Spectra, you’ll be paying cash for the Tahoe and still have plenty left in your various investment accounts, but otherwise — sorry, that’s nuts. Buy one of the many excellent CUVs on the market (CRV, Forester, Escape, CX-5, etc) and put the $25K you save over the Tahoe into the unborn tyke’s 529 plan. And the real bonus is that if you can stand up against expensive status competition now, you’ll save many, many more thousands over the decades to come.

    • 0 avatar
      Toad

      This. If you get sucked into the status race now you are will be on a financial treadmill forever. Time for a heart to heart talk about money, values, etc. vs. fashion and keeping up with the neighbors.

      Otherwise whatever you buy will be irrelevant in the big scheme of things. Good luck.

  • avatar
    dmchyla

    Here’s my situation – 3 kids, ages 14, 12, and 9. We’re a little different in that we definitely need 3 rows. However, I get the attraction for a Tahoe. As much as I love those trucks, you don’t need one unless you’re towing something on a regular basis.

    Our sequence of cars went like this: Started with a 2000 Mazda MPV when we still had 2. That worked out OK, it only became a little cramped when we had 3. Made the mistake of trading that in on a 2006 Freestyle Limited. Liked the car and thought that we would have enough space, but once #1 child started getting bigger, the 3rd row was cramped. We took a week long vacation up north and we were literally packed top to bottom. That got us thinking about going bigger again.

    Went to the local auto show last year and we all got in to see how things fit. New Explorer was first, there was not that much more room than the Freestyle and you’re looking at close to a $45K sticker once you get into an SEL with options. Suburban was nice, but again, over $50K, used market is pretty strong. Also tried the Traverse, the 3rd row was cramped, and again, over $40K. They had a new Town & Country on the floor – base model, but it had leather, LED and halo lighting, good stereo, and enough chrome to dress up the interior. Sticker was 32K, incentives dropped it down to $26K before we started talking about trade-in on the Freestyle. My wife loves it, and we have enough room for everyone.

    Not to rag on your wife’s friends, but they either 1. don’t have kids or 2. don’t take them to school. Getting kids, from baby up to teenager, in and out of the car is much better with sliding doors than in a 4-door truck. That’s a huge consideration that many people miss. Consider putting your baby carrier into a van and having clear access to the seat versus having to come in from an angle behind the seat. It makes a big difference.

    Someone else also mentioned sight lines, Tahoes are not great for that. The Traverse is a little better. The van is much easier to drive for a large vehicle. It’s too bad that people “have to have” the worst alternative when there are much better options out there.

    • 0 avatar
      gearhead77

      I was never a Chrysler fan until Fiat bought in. The Town and Country is leading our list because the value proposition is incredible, especially on the base Touring. I’m sure the Odyssey is a better vehicle, except the transmission. The Sienna doesn’t impress me and as an Altima owner, I don’t want the CVT in the Nissan. But I’m willing to give Chrysler a chance

  • avatar
    Sjalabais

    Haven’t read all the answers, I admit, but my short “been there, done that”-reaction might provide some insight. My latest purchase – a ten year old seven seater Honda Stream, Civic-based pragmat-o-car – has also been discussed here.

    What you will find out you need is a deep trunk, which favours wagons and vans. If you can throw in a buggy without folding it, valuable seconds are saved and the inevitable tired laziness of a young parent gets satisfied.

    You will also want to consider width of rear seats and how long the seatbelts are. Sounds stupid, but childseats these days are giant, and have to fit. There will come a time you will fill up the car with other kid’s child seats, visiting kindergarden friends or your own.

    Concerning safety: There’s no way of getting around Volvo if this is very important to you. They don’t just perform well in tests all around the world, they even rock new tests that make others fold. A V70 is a very good car. A XC70 will satisfy your wife’s SUVish tendency, one might hope. Interior quality and ambience are good.

    So why did I buy a smallish Japanese seven seater? We get a lot of family visits that arrive by plane, fetching them with two cars is stupid. My daughter, 3 years old, has started to invite lots of friends home. We live a bit off the grid, so filling up the car is easy now. At the same time, we don’t need 7 seats permanently. So a small 7 seater performs well. Mileage is precisely the same as with my former wagon. So that CX5 you mention…awesome choice.

  • avatar
    geozinger

    I feel a little odd chiming in on this one, because it seems more like we’re dispensing marriage advice, not automotive purchasing wisdom.

    After 31 years with the same woman, once they have their minds set on something, it’s tremendously hard to change it. And women say men are stubborn…

    Last year, it was apparent my 18 year-old Pontiac had seen it’s last road trip, time for a new (to us) car. I wanted something with more utility than a four door sedan (our other car). But, my wife flat out refuses to be seen in a minivan. I love them, but I also haul my drum kit to gigs among other uses. Very easy to load/unload and quite versatile. Generally pretty good gas mileage. All valid reasons.

    Round and round we went. During the negotiations, the Sunfire GT expired, so I caved and got her a SUV.

    I’m not saying sign your life away on a new ‘Ho, but keep in mind your living conditions. Maybe the fuel mileage really isn’t all THAT bad…

    • 0 avatar
      Steve65

      We resolve this in a simple fashion: I get my car, she gets her car. I don’t expect her to conform to my preferences in choosing, and I get the same respect in return. And neither of us are vain enough to “refuse to be seen” in anything.

      • 0 avatar
        Toad

        My wife and I do the same thing as Steve65, but each gets a veto over the other spouse if there is a very good reason. The veto helps keep either of us from doing something particularly impulsive or stupid.

  • avatar
    ajla

    I’m probably not the best commenter to be giving advice on this topic, but the money you’ll save by getting a smaller CUV over a Tahoe could pay for some vacations or another vehicle or new furniture or something that your wife may find equally enticing.

    The Terrain might be worth shopping in this case. I also like the Flex and Durango V6 in the “7-seater but not towing and don’t want a van” class.

    • 0 avatar
      BobinPgh

      But she will not find something else enticing. I have the feeling that the official vehicle of baby rabid women is the Chevy Tahoe and what do you bet GM knows about this? They probably did research showing that when women are pregnant with all the hormones, they want the Tahoe (and since they get hubby to work, work, work all the time, GM can charge plenty for the vehicle and I don’t blame them, its good for business). With something like this, GM may never go bankrupt again!

  • avatar
    Russycle

    First, dump the Kia. That balky slushbox is a ticking bomb, and the countdown is getting close to zero. Ask me how I know.

    If your wife is set on a Tahoe, have her test drive it and actually park that beast. In a crowded parking lot. Then parallel park on the street. Bring a couple sawhorses to park between so she’s not scuffing up a stranger’s bumper. Then do the same in a Caravan. Promise you’ll use the money you save by dropping the Tahoe to take her to Paris for a week. You’ll still come out way ahead.

    If she won’t do a van, tons of good CUVs that will work. CR-V and RAV4 are bulletproof, others might not be quite as solid but they’re reliable enough.

    • 0 avatar
      Daniel_Latini

      Sorry to hear about your transmission, Russcycle. I’ve been changing the fluid every 15k in ours, so I’d hate to think how bad it would be if we were still on the original fluid.

      • 0 avatar
        gearhead77

        This goes for a lot of newer cars, since the manufacturers seem to think it’s unnecessary. I (stupidly) waited until 30k miles to change our 08 Mazda 5. It was a very dark brown and the shift quality changed dramatically after the change. Mazda has no interval listed, yet there is a drain plug on the pan. How many newer cars have “died” or needed a transmission because of this I wonder.

  • avatar
    kuponoodles

    Daniel, congratulations.
    I have one kid, 14months, planning on a second.
    I had a Mazda3hb when my wife was preggo and she said nope, need an SUV/CUV… She dreads minivans.
    We ended up getting a 2006 RAV4 because it was cheaper than a similar equipped crv. That being said, my sister has a crv. The main benefit of a crv though, it has a folding center console. (Except for the ex, i think) it is useful in a pinch .
    my point?
    Neither one of these will be good for you if your wife is gonna have another case of mental diarrhea 2 years from now and decides “oh i miss when they were just a little baby”, “our baby needs a brother or sister”….etc and wants to have more kids.
    So, we dont know your wife. Hopefully you do.
    Will you or her be ok starting with a smaller suv yhen moving to a minivan… And losing a few $$ along the way?
    Also, take her car-sitting/test drive when shes 6 months pregnant. Lets see how she likes climbing into a taller suv then.
    Due to medical complications my wifed ended up having a c-section. I ended up getting a step stool so her ingress ans egress was less painful…. And the RAV isnt even that tall.

    And of course, go spend the weekend here: http://carseatblog.com/17588/minivan-or-suv/
    and search said site for a specific car.
    Ignore the ads… some of these frackin car seats costs more than a used car.

    Finally, the Rogue and its 3rd row is too small. Go borrow some else’s kids and go for a test drive… Ask, dont kidnapp.
    Even though its a decent car, drives ok and what not, nissans dont have the resale value power. .. Also. Some complaints about its new cvt failing and going into limp mode….. FYI same cvt in the pathfinder.

    Get the cheapest, biggest, most base model you can live with for say.. 5 years. After a few years of puke, milk, diapers etc. You are gonna want a new car anyway.

    Not too many cars/suv/cuv or even minivans can have multiple carseats plus adult in the same row…. So if anything you should consider how many kids and how many years in between them.

    • 0 avatar
      BobinPgh

      Congratulations, Daniel, the computer lab is now your home. Got to keep working, working, working to get her the Tahoe. But GM loves you for all the money you give them!

    • 0 avatar
      Daniel_Latini

      Thanks kuponoodles. I’ve built many Dodge Journey’s online ofr a lot of the reasons you mention above.

      • 0 avatar

        I like the Journey, We have a Durango and an Outback for the two kids and two dogs works fine. Having one vehicle with a third row is a big pluse if you have 2 kids really not needed with 1 kid. (the reason for the two kids is school runs with other peoples kids birthday parties etc. If I were buying new and only 1 kid on the way I would just be looking at midsize CUVS.

      • 0 avatar
        kuponoodles

        +1 on planning ahead.
        Why not used Ford Flexes or Chevy Traverse? I’ve rented the latter, and its as close to Minivan utility without being a minivan. Used Trailblazers could be cheap alternative.

        What i’m getting at is, get the car that will take the least amount of financial damage. Sounds like you guys are planning a bigger family and you will outgrow Compact CUVs.

        BUT Theres no need to drop $40k+ on a minivan if its gonna be just you, wife 2 kids and a dog for the first few years.

        I’m a cheap a$$.
        Therefore, my cheap a$$ advice is get a lightly used 2+2+2, or a 2+3+2 where the 2nd row is configurable should access becomes more important than seating capacity. if folding the 2nd row is the only way to get back there, you migt as well give up.

        Had the wife and I planned on more than one kid earlier. I would’ve skipped the compact rav4 phase. Best of luck to you and yours.

      • 0 avatar
        jpolicke

        Daniel, congrats. I would definitely stop by the C-J-D store, they have several options that would work. If the minivan is a no-go, there’s the Journey. If you really think you need 7-passenger seating then look at the Durango, with the third row up in a Journey there is zero cargo space. I for one would rather drive a JGC than a Yukon. If you’re considering a CRV-class CUV definitely consider the Cherokee. That extra weight people have commented on results in a more solid feeling vehicle.

        No, I don’t work for C-J-D or any other car company.

  • avatar
    tjh8402

    Do the math on the cost of ownership, both in terms of pruchase price/payments and gas comparing a Tahoe to the CX-5. I don’t know what your $ situation is, but surely the inevitable difference of a few hundred $ a month will be meaningful to her. I’d also show her the CX-5′s crash test ratings vs the Chevy Silverado (they haven’t tested a Tahoe). The Silverado’s roof strength and side impact scores are below the CX-5′s.

  • avatar
    28-Cars-Later

    “A quick poll of my wife’s friends carrying children (whether internally or externally) indicated a universal “need” for a seven-seat vehicle, usually an SUV.”

    “The situation, to this young IT worker, does not compute. Large seven-seaters like the Tahoe strike me as an unnecessary waste of both resources and money for a family starting out. Small seven-seaters, like the redesigned Nissan Rogue, seem to fall between two stools.”

    You’ve got a couple problems here, peer pressure for an awesome but expensive SUV (one of maybe three or four real SUVs left for sale), an ingrained need for a seven seat vehicle which might be unnecessary, and also a misunderstanding about the reality of so called “small seven seaters”. I’ll tackle these one at a time.

    Peer pressure exists everywhere for both sexes, but unless those women or their husbands (1) have deductible income, (2) lot of money, (3) enjoy extreme debt slavery or (4) are simply pussy-whipped I don’t see new or even used Tahoes in their future. Two year old Tahoes were doing 26s at auction, mileage irrelevant last I checked. This means even if you buy one used it will be priced between $29-33K (or more) and probably have mileage between 60-80K because alot of these things are bought by contractors and business people with deductible income who drive the hell out of them. The low mile mommy-mobile versions might be out there but they will go for more and many are snatched up by insiders and then driven to the 60-80K mark to then be sold to you. Your other choices in the SUV category aside from newer Chryco JGC/Durangos would be last BOF Explorer and Expeditions after MY07 (there was an issue with spark plugs prior to this period, avoid them).

    Seven seat vehicles I believe are unnecessary for a family starting out, but if you’re being proactive and projecting 2+ children and in-law transportation, I like your style. If you truly need this level of passenger volume you must to submit to minivan, no ifs ands or buts about it. Witness:

    (1) Sliding door for easy access to rear seats. SUVs have a passenger door but will require a middle seat fold down to get in and out of rear seats. Children will fight over this and elderly people will bitch about this. The CUV/SUV will NEVER be able to adequately compete with minivan until it gets a sliding door.

    (2) Ground clearance. Elderly people have trouble climbing in and out of things. Prior to her death my grandmother could no longer get into my mother’s Liberty and my mother had to ride her around in the Saturn Ion because gram could plop into the front seat with ease and only require a little help to get up and out of the car, not climb *down* out of the car and risk fall or bone strain. Now my mother complains of having trouble/pain climbing into her Liberty at age 60.

    (3) The myth of the third row seat. My own boss has an 09 Tahoe and seldom leaves the jump seat in (as it has to come out as one piece). He explained to me on the rare occasion they drive to NY to see his in laws, his 14yo and 16yo sons ride in the jump seat and the in laws the middle row. They complain about climbing in and out of the thing and the children don’t like the jump seat because it is crampt for them. The Suburban might be better at this than Tahoe, but Tahoe’s jump seat isn’t all its cracked up to be.

    But 28CL what about my children can’t I put them in the third row? I would say it depends, in PA you must be in a car seat till you’re 8 or 80lb. I’m not sure if you are even allowed to put a car seat into the rear jump seat of an SUV, but assuming you are in a rear end collision your kids might be toast. So to recap if your children are over eight but not too big they cannot fit into the rear jump seat there is a small window where this might work with in laws. However prior to 8/80lb, your in laws will bitch every time they have to climb into the SUV, then into the rear seat because the car seats occupy the middle row. In a minivan, at least they have human sized room in the rear seat, and can get into/out of the vehicle easier, and YOU have easy access to both rows via the sliding door.

    Finally, “small seven seaters”. You’ve got some space issues in the Tahoe and you think you can pull a contortion act in a “small” seven seater? I haven’t seen the new Rogue in person but I’ve ridden in the old one, not impressing me for its size. I look out the window and the closest thing to it would be the gen 1 Benz ML parked next to a 97 Camry. The Camry has about a foot in length and a few inches in width and those things are not exactly large cars. So now you’re going to play the same game as above only with a smaller car? Does not compute.

    To recap:

    Sliding door/ease of access
    Easier for elderly people to climb into/out
    Real third row
    Same if not better fuel economy.
    New/used reasonable price.

    Minivan FTW. Resistance is futile.

    • 0 avatar
      gearhead77

      +1 or whatever for the minivan. We love our Mazda 5 and are shopping larger minivans(?) . The Mazda is great, but we’d prefer more room and comfort. The Mazda has a people or cargo trade off that is harder as our twin boys grow( though the Mazda will hold the tandem double stroller with the 3rd row down., I won’t look at SUV or CUV. Minivan has more space and versatility for the price. Chrysler T&C is an excellent value, as I feel the Touring now comes with all you could want in a family hauler.

    • 0 avatar
      qwerty123

      You forgot to mention that the sliding door would also make it easier to install child seats, load cargo, and completely eliminate the possibility of damaging other people’s doors in the parking lot.

      • 0 avatar
        28-Cars-Later

        Excellent points.

      • 0 avatar
        gearhead77

        My favorite points of minivan ownership. All Par has the history of the Chrysler vans, which are designed to fit a 4×8 sheet of plywood and close the gate. All seats out of course. But still. Most CUV or wagons can’t do that. The minivan can serve pseudo truck like duties if needed, another part of the value equation to me.

    • 0 avatar
      E46M3_333

      An 80 lb. kid needs a car seat? My friend’s Laotian wife probably weighs about that much.
      .
      .

      • 0 avatar
        28-Cars-Later

        Until they turn 8 or cross the 80lb (or apparently 4’9) barrier, yes.

        (a) General criteria. Children under 4 years of age shall be securely fastened in a safety seat belt system and a child passenger restraint system appropriate for their height and weight in accordance with the recommendations of the manufacturer. Children 4 years of age but younger than 8 years of age shall be securely fastened in a safety seat belt system and an appropriately fitting child booster seat in accordance with the recommendations of the manufacturer.

        (3) Children 4 years of age but younger than 8 years of age who weigh more than 80 pounds or who are of a height of 4 feet 9 inches or taller may be fastened in the safety seat belt system without the use of a child booster seat.

        http://www.pacode.com/secure/data/067/chapter102/chap102toc.html

      • 0 avatar
        redav

        Read that as “booster seat.” Those 80 lb, 8 yr old, 4’9″ children still aren’t quite large enough for seat belts to properly fit, so they need a booster seat to put them in the correct position.

    • 0 avatar
      Daniel_Latini

      I appreciate the perspective, 28. I agree that a minivan is the purpose-built solution for where we’ll be in a few years. The 7-seat option in the new Rogue seems to succeed as a marketing gimmick more than as an actual place for two people to sit.

      • 0 avatar
        28-Cars-Later

        You’re quite welcome. Years back I had a gf who had three kids (8, 6, and 3 at the time) her vehicle choices were a ’99 Grand Caravan north of 140K and a ’00 Taurus about 105K which she used for work. Only one of those three kids didn’t need a car seat so the van was eternally relegated for child transport and typically used by her ex husband (who was frequently unemployed and took the the kids when she worked/went out/banged me). We haven’t spoken since 2008 but last I heard she had invested quite a bit in keeping the Grand Caravan going because the third row 07 Suzuki XL7 she got wet over when we were dating in 2005/6 was so terrible at moving the whole family (plus an occasional ex Husband) at once (as she found out after purchase).

  • avatar
    Zykotec

    No one with only 2 children or less need a ‘family hauler’ of any sort. I only gave in and started buying wagns or cuv’s when our third was on the way. And it was partially because our oldest was nearing 5’6 at 12. I finally decided on gettign a true 5 seater instead of a 2+2+2 like most minvans are in reality (with the last 2 being a compromise between luggage or one very tortured teenager) With anythign less than 2 children the world is your oyster.

    • 0 avatar
      BobinPgh

      That last sentence is so true, why screw it up with more?

      • 0 avatar

        You gonna tell my younger daughter that she’s screwing up the world because she happens to have an older brother and sister? Most of the people who know her think she makes the world a better place.

        One fourth of my extended family was exterminated in a genocide. I won’t apologize for consciously trying to repopulate my family and my culture.

        I will say, however, that there’s evidence in this thread that the world is indeed made a better place because some people don’t reproduce, or even worse, pass their abhorrent values on to another generation.

        Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have a limited tolerance for misanthropes. I’m going to the park with my grandson to go sledding.

        • 0 avatar
          Zykotec

          Well, I wasonly thinking about choice of cars, and I hope that’s what BobinPgh ment too ?
          With two children you can’t have a Miata or S2K, but more or less anything else. No need to get a CUV or minivan until nr. 3 is on the way.
          I actually wish the Crosstour was available in Norway…
          Edit: read some of his other replies…well, Darwin has a surprise for him…

          • 0 avatar

            My ex and I have three kids, all now adults. We went camping every summer in the Upper Peninsula with all three of them and our camping gear in a variety of vehicles including a VW Bus, a 2nd generation Honda Accord hatchback, a Dodge Aries 2 Door, a Volvo 142e (also a 2 door), and eventually, yes, an AWD short wheelbase Chrysler minivan. Most of that time we were tent camping so that meant 5 people in not very large cars plus lots of gear. Some time after we got the minivan, we finally bought a popup camper, which meant we could store stuff in the trailer, giving us more room in the car. The Aries was a bit of a squeeze, because by then our oldest was a teen, but we managed.

            The idea that you need a large car to carry around a family of five is silly. As a kid, I rode carpool from K-7 and most of the parents drove sedans, not station wagons.

            Man, between the self-appointed nannies and the child-free scolds, it’s tough being a parent today.

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            “VW Bus, a 2nd generation Honda Accord hatchback, a Dodge Aries 2 Door, a Volvo 142e (also a 2 door), and eventually, yes, an AWD short wheelbase Chrysler minivan”

            Your family has some extremely interesting vehicle taste there Ronnie, I like it.

          • 0 avatar

            We also briefly had a hand-me-down late ’70s full size Chevy, the downsized ones. Nice car. Also a ’68 Plymouth Valiant stripper with a 170 Slant Six and rubber mats that we called Slithis after a horror movie about a snake (it was green) but that was before we had more than one kid.

          • 0 avatar
            Daniel_Latini

            You are a righteous dude, Ronnie

        • 0 avatar
          DC Bruce

          Don’t feed the troll, as obnoxious as he is.

  • avatar
    Big Al from Oz

    Mazda seem to think the Mazda 3 will be the new family hack in the US.

    They are the biggest selling small car in Australia and companies view a successful vehicle in Australia will pretty much be successful in other countries.

    If she wants a Tahoe, talk her into the new diesel Colorado. Then you will have a very good and economoical vehicle to carry the kids, go shopping, towing, camping, 4x4ing.

  • avatar
    LALoser

    When our son was born I bought a new XC70. Great car, the only problem was a broken spring on the filler door. But we did not use 1/2 of what it was capable to do. Traded it away, and today the seven year old and I go out for fun in a Ralliart! It’s a blast. A co-worker has a Lancer Sportback with two kids, and he does just fine.
    Commercials/consumerism keeps people buying up, spending more, and thinking they have to. Don’t let others make your decisions, look at realistic sized options first with realistic/long term goggles on eg. You don’t want a heavy fuel user when another shooting war breaks out anywhere in the Mideast.

  • avatar
    PrincipalDan

    If she’s reasonable (and I say this with a wife who desires a large brood but is not very reasonable) get a 2 year old Chrysler minivan, usually even the high end models have depreciated 50% in that time. You’ll get the 3.6 and 6 speed auto. As mentioned above though most women have come to view minivan’s as an anathema.

    If she can be talked into a CUV get her to drive lots of different CUVs and get the one she likes the most. Personally I’d be looking at IIHS “top safety picks”.

    If she’s got to have the Tahoe (which is the same thing my wife wants or a Suburban) good luck, even a used one is still a pretty penny. On the upside they are very well put together and should last a long time.

    • 0 avatar
      BobinPgh

      Dan, I would think you deal with enough kids that who wants a large brood? Can’t you talk her out of it? Can’t she maybe work with kids to get her “fix”? And she wouldn’t need a Tahoe for that.

    • 0 avatar
      chuckrs

      Dan – how about this one?

      https://tinyurl.com/ktcaseb

      Its pretty unreasonable.

      • 0 avatar
        PrincipalDan

        Lol she hates wagons more than minivans, it all goes back to a bad experience in daycare involving a box Custom Cruiser that smelled vaguely of vomit.

        I want a large family too, working with kids doesn’t change that. In my profession (especially working with 3 and 4 year olds up to 12 year olds) you start to realize the kids are alright its the adults that take patience and fortitude to deal with.

      • 0 avatar
        redav

        All I can think of when I see that is someone asking if the car makes their butt look big.

    • 0 avatar
      gearhead77

      I just found a 12 T&C with only 7700 miles on it. The elderly tend to buy minivans I’ve noticed. This one was possibly that situation. Clean CarFax, oil changed at 3000 miles. Downfall is I’ve still got three months on my Altima lease, plus still wary of Chryslers to buy(we were planning to lease). But to buy for less than a lease on what is still a new vehicle? Might have to go look.

  • avatar
    7402

    I just bought a 2014 Subaru Forester, and I am very impressed not just by the value for the money but by how well thought out the vehicle is over all. It also has excellent safety ratings. Now that the 2015 has been announced, expect Subaru to promote the leftover 2014s at 0% financing when the 2015s are on the lots–probably early April or so. Move quickly when the promotional interest rate is announced because Foresters fly off the lots.

    It’s usually possible to buy a Subaru between 87-93% or sticker price with moderate negotiating skills. That with 0% interest makes for an even better value.

    Apart from that, and having raised 2 kids through years of soccer and car pooling, there is A LOT to be said for power sliding doors. You might want to consider minivan options.

    • 0 avatar
      Toad

      Just my opinion, but if you counter her request for a new Tahoe with a minivan, you have probably already lost the argument. There is very little chance that somebody with their heart set on a Tahoe will settle for a minivan.

      Better to counter with a CUV; at least you have a chance of winning.

  • avatar
    mwerre

    If you want safety its either mass or great engineering or some combination of both. From anecdotal experiences and many crash tests, nothing can beat Mercedes Benz. If you want to stay smaller, you can probably get some decent deals on a GLK lease or a used one.

  • avatar
    qwerty123

    You need to figure out the core reason why your wife and her friends want a Tahoe/v8 BOF SUV/ 7 passenger vehicle. From what you’ve told us, I’d recommend a minivan, to maximize utility, or a premium CUV, to appeal to her need for nice things.

  • avatar
    Carfan94

    used Lexus RX 350 best family car ever. If you need something bigger then get a Pilot or Odyssey if you need something smaller then the CR-V is good. In my mind the RX is more upscale/better looking than the Tahoe and gets better gas mileage.

  • avatar
    facelvega

    I’ve weighed all considerations and believe I have the best suggestion for the situation described in this thread– a suggestion, moreover, that no one has yet mentioned. First, ruling out every other choice:

    –sensible CUV. Yes, the Mazda one drives fairish, and the German ones drive fairish and are nice-esque. Whatever. These are too common, dull, and are good choices only for people who don’t read car blogs.

    –large SUV. You’d have to be nuts or uncritical about your consumer life to buy one of these bloated hogs as a family vehicle today. Wrangler excepted, as it actually does embody a different, potentially nobler life philosophy than the rest. But a Tahoe? Only if you’re talking K5.

    –minivan. They’re great if you have a band, or are in college, or run a small business out of them, or just don’t need one at all. But for a family? Too obvious. I sneer however at the appalling characterizations several have made about women refusing these cars: I recall that back when I was in college, the hottest girl there drove a caravan, which she needed for her college magazine delivery business and to carry all her musical equipment.

    –large wagons. These are actually a great idea for those without too many children to worry about. You can get some good ones used. But new, now? Are there any still for sale that haven’t turned into whale-like crossovers? Not that I know of.

    THE ANSWER: Speaking of whale-like crossovers, there is only one car that can satisfy all requirements here and still tell the world “I am part of the smallest, and thus in at least one sense most exclusive taste groups in contemporary car culture.” Your wife’s Tahoe-loving friends will be horrified in all the right ways when the baleen nose of a LINCOLN MKT shows up in their rear view mirrors. Semi-efficient? Sure, sort of, move along. Big inside? Not as big as a minivan, but pretty damned big. Nice to ride in and nice driving? In spades. And you’ll think of spades (the digging kind) when people think you are driving a hearse. You might want to look for one that is a year or two old, though, as I believe they have depreciated about seventy percent already. So they’re a steal! Glad to save your eternal soul from a CR-V. You’re welcome.

    • 0 avatar
      gearhead77

      Right to the Lincoln? No Flex?

      • 0 avatar
        28-Cars-Later

        Lincolns in some cases have worse resale than their Ford equivalents (MKZ is the first that comes to mind). Bball (fellow commentator) was able to pick one up for very cheap because the dealer couldn’t move it due to its looks and the stigma of “Lincoln” which among the proles is evidently a bad one. Dealers can sell Flex, they have more trouble with MKT.

    • 0 avatar
      facelvega

      What 28 cars said (which logic by the way would also have landed you in a Chrysler Crossfire instead of a Miata or a Benz– more hooniverse than ttac), but also this: because the Flex looks nice, people won’t think you’re totally nuts to have bought one. The Lincoln’s Cylon-inspired styling requires more courage/weirdness, and thus wins.

      • 0 avatar
        28-Cars-Later

        Someone tried several times to sell me a clean <50K miles 04 Crossfire in 2011. I honestly had nowhere to put it and was still making payments on my primary car, so I kept turning him down. The difference between Lincoln and the Chrysler Crossfire is simply Lincoln *is* Ford so there are no surprises, whereas the Crossfire was an amalgamation of Mercedes parts and Chrysler design. When I think of cars to buy from the 2000+ period, Chrysler nor Mercedes even come to mind as both were putting out mostly turds at the time.

    • 0 avatar
      Daniel_Latini

      Honestly, I was expecting an even more esoteric recommendation from a guy whose avatar is the Chrysler-powered French luxo-barge. The almost-hearse would be nice though

      • 0 avatar
        jim brewer

        Well you know…. an MKT isn’t such a bad idea. Ford is unique because it sells extended warranties for cheap through the internet discounters. I’m seeing a 7yr 100K factory warranty for a 2011 MKT at 1500. This is for the most extensive warranty. I think you might have to buy before the factory warranty expires, but I’m not sure.

      • 0 avatar
        bball40dtw

        My wife and I both love our MKT. As 28 states, we purchased it for less than a comparable Flex, and it is a better vehicle. I have mine serviced at a Ford dealership as well. My wife actually perfered the styling over the Flex. She doesn’t like the boxy look.

  • avatar
    Hayden535

    Volvo XC70 with a T6. Tons of room, tons of torque, and the safest family hauler money can buy. As a bonus it can go almost anywhere the Tahoe can for about 10k less.

  • avatar
    GST

    Trendshifter. Saw the video. Throwing the money away, the car, the extended warranty or both in your opinion?

    BTW Chev Cruz, rented one on a week long business trip and was really amazed and impressed at how nice it was to drive, plus roomy plus quiet on the road.

    • 0 avatar
      Trend-Shifter

      I believe the Audi is a fine vehicle. I do like the interior, look, and the driving manner.
      However, it is very expensive to purchase and maintain. But consider that this is also true of other similar luxury models including the Tahoe.

      My comment was more about financial choices. Why buy such an expensive new or used vehicle?
      Perhaps reader Daniel should have clarified his financial situation better.

      I am glad I wasn’t the only one to find the Cruze had good road manners. Most write it off as just an appliance and don’t believe me.

      • 0 avatar
        Kyree S. Williams

        The Tahoe is not a luxury car. It is a structurally-ancient vehicle with a five-figure profit margin.

        • 0 avatar
          Carlson Fan

          Honestly I find our ’07 Tahoe more luxurious than the wives brand new 2014 A4. It’s also alot easier to drive as I can see out of it better and it has nice big side mirrors. The side mirrors on the Audi are soo small they are almost useless.

      • 0 avatar
        GST

        “clarified his financial position better”

        Quite so. I would not recommend the Q5 for most young families either. I don’t know what Tahoes cost new, but I am guessing it is more than the Q5. We paid just under $40,000 for a new 2011 4 cyl with few options. (we are in our early 70′s) I only mentioned the Audi because it is probably less expensive than a Tahoe, gets better gas mileage, is higher quality, would be much easier to park, etc.

        We started very small with our first child, a new 1980 Honda Civic Wagon and it was more than adequate. It was a great car, terrific in snow with snow tires. Honda treated us very well. Our next family car was the worst car we owned, with the worst dealership experience, a 1990 Camry wagon with the V6. The engine blew up twice out of warranty. Sold it to a mechanic who rebuilt the engine.

    • 0 avatar
      PonchoIndian

      The Cruze can be fun, but I’m surprised you guys think it has enough room. It certainly isn’t as roomy as a Regal, and that car’s space got completely dumped on in the last review.

      If you do go Cruze I suggest getting the extended warranty, one that covers your planned ownership period. It will pay for itself the first time you bring it in for a power steer rack to be replaced.

  • avatar
    Carlson Fan

    Tahoes are built to tow, so ask you wife what she plans on towing with the Tahoe. I have 3 young kids in car seats. We have a Tahoe. I’m also a boater and snowmobiler. If hell should ever freeze over and the boats and snowmobiles go, so will the Tahoe.

    For the sole purpse of hauling people, about the worst choice you could make.

  • avatar
    Johnster

    It is my observation that most of the really hot MILFs drive minivans and the handful who don’t drive conventional station wagons. (I’m just sayin’.)

  • avatar
    Kyree S. Williams

    Unless you plan on having several more children, I really don’t see the reason for a Tahoe. And I could see why a minivan would be a useful suggestion if your wife had stated that she was concerned about space. But a minivan would not fly at all because it doesn’t address the reason she wants a Tahoe. And the reason she wants a Tahoe isn’t because of its interior volume, but rather because it’s trendy and stylish.

    My suggestion would be for one of the mid-sized luxury CUVs…Lexus RX, Cadillac SRX, Lincoln MKX, or my favorite, the Volvo XC60 (which is often classified as compact). Any of these—except, perhaps, the Lincoln—should give her plenty of snob appeal. And since they all have steep first-year depreciation, get one that’s one or two years old and you’ll be in the lower or mid $30K range for an ownership experience much better than that of the Tahoe. If she won’t go for that, the 2014 Jeep Grand Cherokee can be loaded up to luxury-car levels for under $40K.

    But seriously—and I think you already know this—the current GMT900s are dinosaurs that have too many compromises for most families, and the new full-sized GM SUVs don’t look like they’ll be much better. So I think you should absolutely put your foot down on not paying in excess of $50K for one.

  • avatar
    Beerboy12

    Mr. Baruth’s crash and the safety discussion and you want a Tahoe…? O.K. Lets clearly define the difference between want and need. The Tahoe has all the same weaknesses that lead to the unfortunate injuries suffered in the discussed crash. BOF construction is heavy, gives the impression of safety BUT… is not engineered for safety at all, then add in the rollover issues and weak roof construction. The Tahoe is about the worst vehicle on the planet if safety is the concern.
    As to what to buy, go for the small or mid size SUV. Cooler than a van and a new one will have great space and safety that you need. My pic, Subaru Forester, brilliant engineering and value, or VW Tiguan, higher end well engineered, great space and excellent safety.

    • 0 avatar
      Kyree S. Williams

      Well, yes, but the Town Car’s performance may have also had something to do with the fact that it rode on an ancient (older than 30 years) platform that had been updated over the years, rather than one that was new and therefore optimized to meet modern crash standards. Still, Mister Baruth’s collision does indeed prove that brawnier is not always better in a collision. I can’t count the number of people who swear by the Town Car because “it’s a tank”. Apparently not, as most unibody vehicles would have fared much better. And yes, the Tahoe is more prone to rollover accidents (which are some of the deadliest) than a minivan or even a crossover with a lower center-of-gravity.

      • 0 avatar
        28-Cars-Later

        According to dot gov, Tahoe is five star rated front and side.

        http://www.safercar.gov/Vehicle+Shoppers/5-Star+Safety+Ratings/2011-Newer+Vehicles/Vehicle-Detail?vehicleId=7056

        crash test porn:

        youtube.com/watch?v=qnWttwjmQQA

        • 0 avatar
          Kyree S. Williams

          Absolutely. The Tahoe is very safe *in a crash*, and I will not deny that. But crash-test ratings don’t take into account how good a vehicle is at *avoiding a crash*….in other words, handling. It’s a tradeoff.

        • 0 avatar
          Carlson Fan

          I’m not sure where people got the notion that the current Tahoe isn’t safe or can’t stop. They’ve obviously never driven one.

        • 0 avatar
          Beerboy12

          4 stars overall though. Notice, in the video, the door frames buckling along the roof line. That indicates two things. The whole body is about to loose integrity and the front doors are about ready to open. Those doors will be impossible to open after that crash and that is a safety risk all on its own. An offset collision will most likely pop the doors open and there is a good chance occupants will be ejected from the car then.

    • 0 avatar
      Hummer

      Very straw man to compare a 30+ year old platform to a platform designed in 2013.

      That Tahoe is a heck of a lot safer than 80% of the vehicles being made today.

      http://m.youtube.com/watch?v=g5SRyG6UR2A
      After watching that do you still want a crummy uniframe construction? No because the vehicles designed for the US in 2014 are not similar to any other variation.

      • 0 avatar
        Kyree S. Williams

        Are you kidding me? Really? No recent unibody car sold here in the U.S. is going to crumple like that. Your argument is just as ridiculous as the one you’ve lambasted, perhaps more so because I see that you have a bias toward body-on-frame vehicles…

        • 0 avatar
          Hummer

          Obviously I wasn’t clear.

          OP describes BoF vehicles under a nonexistent situation in the United States in the year of 2014.

          So my rebuttal was a nonexistent situation (to Americans) of a Unibody vehicle in the Republic of China in the year of 2002.

          • 0 avatar
            Kyree S. Williams

            Sarcasm. Gotcha. I take everyone literally, but I’m sure other people understood you, haha

  • avatar
    sastexan

    Here’s my experience, for whatever it is worth:

    My wife’s 2001 Camry worked great with kid #1 – even with the seat in the middle (actually it was best there as it could hang over the center console slightly and the seat track was not impacted), it was still possible to carry 2 backseat passengers relatively comfortably.

    Kid #2, we had the big car seat (now forward facing) on one side and the pop out carrier in the center. Only one adult passenger in the back (not terribly comfortable but doable for the thinner crowd). But we saw the light coming when #2 was about to graduate to “real” car seat. I talked my wife into the Odyssey.

    There’s no going back now – the sliding doors, movable seats and power liftgate have her wrapped up. The sheer versatility is great for us – we carry friends, grandparents, carpool, Ikea runs, home improvement / gardening, etc. with no sweat.

    Agree with the other posters about the car seats – make sure you get lessons – it is intimidating at first but once you understand how it needs to be secured, moving seats is no big deal. LATCH makes it easy in most cars – but in some, the anchors are buried and I just use the seatbelts. Everyone has their favorites – we like the Britax due to the LATCH anchors, easy to pass the seatbelt through if we want to (the Camry is too old for LATCH anyways – we still use it as bonus car), seat cover comes off easily for washing (VERY important), and durable. Pick up Baby Bargains (not sure what edition they are on) for advice and read up on amazon reviews.

    Good luck. It’s a journey that you are glad will never end.

  • avatar
    hubcap

    Good, God, Almighty! Another one of these threads. For what its worth, here’s where I come down.

    Let her get what she wants, the same way you get what you want. What is wrong with that? You don’t need to “steer” her towards anything. Inform her of the pros and cons of whatever vehicles she considering and allow her to choose. Barring egregious safety/practicality considerations, go with her pick.

    And all this talk of want and need is amusing. I mean you really don’t need a 335i. A GLI will do. Do you really need a Lexus GS 350 F Sport? Won’t a Sonata Turbo accomplish the same mission? You want a BOSS 302/Mustang GT? Why? A V6 is all you really need.

    You guys really need to get over your self.

    • 0 avatar
      28-Cars-Later

      I agree with your basic point but Lex GS and Sonata Turbo aren’t anything alike.

    • 0 avatar
      qwerty123

      To put things bluntly, because the person asking and most of the people replying considers getting a v8 powered BOF full-sized SUV for a suburban family of three, in a market saturated with CUVs that seem to be better choices, is an egregiously impractical choice. The way the wife’s reasoning is portrayed does not help. If you don’t place any value on the GS350 F sports better build quality, rwd driving dynamics, the Lexus brand name, and everything included in the F sport package, the Sonata can be considered the “better” car.

      • 0 avatar
        hubcap

        Blah, Blah, Blah, Blah.

        You speak as if everyone who buys a car buys based on need. They don’t. And it’s not just women, men do it just as much if not more. Take a look at the cars people drive and you tell me if that was a car purchased based on need or want.

        You might consider it an impractical choice but many don’t. Opinions are like a$$holes but imo the only two that hold water are the OP’s and more importantly his wife’s as she’ll be driving it.

        Odds are most people on this site aren’t driving something purely based on need. Want has crept in and for some was the primary factor in their choice. That’s OK. I’d rather not have people telling me what I should be driving.

        Back to the Lexus/Sonata example. You might value all those things the Lexus has that the Sonata doesn’t but do you need them? Are they practical? In fact do you even need a Sonata? Might an Elantra or an Accent be a more practical purchase?

        • 0 avatar
          qwerty123

          I mostly agree with you. That’s why I’m emphasizing the importance of figuring out the core reason why the wife and her friends want a Tahoe. His wife could be telling him that she wants more kids and take take advantage of the Tahoe’s capabilities. With the 2015 model coming out, a 2006 – 2014 Tahoe/Yukon/Escalade could be affordable.

    • 0 avatar
      dal20402

      “Let her get what she wants, the same way you get what you want. What is wrong with that?”

      When it’s a Tahoe, what is wrong with that is that it bankrupts the family unless they have a very high income. $70,000 is a hell of an initial outlay, and then $4/gallon gas adds up very quickly when you are getting 14 MPG city.

      I have a car with similarly poor fuel economy (G8 GXP, 16 mpg most tanks) but I only drive it on weekends, since I take the bus to work. If I were commuting, it would be unfair to my wife and kid to waste all that money fueling my ride, and I wouldn’t do it.

      • 0 avatar
        Dan

        Where is this ridiculous notion that a Tahoe costs $65-70,000 coming from? An Escalade barely costs $70,000.

        In the real world a loaded new Tahoe is under $50. It’s no trick at all to find a three year old LT in decent shape around $30.

        • 0 avatar
          Hummer

          Dan, these new Tahoes are out of this world expensive, starting at around $45k, and they just started shipping on Feburary 5th. The new Tahoe can reach a mindboggling $71,000.

          I’m half expecting to see the new escalade option up to over 100k.

        • 0 avatar
          dal20402

          The version in that Tahoe commercial with the babysitter? With all the bling she’s imagining that will impress the other moms in the parking lot? Yep, it costs $70k. $50k will get you a version with black door handles and 17″ wheels.

      • 0 avatar
        Hummer

        First let me agree, unless your just rolling in money and making over 180k a year, a Tahoe is an extremely steep burden to take on for a couple in their 20′s expecting their first child. And unless OP is making that much money I don’t see what OP’s wife is expecting. And because of this I couldn’t in the right mind suggest a new Tahoe, used, yes easily.

        http://www.edmunds.com/chevrolet/tahoe/2015/
        Second, tell me where you got 14 mpg from?

        ——————————————————–

        Now I want you to go onto an excel spreadsheet

        put A1 as “Price of Gas” B1 as “3.5″ which is about .20 higher than my area
        A2 as “Miles Driven per year” and B2 as “15000″ So called industry average
        A3 should say “MPG”, B3 should say “Cost”
        Go to A4 type “1″, there will be a little notch in the lower right, expand down to 30, a little box will popup, press it and click “fill series” which will number it down to 27 MPG, unless you want to go further.

        Now time for the fun at B4 enter the formula “=($B$2/A4)*$B$1″ and expand down and it will show the cost of driving the related MPG for 15,000 miles with fuel costs of $3.50

      • 0 avatar
        hubcap

        “When it’s a Tahoe, what is wrong with that is that it bankrupts the family unless they have a very high income.”

        It very well may be a flaw in my personality but I believe adults can run the numbers and determine what they can afford. Your talking as if your experience and/or financial position is a direct reflection of the OP. Regardless, as I stated earlier, I’ll give people the benefit of the doubt as to what they can and cannot afford.

        Then again, perhaps you shouldn’t have purchased that G8 GXP. After all, it costs more both to purchase and operate than other cars. Surely you could’ve put that money to better use.

        • 0 avatar
          KixStart

          “It very well may be a flaw in my personality but I believe adults can run the numbers and determine what they can afford.”

          First, we’ve seen a meltdown that suggests people do not recognize the potential of bubbles.

          Second, we can either stand by while GM does its best to get people into $50K (or more) SUVs (and they do a lot of work to persuade people then need this) or we can provide an island of sanity in an ocean of mindless consumerism and try to remind people that wants and needs should be considered carefully and separately.

          • 0 avatar
            hubcap

            >> “First, we’ve seen a meltdown that suggests people do not recognize the potential of bubbles.”

            I think people can recognize the potential of bubbles. It’s the timing part that has most everyone baffled. But are you suggesting that people are not able to pick a vehicle that suits their needs?

            >> “Second, we can either stand by while GM does its best to get people into $50K (or more) SUVs (and they do a lot of work to persuade people then need this)…”

            Yes, because GM is the only company that wants you to purchase a more expensive vehicle. After all, Acura was created to sell less expensive vehicles and the other manufacturers (especially the German ones) surely don’t want you to upgrade.

            And you’re right that wants and needs are separate and yes, there is a lot of consumerism. Que sera sera. Yet I bet even KixStart has purchased something, maybe even a car, that wasn’t totally based on need.

          • 0 avatar
            KixStart

            “Yet I bet even KixStart has purchased something, maybe even a car, that wasn’t totally based on need.”

            Absolutely. I have an iPod Touch. Really, any MP3 player with 32GB of capacity would probably serve most of my needs for music on the go but my 3.5 year old iPod touch (actually a gift from my wife) is much, much nicer and more useful than almost any other MP3 player and, yes, I did want it mostly because it’s very nice. It’s a delightful toy in many ways.

            However, it’s an item that’s well within budget. We do have a budget for items like this and there’s no ongoing operating expense associated with it.

            And it has proven significantly more useful than a regular MP3 player (for example: iPod Touch + Skype + wifi hotspot = staying in touch with the kids wherever we may be).

            The OP has one kid on the way and doesn’t seem to be towing anything. I can see looking for a nice vehicle but he can get a top-trim CUV, save a buttload of money and still be driving something that’s quite nice and very well equipped without losing any necessary utility.

  • avatar
    zamoti

    Here is my story, take it for what it is worth.

    Had two children and a dying Volvo v70. We were planning on a third, but it wasn’t a done deal. We bought a Mazda cx9 which has served us well. Third son justified the purchase as child seats are giant, even the narrow Dinos we have. However getting into the third row is miserable. Cargo space stinks, we use an excargo frequently for longer trips. The giant rear doors have dinged the ever loving hell out of my maxima that parks next to it in the garage.
    Wife regrets purchase from a daily usability standpoint.
    If you can make it happen, I echo the minivan recommendation from a place of experience. If we only had two kids, we would have stuck with Volvo wagons.
    So how many kids are you planning on?

  • avatar
    APaGttH

    Happy wife, happy life…BUT…

    Going from a Kia Spectra5 to a Tahoe with a starting price in the mid-40s and LTZ trim breaking $60K – yikes. GM is not offering dealer pricing on the 2015s either (they are on the 2014s)

    If you can swing it…well in that class of vehicle the Tahoe is the answer – but do you REALLY need it – and can you swing it?

    • 0 avatar
      hubcap

      “…but do you REALLY need it – and can you swing it?”

      Methinks people deserve the benefit of the doubt concerning what can be afforded. As for the “needing” part, I don’t know many people that buy cars based on need. Think about it. A single person or a couple only need a Versa, Sonic or Fit. Wanna get uppity? Allow me to show you a Cruze or Elantra.

      IMO anything beyond this falls into want instead of need. The same goes for higher hi-po/trim versions of the same car. You don’t need a ZL1. Just get a V6 Camaro. You want an v6 Accord Touring? Nope! Just get the Sport.

      • 0 avatar
        PonchoIndian

        That’s what separates the real car enthusiasts from the armchair quarterbacks…

        You don’t buy it based on need alone, you let emotion get involved and “want” to take a larger part of the decision making.

        Sure, you could get a base Durango V6 with AWD, and that may be all you “NEED”, but you can be damn sure if there was a Durango in the driveway it would be a R/T with the Hemi and blacktop package :)

        • 0 avatar
          DougD

          Perhaps you need to explore the dichotomy of transportation vs interesting vehicles.

          My $10k used Caravan does the daily grind to work, and hauls all our family’s junk around. That frees up a lot of cash for motorcycles, electric guitars, classic cars and trips to Hawaii.

          Family life – it’s all about compromises. Make sure you update this with the solution Daniel, it’s always interesting to find out how these questions end.

          • 0 avatar
            PonchoIndian

            Transportation, in my life, needs to be interesting also. Life is too short to live it in a minivan. I respect you choice, I’d just rather spend that 10K on something used that is interesting also.

      • 0 avatar
        gearhead77

        The only thing most of us NEED for our commute is a Smart car. But it’s so limited in scope that even a boring Corolla, or even the OPs Spectra is a much better idea, let alone a Fit, Spark or Versa. If you never take anyone or anything anywhere besides yourself and someone else, why have a backseat or a large cargo area?

        It also goes to the argument here. A minivan has more room than anything else being discussed. Yes, you might not need it all the time, but the one time you do, you’re glad you have it.

  • avatar
    CapVandal

    Somehow all I can think of are Toyotas.

    Lexus RX 350. Good Car. Quality and reliability are going to count more than you think over an extended period of time.

    Sienna. They are faster than you think, and they tend to be invisible to cops.

    Landcruiser. (Used).

    Tahoe? Good vehicle. Whatever you do, avoid a Suburban. Too unwieldy to drive.

    I would buy any of them used, if price is a consideration.

  • avatar
    bwright1991

    Volvo XC60. It’s extremely safe, stylish, high-riding, and can be bought with a turbo straight 6. The only downside to it is that the Volvo V60 can come in Rebel Blue while the XC60 can’t.

    Edit: And another thing, you can option Volvo’s to come with integrated booster seats and power child locks. No other car company does that.

    • 0 avatar
      Kyree S. Williams

      The XC60 would also be my recommendation, primarily because it’s very safe and because I love the styling.

    • 0 avatar
      bball40dtw

      I do not like the integrated booster seats. They sound like a good idea, but the aftermarket has better products. The side protection of something like the Britax Frontier is better than anything Volvo has in a car.

      • 0 avatar
        MAGICGTI

        My vote is Volvo XC60 or XC90. Since she wants a Tahoe she clearly doesn’t desire cutting-edge technology. Hell, Jeremy Clarkson’s wife has had three XC90s, they’re a packaging wonder.

        I’ve missed the comparison between Volvo boosters and aftermarkets, link?

        You don’t use them though and unfortunately most Volvo’s aren’t ordered with them.

        • 0 avatar
          bball40dtw

          There doesn’t need to be a comparo. The Volvo booster seats do not have side protection or a five point harness. Just look at a Britax booster seat and compare it to the Volvo built in booster.

          I’m in no way saying that I would strike an XC60 or XC90 from the list. I own a cousin of the XC90 and looked at one when we purchased a CUV. I wouldn’t call it a packaging wonder, but I would call it a very good CUV with a design that has held up over time.

          • 0 avatar
            Kyree S. Williams

            Cousin of the XC90. Would that be the current Explorer? Maybe the MKT? Or the Flex?

  • avatar
    PonchoIndian

    Durango with the pentastar?

    Great chassis, great engine, great transmission. You get tons of money off the sticker almost any day of the month. More manly to be seen in than a CRV or CX-5.

    I haven’t driven a new Tahoe but have driven a new Escalade. I know why people buy these things. It basically felt like an old school large American sedan with the sport suspension option.

    My sister and wife are currently in the same situation as you. My sister can’t get everything in the back of her G6, and my wife is now concerned she won’t be able to get everything in the trunk of her Grand Prix. Of course now my wife says she “NEEDS” a new Cherokee Trailhawk. I’m just keeping my mouth shut until D-day when I go out and buy something for her on my own, but that may be another story.

    • 0 avatar
      DeadWeight

      Durango FTW. See my comments above. It’s solid as titanium, tight as a drum quiet, refined and crashworthy.

      “Durango’s unibody structure was 52% made up of advanced, high-strength steels. More than 5,500 welds and more than 4,100 mm of arc welding contributed to torsional stiffness levels greater than the Mercedes GL.”

      • 0 avatar
        Kyree S. Williams

        If I needed a genuine three-row SUV, the Durango would be the first car on my list. What a lovely vehicle. I wish that more people were buying it…

  • avatar
    05lgt

    Wow, am I ever a day late. Mine is 7 now, but the lessons still seem fresh. The home improvement projects ended and were replaced financially with “enrichment” expenditures and the time went… away. I’d love to preach the safety of a Subaru instead of a 3 row tank. If the large family is in your future a minivan makes so much more sense. Truth is when she got rid of the sporty sedan the only way I kept her out of a tank was with a used RX. The luxury image made up (with her friends)for it not being a 3 row tank and it was more affordable up front and especially in operating costs.

  • avatar
    Joebaldheadedgranny

    If you live in a metro area and your wife is 10K miles and you can limit yourself to 2 kids:

    CUV like Equinox, Escape, RAV4, CRV, MX5, Sorrento etc…

    If you have a trust fund you haven’t disclosed, I totally get the Tahoe thing…

    • 0 avatar
      DevilsRotary86

      “CUV like Equinox, Escape, RAV4, CRV, MX5, Sorrento etc…”
      “MX5″

      I so want to see someone make a Miata into family car :)

      Assuming you meant CX5.

  • avatar
    mnm4ever

    One thing I notice about the Tahoe and other full sized SUVs and trucks is they are very roomy for larger people, which I think is one of the appealing traits. Some of my friends are bigger, football player build type of guys and they complain they do not fit well in CUVs or crossovers. I can attest to one guy who changed from a car to a full size truck because of this. He’s about 6’5″, 250 lbs or so, used to drive an Altima but got an F150 extended cab and is thrilled with the room.

  • avatar
    bryanska

    2013 Caddy XTS. White pearl tricoat over cashmere leather. Like a rolling Coach purse.

    Looks like $$$ in the dropoff lane. She’ll look 100% woman. The SUVs may look empowering to the other moms, but a pearlcoat Caddy will make them straight up jealous.

    • 0 avatar
      Hummer

      Can a caddy car really make any woman younger than 60 turn their head?
      Especially the XTS, which blends in which the corollas…

      • 0 avatar
        bryanska

        A white XTS with acres of chrome blends in with corollas? You haven’t see one in person, from head height, inching along the curb at a walking pace. The grille is three feet wide and a foot tall and it sparkles like a platinum chain.

        In a sea of A, the B stands out. If it were a world of Caddys, the truck would stand out. But in a world of grey or beige trucks, the brash and blingly white luxury sedan stands out.

        • 0 avatar
          Kyree S. Williams

          Oh, the XTS absolutely stands out, and it definitely looks like money. And you can get a very nice lightly-used 2013 model for between $32K and $35K.

    • 0 avatar
      bball40dtw

      In 2014, women are not jealous of of other women’s large Caddy sedans. The right answer is F150 Platinum or Sierra Denali.

      • 0 avatar
        bryanska

        I always take the contrary tack to popular opinion. When a woman can pull off being different yet glamorous, you ought to see the heads turn. It’s like she has a secret. Envious women are like herds. Nothing upsets the mean-girls like something prettier and different. It’s a threat. Being part of a pack is appealing to the insecure, but upsetting the order of things is even more enviable.

        (Yeah I know that’s sexist but it’s the premise behind any story of female envy)

        • 0 avatar
          bball40dtw

          I’d take an XTS 3.6TT alllllll day.

          However, my wife and her friends (29-33, upper middle class, and all drive luxury or premium CUVs/SUVs) could car less about a full size sedan.

          • 0 avatar
            bryanska

            From my experience, among cliquey women (and males too) there’s always an outsider who is way prettier and makes them greem with envy.

            I submit a big, flashy sedan for that role.

          • 0 avatar
            mnm4ever

            So are you trying to say a big flashy sedan is prettier than the SUV competition?? Not to any woman I know. As a stereotype, women want to feel younger, and a large Cadillac definitely doesn’t do that. Now I said stereotype, so before you tell me how your 26yo wife LOVES her new XTS, save it. Even Cadillac doesn’t have a female in the XTS commercials, its always men. Now the SRX with “Stacy’s Mom” is a great ad and the OP might want to check those out instead of the Tahoe. The pearl white is a good suggestion though, great color.

      • 0 avatar
        SayMyName

        Especially when the large Caddy is nothing but a gilded Impala, and the market knows it. (I will admit it’s odd that stigma doesn’t extend to the Tahoe/Slade.)

        • 0 avatar
          PonchoIndian

          The market doesn’t know it any more than the market knows that an Camry and ES350 are the same car…

          The enthusiasts know it, but 99% of the people shopping these have no clue.

          • 0 avatar
            KixStart

            Considering they have different wheelbases, I’d say certain “enthusiasts” might be wrong about the Camry and the ES350 being the same car.

          • 0 avatar
            PonchoIndian

            Kix

            what does wheelbase have to do with it? I suppose I could have changed it to Avalon and ES350, all 3 are the same platform like the Regal/LaCross and XTS are the same platform…

          • 0 avatar
            Kyree S. Williams

            I’ll submit that there is a significant difference in materials quality and design between the XTS and the Impala. And you can get a lightly-used mid-trim XTS for less than what you’d pay for an Impala LTZ…


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