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3 row SUV for the family + towing

GTI Jake

Autocross Champion
Location
Charlotte, NC
My dad and I have both owned only diesel trucks my entire lifetime. His Ram 3500 cab and chassis gets 18mpg even with 4.10 gear
s and 4x4. About 15mph towing his 36' toy hauler

There's still plenty reason to own a diesel truck if you're gonna use it. On the other hand my father in law has a 3/4 Ram 4x4 that gets 19 empty and 12 with a considerably smaller camper
 

snobrdrdan

former GTI owner
I'm really surprised nobody here has anything off my original list. I saw a Durango up close in traffic yesterday on my way to work and if I bought something tomorrow that would be it. Hemi or not I think it fits our needs best as an all a rounder. Still haven't driven any of these tho so I'm not counting anything out yet

On the Atlas forum on Vortex, a lot of people like/praise the Durango actually. I was gonna check one out too, when the time comes, honestly
 

GTI Jake

Autocross Champion
Location
Charlotte, NC
Would love to have the srt 8 Durango. 12.9 1/4 mile stock

No way the wife would go for that tho lol, way over budget. Even just the v6 would be fine for kid hauling and it's rated for 6200 towing
 

MonkeyMD

Autocross Champion
Would love to have the srt 8 Durango. 12.9 1/4 mile stock

No way the wife would go for that tho lol, way over budget. Even just the v6 would be fine for kid hauling and it's rated for 6200 towing

You can go middle of the road R/T with the v8 360hp. CPO ones in your price range.
 

GTI Jake

Autocross Champion
Location
Charlotte, NC
That's what I told the wife I'd get her for Christmas lol. There one local, billet silver w/red interior, CPO for 36k

But no need to negative off our lease so next April it is. I guess it's better to wait and explore all options
 

snobrdrdan

former GTI owner
Bumping this back up

I went to the Detroit Auto Show yesterday and looked at everything available.

Flex...not bad, cheap materials though inside & with the EcoBoost it was $50k new...yikes. They've talked about killing it off for 2 years now, but it still soldiers on
I don't mind the exterior styling, but it's a Ford & I'm not really a Ford guy

Explorer...similar interior, but cramped 3rd row & hard to get in/out of...no go.

Highlander....SUPER cramped 3rd row. No one is sitting back there

Durango....not bad. I'm not sure about pricing though, since they just had starting at MSRP listed for the cars on display. Choice of bench or captain's chairs for 2nd row

Pacifica....comfortable 3rd row, but didn't like the 2nd row layout (stow n go seemed clunky) and the dash layout is hideous

Sienna....I don't know if it was a low trim level or what, but the materials were SUPER cheap inside and the cloth seats looked like something from a 80's car (velour like). Spacious inside though, outside of that.

Pilot....not bad, shockingly. Never been a Honda guy, but it was layed out nice & with nice materials...I actually liked it.

Odyssey...forgot to look at that actually. I think they have a "magic seat" or something for the 2nd row?

Traverse (which would be the same as the Acadia & Enclave)....it was okay. But again at almost $46k (on display) seems like A LOT for frickin' Chevy Traverse
Not thrilled with the dash design/layout though and the old 3.6 still ticking along as the only engine choice

Atlas....which I sorta liked from the get go....the wife loved it. And the "trick" 2nd row and you can leave a car seat in it to get to the 3rd row is a HUGE plus IMO. Fit & finish were nice too...almost the best/simplest layout too, IMO

The rest of these seats (in vehicles above) all fold & flip forward for 3rd row access....so, with that said, you can't have a car seat there (even empty) to get back there easily. That blows my mind that no one else has thought of that

UNLESS, you get captain's chairs and use the space between them as a walkway to the rear???
 

zrickety

The Fixer
Location
Unknown
Car(s)
09 GTI
My wife has the Honda Pilot Elite...AWD, tows 5k, 9 speed dual clutch transmission, it's honestly great. Gets 25-27mpg too. Kids love it.
Regarding car seats, you can put 2 in there comfortably. Either both in the middle captain's chairs, or one there and one behind it with the other side free for adults and access.
 

snobrdrdan

former GTI owner
My wife has the Honda Pilot Elite...AWD, tows 5k, 9 speed dual clutch transmission, it's honestly great. Gets 25-27mpg too. Kids love it.
Regarding car seats, you can put 2 in there comfortably. Either both in the middle captain's chairs, or one there and one behind it with the other side free for adults and access.

What year?
Is it the 3.5 V6?
What kind of city mileage though, or is that 25-27 mpg mixed or highway?

I did not know that Honda has a DCT, btw.

See I know NOTHING about Honda, and it seems everyone with an Atlas (on Vortex) has cross shopped the Pilot.

Do all Pilots have captain's chairs in the 2nd row, or is there a optional (or standard?) bench seat for the 2nd row?

You said it was okay for two kids but would you recommend it for someone with 3 kids, or no?
IIRC the seat needs to fold then flip for access to the 3rd row, correct? And there's a console for between the captain's chairs....so you'd have to remove a car seat to get back there, right?

(I appreciate the info btw)
 

salsadoc44

Passed Driver's Ed
my wife has a 2017 Pilot EXL w/ AWD and Honda sensing. we have two rear facing car seats in the 2nd row bench. A Diono RXT on the drivers side and a Britax in the middle. that allows an adult to sit in the second row on the passenger side or it allows that side to fold down to access the 3rd row. we had our in laws sit in the 3rd row for our recent trip to Lake Tahoe. needed a yakima roof box to haul our luggage. worked out great - we love our Pilot. also cross shopped the Altas since I have a Mk7 GTI
 

snobrdrdan

former GTI owner
my wife has a 2017 Pilot EXL w/ AWD and Honda sensing. we have two rear facing car seats in the 2nd row bench. A Diono RXT on the drivers side and a Britax in the middle. that allows an adult to sit in the second row on the passenger side or it allows that side to fold down to access the 3rd row. we had our in laws sit in the 3rd row for our recent trip to Lake Tahoe. needed a yakima roof box to haul our luggage. worked out great - we love our Pilot. also cross shopped the Altas since I have a Mk7 GTI

So did you have to find car seats that fit the 2nd row like that, or you had them already and they happened to fit?
Is it hard reaching to load the middle seat though?
But that's a good idea, for keeping access to the 3rd row with access that folds & then flips forward

What was the deciding factor over the Atlas, btw?
 

salsadoc44

Passed Driver's Ed
we had the Dionos for the GTI and I got lucky that the Britax worked with the Diono in the Pilot. otherwise I would have used two Dionos in our Pilot. Diono RXT are known to be narrow in order to fit 3 side by side in many smaller cars. it’s not too hard to load the middle seat since we use the open seat next to it to sit in and load our baby.

my wife likes how well the pilot drove vs the atlas. it’s much quicker. she wasn’t too impressed w the altas interior, reminded her too much as the GTI. she wanted something different. i wasn’t too impressed with the Atlas and i was hoping to be bc i love my GTI. the seats are more comfortable in the Pilot. I really like her Pilot much more than her 2014 Acura RDX. lastly we would have had to order an Altas which would have taken 4 months and instead we got a decent deal on the Pilot


VW GTI Mk7 2016 | PP | DSG | CSG | Cobb AP w/ MAPerformance 91 Octane Stage 1 | 034 dog bone | K&N drop in
 

snobrdrdan

former GTI owner
Good info there, thanks!
Yeah I see that the Pilot has better/decent performance in comparison to the Atlas

Did you buy or lease it?
Can you get a picture of the car seats/2nd row of your Pilot perhaps?

How old are your kids, btw?
I'm just wondering if you could still have two seats by each other, when they get bigger?
 

salsadoc44

Passed Driver's Ed
Good info there, thanks!
Yeah I see that the Pilot has better/decent performance in comparison to the Atlas

Did you buy or lease it?
Can you get a picture of the car seats/2nd row of your Pilot perhaps?

How old are your kids, btw?
I'm just wondering if you could still have two seats by each other, when they get bigger?



we bought it. our kids are 2 y/o and 10 months. i think it’ll be fine when we turn them around for front facing when they get older. here’s a pic from tonight. hope this helps

 

takemorepills

Ready to race!
Location
USA
New Nissan Armada.

I have a 2007 Titan that has been awesome. It tows well, is super reliable, cheap to buy.
I wouldn't get a V6 uni-body SUV. With a boat in tow, a DRZ400 and a quad plus gear in the bed of my Titan, I regularly pass Tacomas and 4Runners that are towing, up grades on mountain passes. I follow them in the right lane on the flats, but when we hit the grades I just cruise right by in overdrive as their little V6's are in 3rd gear.

I am thinking about an SUV someday after my GTI is paid off, and the new Armada is made in Japan (last one wasn't) but has a revised version of the drivetrain in my Titan.

If you're gonna get a SUV, get a REAL SUV with a turbo V6 or V8. If you feel compelled to get a mall crawling unibody V6 "SUV" I would say a Sienna AWD would be a far better vehicle overall!
 

snobrdrdan

former GTI owner
Thanks for the pics salsadoc44 :)

I guess it depends on the "footprint" of the car seat.
I'm gonna add the Pilot to my potential list & have to go look at one at the dealer, and try out the car seats (fitment)....the Atlas was my top contender though

The new Subaru Ascent looks nice too, btw
 
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