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3 row SUV for the family + towing

salsadoc44

Passed Driver's Ed
for what it’s worth we didn’t test fit our car seats in either the Pilot or Atlas when we test drove them but obviously that’s a good thing to do. we don’t plan on towing anything but I did install a tow hitch for a future bike rack. for what it’s worth, the V6 Pilot did really well climbing the Sierras with with 7 people and a full roof box. compared to my ‘96 Pathfinder I had for years, the Pilot is much more powerful. we weren’t in the market for anything bigger such as a Tahoe or Sequoia. our goal was a 3-row, V6, AWD with a realistically usable 3rd row below $40k.
 
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1SLOW2.01

Ready to race!
I know I am late to this party, but I have two kids (maybe one more coming) and have a Durango R/T. It is the absolute best "family hauler" I can imagine having. We have used the third row quite a bit and the space has been great on road trips. We bought it just before moving overseas, but it was amazing in the States. I was able to get some decent gas mileage for a Hemi and it is insanely comfortable. I would absolutely choose the Durango based on the options you have listed.
 

kimyoung8484

Passed Driver's Ed
We have a Honda Pilot for my family hauling use and we love it. It's so comfy for long distance and gas mileage is also really good in this segment. I have two kids (3 and 1) and I now moved one of car seats to the 3rd row and he seems to pretty happy having his own space at the very back. Also separating these two = less fighting so wins for us :) Rear Entertainment System can be better but there is easy mod you can do with Roku to hook up external USB. I never understood why people needed rear entertainment system but I am telling you! this is a MUST for kids! When I purchased a Pilot (2016) Atlas wasn't in the market. Other thing is maintenance cost has been generally cheaper than my golf. (oil changes and etc...) I am in Canada so this may not apply in States. It also handles off-road/snow surprisingly well. There are many videos on the topic of this. Overall I am very satisfied with my purchase. FYI, the vehicle I cross compared were Acura MDX, Toyota Highlander, Ford Explorer, Nissan Pathfinder.
 

takemorepills

Ready to race!
Location
USA
Just curious, why a unibody SUV over a minivan? The Sienna is AWD, and minivans are wayyy easier to get stuff into and out of, have more room, are just as powerful and are usually more comfortable than a unibody SUV....

I had a chance to road trip in a minivan, it was the best way to go! We only have one kid and we need a real truck so no minivan for us, but I get very envious of the Sienna AWD swagger wagon, almost makes me want to have more kids...
 

GTI Jake

Autocross Champion
Location
Charlotte, NC
I know I am late to this party, but I have two kids (maybe one more coming) and have a Durango R/T. It is the absolute best "family hauler" I can imagine having. We have used the third row quite a bit and the space has been great on road trips. We bought it just before moving overseas, but it was amazing in the States. I was able to get some decent gas mileage for a Hemi and it is insanely comfortable. I would absolutely choose the Durango based on the options you have listed.

Thanks man finally some input on the Durango! I rode in my wife’s current suv and honestly next April can’t come soon enough. It’s the least comfortable vehicle I’ve ever strapped my ass into

Just curious, why a unibody SUV over a minivan? The Sienna is AWD, and minivans are wayyy easier to get stuff into and out of, have more room, are just as powerful and are usually more comfortable than a unibody SUV....

I had a chance to road trip in a minivan, it was the best way to go! We only have one kid and we need a real truck so no minivan for us, but I get very envious of the Sienna AWD swagger wagon, almost makes me want to have more kids...

All of the reasons I listed in the OP say no minivan, plus the fact I’d never own a minivan lol

Hard to compare a hemi Durango to anything with sliding rear doors...definitely not pulling a camper boat or man card in a Sienna
 

zrickety

The Fixer
Location
Unknown
Car(s)
09 GTI
(I appreciate the info btw)
It's a 2016, 3.5 V6, I listed our mixed mpg, it's basically 27 on the highway and 23-24 in town. The lower models come with a middle split folding bench, they say seats up to 8 but the third row only seats 2 so not sure how that works. You could probably do 3 car seats, 2 in the rear and one in the middle, leaving the other side for access. The middle console with the captain's chairs is really flat to the floor and solid, it's easy for the kids to walk on it if they have to. The 9 speed DCT is pretty sweet and only available on Touring and Elite trim, the shifts are very positive and direct and comes with paddles on the wheel.
Hope this helps!
 

snobrdrdan

former GTI owner
It's a 2016, 3.5 V6, I listed our mixed mpg, it's basically 27 on the highway and 23-24 in town. The lower models come with a middle split folding bench, they say seats up to 8 but the third row only seats 2 so not sure how that works. You could probably do 3 car seats, 2 in the rear and one in the middle, leaving the other side for access. The middle console with the captain's chairs is really flat to the floor and solid, it's easy for the kids to walk on it if they have to. The 9 speed DCT is pretty sweet and only available on Touring and Elite trim, the shifts are very positive and direct and comes with paddles on the wheel.
Hope this helps!

Very good info!
I would've never had thought of checking out the Pilot before, to be honest....but now it's got my eye
 

snobrdrdan

former GTI owner
Not sure what you've decided on here Jake, but I went in a different direction and a little earlier than expected

We pulled the trigger on a '18 Traverse LT FWD lease, but with a (rare) bench seat for the 2nd row to have 8 passenger seating (although I don't think 3 people can truly sit in the 3rd row) and should be picking it up next week.

I wanted to love the Atlas, but it was horrifically slow with the 3.6 (FWD). I love my Passat with the same V6 (3.6), but the Atlas just couldn't move as well with the extra 1,000 pounds of weight over my Passat.
The Traverse was way more nimble and should get better gas mileage too
 

GTI Jake

Autocross Champion
Location
Charlotte, NC
Not sure what you've decided on here Jake, but I went in a different direction and a little earlier than expected

We pulled the trigger on a '18 Traverse LT FWD lease, but with a (rare) bench seat for the 2nd row to have 8 passenger seating (although I don't think 3 people can truly sit in the 3rd row) and should be picking it up next week.

I wanted to love the Atlas, but it was horrifically slow with the 3.6 (FWD). I love my Passat with the same V6 (3.6), but the Atlas just couldn't move as well with the extra 1,000 pounds of weight over my Passat.
The Traverse was way more nimble and should get better gas mileage too

I took an after dinner walk around the Chevy dealer and gave them a once over. My wife would be happy with one and it looks like they offer great discounts especially on the 1.5T models, but that’s not what I’m looking for towing/capacity wise so I’m still pushing for the Durango RT at this point. Over a year out still so post pics and a review once you get it I’m curious how they do mileage wise and long trip comfort. With the price difference I could still buy a truck strictly for truck duties but would rather only have two vehicles on insurance
 

snobrdrdan

former GTI owner
^^^
I think you're thinking of the Equinox (?)

All Traverse's have the 310hp 3.6 engine, with FWD or AWD (optional), paired to a 9 speed trans.
The old Traverse had terrible mileage, in comparison, with the old 6 speed trans.
The reviews on the new ones have all been positive and it has the most storage space behind the 3rd seat and cargo space (seats folded down) in it's class, I believe.
There's a $600 towing package, but I don't know what it's rated for

I thought about the Durango for a second too, but after looking at the lease residuals....the Durango was at 50% and the Traverse was at 59%, that's a big difference
The R/T would be nice & awesome, I agree, but they can get pricey & also those MPG's are not something to lust after
 

GTI Jake

Autocross Champion
Location
Charlotte, NC
I’m planning to buy a 2018 CPO next year so that depreciation is a good thing in my case. Looking at year old ‘17 now I can pick one up for 33-35k and tow 7,200 lbs
 

vj123

Autocross Newbie
Location
The Detroit
Car(s)
Nothing exciting
We pulled the trigger on a '18 Traverse LT FWD lease, but with a (rare) bench seat for the 2nd row to have 8 passenger seating (although I don't think 3 people can truly sit in the 3rd row) and should be picking it up next week.

I think you lease most of your cars. Any specific reason why you ruled out Explorer. Ford has great lease numbers and its a good vehicle too.
 
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