Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Family seeking three row automobile

Full disclosure: I was invited to attend the Las Vegas Motortrend Auto Show by some Toyota reps, the opinions on the vehicles are 100% my own. Truth be told, we were already planning on going, so the email was just a bonus!

So, cars. They remain on my brain. Last year, we thought we were going to trade in my car for a bigger, mommy-type car. And then we weren't, because we wised up and realized that having two car payments sucks (and still does) so let's wait. And waiting we are, but I am determined not to make an emotional decision this time around.

The earliest we could possibly be looking at trading my car in is March 2014. If we wait a few months longer, we're in better shape still. A few more payments towards my car means a bigger trade in value, etc. So, we're aiming for the summer of 2014 unless something comes up to derail us (or to speed up the need...). Either way, I'm doing my homework and test driving three row cars until I am fully decided.

What better place to go to get an idea of what is on the short list but the Las Vegas Motortrend Auto Show? This was actually our second time going, because, well, we thought we were buying a car last year, too! But, the last time we went, we concentrated on two row cars, and I've 100% ruled that out. 3 rows, or just stick with the same darn car.

Mia in the front seat of the 2013 Highlander. Pretty nice-looking dash!

We went through two of the cars pretty thoroughly. I didn't get a good look at the Sienna, mostly because I'm not that interested in having a minivan, and it was occupado for a lot of the time we were there. First, the 2013 Highlander, which seems like the logical choice. Decent gas mileage, three rows, nice looking. The seats were easy to maneuver, and it was low enough to the ground that getting out didn't require a step ladder. The driver's seat was comfy, the passenger seat was comfy. But, there wasn't much cargo room with the third row out. While that isn't a deal breaker, it was a bit of a downside. There was limited access to the 2014 Highlander since it isn't out yet, but we're told that it's expected to have additional trunk and leg room in that 3rd row, so we'll take a look at it when it does come out at the dealerships.

We also looked a the Sequoia. Now... I am not sure what it was about that car, but I was so into it. It looked big, like, from the outside, but when I was sitting in it, it just felt good. Like, it felt like I had lost 20 pounds when I was sitting in the driver's seat, and I did all the fiddling with this one that I did with the Highlander, and it all just seemed to click better. This car and I were one. I even sat my butt down in the third row, and you know what? It was comfortable. Like, I could sit in this back row for hours and I would be fine, comfortable. Like a minivan, but sexy.

This is us in that luxurious 3rd row - see how my legs don't touch the second row? Yeah, me too. More leg room in this 3rd row than in my current car's 2nd row.
Alright, so back to reality though. With the Sequoia, you can't have your cake and eat it too. While I was gushing about the car, my husband, ever the environmentalist, steered me towards the gas mileage card. 17 mpg, highway. That is probably pretty good, compared to most full-size SUVs, but considering my car current gets 45 mpg (Honda Insight) - that's a tough pill to swallow. We'll have to check the pros and cons on that one, whether we'll have enough family in town to justify a full size SUV, whether we'll make more children, whether we want to pay the price for the comfort.

Having never driven either car, both are on the list. B likes the reasonableness and absolute convenience of the Highlander, while I am being a bit cheeky and leaning in the Sequoia direction. The latter might be a better option for a different family - you know, one with older children, with many activities and many THINGS to go with those activities.

After visiting the rest of the show, we also have on the list the expanded Hyundai Santa Fe, the Honda Pilot, and the Nissan Pathfinder.

9 comments:

  1. I love the Sequoia! I never thought I would love a huge SUV. We have family friends that bought one and we easily fit four adults, three children all in car seats, plus luggage, with room to spare. If I had extra cash for another car (plus the gas!!!), I would absolutely buy a Sequoia.

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    1. Wow, I'm impressed. The gas though... THE GAS.

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  2. Oh man, I would kill for a three-row car. Four of us in a Subaru wagon is getting a little crammed. But I do love my Subaru :)

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    1. Hearing this makes me confident about the decision to skip the bigger 2-row car!

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  3. We love our Highlander, but the lack of storage space when the third row is up is a problem if you ever think you'll have 3 kids and will be regularly popping up that row (prior to Cora, we maybe used the third row 6 times- we loved having the option, but for the most part, we were able to keep all the back storage space available). I'm looking at the Traverse and Enclave now because my Sonata is not cutting it with 3 car seats. Both of those have a little more room in the back, even with 3 rows up, and the middle row is captain's chairs so you can easily get back into the back. I'm completely in love with the more luxurious enclave, but unfortunately our budget doesn't love it nearly as much as I do!

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    1. I always liked the way the Traverse looked! Have you guys driven it yet? For me, I'm thinking no on the 3 kids, but I bet that's what you said when you only had Landon ;)

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  4. I've got 3 kids, so we were really due to move up to a third row. We live in northeastern Oregon, so snow. We went with a used Subaru Tribeca in September, when the parked station wagon got totaled. Gas mileage not so good. But now that there's snow, I am so happy with it!

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    1. I didn't realize Subaru made a car with a 3rd row! Thanks for the feedback, I'll definitely add that one to my list of what to check out.

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