Hacking an SUV...need advice and info


First time hacking attempt. I’ve leased before but was woefully unprepared.

I’m looking for an SUV, need to have: good safety ratings (plus safety suite stuff ie blind spot monitoring, crash avoidance, etc), car seat will fit in the middle w/o restricting access to the other seats, cargo space >35 cu. ft. (ok, if achieved with 3rd row folded), sub-$350 a month before tax and fees/ 36/39 & 7500k/yr, preferably a decent enough deal that if we decide to buy at the the end of the lease we won’t lose a ton vs purchasing.

Want to have: apple carplay, power liftgate, maybe leather, sunroof, decent mpg (>20 mpg city, >27 hwy).

So far, we like the Tiguan, Highlander, and interested in looking at a CX-9. Any suggestions are welcome.

I’ve contacted several VW dealers about leasing a Tiguan SEL, but I get pushback for asking for a discount from MSRP, base MF, AND lease cash. I’m getting responses like “sales discount is only for financing (not 0% btw)” then “sure, I’ll give you that same discount but you can’t have base MF too”.

Edit: zip -70123 9.25% tax

Pilot ex-l would be the tree I’d be barking up.


No one here knows your tax rate so what are we talking pre-tax?

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edited first post to add tax info

With tax please

Do you actually need a third row? CX9’s is pretty useless according to @mllcb42 and I can’t imagine a Tig is much better

should just edit to say you’re looking to stay around $350 before tax, reg, plates, etc.


As someone with 0 children (and even less interest in them), I have read enough car seat threads to know this really depends: age, size, brand, etc.

I never tell strangers what they want: you definitely want dark and not light interior.

I’d put Hyundai (Santa Fe?) and Kia (I’d at least look at Soul, Sportage, whatever the one down from the Telluride is) on the list. Pilot.

Good luck


Don’t need a third row, we would fold it flat 90% of the time. So a big 2 row works too. The Tiguan is fine when the 3rd row is folded or as a 2 row.

Edited first post to $350/month pre tax and fees.

In that case, Honda Passport. We replaced our CX-9 with one and couldn’t be happier. It’s better in every way.


Passport or Pilot for sure. Definitely hackable to be at target, trim not so sure for this month.

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Acadia may be worth a look, especially if you have Costco. Need to see what the October program numbers look like though.


Yes, the car seat matters, but some vehicles have so much overlap that nothing works. Actually, most cars are like this. Most people just stick the kid on either side, but they are statistically much safer in the middle. Wife is a data scientist, no fighting this. haha

Light interior because we live in NOLA and it’s so damn hot most of the year. I can put a seat cover on the back bench. It’s fine, I detailed cars, I know kids will wreck anything.

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Remote start/ventilated or cooled seats may be a better solution than upholstery color.


It’s an option. My 535i has black leather and ventilated seats. It helps, a little. Mostly having the sun shade on the front window and the side/rear shades up helps more.

Have you done actual temperature comparisons on light and dark leather from sun/heat? When I did, it was never enough to make a difference (there used to be a Quora too). Tint will have a much bigger impact that interior color.


No. Good advice, thanks. I’ll edit that out of the first post.

As a dad, I say light interiors are fine. If anything milk- and formula-based spitups show up worst on black leather. After a certain level of maturity, little kids can also be taught to not wreck their parents’ cars.

However, I don’t think you’re going to find ‘good’ leather in your price range… I’d personally take a high quality fabric over entry-level leather.

Sorento. Soul and Sportage are both rather compact.

In addition to the models mentioned by others: Look at Nissan Murano if you qualify for the rebates such as VPP and/or loyalty (check Marketplace thread by @aronchi)


Should I be looking at 2020 models only or 2021 as well?

Depends… does the 21 have meaningful updates? Otherwise just get the cheaper one


As someone who lived in the desert for many years where 115 in the summer wasn’t uncommon, the biggest help I found was doing a high quality ceramic tint, with the highest IR rejection possible, on all the glass. Getting the windshield and roof glass done makes a HUGE difference and is worth every penny.