Help with Best Mid Size SUV?

Hey Hackrs, I’d love your opinions on this one:
I need a new SUV. I’ll have a 3 yo and twin infants this spring and would like something wide enough to safely seat 3 across in the middle row with enough trunk for a double stroller and groceries. Needs AWD. Bench width seems to be the restriction from suvs I’ve tested, ie: 2019 highlander was too narrow but 2019 4Runner was good. Currently own an Infiniti and Subaru (for loyalty/conquest credits, etc)

Wants: 1) fold down 3rd row 2) Apple CarPlay 3) advanced safety features

Budget: I want a good deal (hence why I’m asking you), don’t care if it’s a brand new model. Could do up to $500/mo for a 36/10 or 36/12 but would prefer $400/mo or less. Obviously minimum drive off $ preferred.
I liked the 4Runner but wife felt it was too trucky. QX60 is great but no CarPlay (May have to just accept that?). Pilot is probably the obvious choice but would prefer something less common if possible. 2019 Highlander too narrow, 2020 too high demand for a deal. I think XC90 and Ascent would also be too narrow? Explorer would be great but a little too police-y. I have a bias against VW. Others I haven’t checked yet but thinking about: Acadia, Pallisade/Telluride, ??? What do you think?

You’re being quite picky is what I think. Every option has a “but,” yet you’re not going to have much choice if you want 3 seats across the row.


I can get you a 2020 highlander xle for around 500. Wait til next month and it’ll prob be cheaper.

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@mp11477 Appreciate the honesty. You’re probably right, but that why I listed wants v. needs. I can do without some things, ie CarPlay or maybe just need to get over it and get a Pilot. So which would you do?

@Jrouleau426 not bad! I can definitely wait a month or 2. Any way to get measurement on 2020 bench width vs 2019? The only 2020 at my local deal had captains chairs so I couldn’t try in the 3 seats. What would be all in $ initial (Broker fee, etc) and monthly if I live in NJ. Can you amortize taxes into monthlies? Feel free to PM if you want

What seats are you using or planning to purchase?

@max_g I have 1 clek foonf and 2 chicco keyfits. From my research among the narrowest in the market.

I’d hit the lots with my 3 seats first and do a dry run, weed out the obvious NOs and go from there

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@mp11477 did some of that, planning to do more, but hoped maybe someone had knowledge or experience to share

XC90 can fit it pretty well

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CX9 is under $400. Gonna have to try your seats in it. Specs claim more 2nd row hip room than the 4runner, but that can be deceiving.

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we are driving with 2 super-sized car seats in the XC90 mid row (maxi cosi pria 85). But there is enough room for an adult in the middle, I’m pretty sure we could fit another car-seat.

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See if Cybex Atom infant seats are narrower.

Also check out the car seat forum.

@gcz I think that’s the move. And great deals on a solid truck bc final model year. I don’t have CarPlay now so won’t miss it, but it does seem like a really nice safety/convenience item

@emasyakin xc90 looks like a sweet ride, never been in one, but probably on high side of my price range. Is it possible to get on under 500/mo without a big drive off cost?

I think it might depend on the region. There are some brokers here working in NY and nearby states. It’s a home for some of the best Volvo deals as far as I can tell. With MSDs it can easily be below 500, without MSDs I think you will be bouncing on edges. On the brightside - it’s indeed a nice ride for the money.

Checkout these guys for example: