Having kids comes with its own set of challenges, one of which is transportation. Extra curricular activities, school, daycare, whatever the destination may be, requires some way to transport your kids safely and a popular way to do that nowadays is to use an SUV.
It makes sense, an SUV is comfortable, big, has four doors, plenty of trunk space, and some are even pretty quick. If you’ve already read about SUVs with the most legroom, the next step to picking an SUV that can handle some car seats is to evaluate the seat width.
Depending on how many kids you either have or are planning to have, be sure to pick the SUV that’s correct in size. With more than two kids you might want to consider something as big as a Chevrolet Suburban, but with two kids you could get away with buying a Honda CRV.
After you’ve picked the correct SUV for how many kids you have (or are going to have), you’ll have to pick the car seats that work best, and then you’ll need to consider how big your car seats can be.
Here's a short list of what to expect:
For three or more car seats, you’ll probably want to stick with a full size SUV, which tend to have three rows of seats. Depending on what kind of car seats you need, you could fit up to six children in the back seats.
All of our prices are from KBB for an excellent condition vehicle with average annual mileage. Prices can vary based on location, condition and mileage.
With a seat width of roughly 20 inches in the second row, there are many car seats you can fit side by side across all three seats. The third row is considerably smaller, at about 16 inches of width per seat, but even so you could fit three Graco SlimFit All-In-One Convertible car seats in one row.
At a much higher price tag, the Lincoln Navigator has only a slightly wider third row of seats than the Suburban, however with that you also get a much bigger cargo area. With the Navigator you also get higher towing capacity and bigger tires.
For a maximum of three car seats, a smaller SUV is a better choice. It’s a smaller car, tends to be more reliable, cheaper to fix and tends to get better gas mileage.
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For a mid-size SUV it’s hard to find options better than the Honda Pilot. It offers three rows of seats, gets decent mileage at 21 mpg out of a V6 producing 280 horsepower and is proven to be more reliable than other cars in its class. It’s roomy inside, and even though it’s classified as a smaller SUV than an Escalade or Navigator, its second row of seats is still almost as big.
As quite an anomaly, the Toyota Highlander gets better mileage than the Pilot, has more horsepower, and has roughly the same interior space. However, it is slightly more expensive than the Honda.
If you need something smaller and cheaper, the Ford Edge is a recommended choice. It has less horsepower than the Toyota and Honda, however it gets better mileage at roughly 27 MPG and has the same second row space as the Highlander. Unfortunately it doesn’t have a third row of seats, but that’s why it’s a better choice for smaller families.
If something smaller is what you’re after, a subcompact SUV should do the job. Here’s a list of subcompact SUVs that will hold at least two car seats:
2016 Honda HR-V LX - $16,579
Hip room: 47.5 inches
2016 Mazda CX-3 Sport SUV - $16,744
Hip room: 49 inches
2016 Fiat 500x Pop Sport - $12,052
Hip room: 52 inches
All of these SUVs are top rated of their respective classes, so with any of them you really can’t go wrong. But like with anything do your research before you buy, and make sure it has the space you need for the car seats you’re going to buy for your children.
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