Family Vehicle

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Aug 9, 2013
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Anyone care to offer opinions on a family vehicle option that could also be a good options to take on remote trips when not traveling together as a family? Needs to seat six (i.e. - third row), but mostly curious about other extras that I might not be aware of at first glance. Kind of like on the "Sell Me A Truck Thread".
 

JEL

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We had a Ford Expedition when our kids were growing up. Loved it. It was a 2006 and provided years and miles trouble free. Lots of memories in that vehicle.
 

Nameless Range

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We’ve got a Suburban that is also a z71 model, so it’s got the off-road suspension package. Between the wife and I, 3 kids, a dog, and a bunch of chit, it has served well on long road trips as well as camping trips on some nastier roads.
 

ajricketts

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I'll be watching this as well. Although our vehicle will mostly be a family vehicle with some camping trips. No real off road or rugged terrain likely. My wife is really fond of the newer Chevy Traverse and Volkswagen Atlas
 

Rzrbck918

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We've had two different Expedition ELs over the past 13 years. First one had 250000 miles on it when we traded it in and had spent a grand total of 1 day in the shop. We have traveled and camped all over out of it with three girls and the requisite amount of stuff that goes with said young females.
 

rideold

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+2 on the Sequoia. Comfortable and reliable. I have an 02 with over 260,000 miles and don't see replacing it any time soon. If you want a better option for off road buy a land cruiser (although you pay a mpg hit).
 

LCH

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The newer Durangos are good. They're not true off road machines, sometimes you've just gotta turn around or park and walk. But they are on the same platform as a Jeep Grand Cherokee, just stretched out a bit longer.

Ours is a 2013, bought it new, 150k on it now. It's my wife's daily driver, and I borrow it for hunting trips. With AWD and the 3.6 gas engine we get an average of 20 mpg, 24-25 on highway trips. I put 17" Grand Cherokee wheels on it, which opened up a bunch of 10-ply tire options.

The biggest downfall with it is ground clearance. But really in a vehicle this size, you've gotta pay a fairly hefty mpg penalty to get something much taller.
 

wllm1313

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I'm going to be the only guy on the the thread that advocates this... but my family had mini van's growing up and I think they are by far the best family option.

Seats 8, with 4 captains chairs... gas mileage is typically 26-28mpg. The dual sliding doors make them easy to get into and out of... most of them you can easily "roll away" the seats and then blow up a twin/queen sized air mattress and sleep in the van.

My mom still keeps her sienna with 225k miles for adventures, I've driven it all over the place... used it on a couple elk hunts, mt bike trips, raft trips, it's been on more back roads than 95% of the trucks on the road guaranteed. I'm looking to put in a permanent divide this summer and use it for transporting llamas in the future.

Probably not the best choice if you have a fragile ego, but for the same price as most SUVs you can get a mini van, throw on lift kit, skid plate, and bigger tires and have a pretty sweet ride.

110493
 
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ajricketts

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I'm going to be the only guy on the the thread that advocates this... but my family had mini van's growing up and I think they are by far the best family option.

Seats 8, with 4 captains chairs... gas mileage is typically 26-28mpg. The dual sliding doors make them easy to get into and out of... most of them you can easily "roll away" the seats and then blow up a twin/queen sized air mattress and sleep in the van.

My mom still keeps her sienna with 225k miles for adventures, I've driven it all over the place... used it on a couple elk hunts, mt bike trips, raft trips, it's been on more back roads than 95% of the trucks on the road guaranteed. I'm looking to put in a permanent divide this summer and use it for transporting llamas in the future.

Probably not the best choice if you have a fragile ego, but for the same price as most SUVs you can gift mini van, throw on lift kit, skid plate, and bigger tires and have a pretty sweet ride.
Unfortunately I don't think that is as true as it used to be. We have a minivan right now that we were looking at replacing. We were surprised to find that the vans we would want as priced very similar to the larger SUV's we would want. Sure, not as high as the big suburbans or yukon XL's, but pretty comparable to the traverse, or the atlas, etc.

For sure though, you can't beat a minivan for hauling a big family around.
 

nrpate05

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As wllm said mini vans are money when it comes to family vehicles. Tons of room in a streamlined package. With 4 kids in our family we always had them growing up and road trips were always comfortable. That said, they probably aren't the best when going off road. Not sure what your budget is, but the new Toyota Land Cruisers look sweet!
 

wllm1313

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Unfortunately I don't think that is as true as it used to be. We have a minivan right now that we were looking at replacing. We were surprised to find that the vans we would want as priced very similar to the larger SUV's we would want. Sure, not as high as the big suburbans or yukon XL's, but pretty comparable to the traverse, or the atlas, etc.

For sure though, you can't beat a minivan for hauling a big family around.
Fair point... especially as the new SUVs are easier to get into with the minivan style bucket seats.
 

ajricketts

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Fair point... especially as the new SUVs are easier to get into with the minivan style bucket seats.
One of my biggest pet peeves with our minivan (2008 odyssey) is the low ground clearance. I am forever hitting/getting caught on those stupid parking stops. It's a big adjustment when I switch out from driving my F250 and jump in the van lol.
 

rideold

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I grew up traveling around the state in a full size Chevy van. Not a bad option. The mini-van route is a decent option too but even with modifications clearance and durability is still an issue. Vehicles are just more fragile than they were 20 or more years ago. I had a mid-sixties Volvo that I drove on plenty of dirt tracks. I cracked an oil pan on our Jetta a number of years back pulling into a forest service trailhead outside of Fraiser. I was shocked at how easy it was to mess that car up. We settled on our old Sequoia based on seating capacity, maintenance and cost. It just made sense in the end. At some point we had to come to terms with the gas mileage of a vehicle that can seat 8 has 4WD and comes stock with skid plates and 12" of clearance.
 
Joined
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Wyoming
Thanks a million everyone. The Expedition and Suburban sound like they merit a strong look. That said, wife's input is also key. Sounds like it's time to start kicking tires. I'll keep everyone posted. Hope this turns into a valuable thread.


P.S. - Apologies to the minivan guys. Just ain't us.
 

NEWHunter

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What about selling you on an actual truck? F150 supercrew with the bench seat. Obviously it doesn’t have the third row, but it does seat six. Great for a family of four and good with five. Seating six in the F150 is more for carpooling around town or shorter trips.

We have a Highlander as well, not a bad option either. As it’s a bit more reasonably priced.

The reason we got the truck with a bench seat, as opposed to the center console, was the wife was dead set on needing a vehicle that can seat six for car pooling when the kids are a few years older. I was set on getting a truck for the hunting and “man stuff” functionality. We solved both our needs, and when we get rid of the Highlander in a few years we can go back to a Camry and get 40+ mpg highway - which makes the tree hugger in me happy.
 
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