Car for 3dcs - Volvo XC90 or Land Rover Discovery or Ford SMax (or something else similar?)

(39 Posts)
MrsJohnDeere Sat 22-Sep-12 10:39:27

Surprise/shock pregnancy means we are going to need a new car in the next few months. It will need to fit 2 children in booster seats (will be 5 and 7 years old) and one baby. Ideally we'd like the older ones not to be immediately adjacent to each other (out of hitting each other reach). Needs to have decent sizes boot that can fit a pushchair and at least one dog too.

Dh is a bit of a car snob and will not entertain anything from Vauxhall, Citroen, Renault. He doesn't like the look of whatever the big BMW is (too 'drug dealer' apparently).

He's reluctantly considering the SMax because our most reliable car in the past was a Ford. His heart is set on a Land Rover (I hate the look of them and the thought of parking one terrifies me) but we know quite a few people who've found them unreliable.

Any experiences - good or bad - of these cars? Any suggestions for alternatives?

If we could find a normal estate car that could for 3 seats across that would shit us far more. Seen mixed reports about the Mondeo and car seats.

MrsJohnDeere Sat 22-Sep-12 10:40:31

Apologies for umpteen typos (on phone) blush

WMittens Sun 23-Sep-12 09:18:52

I've not had any experience with LR, but they do have a reliability reputation bordering on criminal.

If you need 4WD, I'd go for the XC90. If you need space, I'd go for the S-Max. Any 4WD (pretty much) will have less space than a people carrier.

The BMW X5 (I assume that is the one you mean, or could be X3) is a bit drug-dealer-chic, and very ugly.

trixymalixy Sun 23-Sep-12 09:21:25

Landrovers are very unreliable but lovely to drive

Llareggub Sun 23-Sep-12 09:22:58

I had an XC90. It got to the stage where it once sat on my driveway for 3 weeks because it was so flipping expensive to run. I used to weep at the way it would basically cost me a fiver just to turn the engine on. It drank fuel. I have (temporarily) a Toyata Avensis and which might be ok with 2 boosters and a car seat. I have a car seat and a booster in the back and there is quite a bit of space between them.

The boot is MASSIVE and very fuel efficient. I would never, ever go back to something like the XC90 again. It sure killed my car snobbery.

ChippyMinton Sun 23-Sep-12 09:27:55

I moved from a mondeo estate to an S-Max and can't fault it.

The 3 middle row seats are of equal size, so it's fine for 3 car seats.

The back row is quite cramped, fine for occasional use, even by small adults. It leaves an small but useable boot for a folding buggy. With the rear row down, the boot is immense. Or you can have a single rear seat and half the boot. If you want to split the DC up though, a 'proper' 7-seater would be better.

2.0 turbo diesel drives well, plenty of power.

ChippyMinton Sun 23-Sep-12 09:29:42

Fuel economy - i do a mix of motorway miles and 'mum's taxi' duties and get 50+ mpg.

The xc90 has a built in booster in the middle back seat, we couldn't use it as our 3 dc's were all under 5, and there isnt room for 3 proper carseats so had to buy a multimac to fit them all in. We love the Volvo though and don't find diesel too expensive. SIL has a Discovery, which is HUGE, but like you, I would hate parking it on our busy street. She has also had lots of problems with electrics etc and definitely spends more on fuel than us.

3monkeys Sun 23-Sep-12 09:32:46

We had the same seats when DS2 was born and have had a ford galaxy since. There is loads of space

poorbuthappy Sun 23-Sep-12 09:35:09

Galaxy?
Wider than the s max ( well it seems it!)
I went from a VW Touran to a galaxy. Couldn't believe the extra space. Mind you the kids still want to kill each other. wink

MrsJohnDeere Sun 23-Sep-12 11:28:22

Dh did a test drive of the XC90 yesterday and loved it. Very keen on the flexibility of the seating arrangements or something, and said it felt nice to drive.

He went to test drive an SMax but hated it the moment he got into it, so didn't even get that far.

A 4x4 is a better choice for where we live (rural).

Can't test drive a LR yet as the local dealer doesn't have any.

Fuel consumption isn't a major issue. Despite the eye watering price tag this will be our second car, and will mainly be used at weekends. In the week I have a small car that can fit 3 Dcs that will be used for school runs, after school stuff, day to day errands. Been trying to persuade dh that we should just have 2 small cars and drive in convoy for weekend trips!

teacherwith2kids Sun 23-Sep-12 11:34:51

Mazda 6? DH has the estate version and LOVES it (I, on the other hand, will trade down from a Ford Focus - Y reg, over 110k, but showing no signs of dying to my frustration - to one of the Citroen C1 / Peugeot 107 / Toyota equivalent family as I like really little cars and am fed up of driving a car which has always seemed too big)

MrsJohnDeere Sun 23-Sep-12 11:40:02

Can you fit 3 car seats in a Mazda 6?

teacherwith2kids Sun 23-Sep-12 11:44:09

We have done - not regularly, because we only have 2 dcs, but for lift sharing etc. Possibly depends on the car seats you use, as we've done 3 booster seats but not 2 + a baby IYSWIM.

MrsJohnDeere Sun 23-Sep-12 11:48:40

Booster cushions or the full-blown seats?

Gigondas Sun 23-Sep-12 11:54:38

Vw sharan- dh also loathed s max (and for garages) and had previously been driving a
BMW so had the change of badge issue.
But speced up sharan has been very good and practical.

I have just seen you are in a rural location so won't add my bit about impractical nature of an xc90 in town based on my neighbours gripes.

We have had xc90s since 2004, we had 3dcs under five and had three proper car seats in there, two in the back and one in the third row.

It is a workhorse for us, always full of children/rugby team or whoever gets stuck in winter.

We briefly went to an estate for a year but hated it and it was useless in the winter in a rural area.

It is expensive to run but it does make us think twice about whether we can walk or cycle somewhere instead.

Just to add, have you compared the ncap ratings too for Landrover v xc90?
That swayed us and at the time the reliability issues.

We are on our second xc90 and it's ok, if you really need 4wd for off road or non tarmacced roads then it doesn't quite cut it, we have had it stuck in the snow numerous times and it's a complete bastard to get out. But it drives like a car rather than a tank. We test drove the Audi q7 and it felt massive and aggressive. The land rover was nice but as others have said unreliable and expensive to fix. We have a mini as well which we drive if at all possible to balance out the fuel costs, we had a ford galaxy before and I hated it, it broke down so many times and felt like I was driving a flimsy van. Loads of people I know have the smax and love it though.

MrsJohnDeere Sun 23-Sep-12 12:00:02

A neighbour has a LR, almost new. They skidded on ice last winter, turned it over and fell into a ditch, and the airbags didn't even go off. He was very badly injured and off work for months.

missjackson Sun 23-Sep-12 12:00:29

Honda CRV? If you look on the parkers review site, it gets brilliant reviews. It's about the most 'car-like' of the 4x4s I thought. There is a really good second hand market for them too. We fit 3 in the back of ours (baby seat, toddler seat, booster seat with sides) and it's a tight fit.

MrsJohnDeere Sun 23-Sep-12 12:02:16

We don't really go off road (well, not often) but do drive a lot on country lanes that are full of potholes and where you have to pull over into ditches etc.

Volvo xc90 would be fine for that, we are very rural but on a main road. The snow when it comes though is bad and as your neighbour found out even 4 wd can come unstuck, Volvo is awd.

Llareggub Sun 23-Sep-12 12:23:18

It was the short trips in the XC90 that made me sob. Longer trips were pretty fuel efficient, I thought. It was a dream in the snow.

uggmum Sun 23-Sep-12 12:33:03

My best friend has a land rover, it has been in the garage 4 times this year and has cost him a fortune. It's also really expensive for fuel and car tax.

We had an Audi q7 for 11 weeks as a courtesy car, it was lovely but huge. We nicknamed it 'the beast'

You could consider either the Volvo xc60 or a Honda crv. You can fit 3 seats in the back of both and fuel economy is good as is car tax. As they are smaller than the landrover you will find parking them a lot easier

BensonBunny Sun 23-Sep-12 12:35:53

I've had my XC90 for a year now and love it. I get about 30 mpg doing a 9 mile commute to work which is a straight run on the way in but always stuck in traffic on the way home, it's better on long journeys.
The boot is massive with the third row seats down and fits a lot more than the SMax we had before (which I hated). I have front parking sensors as well as the rear which come as standard and it is easy to park.

NarcolepsyQueen Sun 23-Sep-12 12:41:44

Audi Q7 for the win.

MrsJohnDeere Sun 23-Sep-12 13:20:26

No to Hondas - SIL has one and the ride makes me and dh feel sick. Not keen on the boot either.

Also no to any Audi. We had a an A6 until 4 years ago that gave us nothing but trouble. The local dealership/garage employs the rudest people you could ever meet, and we don't want to give them our money. Dh popped by a few weeks ago to see if they'd changed, but they hadn't!

EdMcDunnough Sun 23-Sep-12 13:29:07

I know one family who have a huge old Volvo, it's quite long, they fit three large-ish children in the back from toddler upwards, all in RF seats.

I'd LOVE one of these. But I appreciate it isn't very modern and with-it.

I think the Seat Alhambra is meant to be good too. Your DH won't entertain any of these will he grin

EdMcDunnough Sun 23-Sep-12 13:30:38

Also I wonder how reliable the Defender is, in terms of LRs. Probably even less - I don't know.

I'd be going for something a bit less fuel hungry anyway but sounds like you've ruled out those options.

member Sun 23-Sep-12 13:39:01

My next door neighbour has a LR that seems to frequently leak oil/oily fluids.

What about a Mazda CX-7?

Kneedeepinshittynappies Sun 23-Sep-12 13:46:37

Nissan qasqai+2? Just got one ourselves recently and loving it for space so far, although only 2 dc but they're 2 and 7 months so need lots of space and obviously feels like kitchen sink comes with us on most days put! Also hybrid 2/4 wd so good compromise.

silverfrog Sun 23-Sep-12 14:03:33

honda crv is great, but just seen you don't want a honda (shame, mine has been fab)

xc90 was ridiculously fuel inefficient, imo, when I had one.

what about a vw passat? not tried one yet, but eyeing it up as my next car when we change my honda, although will be sad to lose the crv, it has honestly been fantastic (and I drive a lot - 70+ miles a day just on school runs!)

Not sure why you need a bigger car? Mine, 4, 6 and 15 months are able to get in the back of a Volvo. You just need to get small booster seats.

MrsJohnDeere Sun 23-Sep-12 14:12:44

We cannot fit 3 across the rear of our current car (Subaru estate). It is one of the narrowest estate cars on the market.

clam Sun 23-Sep-12 14:17:27

My friend had an XC90 which she loved until the electrics started playing up and it kept cutting out on the freeway (This was in the US). Volvo refused to acknowledge a problem so she ditched it for a Nissan Murano. Loves it.

clam Sun 23-Sep-12 14:19:02

By the way, another vote here for the CR-V. Never had a problem with the ride - could it have been your friend's driving?? grin Although the boot shape is a bit odd, I admit - and the tailgate drips on you in the rain. Apart from that, I love it.

silverfrog Sun 23-Sep-12 14:36:31

oh god, the tailgate drips from my crv are infuriating. but still a fab car. wish they'd sort that design flaw though, 'tis a real bugger

monkeytennismum Mon 01-Oct-12 06:28:06

We have an Audi A6 Avant estate and have fitted 3 car seats across the back. We LOVE this car; Audi's are so reliable and it has a massive boot. My DH is also a car snob! MY only gripe is that the suspension is quite low so it might not be good for a rural area (we're city dwellers), but have you considered the Audi Q3 or Q5?

Join the discussion

Join the discussion

Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.

Register now