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Advice needed - looking for 4WD with 3 equal sized rear seats (not 40/20/40% arrangement)

(16 Posts)
FiveStar Fri 19-Feb-16 10:42:15

Hi we have 3 (growing ever taller) kids aged 8 to 10 and are looking for a 4 wheel drive SUV. It needs to cope with rural lanes and occasional flooding/snow/ adverse weather - not hard core off-roading - and have sufficient boot space for sports kits, general kids stuff/school bags and possibly a dog.
If it had fold down extra seats in the boot that would be handy for mates/playdates etc.

Have looked at a few dealerships (Mazda, Nissan, BMW, Land Rover) and most of them, apart from LR (which is above our budget), seem to have an unequal seat arrangement in the back in that the side 2 seats are 'proper' seats (with wings and a big bum shaped seat area) and the middle one is just a sort of flat strip with that child having to squeeze between the shoulder wings of the other two seats. Apparently this is called 40/20/40% split by car makers. This will not work for us - we need the kids to have roughly equal sized spaces. We have taken to peering inside any SUV we spot and most seem to have this 'slit' in the middle arrangement for the middle seat.

Can anyone recommend anything suitable? Our two 8 year olds are still in car seats (the booster kind with sides) as they are skinny and under the relevant height, but only a matter of time before they are out of these. We currently drive a Ford Galaxy (a company car due to be returned) which has ample space for them in the back, and I have been content with it, but husband wants to replace with 4WD due to road conditions where we are moving to. Have also been happy with huge space and good seats of Renault Espace, but again, not the best in adverse conditions.

Thanks in advance for any feedback/suggestions.

Ringsender2 Fri 19-Feb-16 10:53:20

Waiting with interest for replies.

I've been ogling Nissan Qashqai + 2s. What are your thoughts on them? But we don't need to cope with adverse conditions to the same extent as you.

YouMakeMyDreams Fri 19-Feb-16 11:07:11

I'm not sure it exists outside Land Rover. We have been looking for nearly two years for a car that ticks all the boxes 3 full back seats being our main one. Can honestly say though don't get an espace I had one it was utterly horrendous in snow. Tyres were too thick and the car far too heavy. Was great apart from that though.
I have. Xsara Picasso just now and space wise it's great and we live in the Highlands and it has been a great car but getting old and needing replaced. I'd like a Chrysler voyager for space or a Discovery to tick all my boxes. Just need to convince Dh we need never eat again to pay for one.

NameChangeEr Fri 19-Feb-16 11:10:31

Could you maybe look for one with decent third row seat, so 2 in middle, one in back with boot space to the side and between seats?

FiveStar Fri 19-Feb-16 13:08:44

Hi Thanks for replies. YouMakeMyDreams we were disappointed with the Qashqai when looked at it - the middle is definitely a smaller space and in the 2plus it is a fold down panel so you can access the 3rd row, so the middle seat has a bit that sticks out into that child's back (if I remember rightly). Also very narrow legroom in back.

Had to laugh at 'don't get an Espace' as we have actually had one and yes it is heavy like a tank :-) and not great in snow. Great space though and it felt the most spacious of all the cars we have had, bigger than Galaxy and better legroom all round.

Yes getting an LR would mean never eat again, no holidays etc! and they have bad reviews for reliability and cost of repairs. DH would love an old Defender but I have driven an old one around a farm and they are not built for comfort (or car seats) or at least that one wasn't.

NameChanger I don't think the 3 row option works for us as usually the back row seats have very small leg space, and the floor is higher up than with the 2nd row seats iyswim - we have had two MPVs with 3rd row seats so have tried this before and imo you can only really use them comfortably for short trips, not as everyday/ long trip option.

Why don't car manufacturers realise there is a market for 3 proper rear seats? Many of us do not have 2+2 families.........

twolittleboysonetiredmum Fri 19-Feb-16 13:10:50

I don't have one it had a similar conversation with a friend recently and I'm sure they said the Dacia duster has 3 proper back seats?

Msqueen33 Fri 19-Feb-16 13:13:02

Hi tweeted Kia about this as they claim their sportage is a five seater. I don't count the bridge seat as a seat. We have three kids all in boosters. Car choice is shocking. I drive an smax. It's fine but I don't need seven seats. I need five. I don't understand why this is so hard.

YouMakeMyDreams Sat 20-Feb-16 09:28:53

I haven't looked at the more recent Qashqai because I hired one a few years ago and hated it so much I haven't even considered it as an option.
None of the Dacia are big enough either for three in the back which is a shame because I know a few people that have them and they are great and such a good price too.

Msqueen I say that to Dh often there is very very little between 2 and a bit back seats and 7 seats. We seriously cannot be the only people looking for a car with three full back seats and no need for 7. I need 2 adults and 3 do in a car with a decent boot space it shouldn't be that hard.

madamginger Sat 20-Feb-16 09:39:01

We were looking last year for the same car, I needed to fit 3 hbb across the back seats, I had a fiat multipa which was a fab car but someone reversed into it in a car park and wrote it off sad
In the end we got a Citroen c4 grand Picasso but only because we were in a rush as the insurance company only gave us 5 days to hand back the hire car after they settled the claim

YouMakeMyDreams Sat 20-Feb-16 11:11:54

How do you find the c4? Dh and others keep saying no there is a reason that people (like me) still have ancient xsara Picassos. And it has just gone through another mot with nothing needing done which did shock me but I'm glad it's still clinging on because I just can't find any that match it.

NameChangeEr Sat 20-Feb-16 12:34:51

What about something like the Ssangyong Turrismo 4WD?
The seat are designed to take adults comfortably, have seen it and inside its huge and nothing like other cars have come across for the interior.
Scroll down to see the seating options

FiveStar Sat 20-Feb-16 17:28:55

Thanks for all the answers - it's clear we are not the only ones with this frustration about back seats!

twolittleboys The Dacia looks a great price and the back seat is essentially a bench (seems better for 3 kids as you avoid the obvious two large side seats/ one tiny middle strip issue) but DH has flagged up that it has low safety ratings on NCAP which is a deal breaker for him.

Namechanger I just looked at the SsangYong online - I have never heard of this (am not normally interested in cars! that is DH department) but the seat possibilities do look worth investigating. Also, a good starting price. But would it mean we just had to accept that for 3 kids we always have to use the back row - as there is no middle seat in the second row - but actually this might improve family life as then they are more separated (= less bickering smile). The thing then though is if you are doing a trip where you really need the larger boot space, so need to take the back row out, you don't actually have 5 seats in the car......tempting as it may to leave someone behind on occasion I'm not sure this would be a viable solution.......grin

DH likes look of Volvo XC90, we need to go and investigate the back row seat sizes as not sure if (again) the middle one is much smaller. Has anyone tried one of these? Second-hand prices better than for Land Rover for instance.

My friend has a VW Tiguan and says it is fine for her 3 kids but she didn't have it with her so I have not been able to peer inside it yet. One of her kids is much smaller than my lot so maybe they haven't hit the 'squeezing 3 growing kids together in the back' issue yet. Anyone tried one of these?

gingerdad Sun 21-Feb-16 09:16:13

Just get a people carrier and put winter tyres on it.

Blueejay Wed 02-Mar-16 07:05:48

I've been looking for the answer to the exact same problem! Don't want an MPV but having no 3 coming imminently. From what I've read and seen the XC90 might be the way to go but it's expensive to buy and run and maintain. Tiguan mentioned above seems like it might be the answer but can fiverstar confirm the model /year and what sort of seats your friend is using. I have a 4 yr 2yr and then a baby coming soon so I'm not yet at booster for any of them

holte Mon 07-Mar-16 15:11:52

We looked at an XC90 and the middle seat of the back three actually flips up as a booster seat (for kids aged 4+). I think the three back seats are individual (so move on their own).

We've got three kids and are in the same boat - we got an S-max in the end which is fab but we go to London loads and find it noisy on the motorway and pretty useless in ice/on fields (needed a push a couple of times)

From our research (didn't look at everything) we felt the 4 x 4's with equal and moving second row back seats plus 2 in the boot were the Volvo XC90, Landrover Discovery, Nissan Pathfinder, Toyota Landcruiser.

I felt the Nissan/Toyota were more reliable than Landrover BUT i have relatives who are farmers and they have Landrovers but do proper off roading and towing stuff so maybe they're worked harder?

Volvo ticks all our boxes and we'll be getting one in a couple of years.

ThisOneNoThatOne Sat 19-Mar-16 21:04:44

Just seen this thread- I wanted to suggest the new smax - it now comes in 4WD.

Good luck with your search!

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