$40,000 3-Row SUV Car Seat Challenge: the Highs and Lows

IMG_4729

Large families basically have two choices when it comes to what to drive: a three-row SUV or a minivan. Both have their merits and handle cargo and passenger room differently. During Cars.com's recent $40,000 3-Row SUV Challenge, I spent a few days getting to know seven of the contenders in the midsize crossover class, driving them, climbing in and out of them, and installing car seats in their second and third rows.

Read the Full $40,000 3-Row SUV Challenge

Although they all have to offer a large amount of room in order to fit that third row, it's obvious that not all SUVs are created equal. When it comes to car seats, there were some very clear winners and losers, with the Honda Pilot and Hyundai Santa Fe leading the pack, and the Chevrolet Traverse and Mazda CX-9 bringing up the rear.

By Jennifer Geiger | April 9, 2014 | Comments (1)

Several Midsize SUVs Fail IIHS Crash Test

Iihs-mazda-cx-9

The 2014 Honda Pilot didn't do very well in Cars.com's $40,000 3-Row SUV Challenge, and it fared even worse in the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety's latest crash test. The Pilot is one of several SUVs that scored poorly in the IIHS's challenging small front overlap test.

More Safety News

The agency recently performed the test, meant to simulate a 40-mph crash of a vehicle's front corner into another vehicle, a tree or a pole, on nine midsize SUVs; six scored marginal or poor. Only the 2014 Chevrolet Equinox and GMC Terrain took home good ratings, earning them Top Safety Pick Plus status.

The GM twins join the redesigned-for-2014 Toyota Highlander, which was tested last year and also deemed a Top Safety Pick Plus. To qualify for the agency's highest award, a vehicle must earn a good or acceptable small overlap rating, good ratings in four other occupant protection tests and a rating of basic or higher for front crash prevention.

By Jennifer Geiger | April 7, 2014 | Comments (13)

$40,000 3-Row SUV Challenge: What the Judges Said

Chris Woodyard and Joe Bruzek

Here are our judges for this Challenge:

  • Joe Bruzek, Road Test Editor, Cars.com
  • Jennifer Geiger, Assistant Managing Editor, Cars.com
  • Kelsey Mays, Consumer Affairs Editor, Cars.com
  • Chris Woodyard, L.A. Bureau Chief, USA Today
  • Brian Robinson, Producer, "MotorWeek"
  • LadyAnn and Ed Sabalburo, a Southern California couple with a young daughter and a second child on the way; they own an Acura MDX currently and are thinking about moving up to a bigger SUV.

We set a maximum price of $40,000, including a destination charge, and a minimum EPA combined city/highway mileage rating of 19 mpg. There were eight SUVs that met our criteria:

By Patrick Olsen | April 6, 2014 | Comments (5)

Which 3-Row SUV Gets the Best Mileage?

$40,000 3-Row SUV Challenge Mileage Results

Squeezing fuel economy out of the three-row SUVs tested for Cars.com's $40,000 3-Row SUV Challenge is no easy task for automakers. Large people-and-cargo haulers capable of carrying eight and towing up to 5,000 pounds or more aren't really conducive for saving gas.

$40,000 3-Row SUV Challenge
Index | ResultsWhat the Judges Said

Efforts to raise fuel-economy numbers mean there are a variety of fuel-saving technologies in the seven SUVs we tested. Our mileage drive put these features — including efficient transmissions, cylinder deactivation, Eco modes, sleek aerodynamics and weight savings — to the test.

By Joe Bruzek | April 6, 2014 | Comments (3)

What's the Best 3-Row SUV for $40,000?

$40,000 3-Row SUV Challenge

Family-friendly SUVs are still a big business: There are plenty of kids to cart around, groceries and sports equipment for kids of all ages to carry.

$40,000 3-Row SUV Challenge
Index | What the Judges Said | Mileage Drive

We focused this Challenge on three-row SUVs that cost less than $40,000, including a destination charge, and achieved at least 19 mpg in EPA combined city/highway fuel-economy ratings. We picked the price based on Cars.com's listings for SUVs that came with the features we know are popular with families. After four days of testing by experts from Cars.com, USA Today, "MotorWeek" and a real-life, in-market family, here's how the results broke down:

By David Thomas | April 6, 2014 | Comments (18)

2014 Honda Pilot Photo Gallery

2014HondaPilot

The 2014 Honda Pilot finished sixth in our $40,000 3-Row SUV Challenge. "The Pilot remains a roomy option for passengers and cargo, but the overall package is becoming less appealing as it ages," said one of our judges. Check out our gallery below to inspect the Pilot's styling, interior and family-friendliness.

By David Thomas | April 6, 2014 | Comments (1)

2014 Honda Pilot: Car Seat Check

Three-across

Honda's largest vehicle is a true giant with loads of cargo space and three roomy rows with seating for eight passengers on second- and third-row benchs. The 2014 Honda Pilot excelled at our Car Seat Check thanks to its cavernous cabin and extra Latch anchors. It's one of the few SUVs that can comfortably fit three car seats across its second row.

How many car seats fit in the second row? Three

How many car seats fit in the third row? Two

More Car Seat Checks 

By Jennifer Geiger | March 14, 2014 | Comments (3)

2014 Honda Pilot Review

Pilot-side

Although the Honda Pilot is still one of the roomiest SUVs in the segment, it hasn't quite kept up with its competition, says Cars.com reviewer Kristin Varela. Passenger and cargo room are still impressive, but the Pilot falls behind the pack in terms of driving dynamics and road noise. Thankfully an update is coming soon, Varela says.

2014 Honda Pilot Review

Cars.com photo by Kristin Varela

By Jennifer Geiger | February 17, 2014 | Comments (2)

Which Cars Fit Three Car Seats?

2013-nissan-armada-3-car-seats
UPDATE 10/15/2013:
Parents are often searching for the automotive holy grail: a car that's not a minivan and can fit three child-safety seats across the backseat. It's a short list.

In the more than three years that Cars.com editors have been installing car seats into test vehicles, we've come across several vehicles that can hold three car seats across a backseat.

The newest vehicle to make our list is the 2014 Honda Odyssey. The minivan has loads of room and plenty of accessible Latch anchors.

As we come across more cars that fit three child-safety seats, we'll add to this list. For now, here are the cars from our Car Seat Checks that can fit three car seats in the second row:

By Jennifer Newman | October 15, 2013 | Comments (92)

Which SUVs Have Second- and Third-Row Bench Seats?

"Which SUVs have second- and third-row bench seats?"

Teresa P., Richmond, Ind.

By Rick Popely | September 22, 2013 | Comments (2)

Search Results

KickingTires Search Results for

Search Kicking Tires

KickingTires iPhone App
Ask.cars.com