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#127 of 149 Accessing 3rd row w/o moving car seats
Aug 29, 2007 (3:32 pm)
We have 2 children in car seats and want a mid-sized SUV or crossover that has a third row seat that can be accessed without having to move the car seats. We want to basically treat the car seats as permanent fixtures in the second row. Any recommendations? We are trying to avoid monster SUVs like the Expedition, etc., and of course the very un-hip minivans (please keep your opinions to yourself if you like minivans).
The best 3rd row seat arrangement we have seen to suit this purpose is in the old Land Rovers, where you could just walk around the back and step up through the back door by a hydraulic step. Those vehicles were a little too tall for us, however, and the second row doors didn't have much room to get kids in and out.
We are about to purchase a car (preferably used), so we need to know all the possible options in order to decide upon the one we like best. Therefore, your thoroughness in responding would be greatly appreciated.
#128 of 149 Re: Accessing 3rd row w/o moving car seats [whollytemple]
Aug 29, 2007 (5:47 pm)
The Chrysler Pacifica has 3 rows and seating for 6, the middle row of seats are fixed. The Ford Taurus X(formerly known as the Freestyle) and Mazda5 have similar arrangements.
All three of these are relatively cheap on the used market, with the Pacifica being the most plentiful.
#129 of 149 Re: Accessing 3rd row w/o moving car seats [guss]
Aug 29, 2007 (6:49 pm)
Those are good choices. The Ford and Chrysler should be pretty easy to find at a reasonable price.
Am biting my tongue on the minivan comment which is tough because they are the only class of vehicle where they almost all fit your criteria.
The Freestyle has the added bonus as a used vehicle - it's price should be lower because of the name change. Yeah, it's the same basic vehicle but the market does funny things to defunct names.
Aug 30, 2007 (10:20 am)
The new LR3s have third row access from either driver or passenger side. The outboard seats flip down and out of the way with two lever pulls.
You could put one child seat in one outboard 2nd row seat and one child seat in the center 2nd row seat.
Not sure what your price range is but you can find Land Rover certified LR3s with a third row in the low to mid 30 range now. They are thirsty trucks though even with the V6 which I don't recommend as it just doesn't have enough power.
I have never done this but I just checked and I think you could...
Since every seat in the LR3 goes up and down independently you could unbolt the center 2nd row seat and just pull out out of the vehicle. Then you can simply walk between the two outboard seats like they were captain's chairs.
#131 of 149 Re: Help! 7 passenger, 3 middle seats, under 25K??! [njmom91]
Sep 04, 2007 (7:49 pm)
The 2008 Dodge minivan has room for seven, with a bench middle seat that you can get with intergrated child seats built in.
#133 of 149 Re: Accessing 3rd row w/o moving car seats [whollytemple]
Oct 11, 2007 (7:53 pm)
I was wondering if you got any other answers to your question. My wife and I are looking for a similar feature. We have two young children, and we would like to be able to install two car seats in the second row, but be able to access the third row without having to remove the carseats.
The obvious solution is to get a car with captain's chairs in the second row so that someone can use the space between the chairs to access the third row. However, we would prefer to get something that had a second row bench seat. Also, many vehicles stick an annoying console in between the second row seats, which precludes this.
Another solution is to put one carseat in the center position and the other in the outboard position. However, putting two carseats next to each other isn't always feasible due to LATCH positions, etc. Also this assumes that each seatback of the second row can be folded independently.
Yet another solution is to find something that allows you to access the third row without folding the seatback of the middle seat. Either the second row can be moved forward enough to reach the third row, or by some other means.
A final solution, if all else fails, is to put one carseat in the second row and the other in the third row. This is a last resort since then we would lose the ability to fold down the third row for cargo space when we don't have more than one adult passenger.
Somebody mentioned Taurus X and Pacifica but the person said that the seat was fixed, which I assume means that the seatback has to fold in order to access the third row which is exactly the OPPOSITE of what I am looking for.
Land Rovers were mentioned as one option, but are there any others?
#134 of 149 Re: Accessing 3rd row w/o moving car seats [humblecoder]
Oct 11, 2007 (10:43 pm)
You can get the new Dodge/Chrysler minivan with a second row bench seat with at least one built in booster seat. It would also give you good access to the third row. Not sure if you can get it with two booster seats.
#135 of 149 Re: Accessing 3rd row w/o moving car seats [marine2]
Nov 04, 2007 (6:04 pm)
Thanks, marine2. I just wanted to give you some additional info about the new Chrysler minivan...
If you get the LX version, you can get the 2 passenger bench seat with two toddler carseats built-in. However, on the Touring and Limited versions, you cannot get that option. Instead you have an option to get two booster seats built into the second row captain's chairs. You only have this option, though, if you get the "Swivel N Go" seating configuration. Not sure if the Dodge has the same seating options, but my guess it that it would, since the two models are very similar. You are right, though, that having the built-in seats would make it a lot easier to access the third row. Even without them, the space between the captain's chairs allows access to the third row.
I also did look at the Buick Enclave's seating. With the captain's chairs, there is enough room for someone to squeeze between the seats and into the third row, but only if you don't have the center console. However, if you have a carseat in the captain's chair, you won't be able to fold down the seat, due to the way that the folding mechanism works. It has something called "Smart Slide" where the seat bottom angles up while the seat back angles down. It is hard to describe unless you see it, but suffice to say that with a carseat attached, you ain't moving the thing!
#136 of 149 Re: Accessing 3rd row w/o moving car seats [whollytemple]
Nov 17, 2007 (5:12 am)
Rented a Chevy Uplander recently while on vacation. This SUV/minivan has a different setup. It has full sized captains chairs up front. But it has 2 smaller, almost childsized captains chairs in the second row. The aisle therefore to access the third seat was wider than on any other vehicle I've encountered. Just to check it out I tried the second row captains chairs to see if an adult would be comfortable in these smaller sized seats, and I was comfortable.
Though it was not necessary for my older family, I thought that if my kids were young again, and I was fooling around with multiple car seats again, this would be a nice choice.