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acelxix
Total posts: 2205
Ok, so we're planning the 2nd baby, and want to upgrade our ride so we can potentially take more passengers (so third row), plus have more utility for hauling kayaks and the like (roof rack).  We're looking to get a crossover or SUV, but want the best gas mileage and safety rating.

We've done some research so far, and narrowed down the list, but wanted your feedback.  Right now our first choice is the Mitsubishi Outlander (up to 25 city/30 highway). There's a couple of used 2017 in the $20k range, which would be great. I would say $30k is our upper end.  My 2007 Camry is valued at about $3500, so that'll help some.

Any suggestions?  Anyone have any experience with Mitsubishi?
Shawn
Total posts: 1229
No experience with Mitsubishi, but both sets of inlaws have the Mazda CX-5 and really like it. 
mwinter
Total posts: 4144
(Updated 8/7/2018 3:20 PM)
Let me start with this disclaimer -- your priorities are yours, and I'm not trying to shit on your choices of narrowing down to a smallish SUV.

Our experience with a crossover/SUV with a "third row" (Dodge Journey) has been this: we bought the car thinking it'll be great when we have 2 kids and need to bring all the people to all the places. However, in practice the third row is very cramped and is only functional for short drives or transporting dogs :( We also bought it specifically because at the time Rachel didn't want to be a mom-in-a-minivan (and to be honest, I didn't want to be a dad-in-a-minivan). A quick Googling has informed me that the Outlander's third row has 5 more inches of legroom than that of the Journey, so maybe your experience with that model will be better than ours.

I've never had a Mitsu, so I'm no help there. My only solid advice is to spend more than 2 minutes in the third row on a test drive to really understand if it'll be as useful as it seems.
Drew
Total posts: 4654
I second that the third row seat in a crossover is the first thing you find limitations for, I mean if there's two car seats that means it's difficult to tilt the seat to get back there, source: my highlander and my bros dodge journey
Drew
Total posts: 4654
Also I hope the announcement for the second baby is as dramatic as the first
acelxix
Total posts: 2205
(Updated 8/7/2018 7:07 PM)
Yeah, we thought about the access issue.  We don't have extra passengers that often, but when we have family in town, it would be nice to take one vehicle.  When we do though, we often drive to my aunt's house, which is an hour away, go out to dinner, then back. So that'll be a lot of driving in a fairly cramped space.  The one thing I saw about it on a yt review was that the 3rd row seat angles down a bit, so you're basically in a fetal position.  But the dude was 6'+, and managed to sit without his knees touching the 2nd row, which is impressive.  

One setup we're contemplating is putting Bryn's front-facing car seat/booster (by the time we buy the car in mid to late 2019) in the 3rd row, and the little on in the middle row.  That'll allow us the ability to recline the other side to get access to the back row.  When we don't have visitors, we could just move Bryn back to the 2nd row, and have the 3rd row down for extra storage space.

The minivan stigma is there, but we're open to buying one.  We've included it in our search parameters, but liked the Outlander as our first choice so far.  

Aside from announcing twins or more for the next pregnancy, there's no way we're going to top the first one, haha. :)

What kind of gas mileage do you guys get on the highlander and journey, both models we've looked at.  I can check the ratings online, but I mean your actual experience, which tends to be a little lower than the listed rating.
ezmac102
Total posts: 917
This is probably not useful, but...

my only real experience with a 3 row suv is my parents Ford Explorer. The third row is a pain to access on a regular basis but does fine for occasional use. It feels roomy enough for me. And with the third row down it’s really a lot of storage space. 

Subaru is coming out (or recently came out) with a 3 row suv. The interior set up looks similar to a mini van. You can choose 7 or 8 seater. The 7 seater has two captains chairs in the middle row, like a van, leaving easy access to the back. We’ve really liked our Subaru Outback so when we move beyond 2 kids I’ll definitely be looking into it. 
Drew
Total posts: 4654
2015 V6 highlander does about 19/23 MPG IRL
Drew
Total posts: 4654
If I'm really rolling good on a road trip or something I can push it to 25 mpg