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Premium family SUV

The Right Car for Me:

This member has purchased a 2014 Acura MDX.

sighet

We're trying to decide on a premium family SUV with a few must-have options: comfortable second row that accomodates two child seats and one adult; usable third row for the occasional bigger crowd; AWD/4WD; no diesel.

Ideally, we'd prefer a hybrid or electric car, and would like to stay under $60K.

Our main choices so far:

  1. Acura MDX - we already have a TSX and are very happy with it; nice, adjustable second row creates useful legroom in third row.
  2. Infinity QX60 Hybrid - rare hybrid in this category, but we don't know anything about Infinity reliability.
  3. Audi Q7 - best handling.

Any advice on these specific options, or others we missed that satisfy our requirements? Thanks!

Priorities: Rear seat room & comfort / Reliability & durability

Preferred Bodystyle(s): SUV

Car Needs: Long trips / Errands about town / Family transporter / Daily commuter

Need minimum of 7 seats

Will consider new cars only

Maximum price: US $ 60000

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Response from wcpowell12

8:30 am May 22, 2014

The three you mention are certainly capable of your needs, although I think you will find the MDX has quite a bit smaller interior. One more vehicle I will throw on the "wall of consideration" is the Nissan Armada. It is the sister to the Infinity and I do not believe they offer a hybrid, but as my son says about his fully loaded one, "There is nothing like taking a trip in the comfort of your living room."

Do a lot of research on the large SUV hybrids. The manufacturers felt a push to offer them, and a few models, after only 1 or 2 years, have already been dropped from production. They are not as efficient as intended.

A fully loaded Armada will be as comfortable and luxurious as the QX60 but at a significantly less cost. Very reliable (my son's has 40k miles and the only warranty issue has been the gas struts on the rear tailgate) and you will have plenty of $$ left in your pocket for those trips to Disneyland.

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Nissan Armada

Response from sighet

1:12 pm May 22, 2014

Thanks, I'll take a look at Nissan too. The Armada gets really poor MPG, but I see there is a hybrid Pathfinder that seats 7, it's probably the cheaper version of the Infinity QX60.

We don't have out hearts set on premium cars, but after 4 years with the TSX we're more inclined to pick something nicer, even if its more expensive. You're right that other cars are just as nicely equipped, we'll definitely take a look at Nissan.

I had high hopes for the Toyota Highlander Hybrid, but it only has captain seats in the second row and we need to seat 3 there.

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Response from mkaresh

7:58 am May 25, 2014

The Nissan Pathfinder, Nissan Armada, and Infiniti JX/QX60 have all had reliability issues. Also, the Armada is an ancient design at this point. With the first two, the hybrid isn't much more fuel efficient than the regular gas engine.

If the Acura MDX has enough space for your needs, that's the way I'd go. Very good handling and fuel efficiency for a three-row crossover. Its first-year reliability score isn't great, but if history is any guide Honda will have sorted out the initial bugs. I'd just try to buy one made later in the model year, or even a 2015.

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Acura MDX

Response from sighet

3:38 pm May 25, 2014

Right, the most recent Pathfinder numbers don't look too good. I couldn't find any recent reliability data on Infinity.
The MDX might just be large enough for us, I have to take a close look at that second row, see if it fits two regular-sized child seats (side and middle) and an adult.

Thanks!

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Response from mkaresh

9:36 am May 26, 2014

The second row should be fine. The third row is where the MDX can get too tight.

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Response from Member2642

5:15 pm May 28, 2014

Have you test driven a Buick Enclave? It is very reliable and has comfortable seating for 7. Also look at a Dodge Durango (Citadel). The infotainment system is the best and easiest to use among all SUVs. Another American make to consider is Lincoln MKT. Its based on flex and offers a good ecoboost v6, plenty of space, and a panaromic moonroof.



If you don't like american cars, take a very good look at the Lexus GX. You may be able to find one well within your budget nicely equipped (they have very good incentives).

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Lexus GX
Buick Enclave
Dodge Durango

Response from sighet

1:30 am May 31, 2014

I admit I haven't looked at American cars at all, they have a long record of trailing behind Asian and European cars in reliability and features. Toyota also had some major recalls in the past few years. We're not in a hurry, so I should take a look at all of these since things have probably changed. Thanks!

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Response from sighet

2:07 pm June 30, 2014

Update: we ended up with a 2014 Acura MDX (Technology Package), and it's working out really well -- the second row can comfortably seat one adult in addition to the two child seats. We also checked out a few other cars in person: Infinity QX 60 (noticeably worse driving experience, but very nice camera setup) and Audi Q7 (really dated by now, and doesn't look like they'll launch the new model this year). We researched the other suggestions online, but reliability was the main reason we ended up with an Acura.

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Acura MDX
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