Suggest a car/van/SUV/tank for me, please!

So I was driving my son to the doctor’s office the other day in my 2011 Honda Accord. I was at a four way stop… waited my turn… and then began to make a left hand turn onto the intersecting road.

The woman at the stop sign to my right blew through the stop sign and came barreling at me in her big ass SUV. In the split second that I had to look at her, I noticed that she was fixated on her lap… clearly texting or FB’ing. Anyway, I gunned it straight to avoid her, and swerved in and out of the shoulder. She barely missed me.

Slow speed, no damage, but enough to get my heart going. Bitch never even looked up from her phone.

Anyway, we already have a 2013 Odyssey. My husband drives it. :slight_smile:

I have a soon to be two-year old son, and am expecting a daughter at the end of June. So we will be up to our neck in car seats for the foreseeable future. We also have three large dogs that we take everywhere. MPG is not a huge issue. We live in a small town, and my commute to work is approximately 1 mile. On any given day, I probably drive about 10 miles total. We will use the Odyssey for any car trips. The Accord is completely paid off, and we would use it as a trade-in.

So, recommend me a car/van/SUV/tank. I want something with a hefty amount of metal between my children and the moron drivers out there. I recognize that at a certain speed, any collision is bound to be fatal, regardless of the make and model. Nothing is perfect.

My priorities are:

  1. Good safety record

  2. Not so tall that I’d have to climb up to get the kids in their car seats. It will be a while before they climb up and strap themselves in… particularly my future daughter. (I’m 5’2", so I have no problem with the van, but I might in an SUV?)

What say you??

My first question is why include cars in your request for recommendations when that’s what you already have? Are you thinking maybe a wagon or hatchback? Those are good options but while giving you more cargo room, they may not add much more room in the back seat for the car seats. However, by the time baby #2 comes along the older child can be facing front which definitely helps with space. A wagon or hatch also won’t add much in the way of mass=safety like you’re looking for with an SUV.

Are the dogs going with you everywhere on a daily basis or are they going with you on trips where you’re going to be taking the van anyway? In other words, do both vehicles really need to be able to fit 2 adults, 2 car seats, and three dogs? If not, you might be able to get away with an entry-level crossover SUV like a RAV4, Rogue, Escape, etc… Otherwise you’ve probably shopped yourself into the next higher tier of SUV, like a Murano or Pilot.

As far as safety, Consumer Reports ($) and Edmunds (free) both have safety ratings, I think. You can also go to the IIHS website to see their crash ratings, including the new front overlap test or whatever it’s called.

Just keep what you’ve got. The Accord isn’t a small car and scores well on crash tests. The only thing that’s going to net you serious gains in crash survivability is a big SUV and they have safety issues of their own in terms of rollovers and just generally poorer handling.

Another Odyssey. If they aren’t the perfect family vehicle - without being unreachably tall, riding like a truck or having questionable safety - I don’t know what is.

2 small kids AND 3 large dogs at the same time? How long would the trips be with the whole clan packed up?
I’m assuming the smallest possible would be a minivan with the third row taken out. Even then you’d better hope all kids and mutts are going to behave. I think a full size SUV is worth looking into, something with a removable third row.
How large are your large mutts?

I guess you guys are right. I will not regularly be travelling with the kids and dogs. Long car trips are for the Odyssey anyway.

I actually agree with the second Odyssey suggestion. I was just hoping to get some anecdotes about “that awesome crossover SUV _____.” :slight_smile:

I do belong to consumer reports, so I will go start looking there.

Pick up a loaded used one. The nav, entertainment system and luxo bits basically come free. I bought our 2007 just over two years old for 5% under book, no adjustment for all the junk. Wouldn’t pay a dime for it new (or the $5-6000 they want), but it made the cross-country trip pretty comfy.

There are a number of foreign built choices, but if you want American Made, one vehicle immediately comes to mind…

[Spoiler] …The M2 Bradley Fighting Vehicle.

*The gas mileage isn’t the best, but you take short trips.
*The infantry carrying capacity is more than what you need.
*It has been tested under harsher conditions than you can expect to encounter.
*On-Board electronic screens can be modified to play DVDs for cargo passengers.
*It can actually get you home along an Atlanta highway even when Og Forbid it snows.
*It will get the attention of most inattentive SUV drivers.
*Inattentive SUV drivers will bounce off.

And As An Added Bonus Feature

A Fully Articulating Turret with 25mm Cannon!!! (Void where prohibited by law)

Its a turret and a cannon that is so precise, you can use it to tap on the window of the car next to you!!!

“Oh, Mr. Pweeee-us! Pwease don’t cut me off in this twaffic line. Pwease? Because there really IS a faster way to Bwooklyn than the Midtown Tunnel. But you Won’t Wiiiiiiike It…!”


Agreed, a well build medium size car (and the Accord is a medium to large car) will do better in most crash scenarios than a large SUV.

Are you looking for significantly larger because you need/want more space or because of the safety factor?

I’d still look into a Chevy surburban as a possible choice. The height allows me to see further down the road in traffic and the height would help in an accident. It also has oodles of room when you need it.

Of course it being higher wouldn’t help with getting the kids in and out but good running boards would go a long way in helping you.

And parking might be a pain until you get used to it…

I’ve always wanted an SdKfz 251

Yukon or Suburban. They’re the workhorses of suburbia. If you want survivability and room for dogs, they’re the answer. The Toyota Sequoia or Nissan Armada are similar.

Last year, when my kids wanted to go to the movies during Christmas break, I had them take my Yukon instead of Jr.'s Blazer. People are crazy out there, I told them. Sure enough, on the way home…Whack. He was doing 35, the Cobalt was going at least that as she ran her red light. She bounced off, totaled, and my kids are fine.

The wreck did damage something in the electrical system that we could never solve. It broke or grounded something that caused an intermittent drain on the battery, so it would be dead every 2-9 days, so I sold it and got a new one.

I want other vehicles to bounce off should we collide. I’m far more concerned about my family’s safety than that of someone who runs red lights or stop signs.

Safety. That’s all. Thanks Ducati. That’s what I’m looking for!


I would recommend looking at Subaru. The Crosstrek in particular. It is a newer model, but the other Subarus have a long-time reputation for outstanding safety.

ETA or the Honda Pilot. I had an '06 pilot and except for the gas mileage, god I loved that thing.

I don’t have a suggestion for a vehicle, but if you’re going to be putting big dogs into an SUV and those dogs are expected to live past 8 or so, I highly highly recommend this ramp. I love it more than anything I’ve ever bought for my dog!

In terms of accident avoidance, Consumer reports lists the Suburban and Yukon as average safety among SUVs. Neither car is on the Institute for Highway Safety’s list of safest cars. IIHS bases their ratings on crash tests.

Fifteen safest and most dangerous SUVs:

Hybrids safer for occupants, more dangerous for pedestrians (probably because they are quieter):

SUVs have higher rollover risk. That risk used to make them more dangerous than ordinary cars (ironic!) but improved engineering has since evened the odds.

The Crosstrek is just a lifted version of the Impreza, which is Subaru’s small car. The Impreza and Crosstrek do outstanding on crash tests for their size, but they’d probably be a step down from the bigger Accord. The Legacy or Outback are about the same size and do somewhat better safety-wise. IMHO, the expense of trading in for one wouldn’t be worth the slight safety improvement, but sounds like the OP might not agree.

A word on safety ratings though-- the IIHS tests are generally rated on a crash with an equivalent-sized vehicle, so it’s a lot easier for a smaller car to do well than a big one and all things being equal a bigger vehicle will generally do better in a crash than a small one.

It’s not really so much improved engineering as that most SUVs these days are really glorified station wagons instead of legitimate truck based off-road capable vehicles. Plus, again, it’s a lot easier for a smaller car-based SUV like a CRV or RAV4 to do well on a crash test (against a lighter vehicle) than it is for a big truck-based one like a Suburban or Tahoe.