Is there a car or small crossover with a proper middle seat in the second row?

Bmachine

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We may soon be looking for a new daily commuter for my wife. We now live in the country where roads in the winter can be very damaged and/or flooded so ideally it would be something a little higher than a standard car, maybe a small crossover like a Honda CRV. We do not want a full SUV or anything like that.

The challenge is that, although it will be used by one or two people 90% of the time, we would like to occasionally be able to seat 5 tall adults comfortably. And most of the cars/crossovers that pretend to be able to seat 5 have a nasty hump in that middle seat in the second row, both on the bottom and on the back of the seat which makes you feel lifted up and forward. It makes you wonder why they bother to put a seatbelt there at all since they are so uncomfortable for anything more than a 10 mile trip.

Since this is just a commuter vehicle, we would prefer a reliable Japanese one. Apart from BMWs we have been using Hondas exclusively forever and have always been very pleased with them. We could consider European if there is one at reasonable price and with a very good warranty.

Any ideas?

Thank you.
 

dave v. in nc

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I have been a fan of AWD Volvo wagons for a long time (formerly had a V70R AWD). I'm only a moderate fan of my 2011 cross country, as its boring, and a little numbing; however I have had zero problems. Bought it as a dependable work vehicle, and its been very good. Our daughter bought a 2014 Volvo xc90 (?) suv. She couldn't be happier. None seat five for more than twenty minutes, if they are full-sized humans. Honestly, if you need to seat five for a long trip, I don't know that there is such an animal; without a third row, which I despise. Other daughter bought a Toyota Venza. Looks bigger than the Volvos, but really isn't. Then you get into car chassis versus truck chassis...Volvos and Hondas will, I think alway ride better, because they are based on car geometry...I may be wrong, but I think that Toyota and Nissan are based on truck chassis. I know nada about the Koreans. And not much about 'Merkan iron. Wife has a 2013 Mercedes GLK, which is really tight, comfy, and versitile, but small. Others maybe can speak to their larger vechicles, which I hear good things about for your ergonomic needs, but they are really spendy for us. Front seats are usually always good in most everything; second row, not so much. Ever been in the back seat of a 3-series BMW? Please let us know what you do do...sorry so long-winded, but you did ask...
 

vince

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Last summer we came very close to buying a Volkswagen Alltrack. Great car for the money, the SEL with everything tops out at around 35K plus they were offering a great warranty (7 years). We ended up going in completely different direction and bought a new Jeep Wrangler Sahara. We both wanted a Wrangler when we were in our twenties. The kids are out of the house and we just went for it and bought the more irresponsible option. The Alltrack was probably a better move but my wife loves her Jeep!


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Bmachine

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Thanks very much for all the suggestions guys, really appreciate it.
I'm not a fan of korean cars to be honest.
I do think the Subaru option should be considered, at least on paper. Their ultra utilitarian approach to design does not do much for me but, apart from that and the fact that the few I drove had really poor gas mileage, they really would be ideal vehicles for our situation.
I also like Volvo idea. Although as with most Euro cars, the reliability will have to be watched carefully. And we rented a V70 wagon a couple of years ago while doing a Euro trip. And although I loved driving it, anyone who had to sit in the middle rear seat hated it.
It's a little puzzling to me why so many manufacturer claim seating for 5 while obviously none of them ever spent any time on that middle seat. It would be so easy so simply carve it a little like any other normal seat, albeit narrower, even if the back would then be able to fold down to form an arm rest when only 4 are in the car. As it stands now, that middle seat in most cars is about as useful as the whole rear seating area in a coupe.
Vince, that VW Alltrack looks pretty interesting. I'll have to go and check it out in person.
Budget is ... as low as possible, definitely $30k max. Most likely a "previously owned" that still has some warranty unless there are some killer incentives to be had on a new one.
 
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teahead

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5 tall adults?

Hmm...like 5 6-footers?

You looking for NEW or USED?

I'm thinking a Durango or a Honda Pilot or at least a Highlander.

Lots to choose from. If you got big bux, ya, an XC90 or X5.
 

Markos

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I’ve had a Subaru for 10 years. I’ve been in impressed for the most part. It is absolutely unstoppable in the snow. Their interiors are still unrefined IMO, and they lag in interior tech. But most importantly, their boxer engine has been plagued with issues for over two decades now.

Other than being ugly, ask yourself why you don’t like Korean cars. If it is perceived quality, do a deep dive to compare recalls, known issues, and warranty duration against a Subaru. I don’t really like Korean cars either, but it is mostly for aesthetic and ergonomic reasons.
 

WALTER

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Buy a truck. You’ll wonder why you didn’t get one sooner. I was never a truck guy until recently when I noticed that I was always borrowing my father-in-law’s. If you live in the country and are concerned about the roads you won’t do better than a truck; crew cab seats five easily; the ride on modern trucks is not too bad; and, fuel consumption is not crazy either if you opt for six cylinder, turbo motors. I just bought a Ram 1500 and love it.
 
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