Car/MPV with 3 kids - LinuxGeek

Expecting a third child soon and that's forcing me to look at changing my car (Honda Accord 2.2). With a 6 years old, 4 years old and a new baby it'll be almost impossible to fit them all at the back. I've already tried all their seats and it didn't look good.

I'm looking at either getting a bigger car that would allow 3 child seats at the back properly or go for MPV. Would love to know from people's personal experiences of what option they took and why? Also please suggest what should I get? I was looking at VW Passat estate but it seems like middle seat is pretty small. Mazda5 was the other one I was looking at but Mazda diesels don't get good reviews it seems. VW Touran is another option I believe? My budget is around £8k and I drive around 10k miles/year including 40 miles to and from work.

Car/MPV with 3 kids - Sulphur Man

Honda FR-V. Best with the ultra-reliable 1.8 petrol and 5-spd automatic. Expect 30mpg in city driving, and 35mpg on a run. Ultra-reliable, which is a key priority when small children are in a car.

£8K will nab you a 58-09, probably in the top EX spec. Honda Approved used is still, just, allowed to sell ones that are less than 7 years old. Theres a few on now. They will all have h a Honda 1-year warranty, not that you're likely to call on it.

We've had ours, an 08-reg, since 2011. Absolutely flawless and so practical. Brilliant, brilliant car.

Car/MPV with 3 kids - Avant

The FR-V is a great choice if you can find one. They didn't sell as well as they deserved when they were on the market - maybe too expensive as Hondas often are.

Otherwise it'll be worth measuring your child seats with the Skoda Superb and Ford Mondeo estates, which are a bit wider than the Accord. Otherwise you'll need a 7-seater. The Ford S-Max has 7 seats and room for luggage, and again depending on your seats it may be wide enough for three in the middle row.

I think the S-Max is where I'd start my search if I were you; there should be plenty within your budget. You've no need for a diesel, but there may be more of these around (2.0 TDCI is the best), and with your commute you shouldn't have a problem with the DPF.

Edited by Avant on 20/02/2017 at 11:35

Car/MPV with 3 kids - daveyjp

I've seen a Renualt Scenic with three child seats across the back.

Be wary that, just like clutches and flywheels, a DPF is a consumable part and previous use will affect how long it has left before needing replacement.

Buy knowing this and it won't be a shock should it need a new DPF at some point.

Car/MPV with 3 kids - Falkirk Bairn

Expensive car seat gives 3 across in many cars.

Expensive YES but cheaper than buying new cars

Car/MPV with 3 kids - Bromptonaut

As ever a Berlingo or Partner wouls fit the bill admirably. Sliding doors makes managing kids much easier.

Car/MPV with 3 kids - S40 Man

Can one of the nippers ride up front?

Even if an adult has to ride in the back. You're right car seats can be wide, wider than an adult. 3 adults should fit in the back right?

A new baby is an expensive time, so if you put off car change cost that would be good.

Dealers vs trade in price is at least £1000 so you will always lose some value changing a car. Is the accord still a good runner?


Car/MPV with 3 kids - daveyK_UK

I know the Berlingo multispace and Peugeot Partner Tepee take 3 child seats across the back.

1.2 petrol pure tech is the best engine but you wont get one for £8k as the engine only came out in these vehicles last year. Be looking at £10k or over.

The 1.6 diesel are fine for the first 3-4 years but do go wrong, I would avoid if you spending £8k as that will only get you a 2-3 year old model.

The Fiat Doblo MPV 1.4 petrol takes 3 car seats across the back, and from memory you can pick up a bottom spec one brand new from Fiat coventry (cant remember the name of the dealer on car wow) for just over £9k which is an absolute bargain.

Should pick up a used one for less, the 1.4 petrol is fine with this car even under full load. The 1.6 diesel is problematic, the 2.0 diesel is suprsingly ok.

Edited by daveyK_UK on 20/02/2017 at 16:27

Car/MPV with 3 kids - LinuxGeek

Thanks for all the suggestions so far gents.

@James yes Accord is a a very good runner and has been running flawlessly for last 7 years. I can have older one at the front but still fitting baby seat, a stage 2 seat and an adult sitting at the back with them won't be comfy.

I think I'll avoid Fiats/Peugeots etc.. Had nighmarish Renault Megane and couple of Peugeots (306 and 106) in the past. It'll have to be German or Japanese.

Car/MPV with 3 kids - SLO76
With your budget and usage in mind I'd have a petrol Mazda 5 at the top of my list. Forget the diesels, in fact forget any modern DPF equipped diesel. There's just too much to go wrong and with your intention of longterm ownership you will suffer hugely costly issues with pretty much any diesel option.

The 1.8 or 2.0 Mazda 5 will touch 40mpg with a light foot on a run and has a very good reputation for reliability. The 1600 PSA diesel is a nightmare but the 2.0 is better but combine the far higher likelihood of costly problems compared with the petrol, the fact that it requires a timing belt change at 75k (the petrol is chain driven) the higher purchase price, and the fact that it will save you no more than £250-£300 a year in fuel with your mileage and it's simply not a sensible option.

The Honda FRV is a great car but rare. We have a MK IV CRV which has been an excellent big family hold-all but you'll need at least £11k to get a good petrol 2wd and the previous model is much heavier on fuel with standard 4wd. Still a good big car though.

Toyota Verso or Avensis estate are another two worthies again with a petrol engine as sadly even Toyota aren't immune to all the trouble modern diesels suffer from.

You'll notice the theme from me. Largely Japanese and petrol is best especially if you plan on keeping it longterm and must have reliability for family safety and convenience. Above all keep it simple. Forget anything with a DPF and I'd personally stick with normally aspirated tried and tested mechanicals.
Car/MPV with 3 kids - Fishermans Bend

I'm told you can't get three car seats across middle row of Mazda 5 but you can with a Corolla Verso.

Car/MPV with 3 kids - LinuxGeek

Does anyone know if its possible to have 3 seats at the back in Merc B Class?

Car/MPV with 3 kids - Sam49

I've got an S-Max - easily fits 3 big child seats across the middle, plus you have the extra row if you need to take extras. From 2011 on (60' reg) they all have ISOFIX across the middle row. For me, this was important.

I did huge amounts of research into the market before I bought mine. I also have an Avensis estate, which is big but there's not a chance of getting 3 modern child seats across the middle. Two with an adult in the middle is not comfortable. Even with bigger Mondeos and Superbs, I reckon it'd be a squeeze.

For what it's worth, here are my findings - I pretty much tried every one!:

VW Touran (2010-16) - would take 3 seats, only 2x ISOFIX, narrower centre seat, it was at the time when diesel-gate was on so all a bit uncertain.

Peugeot 5008/ Citroen Grand Picasso - 3x ISOFIX but narrower overall than S-MAX.

Renault Grand Scenic - 3x ISOFIX but slightly narrower centre seat, so you have to be careful with your child seat choice. Liked it more than I thought I would

Mazda 5 - I am a Japanese car fan but the seat layout really lets it down. Yes, it is a 6 seater but if you have 3 kids one person would have to go in the final row. The centre seat is useless. A real pity

Toyota Verso - Would take 3 seats, 2x ISOFIX and actually not that big when you consider all the stuff you need to cart about.

Kia Carens - Would take 3 seats, 2x ISOFIX - as above, a tad bigger perhaps

S-Max - 3x ISOFIX, plus bigger all round than the others. They are quite expensive but have been happy so far (interior not the most sturdy though). The owner reviews are generally positive. I've got a 2.0 TDCI, although a 1.6 Ecoboost would have been a good option (rare though). I do a lot of motorway driving and have petrol car for town stuff so not too worried about DPF at the moment.

Yes, I'm sure there's a bit of post-purchase rationalisation going on, but I was open minded about all the options. At the end of the day, with kids you want space, safety and comfort - the S-Max won on that score.

You could also look into Japanese imports - 2.4 autos usually, with the odd 3.0 V6. Things like Elgrand, Stepwagon, Emina. No shortage of space there!

Car/MPV with 3 kids - Happy Blue!

Second the S-Max suggestion. I had one for five years. It was a superb car, both as a family car and as a drivers car. Three children plus parents and luggage always fitted in and child seats were a doddle.

Car/MPV with 3 kids - RaineMan

I can sit three across the back of my X-Type without problem.

Car/MPV with 3 kids - notagoodname
Toyota Verso.

I've had one for the last 100k miles and it's been superb. There's enough space for three child seats across the middle row, or you can spread them out a bit more using one of the rear seats.

They dropped the 1.8 petrol in 2010; the 1.6 is ok but might struggle a bit on the motorway when fully laden. There's a 1.8 CVT - but it's a CVT. The diesels are ecomonical - just be aware of the potential issues.

They updated it in 2009 and again in 2013. At £8k you could get a decent example.

If, in time, space becomes tight get a roof box for longer trips.

I'm looking to replace ours now and having looked at everything a newer Verso is the front runner. They should have made another which was VW Sharan size.
Car/MPV with 3 kids - corax
They should have made another which was VW Sharan size.

They had the Avensis Verso and Previa. No doubt there is a modern version of these in Japan but not imported here.

Car/MPV with 3 kids - LinuxGeek

We've settled for Toyta Verso ideally 1.6 petrol. It'll mainly do local round town with odd long journey so I think petrol is the best choice.

Thanks everyone. You've all helped with your wisdom.


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