12 answers

About to Purchase SUV - Looking for Feedback on Brands


We are thinking of purchasing an SUV. We have never owned one. We would like to buy something safe and that can seat up to 7. WE often take road trips and have 2 small children. Any feedback would be great. We are considering the BMW X5 (with 3rd row) and the Volvo XC 90.


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I just love my 2008 XC90 and have no complaints about it. I did not opt for the third row seat. I had thought about the BMW X5 but it requires premium fuel.

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I would suggest any SUV from the TOYOTA line. Dependable, sturdy and safe!

Hi R., I don't know anything about the BWM or Volvo. I do however love my Chevrolet Suburban. I have had one since my kids were 1 and 3. They are know 10 and 8. I couldn't imagine not having it. Our first one had two bench seats in the back. The one we have now has the bench seat in the back and captains chairs in the second row. I love our second one. Their is so much room. It is perfect for when grandparents come to visit. Everyone has plenty of space. You might think it is larger than what you want, but it drives so nice. The size has never been a problem. I love it. I would recommend checking it out. Good luck!

Good morning R.! I saw your question and had to respond. I actually worked for Volvo before having my now 2 year old son. I leased the XC90 and LOVED it!! It is so easy to drive and to park. It is built on a car platform and not a truck chassis, so it has a nice comfortable ride. It is also the perfect height for getting kids in and out of their car seats! My best friend just got an XC90 a few months ago and she says it is the "best car she's ever had". She has a little girl that is almost two and is pregnant with baby # 2 that is due today :)

I will never drive anything but Volvo because I know that they put everything into and theur main focus is safety. With kids, that is really all I truly care about. In May, my lease ended on my Volvo XC90, so I started a lease on a Volvo XC60. The XC60 is smaller and only available as a 5 seater, so it is probably not a good option for you. A week after I got the new car, I was in a really bad accident on a busy highway that another careless driver caused. My Volvo saved my life and my 2 year old's life too. While I worked at Volvo I constantly heard stories from customers who had similar stories, Volvo even has a "Volvo saved my life" club!

BMW's are great cars too, don't get me wrong, but their main focus is more on driving performance and handling...Volvo's is safety.

My husband's dad owns a Volvo dealership here in the Philly area....Stillman Volvo. If you need any assistance at all just let me know and I would be happy to answer any questions that you have and if you need it, I can set you up with someone at the dealership that can work up a great deal for you!

Best wishes to you R.!

I am not sure about the cars you are looking at but i think mini vans would seat more than an suv. I definantly think that a mini van would give you a lot more room than a regular car. A mini van is also better for moving items and when you go on trips. My mini van does not have it but the stow and go is nice to have. I know the dodge caravan offers this. Both the brands of car that you mentioned definantly are good cars and should last you a long while.
good luck.

I do not personally own a Volvo XC 90, but my neighbor does and she likes it.

I have a Honda Pilot which seats 8 that I have owned for 5 years with no problems. Previously I owned a mini-van which I hated. I disagree that there is more room in a mini-van. I have much more versatility in my Pilot. My husband is tall (6'5) so this was a concern for us. My son (now 17) is 6'3" so I needed something that would fit tall teens as well. We have taken many road trips including vacations with 4 teens (we brought friends); and used a cartop carrier. I have been very pleased.

Hi R.,

I have an 07 Volvo XC90 and I love it! It drives super nice, and has top ratings for safety. The built in booster seat and DVD player are great for the kids. I have NEVER had a bad experience with Volvo, it has always been top notch customer service, I would highly reccomend Volvo over BMW. I also own a Mini Cooper, which is made by BMW. The car itself is ok, but I had the WORST customer service with BMW. From the location I bought it from AND from where I got it serviced. I really expected more from BMW and was completely let down. My husband and I will Never buy a BMW again.
Hope this helps you a little bit, if you have any questions about Volvo, I'd be happy to answer. We went to Bobby Rahal in Wexford to have ours serviced, we bought ours in Germany(we are military), but the sales people there were great.

Hi R.,

We just bought a Chevy Traverse last month and love it! The base model seats 8, but some of the fancier versions seat 7. It carries as much, if not more, than a minivan and is smaller than a Suburban. My hubby is 6'4" and I'm 5'11", and our 4-year old son already needs lots of leg room in his car seat, so we were extremely picky about the vehicle size. Our daughter is 8 months old, so we still haul a large Graco stroller w/us. We did not look at either of the 2 models you mentioned; however, the Traverse was the only one that had enough cargo space w/the 3rd row seat up to lay the stroller flat and close the rear door (we compared Toyota Highlander, Nissan Pathfinder, and Honda Pilot). The 3rd seat has more leg room than the others as well. The rear seats all have their own air vents and there is a separate climate control for the rear of the vehicle, which can be turned off if nobody is in the 2nd and 3rd row seats. Cup holders at every seat (though they are small). It's an easy vehicle to drive, handles like a car, and is extremely comfortable.

I was picky about safety, and this car had 5-star safety ratings across the board. We haven't driven more than an hour away from home yet, but it has lots of amenities available, even in the base model, to make a road trip comfortable. The gas mileage isn't great (Chevy claims 23 mpg), but we love it. It is big enough for the kids to grow into.

The only 2 things I don't like are the doors automatically unlock when you put the car in park (a new feature on all Chevy cars), but the rear doors have child locks, and the volume on the radio adjusts to your speed (gets louder when you speed up, gets quieter when you slow down).

If you have not gone to www.edmunds.com, you may want to check it out. They have customer reviews as well as info about comfort, safety ratings, etc. Good luck choosing! Feel free to contact me w/any ?'s.


We drive the Ford (Freestyle) Taurus X. I'm not sure what they call it now.

We love it! It looks sort of like a station wagon, sort of like a minivan... it is low to the ground (no tip over concerns), all wheel drive, seats 6 or 7, has plenty of room, etc.

We refuse to buy a minivan - just don't like them... hehe. So this was a good option for us! We have 2 carseats in our vehicle as well.

This certainly doesn't compete with the BMW or Volvo brand, as far as cool features or looks though - but those are far out of our price range.

Our Ford Explorer has an optional 3rd row seat....you could just get an Explorer and nail $25K to the hood! :-)
(Couldn't resist!)

I just love my 2008 XC90 and have no complaints about it. I did not opt for the third row seat. I had thought about the BMW X5 but it requires premium fuel.

Acura MDX...love it ours have 100K miles on it and still drives great-no issues. The BMW and Vovlvo did not get great write ups in consumer reports.

Hi R.,

My husband and I looked at the BMW X5 . I currently own a BMX 330 XI , which I am totally in love with. But its small and I wanted to trade up for something larger. We used to own a Chevy Tahoe and it was great for carting the kids and dogs everywhere. But since I am in love with the BMW thought we would go that route.

Even with the 3rd row the X5 is pretty small. My kids are 11 and 5 and my 11 yo wouldnot be comfortable in that 3rd row on a longer trip. Its more like jump seats than actually SUV seats if you know what I mean.

I love the handling and we have had nothing but good service from our local BMW dealer. But I just don't think size wise the X5 will cut it for us. We are now looking at a Buick Enclave or GMC Yukon Denali.

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