Finding the Right SUV for a Twin Family

Joe Rawlinson by Joe Rawlinson - January 30, 2013

This question comes to us from Anthony. He says, “My wife and I are not going to get a minivan when the twins come. What SUV do you recommend that would be the best fit for a family plus anyone else who’s helping like Grandma or other helpers?”

Twins in Car Seat

SUV with Third Row Seat

I don’t have a recommendation for one particular SUV because those models change every year. However, I have a couple of principles that you need to keep in mind when you’re looking for transportation for your twins in a SUV. You definitely want to look for something that has a third row seat. This will give you room to expand your family or to accommodate Grandma or someone who wants to help with the twins.

Twins Seating Arrangements

Now, you especially need the third seat, of course, if you have more than just the twins, if you have children already. We put our twins in the middle row, so that my wife and I, or whoever is in the front row seats, could reach back and easily tend to them if necessary. With the twins in the middle seat, they were also easier to get in and out because they were right by the door.

We put our other boys in the very back seat because they were relatively more self-sufficient. They can jump out of their car seat once we reach back and unbuckle them from their harnesses.

Twin Godfather Shirt

Think through how you’re going to situate your twins, ideally being in the middle row so it’s easier to reach from the front. But then you also have room in the back in the third row seat for any additional family members that are going to be helping you with your twins.

This question was originally addressed on the Dad’s Guide to Twins Podcast episode 16: Twin Gender Surprise, Bottle Confusion, and Sleep Tips.

(RELATED: Love podcasts? Check out the entire Dad's Guide to Twins Podcast archive for additional twin tips and interviews with twin dads.)

Picture by Brian McGuirk

Further Reading

Dad's Guide to Raising Twins book
Don't forget to pick up a copy of the definitive guide to raising twins. "Dad's Guide to Raising Twins" was written for fathers of twins to help guide you through the first several years with twins. Click here to learn more about the book and get your copy.

9 thoughts on “Finding the Right SUV for a Twin Family”

  1. Hi Joe,

    This blog is great! So glad you started this for expecting fathers of twins.

    This post is helpful, but my question is a bit broader. My wife and I haven’t yet decided whether to get the SUV or mini-van, and curious if you see any upside or particular benefits of one versus the other? We are trying to optimize for cost, efficiency, and safety.


    • I think you can either get an SUV or mini-van based on equivalent cost or safety. The real question is how long do you plan to have this vehicle and how big do you plan to grow your family. If twins are it, and SUV will likely suffice. If you plan to have other children or be traveling with others, a mini-van is good. While some SUVs and Mini-Vans can carry the same amount of people, the sliding doors on the mini vans make them a lot easier to get in and out of the back seats.

  2. I have a decent sized car. I own a Nissan Altima. Just bought in November.
    Do I need a SUV? Is it worth the hassle of trading in my car?
    Just worried about expenses.

    • Bill,
      It really depends on how often you’ll expect to be driving the twins around. If your car is more of a secondary car for transporting them, you should be OK with the Altima. My wife drives a Minivan and I drive a sedan about the same size as an Altima. I rarely take the twins anywhere in my car unless I just have to. On the weekends or when we go anywhere as a family, we’ll just use the minivan instead.

      If you’re having to just rarely transport them or occasionally take to daycare, etc…you can certainly manage with an Altima. And if you find the need for more space, you can always trade out to something larger later.

  3. I was certainly like you when it came to a Minivan vs SUV. I said for so long I wouldn’t be that suburban dad that drove around in a soccer mom Minivan. However, when we started to shop and compare, we surprisingly passed on an SUV and went with an Odyssey and I haven’t regretted it since. The main factor was the remote sliding doors, cargo space, fold down seats, and fuel efficiency that the Minvans offered.

    The only SUVs that seemed to have enough seating and cargo space were Full Size SUVs like a Tahoe, Suburban, Yukon or Expedition, and those were usually $10,000 or more compared to a nice minivan. Plus, those are so high off the ground, that we worried about when the twins were older, having to constantly lift two 3-year olds every time we got in/out of the car. Plus not all of the third row seats folded down into the floor (which is something I love about the Odyssey).

    The midsize SUVs were nice but even with 3rd row seats, they cargo space was lacking. And when you have a double size stroller and double of most things, you’d be shocked how much room you’ll need, especially when going out of town/vacation.

    So my advice to you would be if you’re set on a SUV, go with a Full Size SUV with fold down 3rd row seats that go into the floor. However, my ULTIMATE advice would be to get a Minivan for the first few years and when they’re old enough to get themselves in and out of an SUV, switch out to that if you want. BUT, I can honestly say after owning a Minivan, that I really love the conveniences that they offer for the price for a family of twins.

    Best of Luck!

    • @Mike – we found similar challenges with price and features. I sure love the fold down seats of our minivan that allow me to turn it into a “truck” for trips to the home improvement store.

  4. We were in a tight spot – I bought a new Subaru exactly 6 weeks before I found out I was expecting our third well what we thought was our third child….lol six weeks after then SURPRISE twins! We kept my Subaru through the remainder of my pregnancy and about a month after I delivered after much hesitation my agreed to let me look. We bought an eight passenger Traverse. We are quite anti-minivan as well.

    The space is great. We have four children. 11, 8, and now one year old twins. The snap and go frame fit behind my back seat. We have the twins next to each other behind the drivers seat in the 60 split. This leave plenty of space for the 40 split to be up or down and let there be access to the back seat. There isn’t a ton of storage but we have a roof rack and are looking into a turtle and now we just travel light or we flip down the back seat at a 60 and have one of the big kids sit next to the twins and the other in the seat left up in the back.

    • @Carrie – Sounds like you’ve made it work! Too bad about the timing of your Subaru purchase and finding out about the twins. Thanks for sharing your family’s setup.


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