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Rx 330 With Two Small Children?


deb2
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I have an IS300 Sportcross and I love it. Meanwhile, my wife has fallen in love with the RX330. The problem is that we have two small children, an infant and a toddler. My wife knows that it would be more practical to get a minivan (Sienna Limited would be the way to go), but she would really prefer the RX330. We're thinking about an 05 or 06. Any thoughts on the practicality of this car for our family situation? Is it hard to get small kids in and out of the SUV? Can a third person or child sit in the middle if there are car seats on each side of the back row?

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I believe the RX series is simply too small to serve as primary transportation for a family of four or more. Take into consideration the "stuff" you'll be hauling around on a daily basis in addition to the headcount. By the time you realize what it takes to handle your sports equipment, baby/toddler gear, groceries, office equipment, pets, luggage, etc. etc. etc., you'll wish you had gone with something more practical for the purpose you're looking to fill.

We've had numerous SUVs in our household since 1985. The RX series is definitely the smallest we've owned and is my wife's current primary vehicle. 90% of the time now, she's the sole occupant and still finds it too small on occasion to haul everything she needs to carry with her depending on what she's doing and where she's going.

I refer to it as "her rolling shoebox" and drive it as little as I possibly can because at 6-foot-7, I'm way way way too tall to fit into that thing....

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When my daughter was thinking of a new vehicle, while expecting her second child, she took a look at the RX and similar sized SUVs. By the time she puts in her stroller and all the other baby paraphenalia, there isn't any room for groceries or other items. She wisely bought a minivan and made sure she got one with rear seats that fold into the floor. To see her come to my house for a single night, it makes you wonder how we got along without minivans.

To sum it up? I couldn't see an RX as the primary vehicle for any young family.

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Our 2004 RX330 has been the daily "Mom's Taxi" for a family of 5 (3 daughters) of which 2 are figure skaters so for 2 small ones it will be more than fine as the rear hatch works great for school backpacks, skating bags, field hockey gear, soccer gear, groceries, tennis gear, etc etc. The center arm rest folds away for the 5th passenger with no problem. It has 142,000 miles now so it is well tested and proven to be sporty/luxury enough for my wife and enough of an SUV for the kiddies as well.

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While it may be acceptable for young children, I will state that by the time you add strollers, diaper bags, and all the paraphenalia that toddlers and babies require, there isn't much room.

Notes from a Grandpa,

Gary

True Gary....but you missed ONE major point.....his wife fell in love with it! AND we know the old saying " If Momma ain't happy....aint nobody happy" :D So if he wants to pack a few items in while the kiddies are tots he will avoid trading the mini-van for an RX in 24-36 months after the wifey complains how much she hates driving a mini-van. JMHO ;) BTW, if she loves it she will make all the stuff she needs to fit. After all...she is the one who has to struggle....so I vote for the RX330......trust me on this one. You won't get the utility of the mini van....but you won't be sleeping on the couch either....make the dealer put it in your garage when she is not home with that big red ribbon tied around it so when she opens the door she see it. Then get a her a vanity plate and take her oput to dinner. You will be KING for a month!

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Make sure to get a rear camera because back visibility ain't so hot. Also, a removeable, washable seat cover for the rear seat--unless you like cleaning ketchup, mustard, fries, ice cream, drinks, crackers, cheerios, puke and !Removed! off nice leather. BTW, we have a 330, and IMO it drives like a small mini-van--restyled for women who don't want a mini-van, but without much cargo room. It's the best designed CUV out there so you can't fault her taste. Pretty, but not too practical for a family. The industry is starting to realize that what people really want is what used to be called a stationwagon. Wait for the Toyota Venza (essentially the Camry wagon, looks like a squashed down RX) this fall, or get an '07 Volvo V70/XC70. Or wait for an Accord wagon, probably next year.

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"...Or wait for an Accord wagon, probably next year"

A stationwagon?!?!? Sheesh, being stuck in a stationwagon is enough to make anyone want to 'puke and !Removed! all over nice leather'

Yes. A stationwagon. I've got a 20 year old Volvo 245 that's a lot more fun to drive, has a more comfortable driver's seat and handles a lot better than our '05 RX. Stationwagons (lower COG vehicles with good visibility, and lot's of cargo space) are coming back, but they're giving them different names.

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We had a Mazda MPV since the strollers wouldn't fit in my wife's Mercedes trunk. She VERY RELUCTANTLY traded the Benz for the MPV. the van was great. Practicality above all! And the Mazda was the sportiest of all Vans of its day (2002).

She traded the MPV for an 04 RX330 a year ago. My boys are now 4 and 8 so strollers are a thing of the past (wahoo!). I find the RX to be GREAT in terms of space. It's clearly smaller than the van in pure cargo capacity, but overall, the RX has MUCH bigger rear seat room for the kids than the van did. Yes, MORE room! And for those longer trips, I just throw my Thule box up top and instantly add 16cu ft of trunk space. That box, by the way, can fit strollers, pack n plays, and high chairs ALL AT ONE TIME. So for trips, it's great. But you don't want to be getting a stoller out of a roof box daily.

Now, that all being said, we are not happy with our RX because of how it drives. Electronic throttle and variable steering makes us both less than enthusiastic about the way it drives. It's really a shame too, because we find the size, looks, styling, etc, all great. And we got it used with the CPO 100k B2B warranty for a great price. Too bad we don't love it.

If you drive it, and love it, buy it. I would suggest borrowing it for the weekend or something from your dealer to make sure you really like driving it. maybe my wife and I both just like more of a driver's car than others do.

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"...Or wait for an Accord wagon, probably next year"

A stationwagon?!?!? Sheesh, being stuck in a stationwagon is enough to make anyone want to 'puke and !Removed! all over nice leather'

Yes. A stationwagon. I've got a 20 year old Volvo 245 that's a lot more fun to drive, has a more comfortable driver's seat and handles a lot better than our '05 RX. Stationwagons (lower COG vehicles with good visibility, and lot's of cargo space) are coming back, but they're giving them different names.

I should add that the old 3000 lb. 245 has more cargo space, a higher load capacity and a higher rooftop load capacity. And, since the rooftop is about 9" lower, can more safety and conveniently be loaded with a Yakima box, kayaks, skis, bikes, etc.. It also gets 25+ mpg on the road, has an engine good for 300K+ with standard maintainance, and a very strong transmission. I would buy a new 245 in a heartbeat. Unfortunately, the new V70/XC70 is not as much fun to drive or as bulletproof. The '07 Highlander looked promising, even with high COG, but it really wallowed on corners and I couldn't find any beefier sway bars.

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So I checked out the older 245's... and I test drove this one: http://cache.jalopnik.com/assets/resources...3/4x4_Volvo.jpg ...it didn't really seem to handle all that well ;-p~ ...so I decided to go with the Mercedes wagon: http://daddytypes.com/archive/4x4_mb_300td.jpg

No, no... I jest. I agree there are a lot of benefits to a stationwagon, but for me, I couldn't go to a stationwagon from a crossover. The ride height, the compactness, the visibility, and all with good road manners and smooth drivability will keep me with a crossover. AdamIsAdam beat me to the suggestion of a Yakima box for the top, which gives a person plenty of extra storage. An RX should be ample room for a family of four... hey, families have been living with 4 door sedans for years. If your living situation is one that you live far from your daily activities (such as work, soccer practice, the store, etc.) and you have to pack everything in your vehicle for your daily routine, then I can see a mini-van or a stationwagon, but if you don't need to carry everything with you at all times, the RX is great. For us, on those times when we have to load everybody and the dog into the car for a long trip somewhere, we just hook up the little utility trailer and load all the bags/extras/schtuff back in that. It gets it all out of the cabin and I don't even notice the trailer when towing it (it's just a little one).

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So I checked out the older 245's... and I test drove this one: http://cache.jalopnik.com/assets/resources...3/4x4_Volvo.jpg ...it didn't really seem to handle all that well ;-p~ ...so I decided to go with the Mercedes wagon: http://daddytypes.com/archive/4x4_mb_300td.jpg

No, no... I jest. I agree there are a lot of benefits to a stationwagon, but for me, I couldn't go to a stationwagon from a crossover. The ride height, the compactness, the visibility, and all with good road manners and smooth drivability will keep me with a crossover. AdamIsAdam beat me to the suggestion of a Yakima box for the top, which gives a person plenty of extra storage. An RX should be ample room for a family of four... hey, families have been living with 4 door sedans for years. If your living situation is one that you live far from your daily activities (such as work, soccer practice, the store, etc.) and you have to pack everything in your vehicle for your daily routine, then I can see a mini-van or a stationwagon, but if you don't need to carry everything with you at all times, the RX is great. For us, on those times when we have to load everybody and the dog into the car for a long trip somewhere, we just hook up the little utility trailer and load all the bags/extras/schtuff back in that. It gets it all out of the cabin and I don't even notice the trailer when towing it (it's just a little one).

You have to put IPD HD sway bars on the bricks, or they feel like boats. And they could use a few more horses (although fully loaded with boats and bikes I could pass cars on CO mountain passes). I really do like the Mercedes wagons, but the reliability factor is too low (though not nearly as bad as the CUV). I'm not a big fan of the ride height on the crossovers, and I find the visibility very lacking, but the creature comforts are nice. Still, it feels like a small, nicely sculpted mini-van. Side by side, the RX is much bigger than the Volvo, but we're about to head off for a week at the beach, and I'll have to take the old Volvo because the RX can't hold enough--boats, bikes, gear--roof rack included. A utility trailer sounds like a good solution for many, but it wouldn't work well for us.

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I'll have to take the old Volvo because the RX can't hold enough--boats, bikes, gear--roof rack included. A utility trailer sounds like a good solution for many, but it wouldn't work well for us.

But what about the stigma your children will have to endure when they're seen arriving in a 20 year old Volvo?? :D

Totally kidding there, my wife has a Passat wagon and it is by far more utilitarian than our RX (a fact she never misses an opportunity to point out), not to mention the Passat gets about 33 on the hwy while the RX struggles to get 23 these days.

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I'll have to take the old Volvo because the RX can't hold enough--boats, bikes, gear--roof rack included. A utility trailer sounds like a good solution for many, but it wouldn't work well for us.

But what about the stigma your children will have to endure when they're seen arriving in a 20 year old Volvo?? :D

Totally kidding there, my wife has a Passat wagon and it is by far more utilitarian than our RX (a fact she never misses an opportunity to point out), not to mention the Passat gets about 33 on the hwy while the RX struggles to get 23 these days.

Too late for that. I've been driving bricks for over 25 years and my 25 yr old son now drives a 245. Your wife has good taste. I like the size/looks of the Passat. I've never gotten over 27 mpg, but the only time I keep track is fully loaded, w/ roof rack, at 70 mph on trips.

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Now, that all being said, we are not happy with our RX because of how it drives. Electronic throttle and variable steering makes us both less than enthusiastic about the way it drives. It's really a shame too, because we find the size, looks, styling, etc, all great. And we got it used with the CPO 100k B2B warranty for a great price. Too bad we don't love it.

If you drive it, and love it, buy it. I would suggest borrowing it for the weekend or something from your dealer to make sure you really like driving it. maybe my wife and I both just like more of a driver's car than others do.

The RX330's do drive different and my wife noticed it right away. We have an AWD but it feels like FWD when I drive it. That said..she got used to it in short order and now it's the pass down car at 140k to the teenager as I bought the wife a new ES350 that she really likes. The ES still has some FWD steer and feel as I drive a Yukon but the RX did the crossover job it was intended to. We have had a Mazda MPV (total lemon traded at 21,000 miles) then 2 Chrysler T&C Mini Vans then several of the old style Dodge Durangos. Then the RX. My wife liked the way the Durangos drove best but by far the RX was the best way to transition out of an SUV into a car again without too much pain. As for station wagons...I offered to get her a BMW, Mercedes, Audi wagon....."absolutely not....station wagons are for old people" was the response.

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