Good used car w/AWD that fits 2 car seats in back plus an actual person?


we are moving to vermont. planned to get a used Forester. many folks around here in oregon have told us back seat is super narrow. with our 2 kids back there it would be unreasonable to try to fit anyone else. so, not ideal.

…anyone have any advice? was thinking of buying something 2002-2006ish. would be nice to avoid an SUV. not sure if any minivans are great in snow? any ohther awd wagons that migtht be better in terms of space?

much thanks!


My girlfriend has a 2007 Forester. With two car seats in the rear there would be no room for a third person.

My Legacy wagon has a wider rear seat than her Forester, but not by much.

I believe the Toyota Sienna is available with AWD. The sliding doors of a mini-van make loading and unloading very easy.

Friends of mine have a Honda Pilot, and while I’m not really an SUV fan I have to admit the Pilot is a very nice vehicle, and I know it will fit three across the rear seat.

If you need to carry more than two adults and two children in car seats, you will probably be looking at a minivan, realistically. Either that or an SUV with three rows of seats. A minivan will do quite well in the snow, especially if you get a set of snow tires for it (preferably on separate steel rims, for easy changeover). You should probably rethink how much you need AWD (very few people really need it, even in Vermont). AWD adds much complexity to a vehicle, making repairs more expensive, and often more common with the extra AWD components. Also, as far as the AWD Sienna goes, keep in mind that with the AWD option, you also get no spare tire and run-flat tires, which do not wear very well and are very expensive to replace. With other AWD vehicles, frequent tire rotations and replacing tires as a set of four are absolute must-dos to keep the AWD system alive.

Also take a look at the AWD Honda Element.

I would recommend you not combine awd with a minivan. Larger car based SUVs are your answer and Pilot, Outlook etc. are all options. Minivans with awd have too many compromises. Modern car based SUVs are just raised wagons designed to fill needs like yours.

Deciding on awd has more to do with the terrain and snow and not snow alone. Lot’s of hills implies awd. Flat even with lots of snow, anything with good tires works.

“I would recommend you not combine awd with a minivan.”

I agree. The only choice is the Sienna. Not that it’s a bad minivan, but there is only one choice.

I have a 2006 Toyota Matrix AWD, depending on which brand of carseats you have this car may work out for ya. Heard of that blizzard that hit Chicago a couple of days ago? Well, I made it to work that morning. This car is just amazing on the snow. The interior room, mileage and reliability don’t hurt either.

There really is no such animal as a big Subaru. Even the Tribecca would be hard pressed to fit 2 car seats and get a full sized person in the seat too.

Get a van (Odyssey, Sienna, Quest, Grand Caravan) and put winter tires on all 4 wheels. You can get around Vermont just fine without AWD or 4WD. Look for a vehicle to meet your size requirements, you don’t need to just consider AWD. There are lots of FWD and RWD vehicles in Vermont that make it to work, school, and the grocery store just fine.

Vermont has lots of snow plows, and they know how to keep the roads passable.

You could just move to Vermont with whatever you now have and then get a new car after you see what the locals drive. Unless you are an emergency worker, 4WD is not needed. It the roads are impassible, just stay home.