So my family is already 5 deep (2 kids and a 70lb dog) and we’re debating having another. As much as I love my Land Cruiser, we can’t even fit the two kids and dog comfortably into the back seat, which is surprisingly tight. So I’ve been debating trading it in or buying a full size SUV than can comfortably seat 6 and carry all our stuff.

Illustration for article titled Debating a Full-Size SUV

Requirements: Seats 5-6, with room for cargo. 4wd and transfer case, ideally with an off-road package including skid plates and what not. I do like to explore forest roads, which i realize will be tougher in something this size. Gets 20+ MPG highway, which is a 50% improvement over what i currently get. I commute 50 miles daily, and the LCs mileage hurts. I’d love to have captains chairs in the second row for ease of getting to the third. My dog also likes to lay between them in our van. I’d love to keep the purchase price under $35k.


Current Vehicles: 2004 Toyota Land Cruiser, with 215k miles. All maintenance is up to date, but I’ll probably need new tires in the next year. My wife has a 2013 Sienna AWD that hauls everyone fine, but can be sketchy in snowstorms to/from my in-laws cabin. I also can’t explore the woods in it.

While I do not relish DDing something as big as a Suburban, its no bigger than the full-size pickups that are everywhere here. I strongly debated a 2018+ Ram 1500, since there should be enough rear seat leg room, so let my dog lay on the floor, but I’m thinking I’ll get a lot more use out of a third row than a truck bed.

Leading Contenders:

2015-2018 Tahoe or Suburban with Z71 package.


This one is pretty much perfect. It even already has a leveling kit and the front air dam deleted. Unfortuately, its in Texas. This one is closer, but also 20% more


On the Tahoe front, this one popped up. Downside is that is costs just as much as the Suburban, and the third row is kids only, per reviews I’ve read. It is 20" shorter than a Suburban, while still being a foot longer than my LC.


2018+ Ford Expedition with FX4 package

I really like the look, power, and options of the newest generation of Expedition, but as they’re still very new, $45k is about as cheap as they go, and that’s for the normal size one. Expedition Maxs are roomier, but currently bottom out at $50k. I presume if I wait a year, a lot more will come off lease and the price will drop. We got a prior gen Expedition El as an upgraded rental a few years back, and my wife loved it.


2018+ Ram 1500 with Off-Road Group

I think this would probably work, since it would allow my dog to lay on the floor, but I’d have to try it to see. I hate the rims on this one, but otherwise its just what i’m looking for.



I’ve looked at most of the other full size SUVs, and have test driven the lastest gen Armada and Sequoia. Disappointingly, I had head room issues in both (i’m 6'5" and prefer to sit upright in trucks). The sequoia has 4" less headroom than my Land Cruiser even.


What do you guys think? Anything i’m overlooking?

Long Shot: Keep my Land cruiser or get a small pickup, and buy a small fun commuting car. I wouldn’t be able to fit the family into it for up-north fun, but there’s a new 4wd group that’s trying to do more stuff by me.

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