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Need a New SUV

Illustration for article titled Need a New SUV

So we just had our second child two weeks ago and already the Honda Pilot is kind of a pain. With car seats on either side of the vehicle it makes it difficult to get a 5th person in the vehicle with the family. The options are:

- Become a contortionist and squeeze over the car seat and into the middle seat.
- Take out car seat, get in, install car seat
-Install one of the seats in the third row and have a heck of a time getting back there to buckle child
- Enter through hatch to sit in the third row


Additionally, our 2005 Pilot just fell victim to the radiator issue where all of the transmission fluid was pumped into the overflow reservoir, leaving my wife to drive with a dry transmission for 2 miles. Luckily she stopped and it was towed to a dealer to fix, however, the true damage was done; my wife losing confidence in the car's reliability.

On to the question; what SUV should I get to replace it? Some criteria:

- Budget of 20-30k
- AWD (we live in Michigan)
- Reliable and something I can work on when it breaks
- I will use it to haul my project car (66 Dodge Coronet) across the state a couple times and also an ATV trailer so it must have a decent towing capacity (4000lbs minimum)


- I kind of like the idea of captain's chairs to make the car seat issue easier

I have been thinking either a 2011-12 Durango with the Hemi or an Explorer Sport but my wife is not sold on either of those. ("Can't we get a 2012 Honda Pilot?" No.) Any input on reliability of these or alternate options would be appreciated. Thanks!

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