We're a family of 5 as well. We have two cars:
2007 ford edge
1992 jeep cherokee
We travel with all 3 kids and associated cargo on a regular basis.
Both are able to tow several thousands pounds and have done so with ease.
Both are able to take a thule box on top, and/or a hitch mounted cargo basket or swing-away box.
The edge comes in AWD and is a great unsealed road/sealed road traveller.
The jeep is a tractor, and leaves something to be desired on the highway, but kills it in most any offroad situation.
That being said, the edge is VERY comfortable with 3 kids on long trips. Three carseats fit just fine.
Jeep is getting too small for my liking when EVERYone is loaded, but works fine for short jaunts.
As such, I've actually been considering these vehicles as a replacement for the jeep:
Mitsu Montero 3rd gen
Chevy astro/GMC Safari
Chevy/GMC crew cab pickup
The truth is we only have a few choices, as far as I can see:
1. Find a car wide enough for three across and maintain your rear cargo area (Pilot, crew cab, etc)
2. Find a car with a third row, and chose to carry cargo outside the vehicle in cargo attachments. (fj80, montero, Pilot using 3 rows, etc)
3. Find a car big enough to carry 3 rows of 1-3 people each AND rear cargo, whilst dealing with the negatives of a larger vehicle. (Excursion, expedition, suburban)'
Negatives of big vehicle:
-Poor fuel mileage with larger motors, though larger gassers seem very much trouble-free (Ford V10, Chevy 454, etc)
-Decent fuel mileage with diesel, but high repair and component costs - It simply costs more to maintain a diesel truck motor.
- Largish turning circle, especially hampering offroad or in tight city's like San francico, Los angeles, etc
-Parking a huge vehicle - My MIL has a crew cab dually. Parking is ALWAYS an adventure.
If those aren't scaring you off, I'd definitely go with the newest example that you prefer. they're well supported with parts houses and will very much allow your family to spread out and within reason, bring the things they desire on a trip without having a bunch of cargo carriers hanging off the truck further killing your mpg's.
Last edited by BIGdaddy; 07-03-2012 at 01:35 PM.
"For He so loved the world, that He sent His only son..."
1992 XJ:"Daddy's Jeep" - The "Please don't hit my Jeep again!" Edition.
2009 Ford Edge:"Penny"- "Mama's new ride, and our new trip car"