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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Curious for opinions of parents whether the 16+ MDX is practical as a family car for a family of 4 with 2 children? My main concern is that once the wife and I have kids that we'll quickly find it isn't enough space and be forced to get something bigger.

We don't have any kids yet, but plan on having 2 kids in the near future. For anyone with a 16+ MDX (same style and size/dimensions as the 2018), what do you think? If you have a family of 4 do you find that it's plenty of space, or if you had to do it over again would you pass on the MDX for something with more room instead?

I know there are roof boxes/hitch boxes for some additional cargo, but it would suck to have to use exterior storage every time I want to visit my parents for a long weekend (2 hours each way).

I like everything else about the MDX, but definitely don't want to regret the purchase 5 years from now wishing I'd have bought something with more room instead.

Thanks for your opinion!
 

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Since 3 row SUV designs are the "Replacement for the MiniVan", I cannot imagine having a space/storage problem with the MDX. I spend months away from home with my MDX and camper, and the storage space inside the vehicle is tremendous.

 

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I think the MDX is perfect for an active family of 4. If you’re concerned that the MDX wouldn’t be big enough, your only options are probably a Suburban or minivan.
 

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For anyone with a 16+ MDX (same style and size/dimensions as the 2018)
The 2014 on up is the identical size/dimensions and style (outside of a superficial grill change). I have a 2014 so I'll give you my perspective -

The MDX has plenty of room for a family of 4. I had several SUVs as the family vehicle when raising my kids. I never had a minivan - I just never liked them. The first 2 SUVs which lasted for about the first 10 or so years as the family hauler, were just 2 row SUVs since there weren't any 3 row SUVs at the time outside of something like a giant Suburban, which is just too big and hulking for my tastes. The 3rd SUV was a 3 row one that was roughly a similar size to the MDX.

There's plenty of room in the MDX and it's a very practical vehicle from a size perspective. With the 3rd seat down there's a lot of room in the way back. The 3rd row seat comes in handy for hauling kids' friends/troop/team around and for when a grandparent is in town and you all want to go somewhere in one vehicle.

We managed to travel all over much of the country on multi-week vacations and had adequate room. When the trips involved camping I used a roof box to hold the camping gear but otherwise there was adequate room - and that was in the 2 row SUVs. Without camping gear suitcases fit fine in the back of the 2 row SUVs and the MDX has more room than those had. We did a number of ski trips as well and simply strapped the skis to the roof rack (no need for a box) and everything else went into the back. The MDX would be even better.

I don't know how much room you think you need, especially for a long weekend trip to the grandparents', but you shouldn't need that much and the MDX is more than capable - unless you're the type to go nuts and want to bring your entire household of stuff with you on trips. A tip - it's good to learn how to pack light, especially when you have kids, and to teach the kids to pack light as well. It'll serve you well on your long weekend trips, 2 week driving vacations, and vacations to Europe and elsewhere if you end up taking those - when you can't bring the entire household of stuff with you.

The MDX is about perfect for a family of 4 from a size perspective.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
I think the MDX is perfect for an active family of 4. If you’re concerned that the MDX wouldn’t be big enough, your only options are probably a Suburban or minivan.
Well besides minivans and full-size SUV's there are other 3 row SUV's that are bigger but less luxurious like the Honda Pilot and Dodge Durango to name a couple. Or else I guess there is the Traverse/Enclave which both offer a lot more cargo space behind the 2nd row of seats. Of course with any of those options I'd be sacrificing some luxury for the sake of more cargo space.
 

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We have 4 in the family and the MDX works fine. We came off a Flex Ecoboost that was roomier and more fun to drive, but it had it's own set of issues and suffered from poor fuel economy. On longer trips you may need a roof box or trailer hitch box if yo have girls. My son and I usually get 25% of the cargo space and the wife and daughter consume the balance.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
I don't know how much room you think you need, especially for a long weekend trip to the grandparents', but you shouldn't need that much and the MDX is more than capable - unless you're the type to go nuts and want to bring your entire household of stuff with you on trips. A tip - it's good to learn how to pack light, especially when you have kids, and to teach the kids to pack light as well. It'll serve you well on your long weekend trips, 2 week driving vacations, and vacations to Europe and elsewhere if you end up taking those - when you can't bring the entire household of stuff with you.

The MDX is about perfect for a family of 4 from a size perspective.
That's the main problem, because we don't have any kids I don't have any idea how much room we'll need. All I've heard from people is that once you get a double stroller and all other sorts of stuff you need to bring along that you can quickly fill up space. Tactical packing will definitely be a valuable skillset.

Then of course once they are older and going places with friends, wasn't sure if squeezing 5 kids/teens (2 kids and 3 friends) into the MDX would be enough or if we'd be wishing we had more room.

At the end of the day we might never run into the problem of wishing we had more space. Since it's an unknown for me at this point I figured I'd ask for opinions from owners with first hand experience.
 

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^^ Some people go crazy trying to bring too much for a baby/toddler but a compact fold-up style stroller s/b fine and will fit well, then there's the diaper bag (if way young), but there's room for all that and they grow out of some of that fairly quickly. There may be times you wouldn't mind some more room but you can usually just adjust for those times and the rest of the time of not having to drive a larger bulkier vehicle greatly offsets those few times you would have likely just packed more than you actually needed.

When we took some family trips to Europe I told the kids (girls) they could each take one bag that they had to carry, and my wife and I did the same thing. It worked fine even for several week long trips.

There really is quite a bit of room in the MDX for a family of four and that includes the times of hauling additional people around town. We've had seven people in it a number of times.
 

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We're on our 3rd MDX and started with no kids and now have two girls 9 and 11. At one point when they were newborns (probably the peak of how many accessories you need to travel with) we lived out of the area and traveled a lot to see family. Roof box is all we've ever needed to supplement our space needs. 10 day road trip over the holidays we never wanted for more space (even with gifts). A large dog would be the one variable I can think of where the MDX would feel small when traveling.
 

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Well besides minivans and full-size SUV's there are other 3 row SUV's that are bigger but less luxurious like the Honda Pilot and Dodge Durango to name a couple. Or else I guess there is the Traverse/Enclave which both offer a lot more cargo space behind the 2nd row of seats. Of course with any of those options I'd be sacrificing some luxury for the sake of more cargo space.
AFAIK you're talking about an inch here, or an inch there... Nothing of real significance. I don't see those vehicles really offering any meaningful size over the MDX. Even something like a Tahoe isn't going to provide meaningful, usable space over the MDX, imo -- unless you want the towing capacity.

I grew up in a family of four and we had two sedans well past the "stroller" years. My parents managed just fine. Eventually they upgraded to a sedan and a Volvo wagon, and that was their setup through my highschool years.

To think that a 6/7 seat SUV may not be sufficient for a family of 4... Well that is just funny, to me. You could ask this same question about the smaller RDX... My answer would still be YES it's plenty big.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
AFAIK you're talking about an inch here, or an inch there... Nothing of real significance. I don't see those vehicles really offering any meaningful size over the MDX. Even something like a Tahoe isn't going to provide meaningful, usable space over the MDX, imo -- unless you want the towing capacity.

I grew up in a family of four and we had two sedans well past the "stroller" years. My parents managed just fine. Eventually they upgraded to a sedan and a Volvo wagon, and that was their setup through my highschool years.

To think that a 6/7 seat SUV may not be sufficient for a family of 4... Well that is just funny, to me. You could ask this same question about the smaller RDX... My answer would still be YES it's plenty big.
Reading online it's really a mixed bag and depends where you look. Some forums nearly everyone says "just get a minivan" lol, which might be true when you get up to a family of 5/6 with a dog, but doesn't sound like it's necessary for family of 4.

There are other forums where someone has a mid-size SUV that is clearly to small for them, but they don't want to admit it and flat out reject the notion of buying something with more room.

That's what makes online research difficult; trying to find unbiased objective first hand experience. Which on this forum for the most part I feel better about.

My main concerns with cargo space were based on seeing it first hand this weekend and visually it seemed fairly tight. Couple that with the on-paper cargo space specs of 14.9/38.4/68.4, which is the smallest in this class, and it seemed like it was prudent to wonder whether it would be enough space without any regret about not buying a larger vehicle.

I agree that I'd rather have a smaller vehicle with enough space 90% of the times I use it, and deal with the rare occasion where extra space would be nice; rather then driving around with a large vehicle that's always got tons of empty space in it.

Interestingly, here is a review by Car and Driver where they review cargo space on the MDX. Even though it has a large deficit on paper to vehicles like the Enclave for example (23.6/58/97.6), they found it actually did very well in real world tests (jamming as much crap in it as they can) and gave it a 4.5/5 star rating for cargo space:

https://www.caranddriver.com/review...pace-and-storage-review-car-and-driver-page-7
 

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We have 3 kids and have had 3 MDXs with over 300K in combined mileage. We had a minivan before the 03 MDX. You can infer which one we liked better! Good luck with your decision!
 

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IF you don't have enough room for 2 adults and 2 kids..you have too much crap to haul around, IMHO......I think you'll be fine.
 

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The cargo area floor space is nearly identical between 2014+ MDX and 2016+ Honda Pilot, for instance. The Pilot is one of the roomiest crossovers. The difference is Pilot has a higher roof, less downward sloping roof profile, and less forward sloping rear hatch. All of this matters for the cargo space volume measurement. Having said that, we rarely load our Pilot up to the roof ( we actually try really hard to avoid that for rearward visibility ), but it is sometimes convenient for loading bulky cargo.

But the main reason we have both a 2014 MDX and a 2016 Pilot is the higher rear bench seat in the Pilot. Once my kids were leggy "adult-size", they got picky about rear seat comfort for long road-trips. For the big trips, we still end up using a rooftop box most of the time, just so we didn't feel cramped. I favor a longer ski-style box, because sometimes it does carry skis and it's always more aerodynamic than a big square box.

But dealing with teenagers is a long ways off if you don't yet have kids. A lower bench is better for little kids, which may explain why Highlander has a relatively low rear bench seat, for instance. Strollers fold down, and if you have a huge carriage for home, you can always get a more svelte version for travel. And baby clothes are a lot smaller than big people clothes. As for girl/wife clothes, as noted, that's a whole different battle.

We had first-generation MDXs for most of our kids' childhoods, and now they are driving them to college. MDX is a great family car.
 

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I have 3 kids and am downsizing to an MDX from a mini van. Kids are grade 7-9 range now so not as much space as toddlers.

I've done a lot of research on the space available and with the 3rd row down will be able to fit what we need to bring to our annual ski trip, including a cooler and 4 large bins of supplies, 3 large bags, 3 medium sized bags, and 5 pairs of ski boots. Will be tight but I think I can fit everything... worst case scenario will need to pack a bit lighter. Ski trip is the most space we should need because of all the gear and bulkier coats/winter clothing.

I'll use a Thule Hyper XL roof box for our 5 pairs of skis.

I also got the 3500lbs trailer hitch in case I ever need to tow a small cargo trailer but I don't expect to need that.

I ruled out using a hitch cargo box because of the rear axle/tongue weight limits, there just isn't enough load available once you put 5 occupants in the vehicle plus load up the back plus a cargo box on top.

Will definitely miss the seemingly limitless space of the mini van but it's doable and my wife is DONE with driving a mini van after 13 years and I don't blame her.

Hope this is helpful!
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Most of the time a roof box would likely be fine, except in winter when the side of the car is filthy with salt and road grime, as I don't want to get all dirty just taking the box down off the car or unloading it. Then a hitch box would be nice as it's easily accessible from the ground and doesn't require getting dirty to access it.
 

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MDX in plenty for a family of 4.
It a very personal choice, but practicality-wise, you can't beat a minivan.
Nobody's got Honda odyssey as their "dream car", but they're everywhere.

Like most SUVs, you can forget about the 3rd row. It's fine if you need it occasionally, but you will sacrifice most of your cargo space. And, I just can't imagine climbing into the 3rd row too often, or having to strap the kids into the 3rd row.

Also, like everyone else I hate MDX infotainment system. Everything from that menu design, slow response time, display quality, camera quality, speaker quality. There's nothing to praise about the infotainment system.

That aside, I am a '16 owner and I love it with 1 toddler and planning 1 more.
My personal priorities were:
1. Comfort. It is a family car I use for daily commute. I want a smooth quiet ride. The seat ergo must fit me.
2. Safety. all-wheel-drive. 5-star rating all around (i think). Modern safety features. Side curtain airbags.
3. Convenience. Must easily fit any car seat. Easy to load/unload baby. MDX has a built-in step on the rear door sill making the process much easier.
4. Capacity. first and second row are spacious imo. With the 3rd row down, rear cargo is deep enough to fit a full size stroller front-to-back. MDX has a decent tow capacity as well sufficient for my tent trailer.
5. Car popularity. This means easy to find replacement parts, after-market parts, diy instructions/videos.
 

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I have 3 kids and am downsizing to an MDX from a mini van. Kids are grade 7-9 range now so not as much space as toddlers.

I've done a lot of research on the space available and with the 3rd row down will be able to fit what we need to bring to our annual ski trip, including a cooler and 4 large bins of supplies, 3 large bags, 3 medium sized bags, and 5 pairs of ski boots. Will be tight but I think I can fit everything... worst case scenario will need to pack a bit lighter. Ski trip is the most space we should need because of all the gear and bulkier coats/winter clothing.

I'll use a Thule Hyper XL roof box for our 5 pairs of skis.

I also got the 3500lbs trailer hitch in case I ever need to tow a small cargo trailer but I don't expect to need that.

I ruled out using a hitch cargo box because of the rear axle/tongue weight limits, there just isn't enough load available once you put 5 occupants in the vehicle plus load up the back plus a cargo box on top.

Will definitely miss the seemingly limitless space of the mini van but it's doable and my wife is DONE with driving a mini van after 13 years and I don't blame her.

Hope this is helpful!
I have a similar roof box ( Thule Boxster ). You should be able to get some bags with light bulky stuff like ski jackets, etc into that box along with the skis. Our ski boots sometimes ride up there as well.

Cooler and 4 large bins of supplies? Are you going skiing or ice fishing? :confused:
 

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Family of 4 hear that travels a lot. It really is a great size SUV. We ski as well and have no problem backing up our family for a couple day weekend. Thought of going the Tahoe route but didn't need to extra space and lack of fuel economy.
 

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Are you expecting twins or you are just plaining and hoping for 2 Kids? I planned for 2 and I have 3. A buddy of mine the same and had twins. “Don’t count your chickens before they hatch”

We are a family of 5 and 2 dogs and we frequently have Max capacity of 7 from a few tag-a-longs. It’s tight but we have managed. I do miss my minivan but I love having the SH-AWD which is more important than the space.

I got a cargo bag which helps but I hate knowing it’s up there. My buddy has the cargo box and leaves it up there full time and that helps too.

I struggle when we go skiing. I do have a skirack on top but I also have 5 ski bags and when the kids bring friends the bags have to go on the seat floors are kids laps.

The biggest issues I run into is I cannot buy things like I have in the past and just chuck it in the minivan. I have to make multiple trips or have it delivered.

I never had to put a car seat in them so I have no idea how they would perform and give access to the 3rd row if needed.

With strollers, pack-n-plays, swings and all types of kiddie things a mini van may be more practical unless you never expect to have to use the 3rd row - then you can just leave those seats down.
 
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