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Hello FJ family,

I see a lot of folks parting ways with their FJ as they prepare for their first child. There’s nothing wrong with that- obviously it’s a personal decision and kids are a blessing not an inconvenience. Seeing how FJs hold their value so well and kids aren’t cheap I can definitely understand this decision from a financial point of view. BUT if I can offer any encouragement to this crowd of people let me share -> when I bought my FJ we already had 3 kiddos (4, 2, 6mo all requiring car seats) and it IS doable in the FJ. Tight but doable- tips below.

First let me explain our family’s car situation. Prior to my FJ, I drove a Honda Accord (the FJ is better for 3 kiddos than the accord).
The FJ is my vehicle and my wife drives a Honda Pilot. The Pilot is a champ at family hauling and it’s not close between the FJ and Pilot -> Pilot is way better (much more interior space, so it’s a no brainer).
But when we take trips that need 4WD where we’re going- we take the FJ, no problem.
We have 2 front facing Graco car seats and one rear facing Graco clickconnect 35 for the baby.

Tips: 1. remove the cup holders from both armrests of each car seat. 2. Use the seatbelt through the car seat as the means to secure it, not the car seat anchors. 3. Get all 3 seats in prior to tightening each down 4. Put the child who’s most likely to kick the seat in front of them in the middle seat (for us it’s our 2 yr old) lol 5. Remove the rear headrests (maybe that’s obvious...)

This set up is solid and both myself and my wife have plenty of legroom- knees aren’t in our chest- very comfortable. We typically make road trips of 1.5 hrs to 4.5 hrs. I have also found that our kiddos sleep really well in the FJ because of how dark the rear seats are from the B pillar, small rear window and dark tinting (sun in their eyes is a non-issue most of the time). The most noteworthy disadvantage to the Pilot is that my wife cannot sit in the middle with them- helps keep everyone happy.

So you can have your cake and eat it too sometimes. Give it a try for 1-2 months with a baby and if you hate it, let ‘er go (your FJ that is). Just wanted to try to shed the stigma some- it can be a family vehicle.
1153519

Cheers, Michael
 

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Yep. I'd rather put my 5yr old twins in the FJ. Way easier to snug up the car seat harnesses at a comfortable height. My wife's corolla is a pain, too cramped to get a kid, car seat and part of me in the door opening when adjusting the belts.
 

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Been using mine as a family vehicle since I've owned it. Kids love it, I love it, and I feel safer with the family in that than anything else.
 

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Mine's a family vehicle as well, with me hauling our 2 boys all over the place. They're a little older (17 and 22) and both close to 6' tall so on our little adventures I'm quite often the 1 in the back...:mad:

They both love driving it though! A couple of our adventures (I'm the chubby old man in the denim jacket you see occasionally)- https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCMIspHkYseZjgFvz96HkoJg
 

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I'm a single father. The reason I bought a FJ over other vehicles was its usability as a vehicle for my daughter and I. Right now we're in Wisconsin Dells (4hr commute) with my friend and his daughter. The 4 of us took the FJ.
 

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Guess I'm in the minority here. I love my FJ, but compared to my daily driver mini-van for my daily kid shuttling? The FJ is definitely NOT my first choice.

I have 3 kids... 2 in boosters, 1 in car seat. Yes, all seats can fit, but rather cramped to get in there and fasten belts. The kids in boosters have a hard time getting their belts fastened, which means I have to do it, and my hands are even bigger. The rear doors, while cute and fun for normal purposes, quickly get a bit annoying if you have a busy schedule doing frequent drop offs and pick ups at different locations. This is made a bit worse in bad weather (Rain, snow, -20 weather, etc...) I know... first world problems!

Some example scenarios:

Have to park in a busy lot with limited # of spaces to drop off the kids someplace?
FJ: Just wait until you have a not-so-nice driver park about 10" from your passenger side right after you get parked and are ready to unload. (This seems to happen frequently in the places I go.) That passenger side back door is NOT going to be able to open. Plan B: get everyone in or out of the driver's side door. But remember those seat belts that are hard for my kids to unfasten? Time to get up on your knees in the driver's seat, crawl backwards and try to click them out and then shuffle everyone out the driver's side door. And then, pray that some other wiener doesn't park too close to your driver's side door before you get back to the car. Yes, parking in the middle of no where does help, but not always possible. (Wal-Mart? Sure. Small school parking lot? If you're lucky...)
Mini-Van: Only need about 6" for the door to open. Press the button, kids out, get on with life.

Need to drop your kids off for school in the car line?
FJ: Put it in park, hop out, run around to the passenger side, open the front door, open the back door, mess with belt(s), have kids hop out, close things up, and back in. See the person behind you politely waving (weird - why is she only waving with 1 finger?), wanting you to get out of the way so they can pull out...
Mini van: Kids can undo their own belts easily. Press the power "Passenger side door" button. Kids hop out. Press the button, and gone.

Need to wait to pick up one of the kids from an activity while one or more of the others are in the car?
FJ: All occupants must remain seated until we are ready to go. No room to roam.
Mini-van: Park the van and let them wander in the van a bit (especially helpful for younger kids - 2 or 3 year olds that need to move a bit.)

And sure, all of the above things seem silly. If I had to do this once a month, then I wouldn't care at all. But, when you do it every day... every week... every month... You start to realize that life is too short to spend 5 minutes doing something that could take you 20 seconds. Even if mini-vans aren't "cool" to drive. Especially when your sanity is on the line.

Don't get me wrong... I love my FJ, and I often take it if I have only 1 or 2 of the kiddos with me if we don't have any set deadline or schedule. But when it's crunch time. and I have all 3? Only in emergencies...
 

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Discussion Starter #9
@SkidMarks71 gotta do what makes sense and keeps your sanity so I’m with you on all that. Don’t count yourself in the minority haha. I wrote for anyone thinking that having a kid meant automatically it was time to get rid of their FJ. In terms of pure kid haulers the minivan is really unparalleled. Sliding doors you mentioned also mean your kids won’t ding doors on the way in and out. Also lower to the ground helps them climb in by themselves. The FJ wasn’t purpose built to haul kids, but it can.
 

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@SkidMarks71 gotta do what makes sense and keeps your sanity so I’m with you on all that. Don’t count yourself in the minority haha. I wrote for anyone thinking that having a kid meant automatically it was time to get rid of their FJ. In terms of pure kid haulers the minivan is really unparalleled. Sliding doors you mentioned also mean your kids won’t ding doors on the way in and out. Also lower to the ground helps them climb in by themselves. The FJ wasn’t purpose built to haul kids, but it can.
Oh yeah, sure. Wasn't knocking what you were doing, and it sounds like you guys do use the Pilot for the daily work, which makes perfect sense. I only suggest to anyone that is considering the FJ for "full time kid duty" to make sure they discuss it with whomever is going to be actually doing the "full time kid duty" in advance so they know what to expect. :D.
 

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I have a family of five. A 14, 10, and 8 y/o.
We make it work as a family car. We’re obviously out of car seats.
We taken frequent camp trips using the stock basket.
We’ve done a four day long overland trip with no issues. We did go into town for ice and food once.
It’s kind of nice. The FJ forces us to think about everything we take as a need vs. want.
 

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@ALB really cool channel!
Thanks! I'll tell Scott you like it. Producing a video is actually a fair bit of work; he's enjoying doing them, though with the demands of school (he's doing a couple of community college courses) it takes him a few days to get a video finished and posted. He just posted our last Sunday's adventure last night, so there's a 4th and this is the first shot with the new GoPro he got for Christmas (his parents are toooo nice!)- the previous were done with his phone.
 

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For people wondering how to conserve space in the rear seats and not compromise safety, check this out! I just got the best car seat for a toddler and it opened up the rear of my FJ big time.

I was putting my three boys in the back on long wheeling trips with little to no complaints...until my oldest started a growth spurt. Then he really started complaining about taking the FJ when it was the five of us. This made me pretty sad since it's the family fun vehicle.

I decided to ride in the back with my youngest in a forward facing car seat, and my middle child on the other side.

CLOSTERPHOBIC NIGHTMARE!

So I set out to finding the most compact car seat with a good safety rating. I found the WAYB Pico car seat. This thing is NICE! It's made of very strong aluminum and it's really low profile. 14" wide vs about 20" for the previous Graco. It is about $270 on amazon, but I chalked it up to being a mod that allows me to take my kids out wheeling safely!

 

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I got the Frontrunner during this past Black Friday sale (20% off), I really like it but some of the bolts are rusting so I'm going to replace them with stainless steel fasteners.
Whoa! those seats are COOL!!!! I will have to look into those!

I also have two kids and daily my FJ with them (3yo and 5yo). I admit it's not the BEST car but it's no worst than a small sedan in my opinion. The only better options would be a van probably so it really isn't that bad. We have two massively big britax car seats and the kids fit just fine, but these seats look like they would open up a LOT of room!
 
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