The only vehicle for a tall family on-or-off-road
March 27, 2015
I'm over 6'7", and my teenage boys 6'2, 6'3", & 6'4" (and still growing). I had to find a vehicle that at the least we all 4 could fit in without our knees being crushed. In 2012 this left 2 (okay 3 sort of) vehicles on the market: a specific configuration of the F-150 Ford pickup, the Nissan Armada, and the 2010 Infiniti QX56. I tried over 80 vehicles before, Cadillac, Ford, GMC, Mercedes, BMW, Hummer, vans, cars, trucks, minivans, sedans, etc. _IF_ I could fit in the front seat (very few with my 39.5" inseam legs), there was only room behind me for a tiny baby.
The F-150 was the least expensive (1/2 the price of the Armada or QX56), with far better gas mileage with the ecoboost engine, but was very long (nightmare to think of parking it downtown), and the rear seats did not recline, and I haven't need a pickup truck in many years (I've owned 5).
The boys and I go on many road, camping, and outdoor trips, as well as running errands around town daily, and I'm a recreation therapist, so I often take groups of youth on many activities, so seating at least 6 was beneficial.
Unlike ALL the other vehicles on the market at the time, Nissan was thinking, and sacrificed cargo space to make the third row actually useable by a human being! Even many of the minivans didn't seem to get this concept.
The vehicle is now around 120,000+ miles. As is known for these heavy vehicles it "eats brakes", I regularly have to replace the pads and have the rotors turned, but not more than excepted for such a heavy vehicle.
Overall a good all around vehicle. not as sporty as some, and not as workhorse as other, and not as luxurious as yet others, but instead is "good" in all the categories.
I have taken it on some very gnarly real wilderness trips, off roading, treacherous back roads, including over roads completely washed out by spring runs, that jeeps were stuck trying to cross, in the Loon Creek Frank Church River or No Return Wilderness of Idaho over 9,000' above sea level, and long road trips between Washington to Tucson, Arizona and back, all in great comfort, each boy having their own row, so none of the "daaaad, he's in my space..." baloney. :)
I don't take it for joy-riding hardcore off-roading or "mudding", I use my '86 Bronco for that, but the QX56 can perform off road well when needed, and does very well in the several feet of snow each winter we get. I pull many others out.
I have had over 30 vehicles since 1986 (from 1960s muscle cars to 3 Priuses, and everything in between), and this is by far the most useful, comfortable, best all-around vehicle I have ever had. Other than the (expected) horrible gas mileage (11-13 in the city, 16-19 highway), I have nothing to complain about it. I think I will probably drive this until it begins to die, since everything else on the market nowadays, and projected for the future, is just getting smaller and flimsier.
I hope folks find this information useful. If you have a tall family, this is one of the few vehicles available, and it meets a broad range of needs admirably.