2019 Chevy Traverse AWD Premier: 3rd Row Seat Space, Gas Tank Release, Opening the Trunk… Plus, Hidden Cargo Space!

For the past week, I have had the awesome opportunity to drive the 2019 Chevy Traverse AWD Premier. As a daddy blogger, there are particular questions I like to find answers to when I drive a new vehicle; as I have found them to be relevant here on my blog as well as its related YouTube channel.

First, I like to explore the 3rd row seat space, for an average size American person. (At least, let’s assume I’m average at 5′ 9″ and 170 pounds.)

Check out this video, where I do a quick demonstration of me sitting in the 3rd row seat. I was impressed with how much clearance I had above my head. With most other vehicles with a 3rd row seat, my head grazes the ceiling, but not in the 2019 Chevy Traverse.

Next, I like to show where to find the gas tank release; as it can be stressful when you’re already at the gas pump but don’t know how to get to the tank. In the new Traverse, it’s this simple:

Just press the gas tank door with your finger. It’s really easy.

And lastly, especially in an SUV, I like to point out how to open the trunk door. While there is a release button near the steering wheel, I found that it was more practically for me just to “double click” the button on the key remote. (Then just press the close button on the trunk door itself for it to automatically close.)

I particularly appreciated the hidden cargo space in the trunk. I was able to store so much in there on my family’s recent road trip to Destin, Florida; from the Nashville area.

Thanks for checking out my blog today on the 2019 Chevy Traverse. I am confident you’ll enjoy it as much as I did!

-Nick Shell of Family Friendly Daddy Blog

2014 Lexus RX 450h 5-DR SUV (DVD Player Equipped): Family Friendly Review

For the rest of this week, go ahead and expect to see several upcoming exciting stories about events that took place last week, while our family was fortunate to review the 2014 Lexus RX 450h from a family friendly perspective…

2014 Lexus RX 450h 5-DR SUV (DVD Player Equipped): Family Friendly Review

But first, I would like to highlight the features of this vehicle that stood out the most to our family of three.

In my “2 Minute Walk Around” video above, I mentioned that driving the Lexus RX 450 is like when Super Mario hops in the cloud and drives it. With this vehicle being hybrid, you can’t really hear the engine, providing for an extremely quiet ride and idle.

As you can expect from a Lexus luxury vehicle, the cabin itself is like a really classy lounge. My wife always loves it when we review a vehicle with heated and cooled seats.

2014 Lexus RX 450h 5-DR SUV (DVD Player Equipped): Family Friendly Review

This was the first time I actually used them myself. Obviously, as you can see from these photos, things got a bit frosty; so I definitely took advantage of the “bun warmers” feature.

2014 Lexus RX 450h 5-DR SUV (DVD Player Equipped): Family Friendly Review

I know this may sound like a peculiar feature to highlight, but I really loved the gear shifter. Granted, this was an automatic transmission. But ergonomically, the shifter handle is in the perfect place and I really liked how the handle was a bit longer than most; it somehow made it glide more naturally than most vehicles I have driven.

2014 Lexus RX 450h 5-DR SUV (DVD Player Equipped): Family Friendly Review

Like every Lexus SUV I have ever reviewed, all I have to do is just press the button on the “fifth door” and it closes by itself. That’s always fun.

2014 Lexus RX 450h 5-DR SUV (DVD Player Equipped): Family Friendly Review

As for my 4 year-old son Jack, it was very obvious what he liked most about the Lexus RX 450h; the DVD screens on the back of the front screens, with Mark Levinson Premium Surround Sound (15 speakers.)

2014 Lexus RX 450h 5-DR SUV (DVD Player Equipped): Family Friendly Review

It was like Jack’s own private theatre in the back seat.

One of his aunts just happened to send him a Christmas present which included a Berenstain Bears DVD.

2014 Lexus RX 450h 5-DR SUV (DVD Player Equipped): Family Friendly Review

After I saw how special he felt back there, I decided to cash in some points at Best Buy and let him pick out another DVD.

2014 Lexus RX 450h 5-DR SUV (DVD Player Equipped): Family Friendly Review

He chose Disney’s Dinosaur, which is perfectly appropriate and relevant for him at this age.

2014 Lexus RX 450h 5-DR SUV (DVD Player Equipped): Family Friendly Review

There’s my quick overview. If you have $60,190 to spend on a new luxury SUV, I can’t imagine how the 2014 Lexus RX 450h would be a wrong choice for your family. I didn’t even mention that fact it averages 29 miles per gallon!

So stay tuned for upcoming posts this week involving the 2014 Lexus RX 450h; including going to see Marvel Universe Live, Santa Claus at Bass Pro Shop, and a Nerf birthday party where they shipped in snow for the kids to play in!

Catch up on the entire series of the Lexus RX 450h Weekend. A lot of exiciting things happened!

2014 Lexus RX 450h 5-DR SUV (DVD Player Equipped): Family Friendly Review

Dear Jack: Marvel Universe Live- Family Friendly Review (Lexus RX 450h Weekend)

Dear Jack: Meeting Santa With Sophie At Bass Pro Shop (Lexus RX 450h Weekend)

Dear Jack: Jacob’s 5th Birthday Party In A Tractor Store (Lexus RX 450h Weekend)

Dear Jack: The Old Abandoned Silo Tower On Main Street in Spring Hill, TN (Lexus RX 450h Weekend)

Dear Jack: Our New House’s Shutters, Mailbox, & Interior Paint (Lexus RX 450h Weekend)

Dressing As A Super Hero For Abbi’s Birthday/2014 Hyundai Santa Fe Weekend

4 years.

Dear Jack,

Dressing As A Super Hero For Abby’s Birthday/2014 Hyundai Santa Fe Weekend

I mentioned how you chose to wear your “super hero costume” to open your birthday gifts from Mommy and me when you turned 4 a few weeks ago; having received the outfit as a gift from your friend Madison at your Lego birthday party at Bricks 4 Kidz.

Dressing As A Super Hero For Abby’s Birthday/2014 Hyundai Santa Fe Weekend

Well, this weekend you were quite excited when Mommy and I learned that Abbi’s birthday actually had a costume theme.

While I tried to convince you just to wear your Ninja Turtle hoodie and be Donatello, you insisted on wearing your costume from Madison.

The logistical problem with that is that we had already boxed it up in our storage unit, as our new house should be ready by the end of next month.

Dressing As A Super Hero For Abby’s Birthday/2014 Hyundai Santa Fe Weekend

Mommy was up for the challenge so we loaded up in the 2014 Hyundai Santa Fe we have been driving this week, as we await the news of whether or not my own car will be totaled thanks the albino deer that hit me on the way home the night before Thanksgiving.

Dressing As A Super Hero For Abby’s Birthday/2014 Hyundai Santa Fe Weekend

Something really cool about every Hyundai I have reviewed is that basically the entire ceiling is a moon roof. You love that! You love being able to see so much of what’s going on.

Dressing As A Super Hero For Abby’s Birthday/2014 Hyundai Santa Fe Weekend

Mommy’s favorite feature of the Santa Fe is the heated seats, especially this time of year.

My favorite thing about it is the size. Now more than ever, I like a good strong SUV that help protect me in the event I get hit by another albino deer. Hyundais are just nice vehicles anyway, as I’ve been quick to mention in my other reviews of them.

Dressing As A Super Hero For Abby’s Birthday/2014 Hyundai Santa Fe Weekend

Speaking of safety, I also really appreciate the Blind Spot Detection System, which alerts me anytime another vehicle or object is getting dangerously close to me. (After having recently been hit by a deer, this is something I’m quite sensitive to this days!)

Dressing As A Super Hero For Abby’s Birthday/2014 Hyundai Santa Fe Weekend

And not to mention, the back-up camera saves me a lot of worries too. (See below the relevant song that happened to come up on XM radio this week while we were driving the Santa Fe.)

Dressing As A Super Hero For Abby’s Birthday/2014 Hyundai Santa Fe Weekend

Well, thanks to Mommy’s supreme packing skills, she was able to pull up the door of our storage unit, then immediately open up the box with your super hero costume! You then curiously asked about your monster trucks- she found that box too.

Dressing As A Super Hero For Abby’s Birthday/2014 Hyundai Santa Fe Weekend

Before Abbi’s birthday party, we decided we should stop by our new house which is still under construction and see the latest updates.

Afterwards, as part of our tradition, we stopped by the model home so you could say hi to the in-house real estate agent. You had hidden a piece of foam (which you refer to as your “pizza parlor”) in the bushes and decided to crawl under the Christmas tree as a gift… because that’s normal for 4 year-old boys, I assume. (See top picture, again.)

When we arrived to Abbi’s party, we were greeted by hens, which we fed some dried worms to.

Dressing As A Super Hero For Abby’s Birthday/2014 Hyundai Santa Fe Weekend

Once we walked inside the house, I was glad we had found your costume beforehand, because I realized your Ninja Turtle hoodie wasn’t quite enough for this costume-themed party.

Dressing As A Super Hero For Abby’s Birthday/2014 Hyundai Santa Fe Weekend

You kept your eye mask on the entire drive and at least the first 30 minutes of the party.

Dressing As A Super Hero For Abby’s Birthday/2014 Hyundai Santa Fe Weekend

And of course, your friend Madison (who gave you the costume) was so happy to see you wearing it. (Pictured below.)

Dressing As A Super Hero For Abby’s Birthday/2014 Hyundai Santa Fe Weekend

You were lucky: you basically got to have an all-you-can-eat sweets buffet while we were there.

Dressing As A Super Hero For Abby’s Birthday/2014 Hyundai Santa Fe Weekend

So we decided having dinner at Whole Foods would be a good way to offset that, but first we stopped to see some Christmas lights along the way.

Needless to say, we had a really fun week in the Santa Fe. And you especially had fun, being a super hero the whole time!

Love,

Daddy

Dressing As A Super Hero For Abby’s Birthday/2014 Hyundai Santa Fe Weekend

2014 Hyundai Santa Fe Standard Features:

5 year/60,000 mile New Vehicle Warranty

10 year/100,000 mile Powertrain Warranty

7 year/Unlimited mile and Perforation Warranty

5 year/Unlimited mile Roadside Assistance

2014 Hyundai Santa Fe

Advanced Safety Technology:

Vehicle Stability Management (VSM) with Traction Control

ABS with Electronic Brake Force Distribution & Brake Assist

Blind Spot Detection System

2014 Hyundai Santa Fe

Powertrain Technology:

3.3 L Gasoline Direct Injection V6 Engine

290 Horsepower @ 6,400 RPM

Fuel Economy:

21 MPG average: 18 city/25 highway

Annual fuel cost: $2,500

2014 Hyundai Santa Fe

Folding Down/Up The 3rd Seats Of The 2014 Lexus GX 460

Third row seats in SUVs are so hot right now! And chances are, if you’re reading this, you’ve recently purchased a 2014 Lexus GX 460; or you’re leasing or renting one.

Folding Down/Up The 3rd Seats Of The 2014 Lexus GX 460

Even though it would have been much more practical for my son to have sat in the 2nd row seat for the past week, which included a 5 hour round trip road trip, he liked the very back better.

He was able to have a place for his sippy cup, blanket, vintage Transformer toy from my own childhood, and his favorite stuffed animal which he clothed in his own underwear.

Folding Down/Up The 3rd Seats Of The 2014 Lexus GX 460

Now, let’s get to what you came for. In just a few simple picture collages, I hope to show you that it’s actually pretty simple to fold up and down the 3rd row seats of the 2014 Lexus GX 460.

The 1st step is to unlock the back door using your remote. Then pull the door handle open, on the left side of the license plate. Once you swing out the back door from left to right, you’ll see some interesting things.

Folding Down/Up The 3rd Seats Of The 2014 Lexus GX 460

On the door itself are two panels, which after you open them, you’ll discover a roadside tool set on the left and a 1st aid kit on the right.

Turn facing the front of the vehicle and on the right interior side you will see a convenient power outlet; AC 120 V, 100W. That’s the kind you need for your electronics!

If you face your left, you will discover a secret compartment to hide and store whatever you can imagine; whether it be rare golden coins lifted from the Titanic (I won’t ask how you got them), or simply just tickets to the upcoming Dave Matthews Band concert.

Oh yeah, the seats. Let’s learn how to fold them up and down now.

Pull the lower handle you see on the back of the seat. What that does is automatically pulls in the base of the seat in front you. See my “action shot” below.

Folding Down/Up The 3rd Seats Of The 2014 Lexus GX 460

Now you want to pull up the ribbon handle which allows you to fold in the head rest.

Folding Down/Up The 3rd Seats Of The 2014 Lexus GX 460

To actually fold the seat down, left up the latch on the back shoulder, then push the seat down until it becomes the floor.

Folding Down/Up The 3rd Seats Of The 2014 Lexus GX 460

Follow those same steps for the other 3rd row seat and you’re done. Your view should look like the upper left corner shot in the collage below.

So now, real quick, let me show you how to fold the seats back up:

Folding Down/Up The 3rd Seats Of The 2014 Lexus GX 460

Just lift up the “back shoulder latch” and push the seat up, while standing next the vehicle with the back passenger door open.

Now you need to pull out the base of the seat again by pulling a tray right underneath the seat base. And don’t forget about those head rests!

While it may have taken 2 minutes and 13 seconds for you to read and process this information, I’m confident that once you do it a few times, you’ll be able to fold the 3rd row seats up and down in less than 30 seconds.

Hopefully this is now officially the most entertaining review of how to fold down and up the 3rd row seats of a 2014 Lexus GX 460 that exists on the Internet!

That’s sort of what I was going for, at least… Thanks for reading!

Were you interested in what you just read? Was this post a strangely pleasant distraction to other things popping up on your Facebook or Twitter feed? Ya know… you could always like me on Facebook, follow me on Twitter, or even subscribe to Family Friendly Daddy Blog by clicking on the appropriate icon on the left side of this page. No pressure though…

Swiss Army SUV (Nick Shell’s Turtle Shell): 2004 Honda Element

If I was an action figure, what would my accessories be?

My wife always goes to sleep before me.  Sometimes, when she’s lucky, I sing her a lullaby to help her transition into dream mode, to coax her into visions of happy clouds and riding unicorns.  Of course, I only serenade her with original songs that I sing as I compose them, on the spot.  Last week, with Avatar fresh on my mind, I sang to her in my finest Styx performing Mr. Roboto voice:

“Nothing can prepare you for the unicorn ride of your life

So put on your purple jump suit and watch a pterodactyl fly by

Because nothing can prepare you for the unicorn ride of your life”

Pause.

Then she asked, “How can I prepare for the unicorn ride when you just said nothing could ever prepare me?”

She made a good point.  The only disadvantage of having the ability to make up and sing Grammy award winning songs on the spot, is that sometimes I forget the lyrics I’ve already sang earlier in the same song.

Ironically, I was the one who wasn’t prepared.  As for the rest of the time, in everyday life, I am prepared.  Because from 1st grade to 5th grade, I was in Cub Scouts and one of our main mottos was Be Prepared”.  Evidently, that has become a law of life for me.

Take my car, for example:

Honda Elements have been compared to a lot of things: a boot, a shoe, a toaster, a box.  And I’m okay with that, because after 4 ½ years of owning one, I am still in love.  And when the day comes to get a new vehicle, my plan is to simply buy another Honda Element.

I have transformed my already versatile duckbill-platypus-like SUV into the vehicular equivalent of a Swiss army knife.  It’s time to take a tour of my Honda Element and see what I keep on hand at all times, just in case I need it…

Typically I keep one backseat always folded up so I can have my mountain bike with me.  It stays secured between the wall and other seat.  The blue t-shirt helps prevent scuff marks on my seat from the bike and doubles as an emergency back-up shirt.

The way I got that shirt was way back in the summer of 1998 when I went on a mission trip to Ecuador.  One of the old t-shirts I had packed for the trip was one that I got from a church youth conference from the summer of 1993.  It was a white t-shirt with the phrase “JESUS IS FOR NOW” on it.  And that’s all it said.  (In Junior High, my classmate Scott Rothell joked with me: “Jesus is for now; Satan is for later”.  He was a funny guy.)

So when I was in Ecuador, a guy my age (17 at the time) saw me wearing the “Jesus is for now” t-shirt and said he liked it so much that he wanted it.  Because I have developed a friendship with him that week doing skits in city squares and painting schools, I negotiated a t-shirt trade.

He let me look through the old t-shirts he brought along, and the blue one was the one I chose: “Con Amor de Tennessee a Temuco, Chile” (With love from Tennessee to Temuco, Chile”.  Which was the official t-shirt my friend got from a previous mission trip.  It remains a comfortable t-shirt after the 12 years of me owning it.

Behind my passenger seats is where I keep my helmet.  In the cubbies on the sides, I have an old atlas I stole from work, a bandana (for days I don’t feel like wearing a hat but want to cover my head- works well in sweaty or rainy situations).

This is also where I keep my bike maintenance tools and restaurant coupons (which I’ve made several copies of on a color copier so I can reuse them).  As well as flyers for selling my house.  And an atlas in case my GPS stops working.  And windshield defroster spray.  Plus a back-up t-shirt just in case…

In the backseat that is not folded up I keep a black fedora.  Because this kind of hat will instantly make me look classier if need be, even if I’m wearing a t-shirt and jeans.  Plus an old baseball cap I got in 11th grade (1997), as well as a new stylish hat that my mother-in-law mailed me on my birthday.  The right hat for the right situation is key to being a model citizen.

Underneath the seat I keep my Birkenstocks (Christmas present from my parents in 1999).  They make the perfect back-up shoes in case I’m wearing nice shoes and it starts to rain.  In the rear side doors, I keep two books at all times.  Just in case I need to kill some time.  One is about speed reading, the other is about “reading people”.

In between the two front seats, I keep some musk incense I bought at an Indian grocery store, to help keeping my Element smelling like a forest.  I received the toothpaste and toothbrush from my most recent dentist visit- always good to keep around.  And of course it is vital to always have nail clippers handy.

The plastic cup remains empty.  Maybe I’ll end up in a place where there’s water but nothing to put it in.  Then the cup saves the day.

I put Velcro on the back of my iPod (with an FM radio receiver so I can listen to it through my stereo speakers) and my steering wheel so it’s always right in front of me.

In the hidden cubby next to my steering wheel, I keep a few spare wedding rings (made out of hemp) just in case I ever forget to wear my actual one.  Next to some papaya supplements to aid indigestion (for my pregnant wife).

Up in the front passenger dashboard caddy, I keep sugar-free gum, business cards (mainly so I can write my website on them to give to people I meet who after talking to me, are curious about my website).  And a bendable Pink Panther- just because he is awesome.  He is my animal cartoon role model.

There are also some pictures from my wife and I from exactly a year ago when we met her aunt in Chattanooga.  The felt letters say “amp” but they used to say “camp”.  But the “c” fell off and I never found it.  I just wanted to enhance the “camp” theme of my car.

Lastly, in the passenger seat of my Element, I keep my Gap one-strap bookbag.  Inside are my laptop, earphones, camera, Bible, and whatever the main current book is that I’m reading at the time.  I usually bring the bookbag with me when I take my mountain bike for a ride so I can be prepared to entertain myself if I need a break.

With the exception of my TV and my Wii and guitar and my clothes which are in the house, the things I keep in my Element are my earthly possessions.  My Element is like an overnight bag.  Like a turtle’s shell.  My action figure’s accessories.

And one more thing… Now that you’ve read my take on Honda Elements, why not read my perspective on being a dad?  That’s right- parenting from a dad’s point of view.  I have been documenting my thoughts as a dad since the week we found out my wife was pregnant.  I formally invite you now to read my “dad blog” by clicking on the link below:

dad from day one