See, I think mini vans are terribly unstylish, slow, and way too small for a large family. American made mini-vans have pretty poor reliability and safety records. While better on gas (I don't do that much driving anyway) than a full-size van, I could never fit my groceries in there.
I think my van:
(The same as this one, but silver) is totally attractive! It's got seating for 12, and we can fit ALL the groceries/Costco in it. We have a great stereo, tinted windows, and DVD. It was ultra comfy on our trip to CA in June. You can walk between the seats, and there is plenty of room for car seats and big kids/adults.
We had a bells and whistles newer Toyota Sienna. It was comfortable, but barely fit us all when we had 4, and it was HORRIBLE in the snow. We had great snow tires on it, but had to fill the back with sand bags cause it was so light.
I loved my 03' Expedition because it was the newer designed model with independent rear suspension, which means the back row wasn't flat on the floor like the previous generation. It was tricky to get the kids back there with so many car seats and seat flipping.
Anyway, the car situation for larger families is an interesting one! There is little made that isn't a mini van, and mini vans don't take care of families with more than 5 kids, and we could barely fit with 4. I like power, and safety, and comfort and good winter handling..so I have it with my beast, LOL! Plus, now we are set for whenever we may have another child(ren). It was a pain changing vehicles each time we had a child-even though they may be "8 passenger", it never worked for us with several in car seats..
It took us awhile to get there, as my husband (and therefore me by default) is a Car and Driver snob, LOL! However, years ago we also changed lots of perspectives..including not wanting car payments and choosing comfort and practicality over trendy little sporty things..that's what our 20's was for, LOL-wasting our money on car payments to haul around 1 or 2 kids in our sporty rides..hee hee..