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Van shopping : 7 seats or 8?

post #1 of 11
Thread Starter 
We are officially required to purchase a van, and have a deadline! smile.gif looking forward to no more 3 across! A couple family members have strongly encouraged us to get an 8 seater. I do see some convenience to tha. RRight now, I pretty much never am able to drive another kid. It would be nice to be able to fit in a couple friends of my kids, or nieces/nephews. I do question if its practical. From what we've seen, the 8th seat is narrow. Can a car seat or booster fit? Is it comfortable for a teen/adult? Then there's logistics. Right now, 6yo dd is in a kiddy cruiserfix, 4yo do ff in a radian, and 2yo do rf in a radian. I don't know what seat we will get for the new baby. Leaning towards a convertible. so I'd put the older 2 in the 3rd row since they can buckle themselves, and the younger 2 in the middle row. How much of a pain will it be for the big kids to climb under the rf seats to get to the back? If we had an 8 seater, I'd think it would be worse. Especially since in a 7 seater, I can move one captains seat to the center for easy access to the back. We want either an Odyssey or Sienna, probably between 06-11ish. Appreciate any btdt advice!
post #2 of 11

We're in the same boat, shopping for a 7 or 8 seat Odyssey or Sienna. We only have 2 kids, and I'm pregnant with the third, but we are tentatively planning on a fourth and we have a 100 lb dog that travels with us frequently. I'm leaning towards an 8 seater, since it would be nice to be able to transport friends/family once in awhile, but we still have a few months to decide. I'm also interested in any insight anyone has.

post #3 of 11

Extra seats are always good I think.

 

Is the 8 seat a mini? That sounds like it might be a bit tight, but it looks like you have less kids than me. We are currently in a 7 - 3 in back, two in middle, driver and passenger in front. It is a chevy astro and has quite a bit of leg and storage room. My mil's is a silhouette and is awful with spacing - when the two seats are in the back there is no storage room at all and the kids have to crawl over the middle seats to get to them as there is no aisle. Not sure what the two you are looking at have as seating but if they are like that I would seriously reconsider because putting car seats in over the middle seats is a pita.

 

 

Not sure what we are going to do if we end up with another baby. If we had the money I'd be going for this - http://www.nissancommercialvehicles.com/nv-passenger

post #4 of 11

We have 4 DC and need a 8 seater. I have found that the older my kids get, the more extra seats I need. I have a difficult time fitting everyone in an 8 seater as it is. I do know some families that never ever drive other kids, I'm not entirely sure how they get away with that! I am always taking an extra kid home from school or dropping another kid at gymnastics. The trade off is that I take their kid and often they end up helping me out and picking up another day. I can't always get my four where they need to be (usually in four different places on the opposites sides of town at the exact same time) so I work out car pool situations as often as I can. 

post #5 of 11
Thread Starter 
Peony, how usable is the 8th seat? I'm worried about it being too small. And what about getting into the back? Is that a pain in the butt?not sure if we could fold down a seat in the middle row if there's a rf carseat on it. Do you think 2 rf seats could fit next to eachother in the middle row (one in the skinny center seat, one outboard) if one was a radian?
post #6 of 11
Quote:
Originally Posted by LiLStar View Post

Peony, how usable is the 8th seat? I'm worried about it being too small. And what about getting into the back? Is that a pain in the butt?not sure if we could fold down a seat in the middle row if there's a rf carseat on it. Do you think 2 rf seats could fit next to eachother in the middle row (one in the skinny center seat, one outboard) if one was a radian?


We have the 2005 Honda Odyssey and it has the skinny seat.  The Toyotas that year, though, had three more equal middle seats.  The current Hondas also have the more equally sized middles seats.  With more kids in seat belts, though, I think a major concern for you will be the number of upper latch connectors.  Our year had very few, so avoid it.  I think other years are better.

 

Personally, I'd go with the 8 seat.  You can always remove the inner seat (on the skinny ones) and scoot the outer seat over for general use but add it back in.  You might also need to get creative with placing the car seats.  I know that the Graco 32 fits in the skinny middle seat.  There should be no problem placing two Radians next to each other in two of the more normal sized seats, I haven't gotten to try on my skinny one yet (there would be space, but the seat might not be wide enough). I've talked to people who put their rear-facing seats in the back row and put the kids in through the back instead of having the older kids climbing over them in the center row, too.

post #7 of 11
Thread Starter 

Sounds like they vary so much year to year and model to model that we just need to take it van by van and put the seats in and see what its like :/ but from talking to people with the 8 seater it sounds like the 8th seat is pretty adaptable and moveable. No way in hell are the radians going in the same row :X the 2nd most important reason to get a van is so my boys can sit NO WHERE near eachother! LOL. 

post #8 of 11
Quote:
Originally Posted by LiLStar View Post
 

Sounds like they vary so much year to year and model to model that we just need to take it van by van and put the seats in and see what its like :/ but from talking to people with the 8 seater it sounds like the 8th seat is pretty adaptable and moveable. No way in hell are the radians going in the same row :X the 2nd most important reason to get a van is so my boys can sit NO WHERE near eachother! LOL. 

 

If you have the infant insert, though, you could get your four year old a combination seat and have the two radians rear-facing next to each other (since they're so narrow).

 

Good luck (and congrats)!

post #9 of 11
Thread Starter 

yeah, i can do that if i have to, (umm, and if i can find that infant insert, lol) but i just really *like* carseat shopping for the newbie and putting them in a fresh brand new seat that doesn't have another kid's pee accidents! haha! Also one thing i'm forgetting is since a van is overall more spacious than our tiny thing we're stuck with now, crawling under a rf seat and then over the middle seat probably isn't as annoying as i'm visualizing it to be. 

post #10 of 11

We have a massive 8 seater SUV rather then a minivan. We have to have AWD because we live in the mountains but the Toyota Sienna that is the only minivan with AWD, only comes in a 7 seater. I had it for a while, loved it, but needed the 8th seat with my crew. It really isn't as big of a deal to load. The kids in the very back just bail back anyway they want. Climbing over rows, scooting out the rear end. Sometimes I fold down the 40 part of the 3rd row and they exit that way, other times we do fold down the R 2nd row where there is not a car seat and they climb in "normally". My 11 year old is just now too big and complains if I don't fold the seat down instead of telling her to climb over rows. We do 2 and 2 kids in each row. My boys CAN NOT sit anywhere near each other as well. :wink 

post #11 of 11

The seat in the 2011 and newer Sienna's is skinny in the 8 seater.  The earlier years it is much more normal seat sized.

 

I have used an 8 seater 2011 or later Sienna as an owner loaner.  The captain's chairs in the 2nd row do slide forward on a track rather easily.  I don't know if they would with a seat installed, but it might be worth looking into.  On the older models, the captains chairs tumble really easily (not sure about the middle since I don't have that model, but I would assume so) which would make loading easier if you could tumble whatever seat does not have a child on it and then the last child in can sit in the middle 2nd row (assuming old enough for no seat or a booster which would be easy).  You can also fold down part of the back row and have kids get in through the trunk.

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