If not an SUV...then what?? - Mothering Forums

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Old 06-05-2005, 11:21 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Okay, so this is *not* an obnoxious "I've used an SUV all my life and I turned out fine" thread, I promise!

I was wondering, for those of you who are so very against SUVs (and fwiw, I don't like them most of the time either....)...what is a large family to do?

For example, I plan on having at least 3 birth children, a husband, and at least one foster child. I am assuming that at least one of my kids will be involved in sports and/or have friends that may need transporting to/from games, practice, play dates, etc...and I'd guess that an SUV would be one of the only ways to go...Except when it would be just me and dh/dp going somewhere, or just me and one or 2 of the kids, we'd take the "other" car, a smaller one. So what kind of vehicle can I get to comfortably accomodate all these people while at the same time remaining kind to the environment? If there's a hybrid SUV by then, I'll certainly consider it....but right now, for large, active families I don't see many options.

Right now I'm driving a teeny Chevy Metro with EXCELLENT gas milage so this doesn't affect me right now....but right now it's just me and ds, but I'm assuming that I'll have to get a bigger car sooner or later! This thing barely fits my son with his car seat in the back!

TIA,
Kelly

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Old 06-05-2005, 11:32 PM
 
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Well, mini-vans are both more gas efficient and safer than SUVs.

 

 

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Old 06-05-2005, 11:39 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Okay, I think you're officially stalking me. Please cease and desist. Mods! Please help! I'm being harassed! Next thing you know, she'll be telling me not to belt up!
:LOL

TOTALLY KIDDING! (well, mostly)

But that's interesting...I'll keep that in mind when I have my brood. (of course, I have to find a boyfriend who will become dp/dh 1st.....well, idealistically-for me)

I really didn't know that. Are they relatively the same size?

Kelly

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Old 06-05-2005, 11:52 PM
 
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Well, we have a smaller SUV (Mazda Tribute) and it only seats 5. To get a 7 seater SUV, you typically have to get one of the "big-boys", and those are much more gas guzzling.

Once one of our current cars dies, we will move up to a mini van. They seat 7, get better mileage than a large SUV and have cool bells and whistles, like in ground storage and other cool options. I also like the ones where the seats fold down so if you need the cargo space, you have it.

Jenn, perpetually tired mom to DS(9): DD(4.5): DD(2) :
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Old 06-06-2005, 01:24 AM
 
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but...but...then you have to be seen in a mini van!!!!

Ok, so I'm an SUV driver (well, I always was, now we have a 4 door pickup and I HATE it) My Nissan Pathfinder got great mileage--better than my friends Caravan anyway--it was also more reliable (although that argument would not hold true if you went north american SUV or Japanese mini van-KWIM?)
For us, we need a truck type vehicle, we live on a dirt road, on a farm and we need the 4x4, we need the hauling capability--and well, farm people laugh at mini vans--I woudln't want to be laughed at!!

FTR though, as a pp said, once you need seating for more than 5 you need to go to the big SUV's and I don't like those, in my opinion they no longer function like an SUV was meant to function--all they do is replace the full size van--and yes, they are gas pigs. I think if I had to choose between a humungo SUV and a mini van I may bite my lip and just get the windows tinted really, really, really dark

I would be interested to see recent research stating that mini vans are safer than SUV's though, in the beginning definitely, but rollover issues have since been resolved.
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Old 06-06-2005, 01:38 AM
 
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We're car-free, but my parents have a minivan, which they pick us up in occasionally. Our kids think it's a real treat to ride in a car. Or minivan. Or whatever it is.

It's very comfortable, seats a lot of people and fits a lot of stuff.



They did look into the gas mileage differences and there's apparently a big difference between minivans and SUVs.

Will keep my mouth shut about SUVs otherwise.
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Old 06-06-2005, 01:45 AM
 
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By the time you have all those other people in your family, hopefully the hybrid minivans will be out there.

Minivans are not as much of a danger to other people in cars, use less gas, and don't support the status culture of SUV's.

Minivans are way cooler. I don't think people look cool in SUV's at all.

L.
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Old 06-06-2005, 01:47 AM
 
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I don't even think SUVs are that great for large families- they're great if you're a midwife who lives in a very hilly area and need a vehicle that can handle the hills in the snow. They're not very efficient in cities when you plan on hauling around a lot of people and/or stuff.

If you've got a large family, you need a minivan. If you've got a huge family, you need a full-sized van

Ruth, single mommy to Leah, 19, Hannah, 18 (commuting to college), and Jack, 13(homeschooled)
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Old 06-06-2005, 01:51 AM
 
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I would go with a minivan as well. We had one for a while and I loved it but we only have one child so we didn't really need it, I just liked the ability to haul furniture and other large items. We have two small 4 door cars now.
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Old 06-06-2005, 02:05 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ruthla
I don't even think SUVs are that great for large families- they're great if you're a midwife who lives in a very hilly area and need a vehicle that can handle the hills in the snow. They're not very efficient in cities when you plan on hauling around a lot of people and/or stuff.[/b]
I've never understood the whole "must have a minivan for a large family" notion. My mom had an Explorer. It didn't have any more passenger or cargo room than my old Volvo wagon. It was just higher off the ground and had a little more head room (and less room - imagine that). Her neighbor had three children 3 and under, had one of those gargantuan SUVs and it was a royal pain in the tuckus to get a child into the carseat in the 3d row. A minivan would have been so much easier.
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Old 06-06-2005, 02:13 AM
 
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Minivan....or 15 passanger van.....depending on how large of a family you are aiming for

Mama to 9 so far:Mother of Joey (20), Dominick (13), Abigail (11), Angelo (8), Mylee (6), Delainey (3), Colton (2) and Baby 8 and Baby 9 coming sometime in July 2013.   If evolution were true, mothers would have three arms!

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Old 06-06-2005, 03:36 AM
 
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What's wrong with being seen in a minivan? I'll drive a minivan over an SUV any day. If you're curious about good minivans, Honda, Toyota, and Nissan make great ones. Mine is a Nissan Quest and I love it. The gas mileage is o.k. I think I get just under 20 miles to the gallon most of the time. It's still a lot though. Since we only have two kids, we can take out the middle row of seats, put the kids in the far back, and have all kinds of room for pretty much anything. We can seat seven people total.

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Old 06-06-2005, 04:56 AM
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my honda minivan is soooso comfortable and spacious
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Old 06-06-2005, 05:10 AM
 
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We bought a Suburban because it was the safest vehicle in our price range that would hold 8 people. We also live rural; many dirt roads and snow in the winter, so we wanted 4wd (or AWD on a minivan).

The problem w/minivans, for us, was that they only seat 7, and we wanted 8; also, minivans are not safer when it comes to rear-end collisions, as the distance between the rear hatch and the third row seat is very little, depending on the van, some only have 8-12 inches of space! Not safe at all. The larger, older minivans like the Dodge Grand Caravans have better cargo space in back. We did have a Caravan before we got the Suburban, and we will never buy another one again, lol. Same with most of the mid-size SUV's that have the little third row seat in back- they are hard to access and very close to the rear hatch, so IMO not safe at all.

If you want a safe minivan, then you really need to get an Odyssey or a Sienna, they have the most cargo room in back IIRC, but they were way out of our price range, even used. And they only seat 7.

I know some large families that have 12 passenger vans, and they get awful mileage and have an extremely high chance of rollover, so I'd never buy one. When I was researching rollover rates for SUV's, the ones w/the higest rates were the mid-size SUV's; the smaller ones, like Toyota RAV4, and the super large ones like the Suburban had the lowest rates, but the mid-sized, like the Explorer, had much higher ones.

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Old 06-06-2005, 09:05 AM
 
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Some wagons have a 3rd row - I have the Mercedes E320 wagon, which has this feature. Only thing is the cargo space in the reaer is obviously smaller. I think the higher end Volvo wagon models also have this feature available.
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Old 06-06-2005, 09:47 AM
 
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Grisandole, they are making minivans with an 8th seat option. It started with the redesigned Sienna in 2004. You are rigth though, they are really pricey, especially considering you can get a decent house for $50-60,000 around these parts.
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Old 06-06-2005, 11:53 AM
 
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I have a "small" SUV (is that an oxymoron?) It's a Blazer that only seats 5. It was plenty big enough when we first got it, but with two preteens and a carseat they're getting a bit cramped. I wish I could afford to trade in on a minivan...anyways, reason for my post is that the Blazer gets better gas mileage than our Lumina (car, not minivan) did that we traded in. Hmmmm...
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Old 06-06-2005, 02:07 PM
 
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The Chrysler Pacifica kinda Van/SUV 5 star crash rating and has a third row.

I am trading in my minivan today for a station wagon today I don't like the way my van handles and it is too big for us we rarely use the third row
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Old 06-06-2005, 02:11 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by trishshack
Grisandole, they are making minivans with an 8th seat option. It started with the redesigned Sienna in 2004. You are rigth though, they are really pricey, especially considering you can get a decent house for $50-60,000 around these parts.
Yes, they came out right after we bought our used Suburban.......I'm hoping that by the time we can trade our Suburban in we can afford a gently used Sienna, and hoping even more that they'll have a hybrid out by then!

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Old 06-06-2005, 02:19 PM
 
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We got a minivan because it was the only vehicle in our price-range that would fit our 3-person family and our two giant dogs. The safety-rating is a huge plus!
We hope to have at least one more child, and perhaps foster in the future. Though, the dogs wouldn't both fit very well if we had to use the third-row seat. :LOL
I like my Honda Odyssey, but I think I would've liked the Toyota Sienna better.

ETA: I hate my van's color (I would've had to wait for months to get the color I wanted). And I had real issues with the whole minivan soccer mom idea. But, I covered the rear of the van with bumper stickers. You can fit a TON of bumper stickers on the back of a van! So, that took care of the uncool minivan issue.

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Old 06-06-2005, 02:29 PM
 
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We have a Sienna and we love it!!!
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Old 06-06-2005, 02:36 PM
 
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never mind
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Old 06-06-2005, 04:02 PM
 
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I miss my Ford Escort station wagon. I seized the engine last summer. My parents gave me their new Jeep GC, which gets 18-21 mpg. I miss my Ford Escort station wagon. Oh. I already said that. It was 10 years old and on it's way out, but I could get 30 mpg.

If we could afford it, I'd get another station wagon in a heartbeat. Jetta, Volvo, something like that. Our old Volvo had more space than the jeep, and it had some life left on it when we got rid of it at 250,000 miles.

Remember those big boat station wagons from the 70's? Converting one of those to biodiesel would be awesome!
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Old 06-06-2005, 04:54 PM
 
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We' re probably going to have a third kid, and we plan to continue to drive our Subaru wagon 95% of the time for many years to come. For that 5% of the time (e.g., trips, carpooling, etc) when we need more space, we are planning to get a Suburban. We're trying to put that purchase off for as long as possible though.

We use our current second car, an old truck, a fair amount for yardwork, getting firewood, and stuff like that so we need a vehicle that can also tow a heavy trailer.

~ Meredith, mom to dd(Jan '02), ds1(May '04) and ds2 (June '07) ~ :
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Old 06-06-2005, 05:27 PM
 
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I will not ever drive a minivan. Nor will my family be purchasing another SUV. : The one we currently have is such a waste for us. I shudder to think of the payments and gas money that go into the thing every month. We could be sooo much further ahead!

That said, I can clearly see myself caving to one or the other in the future unless someone really intelligent comes up with a gas/electric hybrid alternative that will allow me, DH, and all five of our (future) children to travel around together. Otherwise, I'm happy with two small to mid-size, older, getting great mileage, sedans. Please.

I have no answer for the op. We'll soon be in this boat as well!

Stacy - mom to Lily 5-20-06 , Angel, stillborn @ 25 wks 12-17-07 , and Cami 4-21-09.
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Old 06-06-2005, 05:45 PM
 
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We're in the market for a mini-van right now. I wouldn't drive an SUV because of their horrible gas mileage and because I hate the status marker they've become.

So far, we've test-driven the Toyota Sienna and the Honda Odyssey. The Sienna has the 8th seat option as a pp mentioned. Both are super-nice and comfy, but a lot more money than we want to spend. They also only have 3 yr warranties. Of course, Hondas and Toyotas last a long time and don't depreciate in value as quickly as some other cars, but I think we'll end up getting a KIA or a Saturn Relay since they are cheaper and the warranties are better (10 years, I think). So while they may not hold their value as long, and theoretically, don't last as long, at least they'll be under warranty for a much longer time
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Old 06-06-2005, 06:26 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by shannon0218
I would be interested to see recent research stating that mini vans are safer than SUV's though, in the beginning definitely, but rollover issues have since been resolved.
There's a good report about how to make a safe SUV from Public Citizen (whatever you think about Ralph Nader in general, it's clear that his automobile safety campaigns have saved hundreds of thousands of lives)
"SUVs: The high cost of lax fuel economy standards for American Families"
http://www.citizen.org/documents/costs_of_suvs.pdf
Appendix F shows what kinds of features would make a safe SUV .

One of the most enlightening studies I've seen was from 2002: "An Analysis of Traffic Deaths by Vehicle Type and Model" by Tom Wenzel
http://www.aceee.org/pubs/t021full.pdf
Page 4 of this report has a graph that shows the relationship between vehicle type and safety for occupents and for those outside of the vehicle. The report shows that SUVs and pickup trucks are significantly more dangerous than just about any car you could buy.

You can find out if your vehicle is likely to rollover since the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA) rates vehicles for rollover potential: http://www.safercar.gov/

--AmyB
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Old 06-06-2005, 06:37 PM
 
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Ford has their new Freestyle which is kind of like a beefed up station wagon. It has 3rd row seating and can seat up to 7. It's lot like those old big Volvo station wagons (because it's a built on a Volvo platform anyway). It doesn't have the roll risk that mini-vans or SUVs do. And it's pretty good on gas. 29 highway, I think.
They also have the hybrid Escape so maybe by the time you want a large vehicle, they'll have a hybrid Explorer or Excursion.
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Old 06-06-2005, 07:57 PM
 
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With 6 children, we outgrew our Dodge Grande in Feb 2004, but due to $$ we couldn't afford anything else until this past February when I got 7K back on income taxes, and I bought a 2002 Suburban. It had very low milage, looks like a freakin' 4x4 (huge wheels the owner put on before us), and it has 9 seats!! The front is a bench-type but the middle seat goes down into a console when not in use. It's very nice. Cost me $50 to fill each time. Only down-side. : But, we love it!!
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Old 06-06-2005, 08:00 PM
 
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I drive a Ford Windstar (minivan); it's got a 5-star safety rating for the third row (and for the other crash tests ). The danger in rear end collisions has less to do with the space between the rear door and the back seat than with the shape and sturdiness of the frame. You also have to consider that rear end collisions happen a lot less frequently than head on collisions and 't-bones'; the safety rating in the off-center front end crash test is the one you want to be 5-stars, even if none of the rest are, because it's much more likely (statistically speaking) that that's the kind of accident you'll be involved in.

I'd love to see a hybrid minivan someday. That'd rock!

Rynna, Mama to Bean (8), Boobah (6), Bella (4) and Bear (2)
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