SUV or Minivan? - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 27 Old 08-09-2011, 11:22 AM - Thread Starter
 
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I know some other people were talking about minivans, and it has me thinking what we'd like to upgrade to in the next couple of years.  Right now we just have sedans, which probably won't fit three car seats across the back.  Our DD will be 5 and a half years older than DS so in just a few years the booster seats won't be an issue... I just want space in the car that will ACTUALLY fit 5 people, because right now, at best, I could get  2 kids in the back (being mine) and another adult in the front.  My need for a larger car stems from the fact that your child essentially cannot have friends over (or at least you can't take them anywhere) with the current safety laws/regulations.  I can't fit 3 car seats across the back, and Washington State has some of the highest requirements (booster from 40lbs until 8 years old or 4'9", and they cannot sit in front passenger seat until 13 "when practical").  With only 2 kids, I don't really care about having a third row or having that as much vehicle as a minivan provides, however, the cargo capacity is appealing, and something with 4 wheel drive would be nice, too.

 

Any suggestions/thoughts?

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#2 of 27 Old 08-09-2011, 12:19 PM
 
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I'm an SUV girl at heart but we went with a minivan because of gas. SUVs are gas guzzlers. Minivans are much cheaper to run and to fix. Also, the extra seating has turned out to be really valuable for playmates.

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#3 of 27 Old 08-10-2011, 05:57 AM
 
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ddcc from Oct.....but with my track record....I am probably a November Mamma anyway....lol

 

MINIVAN!!!!!!!!

 

we had a '97 Jepp TJ/Wrangler and upgraded to an SUV - '04 Honda CRV....had baby #2...no worries

 

now baby #3 and car seat drama.....acording to the techs on car-seat.org, we might be able to fit 3 across with special seats, much difficulty and a really good techs help, but they really recommend a different vehicle!!!!

 

If you do go the suv route...research the car seat forums about fitting kids in.....I really had not considered it...there was 3 anchors so we just assumed 3 seats ....


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#4 of 27 Old 08-10-2011, 08:21 AM
 
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We ended up getting an SUV last year before trying to get pregnant.  I wouldn't consider a minivan, because for some reason even though it snows pretty much EVERY year in Washington the roads are NEVER clear enough to guarantee you can drive down them in a sedan or minivan without getting in an accident.  Plus we live rurally.  We wanted 4 wheel drive.

 

The car seat laws just changed in WA (or are about to), they are now requiring a booster seat until 12 years old!  I have a son that is 8, and he is only about 8 inches shorter than me (Im 5'8") and weigh about 80 pounds.  His butt barely fits in a booster, and when he sits in one his head almost hits the top of the car...so they can forget about me trying to shove my giant kid in one of those.


 
 
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#5 of 27 Old 08-10-2011, 08:27 AM
 
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I've had three minivans and two SUVs - both Chevy Suburbans - and I wouldn't trade my current Suburban for anything but another Suburban.  I've owned a Chevy Conversion Astrovan, a Dodge Caravan, and a Mazda MPV.  Of the minivans, the MPV was my favorite - it was very sporty and did not drive or feel like a minivan. 

 

The Suburban is my all-time favorite vehicle that I have owned.  When we were considering having another child, we decided we needed a bigger vehicle.  My husband agreed to the Suburban because *I* wanted it - I had had one before and loved it and always wanted another.  He didn't particularly like it, but did it for me.  He now LOVES it.  He has even considered trading in his sedan for a second Suburban.  Okay, we aren't *actually* going to do that, but we both love the Suburban.  The gas mileage is comparable to the minivans I've owned, better than some, almost as good as the others.  The space for everyone and all of our stuff is wonderful.  Adults can sit anywhere and be comfortable - my mom actually prefers to be in the third row when we are on road trips - she likes the view.  And driving it is like sitting in your favorite living room chair and driving - it is so comfortable.  And the visibility can't be beat - you can so so much better than in a minivan. 


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#6 of 27 Old 08-10-2011, 09:18 AM
 
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off to google a suburban :)


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#7 of 27 Old 08-10-2011, 09:19 AM
 
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just did....not gonna happen...over $50,000 OMG!!!!

 

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off to google a suburban :)



 


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#8 of 27 Old 08-10-2011, 10:56 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by saoirse2007 View Post

just did....not gonna happen...over $50,000 OMG!!!!

 



 


Goodness!  We bought an Explorer for $18,000 brand new...and its spacious, seats 7- we easily took our 2 dogs, the 4 of us, and half our household to the beach for vacation.  The safety ratings and features are really good.  Maybe try looking into something like that?

 


 
 
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#9 of 27 Old 08-10-2011, 11:44 AM
 
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Used... growing up we had a minivan and then my dad started buying SUV's.. a suburban was first but I love the yukon they have now.  DH and I hope to buy it off them soon.  It's very good if you have an outdoor family.. I've borrowed it a few times to trailer my horse, or to tow the family boat... So may be also something to consider.  They do run abit higher then a mini van but you can find good deals on them used.  the yukon does guzzle more gas then the suburban did but it can also tow alot more.  I put my foot down w/ a SUV.. because I do own a horse, and we like to fish alot and will eventually purchase a boat so the family can go fishing.  If you have no intention or need to ever haul anything then a mini-van may be a good fit.. we also live fairly rural.. so a SUV is imo a safer ride as well. 

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#10 of 27 Old 08-10-2011, 02:41 PM
 
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I'm pregnant with our first and we just traded in our Prius for a new FJ Cruiser. WE LOVE IT! There's plenty of room in the back seat (my 6'2" dad sat back there no problem) and we went camping for a week with the dog and had enough room for everything. Plus, no problems on the WA forest roads!

 

I will say that if you have more than one (or two) kids that it probably would be too small. However, we're planning to just have the one so it's perfect for us. And I don't know if it's just that we were used to driving the 'Prius Way', but we're getting about 4-5 mpg more than what it states it should get. SWEET! :D

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#11 of 27 Old 08-10-2011, 03:15 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by saoirse2007 View Post

just did....not gonna happen...over $50,000 OMG!!!!

 



 

 

Used - definitely buy used.  We don't buy new vehicles - too much loss up front.  And Suburbans are work-horses that last forever.  We currently have over 120,000 miles on ours and have no intention of getting rid of it anytime soon.  Both Suburbans I've owned were purchased under $10,000.


 

 


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#12 of 27 Old 08-10-2011, 04:06 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dashley111 View Post

 

The car seat laws just changed in WA (or are about to), they are now requiring a booster seat until 12 years old!  I have a son that is 8, and he is only about 8 inches shorter than me (Im 5'8") and weigh about 80 pounds.  His butt barely fits in a booster, and when he sits in one his head almost hits the top of the car...so they can forget about me trying to shove my giant kid in one of those.


The law is that they have to be in a booster seat until they are 4'9".  It was 4'9" OR 8 years old, but I see the new recommendation is in fact until 12 years old, unless they have reached 4'9".  I'm only 5'2" myself, so I can only imagine I would have been 11 and trying to squeeze my butt into a damn booster!  LOL.  Not to mention they now recommend having your child rear-facing until 2 years old!!  I know we all want to keep out children safe, but jeez!  My daughter would NOT have had that!  Of course, she's still in a 5-point harness even though she is 5 and weighs 43 pounds, however, we'll probably switch to a booster soon.

 

 

Anyhow, THANKS for the advice mamas!  I guess we've still got lots of shopping around to do.  =D

 

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#13 of 27 Old 08-10-2011, 04:14 PM
 
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My dh and I are SUV over minivan people. We got a Subura Tribeca when we had two and were hoping for #3. When we finally had #3 the Tribeca was awful. We could fit 2 child car seats in the middle row but there was no room for our oldest. It did have a 3rd row but it was inaccessible once the child car seats were in because there was no room to get to the back and the seats could not be folded down. My teenager used to climb through the back to get to the 3rd row if we were all in the vehicle.

When I got pg again I got a minivan. I miscarried that pg but have since had a 4th child. The minivan is definitely much easier. I love the automatic doors and all the room for child car seats and bigger people to go wherever. There's no way we could fit everyone in a SUV unless we got a huge one like an Expedition or Excursion or whatever it is. I was not willing to get such a huge, gas guzzling vehicle.

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#14 of 27 Old 08-10-2011, 06:10 PM
 
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We are only considering mini vans b/c of the gas consumption factor and the fact that once you upgrade to a giant vehicle, I feel you might as well capitalize on that and be able to carry as many people and as much cargo as possible.  When the grandparents visit and you have 7 people to lug around plus stuff even a 7 seater won't work b/c you can't fit 3 car seats across the middle row unless you get a specific vehicle that allows this (like the Honda Odyssey which has 8 seats anyway), which means someone is squeezing in between 2 car seats in that tiny little spot- not fun.  So when you think of all the times you will likely be carpooling or hauling loads in your future it just seems worth it to go the full on mini van route.

 

We just test drove the Sienna (LE- base model) and it was really nice.  The only thing I would want to add is a dvd player for long car rides.   It seems to be harder to find an LE with a dvd player, though.   We plan to test drive the Odyssey and Quest next.


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#15 of 27 Old 08-12-2011, 12:02 PM
 
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We have a minivan, and I really do love it (2001 Pontiac Montana). DH drives a 1996 Blazer. We're looking at sometime in the next year being able to sell both our vehicles and getting me an SUV with a third row and him a little car for driving to work (likely a Cavalier; we love them!). I'd keep the van, but we have a travel trailer and with a fourth child we can't all fit in the Blazer. Plus I'd prefer to keep my 6 year old in her 5pt harness and fit 3 kids in the Blazer involves her being in a belt positioning booster. She just hasn't proven herself mature enough to handle being in a booster for long trips.

 

And yes, buy used. New cars are one of the biggest scams out there.


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#16 of 27 Old 08-12-2011, 12:16 PM
 
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We just finished test driving the Odyssey and Quest.  The Odyssey was really nice, but in order to get any add ons you have to up to a much more expensive model, which have leather seats (yuck).  It was cost prohibitive.   The Quest just wasn't convincing for us.  So we're going with a Sienna and the local dealership located one with a DVD player.  We made an offer and it was accepted so now we just need to make sure that it's still available as it was at an out of state dealership.  Yay!
 

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And yes, buy used. New cars are one of the biggest scams out there.


We have found that the financing available on used cars is much higher than on new cars and there are often lots of incentives for new cars as well.  Not to mention that you don't have to worry about mileage on the car or past accidents.  So unless we bought with cash, a new car is more affordable for us than a used one would be!
 

 


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#17 of 27 Old 08-12-2011, 12:31 PM
 
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We got a minivan (2010 Honda Odyssey) last year.  Mileage stinks compared to my old CRV and my husband's Civic hybrid but still better than a big SUV.  Unless you get a really big SUV, like a Suburban or something, then there is very little cargo room once the third row is in use.  Also, the third row of most SUVs are not as roomy and comfy as my van. They are really more like jump seats, which are fine for older kids who can climb back there on their own and no longer need a carseat, but not easy to install seats or for an adult to get back there.  I have ridden comfortably in the back row of my van a couple of times since I've been pregnant. Other pros of the van are that it drives more like a car than a truck and the sliding doors make it so much easier to get kids buckled in the car seat.  The extra cargo space is nice, but I do sometimes wonder if we really needed such a big vehicle.  But then I think about how much easier it will be to pack up two kids, all their stuff, presents, etc. for the drive to see family at Christmas.

 

SUVs are generally "cooler" than vans but, assuming you are going to buy a large vehicle, vans are a lot more practical in my opinion.  You can always look at smaller SUVs.  I did love my CRV, but the leg room up front was really tight once we had a rear-facing car seat in the back.

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#18 of 27 Old 08-12-2011, 12:36 PM
 
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Quote:
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We just finished test driving the Odyssey and Quest.  The Odyssey was really nice, but in order to get any add ons you have to up to a much more expensive model, which have leather seats (yuck).  It was cost prohibitive.   The Quest just wasn't convincing for us.  So we're going with a Sienna and the local dealership located one with a DVD player.  We made an offer and it was accepted so now we just need to make sure that it's still available as it was at an out of state dealership.  Yay!
 


We have found that the financing available on used cars is much higher than on new cars and there are often lots of incentives for new cars as well.  Not to mention that you don't have to worry about mileage on the car or past accidents.  So unless we bought with cash, a new car is more affordable for us than a used one would be!
 

 


I'm with you Jaimee - you often get sub-par financing with used cars and you have to worry something might be wrong with it. We bought our last two cars new (from Toyota - a Prius and then an FJ) and we got amazing deals, plus the maintenance packages are awesome. I *do* have a used car, though - my precious Volvo 240 wagon. But they don't make those new anymore and I just adore them, so that's what I wanted. My dad is a Volvo mechanic (of 30 years) so he got it for me and I completely trusted that it was a good car - and it has been for the last five years! I love that thing to death. As awesome as our new car (the FJ) is, I will never love a car the way I love that Volvo. WOW sorry for the tangent... I'm passionate about my wagon ROTFLMAO.gif

 

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#19 of 27 Old 08-12-2011, 02:54 PM
 
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We drove out to Colorado a few weeks ago and rented a 2011 loaded Expedition and it was really nice. It wasn't the super long one, can't remember what it was called but I could drive it with out it feeling like a bus. If we had the money and needed a bigger vehicle that is probably what we would get. I was able to get my ds's nautilus and my sisters rf myride next to each other easily, and wouldn't have had a problem installing a third seat in the same row. All three seats had latch and tether anchors in the center row and I believe there was one set in the third.


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#20 of 27 Old 08-12-2011, 03:04 PM
 
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When DH and I got married, he was a devoted "new car buyer."  In fact, one of the more uncomfortable moments when we were dating was the day he bought a new car.  I think he was rebelling a bit knowing that I was against buying new and once we were married it would probably not happen. I am thrilled to report that after taking a money management course (http://www.daveramsey.com/fpu/?ictid=text4.FPU.aug - SOOOOO worth the money and time) and buying our first vehicle together (used, of course) he is now also convinced about buying used.   The Suburban we bought used three years ago is still worth about what we paid for it - we shopped around (for the car AND the financing) and got a great deal.

 

 

Buying new versus buying used - here are a couple of links worth a look:

 

http://www.daveramsey.com/article/saying-no-to-new-cars/lifeandmoney_automobiles/

 

http://www.daveramsey.com/article/drive-free/lifeandmoney_automobiles/

 

http://www.daveramsey.com/article/the-truth-about-car-payments/lifeandmoney_automobiles/


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#21 of 27 Old 08-12-2011, 04:07 PM
 
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See, we won't finance vehicles, and DH does all our repairs himself so financing and repair concerns aren't issues for us. Unless it's to buy our dream acreage and we put at least 50% down, DH and I have committed ourselves to NEVER using credit for any purchase again.

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#22 of 27 Old 08-12-2011, 06:40 PM
 
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Yeah, I realize that buying a used car would likely save a bit of money in the long run b/c new cars depreciate so quickly.  However, we did not find any used mini vans for significantly cheaper than new ones- by significant I mean enough cheaper that it would still come out significantly less than a new vehcile when you take into consideration the increased fincancing charges on a used vehicle.  To get it cheap enough you would have to purchase a car that was more than several years old and by then you also have to consider how many miles are on it and what other things might have gone wrong with it. 

 

Also a lot of newer used vehicles are previously leased cars or rental cars and there are really pros and cons to those... people tend to beat up on those types of cars a lot more.  Otherwise, you have to wonder why someone was trading in the car after just a year or two.  So for us, buying new is really a peace of  mind sort of thing on top of the financial aspects.


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#23 of 27 Old 08-14-2011, 11:59 AM
 
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 We have a minivan that we bought new, We have a 07 Quest. After it's paid off we will go without payments for 1yr and then trade in dh's 97gmc to buy another truck probably.

 

 


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#24 of 27 Old 08-14-2011, 12:39 PM
 
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I'm super excited. I just sold my 2004 CR-V and am about to go pick up my new 2009 Odyssey! We got a good deal on the Odyssey. New just wasn't in our budget. The van only has 35,000 miles on it and one owner.

I initially hated the idea of getting a minivan. I loved my CR-V. But this is kid #4 and there is just no more room.

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#25 of 27 Old 08-23-2011, 04:38 PM
 
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Here's our new beast of a ride!

 

6073667745_8c21b08daf_z.jpg

 

6073657897_6cba25e2cf.jpg   The kids love playing in it and riding in it!  I'm starting to feel more confident about driving it.


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#26 of 27 Old 08-23-2011, 05:06 PM
 
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Love the new ride, Jaimee. Sooo jealous! I would have loved a Sienna or Odyssey when we were shopping, but they were out of our budget. 

 

As for used vs. new. We've always bought used too. Usually just a couple of years old for considerably less money. We did find when we were shopping for the van though that they must hold their value pretty well. It was difficult to find a used van for much less than a new one unless we bought one with way more miles on it than we were comfortable with. We ended up finding one that was only a year old with 8k miles on it. Since it was so new and was a program vehicle with so few miles, we got really great financing on it. It came with all the warranties a new vehicle comes with and an interest rate comparable to new vehicles. It really was the best of both worlds... it was a couple thousand dollars less than a new one and came with the peace of mind a new vehicle comes with.


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#27 of 27 Old 08-23-2011, 05:33 PM
 
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Love it, Jaimee! I didn't have much trouble getting used to mine. I moved from a CRV to an Odyssey, so maybe that wasn't too much of a jump, though. I super love the automatic doors. My girls LOVE the van. They sit in separate rows now. Ha! We only have one in a booster, so they can move around and switch seats easily. And we can bring the dog with us places. 

 

Can I share mine, too... 

 

289738_10150254743126736_507166735_7946628_3327290_o.jpg


Amanda, mom to dsd (16), dd (11), dd (8), and ds (born 11/12/11).
 

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