Best Mini Van? - Mothering Forums

View Poll Results: What mini van do you recommend?
Toyota Sienna 7 100.00%
Honda Odyssey 9 100.00%
Dodge Grand Caravan 1 16.67%
Nissan Quest 1 16.67%
Mazda CX9 0 0%
Other 3 50.00%
Multiple Choice Poll. Voters: 6. You may not vote on this poll

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#1 of 21 Old 08-05-2011, 03:55 PM - Thread Starter
 
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What are your recommendations for mini vans?  We will have three kiddos and grandparents that visit frequently so we are thinking 7+ seater.  We don't need a lot of bells and whistles, but do want a nice, dependable vehicle that is not a huge, gas guzzling beast.  If you selected "other" please let me know what your rec is instead.  Thanks!!!


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#2 of 21 Old 08-05-2011, 07:32 PM
 
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 I have a 07 Nissan Quest and love it, we bought it new at the start of 07.  In 09 i had a 09 Toyota Sienna with power sliding doors as a rental... it was way smaller length wise and height wise than my van. I can stand pretty much almost upright inside my van which is nice when it was raining and my kids need help buckling up in their car seat.  My van was the base model and it came with a dvd player already installed  which has been nice on long car trips.

 

 I've test drove the 2011 Quest recently and love that they finally made the sliding door windows roll down, i also loved that even the lowest model was push button start.

 

 

Edited to add if your not buying new, you can get a used 07 for  around $12,000 or so last looked.


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#3 of 21 Old 08-06-2011, 08:03 AM
 
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I parked next to a quest the other day and my sienna was definitely longer (just an fyi).  Love my Sienna.  Lots of storage and room.  We fit 4 adults, 3 kids, and all our luggage to go on a 3 day trip to Canada last year!


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#4 of 21 Old 08-06-2011, 09:15 AM
 
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I can't say anything as far as mini vans go, but we've had Toyota cars for the last five years (both bought new) and I'm not sure I'll ever drive anything else (WELL! Other than my precious Volvo 240 wagon, but that's my baby and I'll never replace it). Toyota has been a pleasure to work with both at the sales office and the maintenance shop. Our dealership (Lake City Toyota in Seattle) has been awesome to us. And, pretty much all new Toyotas come with prepaid maintenance for a set number of years or miles - that's been LOVELY. Just drop the car off for service and pick it up a few hours later. No huge bills. And other than the scheduled prepaid maintenance, we've never had to do anything extra. 

 

Just a few months ago we traded in our Prius which we bought new for an FJ Cruiser (which we also got new). Nothing against mini vans, but we really didn't want one. We wanted something we could still go camping in (and in the PNW sometimes you need a good SUV to get to where you are going). We LOVE the FJ cruiser, but we're still just a family of two and when the LO comes it will be easy to work with. Any more than two kiddos and it's probably too small. 

 

Anyway! Just my two cents thumb.gif

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#5 of 21 Old 08-07-2011, 08:22 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Anyone have the Toyota Highlander or Honda Pilot?  I know they are smaller in the back and have less storage when all seats are taken, but I'd still love to hear any experiences anyone has with them.  Thanks!


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#6 of 21 Old 08-07-2011, 12:26 PM
 
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I love my Sienna (2011 7 passenger version with 4wd). I initially had troubles to get to the latch (it's somewhat burried) and I had to figure out how to get the Radian more upright, but that was solved quickly. The Sienna is the only one that comes with 4WD which is necessary where I live and it's a lot cheaper than the Honda e.g. We love the car... Even DH like to take it to work cause it's so comfy (we bought the XLE version).

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#7 of 21 Old 08-07-2011, 01:32 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nia82 View Post

I love my Sienna (2011 7 passenger version with 4wd). I initially had troubles to get to the latch (it's somewhat burried) and I had to figure out how to get the Radian more upright, but that was solved quickly. The Sienna is the only one that comes with 4WD which is necessary where I live and it's a lot cheaper than the Honda e.g. We love the car... Even DH like to take it to work cause it's so comfy (we bought the XLE version).



The buried latch is unique to the 2011.  All prior model years the latch is really easily accessible.  In the redesign though thought it would be a good idea to make it harder to install car seats!

 


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#8 of 21 Old 08-07-2011, 02:08 PM
 
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I have a 08 Oddy  and have had ZERO complaints   I test drove the Grand Caravan and Sienna and it was down to the oddy or the sienna  I like the interior better on the honda what it came down to was the sales man was more helpful at the Honda dealership and the Toyota guy talked over me and spoke directly to my husband.  DH kept mentioning "I" was the one he needed to  address because it was MY car.    In the end the salesman was the deciding factor.  I would have been happy with either the Sienna or the Oddy.


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#9 of 21 Old 08-07-2011, 02:19 PM - Thread Starter
 
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What about the seat removal/laying down in the Sienna, Odyssey and Quest? 


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#10 of 21 Old 08-07-2011, 02:39 PM
 
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In at least the 2009 Sienna (and earlier I believe) the rear bench seat (3rd row) folds flat into the trunk area.  It 's a 2/3 split, so you can leave one seat up and fold the other part down or leave two up and fold one down, or all of them down.  The 2nd row captain's seats tumble forward and can be secured to the front seats with a strap, but they do not fold into the floor.  You can also remove them entirely.  In the 7 seater, you can have the captain's chairs each outboard, or you can move the passenger side chair to the middle and have two next to each other.

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jaimee View Post

What about the seat removal/laying down in the Sienna, Odyssey and Quest? 



 


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#11 of 21 Old 08-07-2011, 04:46 PM
 
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We have 2010 Chrysler Town and Country and we really like it. It was longer than some of the other models on the lot (can't remember which ones). Plus it had lots more storage space, push button fold and go back seats, and storage space under the middle seats.


Jess  SAHM to Daniel  (09/07) and Samuel  (06/10)and Katie Lee (11/11) we're with #4 edd 4/15 Wifey to my "geek" : David  for 14 yrs. ( 4/09 @ 19 weeks).
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#12 of 21 Old 08-07-2011, 06:53 PM
 
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We go for safety, and the odyssey gets good ratings. The Toyota recalls made me wary of the Sienna, but we are Honda people in general. Right now, I have an old 3 door Quest, and it's making me crazy. Can't wait to get an Odyssey.

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#13 of 21 Old 08-08-2011, 11:56 AM
 
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I have an '11 Town and Country, and I really, really like it a lot. It has a lot of room behind the 3rd row, and the stow n go seats are really hard to beat.


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#14 of 21 Old 08-08-2011, 12:17 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Yes the seat folding in the Town and Country is impressive and the fact that they include standard extras like a DVD player and navigation system.  But it feels like it is lacking some of quality of the Sienna, Odyssey and Quest.  I'd sort of ruled it out, but I see two votes for it...


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#15 of 21 Old 08-08-2011, 07:53 PM
 
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in the 07 Quest the captains chairs fold down and forward almost flat onto the floor, the rear bench pulls back and folds down into the trunk space.

 

in the 2011 Quest  where in the older models the rear bench folded back and into the floor, it's covered hidden storage area and the bench folds flat forward same as the captains chairs that also fold forward and almost flat on the floor.

 

 


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#16 of 21 Old 08-09-2011, 11:55 AM
 
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Another vote for the Town & Country.  We have a 2004 model that we bought in 2008, and we've had a good experience.  LOVE the stow & go seats.  No major repairs have been necessary, but we are having new troubles with the power open/close on one side.

 

We looked at the Dodge Caravan as well & liked the T&C better.

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#17 of 21 Old 08-09-2011, 06:06 PM
 
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Love my 06 Sienna! So nice to drive, comfy and HUGE! Plus AWD which is nice.


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#18 of 21 Old 08-24-2011, 08:44 PM
 
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I don't know what is the 'best' but we recently got a 2011 Dodge Grand Caravan and I'm happy with it.  My 3 year old calls it our "red sport van" winky.gif.  The price point was a major consideration as well as the fact that both rows of back seats fold flat...no hauling seats out of the van!  Nice for trips to Ikea etc.  We've taken it on several road trips so far this summer and it worked out great.  If I had three young kids close in age the 8 passenger Honda would probably be the way to go since they could all go in the 2nd row, but as that isn't an issue for us the seating in the Dodge works out fine. 


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#19 of 21 Old 08-26-2011, 11:07 AM
 
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We have an 05 Sienna XLE and a 06 Sienna LE, both with 70k miles. Generally very happy with them.

 

What is your car seat situation? Do you require LATCH in the 3rd row? For 2011, Sienna took out one of the LATCH positions in 3rd row. For us, that makes the 2011 unacceptable since all 4 of my kids are in tethered seats. The 2011 Odyssey also has something not OK for me - you can't put the two captain's chairs next to one another with a side aisle, only possible config is with a middle aisle . We find that having the passengers from the 3rd row have to climb over the passenger in the 2nd row to get out (school dropoff) is a problem.We have a rear facing seat in the captain's chairs 2nd row, and it is impossible to get around the RF seat. The side aisle is great, nobody whacks the 2nd row passenger with a backpack on the way out the door.

 

I have squeezed in the 3rd row between the 2 car seats when we've had MIL in the front seat next to DH. It's not ideal but OK for short drives. We've had a kid back there (carpool to Scouts) and it's fine. I think it would be a challenge to get three car seats back there.

 

I hope something changes in the next 2 years with one of these vans or I won't be getting a new one.


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#20 of 21 Old 08-26-2011, 11:11 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JBaxter View Post

I have a 08 Oddy  and have had ZERO complaints   I test drove the Grand Caravan and Sienna and it was down to the oddy or the sienna  I like the interior better on the honda what it came down to was the sales man was more helpful at the Honda dealership and the Toyota guy talked over me and spoke directly to my husband.  DH kept mentioning "I" was the one he needed to  address because it was MY car.    In the end the salesman was the deciding factor.  I would have been happy with either the Sienna or the Oddy.



it is STUNNING to me that salespeople still do this in 2011. Especially for a minivan.

I have had a similar experience twice, buying my Sienna and buying my Sequoia. They asked if my DH needed to come in and approve. I said, no, it was my car and only me on the title. (also paying cash which they didn't like but that's another story).


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#21 of 21 Old 08-28-2011, 12:40 PM - Thread Starter
 
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We did end up buying a 2011 Toyota Sienna LE.  So far it's been great.  We will use latch for two of the three car seats, so that won't be an issue, hopefully.  It came with DVD players, too, which is great for those long road trips.  It took me a bit to get used to its shear size... I felt about 2" tall driving it around, but I'm doing better now.  I still haven't had to parallel park it yet, so we'll see how that goes when the time comes, but so far so good!

 

6073667745_8c21b08daf.jpg


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