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Thread: Lets talk about minivans

  1. #1

    Default Lets talk about minivans

    Well it seems that I've been dragged kicking and screaming into minivan ownership. Our '07 Mazda 3 is just too small any more so when it is paid off in June we plan on buying a new or close to new minivan.

    So here are my questions for everyone:

    What sort of minivan do you own?

    Are you happy with it?

    Can you get 3 car seats in the second row?

    Any other info you'd like to volunteer:

    Thanks in advance!
    Megan (29) and Jayson (31) Happily married 9 years



  2. #2
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    Apr 2007
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    I have a Toyota Sienna (I think it's a 2011?) LOOOOOOOOOOOOVE it. I have 3 car seats in there - infant seat behind the driver, Britax marathon behind the passenger and DD1 is in the 3rd row in a Graco Nautilis. We still have plenty of trunk space with the 3rd row occupied and room for another person to sit back there. We have a removable seat between the 2 captain chairs in the 2nd row that I have out because DD1 needs to be able to get to the 3rd row.Anyway, it's roomy, it's comfortable, it's wonderful. I am small so when it's cold or rainy I either jump into the back to unbuckle the kids or get in with them when we load in and climb into the front. LOVE that aspect of it! I have sat in the back and nursed DD3. The kids have changed their clothes in the back after the beach - the back windows are totally tinted.I can't say enough nice things about it. We just got 2ft of snow this weekend and it handles very well and i don't even have AWD.One thing that I don't like - it's BIG and even after driving it for over a year I am not used to the size. I actually hit a parked car over the summer because I was trying to park in front of it and I couldn't judge I have hit other non-car things like posts or garbage cans....I used the Hertz rent-to-buy program to buy it. It was very affordable and I would highly recommend looking into that option! It had been a rental but was in pretty good shape and way cheaper than buying new or even used off the lot.
    Thing 1 (8), Thing 2 (5), Thing 3 (2)

  3. #3

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    What sort of minivan do you own? 2013 Honda Odyssey EXL

    Are you happy with it? LOVE it. So very very much.

    Can you get 3 car seats in the second row? I imagine so, but we don't do that. We've removed the middle seat in the 2nd row to make a walkway to the third row. We have the baby seats in the two seats of the 2nd row, and my 4 year old sits in the third row. That gives everyone plenty of room and keeps my 4yo out of the babies' faces, which was a problem when we had all three across the back of my old car.

    Any other info you'd like to volunteer: Something I really love about the Odyssey is that there are 5 places to put carseats with the LATCH system. That gives us a lot of flexibility. I don't think the Sienna has the same thing. Also, the Honday EX models come with the backup camera standard, which I really like. I can parallel park this van way better than I could my itty bitty Suzuki Reno because of it.

    The only problem with the minivan is that it's so nice to drive that when I have to drive DH's car, I kind of hate to. LOL.
    Last edited by mla; 02-11-2013 at 08:24 AM.



  4. #4

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    I have a 2012 Toyota Sienna XLE. We love it now, and I was NOT on board with buying a mini-van. I don't know if we could get 3 seats across because we only have 2 kiddos. But, they both are in Britax convertable car seats and an adult can still sit (fairly) comfortably between them. It is huge though. I feel like I'm docking the Starship Enterprise whenever I have to park. But, it has a backup camera which helps when pulling out. I'm not always super crazy about the layout of the control panel, but I'm getting used to it. Lots and lots of places to stash stuff in the front too. We got it just as the 2013 models were coming out (end of summer) and got a great deal, we just had limited choices in colors.

    Me (Jen), DH (Mike), DD (Amelia Corinne, born April 25, 2008), DD (Liana Elise, born Sept 28, 2010)

  5. #5
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    Sep 2009
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    Quote Originally Posted by macksmom View Post
    I have a Toyota Sienna (I think it's a 2011?) LOOOOOOOOOOOOVE it. I have 3 car seats in there - infant seat behind the driver, Britax marathon behind the passenger and DD1 is in the 3rd row in a Graco Nautilis. We still have plenty of trunk space with the 3rd row occupied and room for another person to sit back there. We have a removable seat between the 2 captain chairs in the 2nd row that I have out because DD1 needs to be able to get to the 3rd row.Anyway, it's roomy, it's comfortable, it's wonderful. I am small so when it's cold or rainy I either jump into the back to unbuckle the kids or get in with them when we load in and climb into the front. LOVE that aspect of it! I have sat in the back and nursed DD3. The kids have changed their clothes in the back after the beach - the back windows are totally tinted.I can't say enough nice things about it. We just got 2ft of snow this weekend and it handles very well and i don't even have AWD.One thing that I don't like - it's BIG and even after driving it for over a year I am not used to the size. I actually hit a parked car over the summer because I was trying to park in front of it and I couldn't judge I have hit other non-car things like posts or garbage cans....I used the Hertz rent-to-buy program to buy it. It was very affordable and I would highly recommend looking into that option! It had been a rental but was in pretty good shape and way cheaper than buying new or even used off the lot.
    Don't mean to hijack here, but can you tell me a little about the rent to buy through Hertz? We are going from 1 kid to 3 kids and my Nissan Sentra will not cut it and I am going to be a SAHM


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  6. #6
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    Apr 2009
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    Stalking this thread, we are in the same boat! DH wants a minivan I do not. We have a ford explorer that we can add a third row to, so I think I'd rather do that, but I like to read the an owners opinions!
    Angela (28) DH, Pat (30) DS Connor (4), DS Leo (2), DS Nathan



  7. #7
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    Aug 2008
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    We bought a used Toyota Sienna XLE (very used - it's a 2001 model but only had 83,000 miles on it). I do like it a lot. The next one that I get I do want the "stow and go" seats that fold into the floor, I think, so that might limit my options. You do lose head space with those, I think, so maybe I won't really want them after all. Since mine is an old van I can't really tell you about all the new additions. We do have heated leather seats and doors that open with various buttons and the key fob (that it what it is called, right?).

    It only has latch ability in two seats but with the reminders that latch is only good for a combined weight of 65 lbs that really isn't a big deal for me. We have fit four carseats and one person in the back before (one each in the captain seats, and two seats in the back with an adult in-between. It was tight but we all made it safely.
    Jessica (33) and Ryan (33). Madelyn born August 5, 2009; Malachi born December 23, 2010 and Nathaniel born July 19, 2013. Lost a loved baby 02/29/12, 05/14/12 and 07/05/12 all due a serious allergic reaction to fabric softener.
    My Ovulation Chart , My blog about MCAD

  8. #8
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    Apr 2007
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    Quote Originally Posted by Scarlett View Post
    Don't mean to hijack here, but can you tell me a little about the rent to buy through Hertz? We are going from 1 kid to 3 kids and my Nissan Sentra will not cut it and I am going to be a SAHM
    Here is the link to the program: http://www.hertzcarsales.com/to-rent-2-buy-programIt was a great experience! I shopped for the car I wanted on the website. They changed all the time. I only wanted one step above the base model Sienna and that was exactly what they offered. If you are looking for something fully loaded I don't think they carry those. They have mostly 1 year old vehicles but with varying amounts of mileage and varying prices. I car I chose had 26K miles on it I think? It was still under the manufacters warrany for 3yrs/36K miles. We were able to take it for a test drive free of charge for 1 hour (or maybe 2? I forgot). I actually took it to a mechanic and got it checked during that 1 hour and they said it was perfect. It had a few nicks and blemishes but for the most part it was in perfect condition. The best part was, if you decide you want to buy it - YOU KEEP IT! I drove it home that day and it was considered a rental until the purchase went through - which was all through the mail and took a few weeks. They mailed me the papers and contacted DMV. My plates were mailed to me. I had to get it inspected and change my registration over. I had to get insurance, etc. It was all through the mail! And NO negotiating or dealing with sleazy car dealers.I would 100% do it again. It was great. Definitely look into it! I am sure it varies by location....
    Thing 1 (8), Thing 2 (5), Thing 3 (2)

  9. #9
    Join Date
    May 2007
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    14,684

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    I don't even have any kids and got a 2012 dodge grand caravan over the summer. I LOVE LOVE LOVE it. I adjusted quickly to the size, before I had small cars. But I only park in the garage or slots....not on the street much at all. I do not have cameras in mine...I am surprised at great the visibility is. Better than my car! I don't ever want to go back to a car now that I am used to space and especially sitting up higher. I do not have a lot of bells and whistles on mine but I did get it brand new for less than 20K. The best thing though is the stow and go seating. with that the middle row is two captains chairs. I find those comfortable and didn't have issues with the headroom. The back bench folds into the floor too....it's a split so we do 1/3 when we travel with the dogs and one of the kennels fits perfectly there. Truck space is quite good too.

    Jennifer, 35, DH 36

  10. #10

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    I was not on board with getting the mini-van either. I loved loved loved my nice MDX. Nonetheless, getting three kids in and out of MDX was a pain so we traded it for a 2013 Odyssey. Honestly, I LOVE it. Like LOVE IT. We have two captains chair in the second row - one is for the baby (behind the driver) and the other one is is vacant. However, it's used almost daily for nursing and the dog rides in it on the weekend (I sanitize.. ) The two older girls sit in the third row in a convertible car seat and in a booster car seat. Here is what I love about it: -Someone has already mentioned the LATCH capabilities on 5 seats. Therefore, I have SO many configurations for how I want to put the kids. We went away for a beach weekend in January and moved all the kids in the second row to have more trunk space - that worked too. -Change Lane Assist - I believe that only comes on the Touring Elite model but that feature to me was priceless. I had it on my MDX and, honestly, I couldn't live without it. -The car has a cooler and a pop up trash can opening where you can put a trash bag. The kids (and us) always have cool drinks and the amount of trash in my car has decreased significantly because there is a central location for it now. -Wireless headphones. The kids watch TV and we listen to our radio in the front and don't hear their movie. The head phones are wireless so it's a gem. -Oversized TV screen. You can watch two different movies or one child can play a game (on an XBox or whatever) while the other one is watching the movie. We haven't introduced that feature to the girls and they have to agree on a movie for now. -The car has an electrical outlet in it so if my phone is dying or if I ever had to pump and didn't have a battery, I could plug it in there. Overall, I love all the bells and whistles and I love that it doesn't drive like a mini-van.P.S. Sorry, my bullet points didn't work!

  11. #11

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    Love love love our odyssey!!!!!

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Apr 2009
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    I love my 2012 Sienna. I traded up from an explorer and love the huge amount of storage. If I had the third row seating in the explorer I had very little storage space left.
    I have four car seats in mine. A britax and a graco convertible in both the second and third rows. I car share with my friend so we regularly have four kids age 3-6 yrs in there. It handles all if us with room to spare.

  13. #13

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    We had an Odyssey, really loved it until #4 came along...then it started feeling a little cramped. We got 3 to the 3rd row, the trio are in Radian's/Diono's.
    Last edited by TripMomma; 02-11-2013 at 11:03 PM.

    ~*~Katrina~*~ Momma to Xander, Hayden & Lily (6) and Jericho (3 1/2)

  14. #14

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    We just bought a 2005 Chrysler Town & Country and love it. It doesn't fit 3 carseats in the second row though, just two.




  15. #15

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    We have an older Ody and love it. One thing to look for is top tethers. Any forward facing car seat should be top tethered. 2006-2010 Odysseys have top tethers in 5 spots (not the 8th seat). The new models have them in all 6 I think. The older model is tough to get 3 across the 2nd row since the 8th seat is really small. The new model is very 3 across friendly including full LATCH in all 3 middle seats. The middle 3rd row is the only spot without LATCH but still has a top tether in the new model. It's funny b/c the Sienna used to have a big 8th seat and the Ody didn't. Their newest models are just the opposite. The newest model Sienna only has top tethers in the captains chairs and one in the 3rd row. The previous model Sienna had more top tethers. No clue why they decreased them. Although top tethering isn't required by all carseats, it's significantly safer to the point that in Canada ALL forward facing carseats are required by law to be tethered at all times. Given the similar safety ratings and features, I think the Sienna and Ody are both great, but the tethers would probably tip me over to the Ody so I'd have more choices for where to put everyone.
    ~ Shannon
    Michael, Married October, 2003
    Jessica, June 2005 ~ Kyle, September 2007 ~ Michaela, March 2010 ~ Abigail, June 2012


  16. #16

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    We have a 2012 Ody and I love it for all the reasons pp mentioned. We only have 2 kids so I can't speak to the three carseat thing (though I think they'd fit no problem -- the ody has this feature where you can move the second row side seats out to make more room), but I will say that as the kids get bigger and need more room to stretch out (especially on long trips), the van is good for that too. We travel with it quite a bit and it makes road trips so easy -- the teen gets the third seat to herself, there's still plenty of room for luggage and we're all happy. On very cold/windy camping trips, and when DD1 was in the hospital and I needed a quick nap, we've folded down the back two rows of seats to make a bed and it's roomy and cozy. I also love the backup camera -- it's not just great for backing out in a parking lot, it's also great for parallel parking on the street (which I was totally afraid to do with a van, but the lines on the camera make it almost foolproof).

    I do have to admit that I still don't love the bigness of it. I prefer a smaller car, and although I'm used to driving it now (and it drives really well, very car-like), I like to drive dh's little car when I have the chance. Someday, maybe after DD1 goes off to college, it would be good to downgrade back to something a little smaller. But the features are so great with a little one - I use the remote doors and hatch every day, and changing clothes and pottying are very easy too.
    -- mom to DD1 1/98 and DD2 10/09


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