Two Under 2

minivan recommendations

I have a 15-month old and one on the way.  Pretty soon, I will need to graduate from car to minivan.  Any recommendations?  What are you driving? 
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Re: minivan recommendations

  • We will be buying a Honda Odyssey in the near future.  We chose this based on Consumer Reports reviews (it is their #1 rated minivan), friend recommendations, and because we have had a Honda Pilot for 7 years and have LOVED it.  I am sad to give up my Pilot but we are expecting #3 and I really want the convenience of the minivan. 

    Married 6/28/03

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  • If you really want a minivan, I'm afraid I am no help.  However, if you are looking for suggestions for family cars in general, I would recommend the Chevy Traverse.  I have a 21 month old and another baby due in 3 weeks, so I don't have the experience with the two children yet.  But I have been driving this car for over a year now and love it.  It drives much like a car, not boxy feeling like some minivans.  But the interior is set up like a van, with two captains chairs in the front, two captains chairs in the middle row (with an aisle in between) and 3 seats in the third row.  The third row is easily accessed by folding forward the middle seats, but you can also get through by climbing in between the middle seats, so when we have two car seats in the middle row, the third row will still be plenty accessible.  I rarely have my third row up, it's usually folded down, since I don't need it, but even with the third row, there is lots of storage in the back.  It's been really comfortable on two long trips we've made and it is pretty decent on gas mileage- 18 miles per gallon- considering its size.  We sprung for the LTZ package, which included a dvd player, which was a huge bonus on those long trips with a couple Disney movies and Elmo shows.  I was adamant against having a minivan (I know, a silly hang up), but the Traverse has been a nice compromise.  The only thing a minivan would have that the Traverse does not is the sliding doors, which some people find to be a problem getting infant seats into and out of a car in a tight parking spot, but I have not had any issues with that.  I have been very happy with the Traverse.
  • I have a Toyota Sienna and I love it!  It is huge, so there's tons of space for my 2 kids, dog, and storage.  I love all the convenient features- power sliding doors, rearview camera, fold-down 3rd row. I found it more affordable over the Honda Odyssey. However I've heard the Honda has room for 3 carseats in the middle row, which the Sienna does not. The Sienna has 3 seats in the middle row, but the middle seat is really tiny.  I figure that by the time I have a 3rd child, DD will be old enough to sit in the 3rd row.
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  • No mini van! I am in the same boat as you and my husband and i wrote soo many pros and cons lists and drcided that with only 2 kids for now, we would rather have our vehicles grow with us not us into a vehicle. So with all of the mini van, SUV, car you name it type of vehicle we decided upon a Wagon Prius V. We get 40 miles to the gallon, the seats are so roomy in the back even our large Labradoodle dog fits in the back ! If we ever need to put a lot f cargo in the trunk the seats split snd you can pull them forward or backward ..it is awesome seriously! Say NO to mini vans until you have a lot of people to haul around thats just my opinion. The Prius V is totally worth checking it out!
  • Also let me add that my husband was totally against buying a Prius of any type UNTIL we test drove one at the dealership and was convinced it had all the room and technology we need for our daughter and baby boy on the way. Oh and you can easily fit a double jogging stroller like the Schwinn we have. Just not the Schwinn AND our 85pound Labradoodle at the same time. Hope this helps!
  • If I HAD to pick a minivan I would go with a odyssey. My mom has one, both my sister in laws have one, they all said "Get the van"! However, I decided to NOT get the van. I just couldn't do it. I like SUV's and even though I am not a spring chicken, at 27 I couldn't see myself in a van. We went with a brand new fully loaded pilot and I love it. The back up camera is amazing, three rows of seats, plenty of room for my double jogger and groceries!
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  • Chrysler Town and Country... the 2013's come standard with leather and a built in DVD player! I hate driving a mini van but my son LOVES being able to watch Elmo on car rides and the car is really practical (my LO is 21 mos and I'm 35 weeks pregnant). I just don't like mini vans but it has everything we need at this point!
  • We have a 2012 Honda Odyssey and I absolutely love it! We bought it brand new since the used ones we found with low mileage were only a few thousand cheaper than buying brand new and we plan on having this van until it completely dies lol I have 3 kids 3 and under and it works great! We have done a few different configurations with the 3 car seats and they have all worked great! I keep the large double stroller in the van at all times and still have plenty of room. We opted for a model that had the bonus 8th seat bc we plan on having quite a few more kids so we wanted as many seats as possible. I have no regrets and no complaints at all its super comfy and we have done many long trips in it including a 14 hour drive with no problems. Do you have any specific questions about having a van? We got it right before DD 1 was born and before that I had a mid size suv bc I couldn't bear having a mini van at only 24 yrs old with one child but in retrospect I wish I would have just gotten a van from the get go lol also resale value is awesome on hondas and toyotas which was the only other make we considered.
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  • laabejalaabeja
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    Another recommendation for the mini minivan - Prius V. Just got ours as we are expecting #2 in August. It is amazing! Just as spacious as some of the crossovers and small SUVs, but with nicer handling, fully stocked with new technology, and way more mpgs. We won't be needing the extra 2 seats until the kids are much older and we carpool with thee friends to school and other activities. I highly suggest you test drive one. 
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  • ilanatilanat
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    Thanks for the awesome suggestions.  I am looking into EACH one. 
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  • We just got the Chevy Traverse and absolutely love it! Definitely doesn't feel or drive like a minivan but has amazing space!!
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  • I thought it might be worth adding...

    I would look at how long you keep your cars and what your plans are in the future.  We bought our Honda Pilot in 2006 - long before our first daughter was born.  At that point we thought we would have 2 kids total and figured it would be a good car for the long run.  I have no regrets because we have had the car for 7 years and have LOVED it.  I'm glad I haven't been driving a minivan for 7 years that I didn't "need".

    However, if you are in the thick of your family building and plan on having lots of babies I would not get a Prius or small SUV.  You will outgrow it quickly.  Even the Pilot, which *can* seat 8, I don't recommend it for anyone with more than 2 kids. The people I know who have 3+ kids in the Pilot have their children accessing the third row from the trunk which, IMO, is ridiculous for everyday use.

    We considered the Traverse briefly (because believe me, a minivan is a hit to our self image. lol) but honestly felt like we wanted more room and some of the conveniences of a minivan (the electric sliding doors, the ability to rearrange seat configuration to our needs, etc).

    I guess my point is to think long and hard about the SUVs (especially small and mid-size) if you want to have more than just 2 kids.

    Married 6/28/03

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    3 missed miscarriages: 2007(10w4d), 2009 (10w1d), 2013 (11w3d)

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  • NNGnomeNNGnome
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    image laabeja:
    Another recommendation for the mini minivan - Prius V. Just got ours as we are expecting #2 in August. It is amazing! Just as spacious as some of the crossovers and small SUVs, but with nicer handling, fully stocked with new technology, and way more mpgs. We won't be needing the extra 2 seats until the kids are much older and we carpool with thee friends to school and other activities. I highly suggest you test drive one. 

    We currently have the regular sized Prius, which, for the record, with baby #2 on the way we see no need to upgrade yet, so long as the car seats and stroller fit we plan to wait on getting the next car size up until we really need to, at which point we plan on getting the Prius V, I really don't think you need to get a minivan until the children are much older, unless you plan on having many more children.

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  • image jf198400:
    I have a Toyota Sienna and I love it!  It is huge, so there's tons of space for my 2 kids, dog, and storage.  I love all the convenient features- power sliding doors, rearview camera, fold-down 3rd row. I found it more affordable over the Honda Odyssey. However I've heard the Honda has room for 3 carseats in the middle row, which the Sienna does not. The Sienna has 3 seats in the middle row, but the middle seat is really tiny.  I figure that by the time I have a 3rd child, DD will be old enough to sit in the 3rd row.
    i too have a Toyota Sienna, but my 3 middle row seats are all the same size and definitely would fit 3 carseats. Maybe it depends on the model?

    I love the Sienna. We traded my mom our sedan for her van, so that's why we "chose" it, but I love it. 

  • image NNGnome:

    image laabeja:
    Another recommendation for the mini minivan - Prius V. Just got ours as we are expecting #2 in August. It is amazing! Just as spacious as some of the crossovers and small SUVs, but with nicer handling, fully stocked with new technology, and way more mpgs. We won't be needing the extra 2 seats until the kids are much older and we carpool with thee friends to school and other activities. I highly suggest you test drive one. 

    We currently have the regular sized Prius, which, for the record, with baby #2 on the way we see no need to upgrade yet, so long as the car seats and stroller fit we plan to wait on getting the next car size up until we really need to, at which point we plan on getting the Prius V, I really don't think you need to get a minivan until the children are much older, unless you plan on having many more children.

    I guess it also depends on how much traveling you do by car, whether you have animals that need space, etc.

    Remember, more babies also means more STUFF when you travel.  I don't mean to be the "you just wait..." type, because I hate that, but for many families the space and convenience means minivan.

    Also, three across isn't ideal IMO.  Especially for very small kids.  I know that my kids would be trying to feed a baby their fruit snacks, dropping things, etc on the regular if they were three across in our Pilot.  Not to mention trying to get the kid in the middle seat buckled or in the base.  It is one thing if you space your kids very far apart and your older kid can buckle themselves or is in a booster with normal seatbelt, but this board usually has many little ones.  My oldest will be 4.5 when baby #3 is born and I doubt she'll be able to buckle/tighten her carseat herself.

    Married 6/28/03

    Kate ~ 7/3/09 *** Connor ~ 11/11/10

    3 missed miscarriages: 2007(10w4d), 2009 (10w1d), 2013 (11w3d)

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  • We have the Honda Odyssey and I love it!

    I really didn't want to go the minivan route at first--but then I stepped inside one at the car lot and realized how nice they were... and easy--(so much more so than an SUV with a 3rd row). I had a wonderful little hatch back that I loved, but I drove it into the ground. Since I married a man in 2011 with 2 kids, got a dog, had a baby in 2012 and am expecting another in October... I cannot imagine anything else. Also, the minivan's gas mileage was by far better and the price somewhat better for getting a minivan vs a 3rd row SUV. Once I considered all of those factors, I just felt I needed to get over myself and do what was best for me and my family--get the minivan. I have to say, it was a great choice. I am surprised by how much I love my "soccer mom" van. There are so many features that are designed for moms. My non-parent friends are even jealous of many of its features

     We test drove most minivans on the market at a CarMax and reviewed all on Consumer Reports. I highly recommend that. At first, I did not want to pay the inflated price for a top recommended minivan (Toyota Sienna or Honda Odyssey) but when the Town and Country that we were test driving caught on fire, we opted for the more reliable engine and brakes of the Odyssey. We also considered the anticipated cost to replace the engine and brakes of some of the vans that are cheaper upfront, but need LOTS of repair--this actually seemed like a better deal in the long run, particularly with resale values. 

    We got the 2010 Odyssey used--I preferred the older design, so we got the last year possible before the 2011 redesign. I hope that helps. 

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