Working Moms

Minivan moms! And new car owners

We want to get a new car before or shortly after LO2 arrives EDD 9.5.13 for mobile. I think we have finally settled on the Toyota Sienna but have no idea what trim level we should go with. Anything other than the very highest 40K version is in our price range. If we do a less expensive one we can pay the car off faster and replace DH's car sooner. However, we drive our cars forever before replacing so I want to make sure we get something we'll be happy with for a long time. The car I am replacing is 15 years old to give you an idea of how we do things!

So particularly if you have a minivan, what options do you really like? Which are not necessary? Is there anything you wish you had but don't?

FYI we are going with a minivan because we will most likely try for a third LO in a few years. We also have two dogs and road trip with them about 5 times per year to see my family 6 hours away. Plus we take several driving vacations to the beach, etc every year and we often take either my SIL or our nanny along.
DS: 2/17/11          DD: 9/4/13

Re: Minivan moms! And new car owners

  • we love our Honda Odyssey but I wish I had got the back-up camera and my husband wishes we had a trunk that operates with the key-remote (only the side-back doors do).
  • We have an Odyssey. LOVE the back-up cam, automatic doors, blind spot indicator. I like the nav system as well b/c I am lost ALL THE TIME.
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  • We have an Odyssey and love it. We have the middle of the road package- power sliding doors, power lift gate, back up camera are a must!!! We also got leather bc that is what we prefer and it is easier to clean up spills, etc. 

    No entertainment system. If the trip is over an hour, we let DS1 watch shows or movies on the iPad which we are able to connect to the back of the headrest. I couldn't justify the cost, but if you take very long frequent road trips, I might be tempted to splurge. But the entertainment system was $3,000, iPad just $500. So that was my thought process.

    I hear the new odyssey's have vacuum cleaners built in. I would definitely get that if they had it when we bought ours!  

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  • aeh72aeh72
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    I don't have a minivan but we bought my new car (Volvo XC60) the year before DS was born, in anticipation for having a baby. We got a couple of the packages, which included leather and heated seats and I'm glad we went with both of those things, but I didn't get the Navigation system because it would have added another $2,500-$3,000.  I really wish I had, and in retrospect it wouldn't have added that much more per month to my car payment. I know most cell phones have GPS apps these days and you can buy a Garmin, but it's not the same as having the navigation screen built into the dashboard. It's a luxury that isn't a necessity but I wish now that I had it - even for just local trips to places I've never been before. 

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  • We have an Odyssey.  6 years old and relatively bare bones, quite honestly.  It has automatic sliding doors, which we LOVE.

    If we were to get a newer van, we'd want the power lift gate and we'd want bluetooth so that our phones would work through the car.  

    I could care less about a navigation or entertainment system.  We have a new GPS and while I'm not anti electronics for DS, I don't want it SOOOOO easily available in the car that he wants to watch TV/movies anytime we're in the car. 

    And after parallel parking that sucker in the city for 2 years, I don't need backup sensors or camera.  I KNOW where it ends. :) 

    "Beer is living proof that God loves us and wants us to be happy."
    ~Benjamin Franklin

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  • We bought a 2010 Sienna this year, it is the Limited.  We weren't looking for a Limited, but found a great deal on it and it had the features we wanted.  I love the key fob entry, it makes it so much easier to get both kids in the car at DC.  The fob trunk lift is also great, it's helped so many times when my hands are full.  I also like the back up camera, especially during the busy drop off and pick ups at DC as well. For me I really wanted heated seats, it's just one of those features I've become accustomed to. I also wanted bluetooth in the car since it is illegal to drive in our state w/o a hands free device.
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  • I drive a used Honda Odyessy (It's an 05) and love it. The only feature I wish I had was a button to push open the trunk is the main one mostly even though my DH wishes that it had an mp3 port and a back up camera would be nice, but other than that I love it.
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  • I do not drive a minivan, but I would have looked more closely at tether anchor locations. In one of our cars it is in the back of the storage area at the back and totally prohibits use of that space if two car seats are installed. If I have two seats back there I NEED somewhere to put the stroller. I would make sure that the tether anchors are in the back of the seat as opposed to on the floorboard.
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  • We have a Sienna. We got the one with all wheel drive, at DH's insistence, so we ended up with a fancier package than I would have otherwise chosen because that's all it came with. I love heated seats, automatic doors, backup camera, bluetooth capability, and leather seats. Seriously, I do not think I would get a car without heated seats again, and I didn't even think I would like that. :) We did not get the entertainment system or the navigation. I've got my own GPS that I use and we don't let the kids watch tv in the cars except on long trips, when we've got a dvd player and/or leappad.
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  • Thanks all! I'm glad to hear how many people like the power lift gate. DH thinks it's not necessary but I was leaning towards it. Good to hear that others agree it's a good option.
    DS: 2/17/11          DD: 9/4/13
  • We don't have a minivan, but I got leather in my new car for LO and I was so grateful. I think he was only 2 months old when he had projectile spit up all over the back seat. So easy to clean and I was so thankful that didn't get on cloth seats!
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  • image wife07mom09:
    We got the step up which included power doors and back up camera. Not the pricey tv or leather. The power doors are well worth it. Is an 8 sweater but we keep the little jump seat for the middle stowed away right now we love our sienna

    We did this, except we got all wheel drive (so 7 seats instead of 8) because we live in mountains and were replacing our SUV. Power doors have been so awesome to have. TV unnecessary to us. DD oly gets to watch videos on really long rides, and in that case we hang my iPad on seat in front of her. We LOVE our Sienna. Backup camera is nice--I do use it, but still have to use mirror of course. Took me a bit to adjust to the depth perception of it. 

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  • Seriously, before we moved and our driveway required 4wd, I loved my Grand Caravan.  Loved it.  Loved it.

    ETA: tether anchors are not a consideration on a new vehicle since the LATCH system makes anchors obsolete.

    I did enjoy the power options when the kids were little but as they became toddlers, I did not like any extra buttons for the kids to fiddle with and also, I became paranoid about door being actuated with a body or fingers in the way.  Less is more in my car book.

    promised myself I'd retire when I turned gold, and yet here I am
  • image ridesbuttons:

    ETA: tether anchors are not a consideration on a new vehicle since the LATCH system makes anchors obsolete.

    How are tether anchors obsolete? Maybe I'm missing something but I use LATCH and still tether the carseat.  

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