Stick w/ SUV or Suck it Up & Go w/ Minivan?

Discussion in 'Pregnancy Help' started by beanmachine, Aug 14, 2011.

  1. beanmachine

    beanmachine Active Member

    I'm not sure if I'm posting this in the best sub-forum, but hopefully some of you will be able to provide some opinions and feedback... We have ~1.5 year old twins and are expecting another baby in the spring or 2012, which means that lots of changes are coming our way and one of them involves having to buy a new car so that all the babies can fit. It's still really early, but we're just starting to research cars and I'm having a really hard time figuring out what we should get. I would definitely (strongly) prefer a SUV and never thought I would consider a minivan, but I'm concerned that maybe I'm being unreasonable with my aversion to minivans since they would be pretty convenient. Right now, my preference would be to get a bigger SUV with a 3rd row, but I'm worried that it might be a huge pain to get 3 babies in/out of that car compared to a minivan. Do any of you with 3+ kids have a large SUV? If so, do you regret going with an SUV (e.g. too much of a pain, etc) instead of a minivan? If not, what kind of SUV do you have and how do you have your car seats arranged?

    Thank you so much!
  2. cheezewhiz24

    cheezewhiz24 Well-Known Member TS Moderator

    I'm in the same situation. I went car shopping hoping to avoid a minivan or at least go with a cool one like the Mazda5... yeah, we're getting a minivan. I don't want one, either, but I looked at all the options out there and the 3rd row for a SUV looks very inconvenient. I don't want inconvenient with 2 toddlers and a baby. I want EASE. Plus I was disappointed with the storage room- with our double stroller (which I will need) it doesn't feel like we can ever go to a store. Same thing with bigger cars.

    So now I'm looking at vans- the Kia Sedona is on the top of my list, currently. I'm not looking to spend $40k on a van and Kia's are about $20k.
  3. miss_bossy18

    miss_bossy18 Well-Known Member TS Moderator

    I think I may be the odd one out but I've been begging DH for a minivan for ages! Getting knocked up with baby #3 made it a necessity. ;) Anyway, we got a Dodge Caravan in April & I am in love. The first thing we did was drive it out to Vancouver so we got a pretty good feel for it pretty quickly. And we got to try it out with an extra baby as my sister had just had her first - we figured out the best configuration for the car seats & it was so easy getting all three kiddos in & out. You honestly couldn't pay me to go the SUV route. :pardon: I also love the sliding doors - it makes it much less of an issue to get an infant seat in & out if someone parks too close to you in a parking lot. :good:
  4. lianyla

    lianyla Well-Known Member

    I would LOVE to be getting a 'mini'. I have a 3rd row explorer and my boys will be 4 when this one comes and I'm still freaking about how hard it will be to get the 3rd row person in.. I'd love the convenience of a van! The 3rd row is a pain in the butt!
  5. Heathermomof5

    Heathermomof5 Well-Known Member

    I drive an expedition with a 3 Rd row and it is a pain in the butt I am shopping for a mini van as we speak. I loved my SUV at one time but now that we have 3 car seats I need to move on! Plus the sliding doors of a minivan are so much easier to open and close while getting kids in and out ESP. In tight parking spaces! If I were you I would get the minivan!

    Another thing if you shop for an SUV Either you climb in the 3rd row or get your dh to, like in mine the floor in the 3rd row is raised, even my 12 yr old has a very uncomfortable ride back there he feels like his knees are at his chin.. Just check it out before you buy it! We had no idea until we had already purchased ours and my 12 yr old climbed back there!
  6. megkc03

    megkc03 Well-Known Member TS Moderator

    Minivan. Hand's down. My advice-if you can, spend the extra $ and get BOTH doors that open automatically. We have the Toyota Sienna(AWD version because we live in New England), and we got the LE I believe, which has one door that opens. I wanted the one with both doors, but that was an extra $5,000 I believe.

    I have the boys(almost 4) in the back row. They can get in themselves and have just started buckling themselves. Annabella is in the second row behind the drivers side. And, it's amazing what I can fit in the trunk! Tons of space!
  7. summerfun

    summerfun Well-Known Member TS Moderator

    I love my mini van. I can tell you that when my twins were younger for vacation one summer we fit: 2 PNPs, a double stroller, 2 beach chairs, all luggage for all 5 of us and sand buckets/toys in the back of my mini van. My SIL has 3 kids as well and they have a bigger SUV (a Toyota Sequoia) and they have always needed a roof rack when they go on a trip, their Sequoia does not have as much storage when they use the 3rd row as my mini-van. And like someone mentioned, it's SO easy and no trouble at all getting to the 3rd row. :good: I have a Toyota Sienna.
  8. TwinLove

    TwinLove Well-Known Member

    That's my answer as well! :good:
  9. Janclamat

    Janclamat Well-Known Member

    We have a Suburban and I love it. I never thought I would ever want to drive something so big but I am used to it now. We are soon to have 4 and currently have 3 carseats beside eachother. It may be a pain when there are 4 in there but it is so much safer. We were in a car accident and were broadsided. No one was injured, except for me a little bit but if we had been in a minivan one of the kids would have been seriously injured.
  10. Meximeli

    Meximeli Well-Known Member


    Remember that SUV stands for Sports Ulitity Vehicle--they are designed for certain uses over certain terrain. Is that what you need? IF you live down a 4km dirt road with a steep incline, mud, snow, or other need for "switch-on-the-fly -4-wheel-drive" then by all means buy the vehicle you need to get home rain or shine. But you sacrifice comfort and most importantly efficiency for what you gain in 4WD and all-terrain capablities.
    But if you live in the suburbs and need to just move your three kids around town safely and efficiently. Than a minivan is the way to go.
  11. rrodman

    rrodman Well-Known Member

    We have a minivan that my husband drives, and it is great. We also have a huge crossover with a third row and 4WD, and it's great. For us, the crossover's back seats fold up and down with ease, so as long as we only had one seat in the second row, getting kids in and out of the third row won't be too difficult. Probably less difficult than getting kid's in and out of the third row of the van by a significant margin.

    Oh, and the third row in our crossover is more comfy than the third row of the van--lots of legroom. I don't think that's common to all crossovers though.
  12. Danibell

    Danibell Well-Known Member TS Moderator

    Call me odd man out, but I love my extended SUV. A minivan didn't have the space we needed in the back to pack enough stuff for 6 people to go on vacation. We bought a Yukon XL when i was pregnant with the twins and I LOVE it. It has the power to haul our camper anywhere we want, it has tons of back space (we've fit 2 pnp's, 3 suitcases, 6 pillows, toys....etc for our vacations), and it gets decent gas mileage (18 mpg on the way to disney last week. Almost 14 mpg hauling our camper to canada in july). We got captain's chairs in the middle and have the twins in them, and our now 9 and 5 yr old older kids in the backrow. I won't lie, buckling my 5 yr old in when she was just 3 yrs old was a pain, however, that's the only downfall. And the floor in the third row isn't raised up, it's all level. The captain's chairs fold flat and the third row pulls out if I need to haul something like wood or something. I won't ever drive anything but an SUV ;)
  13. beanmachine

    beanmachine Active Member

    Wow, thanks for all of your feedback. I guess I have a lot to think about, but luckily we have a lot of time to figure out what we'll do!

    So, if we did a minivan or SUV with bucket seats, how would you recommend we arrange the carseats with the twins (will be 2.5yo) and a baby?

    Funny how things are so much more complicated when you have kids! :)
  14. miss_bossy18

    miss_bossy18 Well-Known Member TS Moderator

    We park on the street in front of our house & I don't like standing on the street side of the vehicle to strap kiddos in, so our plan is to put the infant seat directly behind the driver, one of the girls' seats in the back row & the other directly behind the passenger seat. That way both girls can hop in to the back row, I can drop off the infant seat & focus on buckling the girl in the back row, then the girl behind the passenger seat without worrying anyone can get out when I'm not looking, all while being on the safe side of the vehicle. We thought about putting both girls in the back row, but we'd have to install the seats using the seatbelts as there's only one LATCH position in the back row. LATCH installation just seems so much simpler that we decided it was easier to go with putting one in each row.
  15. Katheros

    Katheros Well-Known Member

    We just went through this process ourselves, I only had a family sedan which wouldn't easily fit three car seats.

    I am also hard core against mini-vans but didn't want an SUV either. I loved my car, I wanted something as close to that as I could get. Of course, my twins are 6 so they can climb around and I don't have to put them in their car seats, they can do it all on their own. Anyway, after doing a TON of research and test drives, I narrowed it down to the Subaru Tribeca, Toyota Highlander and the Mazda CX-9. We ended up getting the Subaru and LOVE it. We can fit five adults and the two kids in their car seats (which are huge) in the car without any problems. Yes, the third row is small and inconvenient and that's pretty standard for any third row that's not a mini van, but the kids think it's the coolest. We actually had a friend of ours in the third row this past weekend and he said it wasn't that bad! It drives & rides like a car and fits us all, which is what I wanted.
  16. pamallhoney

    pamallhoney Well-Known Member

    I would go with whatever one has better gas mileage. That being said we have a 15 passenger van, lol.
  17. SC

    SC Well-Known Member

    I'm going to agree with most everyone else on this thread and say minivan. We just went through the exact same process over the last month. For a long time we'd been talking about possibly getting a minivan (our dealer even told me to call him back when I "mentally prepared" myself for a minivan :). Learning we were pregnant with #3 sealed the deal. We did also discuss SUVs, but most do not offer the passenger or cargo space that minivans do. We previously owned a Trailblazer and while it looked huge on the outside, it would NOT have worked for three kids in car seats. Because we were in a lease with a Honda Accord, we opted to upgrade to a Honda Odyssey which is top-rated. We just picked it up one week ago today and so far it's great. The space is wonderful for all of us and for cargo. It's a major difference to us from a sedan. The Odyssey has three rows of seats and can seat eight people. The first thing we did was remove the middle seat from the second row. This allows us to easily walk back and forth between the rows (we can always replace it when needed--the center console between the front seats is also removable). We had three car seats installed. Our decision was to install the boys' seats in the two second row seats. I can't imagine putting one in the second row and one in the third. We had the infant seat installed in the third row. The reason this is nice is because an adult can sit back there with the baby when the time comes. But, for the next few months before the birth and for whenever the baby is not with us and it's just the boys, the section of seating in the third row next to the infant seat can be collapsed to allow for even more cargo space. This configuration made the most sense to us.
    The Odyssey is a nice ride. I like everything about it so far. It's really nice to have auto open and close doors.
    So, from my experience I'd say go with the minivan. I think the needs we're all discussing here is what they're designed for.
  18. Mellizos

    Mellizos Well-Known Member

    Minivan all the way
    1. You can climb into a minivan - standing up - to buckle in the kids. Absolutely lovely feature in the rain.
    2. We have stow and go, which is great for trips. We fill the stow area with toys and all kinds of stuff. Also great for hiding valuables.
    3. We also have a more upscale version that is slightly longer, so adults can sit comfortably in the 2nd or 3rd rows.
    4. We have enough room behind the 3rd row for about 3-4 suitcases. We've done many road trips, including 3000 miles last summer. The minivan is just so comfortable.
    5. It's lower to the ground, so easier to get in and out. We have large Suburbans at work. I can't get in while wearing heels or a skirt without embarrassing myself.
    6. We've gone on short day trips in a friend's SUV with the third row. I had to climb through the tailgate to install the carseats and then try to wrangle the kids over the seats and buckle them in. Never again.
    7. Much better gas mileage.
    8. Lower insurance.
    9. The cargo area is low to the ground. My husband is a musician, so lifting his heavy equipment in and out is easier. Same for groceries and daily hauling.
    10. Doors that slide open as you walk up carrying two carseasts. Pure magic.
    11. A vehicle is merely transportation. I want it to fit my needs, regardless of what anyone else thinks. I wouldn't sacrifice the convenience of my minivan just because it's considered uncool.
  19. kcprochazka

    kcprochazka Well-Known Member

    Haha - that's what we have too, Pam - a 15 passenger! Can't imagine life without it now. :lol:
  20. swilhite25

    swilhite25 Well-Known Member

    We were looking at minivans when I found out I was pregnant with our third baby. The twins were 6 months old and I thought "we have to have a van!" I so did not want to drive a van at 25 years old. Anyway, we had a ton of gear back then, two dogs, a kennel when we traveled, bigger graco car seats, etc. We waited on buying a van because our friends told us about the sunshine kid carseats and we love them! They're expensive, but way less than a new car payment. We have an old lexus rx300 and the seats fit 3 across perfectly. They fit babies from 5 lbs - 60 lbs. I was even able to get a single stroller and the valco double in the back of our suv when we were using strollers. Hopefully we can get a newer car next year - it will probably be a gmc acadia. Our friends have one and I love theirs! I'm so looking forward to a third row! So that was our choice and it worked for us. My vote is for an suv with a third-row. But I will say if the kids didn't mess with each other sitting side-by-side, I'd buy myself a comfy little sedan because the car seats will fit in almost any car.
  21. Kessedi

    Kessedi Well-Known Member

    I adore my minivan. It's my best purchase. Travelling with family became so much more comfortable and easier.
  22. I chose a minivan. But I have a family of 6 so the choice was pretty obvious. The bigger family the bigger car. Although, besides the minivan, we also have a sedan. We use it more often but when the whole family gathers up we, of course, choose the larger option. By the way, not long ago I started using royal purple oil for the car. Read about this oil. Maybe you'll start using it too.
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