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Thread: mini vans/family vehicles

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Raleigh/Durham NC

    Default mini vans/family vehicles

    Hello, Friends,

    I am asking for opinions and stories about your family vans/vehicles...
    Our family has an "old" mini van that still works, but is old enough that we know
    the clock is ticking...
    We also have a newer 11-passenger van that is in great shape and we hope/pray
    it stays with us for years to come.
    When the "old" van goes, we will need to replace it, and are trying to figure
    out how old or new we want to go with a replacement. Honestly most of the
    used vans for sale have very high mileage...
    We are also considering just a car for my husband to go back and forth to work in,
    instead of getting a new-to-us mini van.
    Would love to hear what you all drive and what you think about it!
    Thank you!
    Heidi, wife to Charles since 12/99 and Momma to DS16 DS14, DS13, DD11, DS10, and DD7

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Feb 2007


    We are currently a one car family- it's a Honda Odyssey.

    My husband sold his little Saturn Coupe last fall in favor of a bike with an electric motor and a car share program.

    Lately, we've been talking about a second car. When it happens, we'll go for a second mini van- another Odyssey.

    With two kids headed to college this fall, we still need the ability to move dorm rooms back and forth- one two miles down the road and one ten hours away.

    When we had just the Saturn and the van, I often wished both vehicles could take all of our kids around- and their friends!

    No plans to downsize even though our kids are older. If we're going to bother with a second car, I don't want to to be a second class citizen next time!
    Heather wife to Dan and embracing the independent nature of homeschooling with our fantastic four (20 ds, 18 dd, 16 ds, 13 ds).

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Sunny South Florida ~ 3 miles from the beach!


    We just bought a 2016 Nissan Pathfinder and we love it!! It's an SUV, not a van, but it seats 7, with 3 rows of seats. I also love that there is plenty of legroom. We bought it at They sell used vehicles with no pressure from salesmen, and no haggling over the price.
    Last edited by Alicia; 07-10-2018 at 08:11 AM.
    Alicia <>< Wife to Jeff; 3 great sons ~ Josh married to Jessica, dgds Madeline Spring and Caroline Bryant ~ Ethan married to Holly, dgds Annaleigh Grace and Addison Joy ~ and Micah.

  4. #4


    I think it depends on your commute miles. Around here dh commutes 25 miles each way. We live in a small town so for anything past Walmart items we have to go 25 miles each way. For us a small car with great gas mileage has saved us a ton of money for husband. So, we have one van and one economy car. If you are talking all right in the city miles, then it's not as much of an issue.

    Karen in TN

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Feb 2007


    Our 2000 minivan died recently and I was so sad. But we replaced it with a 2013 Honda CR-V, which we love. It only seats 5, so that could be a deal-breaker, but we rarely need to transport more than 5 these days anyway - usually just 2 or 3. Hondas hold their value so well, they last forever, and you have very few repairs. My oldest just bought his first car and I was so happy when he ended up with a 2010 Honda CR-V.

    Other than that we have two small hatchbacks, one for my husband to drive to work and one for the teens to share.

    The best advice I can give is to not buy anything before checking it out with Consumer Reports. Not just online (unless you pay to subscribe), but with the actual magazine, which should be in any library (the April issue). After a huge, costly blunder many years ago, we will never buy a car without checking the ratings first.
    "Ree-bee," Mom to former United States Marine ds and math teacher DIL * artist dd 20 * motion-loving ds 17 * piano-playing ds 12
    "For Miss Minnie loved children and she loved books, and she taught merely by introducing the one to the other." from "A Consent," by Wendell Berry

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Feb 2007


    Last year we replaced our Suburban (200K miles) with a Toyota Sienna. I LOVED my Suburban, but kids who are driving themselves places and teens who don't have to go with me everywhere I go anymore changed the necessity of having such a large vehicle -- a sad reality..... They're growing up, which we want, but in another way, it's sad that that day is here.

    Anyway, we moved to a Sienna, and I really like it, too. It's smooth, it's reliable, gas costs almost 1/2 (not quite) as much, tires are 1/2 as much ..... We went with the Sienna vice the Odyssey because I wanted the option of the 8th seat (it's a "jump seat" that fits compactly into the far back on the wall, but you can insert it between the two captains chairs in the middle row). We haul lots of extra kids at times, and it's nice to have that option if we want it.
    I don't think you'd go wrong with an Odyssey or Sienna -- both are extremely reliable.

    Like the others said, though, if you're not going to use it to haul everyone, you may want to consider an even smaller vehicle that would get higher gas mileage? Although the difference between a newer mini-van and a mid-sized car probably isn't that much. Now, if you were going with a small, 5-speed, there probably would be.....
    Wife to Jim and Mama to Katie (1/01), Mattie (9/02), Cale (4/05), and Ben (8/08)

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Set Free Academy


    Up until March, I was driving a beloved 21yo Chevy Venture. It was red. The only thing wrong with it was that the a/c no longer worked, and would cost more to replace (couldn't be fixed) than the car's value. I hauled people, animals, furniture, and other amazing things in my van. Did I mention it was 8 passenger? I sold it to a friend who knows how much I love it. I cried.

    However, I bought my mom's gently-used van. It is newer, lower mileage, lots of bells and whistles, and everything works, including the a/c. Everyone likes it better except me, but that's a whole 'nother story. I haul people in this (it's a 7 passenger vehicle). We have lots of company these days, and it's nice for that. It's nice to have a/c. It has gone on two road trips so far and has done well. It's an '09 Town and Country, and you can store stuff in the floor, which has been pretty handy.

    I do not haul my curb-rescue furniture in it; it's too nice. Therefore I do not have a curb-rescue vehicle any more and that has become a problem. I also do not feel comfortable hauling chicken wire or chicken feed or even chickens in it. Or lumber for my building projects. Again, a problem, since I do that stuff. Now I have to plan ahead with DH and use his elderly Suburban when I need to haul something. It doesn't have the cargo space the van had, though. Just sayin'.

    Belle has a little 4wd mini suv. DH has the Suburban. The van is still a good decision for us for people hauling. However, we are probably going to end up getting rid of the Suburban and replacing it with a pick up. The truck would be mine but DH would drive it to work. And then at some point we would get him a little run around to get to work in, leaving me the pick up for non-people driving.
    Robin, wife for 22 years to a wonderful man, and mama to 20yo Belle; 18yo Kitty; 14yo Princess, and 12yo Boyo.
    Words for 2015 and 2016 and probably forever: Be her.

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