Last post on Aug 01, 2011 at 6:53 PM
You are in the Vans & Minivans
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#136 of 149 Re: Accessing 3rd row w/o moving car seats [whollytemple]
Nov 17, 2007 (6:12 am)
Rented a Chevy Uplander recently while on vacation. This SUV/minivan has a different setup. It has full sized captains chairs up front. But it has 2 smaller, almost childsized captains chairs in the second row. The aisle therefore to access the third seat was wider than on any other vehicle I've encountered. Just to check it out I tried the second row captains chairs to see if an adult would be comfortable in these smaller sized seats, and I was comfortable.
Though it was not necessary for my older family, I thought that if my kids were young again, and I was fooling around with multiple car seats again, this would be a nice choice.
#137 of 149 Ford Flex
Nov 17, 2007 (6:18 am)
Ford is coming out with a new Crossover/SUV in 2009 called the "Ford Flex". You can see it on their website. Looks interesting. Fords safety has really gone up since they bought Volvo.
#140 of 149 Re: Help! 7 passenger, 3 middle seats, under 25K??! [njmom91]
Nov 27, 2007 (11:32 am)
What about a Kia Rondo? We have been considering that. We also require a small car (live in an urban area with small parking lots) and good gas mileage.
#141 of 149 Re: Help! 7 passenger, 3 middle seats, under 25K??! [mhemcs]
Nov 27, 2007 (8:59 pm)
I'm just throwing this out there because it only has 2 (comfortable) middle seats and is only a 6 passenger vehicle, however on a trip to Chicago over the 4th of July, my small car rental was upgraded to a Mazda 5, and I was most impressed with the amount of small van for the money.
I think they can be had in upscale trim for about $19,000. It was really small outside (like I prefer) for the amount of room and useful cargo handling features. On a day trip up to Wisconsin, we had 5 good-sized people and cargo in it, and everyone said it was comfortable. I'm the driver, and important to me was the impressive handling for a car of this type and the excellent moonroof.
Then on a long trip back from Michigan, we went through a huge rain storm that caused massive problems in the area of the north Chicagoland that we were in. The "5" swam right through with confidence and comfort on the unfamiliar and crowded "freeway" and toll roads through all the wind and downpours.
The standard 6-speaker sound system in the upscale model (might be GT) was weak on power but worked well enough. I'd add a power amp and subwoofer. On the other hand, the frugal (large 4 cylinder) engine seemed powerful (but unrefined - and I prefer a 5 speed to the 4 speed auto trans) pulling from a stop beating the traffic and had ample performance with several adults on board in July air-conditioned comfort. I prefer sportier cars, but the package was great for a family hauler on a budget. And the "5" handled great. It was not at all top-heavy feeling, but had the vast glass greenhouse expanses that folks like about mini-vans.
All in all, I think many folks could benefit from smaller, more nimble vehicles that can do 95% of what larger 2 1/2-ton "mini" vans can do. I don't have a large family, so this car was oversized for me. But if you only need room for 6, the "5" seemed to hit the mark aimed at "sporty" and you also don't have to give up a cool sunroof or break the bank.
#142 of 149 As your kids get older, does your vehicle get smaller or bigger?
Jan 13, 2008 (7:35 am)
I always thought that the more children you had and the younger they were, the bigger the vehicle you would need. Then, as they all got older, and you weren't bringing pack'n'plays to grandma's house, constantly toting a stroller, and having the need for vehicle seats that accomodate multiple car seats/booster seats, you would require a smaller vehicle. But when I speak with other moms who have children older than mine, their concerns become about legroom in the 3rd row, etc, and feeling like a bigger vehicle is needed, anyway.
I wonder if it's just that I am at the "pinnacle" of complexity right now? At the moment I have a 10yo girl, a 7yo boy who rides in backless booster, and a 3yo girl who rides in a latch-installed car seat. We have two suv's -- a Honda Pilot and an Acura MDX. I drive the MDX, with my children either riding together in the 2nd row (if we have a lot of stuff in the back, or if they just want to be together), or the 7yo riding in the 3rd row (so he can have more room for this "stuff", lol).
When I replace my MDX next winter, I would like to consider the XC90 and the X5, but I realize they are slightly smaller on the inside. Of course I will also consider the MDX again & will probably check out the Mazda CX-9 since everyone raves about it here.
As a mom, I like the versatility of my suv, being able to fold seats up and down as needed, especially when carpooling, shopping, etc. Just the other day I unexpectedly bought a desk chair and a 40" mirror at HomeGoods, but had forgotten about all the other stuff I'd already bought at Target. But I was still able to get it all in, even with the car seat & booster seat.
Anyone have older children (10+) that ride in the 3rd row of an suv? Any thoughts on any of this?
#143 of 149 Re: As your kids get older, does your vehicle get smaller or bigger? [love2driveinct]
Jan 13, 2008 (12:33 pm)
When my boys were little, we had an s-10 blazer that worked ok for us. As they grew, that vehicle grew smaller and smaller.
Now in their teens, we went with a Hyundai Sante Fe. Which gives my boys the leg room they need on long drives.
#144 of 149 Looking around
Jan 14, 2008 (10:55 am)
Sorry I'm not a mom. Hope it is ok for a dad to seek feedback here.
Currently driving a Saturn LW2. Car has served it's purpose well. Especially like the cargo capacity. It is getting a little long in the tooth, however, at 102k miles. The drive train seems to be holding up well, but have had many issues recently with other components. Have put about $3500 in repairs over the last 10 months or so, and got stuck out of town once recently (EGR valve broke). So, we're looking for another vehicle. We bought the Saturn used with 49k miles on it four years ago. For a short while had another vehicle, so we average 13-14k miles per year. Not sure if we will hold on to the Saturn or not.
We are a family of four with a 3 and 5 year old (there is an outside chance we may add another). Routinely have another 6 year old in tow. Currently have two boosters and a full size car seat in the second row. My wife and I are decidedly average size folks. We frequently travel around NC to visit family. Many more kids/cousins that often pile into cars, usually not ours since we can only add one more. Have been warned that as kids age they often have a playmate tagging along. Travel between NC and MD four to six times a year to visit grandparents, an 800+ mile round trip. We go tent camping 2 to 3 times a year hauling a full compliment of equipment and supplies..
Issues for consideration.
Road trip comfort
Here is our current short list of possibilities.
Chrysler T&C / Dodge GC
Kia Sedona / Hyundai Entourage
Ford Taurus X
Definitely NOT selling points for us. (just won't be part of the decision, but ok if included)
Navigation systems - we both can read a map. Rented an Explorer last year with NAV. Think the novelty would wear off in about a week, and can only honestly see using it maybe twice in the life of the car. I don't begrudge anyone who needs/wants it, just not for me.
DVD/Entertainment options - We have a portable DVD system that gets used on long trips. Usually only listen to talk radio. Extended trip time is often used for family interaction. Play lots of games. Maybe I'm just old school that way.
So, is there anything not on our list that anyone would suggest? Thx.
#145 of 149 Re: Looking around [mattandi]
Jan 14, 2008 (3:58 pm)
Those are all great cars, but they are big, perhaps a little clumsy compared to what you are used to, and use a lot of fuel. How do you feel about giving up the wagon, which is not a "tall" vehicle?
Have you considered other wagons, or do you need the size increase because wagons like the SW2 have been phased out in favor of less nimble, taller vehicles?
Also, see message number 141 in this forum. The Mazda 5 is roomy and versatile on the inside, small on the outside, inexpensive, sporty in comparison, and good on fuel. It's just not as stylish as a crossover SUV, nor as lux-laden as a full size "mini"-van.
I'm not a mom, either. But I've been impressed with Mazda designs (function, not styling) recently. Something to add to your list to consider, if cost is a factor, and you want to retain nimble handling, and don't mind the "funky" styling.