51 answers

Good Family Vehicle

My husband and I are going to buy a new (pre-owned) vehicle for our family. We have recently moved from a very rural area to the city and our SUV isn't what we want or need anymore. We have a growing 12year old boy and a dog. We figure that for the next five plus years we will be hauling kids most of the time, to practices, sporting events, etc... as well as making road trips to grandmas. We want something that is roomy but gets good gas mileage in town and on the highway. I had a minivan once and really liked it. We have been researching them and it is hard to choose. Any suggestions? If you love (or hate) your soccer van, let me know what it is and why. Or if you have any other ideas on a good family vehicle I would love to hear it. Thanks

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I sbsolutely love my Dodge Grand Caravan. It gets good mileage, it's roomy, it has front and rear heat and a/c controls, the seats are comfortable enough for long trips, and it's reasonably attactive and affordable.

Honda Odyssey - great gas mileage, comfortable, roomy, very user-friendly doors (esp when mom's hands are full!).

We have a Sienna, and love it. We needed AWD, because I take it up skiing a lot (and they restrict the roads often due to weather). If we didn't need the AWD, I would have seriously considered the Oddissey. I think you'd be safe with either though. The DVD player is a MUST for long trips (and short trips even).

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Hi K.. We were never going to own a minivan, but when #3 and #4 (twins) came along, we didn't have a choice. We bought a Honda Odyssey and we all love it! We have another nice sedan but even when we are out with out the kids, we'd rather drive the Honda.

You should check out the website, www.motherproof.com It's a great car review site. Local girls.

Good luck!

1 mom found this helpful

I have a Honda Pilot and love it, it's the 03 model and it has been great for us. It's nice because it seats 8 or you can fold the back seat down and have lots of cargo room. A minivan definitely has more room but this is more sporty for sure. The back seat when it is up is not that comfortable for adults, definitely fits children better. But it's nice to take a larger group if necessary too! Good luck!

Hello -
here are my thoughts, after having several vans. We've had a 1996 Mercury Villager, which has a Nissan engine in it. It's got over 228,000 miles on it, and gets good mileage for a van. It's been fantastic - we've had to do very little in its very long life. I don't know if these are still available, but this has been a good, reliable van for us. (The newer Nissan Quest vans have a strange center console we don't like.)

WE also now have a 2006 Toyota Sienna. It's pretty new so there haven't been problems (yet!). Based on our research, we concluded the toyotas would be more reliable and long-lasting than just about any of the other vans. IN our case budget was an issue and it was less expensive than other counterparts like the Odyssey or Dodge Caravan, which has many more repair issues. We chose this above some slightly less expensive vans, mainly because it has side air bags around the whole van. I think the MPG is a little less than the Villager, and it has a little less oomph to it - but it's still great.

We got the base model - no frills - so the cost was in line for us. Honda Odyssey would have been our next choice, but they are more expensive. (If you want bells and whistles though, they're the way to go and as reliable and long-lasting as Toyotas.)

If you're looking for a used van, cost is probably a factor. THere are Kias for under $10K. I probably wouldn't consider the others out there, although I've known a few friends with older Dodge Caravans and they've been ok. A newer, but used Dodge Caravan might be a good one to consider.

Good luck!!

I drove a 1995 Ford Windstar for 10 years and loved it. We had no problems with it, and the size was perfect. The 2nd set of seats popped out, and the 3rd row bench seat popped out, too. This was nice to be able to convert the room to suit our needs. Pretty good gas mileage too, probably 21-24 MPG on the highway. Good luck with deciding.

Don't get a Jeep Cherokee. We have two, and they're reliable and get *decent* gas mileage (not as good as a sedan, though), but they have no leg room in the back seat. We've had to scoot up the front seats to accommodate both my infant and rear-facing convertible seat. Not that you have that issue!

My sisters both have a Honda Oddesey. But they were disappointed in the 12 mpg gas mileage. They love the features, but they are getting to be a bit old (6 years or so), so things may have changed since then.

I love love love my Toyota Sienna! Decent mileage, lots of room. The seats are easy to configure and move around. Tons of space and storage. More cup holders than you could ever imagine and a great ride to boot!

Hello K.
I have 2 kids-5 and 1 year(s) old and a dog. We live where it snows 8-9 months out of the year and have Subaru's (Outback and Forester that we really like. Although I would LOVE to have a SUV Volvo. Our friends have one and we just love it, but since our cars are payed off we will wait for the Volvo. I hope this helps. T. Sigler

I was never wild about my mini-van. It was a Chevy Astro. Then I had an accident in it. Because it was on a truck chasis, it was a bit taller. It was a life saver. We finally sold it to buy a Suburban. But that Astro took a beating and kept on ticking.

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