26 answers

Need Minivan or SUV Purchase Advice

I am pregnant with my third child and need to purchase a minivan or SUV that fits two car seats and one booster seat. Is this possible with a small SUV or do I have to give in to a minivan? Anyone out there with experience or advice would be greatly appreciated. Thanks! S.

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So What Happened?™

Thanks for all the advice and opinions; I really appreciate it! I tried to fit three seats in my car as a last desperate attempt, but my son and daughter were so smooshed and my older son really didn't like sitting in the middle! So, I think I am going to go with a used Dodge Caravan since they are the "most popular" and are a bit smaller than the bigger versions out there. Thanks again!

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I just had twins 3 months ago and we had to up grade to something bigger I had a car now I have an SUV we got a honda Pilet holds up to 8 people I have 2 carseat the in middle seat and my older sons booster seat is in the 3rd row with the stroller I have one seat down and can get him in from the passenger side and the twins I put in from the driver side I could also get the oldest son in from the back of the SUV but we only do that sometimes, my oldest son love seating in the back back seat nice right i know Or you can try the honda odyssey that is a good mini van and they are reliable I PROMISE You can ask my fienca he well tell you he is good with finding cars
Let me know

I had the same problem and I had to go to a minivan. I hated the idea but I found one that I love. Two doors are the best.

Hi S.,
I drive a 2004 Honda CR-V. Although I only have one child, I have very frequently put 3 car seats in the backseat. I'm tall (5'8) so I don't need to stretch to buckle the middle child in. But someone who's on the shorter side might have an issue with this. It's a tight fit, but none of the kids have complained (they're 2,2,and 5).
My friend bought the Honda Element (06) which also fit her 3 carseats; she's able to go in there (somewhat like a mini-van) but she's alittle thing (maybe 5'2).
I hope that helps!

More Answers

LOL you sound liek me, but i mad eit till number 4 showed p before i broke down and did the deed, a minivan is much more practicle, while you might fit the seat in an suv there generally isn't a lot of extra space left after that and if you get a larger one with the third row you are generally left climbing over the center row to some degree to get back there, all i could see where gross wet shows all over the backs of my seats jsut to get them in the darn thing. lol. i went with a smaller minivan and wish it were bigger most days, it's a 7 passenger which means we have space for one more when we all go out and there isn't much room in the back for groceries or such when i have the kids with me. hope this helps some, i found it much easier to jsut go look, you might e surprised. oh but if you do get a van make sure it has doors on both sides ti's so much easier. lol.

I have had a Jeep Cherokee and currently have a Chevy Trailblazer. Unfortunatley 2 car seats and a booster will not fit in either..even a extended SUV will be hard to get into the third row and the gas prices would be enormous...id go with the dreaded mini van at this point. Some out there are really very nice..the town and country would be my top pick.

My sister has twin boys who are 3 and a daughter who will be 2 on X-mas eve. She has 2 boosters and 1 car seat, she found that the best vehicle for her is a minivan, actually a Dodge Grand Caravan. I have 2 teenage daughters, a disabled son and a 2 yr old that I babysit, I have a minivan and an SUV, I like the minivan much better. I had a Grand Caravan and got rid of it at 180,000 miles, I now have a Chevy Venture and would much rather have my caravan back! Best part of all, they are AMERICAN!!!!!
Good Luck!
Jenn.......

I went through the same thing and caved in to the mini-van. I got a Dodge grand caravan and actually really like it! It has the stow-n -go seats so I put the two car seats in the last row, car seat for baby goes in the middle row and i put one of the van seats in the floor for easy access to all of them. Especially nice now with the weather getting cold, I can hop in the back to buckle them and shut the doors so it stays warm. Both the sides doors and the hatch are automatic too so it really is easier when dealing with three little ones. The two older ones can just climb in.

My hubby chose to keeps his Durango with the third row seats. Our oldest (4) climbs in through the trunk and we have to lean in to buckle her in which is hard for me because I'm only 5' 03". But it works. And everyone has to stand outside until it's their turn to be put in.

Hope this helps, good luck!

I would think that it would depend on whether or not your oldest child can buckle themselves into the booster. If they can you could get a SUV with a thrid row, if not, you probably need a minivan. I drive a minivan that we bought the day my oldest daughter came home from the hospital-she's 2 & 1/2. I always hated the idea of driving a minivan and have always dreamed of having an SUV. My husband is a used-car salesman at a small carlot in Crestwood and he brings home all kinds of cars, trucks and SUVs. I always try them out with my 2 girls and honestly, nothing compares to my minivan. It's a Toyota Sienna 2001. It is still the easiest to get the kids in and out of and still hold other people if we need to. He would be willing to help you find the perfect vehicle for your family. You can check out what he's got in stock right now at www.streamline-automotive.com

It's just my opinion, but I'd go ahead and give in to the minivan. While SUV's do have a pretty roomy backseat, after you squeeze 3 childseats back there, you'll be lucky if the doors close. Plus, they will be pushed completely up against each other making it next-to-impossible to buckle/un-buckle the seat belts. Minivans also get alot better gas milage, and you'll have room to spread your children out (and hopefully reduce fighting) as they get older.

i just traded my suv for a minivan and I am only pregnant with #2! I didn't want the hassle of two in the back seat of the SUV. I love my minivan. The double slider doors and roominess of the back will be great. We alredy have made a road trip wit our 2 year old. I used the back seat (bench) to ahnge her on and could walk thru the whole car to get things. I traded an Infiniti QX4 (just like the Nisan pathfinder for a Nissan Quest. Try to test drive your top choices overnight.

A.

We bought a 2007 Honda Oddessey before our son was born and we love it!! Actually I drive it the most because I am a SAHM and have to drive the kids everywhere I go and I love it! That new Chrysler Town and Country that I keep seeing the commercials for looks really nice too! I think minivans will give you the most space. Good luck finding the right car. If you go to www.cars.com you can look at different types and pricing and options for all models.

I would look into the crossover vehicles. My husband works for GM so I know they discontinued any minivans and are going to be making the crossovers instead. Basically it's a smaller SUV that can seat either 5 or 7 depending on which model you choose. Look into them and see what you think. Also just so you know GM is not the only one who makes crossover vehicles... I just know they discontinued their minivans.
Let us know what you choose!

I have two children, one in a booster the other in a car seat. I have been watching my infant nephew for a couple of weeks and while his car seat will fit into my SUV in an emergency I would not recommend it for any regular use. It is tough getting them all in. Unless you go with an SUV that has a third row you may be better off with a minivan...

Congratulations on your pregnancy! I drive a Chevy Trailblazer SUV and I doubt that I could get a third carseat in the back seat. If by some chance I could, I'm sure it would be extremely difficult to get the "middle child" in and out. I would definitely go for a minivan!

Hi there. I have 2 kids still in booster seats (that are my own) plus 3 others that I watch at various times -all of which are in car seats (one rear facing and 2 forward). I have (had) two cars that I switched back and forth between -a Chrysler Pacifica & a Chrysler Town & Country Minivan.

My Pacifica was my favorite 'sporty' car- seated 6, looked great (think of a cross between a SUV and a station wagon). It looked great but wasn't so practical when it came to putting and retrieving kids from the third row. The mini van definately served us well when it came to convenience with the kids.

We just traded both cars in nad purchased a 2008 Chrysler Town & Country mini van. I was considering switching to an Aspen (big SUV) but considering gas prices, I decided the I could do the van thing again. This one has everything my gang of kiddos could want (two movie screens that play satellite tv or dvd's or video games) plus is very stylish- all leather, touch screen radio (satellite, regular, holds digital photos, connects with your Ipod etc (since I'm in a van it may as well be slick-right?!). It has lots more features that I am not naming- definately worth looking at.

My husband is the Sales Manager (Joe R) at Bob Caldwell Chrylser on Morse Road- he truly would take care of you (no scams) if you were interested in checking anything in their line out- just mention that I talked with you through Mamasource.
Good luck.

I just had twins 3 months ago and we had to up grade to something bigger I had a car now I have an SUV we got a honda Pilet holds up to 8 people I have 2 carseat the in middle seat and my older sons booster seat is in the 3rd row with the stroller I have one seat down and can get him in from the passenger side and the twins I put in from the driver side I could also get the oldest son in from the back of the SUV but we only do that sometimes, my oldest son love seating in the back back seat nice right i know Or you can try the honda odyssey that is a good mini van and they are reliable I PROMISE You can ask my fienca he well tell you he is good with finding cars
Let me know

You could get a suv with a third row of seats. Some Trailblazers, Explorers and Durango have them. This is what I wanted and unfortunatly couldnt afford one. I went with the Kia Sedona. It is a really good van, has alot of safety features and is cheap! Just stay away from Ford Windstar. I had one for 5 months and the trani went out! Hope this helps.

Believe it or not my brother has 3 kids, one is a booster and 2 in car seats and he can fit all three into his new little honda civic! You just have to look for carseats with the smallest width...and believe me you will be able to fit all three into your suv, so don't give into that minivan if you don't want to...(I too drive and suv and am avoiding the minivan purchase!) Good luck!

I love my Honda Odyssey!!! I have 3 boys and yes I had two booster seats and a car seat at one time and they fit great. I hope you enjoy whatever you decide to purchase because you will have it for a long time!

I too had to make a decision on this very topic last winter. I had my 3rd baby in April of this year and had been driving a Hyundai Santa Fe. LOVED this car, but there was ABSOLUTELY no way I could fit 2 car seats and a booster in the back seat. I also had to make a decision based on the fact that I generally ride in the backseat with the baby for the first almost year since they may need to be fed on the road or entertained until they are able to have better hand control. There was no way that was going to happen in this car either. We looked into getting a Toyota Highlander with a 3rd row seat which would be great while our kids are smaller and could climb over the back seat to the very back, but that left very little storage space in the back for long trips/luggage, etc. Plus when the kids get older, they couldn't climb in and out as well. We ended up purchasing a Hyundai Entourage minivan and I ABSOLUTELY LOVE IT! It has PLENTY of room for long trips (DH's family lives out of state) and lots of safety features. Our insurance also gave us a discount when we purchased this particular minivan (the only one that had the discount through the insurance company) because it has such great safety features/ratings not only through the NHTS but among insurance companies as well.

I would definitely go the minivan route. They may look large, but they are really handy with 3 kids. I am a 32 year old SAHM of 3 girls ages 6 years, 3 years, and 7 1/2 months. :)

HTH,
K. K

We had a GMC Jimmy when I found out I was pregnant with our 3rd child. We LOVED our Jimmy and hated to part with it --- now I can be glad we got a VAN. They have so much more space in them - well that is depending on which van you choose!

We bought a Pontiac Montana in 2002 -- and we loved it!

We just bought a Saturn Relay - It is hard to find a nice van now. Since they have been discontinued. I really like the remote start and the automatic door and the kids love the DVD player - BUT it does NOT have the storage space that our Montana had. We removed a lot of things that we used to keep in the car and it looks as full as it did before.

Buy American! ;)

BTW --- we still have our Montana for sale --- anyone interested just ask.

2002 Pontiac Montana
new heat
new A/C last year
NEVER had paint or body work
NO rust
Very Clean!
Non-smokers/ONE OWNER
Newer Tires
Clean Title
AM/FM/Cassette
Cruise Control
Tilt Wheel
Power driver seat
Power locks/windows
Child locks
77,400 miles (last I checked)

you can ask our mechanic how we took care of it - he lives
right down the street

Hi S.,
I just got a dodge caravan, I love it. I have two small children and there is plenty of room. If you don't like the idea of a minivan check out the new dodge caravans. It has everything you could possible want. Mine has automatic doors, the mygig system which is wonderful, stow and go, and the windows on the sliding doors come down. This is a very hip family friendly car, also it's American made.

My husband and I own a 99 Dodge Durango, a full size SUV. It is impossible to put three car seats wide in the middle seat, so atleast one child has to be in the third row, and it is harder to get to them back there than in a minivan. I guess it is just not easy to have three in car seats, but maybe a newer version SUV would work better. Good luck!

I had the same problem and I had to go to a minivan. I hated the idea but I found one that I love. Two doors are the best.

I'm a big fan of Hondas - reliable and last forever if well-maintained. I had a Honda Odyssey for 8 years and you could fit three seats in it easily - loved it. I now have a Pilot - it's roomy, but don't think 3 seats would fit, and gas is tres pricey for it these days (but actually pretty comparable to the Odyssey - all gas is expensive I guess!

I am in love with my Honda Odyssey. Before you write off the minivan I urge you to test drive it with kids and car seats in tow! There is so much interior space it is like driving around in your living room. Plenty of room for up to five car seats (I have three, including an enormous one for my four-year-old). Lots of storage, convenient automatic doors, and other features. I had a lot of issues about being a minivan mom, and I got over those in about a day. Besides, is a gas-guzzling SUV really that much cooler?

I hope you enjoy your Dodge Caravan. I myself love the Nissan Quest. It is very roomy, seats 7. I have 4 kids and we ride in style with no problems for their seats. The best part is the Quest at first glance doesn't have to usual minivan look.

Hi S.,

I have a 2003 Toyota 4-Runner and love it!! There are 3 safety seat belts in the back seat with plenty of room in the "trunk" when grocery shopping or for additional storage space when traveling.

Good luck with your decision.

K.

Hi S.,
I drive a 2004 Honda CR-V. Although I only have one child, I have very frequently put 3 car seats in the backseat. I'm tall (5'8) so I don't need to stretch to buckle the middle child in. But someone who's on the shorter side might have an issue with this. It's a tight fit, but none of the kids have complained (they're 2,2,and 5).
My friend bought the Honda Element (06) which also fit her 3 carseats; she's able to go in there (somewhat like a mini-van) but she's alittle thing (maybe 5'2).
I hope that helps!

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