J.F. asks from San Ramon, CA on December 31, 2009
SUV Or Minivan?
We are expecting our second this summer, and are looking to upgrade one of our camrys to something bigger. We're currently looking at the Highlander, Sienna, and Sequoia. In no particular order, here are the things that are most important to us:
1.) Good gas mileage. We love saving money.
2.) Ability to take road trips. We're not talking 4-wheeling on sand dunes, just want to be able to drive to the grand canyon or to Yosemite for camping, etc.
3.) Space for luggage.
4.) Smooth ride (for example, the 4Runner is a big NO for us - too bumpy!)
Thanks in advance!
1 mom found this helpful
L.C. answers from Los Angeles on January 04, 2010
2 of my friends have the Sienna and love it - one has 2 kids, one has 3 kids. My sister-in-law has the Honda Pilot. I'm not an SUV fan but the Pilot rides like a car and there is plenty of room for 2 kids - plus great safety ratings.
N.C. answers from Los Angeles on January 04, 2010
I have the sienna and love, love, love it! It's roomy and drives great. I like that as my girls have gotten older it gives us more then enough room for them to bring friends along.
C.M. answers from Los Angeles on January 03, 2010
I drove a 2001 GMC Safari van until this summer and loved it. It seats eight with lots of storage in the back. The rear seats fold down. The only thing I would change would be to have rear passenger doors on each side. Mine just had a sliding door on the right side. I don't know what changes have been made since 2001. I also loved riding up high, although no matter what, there was always a bigger vehicle in front of me. lol
D.M. answers from San Diego on January 02, 2010
We love our Sienna. Minivans are a lot cheaper than SUV's. A friend of mine once drove our minivan, and had had an SUV, and he couldn't believe how much smoother the van was. And it's much better on gas mileage.
R.S. answers from Los Angeles on January 09, 2010
We have the smaller Lexus SUV and have used it with our first two kids. We recently bought a Toyota Sienna minivan right before our third child was born. And boy do I wish we invested in this minivan way back instead of the SUV (although I did love our SUV too)! For a family with young children, the minivan wins hands down. Good luck!
R.P. answers from Los Angeles on January 02, 2010
Hi JF, in my line of work I am very familiar with all three vehicles! I think you'd likely be happiest with the Sienna. The 2011 Sienna will be coming out next month so you could possibly get a deal on a 2010 model, if you are looking to save some money.
The Highlander is also nice but smaller and more car-like . . .I would consider it maybe a little crowded with two kids. The Hybrid would have the best gas mileage of the three, however.
The Sequoia is HUGE and built essentially on a Tundra frame, and is very manly and sturdy inside, and has a stiffer ride . . .great for families but would probably appeal to a family that does a lot of camping or has to haul around a lot of equipment or a big dog, etc. Gas mileage the lowest of the three.
Toyota.com has a comparison tool you could use to see the differences in the three vehicles.
N.D. answers from Reno on January 01, 2010
I drive a SUV. Im not in love with it by any means, but with four kids, a travel trailer and alot of time spent in the mountians...its a must for this family. Several of my other mom friends all have mini vans...I am so jealous! The gas mileage is alot better and so is the ride, it seems that the passangers are more comfortable also and gettin the kids in and out of a van is easier then a SUV. But test them all out and see what works best for you and yours. Good luck.
B.L. answers from Los Angeles on January 02, 2010
I have the Sienna and I LOVE it! A good friend of ours is a master mechanic for Toyota and the Sienna is one of the only minivans that can fit 6 car seats (I have a small daycare so this was important for me). I chose it by default for these reasons and I have not been disappointed. It's very easy to drive, roomy inside both for passengers and cargo in the back. I'm not sure exactly what the gas mileage is but I think it's got to be as good, but probably better, than any SUV. Even if you only have two kids, as they get older, it's nice to have the option of seating other children as well for carpooling or little trips when they want to bring a friend.
Good luck with the car and your growing family!
S.B. answers from San Diego on January 02, 2010
I had to laugh when I read your question because we used to have a Camry and the reason we got rid of it is because we went camping and it was packed so full that we couldn't see our kid's!! We did a lot of research and bought the Sienna. I LOVE it and NEVER thought I would drive a minivan!!! It's roomy, has a very comfortable ride. We have the 8 seater and that back rowis not comfortable for adults for long distances, but it works for the kid's and for the most part that is who is in that back row. My only complaint is that it feels wide, so parking in those little parking spaces can be tricky. That said, I love it and would buy another one.
C.J. answers from Los Angeles on January 01, 2010
Have you looked at the Ford Flex? It is ugly as heck, but it was a REALLY smooth, fun ride (we test drove one last year but it was out of our ultimate price range). It has some really cool vista windows as well, great for road trips. It was a really nice compromise between minivan and SUV, lots of seating, trunk space and neat features.
T.G. answers from Los Angeles on January 01, 2010
We have a Sequoia and love it! This is actually our 3rd Sequoia and while we have kids I problably won't get anything else. That being said the Sequoia and the 4 Runner are built on the same chasis (truck) vs. the Highlander which is built on the car chasis (I am not sure about the Sienna). Obviously the car chasis is going to make for a smoother ride. I don't really notice the ride in our Sequoia, unless I get into another car. The space is awesome, even the 3rd row has enough room for grown men. We usually don't have the 3rd row seats in because we have a large dog that travels with us a lot (don't want his hair on the seats). Gas mileage sucks, about 16 mpg but I love having a big car that I feel safe in. We actually have had 2 fairly serious accidents in the Sequoias and no serious injuries (I have some residual back neck problems but our kids were completely protected). I am sure a lot of this credit goes to Toyota for making a safe product so the Sienna/Highlander should be similiar. We looked at the Highlander and just found it too small in comparison to the Sequoia. Good luck