Friday, May 14, 2010

Help! - Not sewing related

So, the time has come to think of a new car.  We're in a financial situation (finally!) to be able to consider heading back into the two car family world, and since our family has grown, we're thinking it is time to get ourselves one of these...
This one is the Honda Odyssey, which we have heard great things about.  Here is the reason I am blogging about this.  We haven't bought a new-to-us car in quite a few years, and so this is an unabashed request for advice.  If you happen to be a minivan owner, what do you have and what do you like/dislike about it?  Even if you aren't driving a big ole family mobile, what features are your must-haves, and what could you live without?
Thanks, and I now return you to your regularly scheduled sewing.  I should have some capris to show you soon!


  1. We have a Dodge Caravan. Like it, but wish we had captain seats in the middle as we could have had some flexibility with Andrew. He is long, as he is 6, but has to be in a carseat for support since he has CP. CeeCee can sit anywhere being 8. We do have built in boosters for Philip and when Hayley is ready. A fifth kid (not planning on it) would make us have to buy a full size, though. I wish we had the extended since the wheelchair takes up the cargo space.

  2. Leather seats if you can get them. Non-negotiable for me from here on out.

  3. I have the Odyssey and love it! Mine is now 8 years old with 215,000 miles and it has been wonderful. I'm going to be trading up next summer right before my daughter goes to college. Also, the Honda Service department is fantastic. I had a Dodge Caravan prior to that and couldn't get rid of it quickly enough :0!

    Hope that helps! I'm a Honda girl 100%. Worth every dime. I would probably only consider a Toyota as an alternative.

  4. I think captain's seat are super, too. We have a bench in our SUV and it makes it really hard for an adult to get in the third row.

    Good luck!

  5. I have a Ford Windstar (2001). The biggest advantage is the automatic sliding door (my model only has one). That is a lifesaver, especially when the kids were little and needed herding more than they do now. Also nice is the extra seating should more than 4 need to go somewhere together (so for instance when Grandma tags along for the ride).

    Dislikes include truly horrifyingly dreadful mileage and the fact that you're driving, you know, a minivan. I'm seriously considering trading mine for my sister's not-being-used Mitsubishi Diamante sedan... except that the automatic door and the ease-of-putting-on-seatbelts factor keeps me stuck with the van.

    I don't know, the pros probably outweigh the cons.

  6. We're on our 2nd Dodge Grand Caravan, which is a little longer than the regular caravan. The extra space in the "trunk" is good for long trips and sports equipment. We have 5 kids, though, so we add a cartop carrier on the roof, too.

    One thing I don't like is that the middle back seat doesn't have a shoulder belt, which limits how we arrange the kids/carseats. Maybe new vehicles would have that belt automatically.

  7. I am writing all the way from Australia so I don't know if this will help at all. 3 kids, 4 occasionally.

    We are a one car family.

    Recently upgraded to the Kia Rondo 7 seater. Comes as a standard 5 seater wagon, with the 2 optional seats included "in the boot" that you just up and go. I assume the Odyssey is something like this. But the main advantage is that for me, I did not want a HUGE car to drive, and the Rondo is only a little bigger than my Corolla.

    It is a good little car. I would have gone for the Toyota Avensis Verso 7 seater, which is very similar, if I could have afforded it, except it was an extra AUD10,000 or so.

    Good luck!

  8. We have an 1995 (purchased used) Toyota Previa. I love it.

    Our middle seats are Captain chairs that can turn and face the rear. This is a lot of fun when hauling a crew of kids around. Also, our back seats fold fairly flat against the walls of the van giving us tons of room to bring home big things. I know the Honda has seats that sink into the floor - this is so much better than having seats that have to be removed and stored.

    It would be great if we had keyless entry and I totally envy the double sliding doors on the Honda. I also wish the rear side windows on our van opened more.

    Get a roof rack and maybe a Thule. Even if you only camp or go on road trips every other year. It is remarkable how much room you have to leave for people and movement getting in and out of the van - it really helps to have another spot to put things that you don't need easy access to.

    Also, if your family might ever want to go somewhere with your bicycles, think about some kind of bicycle rack.

    All these little costs, you know?

  9. We're looking at getting a second car in the next few weeks as well. The current one and only car is a 2005 Honda CR-V. Love it. Before I bought it I had a Toyota Echo (which my husband refers to as "The Clown Car") so this was considerably bigger. It was scary for me at first (used to be low to the road and in a tiny car), but now I love the room.

    I told my husband the only thing I'm concerned about with the new car is that it's automatic (I tried to learn didn't work out) and it has to fit two car seats easily. My husband says now that we are in WV we need AWD because of driving in snow. I don't think you will have that problem in TX, but something to think about if you plan on moving in the next few years.

  10. We have a 2000 Ford Windstar and it's okay but my parents have a Toyota Sienna they bought 2-3 years ago and I love it! It's a fantastic minivan. They let us borrow it for long trips and I have a hard time giving it back. I like that the cargo area dips down so there's more vertical space. There is lots of storage cubbies throughout. The seats are comfortable and the sliding doors can open by remote.
    While they were researching minivans to buy, they almost bought a Honda. They ended up buying a Toyota because they wanted an 8 seater and the Honda's 8th seat was smaller than the Toyota's.
    I can't really say that there is anything I don't like about the Toyota. I have experience with the Town & Country minivan too(a rental while we were on vacation). I didn't like that one at all. The stow-n-go compartments weren't easy to access unless the seats were all the way back and the interior just felt cramped.

    Good luck!

  11. Porsche now makes an SUV. Real doctors drive Porsches.

    If you MUST go the mini-van/SUV route: please consider a Hybrid.
    Mother Earth (and your mother) will thank you for it.

    Run to the nearest newsstand and get the April issue of Consumer Reports. It is their annual auto issue. If you can't find a copy (I just realized that it is mid-May), I can send you mine.
    There is no better, more highly-credible source than them.

  12. My parents Odyssey(2000) v. My Tahoe(2002).

    sliding doors v. regular doors: in tight situations or for kiddos that don't know how to open the door carefully, sliding doors are so convenient.

    gas mileage: the odyssey kicks my tahoe's behind.

    seating: the captains chairs are really cool, you can put them together or apart,and slide them forward and back, it is minus one (seating 7) compared to my tahoe (seating 8) but no one really wants to be "stuck" in the middle anyways.

    storage: my parents model has a "hideaway" third row seat v. my "removable" third row seat. so when we moved, my parents hid the third row and pulled out the captains chair and fit our oversized couch in their van while our tahoe could only fit the loveseat. pretty impressive.

    now, the reason we are driving a tahoe is that steven refused to drive a minivan. plus, we do a lot of towing. we drive our nephews around to baseball games so with gear and contry terrain we needed the all terrain vehicle.

    if you guys don't do a lot of country road driving or aren't carrying a store of sporting goods along with your stroller and pet kennel. the odyssey is perfect.

    Hope this helps!

  13. I am very surprised that you don't work,and have been surviving on one car ?? Students loans I guess?? Anyway don't buy a honda odessey as I've heard the quality is not that great anymore,and the doors can be a continual problem.Honda support is not great either.Maybe a larger sedan might work .We have a camry which is not bad.

  14. We were in a close running between the Odyssey and the Quest. I am sure we would be happy either way. We love the Quest. I like the stadium seating, the bucket seats (captain chairs) in the middle row, the big back storage, it drives well, space is great, the seats in the middle are very versatile....I love it! I really think it is the middle seats. They recline, I can keep my littlest rear facing longer. The captain chairs have three positions front to back. They also lean forward to load the back seat first. Yes we have leaned it forward before with a child strapped in ;) The back storage is deep, so it stores more. Love it and easier to get things in and out of. There isn't one thing we haven't disliked yet.

  15. J. and I have a Honda Element - and we love Hondas - no children but two Terriers! It's AWD - something I would recommend spending the extra $$ for. Good luck with your decision - we do love the room.

  16. I swore I would never get a minivan. Now that I have three kids I wish I had bought one. I drive a 2007 Yukon. I had to have three features. Leather (easier to keep clean), automatic tailgate lift and seat heaters (I know, totally a luxury add on, but my favorite and least regretted item). The gas mileage is awful. We did not by the XL which would give us much needed extra space. It was extra money but now I need to buy a Thule car topper and have to deal with reaching on the roof when traveling and camping. I love my car but when my husband is ready for a new car he'll get the Yukon and I'll buy a nice used odyssey. Four of my girlfriends have them and they are amazing.

  17. Listen to Sascha: leather seats are worth the price, whatever it is. NOTHING stains it -- grape juice, PB M & M's, baby puke -- although, on the way home from a Chili Cook-off with a gassy husband, you'll wish you had made him walk. Leather hangs on to smells for a while.
    Also: the bun warmers. I would never have paid extra for seat warmers, but they came with the Silver Baby. Yes, I appreciate them in the winter, but if your back is aching (could happen with pregnancy, or after hauling stuff for Boy Scouts), combine warmed seats with adjustable lumbar support, and you will never want to leave the vehicle!! Better than a hot soak in a Jacuzzi. I promise.

  18. I own a 2000 Honda Odyssey and I have no complaints. My kids were in car seats when I first bought it and I loved that it was roomy enough for me to get in the car and get them situated easily. I liked that from the driver's side I could flip down the table between the front seats and walked back to the kids without getting wet or cold. I have been good about doing regular oil changes and regular maintenance, so far it has served us well. It has taken to Florida and Canada and places in between. Good luck with your decision!