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SUV vs. Minivan....Advice Please!!

Moms View Message Board: General Discussion: Archive May 2006: SUV vs. Minivan....Advice Please!!
By Kate on Tuesday, May 2, 2006 - 09:33 am:

Okay, my minivan is fading fast. My husband is encouraging me to get an SUV. We have two children, ten and five. The five year old is in a high back booster. No more children are in the plans.

My concern is the lack of cargo space. When removing the third seat of a van, you can still have the kids in the car with you, and still haul a lot. Not so with an SUV. The SUV he wants is a Honda CRV and that second seat does NOT fold into the floor and disappear...it merely folds up against the front seats. And of course that eliminates the kids.

Anyone ever gone from a minivan to an SUV? Or gone the opposite way and sworn to never go back? Anyone own a Honda CRV? What is the Toyota equivalent? Is it a RAV 4 or a 4 Runner? Advice? Are SUVs significantly cheaper? What about safety and roll over? My garage is small...are the SUVs narrower so it would fit better in the garage than a minivan? Thanks!!

By Tonya on Tuesday, May 2, 2006 - 09:49 am:

I wold not give up my minivan for an SUV ever. Not with kids. For one gas is cheaper and you get better mileage in a mini than an SUV plus the seats sto-n-go now in most new mini's not in SUV's. Plus for most a mini is better on the insurance than an SUV. Too many pros for me to keep my mini. We are getting ready to get rid of the mini we have and DH wanted an SUV I said no way!!! A Dodge Grand Caravan with the sto-n-go and power slide doors and hatch is what we are getting.

By Yjja123 on Tuesday, May 2, 2006 - 09:54 am:

I love My SUV. It gets decent gas milage has great space. My insurance went down when I bought my SUV. I have a Chevy Equinox which is a small SUV.

By Vicki on Tuesday, May 2, 2006 - 09:58 am:

We had a mini van years ago and I would not go back. We have the Honda Pilot and LOVE it. We have the third row of seating, but if we need to haul something, it folds down flat and we still have the second row.

By Conni on Tuesday, May 2, 2006 - 10:14 am:

I have a Toyota Landcruiser (very old and very paid for lol) but still a great truck!! And just last yr got rid of my mini van and bought a GMC 3/4 ton crew cab truck w/a Duramax Diesel engine. OMG, I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE my truck. But we put it too good use w/ our lifestyle. The boys and I do not miss my mini van and neither does dh. Dh wants to get a 5th wheel RV to pull with the truck.

We had a 4-runner and absolutely loved it. After baby #3 we got rid of it. Which was tough since it was also paid for. :(

By Tayjar on Tuesday, May 2, 2006 - 10:23 am:

My neighbor has the CR-V. It's a great car for running around town, etc. but she can't take any other kids or really haul anything big if the kids are with her. I have heard excellent things about the Honda Pilots and the Toyota Highlanders.

Once my car is paid for, I will be buying another minivan. I like the storage, the seating, and the gas mileage on a mini better than an SUV. But, I also put about 4 - 5,000 miles a month on our cars between work and our traveling sports leagues. Your needs might be different than mine. We also take alot of long weekend trips.

By Dana on Tuesday, May 2, 2006 - 12:27 pm:

From my experience, the minivan was much better when hauling more than 2 kids. I only have a Camry, so we are always traveling in the others' vehicle. Seems whenever there is a choice of taking the SUV or Mini, we always end up in the mini. Too many SUVs only allow 3 at the most in the back seat w/ no third row. My mother-in-law's Pilot was never much use as you would have to climb over the middle seats to get to the back seat. Not fun w/ boosters or carseats.

By Reds9298 on Tuesday, May 2, 2006 - 01:17 pm:

I love my SUV and I'm swearing to NEVER have a minivan, BUT....the cargo space in an SUV most definitely is limited. I actually prefer my old car trunk to my SUV cargo space, but you can't have the best of both worlds unless you go with a minivan!! :) Minivans are so versatile...we've borrowed relatives vans for moving large furniture. Taking out that back seat is a lifesaver sometimes. (We have a Saturn VUE, which I really like and is larger than most suv's in it's class.)

Still, I won't have one...I swear...I won't. :)

By Kaye on Tuesday, May 2, 2006 - 03:16 pm:

If i only had two kids, I think I would lean towards an SUV over a van, just cause I hate that I am a VAN driver...LOL

However a CRV is tiny. I do love the pilots though.

I guess what you need to think of, is when do you need the space, how often will you miss having the cargo area, do you use it alot?

For us, we camp about 3 times a year, but we travel to see family a bit more. I can pack very light. For example in the minivan, I can pack all our camping stuff, minus one cooler all in the back cargo area. One cooler goes between the driver seat and the passenger seat. So ultimately I could go down to a pilot and it not be a huge issue, because the center seat fits 3.

By Reds9298 on Tuesday, May 2, 2006 - 03:27 pm:

CRV's are cute but they ARE tiny!

By Crystal915 on Tuesday, May 2, 2006 - 03:59 pm:

I loved my SUV, but a minivan is more practical. Better gas mileage, more cargo space, and you have room for the kids' friends if need be. Price is usually better too, more ammenities for less with a minivan. As much as it kills me to be a minivan momma at 23, I do love my van!!

By Trina~moderator on Tuesday, May 2, 2006 - 04:56 pm:

This is a personal decision and depends on YOUR family needs. That said... I LOVE my AWD minivan! Better gas mileage and safety ratings and more practical and versatile concerning passenger and cargo space.

By Enchens on Tuesday, May 2, 2006 - 06:21 pm:

We have a CRV and we love it! We upgraded from a Camry. I still drive a Corolla because I'm afraid of big cars. LOL!
Anyway, we have two kids (3 and 1) and they fit fine. The space in the back is fine for hauling most things we need to haul. You won't be able to fit a desk or mattress in there along with kids, if that's the kind of thing you're thinking about. You can go to Costco (or the equivalent) and haul quite a bit of groceries.
The Toyota Rav4 is not the equivalent. It is smaller than the CRV. Actually, for hauling kids around I think it's too small. The seat belts in the Rav4 for the carseats are a big pain. (My mother-in-law has a Rav4. It suits her needs-no more kids-but it wouldn't suit ours.)
I would say go out and check out both types of cars and see what would fit your needs best. I'm actually in the same boat. I don't know if I should look into minivans or suvs for my next car, as we are planning on continuing to expand our family. But I'm kinda like Reds...I swore I wouldn't drive a mini, but we'll see....

By Breann on Tuesday, May 2, 2006 - 08:09 pm:

Mini van! Definitely better on safety ratings. Also better on gas mileage :) And, they ride so nicely.

By Kate on Tuesday, May 2, 2006 - 08:28 pm:

Thanks everyone. I test drove a CRV and an Odyssey tonight. I definitely preferred the minivan and now I'm trying to decide between a Sienna and an Odyssey. The CRV was just too small and too truck like for me.

By Kaye on Tuesday, May 2, 2006 - 08:35 pm:

Both the Sienna and the Odyssey are great vehicles, I know people in both and they all adore them. I have a honda, it is great, it is the older model (not the split row), it just turned 100K and is still going strong.

By Trina~moderator on Tuesday, May 2, 2006 - 09:11 pm:

Yes, the Sienna and Odyssey are awesome vans. They both have 8 passenger options now. The Sienna is available with AWD if that's important to you. I have one and love it! :)

By Truestori on Tuesday, May 2, 2006 - 11:57 pm:

I have a mazda mpv van and absolutely love it! IT was actually the first van to allow the kids windows to role down. For us that is a big deal! LOL :)

I have read reviews lately that the Honda odyssey is having some trouble, though. Make sure you research.

By Kate on Wednesday, May 3, 2006 - 08:45 am:

Do you know what kind of trouble Odysseys are having, Stori? Were these the new ones?

They're so expensive!!!! Ack!!!


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