So here is a decision that I have been struggling with since becoming a mother six years ago. Do I take the plunge and buy a minivan or continue to feel like I somehow look cooler driving an SUV?
My minivan aversion started back in my mid-20’s. I think we were the only people on the planet who actually owned a minivan without kids. Why would anyone make such a purchase at such a young age you may be asking? Well we sold our cars, quit our jobs and traveled the country for four months and needed a big vehicle – very well-worth the humiliation of driving ‘ole Ironside as we called it! Ironside lasted nearly a decade so I was definitely over the minivan by the time I gave birth to my first child.
Currently, I drive a Sequoia and love it. We purchased it right after the birth of our second child with hopes that it would last forever. We bought it big, sporting an 8-passenger potential, thinking that we could drive it to the ground since we certainly would never need a bigger vehicle. Shortly after the purchase, we realized that we could possibly outgrow the Sequoia. Not many people can achieve this in their lifetime so we feel pretty special! With twins as numbers 3 and 4, we were worried that the carseats were not going to fit side by side and we wouldn’t be able to easily get to the 3rd row. We actually found a safe carseat, the Britax Roundabout, that fits like a glove, literally. The only problem is that anyone getting to the 3rd row has to enter either from the back hatch or climb over a packed row of carseats. Not ideal, but doable. I remember the first day we installed the twins ’ carseats. We were carpooling with our carpool buddies and the little boy looked at me and said, “my mommy’s car has a walkway to get to the back.” I said, not our bus and it’s the coolest ride in town! Overall, the Sequoia is a smooth ride, very comfortable, roomy enough for a family of six with carpool capability– although the Sears XCargo top is a must on long trips. Built-in DVD player is a necessity. My only complaint is the lack of A/V outlets in the 3rd row. Basically, the 3rd row passengers get the shaft. They don’t have a lot of amenities back there in my 2004 model. I bet they’ve come a long way in 4 years though. And I have to say, I still feel like I look somewhat cool driving my sporty SUV that doesn’t scream out “Mommy-mobile!” I also want to add that I do think I’m somewhat eco-friendly driving this gas-guzzler because not many hybrids (yet!) can host 8 passengers in carseats in one vehicle. So if I drove a hybrid, I would need two to get my family around town!
So the other day, my other carpool buddy was complaining that my 2nd row didn’t have heated carseats. And I was immediately intrigued as to what vehicle actually had this feature. When I discovered that the Honda Odyssey has this option, my minivan envy catapulted to a new level. I think the Odyssey looks just as cool as any SUV I’ve ever seen and those engineers were really thinking about people like me when they designed this car. Every square inch of space is utilized to the maximum benefit and it is just so easy to drive. I’m still jealous that all minivans have automatic side and back doors. My car is riddled with massive door dings that pop up daily. If I had sliding doors, this would be reduced by 50% and just think if every car had this feature – door dings would be eliminated from our automotive vocabulary.
Bottom line, these minivans are getting so sporty and edgy. They get better gas mileage. They are super easy to drive. I think we’re going to do it. We just need our other car to die or get stolen so we can justify the additional expense.
What do you drive? What is your favorite feature? Check out my packed carpool in the photo!