I vowed I would NEVER own a minivan.
What could be more depressing than turning in my “hot mom” card for the least sexy vehicle on the planet? I felt like my kids had taken over my body with stretch marks, my house with toys, my purse with snacks, my schedule with practices and lessons so the car was really the LAST thing I had control over and I would not let my kids take my cool car away from me. That only lasted so long.
After welcoming our second daughter last year we began the excruciating task of searching for a larger vehicle. We had a 2013 Kia Sorento that fit 7 passengers. The downside is the Sorento is a very narrow SUV and two car seats meant that no one else could fit if there were groceries or anything in the backseat.
Originally, I thought that a Ford Expedition would be a solution. I had owned one in the past (before kids) and it was a great amount of storage space with the right number of seats. The gas mileage was horrible but since I needed the space it was worth it. I also have dogs and when I factored in the dogs getting in and out of the back of the vehicle I realized that a larger SUV was not going to be an option. It would injure their hips doing the jump on a daily basis. I had to find a shorter option.
We considered a Ford Flex. It was lower than the expedition but the gas mileage was almost the same which did not make any sense to me and it was well into the $40,000 price range. If we wanted it fully loaded it was almost $50,000. Having a car payment that rivaled our mortgage was definitely not an option. If I couldn’t fit in a car, an SUV was too tall for my dogs, and a station wagon was too expensive and used too much gas, that only left one choice. Yes, you know where this is headed.
The dreaded mini-van.
I reluctantly looked online to consider my options. Our family’s two biggest priorities were safety and value. Through those factors, we narrowed it down to a Honda Odyssey and a Toyota Sienna. We loved the Honda’s option of having a built-in vacuum. However, when we considered them side by side, the Sienna held it’s value much better, came fully loaded at a better price point, and had higher safety ratings overall for the 2017 model we were considering. We decided to purchase the Toyota Sienna.
This led to my one regret.
After evaluating the outrageous amount of storage (there are seriously more cubbies than a kindergarten classroom), the automatic doors, the entertainment system, the back up camera, the navigation system, the great gas mileage, the 0% financing, the sunroof, and the 8 passenger seating, my one regret is this. That I did not buy a minivan 10 years ago. I could not care less about my cool factor when my entire family shows up comfortably, well rested, my kids completely entertained on long car rides, my low car payment, and my $186 savings a month on my gas bill compared to my SUV. All wins in my book.
Next time you sit down to make your family’s next choice in vehicle purchase I would highly recommend that you at least consider a minivan. Great value, great features, great price. Good news is that since my kids LOVE the minivan that I have a whole new cool factor with my kids even if I drive a minivan.