It’s honestly hard to think of a time before my minivan. And if you’d told me three years ago that I’d own a minivan, I would have LAUGHED. in. your. face. It was one of my goals in life. To NEVER own a minivan. Like ever (yes, too much Taylor Swift lately).
But, when one has three kids in three years and a very small garage…a minivan it is. And now, like many others, I’m a total convert. And eating my words. I wish we’d have gotten it even sooner than we did.
Lately I’ve had a couple of friends ask about my minivan…do I like it? Why did I buy it? What should a person look for when deciding? Etc. So this post if for them. PLEASE chime in with your comments. Because below…is just one girl’s opinion.
Things I considered:
- First and foremost, I’m a brand snob brand loyal. Always have been. Always will be. So to begin with there were only two choices for me – the Honda or the Toyota. I test-drove both and immediately preferred the Sienna most likely because it looked and felt just like the Camry I was driving at the time.
- I searched for a used Sienna and that’s like finding a needle in a haystack if a) you don’t want it to be ancient or b) you don’t want it to be a newer-used previous rental van with 100,000 miles on it. So we went back to the Toyota dealer to look at a new model closer. And wasn’t crazy about the look or the usability.
- Actually, I HATED the new model of the Toyota Sienna (I think they released it in 2011?). This is where I get VERY quirky. Everyone has to know what the van will do for them. For me, I would have THREE kids I had to help buckle into car seats. So I had to reach the third child in the back (heck, Stella still needs some help today with her 5-point harness). The newer Sienna did not allow the middle-row bucket seats to slide together and create access to the third row anymore. So basically you had to either flip a seat down OR climb through the middle. Over a non-removable cup holder station in the middle of the aisle. Neither preferable for me.
- For me, it became all about where I’d put the car seats and how I wanted to get the kids in and out of the van. And how I’d use the space for groceries, hauling bigger items, etc. Some people put more kids in the last row of the car and take a seat out of the middle. No thanks. I like the extra space in the very back and the ability to flip down half of the third row if necessary. So I knew I wanted 2 kids in the middle and the third in the rear. These are things you have to think about.
- Some friends needed the 8th seat that the Honda offers. Not necessary for us. Again, more you have to consider.
- How many kids will be in it? How many car seats? How many extra riders? How often? How much will you haul other things? Where do you want the groceries? The stroller? How often will you take road trips? Do you have a pet you have to consider as well?
Luckily I wasn’t in immediate need of the minivan at the time. I gave myself about 6 months to find one. I searched and searched and finally found a year-old Sienna in Oklahoma City through CarMax. Apparently a woman thought she wanted a minivan, bought it, drove it 5,000 miles and drove it back to the lot and asked for a huge SUV. So the Sienna she hated became mine.
Now it’s your turn…
What are you driving?
How many kids/car seats are you putting in it?
Why do you love it/loathe it?