Car recommendations needed for growing family

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bluejello
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Car recommendations needed for growing family

Post by bluejello » Sun Jan 07, 2018 9:08 pm

We're relocating from a city where we didn't need to have a car, to a suburban place where we need two cars. Since I've lived in major cities all my life and always used public transit, I've never actually owned a car.

We're a family of 4 with a toddler and baby. Our parents are also likely to visit often. Therefore, we're thinking about getting one bigger car for hauling the whole family around (perhaps a 7-seater?), and another smaller car to use for daily commuting (sedan or coupe).

Priorities:
1) fuel efficiency — would love to get a hybrid or electric if possible
2) safety ratings for the family car
3) fun to drive aspect for the smaller commuting car

We don't care about luxury cars for the sake of luxury, but if there's something that's objectively better about a more expensive car then we're willing to consider it. Legroom is not a problem for us as we are short people (I'm 5'4" and my husband is 5'6"). We're moving to a warm climate with no snow, so that's not a consideration either.

Recommendations please!

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ram
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Re: Car recommendations needed for growing family

Post by ram » Sun Jan 07, 2018 9:43 pm

Ideal situation for one car to be a minivan. Recommend Honda odyssey or Toyota Sienna. I have Odyssey 2006 with 106 K miles.
If you need SUVs then Toyota highlander or Honda Pilot.
Other car can be a small car. Prius, Corolla, Civic. Never had any of these but Accord and Camrys are reasonable options too.
Ram

bluejello
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Re: Car recommendations needed for growing family

Post by bluejello » Sun Jan 07, 2018 10:08 pm

ram wrote:
Sun Jan 07, 2018 9:43 pm
Ideal situation for one car to be a minivan. Recommend Honda odyssey or Toyota Sienna. I have Odyssey 2006 with 106 K miles.
If you need SUVs then Toyota highlander or Honda Pilot.
Other car can be a small car. Prius, Corolla, Civic. Never had any of these but Accord and Camrys are reasonable options too.
Thanks! Apologies for such a basic question, but what are the pros and cons of a minivan vs a SUV with 3 rows of seats? e.g. the Honday Odyssey vs the Honda Pilot? I'm mostly wondering about daily use with kids, what's more convenient or annoying with a minivan vs an SUV.

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Sandtrap
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Re: Car recommendations needed for growing family

Post by Sandtrap » Sun Jan 07, 2018 10:14 pm

ram wrote:
Sun Jan 07, 2018 9:43 pm
Ideal situation for one car to be a minivan. Recommend Honda odyssey or Toyota Sienna. I have Odyssey 2006 with 106 K miles.
If you need SUVs then Toyota highlander or Honda Pilot.
Other car can be a small car. Prius, Corolla, Civic. Never had any of these but Accord and Camrys are reasonable options too.
+1
Honda Odyssey or Toyota Sienna.
Test drive each.
j :D

Nearly A Moose
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Re: Car recommendations needed for growing family

Post by Nearly A Moose » Sun Jan 07, 2018 11:17 pm

Just get a minivan. Sorry. I have two kids under 4. We have an SUV (Subaru Forester). Great vehicle, but with two carseats in the second row, you can't fit a third person between them. And driving for overnight trips we're fully loaded. I get giddy whenever we rent a van when traveling - so much space and so easy to use. The practical issue with an SUV is that you can never fit more than your family of 4 in there. If you're out of car seats, maybe a fifth in the back. If a set of grandparents are in town, wehave to throw them in an Uber. Want to give to give some friends with their kids a lift home because it's raining? Too bad, not enough room. Want to take more than two suitcases and a stroller out of town? Good luck seeing out the back. You get the idea. And vans are actually really freaking easy to get people and stuff in and out of.
Pardon typos, I'm probably using my fat thumbs on a tiny phone.

Nearly A Moose
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Re: Car recommendations needed for growing family

Post by Nearly A Moose » Sun Jan 07, 2018 11:19 pm

Also, minivans have this magical way if being able to hold anything and everything you try to put in the back, even when all the passenger seats are filled. Seriously, a minivan trunk is like a black hole. SUVs with flip up third row seats take up the trunk space, and they're hard to get into.
Pardon typos, I'm probably using my fat thumbs on a tiny phone.

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Dog_Papa
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Re: Car recommendations needed for growing family

Post by Dog_Papa » Sun Jan 07, 2018 11:57 pm

bluejello wrote:
Sun Jan 07, 2018 9:08 pm
We're a family of 4 with a toddler and baby. Our parents are also likely to visit often. Therefore, we're thinking about getting one bigger car for hauling the whole family around (perhaps a 7-seater?), and another smaller car to use for daily commuting (sedan or coupe).

Priorities:
1) fuel efficiency — would love to get a hybrid or electric if possible
2) safety ratings for the family car
3) fun to drive aspect for the smaller commuting car
Have you considered renting a minivan when you need a bigger vehicle? Minivans are great for transporting more people, but cost a lot
more than a standard sedan. Honda Accord, Nissan Altima & Toyota Camry are considered standard sized cars now. Minivans also don't get
real good MPG. The 4-cly Altima has gotten 39 hwy (w/CVT transmission) for several years now. Camry for 2018, 4-cly (8-speed auto trans)
is rated at 41 MPG hwy. Honda & Toyota minivans only get 27 hwy MPG. You could pay for a lot of weekend rentals with the fuel savings.
I also feel you will find, the 3 sedans I have mentioned, represent the best value for the consumer. Corolla, Sentra & Civic are good as well.
But, to me they are a little small and consequently not a safe as the bigger, Honda Accord, Nissan Altima & Toyota Camry sedans.

I don't think you will save money in the long run w/a hybrid. Standard sedans are catching up in fuel economy. They also cost less to buy and
have a longer track record or likely repairs & necessary maintenance. Turbo-charging and other new technologies, such a HCCI. May send the
hybrid the way of the dinosaur.

Although some auto makers are going w/turbo-charging, I would not buy a turbo Accord. Turbo Accords are new and are yet to be tested by
the public. Accords are very good, just don't get the turbo. I think you will find, you can buy the base model of these 3 sedans for under $20K.
If the consumer can believe the ads one sees on dealer-chiseler web site and newspapers. Take a copy of the ad with you, if you shop that way.
Walk out of the dealership if the sales rep tries to jack ya around! Always be ready to walk out fast. Don't worry they will always call you back.

country5rs
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Re: Car recommendations needed for growing family

Post by country5rs » Mon Jan 08, 2018 12:02 am

Owned SUV & Compact - now own a minivan and a hybrid. Driving a SUV feels good comparatively, but its no match for the convenience a minivan offers. 3rd row of SUV is a joke (even mid size ones like Pilot) and with 3rd row on the storage area becomes very limited whereas minivan is very comfortable for 8 people plus enough storage space.
Suggestion:
Honda Odyssey or Toyota Sienna (8 seat configurable into 4, 5, 7 or 8 with plenty of room for luggage)
Toyota Prius (5 seat hybrid) or Prime (4 seat plug-in hybrid with Tesla like interior) or Toyota Camry Hybrid (very comfortable 5 seat)

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eye.surgeon
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Re: Car recommendations needed for growing family

Post by eye.surgeon » Mon Jan 08, 2018 12:22 am

Honda Odyssey and toyota prius.
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MNS CA
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Re: Car recommendations needed for growing family

Post by MNS CA » Mon Jan 08, 2018 12:46 am

Subaru Legacy. Check out Insurance Institute for Highway safety and Consumer Reports rankings for safety and reliability.

They don't offer hybrids, but fuel economy is decent.

I'd also look at the Toyota RAV-4 hybrid, or the Prius, or a Honda Accord.

KT785
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Re: Car recommendations needed for growing family

Post by KT785 » Mon Jan 08, 2018 1:49 am

I should caveat my recommendation with the fact that my wife and I don't currently have children, but are planning on starting a family this year. We own a Nissan Rogue (hers) and a Subaru Outback (mine)--the Rogue was purchased after my wife's previous car was totaled but I traded my previous, much smaller, sedan for the Outback recently in light of the family planning situation.

Growing up my parents always had a minivan, and still do today (Honda Odyssey) but for you, I'd recommend that you get vehicles that address your day-to-day needs, not the random what-ifs. The price differential between a mid-size sedan/small SUV and a minivan/3-row crossover is pretty large for the occasion that grandparents may ride along, or the myriad other one-off situations where it'd be nice to have a larger vehicle. The price difference isn't worth the occasional inconvenience IMO. However, if you're willing to look at used minivans, that might overcome the price differential; the other issues with owning a larger vehicle though are the costs to own (fuel, insurance, etc.) being higher and the fact that you might be relied upon by others with smaller cars . . . . people with trucks often experience that issue as well.

Admittedly, most people I know who own/owned minivans rave about them for convenience, so if you're going to go the bigger vehicle route, I'd definitely go with a minivan over a three-row SUV. But, again, I'd argue for the more cost effective solution of getting the vehicle that addresses your day-to-day needs.

For midsize vehicles, I'd actually look at the Subaru Outback because of it's high safety rating, low cost to insure, and practicality because it's a wagon--safety and practicality were the overriding factors for my choosing the Outback. You could combine the Outback with a Prius or other hybrid and I think that might cover your bases. Depending on the needs of the second car, you might be able to get away with something even smaller (Civic, Corolla, etc.).

strafe
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Re: Car recommendations needed for growing family

Post by strafe » Mon Jan 08, 2018 6:05 am

bluejello wrote:
Sun Jan 07, 2018 9:08 pm
We're relocating from a city where we didn't need to have a car, to a suburban place where we need two cars. Since I've lived in major cities all my life and always used public transit, I've never actually owned a car.

We're a family of 4 with a toddler and baby. Our parents are also likely to visit often. Therefore, we're thinking about getting one bigger car for hauling the whole family around (perhaps a 7-seater?), and another smaller car to use for daily commuting (sedan or coupe).

Priorities:
1) fuel efficiency — would love to get a hybrid or electric if possible
2) safety ratings for the family car
3) fun to drive aspect for the smaller commuting car

We don't care about luxury cars for the sake of luxury, but if there's something that's objectively better about a more expensive car then we're willing to consider it. Legroom is not a problem for us as we are short people (I'm 5'4" and my husband is 5'6"). We're moving to a warm climate with no snow, so that's not a consideration either.

Recommendations please!

1. Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid (plug in) for the family car
2. Volkswagen GTI for the fun car

bungalow10
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Re: Car recommendations needed for growing family

Post by bungalow10 » Mon Jan 08, 2018 7:14 am

We are in a similar situation, moving from Amsterdam to the Chicago suburbs. We are going with an Odyssey and either a Civic or a Crosstour.

We've owned both an Odyssey and several Civics in the past and loved them all. We also had a brief stint as SUV people (Toyota Highlander) and did not enjoy it - somehow the Highlander didn't live up to either the Sport or Utility part of SUV. It was merely a heavy vehicle with a crappy temperament.

I'll take the Utility of the minivan (I LOVED our Odyssey, as did my kids) and the Civic is always fun to drive, but part of that might be memories of driving Civics as a younger person.
An elephant for a dime is only a good deal if you need an elephant and have a dime.

Hockey10
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Re: Car recommendations needed for growing family

Post by Hockey10 » Mon Jan 08, 2018 5:21 pm

We owned 3 different minivans back in the days when our kids (3) were all still at home. The best one by far was the Honda Odyssey. (The others were a Dodge and a Chrysler). Not only was it perfect for transporting a lot of people, you could also put tons of stuff in the back on a trip to Home Depot if you folded down the 2nd and 3rd seats.

We now have a Honda Pilot, but the 3rd row seat is much more difficult to get into compared to the minivan.

bluejello
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Re: Car recommendations needed for growing family

Post by bluejello » Mon Jan 08, 2018 9:27 pm

Thanks all! Sounds like the Honda Odyssey is by far the most highly recommended family car. We'll go test drive the Pilot and the Odyssey.

surfstar
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Re: Car recommendations needed for growing family

Post by surfstar » Mon Jan 08, 2018 9:32 pm

Yes. Minivans are functional. SUVs are raised station wagons that get worse mileage, handle worse, cost way more, etc.

Get a family hauler and then a commuter - maybe even a used Leaf? If you can get by with short range, they are dirt cheap and require little maintenance. Used Prius is a good bet for a longer commute.

Traveller
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Re: Car recommendations needed for growing family

Post by Traveller » Mon Jan 08, 2018 9:40 pm

One more vote for a minivan - Honda Odyssey or Toyota Sienna. I personally prefer the Sienna. No comparison between an SUV and a minivan if you need to haul kids and stuff - we've had our kids plus friends plus sports equipment plus luggage plus the dog in the Sienna. Get whatever turns your crank for the other car.

protagonist
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Re: Car recommendations needed for growing family

Post by protagonist » Mon Jan 08, 2018 9:45 pm

Loyal Honda driver here.....but just bit the bullet and bought a Hyundai. I got a much better deal on it than I could negotiate for a similar model Honda or Toyota (Elantra Limited, which would not serve your purposes but I got it for about $7K below MSRP).

So far, after 2 months of driving the car, I like it, and it came with a lot of bells and whistles for $20-21K out the door. I'm getting over 42 MPG highway, and when you compare that re: dollars-and-cents with a hybrid getting 50 MPG the difference is pretty trivial. Plus I can drive well over 400 miles on a tank of gas.

Hyundais and Kias are getting much better reviews these days than in the past. You might consider their SUV options and compare what you get in terms of bang for the buck. Though you did mention considering luxury vehicles, so perhaps that is not an issue for you.

suewolf
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Re: Car recommendations needed for growing family

Post by suewolf » Mon Jan 08, 2018 10:10 pm

I also recommend the Honda minivan. We sold ours after 175k miles and it was still going strong. I also used it like my friends used their pickup trucks - hauling all manner of landscaping stuff, lumber and IKEA furniture. With the seats folded down, it's really great.

An alternative is a used Lexus RX350; sounds strange but they are cheap coming off of 3 year lease and can handle a lot of cargo. Only seats five but may be a good intermediate term car - before two many kids but can handle one kid plus grand parents. Lasts forever.

Either way, I've always done well buying used and running the cars into the ground. Had a VW Golf for 20 years. Cars depreciate but today's technology is truly wonderful in terms of reliability. Keep up with preventative maintenance (oil changes) and chances are good, you won't have to pay new car pricing very often.

Lou354
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Re: Car recommendations needed for growing family

Post by Lou354 » Mon Jan 08, 2018 10:25 pm

bluejello wrote:
Sun Jan 07, 2018 10:08 pm
what are the pros and cons of a minivan vs a SUV with 3 rows of seats? e.g. the Honday Odyssey vs the Honda Pilot? I'm mostly wondering about daily use with kids, what's more convenient or annoying with a minivan vs an SUV.
I own an Odyssey (>200k miles) and recently looked at a Pilot. The minivan is easier to get in and out of, and is more versatile with regard to configuring the interior to load what you want (7 or 8 people, or lumber from Home Depot). The third row of the Pilot is more comfortable than the third row of the Odyssey, but it’s hard to get to. They’re both good vehicles, but for kids I’d go for the minivan.

Edited to add: I see my family’s experience is similar to Hockey10’s. Good company, I’m sure.

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warowits
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Re: Car recommendations needed for growing family

Post by warowits » Mon Jan 08, 2018 11:50 pm

strafe wrote:
Mon Jan 08, 2018 6:05 am

2. Volkswagen GTI for the fun car
+1. Hard to beat a GTI for fun car that can hold 2 car seats comfortably.
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ERISA Stone
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Re: Car recommendations needed for growing family

Post by ERISA Stone » Tue Jan 09, 2018 1:08 am

surfstar wrote:
Mon Jan 08, 2018 9:32 pm
Yes. Minivans are functional. SUVs are raised station wagons that get worse mileage, handle worse, cost way more, etc.

Get a family hauler and then a commuter - maybe even a used Leaf? If you can get by with short range, they are dirt cheap and require little maintenance. Used Prius is a good bet for a longer commute.
It didn't take too many weeks of driving a Leaf with two car seats to realize I needed a bigger car. I could never recommend that unless the parents are smaller people. I'm 6'1 and wife's 5'7. The Leaf just did not have the space for two children for our family.

ncbill
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Re: Car recommendations needed for growing family

Post by ncbill » Tue Jan 09, 2018 9:15 am

suewolf wrote:
Mon Jan 08, 2018 10:10 pm
I also recommend the Honda minivan. We sold ours after 175k miles and it was still going strong. I also used it like my friends used their pickup trucks - hauling all manner of landscaping stuff, lumber and IKEA furniture. With the seats folded down, it's really great.

An alternative is a used Lexus RX350; sounds strange but they are cheap coming off of 3 year lease and can handle a lot of cargo. Only seats five but may be a good intermediate term car - before two many kids but can handle one kid plus grand parents. Lasts forever.

Either way, I've always done well buying used and running the cars into the ground. Had a VW Golf for 20 years. Cars depreciate but today's technology is truly wonderful in terms of reliability. Keep up with preventative maintenance (oil changes) and chances are good, you won't have to pay new car pricing very often.
No, the RX350 is in no way a good choice for a family with kids, as it is much too small for everyday use.

New or used it's also more expensive than a new/used Odyssey/Sienna.

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lthenderson
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Re: Car recommendations needed for growing family

Post by lthenderson » Tue Jan 09, 2018 9:34 am

bluejello wrote:
Sun Jan 07, 2018 9:08 pm
We're a family of 4 with a toddler and baby. Our parents are also likely to visit often. Therefore, we're thinking about getting one bigger car for hauling the whole family around (perhaps a 7-seater?), and another smaller car to use for daily commuting (sedan or coupe).

Priorities:
1) fuel efficiency — would love to get a hybrid or electric if possible
2) safety ratings for the family car
3) fun to drive aspect for the smaller commuting car
I used to have a Honda Odyssey and currently have a Toyota Sienna. Both are great vehicles and you couldn't pry them from my cold dead hands. However, if I was living in a large urban center, I would give up the comfort of a larger vehicle for the ease of parking and getting around. Having a smaller sedan is so much easier to find parking spaces both the narrow kind (with enough room to squeeze out your door without door dinging the car next to you) and those that you parallel park in. New ones have backup cameras which make this much easier than it used to be but still in cities with tight parking conditions, it still is hard to find an open slot long enough to shoehorn a minivan into. Not to mention, a smaller car is easier to merge into or switch lanes than a large minivan with healthy blind spots.

Instead I would get a sedan that meets your listed priorities above that can seat five people and if the parents are there for a visit, either have them meet you somewhere or call a cab. As a bonus, if their car seats four, send both kids with them so you and the spouse can have a few minutes of peace driving across town to where ever you are meeting your parents.

With any new vehicle that might be a lifestyle change, rent one for a week and see how you like it at the end.

health teacher
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Re: Car recommendations needed for growing family

Post by health teacher » Tue Jan 09, 2018 12:06 pm

I went through this 2 years ago and Bogleheads helped me see the light.

Honda Odyssey. One of the top purchases I've made in my life so far.

Safe, handles nicely, comfortable for all, sliding doors are amazing, trunk space for days.

No brainer, well maybe a Sienna if that's what you prefer.

bloom2708
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Re: Car recommendations needed for growing family

Post by bloom2708 » Tue Jan 09, 2018 12:19 pm

Minivans are quite good at hauling people and stuff. Many 3 row SUVs can haul people or stuff.

A Suburban, Yukon XL, Expedition EL. Those are non-minivan options with even more space for people and stuff.

Highlanders, Pilots, Explorers will be a bit less efficient at people + stuff.

With kids driving, heading off to college, we are on the tail end of needing a people + stuff vehicle. Maybe 2 or 3 times a year. The 80-90% of the time, we have 1, 2 or 3 people in a car max. We have an Enterprise Car Rental about 1/2 mile from our home. We are doing a year where we drive reasonable cars and IF we need a minivan or Suburban, we rent it.

Long weekend to visit the in-laws. Rent a minivan. Trip to the Black Hills in SD for a week this summer. Rent a Suburban. Visit the relatives for Christmas with a back end full of Christmas presents, Rent a Suburban.

If it just doesn't work, we'll consider going back to a 3 row monster. The cost of ownership for the 10% doesn't make sense at some point.
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camillus
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Re: Car recommendations needed for growing family

Post by camillus » Tue Jan 09, 2018 12:22 pm

I did not read much of the thread, but has anyone yet recommended a Honda Odyssey? That's what I drive. :mrgreen:

I also have two kids. Most of the time we ride around with the third row folded down in "man van" mode. Part family hauler, part home improvement project hauler.

One great feature of minivans, especially in your situation, since your kids will not be *ahem* tall, is the low floor of the vehicle + auto sliding doors. Open the doors from your keyfob and they can climb right in. In a Pilot, you will be lifting both kids up into the vehicle for a great many years.

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Re: Car recommendations needed for growing family

Post by Alex Frakt » Tue Jan 09, 2018 12:28 pm

bluejello wrote:
Sun Jan 07, 2018 9:08 pm
We're a family of 4 with a toddler and baby. Our parents are also likely to visit often. Therefore, we're thinking about getting one bigger car for hauling the whole family around (perhaps a 7-seater?), and another smaller car to use for daily commuting (sedan or coupe).

Priorities:
1) fuel efficiency — would love to get a hybrid or electric if possible
2) safety ratings for the family car
3) fun to drive aspect for the smaller commuting car

We don't care about luxury cars for the sake of luxury, but if there's something that's objectively better about a more expensive car then we're willing to consider it.
I haven't seen it mentioned above, but if you have the money you should look at at Tesla Model S. They have 2 (optional) rear-facing child seats in the hatch that make it into a true 7-seater if your kids are the right size. The minimum age to use them based on size is around 3 and maximum is 86lbs and just under 5 feet, so maybe 10 depending on how big your kids are. My friend has one and all of our kids fight for a spot in those seats when we go somewhere with them. And of course it meets your other requirements of efficient, safe and fun to drive.

Since you have "a toddler and baby", this will probably be a better option for your next car. But I'd still test one, because you might decide to buy used or get a 2 or 3 year lease on your minivan rather than buying a new one. And you definitely want a minivan instead of a 3-row SUV. For the same outer dimensions, you get much more interior room, better usability for that room (easier to get into the far back, easier to configure for passengers and cargo), and better fuel economy. SUVs are a style choice rather than a practical choice except for the small percentage of owners who need their off-road or towing capabilities. Look at the Toyota Sienna as well as the Honda. Note that you can save a lot of money by avoiding built-in electronic gadgets. Kids will be happier with their own devices than any built-in screens and google maps is better than any in-car nav.

For your smaller car, the new Civic is winning all the compact car comparisons. It's just a question of whether you can stand the looks of it. If not, the Mazda 3 is a lot of fun to drive and available in a practical hatchback option. VW Golfs have great packaging, but overall reliability just does not match the Japanese alternatives.

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Alexa9
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Re: Car recommendations needed for growing family

Post by Alexa9 » Tue Jan 09, 2018 12:29 pm

I've been happiest with Honda/Toyota:
Odyssey or Sienna if you don't mind a minivan. Really the best family vehicle.
Pilot or Highlander if you prefer SUV's.
CR-V or RAV-4 if you want a smaller SUV.
Accord or Camry if you want a sedan.

NJdad6
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Re: Car recommendations needed for growing family

Post by NJdad6 » Tue Jan 09, 2018 12:55 pm

Totally agree with the minivan comments. Unless you have a strong need for 4x4, minivans beat SUVs in virtually every respect. For minivans Honda and a Toyota are the best choices.

For your second car there is a whole world beyond Honda and Toyota. Mazda, Hyundai, Subaru and Kia all make nice, fun to drive and reliable vehicles. Check them out on-line and test drive the ones that appeal to you.

Make sure you test drive before you buy. Some makes will be much more comfortable for you than others.

Good luck. Enjoy the process.

taguscove
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Re: Car recommendations needed for growing family

Post by taguscove » Tue Jan 09, 2018 1:07 pm

Another vote for a minivan.

If you get a second car, I suggest an efficient and compact car like the Chevy Volt, Toyota Prius, Nissan Leaf, or really any compact sedan.

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ram
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Re: Car recommendations needed for growing family

Post by ram » Sat Jan 13, 2018 4:09 pm

bluejello wrote:
Sun Jan 07, 2018 10:08 pm
ram wrote:
Sun Jan 07, 2018 9:43 pm
Ideal situation for one car to be a minivan. Recommend Honda odyssey or Toyota Sienna. I have Odyssey 2006 with 106 K miles.
If you need SUVs then Toyota highlander or Honda Pilot.
Other car can be a small car. Prius, Corolla, Civic. Never had any of these but Accord and Camrys are reasonable options too.
Thanks! Apologies for such a basic question, but what are the pros and cons of a minivan vs a SUV with 3 rows of seats? e.g. the Honday Odyssey vs the Honda Pilot? I'm mostly wondering about daily use with kids, what's more convenient or annoying with a minivan vs an SUV.
Minivans are more practical and give you more bang for the buck. Some women do not like the 'soccer mom' image associated with minivans. Our kids have grown up and flown the coop. My wife is 'done' with driving the minivan and now wants a SUV. Later this year we will be looking at Highlander, Lexus RX, Lexus GX, Audi Q7 as possible replacements for the Odyssey. Despite being up to twice the cost none of these vehicles will be good at transporting a fridge, a lawnmower, 8'x4' plywood or yard trash. The Odyssey has done all of the above. The SUV's will drive better, ?look better (subjective), have upscale image (subjective) and some of them (Lexus LX) will have great off road capabilities. The SUVs can be 4x4 and have better towing ability. It appears from your initial post that the advantages of the SUV's are not very important in your case.
Ram

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rob
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Re: Car recommendations needed for growing family

Post by rob » Sat Jan 13, 2018 4:21 pm

Suck it up and accept your driving life is over until your old - get a minivan :o
| Rob | Its a dangerous business going out your front door. - J.R.R.Tolkien

randomguy
Posts: 5168
Joined: Wed Sep 17, 2014 9:00 am

Re: Car recommendations needed for growing family

Post by randomguy » Sat Jan 13, 2018 4:25 pm

lthenderson wrote:
Tue Jan 09, 2018 9:34 am
bluejello wrote:
Sun Jan 07, 2018 9:08 pm
We're a family of 4 with a toddler and baby. Our parents are also likely to visit often. Therefore, we're thinking about getting one bigger car for hauling the whole family around (perhaps a 7-seater?), and another smaller car to use for daily commuting (sedan or coupe).

Priorities:
1) fuel efficiency — would love to get a hybrid or electric if possible
2) safety ratings for the family car
3) fun to drive aspect for the smaller commuting car
I used to have a Honda Odyssey and currently have a Toyota Sienna. Both are great vehicles and you couldn't pry them from my cold dead hands. However, if I was living in a large urban center, I would give up the comfort of a larger vehicle for the ease of parking and getting around. Having a smaller sedan is so much easier to find parking spaces both the narrow kind (with enough room to squeeze out your door without door dinging the car next to you) and those that you parallel park in. New ones have backup cameras which make this much easier than it used to be but still in cities with tight parking conditions, it still is hard to find an open slot long enough to shoehorn a minivan into. Not to mention, a smaller car is easier to merge into or switch lanes than a large minivan with healthy blind spots.

Instead I would get a sedan that meets your listed priorities above that can seat five people and if the parents are there for a visit, either have them meet you somewhere or call a cab. As a bonus, if their car seats four, send both kids with them so you and the spouse can have a few minutes of peace driving across town to where ever you are meeting your parents.

With any new vehicle that might be a lifestyle change, rent one for a week and see how you like it at the end.
Even in suburbia the new minivans are tight fit in most standard garages. Mine goes in (with <2" on either side) but you basically can't walk around the car with the garage door closed unless I get within 1" of the front. Then you can sort of squeeze your self around it.

That being said most sedans have limited cargo space. Trying to get a stroller for 2 and 4 people in the car is pushing it. Better off with the station wagon/CUV. Which is half the reason everyone has been dumping sedans for them over the past 20 years.

As far as minivan versus SUV, you need a really big SUV to have a usable 3rd row and any type of cargo. And even then they tend to be much hard to get into that last row. Other than towing and ground clearance, SUVs are no match for a minivan.

Hulu
Posts: 67
Joined: Wed Oct 22, 2014 7:55 pm

Re: Car recommendations needed for growing family

Post by Hulu » Sat Jan 13, 2018 4:30 pm

I bought a Pacifica Hybrid and feel it's one of the safest cars out there. Five star, small front overlap, airbags, 5k lbs, etc. The drawback is reliability though so far so good. Other considerations were Sorento, Traverse and Tahoe...in that order. Though sliding doors are nice so maybe I should have added the other minivans to the test drives. Ideally a more reliable maker will create an affordable hybrid and people can buy the 2.0 version. But that's at least a year away unless you can afford an X.

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