I’d like to ask those who have more than 3 little children in the family…

What is the best van for your family? In terms of the price, MPG, effectiveness and etc.

Could you please help me?


I tutor a homeschool family…and I know a few more with kids…

DO NOT get an SUV. Almost all families that have 4+ kids I know HATE them.

The families I know like their honda mini-vans, particularly with the double-sliding doors, the 2nd row bucket and the 3rd row bench seats…very versitile.

Also…I know many parents HATE the number of screens in mini-vans now. If you’re buying new I’d talk with a dealer about having them removed.


We have 4 sons and had a 2006 Dodge Caravan until late last summer. It was nice but drove terrible. We were going to purchase the Honda or Toyota van but found a GMC Acadia that had the buckets in the middle row but didn’t have the center console (you can actually remove them with a few bolts if they are installed). Thus allowing the boys to walk through like a minivan rather than having to flip the seat up.

While it has less cargo space than a minivan it truly drives like a car… almost like a sports car to be sitting up so high. It’s pretty much the same as the Chevy Transverse / Buick Enclave but the Enclave is overpriced.

My oldest is 8 but well over 5 ft tall already so it’s a little snug getting back there but once in his seat he has WAY more room than he did in the Honda our old Van. As soon as the 3 year old can buckle himself better we will move our oldest to the middle row (1 seat taken by the baby seat).

If we had to go on a long trip we would need something to store stuff on the top but for running around and short trips the storage is fine and if you don’t have everyone with you the 3rd row seats easily fold down and make a lot of room. Actually more room than is in a standard Yukon or Tahoe.

The Acadia is also front wheel drive with fairly aggressive tires but you can add all wheel drive for about $2K. So far we love it, it’s quiet, powerful and ranks as one of the safest SUVs with airbags just about everywhere. We opted for the SLE as it had pretty much all the bells and whistles (including backup camera which is great with kids) but was much more reasonable than the SLT versions… MUCH more reasonable.

Before we purchased that I had looked at vans with my mom and she ended up getting a Kia Sedona. The power on those is amazing, they have a 10 year / 100,000 mile warranty and are pretty cheap. So far it’s been great for her and she can take everyone easily (she watches the boys afterschool, picks them up etc…). Besides the warranty, the power and the price we noticed that the 3rd row seat seems to have more room, especially legroom, than the Honda, Toyota or the Chrysler/Dodge. The only negative I have noticed pertains only to me and that is that the front seat won’t go back as far as I would like but I’m 6’2" and quite large. I can still drive it just fine and do often but my legs are long and they would get cramped on along trip, passenger side seems fine though.

On a final note, I actually have to scoot the seat up in the Acadia… it’s very roomy.



You may want to check Consumer Reports Magazine for their study and comparison of vans. I have a Sienna 2008. Before that, I had the Sienna 1998. I liked the Sienna (98), very reliable, drove to 140K miles, no major problems. We moved to the 2008 because it was a family van for long trips. The Honda Oddysey and the Sienna have been remodeled, so they are pretty new. I did not like the SUV because of difficulty getting to the back seat. Plus the van had more room than an SUV.


About a year ago, we ditched our Mercury Villager (which we liked, but had seen batter days) for a KIA Rondo 6 cylinder.

It seats 7 in a pinch. Our youngest is now 7 and our eldest two are seldom at home now, so we only need ‘all’ the seats on rare occasions. The Rondo is very flexible as far as usage goes.

The back seats are not terribly comfortable for big people, but it is fairly easy to deal with a car seat at the very back. Small people would have no problem, I don’t think.

When you don’t need all the seats, they fold down easily for lots of cargo room.

It drives really well (and I am not one who loves to drive) and has lots of energy.

Mileage and price were both right, too.


Had two Ford Windstars, nice vehicles, one held up very well when a drunk ran a stop sign and hit us. Second one’s power train was awful, back when the V6s were blowing head gaskets and the transmission was weak as well- failed twice under warranty.

The way most SUVs are used, they really are mini-vans for folks who can’t handle being seen driving a mini-van. I have a 2002 Expedition because it seats 9 vice the 7 max in mini-vans and we were doing a lot of car-pooling with kids when we got it (teams, troops etc). Also, if you ever think you might want to tow a boat/trailer in the future than you might want to consider a full-sized SUV. Expedition is one of the best handling vehicles in a parking lot that I’ve ever owned-- far better than the mini-vans or a Mitsubishi Eclipse and since it has power adjustable pedals, great car for shorter people with good visibility. Has over 100,000 miles with only routine maintenance And a very safe car for my eldest to learn to drive in and commute back and forth to college in.


We love our Sienna. We got a 2006 used on Craig’s List a few years ago.


I have a 2000 Chrysler Town & Country. It’s reliable, but I don’t love it. My MIL recently bought a Honda Odyssey and she loves it. (so do I!) It’s very versatile, has good storage space as well as seating space. She’s got dual automatic sliding doors which are wonderful when we’re coming out of the grocery store with a full shopping cart and kids tagging along.


We are on our second Chevy Astro all wheel drive. Goes everywhere we need, when needed. There are 6 of us and it is comfortable.


Are you looking for something new or used? Tell me the specifics about your price range, miles, etc.

I may not be a Catholic, but I make my living as an Automotive Industry Analyst. :thumbsup:


We went to the Auto Show a few months ago… I’m pretty sold that our next vehicle will be a Ford Flex. My 6’ husband was comfortable in the 3rd row, which was better than a lot of the minivans we checked out…
I currently drive a Mazda MPV minivan, but they aren’t made anymore… the benefits are the automatic sliding doors, but I’m over the aspect of driving a van… but I’ll be driving this one until it’s dead, LOL!


2002 Honda Odyssey

25 MPG Highway
18 MPG City

Still running strong after 130,000 miles.

Stay on top of the maintenance, and this vehicle will be a workhorse.

I did need a new transmission at about 85,000 miles, but the warranty covered it, so I was okay.

7 seatbelts, and right now there are no empty seats!


We like ours, too. We have the 8 seater. It has enough room for several combos of car seats/booster seats along the back seats.

Our 2003 is still going strong. We have a 2007 also, with power doors. What an improvement!


Thank you for all the advice. There were some models that we never thought of before, and that opened our eyes to more options. We would like a van with 8 seats if possible. Sienna’s MPG sounds pretty good. I know Toyotas are known for being good on gas.

We’d need enough room for our little ones, especially for the two car seats that we’d be driving with. We don’t need anything extra…such as a DVD player, sun roof, GPS etc. We just want to be able to get around with everyone in one car!

If anyone else has more suggestions/opinions, please post here. We really appreciate them.


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