There has never been a person more anti-mini-van than I. The thought of owning one literally made me ill. I say this with zero offense towards mini-van owners. You have all told me the wonders and convenience of the swagger-wagon.
I just couldn’t do it.
I thought driving a mini van would be the end of…well, honestly, I’m not even sure what was going to happen but I can tell you the fear was real.
It’s not even like I have a history of cool car ownership. My first was a Pontiac Sunfire convertible. Never heard of it? Yeah, they don’t make them anymore. They were that cool.
My second car was a sweet Saturn Ion. What’s that? Oh Yeah. Those were also discontinued.
My third car was a hand-me-down Lexus RX300 SUV. This was great because at that point, I had two children. There was many pros to going from a car to a suv - more room, a little safer, and easier to get the kids into the car. The biggest downfall of this car was the horrible gas mileage and premium gas.
When baby #3 came along we considered upgrading but decided to buy slimmer car seats and cram the kiddos together instead. This kind of worked, until the close quarters inspired the boys to start epic battles in the back seat. The safety of the car went out the window when I was constantly screaming monitoring them in the rear view mirror rather than paying attention to the road. Alas, we continued to make do with this until Baby #4 decided to enter the picture.
Back to the drawing board to find the best family car with third row seating.
Let me tell you, I googled. I researched. I did everything in my power to build a case against a minivan.
The day we went to Carmax, I wouldn’t even step foot into the minivan section. I was dead-set on getting either a Buick Enclave, a Honda Pilot, or maybe even a Hummer H3. My sneaky husband innocently announced that he was going to “just look” at the minivan section. He remained there long enough that I had no choice but to meet him over there.
Then, he and the sales man proceeded to point out:
- The minivan car doors open on their own.
- The minivan is at least $5000 less than the third row suvs I was looking at.
- The minivan has way more cargo space.
- The minivan has the best gas mileage.
- The minivan has insanely comfortable seating for every single person (all 8 of them because that’s how many people a minivan can hold)
- I’d never have to slide up a seat in the minivan because the center seat pops out and the kids could just walk to the back row on their own.
Blah, Blah, Blah. Minivan, Shminivan.
The next thing I knew, I was test driving both the Honda Pilot and the Honda Odyssey.
The Honda Pilot was nice. Great truck like feel. I was more than comfortable driving it. But, it had a few downsides. First of all, two kids would have to be crammed together in the second row so one seat was free to flip and let the other kids into the third row. In other words, I'd be seat flipping every time we got in the car. And, those epic battles in the suv would've continued for a long, loooong time. Speaking of the third row. It was tiny! I had my husband sit in the third row and he looked like a circus clown stuffed into a mini car. No vents in that third row either so whoever got stuck in the back would basically arrive sweaty (and cranky) to any and all destinations every summer. The cargo space was more than half as small as the Odyssey. And the gas mileage, much poorer.
Next up, the Honda Odyssey. Ug, it drove amazing with a great turning radius and a smoother ride than the Pilot. The kids would all be spaced apart in the car. No seat flipping required. The cargo space was big enough for bikes, groceries, you name it. The car doors open automatically with the push of a button, which is golden when you’re lugging 4 kids and their stuff around. Each area of the car has their own temperature regulation (ie. no sweaty, complaining kids).
Ug. Ug. Double Ug. Damn you Odyssey. Why do you have to be so great?
How does the story end?
We bought an Odyssey. Actually, after hearing I was almost convinced, my husband took the liberty of buying the Odyssey one day, unbeknownst to me. He’s pretty smart and knew I may not be able to bring myself to do it.
You know the worst thing about that car?
I love it.
It drives great. I look at my family in the rear view and they look like they’re riding first class in an airplane. We took it to IKEA, easily packed in everything we wanted to buy, and had plenty of room to buy more. We took it on a 10-hr road trip to Canada and it did not disappoint. Getting everyone in and out is a piece of cake. The gas mileage is more amazing than originally anticipated.
And you know what? I put on my sunglasses and hip music and I’m still just as cool as I would be if I was in a Honda Pilot, or an Enclave, or an H3.
Fear not the minivan, ladies. It really will make your life that much easier.