View Full Version : What is the best all-around family vehicle?

05-13-2005, 06:54 PM

I don't have a toddler (my baby's only 10 months old, although he is definitely starting to "toddle") but I thought that "on the go" might be the best place to tap into since there is no other suitable forum for this topic. My family is contemplating buying a new vehicle. Our VW Jetta just doesn't seem to cut it anymore for long road trips, let alone shorter day excursions. Since our baby is only going to keep growing, and we may decide to have another child in the not-so-distant future, it is time to upgrade, or at least get something bigger.

So, in your opinion or based on your experience, what is the best (affordable) all-around family vehicle? Thanks in advance for your advice! Hopefully it will give us a head start and help us to weed out the overwhelming selection that is on the market.


05-16-2005, 12:09 AM
Love my Honda Pilot! There are lots of posts about family friendly vehicles in the Baby Lounge, so do a search.

05-28-2005, 11:38 PM
I just got a Honda Odyssey a few months ago and I love it. I used to swear I'd never drive a minivan but I'm a convert. It's so much easier getting DS in and out and I swear women must have designed it. They've thought of everything on this car.

06-01-2005, 07:24 PM
I second the Honda Odyssey. Mine is a 2002 model and I've been quite happy with it. We would like to trade it in for the new 2005 model, but really can't justify it right now as ours is still in great shape. We have over 50,000 miles on it and you can hardly tell. I did not want a minivan, but my DH does not like SUVs, so I settled for the Odyssey. If I have to drive a mini-van, this is definately the one I want to be in.

Yes, they are more expensive than the domestic automakers, but so worth it, in my opinion. This is my first Honda and it will definately not be my last!

Sarah........mom to Jason (5/25/00) & Devin (5/12/03)

06-02-2005, 07:13 AM
I third the Odyssey!!! We have a 2000 and cannot say enough great things about it. We purchased it used so we saved some money that way, and since we got it from a dealer, it came with a warrenty. I love the look of the 2005, but we are sticking with ours. I agree that they are more expensive, but in the long run they are worth it. The reason we went for a minivan vs. suv is space. I didn't want a big Suburban or similar, but I did want to be able to fit five or six comfortable, with enough room for our stuff. With most of the suv's, and a lot of minivans, that say "room for 7" you lose any trunk space when you use the third row of seats. Even with three rows up, the odyssey gives you plenty of space behind the third row...

06-02-2005, 06:14 PM
Family vehicle = minivan.

We traded in our 98 Explorer last year for an 05 Grand Caravan with the stow & go seats. I love it. I love my power liftgate, power doors, sunroof, dvd player, etc.. Plenty of room with seats up or down and sits adults in the third row comfortably. I swore I would never drive a minivan but they seem to be the most practical and safest for the kiddies....

06-06-2005, 04:38 PM
When I had just one child, I thought my Volvo station wagon was the perfect car. After my second baby, it just wasn't working for me anymore.

We bought a Toyota Sienna 1.5 years ago, and it's been a perfect car. Toyotas and Hondas run forever - I don't think you can go wrong with either one.

eta: the sliding doors are such a plus over regular door, especially when getting kids in & out in a parking lot. this is a big advantage over SUVs

DD 4/01
DS 6/03

06-15-2005, 01:52 PM
Another vote for mini-vans! I swore I'd never, but with #3 on the way, there is just no other car for us... We have the Saturn Relay and I am very happy with it... it seats 7, comes standard with a DVD player and has a lot of space for kids and stuff... plus it is very easy for my older daughter to climb in and out of.

06-15-2005, 09:18 PM
Love, love, love, love, love my '05 Grand Caravan! Mine's just like Melissa's, but without the sunroof and dvd player. Wish I had the dvd player, but we have a small travel one that works just fine and was only a couple hundred.

06-16-2005, 12:36 PM
I bought a Subaru Forester after #1, and I like how it's larger and higher than my Camry, definitely more comfortable to get the child in and out, and it's peppy and fun to drive--and doesn't look too family, you know? However, with two kids I think I might want, gulp, the Odyssey. I don't like minivans in general, which is why I got the Forester this time, but when it comes time to replace the Camry, if by then I have two, then we're getting a larger car. The Odyssey is pretty snazzy for a minivan. I don't enjoy how the larger SUV's handle, even though I like the way they look better.

Mommy to Matthew Clayton, who is TWO!

06-18-2005, 01:28 AM
With two kiddos, definately mini-van. I have 05' Caravan and love it.

01-27-2006, 06:12 AM
Whoa! I am in almost the same situation! I used a Volvo station wagon until the 2nd kid, and then got the Toyota Sienna XLE. I LOVE my Sienna!
I not only love the auto sliding doors for the sides and the rear, but I also like the built-in pull up sun shades for the side door windows. Plus, my big MBUD stroller AND my MBUS both fit into the back. (Sometimes, I need the choice of a double or a single stroller.) Plus the groceries, and the extra pack of diapers and wipes, and the drycleaning, and well you get the picture.


DD 4/01
DD 7/03

03-19-2006, 11:38 PM
We have 2 kids (25months and 8 months) and couldn't be more pleased with our 2003 Ford Explorer. Tons of cargo room for road trips and double strollers, excellent crash scores, fold-down 3rd row seat, and most importantly, one of the most extraordinary 4-wheel-drive systems on the road.

Don't know if you live in a cold climate area, but I have driven my Explorer through a snowstorm with 12" of unplowed snow on the road with ZERO problems with traction or control. The Explorer is like a Sherman tank when it comes to winter weather. We deal with quite a lot of winter weather where we live which is why a minivan was out of the question.

We also tow a 21" travel trailer for camping, and this is one area where a truck-based SUV with a fully boxed hyrdoformed steel frame and more robust mechanicals is going to win over any minivan or car-based SUV. The kids absolutely love camping, and the trailer is such a step up from a tent when dealing with little ones... :-)

06-01-2006, 04:35 PM
We adore our Acura MDX. It's very comfortable, great to drive and has a lot of room in the back when the third row of seats is folded down. Much more room than other comparable SUVs. I love the tinted windows for hot weather. The main selling point for us, however, was the fact that it comes standard with side curtain airbags -- all the way to the 3rd row, I believe. We feel it's a solid and safe care for our family.

Happy car shopping!