Tuesday, August 11, 2015
Minivans are Awesome
A couple of years ago, my wife and I decided that it was time to trade in one of our cars for something a little bit bigger since we had child number 3 on the way. We had a Jeep Grand Cherokee which sounds like it should be big enough for three car seats, but I ran into an issue. It turns out there are only a small number of car seats that can fit 3 across (more on this issue in a future post) and to complicate things, we were hiring a full time Nanny. We wanted her to have a reliable car that was big enough for all of the kids, and not have to keep 3 car seats in her own vehicle all the time so a third vehicle was the only real option.
Owning three cars is a bit ridiculous but it's something that made the most sense for us since my wife and I were both working and we each needed a vehicle to commute to work. I looked around for quite a bit and noticed that any of the bigger SUV's with a 3rd row ended up being a lot more expensive than the minivan option so I decided to make the minivan my focus, even though the wife was extremely reluctant to own such a "Nerd Mobile".
Along with the cost savings, I realized there were a lot of other advantages to the minivan once we finally owned it. I ended up with a pretty loaded 2008 Chrysler Town & Country and got it for a decent price. Although it had around 80,000 miles and was almost 7 years old, the thing was in great shape and was hooked up with all of the options you could imagine.
We got 2 separate DVD players, 2 pull down screens, a built in Hard Drive for music and pictures, dual climate control, pull down sun visors on the back windows, fold into the floor rear seats, about a thousand cup holders, and more storage than you could ever imagine. If you didn't know you were driving in a minivan, you would think it was a luxury SUV.
On top of the hook ups, I soon learned that it was a lot easier to get the kids in and out since the floor is lower to the ground compared to an SUV, so the older boys could actually get in on their own. Our bigger SUV (GMC Acadia) takes more effort on our part to help them up into the car because of it's height and you also have to fold down one of the seats to get in the back and buckle the kids in. It's just a pain in the ass for someone like myself who's 6'2" and not exactly skinny enough these days to just shimmy myself into the back row. You can also fit WAY more stuff in the back of the third row which is huge for big strollers or when going on vacation and bringing all the crap you need for 3 kids. Since the floor goes even lower to allow the third row seats to fold into the floor, you can actually fit a ton of stuff stacked all the way to the ceiling.
If we were only dealing with 2 cars and I could afford a brand new one, I could imagine how much more I would love the minivan since the tech, options, and styling would be even more up to date. I would have absolutely no problem driving one as my main vehicle, especially if it is the higher end version with all of the amenities. I've even noticed that a lot of these 3rd row SUVs are stealing the style and looks of the minivans, and the minivans are morphing more towards the SUVs. They seem to meet somewhere in the middle and there isn't as much of a difference as everyone thinks.
I think we were all traumatized as kids with those ugly thing that "soccer moms" drove around and no kid wanted to be caught dead in. A lot of us grew up with the awful Dodge Caravans with the wood on the side, or the Ford Aerostars that just looked and performed awful but there should be serious consideration for the newer Chrysler Town & Country, Dodge Caravans, Honda Odyssey, and Toyota Sienna, among others. If you have a growing family and are planning 2 or more kids in the near future, you should give a minivan serious consideration. I promise, you won't be disappointed. You just have to own it and have confidence when you drive.
I'd recommend getting a custom license plate like me to take it to the next level and really own it. Is this badass or what?!?! HA!