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bkelble

Life Moves Fast... Shopping for a Minivan

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bkelble

Background: Ex wife and I separated a few years back.  About a year ago, I started dating a woman who is now carrying my first child.  We are expecting a little girl in late April. She has a 6 year old from a previous relationship.  Her family is close, so her sisters are often around ( one just found out she is pregnant).

 

Current Vehicle Stable  2000 Subaru Forester, 2007 Honda Fit, 2007 Dodge Nitro. (Probably selling the Subi)

 

Issue: I need a family hauler.  I want to be able to load up my family and members of her family for around town trips and be able to load up my family and dogs for trips to see my family in Ohio (375 Miles) I figure the ability to move 4 adults and 3 kids... or 2 dog crates 2 kids 2 adults ( I think the Nitro would do the people and crates, but not a stroller, pack and play and luggage).

 

So I am thinking Crossover or minivan.  I like the idea of the sliding doors on a van and since infants are involved: I am leaning that way.  Advice from the van owners of UJ would be appreciated. Makes and models... years to avoid... common issues... I'm not a car nut, but I do a lot of regular maintenance myself. As such, it would be nice if the vehicle was not impossible to work on. I don't want to pull the engine to change the oil. I'm also house shopping so the budget is about 10k.  Obviously, I have some time before baby gets here, so I have time to wait for a good deal, and the house comes first.

 

Other insanity ( just for fun): We are opening 2 businesses in the spring in the town my girl currently lives in, so I am moving there to run them and to be in her hometown.  The 2 companies I currently manage ( Green Heron Alehouse and Dan River Company) will be run by the fella who was my second since he is finally graduating from college. I'm still teaching and coaching track as well... Spring will be an interesting time. 

 

Final note:  I made it to 39 before shopping for a van!

 

 

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Brad Eden

Man Card please....kidding...congrats...nothing like the relationship of a dad and daughter...you will be the most influential person in her life...good luck with what looks like a very busy life!

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terrym

No brainer. You need a van. 

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Keith
 

No brainer. You need a van

 

Or a suburban!!!

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bobman

Forget the mini van and get a 15 passenger ford full size van, they are incredibly useful and you can remove the last two rows of seats and haul all the stuff kids need like bikes, cribs play pens etc. trust me the list of stuff is endless

 

I raised five kids and my van was perfect, my wife thought it was too much but eventually realized it was just what we needed 

 

and they make great hunting rigs

 

should be easy to find one with your budget

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Rockdoc

I have a 2005 4 cyl Dodge Caravan. It just turned 233,000 miles gets 26mpg hwy and 10,000 miles per quart of oil (at which time I normally just change the oil, 5W30 syn). Last year I took a 12,000 mile road trip through Alaska and British Columbia. I had no problems except for one flat tire. My only complaint is the lack of ground clearance on the local Arizona gravel "roads". I've had Caravans since 1986 when my kids were small and they're great road trip cars. I do a lot of windshield exploring in my travels (for instance I drove 5,000 miles all around Montana last summer) and I'd love to get a full sized van except for the awful gas mileage they get.

 

Steve

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E.Young
12 hours ago, bobman said:

Forget the mini van and get a 15 passenger ford full size van, they are incredibly useful and you can remove the last two rows of seats and haul all the stuff kids need like bikes, cribs play pens etc. trust me the list of stuff is endless

 

I raised five kids and my van was perfect, my wife thought it was too much but eventually realized it was just what we needed 

 

and they make great hunting rigs

 

should be easy to find one with your budget

 

I live across the street from a Catholic elementary school in a nice part of town, which lets me scope out all the latest kid haulers for families with 3-5 kids. 

 

If I wasn't firmly planted in the Suburban category, I'd look at the Nissan NV Passenger. That thing is just plain cool. 

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Brad Eden

I'm old...We raised two girls in a house with one bathroom the size of closet. So small a very tall friend had to put his feet in the tub while taking a crap. Never felt the need for a minivan either despite trucking them and neighborhood kids all over. They squeezed into average vehicles and small SUV's. But this was in the day when elaborate child seats didnt exist. Nor a seatbelt law from what I recollect. My youngest brother has three small kids. They have some gargantuan Chevy SUV, not sure what type, not a Suburban.  Its a 1/2 hour plus operation getting all the kids strapped in. Thing is banged up because his wife cant seem to maneuver it well. Big new dent discovered Thanksgiving morning when we arrived. He wasnt wicked happy. Anyhow, times have changed, as well as vehicles. Im just glad i am no longer in the minivan demo.

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dogrunner

Transvan or micro-bus. 

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snapt

Toyota Sienna or Honda Odyssey with the V6 haul ass. Also pretty comfy to sleep in with some seat removal and can make a cool hunting rig. 

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walt lister

Used Mazda CX9s should also be considered. Usually a good buy on the used market.

My cousin just bought a used one with 300K mi and it still runs and drives nice.

 

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Bede

There is no worse time to buy a car than with a kid on the way. You are about to face new and non-trivial expenses. Diapers, possibly formula. Clothes constantly. Depending on you situation, childcare expenses, which can easily be higher than a mortgage. Trust me. Any $10,000 used car no matter how reliable the reputation, is also going to require maintenance, not unlike your current cars, but those are bought and paid for. $10,000 fixes them many times, rents a lot of vans as-needed too for long trips. I bought a used Pilot to carry infant twins, unsure if/when we would have other kids. The vehicle nickel and dimed me and was terrible. It cost me a fortune to keep on the road. I had a regular cab Tacoma, which obviously wasn't going to work. If I could have made our existing cars work I would have.

 

Figure out which car is the least safe and dependable and sell it. Buy a car top cargo carrier for hauling stuff on long trips where you have the stroller, pack and play, and dogs and keep the cars you got, at least for a while. Rent a van for those instances where you really need one. I bet you can make it work with a smaller car, and it only gets easier as the kid no longer needs diapers, the back and play, and stroller. I have two kids in car seats and am tall, yet I have downsized cars considerably now that the kids are a bit older.

 

My $0.02

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Rockdoc

Bede makes an excellent point. Nonetheless, if you're still looking to get a van this is an excellent time of the year for it. Back in the 1970's I sold new and used cars for about three years. Car sales between Thanksgiving and the middle of January are terrible with almost no customers passing through the dealership doors. I made more money playing poker with my fellow car salesmen in the break room than I did selling cars. If you want to hold out for a great deal this is the time of year to do it.

 

Steve

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rideold

The hard sided car top cargo box is what we did for years.  We went the large SUV route instead of a van when we ran out of room for camping in the little wagon we used to have.  Holds 8 people or 4 and lots of stuff.  MPG maybe isn't what a minivan gets but it's way more useful and I can upland and big game hunt out of it.  We bought a Sequoia.

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pa'tridge hunters

In the end it all counts for points towards heaven. Enjoy the journey. Good luck!

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