We have encountered the dilemma that many families of 5 eventually have to face. We lasted for approximately 8 months with three car seats in the back of our 2007 Nissan Murano SUV until we finally decided that the risk of our children being knocked unconscious by unidentified flying objects from the Mt Everest of trunk luggage or being suffocated by the mounds of sleeping bags and pillows was not worth the money we were saving. So the next question was mini-van or SUV?
This decision felt incredibly daunting. I will spend years of my life sitting in this vehicle. What vehicle was I still going to be happy with 5-10 years after the fact? This decision felt as overwhelming as being asked if I wanted my hair up or down for my wedding day – can I get an amen?
The research began. I read approximately one paragraph of one article before deciding on mini-van over SUV. The writer mentioned that one of the singular differences between the two is that of sliding versus hinged doors. Meaning on mini-vans the main body doors are in-line as opposed to SUV’s which are hinged and swing open.
I started doing the math.
3 kids + 2 swinging doors + 2 parked cars = countless hours of listening to elevator music while waiting to speak to our auto insurance claim adjuster.
Soooo . . . which mini-van looks most like an SUV? I am embarrassed to admit this was my next thought, and yet, second to safety, ok maybe safety came second, the look of the van made a big difference to me. Luckily, I found one that met both of these requirements and more.
Must have list:
- High safety ratings
- Looks as little like a mini-van as possible (I WILL still be a cool mom at 30)
- Light leather seats (light option to avoid 1st degree leg burns and leather to ease spilled sippy cup clean up)
- 8 passenger option (great for carpooling)
- Keyless entry (how did moms ever load kids and groceries without this?)
- NO white or black exterior (harder to keep clean)
Would prefer list:
- Remote start
- Rear tv
- Foot sensor trunk lift
- Sun/Moon Roof
It ultimately came down to two mini-vans – the Chrysler Pacifica or a Toyota Sienna. Originally I was leaning toward the Sienna as it was the only option on the market that offered AWD which seemed like a good idea for a family living with the potential for snow. However, as I explored the safety ratings provided by the IIHS only 3 minivans on the entire market made the 2018 Top Safety List – the Chrysler Pacifica, Honda Odyssey, and the Kia Sedona. I figured it made more sense to be driving a mini-van that had proven to be a safer pick every day than the few times we might need AWD for snow. (This being said I know many moms who LOVE their Siennas!).
Chrysler Pacifica it was. I started my search engines and in several weeks we found her! I drove 3 hours through torrential rains, traded in Zach’s 2012 Ford Focus and the rest is history. Read the review of our 2018 Chrysler Pacifica, and why I would buy this mini-van again.