The bane of parenthood, the mini-van or the SUV...

CraigB

Ich bin ein Kartoffel
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Mustang SVO - Frontier Pro-4X - BRZ - D21 Hardbody
We have now had Mrs. CraigB's 2010 Nissan Altima for 10 years, it's not that we need to replace it, but both it and my truck are getting on in miles. It's not that we don't trust them, but you just have that nagging feeling in the back of your head when on a 1000+ mile roadtrip.

Plus, needs have changed some. Our son was 2 when we bought the Altima, we just needed to fit a car seat. Similar for the Frontier, he was in a booster seat. He's now a long legged 12 year old who is taller than his mother. He fits okay in the truck, but during family vacation when granny joins us with the snack bag, blankets and on and on, things start getting tight.

We are also still doing trips for work, have one next week to Louisiana, and it would be nice to have a larger interior to store tools, parts, etc. out of the weather and a little more secure. Plus the truck gets crap for fuel mileage, even compared to the vehicles we are looking at buying.

That's all the long way of saying we are looking at a late model Honda Odyssey, Pilot or Passport (probably won't/can't do new). I like Honda and we've had several of their cars in the past that treated us well, plus none of these have CVTs.

They all use the same 3.5 V6, but split on transmissions with the van getting a 10 speed auto and the 2 SUVs getting a mere 9 speeds.


Pros for the Odyssey? Space, like cavernous space. Best MPGs of the three (though that's only by 1 or 2 on the highway).

Cons for the Odyssey? That space comes at being largest, but only by 6"/150mm in length over the Pilot and slightly over 12"/300mm for the Passport. No AWD available. Honestly, the 2018 refresh looks, odd to me, so that's subjective, but so is the next con. It's a minivan, I mean it does come with some stigma.


Pros for the Pilot? AWD is available. Seats 7 or 8 like the Odyssey (depends on the seating options). Looks pretty good, if not a bit bulky still.

Cons for the Pilot? It's about half the space in the cargo area. That's about it.


Pros for the Passport? AWD is available. You gain back some of the lost cargo area (at the expense of the 3rd row). Subjectively the best looking in the bunch (especially in the newer Trailsport trim, I'm a sucker of chunky/knobby tires). It's the smallest, but really only in length.

Cons for the Passport? You loose the 3rd row, not that this a huge deal breaker. We don't usually need to haul more than 4 butts in one go, but the option to is nice. It's the smallest, but not like that's the worst thing in the rural area we live.


Anyone have any input on this quandary?
 
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My brother has an Odyssey to haul his family and they love it. It is an excellent family road trip machine.
 
What about a Toyota Sienna with AWD? Just as reliable and well built as the Honda, but with the AWD option the Honda lacks. Also consider the Toyota Highlander, which is a crossover SUV like the Pilot and Passport - and is available with 3rd row seating.
 
If you're not opposed to any of those things, then I'd say just get one. They are solid cars, reliable, practical, and they drive well.
 
One of my friends has an Odyssey and loves it. It's definitely more engaging to drive and better riding than the Pacifica Hybrid I tested out last week. I say embrace van life. It's where a lot of toys are going.
 
I love the ol' pegleg burnout trying to be cool.
 
Are there any minivans that can house a whole 4x8 sheet of plywood anymore? For me, that would be a huge consideration. Not many SUVs can do it, as far as I know.

If I had to guess, only the stow-and-go type vans could do it without removing the rear and middle seats...but don't know for sure.
 
Personally, that's not a big deal, I have my truck and will until it (or me) dies. Although, a 4x8 doesn't fit in it for crap. Wheel wells are too close to slide between and the 5' bed is a bit short, but a trailer makes up for it.

But, on that subject:


View: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oQyTxsxZyLU
 
Is a cargo carrier out of the question? With a dog, cat and a 10 and 8 y/o it makes our trips a lot better, well from a space standpoint not aggravation.....



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Those are really only good for lightweight bulky items that you don't mind being in the spray and dirt (as pictured). Putting too much weight back there with an already loaded vehicle will put you down on the stops and cause damage. I see people all the time with the vehicle packed to the headliner and one of those on the back overloaded with a couple of totes and a cooler full of beer and melted ice. Remember that tongue (hitch) weight subtracts from payload - and a pound of weight on a lever hanging off the back will have a much bigger impact than a pound stowed between the axles.
 
Is a cargo carrier out of the question? With a dog, cat and a 10 and 8 y/o it makes our trips a lot better, well from a space standpoint not aggravation.....



View attachment 3568128

On vacation, I wouldn't mind hauling bikes back there, but not on work trips. Don't want tools and parts hanging out there. I even have a cargo carrier I've used behind my truck. Only used it to haul bikes so far.
 
Those are really only good for lightweight bulky items that you don't mind being in the spray and dirt (as pictured). Putting too much weight back there with an already loaded vehicle will put you down on the stops and cause damage. I see people all the time with the vehicle packed to the headliner and one of those on the back overloaded with a couple of totes and a cooler full of beer and melted ice. Remember that tongue (hitch) weight subtracts from payload - and a pound of weight on a lever hanging off the back will have a much bigger impact than a pound stowed between the axles.
We have totes and clothes in it when we travel, never anything heavy. No way we could drive from Texas to Indiana with our circus without that and a car top carrier is out of the question due to fuel mileage.
 
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