Next Family Car

I’m currently saving money and would like to get a reliable family car. At least for two adults. A toddler and two babies. I will be moving also by the end of the year from Texas to Pennsylvania and I will be driving there. So what ever fits in the car and that’s it. Please let me know which vehicle you guys recommend.

Forget car - look for a mini van - there is nothing better for a family situation.


Minivan time


Minivan would be fine, an older Acadia or similar would work also. Money saved if you get a 2wd vs a awd, lots of 2wd cars in PA I am sure.


Yep, minivan is the best choice. There is no car in the world, almost no product in the world, that meets the needs of its intended consumer better than the minivan does.


New or used? New minivans cost a lot less than comparably sized SUVs. Used minivans aren’t popular, and have higher depreciation than SUVs, and that’s good for you as a buyer.

You can sit the toddler in the third row and the babies in the middle row. It will be a lot easier for you or your wife to walk into the back to strap the toddler in than doing the same in an SUV. Cargo room is great too, much better than an SUV.

We have three children and liked the first minivan so much we replaced it with another. At Christmas, we would drive to my BIL’s home with clothing for 5 for a week, and still have room for presents for the six of them. All of that behind the third row. All the children are gone now, and my wife still wanted a minivan when we donated the last one. We bought it 8 months ago, and we are glad we did.

I bought my first minivan back in 1991 and have owned a total of 5 minivans. My son was a senior in high school when I bought the first minivan–a Ford Aerostar. It was great to transport him and his possessions to college. Even with just my wife and me, the minivan is useful for transporting people and objects. My son has a daughter who is a senior in high school
He is on his 4th minivan.

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So, you want a cross between a 5 passenger car and a moving van. I guess a minivan is it. You might think you don’t need that much room but cars last a long time and kids grow.

I live in PA with only 2 kids. Given the ages of your kids a minivan is really the only choice. Trying to get the toddler and their booster seat/car seat into that third row while trying to stretch yourself over the top of the car seat in front of you? You won’t need AWD either (although if you get a good deal on a Sienna, don’t let the AWD component scare you away from purchasing one). I’ve owned both a 2005 Town & Country and a 2005 Odyssey. The T&C was fine when it worked (the stow and go seating the Chrysler has is excellent), but broke down a decent amount of the time (the previous owner abused the hell out of the thing, I knew what I was getting myself into). The Odyssey has been good, no major problems. If you do get an Odyssey, make sure you know when the timing belt was changed last as they have an interference engine and a snapped timing belt often means death of the engine

Maybe the best thing about a minivan is that younger kids can’t reach each other.

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This is a truly understated advantage too…

We only had 1 child, the captains chairs for the rear were a great thing.

The 3000 mile road trip we did in our minivan went so well because my brother and I didn’t have to share a bench seat and could stretch out a little. Once belted you couldn’t reach each other anyways.Fairly sure dad took more photos of the new 1988 Plymouth Grand Voyager than of any of the family on that trip.

Tried to talk my brother into buying one for his family of 5 but it had the same chance as a snowball in hades. After wedging 3 booster seats into the back of a 2006 Legacy wagon they’re happy with the new to them Toyota Sequoia they bought instead.

Minivan all the way.

We have a Honda Odyssey and absolutely love it. They are easy to get in. The sliding doors are way easier and safer to navigate in a parking lot and the kids can open and shit them themselves. It’s easier to load a kid in a car seat, easier to move around within the vehicle. The lower deck also makes it easier to get in and I haven’t seen an SUV with 3rd row seating that can hold a candle to a minivan. Compared to most SUVs minivans also have far more cargo room that’s easier to use and access.

There are only two areas an SUV wins - if you need to tow things, the truck chassis of a true SUV (not a crossover) allows for more towing capacity. The other is that many people consider SUVs to be ‘cooler’.

I think Ford and GM did their best to.get people out of minivans. There isn’t much that can be done to make a minivan look out of style. If you’ve seen one minivan, you’ve seen them all. With cars you could change the style. Back in the late 1950s, cars grew fins. It made cars without fins look outdated. In the early 1960s, the manufacturers took the fins off, and the finned monstrosities of the late 1950s looked hideous.
Well, you can’t put fins on a minivan. My 1990 Ford Aerostar is as much in style (or not in style) as my 2017 Toyota Sienna. I had a 2006 Chevrolet Uplander. When I was ready to buy a new minivan because we sold the Uplander to our son, GM no longer made minivans. The salesman tried ti sell me a Chevrolet Traverse as SUVs were now the in vehicle to drive. An SUV would not meet my needs for fellow musicians and their instruments. We have an SUV as our other vehicle–a Toyota 4Runner. It can’t do what the Sienna can do in transporting people. On the other hand, the Sienna can’t get us through unplowed roads in the winter where the 4Runner can.
Unfortunately, for GM and Ford, an SUV can’t be outdated. Our 2003 4Runner looks as modern as a new SUV. GM and Ford now are pushing people into 4 door pickup trucks. I once owned a pickup.truck–a one ton 1950 Chevrolet. It had a long bed and it was meant to do work. I used it hard–I hauled hay bales, sand, wire fence, etc. I even stretched fence using the extra low gear. These new 4 door pickup trucks have such a short bed that about the only thing they can haul is a molecule if it doesn’t contain too many atoms.
My point is this:. Buy the vehicle that fits your needs. For a family with children, I endorse the idea of a minivan.

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These new 4 door pickup trucks have such a short bed that about the only thing they can haul is a molecule if it doesn’t contain too many atoms.

Agree 100% in my area the only thing I see good with a four door PU is if you get one with a messed up back seat you should be able to find a like new one at the junk yard as I seldom see anyone in the back seat to mess it up.

@Renegade. After over 60 years, our domestic manufacturers didn’t learn from VW. I remember the late 1950s when the VW Beetle became popular. There was at least a three month’s wait for delivery. The Beetle was perfect for the times when the country was going through a recession.
I think Chrysler could have done the same thing with its Neon. It came out in a recessionary period. Had it had a better perceived quality and good advertising support, it might have caught on. The Dodge and Plymouth minivans were a hit when they came out in the mid 1980s. Chrysler, at least, still builds minivans.
I still believe there is a hard core of us who buy a vehicle because it serves our needs and is functional.

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Agree like you I get what I need at the time for whatever my need’s are at the time and keep my vechicle’s till they fall apart.

I disagree. They never penetrated the market as well as Chrysler, Honda and Toyota did. Since Ford and GM were high cost, small players in a shrinking market, they were the first to leave and build more SUVs trucks where they could actually make money.

@Barkydog, I’m from California so I may be quite out of my depth here, but…given that they get (a lot!) of snow during the winter in Pennsylvania wouldn’t an AWD vehicle make more sense? Especially a newer one that has skid control?

On a related topic, do vehicles sold new in the Northeast get any different kind of preparation due to the salted roads in winter? Out here in the west salted roads don’t happen very often (I-80 and I-50 do get a little when it gets blizzardy) but I’ve heard horror tales about how quickly cars degenerate in the Northeast due to this.