must get a minivan - baby #3 on the way. wondering if anyone who has opted for the extra 8th seat is incredibly delighted with it – or if you think you would have been just as happy with a 7 seater. thinking i want the 8th seat to have everyone near and to have the extra space in back - but would like to hear from your experience. are there other good reasons to choose one over the other?
Just to be clear, I don’t have a Sienna or 3 kids. I have been a long time minivan owner & have 2 kids.
Personally, I would opt for the 8th seat. Much of the time it won’t matter, but off the top of my head I know of at least 2 instances (not uncommon) where you will kick yourself. First is wanting to take a trip, and yes, needing the extra space in the back. Being able to put all three in the middle will make a big difference. Another thing to think about is 3 x 2 kids. With an 8 seater you can put 2 adults in front w/ 6 kids in the back - your 3 plus one friend for each. My other car is a small wagon and 5 seats is a really bad number with 2 kids - so 7 would be a bad number for 3 kids.
With the 8-seat arrangement, it looks like access to the 3rd row may be constrained. I would definitely go to a dealership that has an 8-seat Sienna and try getting in and out of the 3rd row seat yourself.
I am seeking a used Sienna with 8 passenger config with only two kids. You can carry more friends or most of another family with 8 passenger. The middle seats remove very easily to make a 7 passenger configuration as each one is invidual. The seats flip very easily(spring loaded) to access the rear of vehicle.
Try both out but I rented 7 passenger and 8 passenger over a few times and much happier with 8 passenger version.