Three kids in one car... What are good (non minivan) options?

I have three sons - ages four, two and a newborn. Needless to say fighting and wrestling is a favorite pass time.

I am considering getting a new car for myself that can accommodate all of them at once but would prefer not to get a minivan.

My wife drives a Ford Freestyle and it is perfect for ferrying these boys around. I would consider getting another one but it would be a bit odd to have two of the same vehicle.

I have considered a Chrysler Pacifica but its mpg isn?t so great. I thought about the Rendezvous but it is hard on the eyes.

What are some other good cars that I can get used for $20k or less and that have three rows of seats. I figure that I will need three rows to separate whoever is misbehaving from the other two (assuming that only one misbehaves at once ? a poor assumption to say the least). Safety and mpg are important considerations.


What’s wrong with having two Freestyles?

And what’s wrong with a minivan? Both vehicles are perfect choices for you.

What kind of fuel economy are you looking for? I get 17 in mixed (mostly in-town) driving and up to 24 on the highway with my '05 Pacifica. The '07 and '08 models with the 4.0L and 61TE transaxle are supposed to be a bit more frugal. The center console in the middle row helps keep those combatants separated.

I would think that any three row wagon would work fine, and avoid the dreaded mini-van. For $20K, I would just shop around for a nice used one and consider them based on condition. I wouldn’t get too concerned about make/model, just a good solid vehicle for the price.

Do you like your Pacifica? Is it good to drive? Any comments are appreciated.

I think that I have deep seated psychological issues. By I am comfortable with my own madness.

Best car I’ve ever owned. Quiet, comfortable, many luxury features. (I have the AWD Limited version with all the options.) They were not all that popular, so the resale value is bad, which is good if you’re buying used like I did. Of course, since the last new one has already rolled of the assembly line, I’ll bet dealers are anxious to unload new ones also.

I don’t car much for station wagons with a third row. There is no cargo room when the third row is in use. It was not practical for us, and I did not want a small child sitting back there. If Joshua doesn’t mind having to get the last kid out through the rear hatch, it might be OK. Climb over the seats? With those dirty shoes?

Yup, I know, but that or some kind of SUV/crossover is about the only way to avoid the dreaded mini-van.

Good luck… I’m a father of 5 kids and it seems like for me the minivan was the best deal. Now 2 of them are older and we dont need the room but once you have a van… with all the seats, you cant go wrong, and resale is not so bad. We also did for a while a big SUV, but the gas mileage was yuk, safe and big and beautiful but we went back to the van for a while, now back to a car. Good luck whatever you do. cb