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SUV vs Minivans



  • bobber1bobber1 Posts: 217
    Not to be too nit picky Aterixeira, but how often do you lose air out of all tires uniformly? I've never had it happen in my life. Normally it's just one tire going flat.

    Yeah I'm sure the new system is better, but the old system worked for 99% of the problems most people deal with.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    I respectfully disagree.

    In fact CR had an article about putting Nitrogen in the tires. With regular air in the tires each test tire lost something like 5 psi per year, and with Nitrogen it went down to about 2-3 psi IIRC.

    But it definitely showed that all tires lost some air over time.

    We should all check the tire pressures manuall at least as often as we change oil. Many people don't, so the sensors are a good idea.

    I add air to my cars a couple of times per year. They do slowly lose pressure.
  • I have spent the last week test driving different vehicles to determine which will fit our needs. (We have 4 kids, west-central IN, unplowed roads...) I drove both the AWD and FWD Sienna, GMC Acadia, Toyota Sequoia, Honda Odyssey and a 2007 Buick Terraza. I think I have narrowed it down to the Honda Odyssey or Toyota Sequoia. The Sequoia handled the best in the snow, but the Odyssey is more practical in all other ways. I will negotiate the best price on each and make a decision. I may keep the old Venture around as a back up, but after almost eighteen years of marriage, four kids, numerous moves around the country and driving this minivan for 10 years, my husband is breaking down and buying a new vehicle for me...
  • dbtdbt Posts: 298
    Congrats. Before negotiating on the Odyssey, check the "prices paid" forum here, and at odyclub dot com. (there are some good incentives on them now)
    Good luck!
  • hause7hause7 Posts: 153
    Did you like the FWD or AWD Sienna?
  • I drove both the FWD and AWD Sienna on a snowy morning. The AWD was better in those conditions. My wheels spun with the FWD model (and I wasn't trying), but not with the AWD version. My main reason for not going with the Sienna was the run-flat tires and lack of a spare. Since I will most likely stick with a FWD van, I think the Odyssey was more comfortable to drive and more spacious for the kids in the back.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    The Ody is a good value, with strong incentives right now. Enough to pay for a 2nd set of rims with snow tires. Just a thought.

    The Sequoia is brand new and will probably sell for closer to list prices.

    The unplowed roads make this a tough decision, though. Good luck with whatever you choose.
  • hause7hause7 Posts: 153
    Wel this is a suggestion, it's what we did. we own an AWD Sienna and we put on 4 redular tires and carry a spare in the rear well on long trips(200 + miles)and keep in the garage around town. You would love the Sienna more than the Odyssey, trust me. ;)
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    The AWD Sienna does sit nearly an inch higher than the FWD ones, so you get more ground clearance to boot.

    Given the spare fits in the rear well, the only trade-off is that you can't fold down the 3rd row while it's there.
  • maryh3maryh3 Posts: 263
    I drove both the FWD and AWD Sienna on a snowy morning. The AWD was better in those conditions. My wheels spun with the FWD model (and I wasn't trying), but not with the AWD version. My main reason for not going with the Sienna was the run-flat tires and lack of a spare. Since I will most likely stick with a FWD van, I think the Odyssey was more comfortable to drive and more spacious for the kids in the back.

    Maybe I'm crazy but you might want to consider the easiness of driving/maneuverability of the two of them. I'm going to start looking for a mid-sized SUV soon which I know my kids will drive some of the time. IMO kids have a little more trouble driving minivans than SUV's. The wheel base length and size of the minivans is tougher for new drivers.
  • hause7hause7 Posts: 153
    I'm :) 17 and enjoy driving a minivan, actually at my school their are several kids that drive their parents van.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    True, the Sienna is large, but remember the other models being considered are also large, in some cases longer and more cumbersome than the van:

    Sienna 201"
    Acadia 201.1"
    Sequoia 203.9"
    Odyssey 202.1"
    Terraza 205"

    The turning circle for the Sienna is much tighter than any big SUV's, in fact it's tighter than the turning circle for my old Forester (which is 2 feet shorter!).

    For manueverability, the Sienna is a good choice from that list of candidates.

    The Kia Rondo and Mazda5 are smaller, but may be too small, plus no AWD for either one. Maybe that new Dodge crossover? I forget the name.
  • maryh3maryh3 Posts: 263
    I have side damage thanks to the wheel base!! They just can't seem to get that wide turn down for a while. Up the curb is a common phenomenon when driving with someone under a learner's permit in a minivan.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    Yeah, which van do you have again?

    A lot of factors affect the turning circle - wheel/tire size for instance. Also, AWD vs. FWD, or 2WD vs. 4WD.

    It's a good idea to try a U-turn during any test drive to see how manueverable a vehicle is.

    We test drove an Expedition once and while my wife did love it, she had to get help to park it. We ruled it out right then and there.

    Thankfully, while the Sienna is still fairly big and wide, the turning radius is very tight. Surprisingly so. You can easily fit a U-turn in an average sized street, even some smaller ones.
  • maryh3maryh3 Posts: 263
    A tighter turning radius would exasperate the problem. Even more passenger side door damage due to turning too narrowly. Up over even more curbs when making a right hand turn. Things change a lot when the kids get older.
  • hause7hause7 Posts: 153
    As a 17 year old i can tell you it is much easier driving our Sienna compared to my aunts Lexus GX 470 or my cousins Mercedes SUV. I like to drive the GX but i can feel how top heavy it is in turns and prefer our Sienna.

    to me minivans are far more practical than an SUV.
  • maryh3maryh3 Posts: 263
    I think this is one of the better topics we've discovered -- do teenager drivers prefer SUV's or minivans. However, I don't think we are getting a fair sampling here. Of course from mother's point of view the safety is huge. Not sure which are safer SUV's or minivans though. None of my boys think about practicality though.

    In my family the consensus for the teens is :

    1. 1995 Taurus SHO -- they fight over who gets this one.
    2. 1995 Ford Explorer (no longer have - yes the one that could roll)
    3. 2000 Town & Country minivan
    4. 2002 BMW (5-something series) Shocked that my kids don't like to drive this. They claim that the the car doesn't "glide". When you take your foot off the accelerator the transmission applies drag and slows it down.

  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    I see what you mean.

    Teens should be trained to make wide turns. Especially when parking.
  • maryh3maryh3 Posts: 263
    Teens should be trained to make wide turns. Especially when parking.

    And until they learn, people should use all available resources - like 160,000 mi Chevy
    Ventures to effectively equal one of these: - - - cars/top_ten_urban_vehicles_feature/the_beater_feature
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    Beaters are awesome! Every family should have one.

    Makes no sense to give a 16 year old a brand new car. Let them get some experience on a beater instead.

    The problem is a lot of those beaters are used SUVs that the parents handed down. You just hope the kids drive those behemoths safely. I'd never let my future 16 year old drive something like a Suburban.
  • maryh3maryh3 Posts: 263
    When your kids get that old you will find you are on a double edged sword. You hate to give them something new because chances are high they will smash it and your insurance skyrockets with a new car. OTOH the older cars often don't have the safety features like side air bags that the new ones have. You hate to give them a big SUV like a Suburban because they are harder to handle and they can roll. OTOH there are so many SUV's on the road that if he does get hit and he is in a Civic - the other guy driving the SUV is going to inflict a disproportionate amount of damage to him and the small car. No easy answers here. Sometimes I think giving them the old minivan keeps them from showing off in their muscle car and going fast. May not get the chicks but they will be alive.

    BTW - I hate to make you jealous but I now have 2 beaters :P
  • bobber1bobber1 Posts: 217
    It's a wonder any of us survived driving as kid..Gosh I remember driving a Dodge Coronet that had seats that only went half way up my back with seat belts I never wore. I believe the Dodge pick up truck and Plymoth Fury 3 had better seats, but not much else. They were all RWD and we drove in a lot of snow and ice with them. I totaled a pick up once with no seat belt or airbags and somehow made it out with out a scratch.

    No doubt you want your kids driving as safe a vehicle as possible, but the only vehicle that's truly going to do that is a tank.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    I am jealous! ;)
  • highenderhighender Posts: 1,365
    agree with the need to consider the multiple needs or family requirements when considering a vehicle.

    1- space
    2- fun and drivability factor
    3- safety
    4- fuel efficiency
    5- practical usage

    OK>...I am in Hong Kong now...and this is one of the top stories.

    A Hong Kong family , a newly wedded couple ( Willian Ha, Clara Ng, her parents, and her 25 yr old younger sister Flora), all went on vacation toAuckland, New Zealand. They were driving a Subaru station wagon. Somehow , they lost were weaving, and hit a SUV Pajero ....... 4 of the 5 people in the station wagon died...with Clara surviving with severe injuries. The neighbors in the surrounding area came to help, but could not even determine the number of people inside the station wagon, due to the severity of the collision and damage to the vehicle. Rescue workers had to pry out the other bodies.

    IN the SUV, there were 3 people on a fishing trip. One 67 yr old had a shoulder injury, and the 12 year old girl had a broken arm. All 3 survived.

    You make your choices, and live with it. I think a minivan and suv are both safe choices....though SUVs may rolll over. IN collisions, the survivability of your loved ones will be generally higher when in a minivan or SUV.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    Well, you don't exactly cross-shop an Impreza wagon (they did not specify the model) with a full-size Pajero SUV, which weighs about double, and probably costs double too.

    And I can't imagine that a Suzuki Samurai hitting a Cadillac DTS head-on would fare any better.

    This is a clear case of mass wins. Can't ignore the laws of phyics.
  • Karen_SKaren_S Posts: 5,095
    A reporter from a large local newspaper is looking to speak to recent minivan buyers and minivan shoppers that ended up purchasing an SUV or crossover. If you’re interested in speaking to the reporter, please contact Jonathan Wahl at [email protected] with your daytime contact information no later than July 3 2008.

    Edmunds Manager UGC Click on my screen name to send a personal message. Need help navigating? Check out Getting Started in Edmunds Forums.
    Need help picking out a make/model, finding inventory, or advice on pricing? Talk to an Edmunds Car Shopping Advisor

  • Hello all,

    I have just started my search for a 7 passenger SUV, and am trying to decide between the Acura MDX, BMW X5 and Audi Q7. I know they vary a bit in price, but I have only started looking and want to keep my options open. My key considerations for selecting an SUV are a) drive/handling and safety, b) at least somewhat comfortable third row seating, c) price. With that in mind, I have the following questions:

    1) Acura MDX seems to win in most categories that I care about - drive is pretty good (I am sure BMW is slightly better but MDX meets my needs); 3rd row seating seems slightly more roomy than X5 (although it is still pretty tight back there); and its the lowest priced. So what could "drive" me to purchase a X5?

    2) Is there anything good about the Audi Q7? The third seat is no more roomier than it is for MDX. Price is almost 40% higher than MDX. I am sure its good in driving and safety, but not that much metter than MDX, is it?

    3) Are there any other SUVs I should be considering? I have thought about the Lexus GX470 but haven't test driven it yet. Also, I have considered some of the larger SUVs (Sequoia, Escalade etc.) but am not keen on muying too big a SUV. Also, I would prefer to buy a Japenese or German SUV.

    Please let me know your thoughts. Thanks.
  • tidestertidester Posts: 10,059
    There's not much activity there (you could resuscitate the discussion!) but you may want to try the Large 7 passenger SUVs discussion.

    tidester, host
    SUVs and Smart Shopper
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    I think the MDX is the best choice if you'll actually use that 3rd row, but also consider a loaded up Mazda CX9, which just got a new 3.7l V6.

    I would suggest an Enclave but you said Euro or Japanese.
  • You might also consider the Mazda CX9 and the Mercedes GL class. If you are willing to at least look at something other than Japanese or German, throw in the Buick Enclave, Ford Flex, and Hyundai Veracruz. All of these should compare nicely to your original list.

    Following tidester's suggestion, you may also get some more feedback in the Crossover SUV comparison thread.
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