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SUV vs Minivans

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  • steverstever Posts: 52,683
    Ford Could Exit Minivan Market (Inside Line)

    The Chicago Tribune says that the minivan market won't grow unless younger buyers are attracted and "the average age of mini-van buyers has crept up to 51, and the segment appeals mainly to Baby Boomers, that embraced the vehicles in the 1980s and 1990s. Many now, however, are grandparents."

    That's me without the grandkids....

    Steve, Host
  • tidestertidester Posts: 10,059
    Most Americans don't realize that gas prices have been creeping back up over $2.50 already.

    I don't see why they wouldn't realize it. Anyone who drives pays for a tankful of gas about once every week and you can't miss the price at the pump.

    tidester, host
  • allison5allison5 Posts: 130
    Glad that you have come to a decision about what car to get. I think that is a good decision about getting the Odyessy. I am still in a dilema. DO you have any advice for my situation. We just got back from Lake Tahoe again and went skiing. Now for us to go up their 2 weekends in a row is very very rare but once again we left the bay area mid-afternoon and got to Lake Tahoe around 8:00 and it was snowing. We HAD to use 4 -wheel drive so I was so glad we had it. However the amount of gas we used going there and back was incredible. It now cost us 60.00 ++ to fill up now and I am assuming that will go up again. For a while I was at almost 80.00 to fill up at the most expenisve gas. I hope we don't get to that point again but it has creeped higher and I wonder. We see sooo many SUV's here that I find it quite surprising, I do think that a lot of moms (sometimes including me) are not into this minvan thing.
  • We got our Odyssey last Thursday. My wife's parents are still in town until Tuesday. Since getting the Odyssey, the six of us, including children and grandparents, have made good use of it.

    The Odyssey is amazingly nimble and quick for a minivan. This morning, we went to Muir Woods. As you probably know, the road is winding, narrow, and steep. I found it easy to drive the Odyssey and found it responsive. Afterwards, we went to Sonoma for lunch at a restaurant we chose based on its review in the Zagat.

    The whole time, the kids were happy in the third row. The nine year old really stretched her legs out and fell asleep with the seat back in recline position. The grandparents loved the second row captain chairs with lots of legroom, ability to use their own A/C controls, and the retracting window shades, etc.

    My wife didn't want me to doze off at the wheel after the heavy meal, so she set the Auto A/C at 67 degrees for the driver's side and 70 degrees for the front passenger side.

    She realizes that the Odyssey's actually much nicer to drive than many sedans. It's so much quieter, more powerful, and refined than our old Accord. (I've driven many other cars as well.)

    The Odyssey uses regular gasoline, which is great. I am still on my first tank, so I don't know what its gas mileage is like yet. I've read that it gets better after the engine gets broken in. However, so far, it's looking good and I've already done quite a bit of driving.

    We love the fact that we can fit in six people comfortably and still have a lot of cargo space and legroom. That wouldn't be the case with the Pilot.

    As far as parallel parking, I already parallel parked the Odyssey in inner-city places like Washington Square. It's not that hard to do because the Odyssey does have a tight turning radius.

    My wife is starting to like the Odyssey after all.

    We aren't a skiing family yet. However, I've heard the Odyssey is quite capable in snow through its front wheel drive. I was told that the Odyssey takes cables instead of chains in the snow.

    Gasoline prices should be an issue in this debate. I didn't want to be stuck with a gas guzzling SUV if gasoline prices head back up over the $3/gallon level

    Good luck.
  • mtnman1mtnman1 Central OhioPosts: 431
    I don't know where you people live, but gas prices have not been that high here since October. Today they are $2.17 and haven't been over $2.30 since early December. In fact they were recently under $2 a gallon. They were just under $3 back in mid October and have fallen ever since.
    2012 Highlander Limited AWD V6 and 2015 Ford Fusion Hybrid SE
  • steverstever Posts: 52,683
    We got down to $2.09 for regular here in Boise a few weeks ago. It's jumped back up to $2.23 as of today.

    Lots more over in the Report Your Local Gas Prices Here discussion.

    Steve, Host
  • allison5allison5 Posts: 130
    YOu are lucky that your prices are that low. But here in the San Francisco bay area at least where I live we are paying $2.40. I realize that we pay a lot but it was sooo much worse last fall.
  • Even prices around $2.17 aren't cheap historically. In 2002, regular gas prices were $1.08 on the average in the US. They hit $3.03 on 9/05/05, came down to around $2.12 on 11/28/05, and are back up at $2.31 as of 1/23/06. They are higher in places like San Francisco or New York. The underlying fundamental is that oil is now at $69/barrel and I don't think we'll see $30/barrel days again. We're now competing for oil with countries like China and India -- with total combined population of over 2 billion and fast growing economies. China's auto industry itself is booming and making cars even for export to Japan. Sales jumped 179% last year. Gas prices here are already moving ahead of where they were when Katrina struck. I spent several years abroad and could not believe how far Korea has come along, etc., since its currency crisis in 1997.
  • petras2petras2 Posts: 104
    after considering both the pilot and odyssey, we also went with the odyssey for the following reasons: cheaper initial cost, better mileage,lower future maintainance costs...(items like tire replacement are cheaper on the odyssey), lower insurance, more interior room for passengers and cargo, better overall value...in my mind the only advantage the pilot had was the 4-wheel drive option which in our area,indiana, wasn't an overwhelming concern...if you decide on the odyssey, you could always rent a 4 wheel drive on those infrequent ski trips when the road conditions are bad...
  • nitromaxnitromax Posts: 641
    Here in my neck of Mass, the prices for mid grade are around $2.59 per gallon. They've been creeping up the past few weeks or so.
  • I think Petras2 made a compelling argument for you to get the Odyssey. Yes, it's better value. The Odyssey EX-L is around $2k less than the Pilot EX-L with 4WD.

    I just got back from taking my in-laws to the airport with my wife and two kids in tow. I put in the "eighth seat" between the second row captain chairs in anticipation that I would have to fold down part of the third row to accommodate luggage.

    To my surprise, the well behind the third row swallowed an entire extra-large suitcase. I was able to stack another extra large suitcase and one medium suitcase on the top of it. I could've stacked another medium suitcase but my in-laws were only traveling with three suitcases. There was more than enough room on the side of the well for my in-laws' two carry-ons and a case of bottled water.

    In contrast, I believe the Pilot only has room for a golf bag behind the third row. A suitcase wouldn't fit in because the upper part of the seatback is too close to the window. Furthermore, the third row is a joke, although I've seen worse; there's too little legroom for comfort even for my 9 year old for long journeys.

    As we approached the airport, my father-in-law jokingly asked his wife as to where the luggage was. She panicked when she looked around and saw that there were eight seats but no luggage to be seen anywhere. All the luggage was concealed behind the third row, without blocking any rear visibility.

    Yes, I agree that the Pilot's only advantage is 4WD. For us, it doesn't offset the Odyssey's pluses. It depends on how much utility value you'd place on the 4WD yourself.

    Good luck.
  • allison5allison5 Posts: 130
    I do agree with everyone that the Odyessy is probably the best solution. I have looked at the Pilot and with 3 kids the oldest turning 12 this year this SUV does not make a lot of sense. People have said to me my oldest can start to sit up front soon but I am very leary of that even if it is legal. BUt even so what about when we go on vacation, take our 80 lb dog and on and on. SO the pilot is out now but some friends have also said go look at the Toyota Sequoia, Acura MDX (though I think this is too much like PIlot)even the suburban.

    I really liked the new odyessy when I drove and sat in it. I loved the sliding doors when dropping off kids at school etc where I do not always have to get out just push the button and door opens. I love the deep well of storage in way back. I do have 1 concern though, on some of these edmunds forums it has been said that people think the drivers seat is not comfy. Like there is something sticking into your back in the middle of the drivers seat. I already 2 degenerative disks in my lower back and this worries me. Yeah when I sat in it it was a little sore but so was the car I am driving when I first bought it. I just had to get used to it. But I am curious on what people think of the seats.

    The 4WD is a big plus but it is true that I could rent a vehicle if I were in the snow and bad weather. We go up to the mountains in the summer lots too, bringing bikes, water rafts etc. However their is a lot of storage room in that Odyessy. Still thinking on what to do.....Does everyone think gas prices are going to go up again? That could be a HUGH HUGH decision factor. Some people say that the Odyessy does not get much better gas mileage than SUV's. I tend to challenge that statement.
  • gagricegagrice Pahrump, NevadaPosts: 31,225
    How about the Sienna AWD? How does it compare to the Odyssey for room and comfort? I sat in the Odyssey and thought it was the best thing Honda had going for it. My Grandson has a 2005 Odyssey and loves it. Averages about 20 MPG mixed So. CA driving.
  • I also concur that you should consider the Sienna AWD to drive through the snow. I don't have much experience with snow but advocates of the Odyssey say it is quite capable in snow with its front wheel drive compared to other similar vehicles and even the Accord (not sure why).

    I test drove the Sienna and thought it was nice. The Sienna's ride is more luxurious. In road handling and ride comfort terms, one could categorize the Sienna as the "Lexus" and Odyssey as the "BMW" of minivans. In other words, the Sienna's ride is more luxurious while the Odyssey gives more of a feel of the road. I prefer the latter, as I don't like to "float" on the road. I also find the Odyssey more responsive to drive, with significantly more horsepower.

    The Sienna has a telescopic steering wheel that has more steering power than in the Odyssey. Again, its a matter of personal preference.

    I liked the seating configuration in the Odyssey better. The Sienna only seats seven if you get it with captain chairs in the second row. Unlike the Odyssey, the Sienna doesn't have a Lazy Susan in the floor. The Sienna has better leather seats, but, to me, that wasn't as important as the Odyssey's road handling and acceleration (to get out of trouble spots). I also much preferred the Odyssey's air conditioning controls.

    As for the driver's seat in the Odyssey, I think it is very comfortable for me. (I've read that the Odyssey'd driver's seat is not ideal for tall men.) I like the lumbar support, which is what I think was sticking in your back. I'm not sure but I think you can adjust it, as was the case with my old Accord.

    You might even be able to test drive a Sienna for one week by renting it. Some Toyota dealerships have rental outlets for that purpose.

    Again, good luck.
  • allison5allison5 Posts: 130
    I rented a SIenna AWD a while back to see if I liked that van. There were definatley things that I did like better, telescopic wheel, leather though I felt the steering was too light. The big thing that was a negative factor for me was that the driver and passenger seats were way too short for me. I am tall or at least average I guess for a woman. I am a little over 5"8 with long legs. So in that van their just was not enought thigh support and it made my toes tingle when driving for some reason. I guess someething about not enoght support, my back etc. So the hunt continues on.
  • explorerx4explorerx4 Central CTPosts: 12,144
    are still rwd based. this is what i prefer too. to me pilots, mdx, highlander, etc, are suv styled minivans.
    i love rwd, so that's what i prefer to drive. i do split my mileage with a small fwd car, though.
    2017 Ford Fusion SE 2014 Ford F-150 FX4
  • thegraduatethegraduate Posts: 9,731
    May I ask why you feel this way? The Odyssey/Pilot/Highlander doesn't even hint at torque steer. I'm not being difficult, just curious for a real answer. Thanks, ex.
  • explorerx4explorerx4 Central CTPosts: 12,144
    totally legit question. i am not referring to torque steer.
    with rwd there are 2 ways to steer. mainly steering wheel, but also throttle. in a corner, you can apply some gas to swing (slightly) the rear of the vehicle to go through the corner.
    it is not necessarily automatically that way. i adjust tire pressure for feel. you can adjust the understeer/over steer. some of it my be how i grew up driving. go to a kart track. it's fun, safe and you can learn a lot about handling.
    2017 Ford Fusion SE 2014 Ford F-150 FX4
  • I used to support American vehicles also . . . all I've ever owned. However, after 6 transmissions in two different windstars since 1997, I'm done with ford, at least! I'm still researching what to replace my 99 windstar with, but am certainly leaning away from American. :(
  • Kirstie_HKirstie_H Posts: 11,042
    A reporter is looking to learn about the vehicles of choice for people with large families. If you have 6 or more in the house and often travel as a group, what is your preferred mode of transportation? Please respond to jfallon@edmunds.com before Wednesday, February 22, 2006 with your daytime contact info and a few words about this topic.

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