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  1. #1
    Carseat Crazy chaoticoctopus's Avatar
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    Minivan shopping-- 8 seaters

    Ok, I've been searching and finding it difficult to come up with the info I need online. I'm too lazy to get on the phone and make a dozen calls to dealers (plus have to listen to a dozen sales pitches along with any info I might receive ).

    We are considering ditching our '03 Astro. It's going downhill steadily since my accident last summer (minor stuff, but still...), the seating just isn't safe enough in the back-- two center lap belts that do NOT offer a good install on either carseat we own, in either RF or FF position. We're starting to feel like it's time to cut our losses and ride off into the sunset in a new, safety-conscious vehicle. Well, *I'm* doing the safety research, hubby is doing the pricing, features, etc. shopping...

    MY search parameters include (but not limited to):

    8 seats
    Preferably minivan, SUV only if necessary or a FANTASTIC deal
    High overall safety ratings
    Good gas mileage; diesel ok
    </> $25,000 range
    center rear seat(s) have lap-shoulder belts of some sort, in at least ONE center seat
    Radian installs acceptably (any position- we'll work around it)

    I like the Ody, BUT what about the 8th seat (Plus One)? I know it should be good to install a carseat (although probably NOT the Radian), but does it have a lap/shoulder belt or lap-only? Does anyone who has this seat think it's actually safe enough/comfortable enough for full-time use? Do *you* use it for a belted passenger or a carseat?

    Since the Grand Caravans started up with their Stow & Go seating, I haven't been able to find any options for seating 8. We had a GC years ago and loved it, so I will be a bit sad to find out this isn't an option for us now.

    What about the Kia Sedona or Hyundai Entourage? Both websites mention 7-seat options only.

    Toyota Sienna? Some models seat 8, but I think it's another "optional" seat like the Ody's.

    Town & Country perhaps? I can't find any options for 8 seats there either, although the site mentions 2nd/3rd row bench seating...

    Anyone here have one of those Saturn Outlooks? It's an SUV, but seems smaller than the Explorer/Expeditions at least. It can be configured to seat 8.

    Other options I haven't considered yet? Dh was looking at those enormous Dodge Sprinters, thinking they looked pretty cool, but we saw them IRL the other day and OMG they are enormous. Plus, NO safety rating info, and little info about carseat compatability available.

    There are always full-sized conversion vans, but wow, that's a lot of $$. If I make it through my Pharmacy Tech class (starts tonight ), I might be employed FT by the end of the year, so we could probably swing a higher payment.

    I'm so confused and overwhelmed. I want to get some solid info on the safety/carseat aspect of this possible vehicle purchase to add to Dh's more practical considerations. Personal experience/anecdotes welcome.

    ChaoticOctopus
    Dd (4y)~Radian: 36#, 41"
    Dd (7y)~PW: 43#, 45"
    9y, 11y, 13y & 15y/o~ seatbelts

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  3. #2
    CPS Technician lynsgirl's Avatar
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    Re: Minivan shopping-- 8 seaters

    The Sienna 8-seater is not the same as the Ody 8-seater. The 8th seat is fully useable for both car seats and adults . I my van! I can fit 2 (probably 3, but I only have 2 to work with ) Regents and a MA in the center row. I can do various combinations of 3-across in the third row, there are 5 LATCH positions, I have side-curtain ABs in all rows, etc.

    I'm thinking an 05 or 06 would definitely be in your price range. The 06 MY was the first year side-curtains were standard and not just a package option. For 05, which is what I have, you had to go all the way up to at least package #4 for side curtains (I, uh, built mine online more than once ).

    I'm not much help on the other options at this time, but just wanted to give the 8-passenger Sienna and it gives me yet another chance to wax poetic about how much I truly do it .
    Last edited by lynsgirl; 06-04-2007 at 09:00 PM.
    Amy Expired (need to recert!) CPST & Mom to 8 great kids, 3 in a seatbelt, 5 in seats

  4. #3
    CPSDarren - Admin SafeDad's Avatar
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    Re: Minivan shopping-- 8 seaters

    You can get the 8-passenger option in the Sienna CE or LE trims. On the Odyssey, 8-passenger is standard on the EX and EX-L only.

    The Sienna's 8th seat is more functional if you plan to use it daily. The Odyssey's is easier to remove and/or stow for occasional use. Both have lap/shoulder belt. The Sienna's also has LATCH.

    A Sienna CE with the stability control package and the 8th seat can be had for under $25k. The Odyssey EX will be 25K or more. There are also some great threads on this same topic in this forum.

  5. #4
    Carseat Crazy hsjwmom's Avatar
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    Re: Minivan shopping-- 8 seaters

    As far as installing the Radian goes in the Sienna, I have heard mainly negative results... BUT, someone over at Baby Bargains says they got a terrific install using LATCH. So, maybe all the bad Radian/Sienna installs I've heard about are using the seatbelt? I have a 7 seater, so I can't comment on the 8. I LOVE our Sienna. LOVE IT. I bought my '06 after having an '01 for over 5 years. Nothing wrong with the '01 except it didn't have tethers in both middle row seats. Also, dh had the new car bug
    Abbysnail ~ 11 ~ Maui FR85 (booster mode) and Leopard Olli
    Chica ~ 9.5 ~ Pink Monterey and Julius Olli
    Loveybug ~ 3.5 ~ rfing in a Cranberry TFP and ffing in a FR85

  6. #5
    Carseat Crazy chaoticoctopus's Avatar
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    Re: Minivan shopping-- 8 seaters

    Thanks for the info, folks. It really does help.

    Does the Sienna's LATCH go to 40 or 48#? Neither of my little ones is 40# yet, but I'll need to take that into consideration. Honda's only rated to 40#, right?

    Oh, I searched tons of threads here, but it's only letting me go back about 2-3 days. I couldn't find anything really specific to what I'm looking for.

    ChaoticOctopus
    Dd (4y)~Radian: 36#, 41"
    Dd (7y)~PW: 43#, 45"
    9y, 11y, 13y & 15y/o~ seatbelts

  7. #6
    Admin - CPS Technician Emeritus Jeanum's Avatar
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    Re: Minivan shopping-- 8 seaters

    Right, Honda's LATCH limit is 40 lbs. Toyota defers to the carseat manufacturer's instruction manual.
    Regards,
    Jean

    DD1 Age 16, 66" Driver's Ed
    DD2 Age 12, 64" 5 steps

    Click here if you wish to view the full size version of my avatar

  8. #7
    Carseat Crazy
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    Re: Minivan shopping-- 8 seaters

    Quote Originally Posted by CPSDarren View Post
    A Sienna CE with the stability control package and the 8th seat can be had for under $25k.
    Those are extremely hard to find-- nearly impossible. Yeah, the Toyota brochure has the option, but Toyota doesn't like making them and dealerships don't like stocking them.

    signed, someone who's been shopping for a Sienna since February and never found a dealer to have one in stock or be able to get one from Toyota HQ and as a result we're just going to go with an LE (which I'm NOT finding for under $27,000)

    P.S. But yes, you could probably get a used '06 for your price. I might suggest waiting until the new '08 Siennas come out later this summer, as that will drive down prices on the "older" used ones.

    Good luck!

  9. #8
    Carseat Crazy hsjwmom's Avatar
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    Re: Minivan shopping-- 8 seaters

    Quote Originally Posted by chaoticoctopus View Post
    Does the Sienna's LATCH go to 40 or 48#?
    As far as I know, the Sienna is up to 48lbs...I'm still using it with our MA and dd2 is about 43lbs.
    Abbysnail ~ 11 ~ Maui FR85 (booster mode) and Leopard Olli
    Chica ~ 9.5 ~ Pink Monterey and Julius Olli
    Loveybug ~ 3.5 ~ rfing in a Cranberry TFP and ffing in a FR85

  10. #9
    Senior Community Member BABYGIRLLYNDSEY's Avatar
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    Re: Minivan shopping-- 8 seaters

    My neighbor's across the street got a Toyota Sienna this year. They have no children at home anymore but they became grandparents two years ago and then again this year. They have the silver one and I drool over it every time I go out of my garage. I totally want a mini van again. Hubby says we can get one but I'd have to go back to work and we can't afford one unless I do. Not ready for that so I guess I'll keep the Suzuki XL 7. It's 7 passenger, just very small.
    Mom to four ages 25, 23, 18 & 11. Busia to my new grandson.

  11. #10
    CPSDarren - Admin SafeDad's Avatar
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    Re: Minivan shopping-- 8 seaters


  12. #11
    Carseat Crazy chaoticoctopus's Avatar
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    Re: Minivan shopping-- 8 seaters

    Thanks for the link-- that was very informative re: Honda & LATCH.

    Today hubby says he's over the urge to buy... But I know it's inevitable that the bug'll bite again, probably sooner than later. Like, the next time the Astro acts funny or needs something...

    ChaoticOctopus
    Dd (4y)~Radian: 36#, 41"
    Dd (7y)~PW: 43#, 45"
    9y, 11y, 13y & 15y/o~ seatbelts

  13. #12
    CPS Technician Chameleon's Avatar
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    Re: Minivan shopping-- 8 seaters

    Does the Sienna's LATCH go to 40 or 48#?
    Neither-- Call them and they will tell you there are no limits and defer to the child restraint manual.
    DD1 12 Seatbelt
    DS 10 Seatbelt
    DD2 8months Keyfit

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