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  1. #1
    Registered User
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    Minivan or large SUV for very snowy city?

    We are expecting #3 and in need of a bigger vehicle. I'm torn. I've heard that vans are safer than SUVs, especially when it comes to rollover risk. However, the van that we are looking at (Odyssey) only comes in front wheel drive. That makes me nervous because we live in Buffalo and get a crap ton of snow every year. We stay in when the weather is bad, but there is snow or ice on the ground for most of winter and so it's impossible to avoid driving in it.

    If we got the minivan we would use good quality snow tires, but I'm wondering if we might be better off in an SUV with AWD. My preference for convenience sake is the van, but safety is my #1 priority.

    All advice and feedback welcome.

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  3. #2
    Carseat Crazy
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    Re: Minivan or large SUV for very snowy city?

    I have an older Sequoia that we love... Like sparkly heart love and it is wonderful in the snow!

    Sent from my SM-G900V using Tapatalk
    B - 2/10 - Riding in the "Bentley" Radian XTSL or Frontier 90 in an '03 Sequoia AND a Recaro PerformanceSport in a '10 Cobalt

  4. #3
    CPS Fanatic Brianna's Avatar
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    Fellow Buffalonian here if you don't have to go in the middle of the worst storms I would think a minivan with snow tires would be sufficient. I see a lot more SUVs in the ditch because people think they can handle more than they really can.

    The godkids are growing!
    J 9/09 and J&A 1/15

  5. #4
    CPSDarren - Admin SafeDad's Avatar
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    Re: Minivan or large SUV for very snowy city?

    10-15 years ago, it was a big difference, as most minivans had relatively low rollover risk and most SUVs were high, truck-based models with awful rollover risk and questionable crash protection. Since then, most midsize SUVs are based on car platforms just like minivans, they offer better handling than before and many have very good crash test results, too. Most newer models of any SUV have stability control to minimize rollover risk. Many have rollover protection side curtain airbags as well. So, if you are buying a midsize model made in the last few years, I don't think the rollover risk is all that significant compared to a minivan if you get one with the latest safety features. A full-size van might be a concern, especially a high roof model.

    Also consider an AWD Toyota Sienna minivan as well- best of both worlds?

  6. #5
    CPS Technician Phineasmama's Avatar
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    Re: Minivan or large SUV for very snowy city?

    I live in Wisconsin and have had no issues driving a minivan with 2WD. We don't even have snow tires because DH is so cheap I am lobbying big time for snow tires for next winter though. I am planning on getting an Odyssey in the next week or so and have no qualms about it.

    I know that the Sienna is the other favorite as far as vans go, and they have AWD models, not sure if that's an option for you or not. I am pretty invested in Honda as a brand in general, but the Sienna would definitely be my second choice. I just think if you have kids, being lower to the ground so they can easily get in and out is really great. Also...sliding doors. I mean, come on!! That alone makes the minivan worth it (especially power sliding doors). I have a CR-V as well and I always have to stop my kids from flinging the doors open when they get out and hitting the cars parked next to us, it's ridiculously annoying.

  7. #6
    Moderator - CPS Technician
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    Re: Minivan or large SUV for very snowy city?

    Quote Originally Posted by Brianna View Post
    Fellow Buffalonian here if you don't have to go in the middle of the worst storms I would think a minivan with snow tires would be sufficient. I see a lot more SUVs in the ditch because people think they can handle more than they really can.
    I also live close-ish to Buffalo. We got snow tires for our minivan (Kia Sedona) this winter and it has been AMAZING. Seriously, I feel like we get just as good handling with it as we do with our Subaru station wagon. We live in a very hilly town where the snow plowing is terrible (even on the snowiest days, they plow our hilly main street no more than twice, it is ridiculous). And yet, even with all the mess and snow we've had this winter, our snow tires have done a terrific job and we haven't had trouble getting anywhere.

    Apart from the snow, I think that minivans are much more family-friendly than SUV's. The power sliding doors are my absolute favorite thing, because my kids can open the doors independently starting around age 3-4, which is great when you have your hands full. And you'll generally get better space and gas mileage in a minivan compared to a similarly-sized SUV, not to mention that you'll usually spend less money for a comparable minivan.
    Cutie #1 (13 years) 5-stepping
    Cutie #2 (10 years) riding in a Safety 1st Incognito

    Cutie #3 (7 years) riding in a Chicco KidFit
    Cutie #4 (6 years) riding in a Frontier
    Cutie #5 (3 years) riding in a Nuna Rava

  8. #7
    CPS Fanatic bubbaray's Avatar
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    Re: Minivan or large SUV for very snowy city?

    If you want a van, the AWD Sienna is your only choice unless you can find one of the older Dodge AWD versions (did they sell those in the USA?). I would not personally worry about rollover risk with the current SUVs. One thing to consider with vans is the low clearance. I am not sure if Buffalo gets snow/ice ruts on the road, but on the rare occasions we get snow out here, that is definitely an issue and people driving vans even with snow tires can rip off the underpanels.
    Melissa

    DD#1, April 2004, FFg in a Pink Harmony Literider & Onyx Parkway SG
    DD#2, January 2007, FFg in a Pink Monterey & Purple with Pink Hearts HBTB

    Riding in my 2010 Toyota RAV4 and DH's 2011 Ford 150 Crew Cab

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