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  1. #1
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    Passenger vans (Transit vs NV)

    I just wanted to post with some of the thoughts that went into getting our passenger van because I thought they would have been really helpful when we were deciding. There are some blogs and videos out there reviewing these vans from a family perspective, but none really seemed to highlight the big reasons that we decided to go with the Transit over the NV. I hope if someone searches on this board when researching buying a passenger van that they will find this helpful

    When we were expecting baby #5, we tried so hard to fit 5 car seats into our Kia Sedona, but ended up deciding that we couldn't get anything that was up to our safety standards and so we decided to go for a new van.

    Our choices were the Ford Transit, Nissan NV, and Mercedes Sprinter. We quickly eliminated the Sprinter because of the cost of repairs after the warranty was up. Originally, I thought our choices were a 12 passenger Transit and a 12 passenger NV, but it wasn't until I asked on a local Facebook moms group asking for thoughts on passenger vans that I discovered that there was a 10 passenger Transit, which is what we ended up getting.

    Here are some thoughts that went into our decision. The Ford ended up being the winner for us because of these main things:

    -We like the 10 passenger over the 12 (the 10 isn't an option for the NV). Reasons for this: It's easier to get in because there are only 2 seats in the 2nd row (the 1st being the driver's seat row) - if we got the NV, we could take out the single seat in the 2nd row, but then we would be losing a top tether and plus we'd have to store a seat somewhere - and it only has 3 seats in the 4th row, so they are all full size seats (this was probably the biggest reason for wanting the 10 passenger). The 12 passenger Transit and the NV have 4 seats in the back, so they are all small. It's unlikely that you'd ever be able to fit 4 car seats back there and possibly not even 3 because of where the buckles are coming out so a car seat would end up being on top of a buckle and that's really hard to work with. With the 10 passenger, we can fit 8 nice sized car seats in the back. And if we have adults ride with us, they all will have a full size seat. Plus, I highly, highly doubt we'll have 10 kids (or even 8, haha), so a 12 passenger isn't really necessary for us.
    -The trunk space in the NV is super small. I'm not sure if we'd even be able to fit a double stroller back there. The space in the Ford is much more generous.
    -The visibility in the Transit is much better than in the NV. The headrests are much smaller and the column on the back door is also smaller.
    -The front end is much smaller than the NV, which makes it easier to make turns and park. The front of the NV is so big that it has sensors on it that will beep if you get too close to things
    -There are top tethers in every seat except for the single jump seat and the drivers seat. The NV only has 5 tethers and we'd end up taking one of them out to free up more room to load everyone in.
    -And another thing that isn't a huge deal but that we have found really nice is that the one we got doesn't have a center console between the front two seats. This makes it so much easier to get from the front to the back. I had to step over the one in my minivan, which was doable, but the one in the passenger vans is much bigger. I'm not sure if there is an option for no center console in the NV.

    Pros for the Nissan:
    -The seating arrangements are more customizable.
    -The warranty is a little better.
    -I think it looks a little cooler than the Ford.

    Other minor con for the Nissan:
    -No mirror on the driver's visor. Not a huge deal, but it would be a little annoying.

    Cons for the Transit:
    -Only 2 LATCH positions. This wasn't a deal breaker for us because we love the Britax Clicktight seats.
    -RF seats can only fit in the 2nd row (the one behind the driver) and the single jump seat that is next to the sliding door. This was also fine with us because theoretically we could fit 3 RF seats and we don't think we'd ever need more than 2.
    -There isn't a lot of leg room for rows 3 and 4. We tried a FF Clek Fllo in one of those positions and there was literally inches of room for the kids legs. We ended up selling it and getting a Britax Frontier CT (we were thinking of doing this anyway since the Fllo is a bit of a pain to install with the seat belt - the only reason we bought it was because we thought it would make it possible for us to get 3 across in our minivan, but it didn't end up working).
    -The 10 passenger is very hard to find. There were two that met our specifications that we could find. One was a few hundred miles away and the other was only about 3 miles away. What are the chances??

    Other things that might be helpful to know:
    -We got the XLT version of the Transit. The XL version doesn't have rear air conditioning and the back seats don't recline at all. The back seats in the XLT recline ever so slightly, which was necessary to get a proper install for some of our car seats (we checked with Ford and the car seat manufacturer and they both gave us the ok on doing this). The air conditioning thing wasn't something we learned about until near the end of our search, but I'm glad we discovered it!
    -The Transit has the option for barn-style side doors or a sliding door. We wanted a sliding door because it would be hard to open barn-style doors in a parking spot. Someone might prefer the barn doors, but you'll want to figure this out so you can narrow down your search to the right van for your family.

    I know this was super long. I hope someone finds it helpful someday

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  4. #2
    Senior Community Member Dillipop's Avatar
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    Re: Passenger vans (Transit vs NV)

    Thanks for the review. Would you mind posting some pictures of the interior? I'd love to see the 10 passenger seating in "real life."


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  5. #3
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    Re: Passenger vans (Transit vs NV)

    Sure! I'll try to remember to snap some pictures next time I go out.

  6. #4
    CPS Fanatic Kel's Avatar
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    Re: Passenger vans (Transit vs NV)

    I'd love pics also! Especially the FFing clicktight.
    Thank you!
    Kelley- mom of seven!

  7. #5
    Carseat Crazy
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    Re: Passenger vans (Transit vs NV)

    Just wanted to see if you have had time for some pictures?
    I would love to see also!


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  8. #6
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    Re: Passenger vans (Transit vs NV)

    Sorry, I haven't had a chance to take pictures yet. My husband has the van right now, but I will try to do it later today when we go out :-)

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    Kel

  10. #7
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    Re: Passenger vans (Transit vs NV)

    Following! We're expecting #5 and looked at the 7 passenger Transit Connect last week, we're trying to find an 8 and 10 passenger Transit to look at as well.

  11. #8
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    Re: Passenger vans (Transit vs NV)

    Here is the first picture. It's only letting me attach one picture, so I'll do the rest in a different post. Sorry the angles aren't great, but hopefully you can get an idea of how it works.

    One drawback that we recently discovered is that we can't put our RF (almost) 2 year old in the jump seat because it gives him perfect access to get his hand crushed in the sliding door. Thankfully I was closing it from the inside and noticed his hand there before I closed the door. And the infant seat overhangs too much to put in that seat, so we probably would only put RF seats in the 2nd row. Not a huge deal, but it will be a little more inconvenient to lift the one in who is next to the window when we move the baby out of her infant seat. Better than getting a hand crushed in that heavy door, though My husband did suggest today that if we can remove the jump seat (I've read differing things about if that can be done or not), the we could put a RF seat in the 4th row on the passenger side. So we might still have other options.
    Attached Images Attached Images

  12. #9
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    Re: Passenger vans (Transit vs NV)

    A couple more.
    Attached Images Attached Images

  13. #10
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    Re: Passenger vans (Transit vs NV)

    Sorry they are sideways.
    Attached Images Attached Images

  14. #11
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    Re: Passenger vans (Transit vs NV)

    I am still amazed that we can fit 3 car seats in the back seat and they don't even touch. Such a change from our minivan where we couldn't even fit 3 of the narrowest seats.

  15. #12
    Senior Community Member Dillipop's Avatar
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    Re: Passenger vans (Transit vs NV)

    Does the jump seat seatback fold flat? If it does, you might not have to remove that seat to put a rearfacing seat behind it.


    CCO 4/15

  16. #13
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    Re: Passenger vans (Transit vs NV)

    Quote Originally Posted by Dillipop View Post
    Does the jump seat seatback fold flat? If it does, you might not have to remove that seat to put a rearfacing seat behind it.
    No, it doesn't fold flat.

  17. #14
    Senior Community Member sirrahn's Avatar
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    Re: Passenger vans (Transit vs NV)

    Could you teach the 2 yr old to put his hands on his head or nose or something or hug a lovie when the door is being shut so he doesn't get an owie?

    Obviously you still have to be careful but personally, I'd give it a try if it really makes things easier to have him there. GL!

    Sent from my phone using Tapatalk
    Mom to DS-19 driving a 2011 CR-Z, DS-17, DD-14, and DD-12 riding in a 2017 Yaris iA, 2010 Prius & 2004 Sienna

  18. #15
    Carseat Crazy ntrenary's Avatar
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    Re: Passenger vans (Transit vs NV)

    How scary about the fingers! I'm glad you caught that before a accident happened.
    We're planning to rent a Transit while on vacation next month so this thread has been really helpful. Thanks for taking the time to post it and the pictures!
    3 big kids in seatbelts
    1 in a Turbo booster or incognito
    1 in a Pipa

  19. #16
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    Re: Passenger vans (Transit vs NV)

    Quote Originally Posted by sirrahn View Post
    Could you teach the 2 yr old to put his hands on his head or nose or something or hug a lovie when the door is being shut so he doesn't get an owie?

    Obviously you still have to be careful but personally, I'd give it a try if it really makes things easier to have him there. GL!

    Sent from my phone using Tapatalk
    We considered that, but I just don't think it's worth the risk. It is a really heavy door and he can stick his hand in all the way past his wrist, so it wouldn't just be a pinched finger. If we are closing the door from the inside every time, it might be okay, but at not even two I wouldn't trust him to keep his hands in his lap or trust myself to remind him every time :-)

  20. #17
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    Re: Passenger vans (Transit vs NV)

    Quote Originally Posted by ntrenary View Post
    How scary about the fingers! I'm glad you caught that before a accident happened.
    We're planning to rent a Transit while on vacation next month so this thread has been really helpful. Thanks for taking the time to post it and the pictures!
    I'm glad it was helpful. Have fun on your trip! That

  21. #18
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    Re: Passenger vans (Transit vs NV)

    Quote Originally Posted by onebabymonkey View Post
    We considered that, but I just don't think it's worth the risk. It is a really heavy door and he can stick his hand in all the way past his wrist, so it wouldn't just be a pinched finger. If we are closing the door from the inside every time, it might be okay, but at not even two I wouldn't trust him to keep his hands in his lap or trust myself to remind him every time :-)
    I'm like you, I wouldn't trust myself to remind him. And if someone else closes the door, they won't know to watch for it.

    Thank you so very much for the pictures!!!! I'm amazed at those 3 seats across the back plus all the "extra" seats with no car seat!!!

    That is a really nice vehicle!

  22. #19
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    Re: Passenger vans (Transit vs NV)

    Quote Originally Posted by onebabymonkey View Post
    Here is the first picture. It's only letting me attach one picture, so I'll do the rest in a different post. Sorry the angles aren't great, but hopefully you can get an idea of how it works.

    One drawback that we recently discovered is that we can't put our RF (almost) 2 year old in the jump seat because it gives him perfect access to get his hand crushed in the sliding door. Thankfully I was closing it from the inside and noticed his hand there before I closed the door. And the infant seat overhangs too much to put in that seat, so we probably would only put RF seats in the 2nd row. Not a huge deal, but it will be a little more inconvenient to lift the one in who is next to the window when we move the baby out of her infant seat. Better than getting a hand crushed in that heavy door, though My husband did suggest today that if we can remove the jump seat (I've read differing things about if that can be done or not), the we could put a RF seat in the 4th row on the passenger side. So we might still have other options.
    Can you switch the Chicco and the RF Britax? That way, both RFers are on the outside seat where you can reach them more easily. And the child in the Chicco can climb under one of the RFers.

  23. #20
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    Re: Passenger vans (Transit vs NV)

    Quote Originally Posted by MamaChirpy View Post
    Can you switch the Chicco and the RF Britax? That way, both RFers are on the outside seat where you can reach them more easily. And the child in the Chicco can climb under one of the RFers.
    I'm not sure if I understand exactly what you are suggesting. Theoretically, I could switch the key fit and the britax, but it would be pretty hard to lift the infant seat over the Britax. Are you suggesting something else?

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