Minivan options for 4 adults + 4 Diono R100 FF?

We have quadruplet 6-year-olds as well as my in-laws that live with us. One child is ~38 lbs, two are ~45 lbs, and one is just at 60 lbs. We currently have an 8 passenger 2007 Odyssey, with 3 Diono R100s installed three across in the third row, and the 4th one in the 2nd row center position. All of them are currently installed in FF mode although we plan to move the heaviest child to booster mode anytime now.

We're needing to replace this van before long and so we're looking for which (slightly) newer vans could accommodate 1 seat in the 2nd row (center or outboard) and 3 seats in the 3rd row. We test drove a 2011 Odyssey, but that generation seems about an inch narrower in the back and I'm not sure if the three seats will fit easily. We would probably be looking at a 2012 or older budget-wise.
 
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jjordan

Moderator
If you have two 6 year olds who you feel comfortable boostering, then using two narrow backless boosters (e.g. Bubblebums, Cosco Topside) might help. Other 8-passenger minivan options would be the Toyota Sienna and Kia Sedona. I'm not sure offhand if either of those generally works better than the others as far as 3 across the third row with older kids. (The good news is, not very many options to compare!) But regardless I think your chances are better if you can mix in at least 1 backless booster.
 

aporthole

Active member
The Mercedes Metris might be your only option to reasonably fit 8 people without bumping up to a 10-12 passenger van. Although many of the mini vans list seating for 8, as you’ve experienced, physically fitting 3 seats/boosters in the 3rd row is exceptionally difficult and your options are quite limited. With your current set up in the Odyssey, the 2nd row center seat doesn’t have a tether anchor.

Is something like a Nissan NV or Ford Transit something you’ve considered?
 

lgenne

New member
Are you open to even one (but up to 4) new car seat(s)?

The Radian makes a pretty terrible booster in general. And dedicated boosters are cheap.

If you want 3 harnessed across the 3rd row, I think the only thing in that price range that has 3 tether anchors in the 3rd row is the Odyssey. (And in the 2nd row, too.) Even as you move some kids to boosters, having tether anchors in every position lets you choose where each kid goes based on which kids get along best, which car seats work best in each position, etc.

Note that a good install with a forward facing Radian is tough but possible in 4/6 rear seating positions in the Odyssey. (The captains chairs are easy, but I’m assuming adults get those.)
 
Thanks for the input from everyone. We ended up with a 2012 Odyssey Touring and we moved the heaviest child into a Graco TurboBoost backless booster. In the back row, we have an R100 (latch + tether) / TurboBoost / R100 (belt + tether). It's a pretty tight fit there in the third row, and so far (just today) we've had our daughter in the booster climb in and out of the booster while it's buckled (inspired by https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3KljZt2q34o). In the second row we were able to install an R100 in the center seat with latch and tether with just enough room to slide one of the captains chairs forward for access to the third row.
 

lgenne

New member
Hooray for new Odyssey! We love our 2013.

I think you need to switch at least one of your Radian kids to a seat belt install, though. It has a 40 lb maximum for installation with lower anchors, and it looks like all but one of your kids is over 40 pounds. I’d recommend leaving the lightest kid in the +1, if you don’t have a strong preference. I had a Radian in the +1 of my Odyssey just a couple weeks ago for visiting family, and had to use the seat belt because all the forward facers are over 40 pounds. The shoulder belt is manageable, but it does make getting into the 3rd row a little more difficult.

One thing you might want to try, at least longer term, is something like an Evenflo Amp high back booster. It is as narrow as a Turbobooster, but much narrower at the buckle, where the Turbobooster is more rectangular and doesn’t leave as much buckling space.
 

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