trying to decide on which vehicle I!


New member
We're looking to buy a new to us vehicle. We have a very conservative budget of up to $15.000.
We have 2 kids (8 1/2 and 4 1/2) and starting in 6 weeks I'll be watching my niece 3 days a week (my SIL is in labor now!) We also take my adult brother with us a lot, so I'd really like to seat 6 so I don't have to keep removing and reinstalling my nieces seat.
At first I thought I wanted an SUV with 3rd row, but I know the 3rd row is hard to get into, especially with CR's installed 2nd row. Plus, I"m thinking of putting my niece 3rd row since she won't be a daily rider, and my own kids are. So I have to easily access a rf seat. I think a minivan is more vehicle than I want, plus theres not a lot of cargo room, unless 3rd row is split and fold into the floor. My son uses a wheelchair, so cargo space is important. I think I"m leaning towards a Mazda5. DH thinks it's too small
Any suggestions?
Any 3row vehicles that are easy to get into the 3rd row? I know you can get an odyssey with 3 across, should I put all the CR's in the 2nd row with my brother 3rd row? I just don't know what will actually work. thanks!
btw, we have a nautilus and vivo, the babys infant seat in an evenflo embrace 35 (ill be using it without the base)then an undetermined convertible
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New member
I've been reading VanIsleMommy's thread about "favorite minivan for 2 or 3 kids" and I'm left even more confused. I think after reading it though I've got a few thoughts
1. we're gonna keep this vehicle for a long time, We do regular maintenance and repairs, for us a car is a lot of money, so repairs are more doable than replacing the vehicle
2. I want sliding doors, and room to move around inside if the weather's bad, or I need to feed the baby or change a diaper (on occasion my son can do his bladder cath if needed inside). so I guess I just decided on a minivan!
3. The seats need to stow inside the vehicle, I absolutely have no room to store extra seats, and I need the seating to be flexible for any given days situation

so can you suggest some 6-7 passenger minivans for $15000 or under. that can fit a rf baby, a ff harnessed seat, and a HBB? I fantasize about top anchors in all 2nd and 3rd row seats so I have options but I don't know it that's gonna happen. any suggestions for our needs


CPSDarren - Admin
Staff member
Definitely sounds like you've ruled out SUVs and the Mazda 5!

Having easy access to the third row AND seats that can stow for flexibility I think leaves you with the Chrysler/Dodge Stow 'N' Go and some Honda Odyssey models with the stowable PlusOne seat from 2006-2010.

You should be able to find a reasonably low mileage Grand Caravan or Town and Country in your price range with Stow 'N' Go, possibly even one with the remainder of a factory warranty. The LATCH/tether anchors will be fewer than the Odyssey, but the seating flexibility is also good.

To get an Odyssey at that price, you'll have to go for much higher miles or a few years older. Too bad, because I had the perfect van for you last year lol!

2010 Grand Caravan SE

2010 Town & Country certified, maybe negotiable to 15k?

2007 Honda Odyssey EX-L Higher Miles

I believe Toyota and Dodge/Chrysler vans seemed to be more popular for aftermarket wheelchair lift companies than Honda for some reason, if that is a factor. Not sure why that is, but perhaps a 7-passenger 2004-2010 Sienna would be a contender as well, especially if you can find one factory modified? Not sure how expensive that is to do, but perhaps it is a consideration for later.


New member
I love, love, love our '06 Ody touring. The depth of the cargo area will likely work well for his wheel chair if it collapses. The 3rd row is easy to get to without the plus 1 or console installed. '06 and newer have 5 top tether anchors so you can put car seats anywhere. The only complaint I have is ours came with PAX run flat tires. They don't last, are very expensive, and ride roughly. We "de-PAXed" ours and its great now. They are common on the EX-L and Touring '06-'07 and maybe others years. That's probably good years for you to look at so just be aware of that added cost. I think we spent around $1800 replacing the rims and tires but now we can use regular tires that last longer so its worth it. Just search for de-PAX Ody for details if you look at those models.


New member
I thought I was limiting myself with the need to stow the seats. I"m thinking to give myself more options that isn't a "must have" as long as the seat back folds down flat (i've seen vehicle seat backs that only lean forward about 45 degrees, they don't fold forward to lay flat against the seat. I really don't want anything with crazy high miles, guess I"m dreaming. I've heard the grand caravan and T&C have a lot of mechanical issues


CPSDarren - Admin
Staff member
A 7-passenger minivan probably means you won't have to stow any seats. You'll have an aisle in the center or at the door.

Siennas won't be any cheaper on the used market than Odyssey, unfortunately. The Mazda 5 really is the only other option with sliding doors, but it is definitely smaller than a Grand Caravan and not much less expensive than a base model GC.


New member
I'm kind of thinking I don't want something as big as a GC or ody. That's why I was kind of liking the mazda5. I'm just worried that theres not enough leg room, DH said he thinks it won't be as easy to move around in. i'd love to be able to get all the kids piled in the vehicle, shut the doors then get everyone in their seats, and move up into my seat. that way I don't have to worry about the weather or where the kids are at. But I do want to be able to put my niece 3rd row center, since she'll be rearfacing for several years, and I only have her 3 days a week I wanted to try to keep her seat out of the way of my kids seats. I don't want to have to put her outboard cuz I'd most likely have to push the seat in front of hers forward and I don't want to have to do that. Plus, I want to make sure my brother will have enough leg room 3rd row. This has got me thinking of all kinds of seating arrangements...which is good. Again, sounding like a full size minivan. we rented at 2010 T&C while at Disney, it was pretty nice. I liked how the trunk was sunk in, made a lot more space. Any crazy seat belt or seat design issues to look out for?


New member
You definitely can do that with the Ody. It's trunk is sunk in too which is where the 3rd row folds flat into. It creates a ton of room. The only seatbelt issue is the 2nd row seat belts come from the frame so if you want to create an aisle on one side by moving a captain's chair over, the seatbelt will go across the aisle. Not a huge deal if a booster rider is there, but if its a hbb you'd be rerouting the belt when you need access to the back. If you have a harnessed seat there and the rider is too heavy (>40lbs) for LATCH you will have an issue. The alternative is leaving the aisle in between the 2nd row seats which works well especially if you want to walk around then get in your seat. I did that for awhile when I had 1 rf and 2 ff. Toyota has a 48lb latch limit if that matters in your decision. I have 2 rf and 2 ff now so I just keep a rf (<40lb) in the seat that's moved over so I can use latch.


I'd take a look at 2006 and newer Kia Sedonas. We got a 2008 this past April and we love it. The third row folds completely into the trunk very easily. The 2nd row seats can be removed, or easily "tumbled" forward.

Random thoughts on seating arrangements - I would probably put your niece's seat in one of the captain's chairs and have your oldest child (assuming he can buckle/unbuckle independently) in the third row. It's just easier to have an independent child in the back, IMO.


New member
I agree with jjordan, look into the Kia Sedona. I also have a 2008. We got it in 2009 with 24k miles on it. It was priced the same as an older Oddy on the same lot with 80k miles on it. We have had no problems with it and we really love it.

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