Which van for a 4 kid family?

MarathonMama

New member
I know, I know.... a popular question!

However, with 4 kids I'm noticing that van choices may be slightly different b/c our ability to be flexible with seating is less, lol!

We're in the market for a new van and of course our top 4 contenders are the Odyssey, Sienna, Sedona, and Caravan. There is no 2012 Sedona, but the 2014 model is revamped and will be on our local lot in a couple of weeks so I doubt anyone knows specifics on it since our dealership doesn't even know.

We're mostly concerned with the ability to have 3 across the back row so we can remove/stow a captains chair and have space if we need it, but likely the youngestr 2 would be in the second row, oldest 2 in the back. We may not need 6 TA but it would be nice to have at least 4.

We plan to test drive them all, but 2/4 dealerships aren't even in our town so we would have to drive 30mins+ for maintenance, etc. Does anyone do that? Is that a dealbreaker for anyone?

We plan to keep the van until it dies, not looking for used at this point.
Is the 8th seat in the Odyssey worth looking at?
Is it worth spending more on the more $$ vans?

Anyways, stats in signature are current.
 
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nannykates

New member
I would go with the Odyssey since I think its the only current one with three tethers across the back. You could also remove a captains chair and still use the center seat and others captains for your younger kids bit have a path for older kids.
 

canadiangie

New member
I would look at the 8 pass Ody and the Sedona. Personally speaking, I wouldn't bother looking at the GC or Sienna - the tether anchor offerings are a deal breaker for me in those vehicles. Additionally, the seatbelts in the 3rd row of the GC are bonkers providing poor belt fit for booster riders, specifically backless booster riders.
 

SafeDad

CPSDarren - Admin
Staff member
The Sienna is a nice choice if you want a middle pass-through aisle to the third row and don't need the extra tethers. If you have 4 kids and 1 or 2 are booster age, then the Sienna might actually be more flexible with the stowable 2nd row middle seat. Caravan's best feature is probably Stow N Go, which might offer extra flexibility for you also.

No idea about the new Sedona, hopefully we will have a review later this year. It seems to be a facelift, rather than an all-new model, though.
 

keri1292

Well-known member
RUN from the Grand Caravan. The booster situation in the back is a nightmare. And the seatbelts are no better when they outgrow the boosters. We have the Town & Country. :(
 

vtbecca

New member
I agree with Keri...steer clear of the Chrysler vans! The seatbelt issue is awful. We rented one on vacation and I didn't feel safe with any of my booster riders in the back. The back row is also very narrow, making 3 across of any combination very, very tricky.


We have a Sienna (2006) and love it. I have one out of a booster entirely and 2 in boosters. We can fit my not so skinny hips in the third row and I'm not squished. I have gotten a few combos of 3 across back there as well.

Becca
 

bubbaray

New member
Having owned an Ody and an Acura, and two Toyotas, I would definitely say Sienna. Toyotas service is miles better than Hondas. And the fit and finish are way better off the lot too. I had lots of picky things (& a few big ones) with my Honda products. Love love love Toyota.
 
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MommyShannon

New member
I know you said you want new, but I'd seriously look at a 2010 (I think that was still the older model) Ody. We have a 2006 and 4 kids (10 months, 3, 5, and 7. I love being able to have a center aisle or push the passenger side captain's chair toward the center for a side aisle. The new gen Ody would be awkward for us unless we stored a huge seat sin the garage. We bought ours used which save a ton of $$ even with it being the Touring. We have 5 tether anchors and I shuffle seats all over trying to minimize fighting and to fit needs. I love having so many options even with 2 rf and 2ff.
 

aept

New member
RUN from the Grand Caravan. The booster situation in the back is a nightmare. And the seatbelts are no better when they outgrow the boosters. We have the Town & Country. :(

I have a grand caravan and I wouldn't recommend it for four kids either. I mean, I have looked for solutions to the problems and could make it work if we have another kid, but it's a pain. Only go there if you get an *awesome* deal on one. Then know your seating arrangement options are going to be limited.
 

tl01

New member
Having owned an Ody and an Acura, and two Toyotas, I would definitely say Sienna. Toyotas service is miles better than Hondas. And the fit and finish are way better off the lot too. I had lots of picky things (& a few big ones) with my Honda products. Love love love Toyota.

Having owned the current model minivan from both Honda and Toyota, I will say that fit and finish of the Honda is worlds above the Toyota. The sienna is finished in cheap hard plastics. The interior is not as well designed and it looks more cheaply put together and has more road noise than the ody. The sienna is more spacious that the ody though and has a better trunk space in my opinion. I prefer the ody for installing seats.
 

Guest

New member
Of the current models, Honda's quality easily outpaces Toyota's. Service is totally dependent on the dealer.

BILs work for Toyota. One is more neutral but the other is a TOTAL Toyota fanboy. Both thought the Odyssey was a much better van than the Sienna. The little details are lacking on the Sienna. More obvious is that the interior quality of materials in the Sienna is HORRENDOUS. On some examples, I swear you can cut a finger on the plastic edges in many areas (problem seen on many of the cheaper Chrysler models of all types).

So, vote for the Honda here (obviously). 8th seat has been great. Been very easy to remove/install and it's actually a useful size. The sliding sideways ability has been great for car seats too.
 

MarathonMama

New member
Thanks so much everyone! I kinda figured it would be down to the Honda/Toyota but it always helps to hear others opinions!

Question about the Odyssey: does the 7 passenger have the option of pushing the 2 second row seats together, or is that in the 8 passenger only?
 

BarbieWD

New member
I'm another vote for the running away from any Chrysler van....not only are they NOT car seat friendly in any way (horrible seat belt geometry at both the buckle and shoulder anchors, dumb latch placement in the 3rd row, and even dumber headrests) BUT that's not the worst of it....Chrysler's costumer service stinks! Like REAL bad. Their supposed escalation team could only read me what was in the vehicle manual in regards to any car seat related questions and directed me to contact my local fire dept to learn how to use my car seats correctly!!! (BTW I'm a CRST!!!)
 

MommyShannon

New member
Thanks so much everyone! I kinda figured it would be down to the Honda/Toyota but it always helps to hear others opinions!

Question about the Odyssey: does the 7 passenger have the option of pushing the 2 second row seats together, or is that in the 8 passenger only?

Yes, we have the '06 touring which is 7 seats. We remove the center console and the passenger side seat slides over. One note, the '06 and '07 Touring and maybe more years, came with run flat PAX tires. There were lots of issues with them. They use different rims so to switch to standard tires you have to replace the rims too. We did that and love our van, but it is an expense to be aware of. Search google for "dePax Ody" for info.
ETA: I'm only talking about the older model. I don't know about the new ones.
 
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smileyblue4

New member
Question about the Odyssey: does the 7 passenger have the option of pushing the 2 second row seats together, or is that in the 8 passenger only?

The previous model was the one where you could push one of the captain's chairs over to make a side aisle. The current model (2011 and newer) doesn't do this, but the middle seat is wider, has LATCH, and very useable for carseats and passengers, especially if you use "wide mode". If you wanted a side aisle in the current model, you would have to remove a captain's chair. The previous model and current model are totally different inside! I love our Odyssey. It's my first minivan and I don't see it going anywhere anytime soon.
 

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