For months there has been an ongoing debate in our house about our next car: SUV or Minivan. As our family grows, I wanted to make the leap to the flexibility of having a third row. One, to give the kids some breathing room in the car. Two, to give me the space I need to carry a stroller and hit Costco at the same time. We needed to decide on buying a minivan or an SUV. The choice was not an easy one. I asked for advice on my facebook page and got a great response.
We have spent the last couple months test driving cars to decide what will work for our family. We drove the following: Ford Explorer Sport, Ford Flex, Honda Odyssey and the Toyota Sienna.
Minivan versus SUV
I have to admit I’ve been the big hold out when it comes to driving a minivan. Someone could certainly quote me on saying, “NEVER” on more than one occasion. Then I drove one and I realized there were a lot of benefits of driving a minivan for a soon to be family of 5.
- Ease of the automatic doors
- 7-8 passenger capacity
- Grows with our family
- Storage room
- Good gas mileage
- More room in our garage since the doors don’t swing open
- It’s a minivan
- Large size
- Honda Odyssey doesn’t offer All Wheel Drive
Pros (Ford Explorer Sport)
- It’s not a minivan
- Super comfortable to drive
- Felt very safe driving in a rainstorm
- Cool interior and exterior design
- Height made it difficult for my four year old to get in
- Heavy doors were a safety concern
- Lower gas mileage
- 5 passenger option since we needed the middle row to be captain’s chairs
- Less storage than the minivan
Both the Ford and the Honda had awesome back up cameras. The Toyota Sienna camera was super small in comparison. I really like this safety feature since my kids are often running around outside, and their toys/bikes/shovels/etc. tend to migrate to the driveway.
The only bummer about the Honda Odyssey is it isn’t offered with All Wheel Drive. Living in New England it would be a great option and I’m surprised they still don’t offer it.
As someone committed to living a sustainable lifestyle, some people are surprised I already drive a small SUV (Ford Escape). We love the car and plan to keep it as our second car. We walk into town often to do our shopping and neither my husband or myself use a car to commute to work. Since our cars don’t get too much use, I’m ok with driving an SUV that uses more gas than an average car. Thankfully there are so many new eco-friendly engine options for cars, including the Eco-Boost engine on the Ford models.
So, have we decided? We are nearly certain it will be the Honda Odyssey for us. I think with a new baby, this will just make life a little easier. This will be our third Honda and we are just used to the brand. I would love for the Ford Explorer to be the upgrade to our Escape when the time comes that she needs to be replaced. It is an awesome car and I was sad to turn it in after I drove it for a few days. My friends were surprised when I said a Ford was “cool.” Times have changed and it really has been modernized with the technology details inside and the great driving comfort it offers.
Which camp are you in? Camp Minivan or Camp SUV?
Disclosure: I was provided Ford vehicles to test drive. This in no way influenced my opinions shared here.
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About Emily Roach
Emily Roach is a culinary nutrition expert and works with clients to create a healthy lifestyle design. She loves teaching her kids how to cook, playing tennis and inspiring women to take control of their health. Emily does one-on-one consulting, cooking workshops and speaking engagements.