I’m Done With My Minivan. Now What?

I'm following my minivan being towed by a tow truck.  It was a weird sight to behold.

I’m following my minivan being towed by a tow truck. It was a weird sight to behold.

My minivan is starting to show its age.  It is 7 years old now — that’s 49 in car years — and needing more love and care than I prefer to give to a middle aged car.  I drove another minivan prior to this one, so I have officially been a minivan mom for over a decade.  It just might be time to move on.

But now what?

I enlisted my facebook friends for some input on what type of car I should graduate up to.  SUV?  Sedan? The answers were as varied as my friends on facebook.

First off, I had to immediately disqualify Bill’s input, “I hear that the Partridge Family bus is for sale,” even though that would have been very groovy.  Also, I had to laugh with young mom Meredith who chimed, “We get to graduate someday??? Wahoo!”  In only about 20 years, Meredith.

Brian and Polly suggested big trucks, F-150 and Tahoe.  I’m happy for them both, but I don’t think I’m really a big truck kind of a girl.  Er, mom.

A few moms celebrated their sedans, such as Lorie, Anne, Jessilyn, and Felix’s wife.  I’m sure they appreciate the gas mileage of these cars as compared to the gas-guzzling minivans.  And my friend Ally, mom of two teenagers, enthusiastically replied, “MINI Cooper!”  As much as I think MINI Coopers are really cute and zippy (which describes Ally perfectly), it is so small and low to the ground.  You know how it is, minivan moms — once you get a taste of riding high and mighty in that minivan, you never go back down.

Several folks like Jane and Amy went to a crossover sedan/minivan, such as Honda Fit and Mazda 5.  However, dad Shawn says, “When our kids got out of child seats, we sold our minivan and I said we’d never get one again. We got a Mazda 5 which is like a cross between a minivan and station wagon, and we loved it, but it was totaled when we were rear ended by a hit and run driver. We looked at everything and every kind of vehicle. In the end, what did we get? You guessed it, a minivan. The Mazda 5 just didn’t have the extra space like a minivan does, and we missed that.”

Likewise, my friend Erin added, “Prius V wagon. We still have the minivan, but it’s our second car and I love it.” Hmmm…crossovers might be best, then, as a second car.  I need to find myself a first car right now.  And is it just me or do some of these crossovers look like minivans that were in the dryer too long?

Not surprisingly, SUVs got the most votes.  Kristin, who got a Toyota RAV4, claims, “I felt liberated…like a ‘person’ again!” I get you, Kristin.  Both Melissa and Gayle love their Honda Pilot, and Wendy and Karen adore their Kia Sportage.  (Evidently, Kias are addicting or at least hereditary, because both Wendy’s and Karen’s daughters drive Kia Soul, aka “the hamster car”).  Laura loves her “MDX…roomy like a van, seats 7 but drives like a car.”  Diana drives a mid-size SUV and “loving it!!!” while Betsy swears that her Lexus RX is the “best car we’ve ever had.” Christy never did minivans and also doesn’t like sedans but prefers her CX-9.

I’m making a list of the desired features of my next car:

  • Roomy
  • Extra row of seats for more passengers
  • High ceiling
  • Lots of trunk space
  • Leather seats
  • Sliding side doors

Hmmmm…

It’s starting to sound a lot like a minivan.  Maybe I should keep my Odyssey after all.

What do you recommend?  And what type of car did you move up to after your minivan days were over?  Please comment below and help out this poor Panda Mom!

Metamorphosis of a Minivan Mom

The change was so insidious.  It didn’t happen overnight.  Before kids, I had always zipped around town in cool, two-door sedans like my Acura Integra.  Then I had a baby and before I knew it, I had become a minivan mom wearing mommy jeans.  I thought I should explain how this all came down.

My cool Acura Integra looked like this except it was silver

You see, when David and I came home from the maternity ward, we found that the little baby car seat carrier fit snugly into the middle back seat of our sedan, and it was just fine.  Of course, we always wanted to keep an eye on the little guy, so one of us would drive and the other would sit in the back with Josh.  This was all fine until we started going places with our new baby.  Besides the diaper bag, we needed to throw the stroller in the trunk, which quickly filled up with other baby things — portable crib, baby saucer, baby swing, balls, stuffed animals, and an inflatable pool.  You know, just in case.

Last stop before a minivan -- Toyota 4Runner SUV

When our car began to resemble a trunk show for Toys ‘R Us, we decided we really needed to move up, so we got a Toyota 4Runner.  It’s an SUV.  It’s still cool…enough.  Hey, my husband was still okay being seen in it.  As our baby got bigger and heavier, it was easier on our backs to step up to buckle in the car seat.  Also, when Josh was big enough to face forward during our drives, he got a better view from his seat and fussed a little less. We loved that little SUV, even if it did drive like a pickup truck.

David sold the car he had to a friend and drove my Integra around until I bashed into it with my 4Runner (see my other post about sleep deprivation).  Actually, we got it fixed after that, but the final straw was when David was pulled over by an officer whom we suspect thought that David was an Asian gangster.  The officer stated that the Integra’s windows were tinted too dark, but after realizing that he was talking to a straight-laced physician, the officer gave him a fix-it ticket to remove the tinting and let him go.

When our second baby arrived, it was getting increasing crowded in our Toyota SUV.  Double the car seats, double the baby junk in the trunk.  So that’s when it finally happened: our first minivan.  David decided to sell the Integra and got me a Mazda MPV so he could drive the 4Runner.

And then it happened...a Mazda MPV minivan.

I had to admit — I loved that minivan!  Our kids could actually stand up and play baseball inside that thing.  I could haul two strollers plus all the other baby accoutrements and not feel crowded.  We could even give our babysitter rides home.  No, it’s not exactly sexy but can we agree that no car is more practical for young families than a minivan?

My current mom-mobile: Honda Odyssey

We’ve since moved onward and upward to the Honda Odyssey, probably the best minivans around, even better than any swagger wagons.  Strollers, bikes, furniture, pools — we can throw them all in there!  It’s ideal for carpooling, because you can seat about 100 people.  You almost need a Class B license to drive it.  And the stereo!  I could out-thump any sub-woofers around town.  And I do.

Now, our kids are getting to the ages when some parents consider moving back down towards a sedan or an SUV.  But I love my minivan so much that I think I’ll keep driving it until the day it dies or I die, whichever comes first.

So, are you a minivan parent?  How did you get here and do you intend to stay?  Let me know!