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What vehicle would you recommend for four kids (all in car seats though oldest can go to highback booster)? NOT financed, would be bought with cash so has to cost be no more than a few grand. Something that holds people AND lots of stuff, not just one or the other. I am thinking Suburban as their plentiful and cheap but gas mileage would not be good. We have an old mini-van so this isn't a pressing need, just a consideration. May just fix the ac in the van and keep her running another year or two.
Our cars tend towards twenty years old, many junkers. Hubby is a mechanic. Talking about getting a nicer car for me and the kids, my husband is bothered by my van' s interior condition. Runs fine though lack of AC is hard, hot summer's here.
i'd be fxing that a/c immediately regardless of getting another car or not. i have a almost 7 y/o hyundai entourage (now sold under the kia brand but still same van) that has been amazing for us. sits 7 people and currently has 4 full size carseats with room at the back for stroller and gear. haqve had almost no problems with it.
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I'm loving our Durango! It seats 8, and has space in the back (not as much as a suburban, but more than many of the 3rd row suv's... trailblazer for instance has NO 'trunk' space on the 3rd row versions).
I have a Town and Country, and it has loads of storage space. Much more than my old van. It seats seven, and then has a big trunk and the stow and go. I test drove a suburban and it was HUGE. I didn't feel at all comfortable parking it, and I felt the seats were meant to accommodate a teen/adult, and weren't really needed for a little child. The only thing I would change is I would love to have one that sat eight, just for carpool purposes.
Honestly I would fix the mini-van, and save up through the year. I've kinda had everything out there due to 8 kids, some learning to drive, and downgrading, then upgrading lol.
Mini-van with little one in carseats is probably the easiest, but they aren't known for a lot of storage space, getting creative helps with this one.
There are some smaller SUV's that will seat 6, but they do take some looking for when buying used.
My Suburban (94 the year I love for Chevy) is amazing and it's great with my older kids, but recently I learned something. IT SUCKS when there is more that one car seat in it. I took my 4, and 2 of my nephews and a family friend bot with me to the river. Having car seats in the 3rd row is a complete pain in the ***, doable, but I would be crazy if I had to do that on regular bases. It was 2 car seats, a high back booster and a low back booster.. Gas milage, well that depends on how much you drive. It is costly to fill that bad boy up but it does have decent gas milage. I only fill mine from just below half a tank every 2 weeks and it can cost anywhere from $80-$100. We live rural so everything is a drive, I am just more conscience of it, and plan everything.
My regular vehicle is an 8 year old Toyota Highlander. I have 2 high back boosters in the 3rd row and 2 convertible car seats (one RF) in the middle row. I can fit 2 boosters, 2 convertibles and an infant seat but that's the max. The gas mileage is pretty good but I can't fit a large stroller in there, certainly not an umbrella stroller. I'd say the cargo space with the 3rd row up is max 12 inches deep. It's deep enough to fit a full row of paper grocery bags, but just, and when I grocery shop I either take our larger car or put a lot of stuff in the front seat, too. But it's a really comfortable ride, it's paid off, it runs impeccably and the gas mileage is usually 17-22mpg in the city.
We also have an older (I forget how old, maybe 2002?) Lincoln Navigator extended. I like that each seat in the middle row can be folded down independently (my highlander has a 60/40 split, so, right now, my big kids have to climb over the back of the seat!) and it has 3 seats in both the 2nd and 3rd row. And it has cargo space. The 3rd row can also split 60/40 so for our last trip up to the lake I actually had the 2 boosters and RF infant in the 2nd row, and my 2 year old in her convertible seat in the back with the other 2 seats folded down to make room for our bags and dogs, so we were able to fit bags for the 6 of us for 4 days, 2 LARGE dogs (55 and 100lbs), 4 kids, 2 adults, an umbrella stroller, diaper bag, purse, cooler and the kids' busy bags all in there. But as much as I love the space, I kind of hate the vehicle. The controls are counter intuitive (the first time I drove it, I took the kids for donuts and I couldn't figure out how to open the windows in the drive thru!!), the ride is really stiff and exceptionally uncomfortable when I'm pregnant, the driver's cabin has virtually no useable space (when I have a passenger, I have to put my hand bag in the back because there is no where else to put it) and we're lucky to get double digit gas mileage at all, usually 8-11mpg and it takes higher octane fuel. Also, we have to have it serviced for one thing or another about every 4 months. But it's paid off so we're stuck with it for a while. If space is your only concern, it's great, but otherwise I can't reccomend it.
For you budget and carseat needs, I agree with previous posters that I would probably stick with the van and use the money to fix the AC and maybe spruce up the interior a little--I was shocked to find out that I could get quality interior detailing for $120.
Thanks for all the info. I'm sure the AC will be getting fixed in the van regardless. My friend has a Suburban that we loaded with three adults and five kids in car seats-it was so roomy even with all the accompanying stuff. But I didn't have to put in the car seats. Getting the kids in and out was easier than I expected. The interior is more than just cleaning in the van, it's coming apart, and it's definitely not worth having detailed. Would probably keep the van if we buy another car, get rid of other cars. We have a few cheap cars (van we paid $350 for from tow yard, got a Jeepe paid $300 for that's got to go). I do mean cheap when I say cheap cars. I'll have to look up the vehicles mentioned.
we have an odyssey, but if you're looking for one that's only like $300, you're going to get a real piece of shizzz for that price. Odyssey's hold their value really really well. The new new ones with vacuum and all that run up to like $45,000!
I am on my third suburban. I don't see me driving anything else! I love the space and the room in the back. I have had older ones and now drive a newer one. I love them. My newer one is the best on gas mileage but the older ones are not that great on gas.