I started dreaming about getting a minivan a couple of years ago. I was a stay at home mom to a 3 year old and driving a small sedan. I convinced myself that it wasn’t practical to get a van with only one child. Instead of me getting a new ride, I started driving my husband’s CRV, and we traded in our little Civic so that he could get a truck. We had recently purchased a house and having a truck bed was a huge help for all of our projects. The CRV made good sense for me and got good gas mileage, but that desire to have all of the family friendly features of a minivan was always in the back of my mind.
Fast forward 2 years, and the itch for a new ride came back with a vengeance. I still only had one child, now 5. Technically the CRV was still fine for my needs except for my daughter often complaining about it being hot in the back seat (no rear air vents), wishing I had a power liftgate, and being cramped on road trips. I decided to start doing some minivan research thinking that if I was going to get something new, it should be something that can grow with our family. I still wasn’t convinced that I should buy anything. The minivan was definitely a want more than a need. But you only live once, right?!?!
After reading the entire internet for reviews on all the vans, I narrowed it down to the Honda Odyssey and the Toyota Sienna. I decided to buy something 1 or 2 years old, and I downloaded every car shopping app. I visited several local dealerships and went on test drives. I decided it would be wise to also look at the Honda Pilot and Toyota Highlander with comparable 3rd rows. I ultimately ended up with a 2016 Sienna, and I LOVE IT!
What was it that pushed me over the edge and into the driver’s seat of a Swagger Wagon? First and foremost, POWER SLIDING DOORS. Carpool is a breeze, and I can fit into parking spots without worrying about my daughter dinging the door of the car next to us. It also has the rear air vents and the power liftgate I had been longing for. There is so much hauling space and flexibility. When we went to visit my family for Thanksgiving, we were all able to ride to lunch together without having to take 2 cars. I can fold the 3rd row down and have tons of “trunk” space. I can take all of the seats out and fit whole sheets of plywood in the back. I can take out the middle seat in the second row and have captain seats with a walkway to the third row. Or if I ever need to, I can fit 6 carseats in it! Even the salesperson was shocked about how “cool” the minivan really is!
I have no regrets about purchasing a minivan, but it is not perfect. The gas milage is downright terrible compared to my CRV. I’ve made it a game to try to increase the average gas mileage, but it’s still really, really bad. It is a big, heavy vehicle. If you’re used to zipping around with ease, it may take a little getting used to (the blind spot detection feature really helps with this). Because it is so big, I had to scoot up the second row seat quite a bit to be able to reach my daughter.
Maybe I traded in my cool mom card when I bought a minivan (or maybe I earned it), but it was totally worth it!