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Ect., Helpful Tips/Advice/Recipes, Mommy Musings: Thoughts and Opinions, Twins/Toddler Tuesday

Is it time for a minivan?


We are currently saving to buy a car, and deciding what car to buy is proving increasingly difficult.

I know, I know you think I don’t want a minivan because they are not cool. No one wants to admit they are no longer a sexy young thing but a slightly used soccer mom. But that’s not it at all.

Currently we drive a 2002 PT cruiser which has definitely done its duty. We have managed to fit three kids in car seats in the back, a double stroller in the trunk and a week’s worth of groceries which I think is pretty spectacular for the little hatchback. It’s good on gas, easy to park and gets me around to where I need to go. Sure the radio decides when it wants to work and there are more than a couple rust patches punctuating its once shiny silver finish but for the money we paid I am happy.

Now of course kids grow and mine are no exception. I know it’s just a matter of time before we need more space and I have been saving for a new car for some time. But what to buy?

This weekend the family went to Montreal and our vehicle for our family and my parents-in-law was a stow and go dodge caravan in sporty orange. My father in law borrow it from his neighbour so we could get away with two cars instead of three. With each out stop I became more and more in love with this vehicle. Heated seats, DVD player for the kids (god that was a life saver), radio you could control front and back, ditto for climate control, roomy trunk, sunshields in every window, automatic doors and start up, the list goes on and on.  “See” my mother-in-law said to me “this gives you a chance to test out the waters”. And she was right. As I envisioned what life would be like for us it seemed so good (and reasonably priced) and then it all came to a screeching halt.

We got to the hotel which had underground parking. As my father-in-law circled, and circled the lot looking for a spot to fit the van I remembered why I didn’t want one.


I live in the hustling and bustling city of Toronto and you are basically lucky to get a parking spot anywhere. Now having to park a boat, well I remember trying to do it with the work minivan and being endlessly stressed and disappointed.  Even once we did find a spot in the underground the back end of the van was sticking out and a target for lousy drivers to hit.

So that’s my dilemma. What do we do? I have looked at SUVs and I used to own (and cherish) a RAV4 but for the most part they are out of our price range. I have looked at cross-over vehicles like the Mazda and Dogdge Journey but the seats are small and you sacrifice all the trunk room in the 7 seat models.  And then there is the minivan. Great to drive impossible to park.


Anyone have any advice for me? Got any feedback on your vehicle? What have you got and why did you choose it.  Our only criteria is that ours must be used and seat 6+ people. I don’t care how I look because at least I will look happy because the kids won’t be yelling, screaming and fighting (at least not 100% of the time! LOL).

Happy driving!


About Shannon

I am a university educated full-time working mother of four children. Proudly Canadian, I freeze my butt off along with my loving partner, two dogs and a cat. I hope you enjoy reading my posts as much as I love writing them, but if you have nothing nice to say, don't say anything at all.


10 thoughts on “Is it time for a minivan?

  1. LOVE LOVE LOVE my dodge grand caravan. mind you i don’t have to park it in Toronto… but oh the possibilities…split the kids up in different rows, store seats in the floor (store packages in the floor holes when the seats are up), no seats at all and you can fit a full sheet of drywall on the floor, lots of room in the trunk, adjustable roof racks, room for friends and family, seats are actually comfortable everywhere, even for big people bums, climate control front and back is awesome! I also love that you are up really high, feels like you are driving a big rig, can see everything! Also feels like you are driving a tank (check out my blog for the post about the Crow Crusher – aka my dodge grand caravan).

    Posted by dodgepoe | February 19, 2015, 9:24 am
    • LOL that was what I loved about my RAV4 the most was the height. I loved being able to see everything, I felt like it was so much safer (and I was never in an accident with that car). I will check out your post for sure. It’s just the parking and navigating in such a jam packed city. But I guess you get used to it?

      Posted by Shannon | February 19, 2015, 1:00 pm
  2. That is a conundrum. The minivan sounds super nice! I’m used to suburban sprawl. We’re probably getting a cross-over for our next car (with 2 kiddos). Nice job handling the kids and cargo in your PT Cruiser all those years.

    Posted by Christie Silver | February 19, 2015, 9:19 pm
    • Thanks! Well they say necessity breeds innovation. To make them fit I did have to invest in new car seats once the girls out grew their buckets but it was still a heck of a lot cheaper than a new car. I do like the crossover because they are smaller but so many people have warned me against them. Mind you with just two kids there should be more than enough room. Good luck!

      Posted by Shannon | February 19, 2015, 11:16 pm
  3. I absolutely LOVE our Dodge Grand Caravan. The price, the space… 4 car seats and no one is crowded! It’s as good on gas as our Toyota Matrix was. But, I don’t deal with Toronto parking. The only thing I do not like about our van (but I solved the issue) is that we have a 2013 base model and there are no vents in the rear of the van. I invested in a Noggle to push the air back there though and now we don’t have any issues keeping the back of the van warm/cool!

    Posted by MommaNeedsCoffee | February 19, 2015, 11:19 pm
    • Thanks Lynn for sharing that. Real experience is worth so much more than any commercial. I have to say I was super impressed but I just don’t want to get in any car accidents! I actually got into one trying to park the work minivan, the thing was so Danny huge. Let’s just say my coworker was not very happy (I gauged the side of her PT Cruiser).

      Posted by Shannon | February 19, 2015, 11:37 pm
  4. I have a grand caravan and love it! It surprised me how much and it is easy to park. If I can park it then you can 😉

    Posted by April | February 20, 2015, 7:06 am
  5. We’ve never had issues with parking but I’m very unversed in what kind of situations you’d be fighting. We started off with 2 hatchbacks. Both were very nice. And I swore off a minivan. Then we drove 3 hours each way for a fun little day trip, just a test to see if family vacations could still be a possibility. We survived but it was a clear answer that we had outgrown our cars. We have the VW version of the caravan. We shopped around for awhile. I told my husband I didn’t even want to test drive it because I was so upset about getting a van. Fast forward, we’ve had our van for 2 years and I cannot think of anything else we could possibly survive with. I drive my husband’s car (the hatchback still) and feel completely awkward. I seriously have a harder time driving his car than my minivan. My mom’s sedan by the way, has a bigger footprint than my van and gets worse gas mileage. There’s a lot to look into.

    Posted by Princess Mommy | February 20, 2015, 12:44 pm
    • I think if we had two cars then a van wouldn’t be such a big deal because I could take the other car for quick errands. But as both me and my husband take ttc to work having two cars makes absolutely no sense. I suppose it all comes down to the day the cruiser dies and I am forced to make a decision. Thanks for your input.

      Posted by Shannon | February 20, 2015, 1:17 pm

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