Author Topic: Facepunch on a minivan?  (Read 5566 times)

onemorebike

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Facepunch on a minivan?
« on: September 02, 2013, 05:42:03 PM »
Hey fellow mustachians,

Last week I picked my mom up from the airport with the kids in the back of my most mustachian 99' Prism since my wife was out of town with our nicer '04. It was a miserably hot, loud and depressing 40 minute ride each way. Other than the Outback, I usually bike most places with the youngsters (and these less expensive cars afford me some flexibility in acquiring most beautiful bikes), but this particular drive had me hating that car's size, age and crap-factor. In fact, so much so (combined with a couple of other recent issues) I'm now thinking about an inexpensive minivan for these occasional trips that we have with the second car. (Kia Sedona, old Toyota Sienna, other ideas?)

I recognize the MPG on these minivans is atrocious and I'm a little offended that I'm thinking of this but the extra space for kids, occasional trips to home depot, camping in the mountains and bringing tools to/from my rental property have me thinking it might be worth spending $3-5000 on a used minivan. It doesn't need to be new, but reliable and affordable.

So I ask a mustachian: 1) Am I insane for wanting a larger vehicle for these occasional trips? (our second car sees very little use right now, but when it does we are usually in a 'pinch') 2) If you think I'm insane, are there any suggestions for higher mileage cars that can provide the same affordability, space but with better MPG?

Please help.

-onemorebike

gooki

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Re: Facepunch on a minivan?
« Reply #1 on: September 02, 2013, 06:06:08 PM »
Yes you are insane.

Just use the Outback.

daverobev

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Re: Facepunch on a minivan?
« Reply #2 on: September 02, 2013, 06:51:32 PM »
How occasional? Can you just rent a vehicle to fit your need at the time?

galliver

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Re: Facepunch on a minivan?
« Reply #3 on: September 02, 2013, 07:32:22 PM »
How many kids? Because 3 kids do not fit into a backseat for longer than about 30 minutes. Two, I think, can deal with it.

My parents' Honda Odyssey had a fantastic feature of back seats that folded flat into the trunk to create a continuous space. And then the middle row of seats could be either folded or taken out to create even MORE space. I moved to grad school in this vehicle with a GIANT desk that probably took up half the space, desk chair, bike, and all my stuff (books, clothes, dishes, bedding, etc) Not saying you should consider an Odyssey, but do look for those kinds of seats, as they are great for turning it from family vehicle to hauling vehicle. Also great place to sleep if necessary.

onemorebike

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Re: Facepunch on a minivan?
« Reply #4 on: September 02, 2013, 07:34:09 PM »
Use ebbs and flows. In the summer, hardly ever. The occasional weekend, to and from daycare when I'm in a rush and when I do any house related work with either my primary residence or rental.

As for the prospect of renting, we have young kids and right now it feels like the time spent to deal with renting outweighs the financial benefit - we've been pretty stressed by our threenager and the past year with our now 15 month year old.

We've outfitted the Subaru similar to MMM, with storage space above and behind the car, but even with all of that it is still feeling cramped on big trips or home depot runs.

Anyone have any alternatives to an older minivan? Is an older minivan that bad if you don't drive it as often as a better mileage vehicle?

-onemorebike

englyn

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Re: Facepunch on a minivan?
« Reply #5 on: September 02, 2013, 07:38:38 PM »
You need a bit of stoicism about that old car. Sounds like the worst thing about it is your reaction to it. Imagine if you had just got your licence and your parents weren't that well off, but had given you the car. Wheels! Freedom! Or that you lived 60 years ago and most people didn't have cars that can go really fast and rarely break down.
Consider a towbar and trailer for the occasional hauling of stuff / camping gear.

prosaic

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Re: Facepunch on a minivan?
« Reply #6 on: September 02, 2013, 09:11:21 PM »
How many kids? Because 3 kids do not fit into a backseat for longer than about 30 minutes. Two, I think, can deal with it.


Somehow my parents managed my entire childhood through the 70s and 80s to fit 3 kids in the backseat of a car. While the cars themselves shrank as we grew into teens, we still figured it out.

My three kids are 14, 11 and 4 (4 yo in a carseat) and we just spent 6 hours driving to Maine on vacation with the three of them in the backseat of a Honda Civic, with a week's worth of camping gear in the car (trunk, rooftop carrier + bike rack) and a handful of (soft) items under their feet. While it wasn't ideal, no one is permanently emotionally scarred.

(And if anyone were, it would be DH and me).

Our kids routinely handle 1+ hour trips. They learn to deal with it. Their adaptation to a perfectly serviceable vehicle is something I think will serve them as they grow older and as consumerism becomes something they face with their own earnings.

galliver

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Re: Facepunch on a minivan?
« Reply #7 on: September 02, 2013, 10:51:43 PM »
prosaic, I may have exaggerated, although I'd also note that not all kids are you or your kids (or my sisters and I, who did survive our share of roadtrips pre-minivan with no psychological damage). The true point I was trying to make was that it adds significant happiness and peace when three kids aren't crammed into the backseat on weeklong roadtrips.   Although the true reason the minivan was purchased was to fit our family of 5 + visiting grandparents, friends taken along for the trip, etc. it did have other effects which might be valuable to others in their own right.

One thing I'd like to know: Would you be willing (or did you) to trade places with your 14 year old during the course of a trip? Because I think I would think twice about sacrificing my child's comfort to an extent that I would be unwilling to sacrifice my own.

NinetyFour

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Re: Facepunch on a minivan?
« Reply #8 on: September 03, 2013, 06:29:46 AM »
Picture this:  1970, VW bug, my dad at the wheel, and 6 (that's right--SIX) kids packed in like sardines (with school books, etc.).  My oldest brother (with terribly long legs) always got the front seat.  But he also got a younger brother ON HIS LAP.  Three of us were crammed into the back seat.  Oh, yeah, where was that other one?  In the "back-back" or the "well", as we called it.  Oh, and the heat never seemed to work, so we were all covered with blankets.  Those were the days!!

onemorebike

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Re: Facepunch on a minivan?
« Reply #9 on: September 03, 2013, 06:36:11 AM »
Back when I was a kid I walked to school ten miles. Uphill. In ten feet of snow. On my hands!

I understand that it is possible as we have made it this far. What I didn't clearly convey was how stressful parenting this age and temperament of child has been on my family. I'm wondering if the extra space, comfort and perhaps more mini adventures with family might make up for the added cost of a new used vehicle and worse gas mileage.

onemorebike

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Re: Facepunch on a minivan?
« Reply #10 on: September 03, 2013, 06:38:11 AM »
Also if a mini van is a bad idea, are there any other cars I could get used in the same price range that would afford similar space? Does anyone know of an easy way to calculate the long term costs of a decision like this?

Sweet Betsy

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Re: Facepunch on a minivan?
« Reply #11 on: September 03, 2013, 08:52:58 AM »
Considering how little you'll use it, I don't know that it matters much if you get a little bit worse gas mileage from a minvan than from your current car. 

Speaking from experience with a now 10 year old Toyota Sienna.  It's a wonderfully reliable vehicle.  No major problems, it certainly is a bit beat up these days but still runs beautifully.  I fully expect to get at least another 5 years out of it without any major issues cropping up.  We love having the space for camping trips, home depot runs, etc. 

We have two boys 18 months apart and I remember being in your position when they were little.  It was so hard and I so wanted "one more thing" to somehow magically make everything easier.  Make sure that you are looking at your families needs realistically when it comes to a bigger vehicle rather than hopeful thinking.  Everything is just hard right now...it will get better as they grow up. 

SunshineGirl

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Re: Facepunch on a minivan?
« Reply #12 on: September 03, 2013, 10:27:08 AM »
If you get a minivan and use it for your rentals, that portion of use is deductible. Just sayin'. We have a minivan used for that very purpose (rentals) and it is useful, although when it's time to get rid of it, I am hoping we'll just rent a truck from Home Depot when necessary instead of replace it with another hauling vehicle.

We also plan to keep it through when our kids are learning to drive (14 and 13), because it's a good, bulky vehicle.