Author Topic: Family (3-4 kids expected soon) vehicle needed. Mustachian options?  (Read 791 times)

jiminy

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My family is rapidly growing. We have two kids, 1 and 3, and another one on the way. In a 2-3 years we will almost definitely have another, bringing the total family size to a whopping 6. Because of our recent expansion, we are now in the market for a minivan or similar. My wife will be the main driver, around town to drop the kids off at school, go to YMCA, groceries. It will also be our vacation vehicle, so maybe like 10-15K miles a year or so.

The ideal NEW CAR would be something like a 2019 Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid, with the tax break. That is somewhere in the mid $30Ks, obviously not Mustachian, although tempting my wife. We would have it for at least 10 years, if we went that route, if not longer.

Wife constraints: while my wife is supportive, in a way, about the Mustachian lifestyle, she has imposed a couple of demands/requests for a used car to have. She is not a confident driver, so she wants a rear-view camera for backing up, and ideally a blind-spot indicator, especially for a bigger car. These only exist on more modern cars.

So we're looking for a car with 3 rows of seats with these requirements. I have never bought a car with a lot of miles on it, so I'm a bit worried about lemons, maybe irrationally so. I just don't want my wife and kids to be stranded on the road because of random repair issues. I would love any good sources that can cure me of that fear, btw!

My strategy for finding a car that meets the requirements was to go to Carmax and search for cars on that criteria: https://www.carmax.com/cars/rear-view-camera/blind-spot-monitor/3rd-rear-seat,
and then sort by price. A few examples:

2013 Chrysler T&C, 86K miles, $14.6K
2012 Mazda CX-9 Grand Touring, 59K miles, $16K
2012 Nissan Quest, 70K miles, $17K

I'm pretty clueless here when it comes to evaluating the older cars. How reliable will they be for the next 100K? Anyone have some guidance for me? I'm new to FIRE and trying to take my first major dip into being smarter with money...but it's tricky with a big family and a wife who is not a confident driver, and supportive by wary of FIRE. All advice appreciated!

Syonyk

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Re: Family (3-4 kids expected soon) vehicle needed. Mustachian options?
« Reply #1 on: February 27, 2019, 09:33:22 PM »
Almost all modern(ish) vehicles have a rear view camera, and if not, they're pretty easy to add as a retrofit.  But in 2019, shouldn't be hard to find one that has one.

Blind spot sensors are a bit more hit and miss - some cars have them, some don't, and I'm not sure what the state of those is in vans.  But, a properly adjusted mirror (which most people don't do) means you don't have blind spots.  If you can see the side of the car with your head in a normal driving position, your side mirrors are way too far in and need to adjust out.  Set the driver's side mirror so you can barely see the car with your head against the window, do the same distance head move for the passenger's side, and you should have no blind spots to speak of.

If you want reliable, don't buy a Chrysler product.  My dad has owned many of them, for reasons I genuinely fail to understand, and they're (by my standards) unreliable pains in the ass, with the electrical systems gradually failing as soon as they're out of warranty.  Perhaps someone will argue the opposite, but I'm always entertained by what new things don't work on his current van when I visit.

Modern, tolerably maintained vehicles rarely quit without warning.

Joel

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Re: Family (3-4 kids expected soon) vehicle needed. Mustachian options?
« Reply #2 on: February 27, 2019, 10:17:00 PM »
Posting to follow. Sounds a lot like my wife and we expect to be at least a family of 5. We have pretty much decided we will be getting a 7-seat SUV that is probably new to meet those needs. At the end of the day, we will likely keep it 10+ years so Iím not as concerned about it, even if Iíd prefer to buy something used.

jiminy

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Re: Family (3-4 kids expected soon) vehicle needed. Mustachian options?
« Reply #3 on: February 27, 2019, 10:22:16 PM »
The idea to retrofit a camera is a great idea. I think I could probably convince my wife that the blind-spot monitor is not necessary if I make sure the side view mirrors are adequate (probably after-market add-ons here too, I'd guess). If I can somehow guarantee a quick/easy install of an after-market rear-view camera I might be able to get into the $10K range...

This is an exciting thought, if I'm right that these add-ons are really so easy to install.

If so, what are the most reliable cars to look at? My mind is wide open here. I've looked at a bunch of old threads, but they might be somewhat outdated. What 7-seaters are especially reliable and priced right?

Tester

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Re: Family (3-4 kids expected soon) vehicle needed. Mustachian options?
« Reply #4 on: February 28, 2019, 02:03:18 AM »
I bought a 2009 base oddysey for 9200 usd, including yax, registration.
Added an Android auto unit which cost me around 400 usd - installed it myself in about one hour, really really simple to do.
I have a backup camera bought but did not install it yet as I dis not have the time - that would take me several hours I think as I looked at videos of people doing it and I am not experienced in this kind of things.
You can just buy a package including both the android auto/apple carplay and backup camera and get them installed by the store people. Should not stop you from getting an older car.

Just to tell you the total cost until now:
Changed the timing kit, around 800 usd - used yourmechanic.com, a normal shop would have charged 1500 because they would not work with parts bought by me.
Had to replace the turn signal relay, 200 usd including oil change. Would have been a simple think to change by me and would have cost 70 for the unit.
Spent 100 usd on k and n filters - oil and cabin, installed myself in 20 minutes.
Spent 1000 usd on replacing the multiplex unit as it failed - would have been around 700 if I would have replaced it.

I am still happy with this as the engine and gearbox are in great shape, but you have to factor some things failing when you buy used.

My wife gets into arguments when these things happen about buying a new car, but I remind her that for our new focus we had the clutch replaced in warranty because of the powershift gearbox.
Also friends with new cars different than cheap focus had gearbox replaced in warranty and other big items which meant they were without car for some time.
Yes, they were under warranty, but they were still bigger problems than what this car had...
« Last Edit: February 28, 2019, 02:04:55 AM by Tester »

Linea_Norway

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Re: Family (3-4 kids expected soon) vehicle needed. Mustachian options?
« Reply #5 on: February 28, 2019, 02:56:16 AM »
As your fourth child is still some years away, you can also postpone the new car until then. You say that only new cars have the equipment that you need. In 2-3 years, those cars will be cheaper. Your wife can put 3 children in her current car, until that time.

By the way, our 2009 subaru outback has a rear view camera. So that's pretty old already.

ShoulderThingThatGoesUp

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Re: Family (3-4 kids expected soon) vehicle needed. Mustachian options?
« Reply #6 on: February 28, 2019, 04:32:31 AM »
I have a Pacifica Hybrid and itís fantastic, but purchasing it new isnít inline with the site ideals, certainly. (I did it anyway.)

But as noted above, you donít have 4 kids yet. In our case (3 kids) we pick up a lot of relatives, so the extra seats are very helpful.

slappy

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Re: Family (3-4 kids expected soon) vehicle needed. Mustachian options?
« Reply #7 on: February 28, 2019, 06:30:06 AM »
As your fourth child is still some years away, you can also postpone the new car until then. You say that only new cars have the equipment that you need. In 2-3 years, those cars will be cheaper. Your wife can put 3 children in her current car, until that time.

By the way, our 2009 subaru outback has a rear view camera. So that's pretty old already.

This is what I was going to say. Spend some money on car seats that are specially designed to fit three across and save a bunch of money on the car for now.

My experience: I have an outback with three car seats across. I love it. The oldest climbs in, i put the baby in, then i put the two year old in and buckle him. The oldest (4) can mostly buckle himself, but if he needs help, i turn around in the drivers seat to help him.

My husband has a third row Honda pilot. I hate that thing. Here's how it happens: Four year old gets in, takes his sweet time buckling up. Meanwhile baby is in her seat, outside next to the car in the cold. Two year old is fine, we put him in. Then four year old needs help. I have to practically climb in to help him (I'm not short either). Then finally baby goes in. Luckily shes easy going and doesn't mind too much. But I would really rather have them three across. My four year old doesn't like the Pilot because he's stuck in the back all by himself right now.  He prefers my car where he is closer and can actually talk to me. My husband is the main person who drives the kids around and he was insistent on the third row. He wanted to make sure we could separate the kids, especially as they get older and go through the "he's touching me" phase.

Anyway, not much advice on cars, I guess. Just my experience on having three car seats in a vehicle.  Especially with your kids being younger, I think its something to consider. 

jiminy

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Re: Family (3-4 kids expected soon) vehicle needed. Mustachian options?
« Reply #8 on: February 28, 2019, 08:26:41 AM »
I didn't give the full picture before. We have one car currently, a 2013 Ford Fusion. Because at the moment we live in a city, we have almost no need of the car except for occasional weekend grocery trips and a couple vacations a year. However, we will soon be moving to a more rural/suburban area and I will have to drive to work with the Fusion (I might be able to do public transportation, that remains to be seen).

So my wife needs a car now, she doesn't currently have one. I hear what people are saying on the 5-seats being enough for now, but given that we'll just be on the market again in 3 years to buy another one, I'm not sure if it makes sense to buy now with the intention of selling in a few years and buying again. Buying, and especially selling, a car is a hassle! The savings would have to be pretty high.


TVRodriguez

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Re: Family (3-4 kids expected soon) vehicle needed. Mustachian options?
« Reply #9 on: February 28, 2019, 09:09:50 AM »
Our 2008 Honda Odyssey EX-L has a rear backup camera that came standard.  The backup camera was my one requirement.  We've had it now for about 8 years, and it's very reliable.

historienne

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Re: Family (3-4 kids expected soon) vehicle needed. Mustachian options?
« Reply #10 on: February 28, 2019, 09:32:17 AM »
If you can find one, I would get a used Mazda5.  Significantly smaller and more fuel efficient than most other options that would seat 6.  I find it way easier to drive and park.  Cheaper to buy, cheaper to run.  They are not made any more, but you can get relatively recent model years (2015 was the last year) used.