Author Topic: Need family car for twins  (Read 5305 times)

Justin1911

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Need family car for twins
« on: March 27, 2016, 08:04:52 PM »
My wife and I are soon to be parents. We are expecting twins in the next few weeks. My wife will be a stay at home mom. I work full time and we live close enough to my work that I can ride my bike. One of our babies has a heart defect that will require regular (probably weekly) trips to a doctor about an hour away along with some extended stays at the hospital for surgery and monitoring.

We need a new family car. We currently have a 2008 Mazda 3. In our research and hands on trials, this car cannot fit two infant carriers. Mostly because she and I are too tall to drive/ride with the babies' seats installed.

Because of our unique situation and awesome family, we will have near-full time help from a grandparent who plans to stay with us for the next year or so and assist with family care. Our new car needs to transport 3 tall adults and two infants. For this reason we've decided that a Honda Odyssey is the right car for us.

My current stash looks like this: zero debt. We are renters because my job moves us about every 2 years. I have about 30k in IRA, 80k taxable accounts, 30k cash. I bring home 5k/mo and save 50%.

Questions for you:
Is a Honda Odyssey the right car for us?
If not Honda Odyssey, then what?
Do we buy new or used, why?
Thanks guys!
« Last Edit: March 27, 2016, 09:51:48 PM by Justin1911 »

tobitonic

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Re: Need family car for twins
« Reply #1 on: March 27, 2016, 08:11:46 PM »
What you're looking for is a vehicle with enough front-to-back space to allow you to install your infant seats while leaving you with sufficient front row room.

I'd try minivans, mid-sized sedans, and large sedans. I'd only buy used; there's nothing in your post that suggests benefits of buying new.

We personally have two used minivans (an Ody and a Sienna) and love them both.


bobechs

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Re: Need family car for twins
« Reply #2 on: March 27, 2016, 08:13:32 PM »
Hell's bells, as long as you're gettin' twins, why not get twin cars?

Or if not fully twinned cars, at least go bimotore;


AussieCat

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Re: Need family car for twins
« Reply #3 on: March 28, 2016, 04:52:59 AM »
Not sure if you can get them in the US, or how much they are, but we have a diesel Kia Rondo, which has seven seats, loads of room, easy to drive, easy to park and we get 6.3l/100km - roughly 37.33MPG - enjoy your twins!

catccc

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Re: Need family car for twins
« Reply #4 on: March 28, 2016, 11:29:23 AM »
How tall are you guys?  My sister's family has twins and their family car is a mazda 3.  My BIL is pretty tall.  IDK, I think it can still work.

chubbybunny

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Re: Need family car for twins
« Reply #5 on: March 28, 2016, 12:07:32 PM »
My daughter is 5 years old now, and I made the mistake of buying a "convertible" seat that was rear-facing and that you could turn around later when they got older.  What a waste of time and energy!  I thought it was a better deal because I could use it longer, but it was impossible to get it to fit rear facing in my prius.  I was honestly really surprised, because I never thought the prius back seat was really that cramped.  I even took the stupid seat to the fire department and asked them if they could install it.  The only way they could get it to fit was if the front seat was moved up all the way.

Best thing I ever did was return that car seat and get a regular infant car seat.  We were even able to fit it in the back of our 2 door MINI Cooper, so I am pretty sure your issue might be with the seat you're trying.  It was also great with the 2-door car because we could do the buckle and everything outside of the car, and just pop the seat into the base.

Something else I might suggest would be to bring your car seat to carmax or some other large used car dealer and try it out. Might help you see whether it's really an issue with the car.

I'm a red panda

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Re: Need family car for twins
« Reply #6 on: March 28, 2016, 12:10:24 PM »
I was able to fit two infant carriers into my Hyundai Elantra, and I've seen three across configurations in it too.

I'm short, but I made the sales guy who was 6'3" drive the car with them installed, as well as sit in the passenger seat, and they worked.

Alex321

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Re: Need family car for twins
« Reply #7 on: March 28, 2016, 12:13:22 PM »
The Odyssey's a good choice. You could have gotten away with something smaller if you didn't have the requirement of also seating Grandma. And someone will probably still tell you to get a used Fit and squeeze Grandma in the back, or in the Thule roof rack or something, but the Odyssey will meet your needs a lot better, especially when you throw in a double stroller and two Pack-'N-Plays, etc.

New or used, that depends what you're comfortable with. My assessment is that they don't depreciate all that sharply in the beginning, so if you buy used, you're spending less, but you're often just buying something further along its lifecycle.

Interest rates on new aren't very high right now. Do not sell any taxable investments to buy this. If you don't want a huge monthly payment, take $10k of your $30k in cash and put it down; finance the rest.

COlady

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Re: Need family car for twins
« Reply #8 on: March 28, 2016, 12:32:00 PM »
Fellow twin mom here, my boys are 13 months old. We are still struggling with the vehicle dilemma.

We have a 2013 4 door Tacoma and a 2007 Subaru Legacy. You cannot fit two infant seats in the back of the Subaru Legacy and still drive the vehicle unless you're under 5'3''. I'm 5"9'' and my husband is 6'1" so there was no way that was going to work. My husband traded me vehicles and I now drive the Tacoma which I hate because it doesn't have a topper so if it rains the stroller, etc. gets wet.  There isn't even really enough room in the Tacoma for the rear facing convertible seats. The driver's seat has to be pushed up further than I would like, but my drive to work is only 10 minutes and we don't take vacations (hello 13 month old twins) so it hasn't posed much of a problem. Our plan as of now is to tough it out for 2 more years until they are 3 and forward facing and then put them in the Legacy at that point and he can have his truck back.

If you're planning on having more kids I would definitely just go with the Odyssey now. I have a friend that is a certified car seat tech and it is her car of choice for multiples due to wear the car seat tethers, etc. are located. I don't know how you feel about extended rear facing but I am on board and plan on keeping my boys rear facing for as long as possible - hopefully well past the 2 year recommendation. You'll hear people in both camps on this forum. My personal thought is that if it's something I can do to keep my children safer I will do it.

Regarding infant seats - the smallest seats are the Cybex seats and they are very expensive. All other infant seats are within a 1/2 inch of one another and they are allll huge. This is just the beginning of the wrenches twins will throw at you :).

COlady

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Re: Need family car for twins
« Reply #9 on: March 28, 2016, 12:33:44 PM »
How tall are you guys?  My sister's family has twins and their family car is a mazda 3.  My BIL is pretty tall.  IDK, I think it can still work.

How old are their twins? That's the key. If they are in forward facing seats it's no big deal but rear facing seats take up a ton of space.

COlady

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Re: Need family car for twins
« Reply #10 on: March 28, 2016, 12:38:34 PM »
Also, sorry to hear that one of your babies has a heart problem. That's so tough. It sounds like something that will be manageable but will require many doctor's visits. You're so lucky to have someone to help you full time, your wife is definitely going to need the support while you're working. Also, just know that "IT GETS BETTER".  The first year is really tough but they get easier and easier every day and before you know it you're able to drink your coffee and watch them play or take a freaking shower during the day. Also, if your wife isn't a member already, she should get signed up with a Mother's of Multiples support group - it's been extremely helpful to me to have the support. People with singletons don't get it, they can't.

ErrantPen

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Re: Need family car for twins
« Reply #11 on: March 28, 2016, 12:42:29 PM »
Regarding infant seats - the smallest seats are the Cybex seats and they are very expensive. All other infant seats are within a 1/2 inch of one another and they are allll huge. This is just the beginning of the wrenches twins will throw at you :).

My husband and I have a 2001 Honda Civic coupe (so a clown car by today's standards). The Cybex Aton2 was the only car seat that we could find that fit in the backseat of this car. It is small enough that the passenger seat can be pushed almost all of the way back and the seat still fit. We never tried it behind the driver's seat because my husband is extremely picky about his seat location. As COlady said, they are expensive, but they are still cheaper than a new car. And they are lighter than other infant seats, which is nice when carrying the baby around. The downside is that most babies will outgrow this seat long before they should face forward (which is some time after two years), but by that time the convertible seats can be used in a more upright position than they can be used when the baby is very small.

KCM5

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Re: Need family car for twins
« Reply #12 on: March 28, 2016, 12:43:35 PM »
I'm not saying you shouldn't get a bigger car, but if you wanted to keep your Mazda 3, try a smaller convertible seat like the Combi Coccoro.

What seat have you tried in your Mazda 3?

And yes to used, unless you can get a new one for the price of a used one.

parkette

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Re: Need family car for twins
« Reply #13 on: March 28, 2016, 12:55:24 PM »
+1 above from another mom of 14 month old twins. It gets better :) I think there are unique challenges and they're still intense and exhausting, but it becomes more manageable.

We drive a 2007 Toyota Matrix and it's been fine for us. We aren't super tall so that may be different- I'm 5'2" and hubby is 5'10". We had 2 infant seats then around 6 months switched to convertibles so no there are 2 Britax Marathons rear facing.

We could fit a skinny person between the infant seats, but not so much between the convertibles.

I've been saying no to a minivan but I'm starting to come around to something like that. Not having space for another 1-2 people is sometimes inconvenient, especially since this out only car. So for instance when we'd like to transport someone who's helping out with the boys (like in your case) or when DH's parents come to visit.

I haven't looked into minivans but if the Odyssey fits your life as far as your research goes then go with it. Twins are challenging, and you're fortunate to have help (take any help offered!!!).

I hope all goes well as you deal with the heart defect. Added stress is difficult but having great support like it sounds you have will make a big difference.


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AZDude

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Re: Need family car for twins
« Reply #14 on: March 28, 2016, 01:23:32 PM »
First, congrats on the twins and having such great family support. It will be invaluable. A former co-worker's newborn had a heart condition and needed surgery. It was rough for the first few months, but now the kid is in school and everything is just fine, so try to not to worry too much.

I drove a Mazda 3, and I'm fairly tall. Getting two rear facing car seats plus another adult in the back would have difficult to impossible. They are great cars, but its probably not realistic to use that as your only vehicle. My old PoS Pontiac Grand Prix easily would fit two carriers plus an adult. Heck, it easily fit four adults plus toddler in a car seat. It was a beast to park, especially when I was still in SoCal(seriously, ever try to park a Grand Prix in a San Diego parking space? After that experience I'm confident I can park any vehicle in any space).

You could do something like a C-Max Hybrid or large sedan if you hate the idea of driving a minivan.

COlady

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Re: Need family car for twins
« Reply #15 on: March 28, 2016, 02:59:46 PM »
Regarding infant seats - the smallest seats are the Cybex seats and they are very expensive. All other infant seats are within a 1/2 inch of one another and they are allll huge. This is just the beginning of the wrenches twins will throw at you :).

My husband and I have a 2001 Honda Civic coupe (so a clown car by today's standards). The Cybex Aton2 was the only car seat that we could find that fit in the backseat of this car. It is small enough that the passenger seat can be pushed almost all of the way back and the seat still fit. We never tried it behind the driver's seat because my husband is extremely picky about his seat location. As COlady said, they are expensive, but they are still cheaper than a new car. And they are lighter than other infant seats, which is nice when carrying the baby around. The downside is that most babies will outgrow this seat long before they should face forward (which is some time after two years), but by that time the convertible seats can be used in a more upright position than they can be used when the baby is very small.

True....but with twins you're then facing the same fit issue when they grow out of their infant seats. The convertible seats we have (RF) are no smaller than the infant carriers we had. At least with a singleton you can put them in the middle or behind the passenger seat....

tobitonic

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Re: Need family car for twins
« Reply #16 on: March 28, 2016, 03:09:48 PM »
You'll want to rear-face until 4 if possible, and there are lots of car seats that will work in 3 across positions in pretty much every non-coupe-type vehicle. The tough part is the front-to-back space.

lbmustache

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Re: Need family car for twins
« Reply #17 on: March 28, 2016, 04:35:27 PM »
How tall are you guys?  My sister's family has twins and their family car is a mazda 3.  My BIL is pretty tall.  IDK, I think it can still work.

I think it depends on the body type too. I.e. longer torso vs longer legs.

Odyssey or Sienna, can't go wrong. Have you looked at a Kia Sedona? Not sure of the reliability but usually Kia's depreciate fast, so it could be a good used buy.

desertadapted

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Re: Need family car for twins
« Reply #18 on: March 28, 2016, 05:47:48 PM »
We've been super happy with a 2008 Odyssey.  It's bulletproof and insanely convenient and drives like a Honda Sedan.  Grandma can easily get in even after the kids are loaded.  While it's way too much car for two kids, once you add the grandma or the pet that goes with you everywhere, it's possible to find your zen.  I face punch myself about once a month and pine for a smaller and more Mustaschian car, but I lerve it too much to let it go. 

Justin1911

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Re: Need family car for twins
« Reply #19 on: March 28, 2016, 06:55:05 PM »
Everyone,

Thank you so much for all your kind encouragement and sage advice. We did a lot of testing with different infant seats by going to baby stores and measuring/trying any that looked small. We settled on a very small, but expensive pair of seats after we realized that it was time for a car upgrade. Today we found what we think was a great deal on a 2010 Odyssey EX with about 80K miles and roughly $15k below MSRP for a new one. It feels like the right choice for us. I appreciate all of you who helped us with the decision.

Holly and Lily should be here in just 3 weeks and now we feel more ready for them.

EXLIer

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Re: Need family car for twins
« Reply #20 on: March 28, 2016, 07:08:26 PM »
Everyone,

Thank you so much for all your kind encouragement and sage advice. We did a lot of testing with different infant seats by going to baby stores and measuring/trying any that looked small. We settled on a very small, but expensive pair of seats after we realized that it was time for a car upgrade. Today we found what we think was a great deal on a 2010 Odyssey EX with about 80K miles and roughly $15k below MSRP for a new one. It feels like the right choice for us. I appreciate all of you who helped us with the decision.

Holly and Lily should be here in just 3 weeks and now we feel more ready for them.

I know certain gens/years of the Odyssey were plagued with transmission issues.  I'd suggest you do some internet searching if you haven't done so already.

Good luck

tobitonic

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Re: Need family car for twins
« Reply #21 on: March 28, 2016, 07:17:21 PM »
^ Those were in the 2nd generation (1999-2004); the 3rd gen (2005-2010) was a very reliable one.

Alex321

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Re: Need family car for twins
« Reply #22 on: March 28, 2016, 07:45:50 PM »
Everyone,

Thank you so much for all your kind encouragement and sage advice. We did a lot of testing with different infant seats by going to baby stores and measuring/trying any that looked small. We settled on a very small, but expensive pair of seats after we realized that it was time for a car upgrade. Today we found what we think was a great deal on a 2010 Odyssey EX with about 80K miles and roughly $15k below MSRP for a new one. It feels like the right choice for us. I appreciate all of you who helped us with the decision.

Holly and Lily should be here in just 3 weeks and now we feel more ready for them.

Good deal, solid choice. It will be perfect for you guys.

Good luck with the twins. As a father of three, I wish you well. I'm a little bit terrified for you.

catccc

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Re: Need family car for twins
« Reply #23 on: March 29, 2016, 12:43:01 PM »
How tall are you guys?  My sister's family has twins and their family car is a mazda 3.  My BIL is pretty tall.  IDK, I think it can still work.

How old are their twins? That's the key. If they are in forward facing seats it's no big deal but rear facing seats take up a ton of space.

The OPs twins are newborns, I think?  My sister's twins are 3 and still RF.  They've had the Mazda 3 since the kids were born.  My youngest turns 5 next month and still RFs.  In a toyota matrix with a diono radian (convertible seat).  I think our matrix is smaller than the mazda 3.  But we aren't as tall...
« Last Edit: March 29, 2016, 12:48:49 PM by catccc »