…our MINIVAN. Yes, I know. I had said an absolute no to a minivan. For YEARS I said I would never have one. And yet, here I am. The almost proud (but very grateful) owner of a 2018 Honda Odyssey.
I have a whole other blog post coming up on how we landed on the Odyssey, but let me give you my review after six full months of driving this van.
In a Nutshell
It is so so so stupidly convenient. Buttons open and close all the doors. The kids easily jump in and out and love their seats. The storage in the back is legit helpful. And you wanna know the real MVP here? The sliding middle seats. Good heavens, those things are amazing!
So do I love it? Well, I love the convenience of it. Do I think that all of a sudden, vans are awesome and super sexy? Nope. Now obviously this is me being super lame and so vain, but I’ve always said, of course they are convenient, they have to be to make up for being the least sexy car out there! I know, I know, I am seriously the worst. It’s just that if the FIVE kids didn’t give it away that I’m a mom, now my car does. I will say though, as far as minivans go, they’ve come a long way in the looks department.
So yes, convenience for the win. I’ve come to terms with the fact that nothing in my life is going to be convenient over the next five-ten years, so I may as well have my car work for me.
The storage in the back is a game changer. I felt like the perfect example of this was when I went I buy the twins’ cribs at IKEA. I had driven the van there, bought the cribs, taken them out to the parking lot, and when I opened the back hatch, realized I had a stroller in the storage area. So what did I do? Moved the seats in the middle row (slide them for the win!) and threw the stroller in the middle. Then laid the back seats down and was able to fit both crib boxes (and a pan of their $4 cinnamon rolls) in the back! I had to take a picture because it was like Philip’s and my agreement on getting a van if I could redo the nursery and buy new cribs was a physical meeting right in front of me.
Several of the SUVs we looked at were hella sexy, but forget a stroller in the back, I don’t think you could even get a three-ring binder back there!
Not only that, but the storage in the front is also stupid convenient. The passenger door is basically like a traveling caboodle with as much storage and as many compartments it has. And the middle console is super deep, there are cup holders for days, hooks for a purse or trash bag…they’ve really hit the convenience nail on the head here.
A couple extra bonuses, ours came with a DVD player, and there are headphone jacks that will allow the kids to listen to the movie without us needing to. It isn’t something we were looking for, but it will be nice for road trips. Philip is also a big fan of the technology components, and spent some time getting all the Bluetooth and tech stuff set up and figured out.
They took the air vents out of the ceiling in this model and put them around the doors. While that isn’t normally a big deal, it can get hot for babies in rear-facing car seats. Since our our babies have yet to experience a summer, it isn’t a huge deal for us yet, but might be annoying come April-October.
It also might not be a huge deal since there is a remote start option. So if I’m able to cool the car down before even putting the kids in, I would imagine that will help. And I think that will be especially nice for the older kids that have carseats and seatbelts that get heated up to a nice 450° during the summer.
This van was the most expensive car we’ve ever bought. Granted, we don’t have a huge history of buying cars, but still. I was kind of ticked to be paying so much for a car that I didn’t really love. However, when you just need more space, you are bound to pay more. So we ended up paying just under $33K for ours, which with the year and the miles and the condition, we felt it was fair.
One thing that has been super nice is that it gets really decent gas milage. It gets usually around 20 miles to the gallon, and since I very rarely leave the house, we rarely have to fill up the tank. When I do, I usually have fuel points so it costs in the $30-35 range which will last us a month!
And then the benefit of Hondas in general is that they are generally easy and relatively inexpensive to repair. We have yet to cross that bridge yet, and hopefully won’t for a while, but are crossing our fingers that it will be relatively cheap to maintain.
Should we have gotten a van sooner?
As convenient as it has been, I don’t think that vans are an absolute must for all families. I know some people will get a van or SUV as soon as they have one or two kids, but I just don’t think it’s necessary. I think that once you cannot safely fit all of your children in your current car, then sure. But why rush it?
One argument is that when you go on vacations you can’t fit all of the things you need for two kids in a small car. I TOTALLY get that. Between portacribs, strollers and a million other things that kids need, it would be a really tight squeeze to load everything up in the back of a sedan. However, maybe instead of spending THOUSANDS more dollars on a car that you take on vacation a couple times a year, you instead rent a van for the week? Then you could also try out different models to see which works best for you. But yeah, I’m not in the camp that vans (or even bigger cars) are required once you have kids, and am glad we waited.
The very best part?
Hands down, the best part is that the kids LOVE it. They are always so excited to go in “the new car” (even six months later) and are thrilled to have it. They love pushing the buttons to open the sliding doors, they love that the back hatch opens while we wait for our books at the library, and the other day I blew their minds when I turned on the rear windshield wiper. Maybe they are just easily pleased? Regardless, for now, they think it is the best thing ever.
So here I am, a van mom. We’re a van family. And it’s not the worst.