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quack...
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The short of it: 7 seats(6 a MUST, 7 preferred, 8 even better), fairly comfortable, AWD would be great but not necessary, better MPGs would be great, affordable. Moonroof, dvd, etc are bonuses but not important for this discussion. :)

The Honda Odyssey was my number 1 choice for a while... Then after weeks of staring at them online I discovered their ground clearance is only 4.5". That will NOT work on our steep gravel driveway. Next choice was going to be the toyota sienna, especially a 2017 or better with AWD... but, there are FEW of those out there and they're all pretty expensive. Perhaps a regular sienna... but the mpg's are like 18/24(unless you go back further, it gets worse) and they're still a LITTLE high all things considered. Our family has owned 3 caravans so far and they're okay. They're not the quietest ride, not always comfortable, and the mpg's are 17/25. Not great but pretty standard for most minivans.

Am I getting into the longer version yet? hmmm
my wife took our last minivan a few months back and left me with nothing. For the time being I picked up a 1999 buick park avenue for about $700. CANNOT beat a deal like that. It runs but, it has a growing list of issues. It shakes HORRIBLY on the highway as three of the four tires are worn on the inside and outside. Someone suggested an alignment issue. It has 205k miles on it, leaks/burns a little oil, the AC doesn't work, the blower motor works sometimes. Needs 3 new tires. The last owner tried to repaint some of it themselves and, blobs of paint and a few completely bare spots where it peeled off. It wouldn't be wise to sink a lot of money into this vehicle, even though it does run... and, it gets better MPGs than a lot of the newer minivans. BUT... I have 5 kids and, thankfully this seats 6 but, it's cramped. So far only twice, thankfully, a kid has accidentally stepped on the gas while I was on the brake.

To add to all this fun... our driveway is so steep, for the last I don't know how many years we've only been able to get up the driveway backwards... 150+ feet of hill, backwards. That's always fun. HA. This is where AWD would be handy, but not necessary.

So my mom has been pressuring me to look at AWD vehicles... So far, everything I'm looking at is either a BIG SUV and either expensive or(or probably and) gets horrible MPGs. Anything with better gas mileage is cramped... like, really cramped.
I am thinking I might try to go to a dealer, check out some of the ones I've been looking at online, and get all my kinds in and out of it a few times to see how it feels. AWD and legroom for 6 or 7 people just doesn't seem easy to find.

So with all that rambling... anyone have any ideas? First hand knowledge of a 7 passenger vehicle that gets good gas mileage AND is comfortable for all passengers? AWD would be a bonus but, I think I'll be making trade-offs no matter which way I look... which stinks.

So many that get better mileage have 2 seats,3 seats, then 2 seats again... the 2 in the back being pretty tight and having VERY little leg room... and the way in and out of the back row kind of being a pain.
I just don't know what I'm doing... and having these many things to consider is just complicated for me... and frustrating. Lots of second guessing... lots of uncertainty and worry...
Not to mention, quite a few other things to deal with around the house that also require decisions and more money than I have.

anyway... any thoughts? :)
 

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I mean, I've had an Expedition that would handle 8....but it was tight!

I don't know that you're going to find anything that checks all the boxes...may have to compromise somewhere...so what's most important?
 

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Word of caution on buying anything FORD, check the running boards underneath. They rust out really bad, really fast. I'm currently driving an Explorer that seats 8, but only 5 comfortably. You have to climb over the back seat to get to the 3rd row. Mileage sucks, but not as much as a full size van would.

I would suggest a very comfortable full size van, BUT; 12 to 14 mpg, not AWD, very expensive and hard to find since they don't make them anymore.
 

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I’ve always had a Suburban. Affordable, eh, maybe not. Gas mileage? Eh, our 2018 averages all around 21mpg. A lot better than our ‘99 which averaged around 16, but 21 isn’t great compared to smaller vehicles.
 

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I have a 2015 Honda Pilot. Last design with more head space in the back. 3 row seating - all comfortable including the last row. I average about 20 mpg.https://www.autotrader.com/car-tips/all-wheel-drive-do-you-really-need-it-210670
I payed more for 4x4, but felt it was worth it in the long run. I understand all wheel drive uses more gas...


Well crap - good article on all wheel drive. Article shows in post but goes away when I save it. Sorry. You may want to google it yourself.
 
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I’ve always had a Suburban. Affordable, eh, maybe not. Gas mileage? Eh, our 2018 averages all around 21mpg. A lot better than our ‘99 which averaged around 16, but 21 isn’t great compared to smaller vehicles.
Same here, I love the suburban. I have a 1991 Suburban 3/4 ton 4x4 Diesel. It has a bench front seat and 60/40 folding bench rear seat and will only seat 6 but its just me and my wife. What led me to seek this out was I got tired of every time I turned around I was replacing a sensor here or there on the newer trucks. So I wanted something older, easy to work on. Now I can't tow a house or race up and down the roads but I get 21mpg staying the speed limit. I would drive it from east coat to west coast without hesitation. It's been nice because I haven't had to do hardly any work on it and there's no monthly payment. For what you would put as a down payment on a new car you could purchase a 12-14 passenger van (they do make them 4x4). Then for what you would pay for monthly payments for the first six months to a year on the new vehicle, you could have the engine rebuilt, transmission rebuilt, new radiator and cooling system, new AC/Heat, new brakes and tires, new paint and new interior. When all is said and done you're in the hole for $7,500-$10,000 and you have a brand new vehicle exactly the way you want it with no payments.
 

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Yes, Ford and Mercedes make all-wheel drive vans. They don't tow much as each have a uni-body instead of a full frame. Both are very roomy and comfortable. Both start out new at around $34,000 US prices.

If you find one of them used, get underneath and check for rust at the weld points and along the sides.
 

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I love the Honda Pilots. They run forever, parts are cheap and easy to find if they do develop and issue. I have an 09 that I'm selling to my DD since they have outgrown their family car and am planning to buy another because I simply haven't found anything else that holds it's value as well or lasts as long. The pilot seats 8 comfortably, mine is 4WD simply because out here it's essential part of the year at least until you get to a road that actually gets some attention.
 

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I'm trying to limp my old truck along until all-electric vehicles are commonplace.
Hate to have a nearly new vehicle that has limited usefulness
 

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quack...
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Discussion Starter #10
so all the honda pilots 2016 and newer are smaller inside?
I will consider them. They don't look too bad... though for the money, eh... 17/24 mpg. IF I don't decide on something in the AWD 4WD department, I might settle for a chrysler town and country... 17/25 mpg, minivans are more comfortable and my kids are used to getting in and out of them and I could spend less potentially... it's just a matter of whether I want to keep going up the driveway backwards or not.
Pros and cons. I hate weighing them sometimes. Among other problems, I'm always afraid I'm going to regret the choice I make.
I wish the MPGs were better on the vehicles I think would be comfortable enough... :/
I might also need to compare insurance prices. I found it interesting... I was looking at the honda odyssey buthad to stop looking when I realized how low to the ground they are... but they're a little cheaper to insure than other minivans. and get better mpgs so, it sounded great.
I wonder what a honday pilot (2015 or older) would cost compared to a town and country as far as insurance goes.
More things to compare... but I feel like I've been ruling out a lot of vehicles and narrowing things down so that's always good.
I tried asking a local dealer, explaining my situation... My mom wants me to get awd but all the crossovers look like they have no leg room... so, I was thinking about going to some local lots and having my kids all get in and out to try them. The lady ended up asking me what my price range was, and mileage requirements. I then repeated I wasn't out trying to pick a single vehicle, I was trying to narrow it down to a specific make and model that might suit us. She said she'd research... came back with the traverse.
I'm pretty sure those didn't have a ton of room... and the MPGs on those aren't great either...
eh... too much to think about.
 

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I'm trying to limp my old truck along until all-electric vehicles are commonplace.
Hate to have a nearly new vehicle that has limited usefulness
What does that mean? Limited usefulness?? The traditional gas vehicles are going to be in high demand when all electric is commonplace
 

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so all the honda pilots 2016 and newer are smaller inside?
I will consider them. They don't look too bad... though for the money, eh... 17/24 mpg. IF I don't decide on something in the AWD 4WD department, I might settle for a chrysler town and country... 17/25 mpg, minivans are more comfortable and my kids are used to getting in and out of them and I could spend less potentially... it's just a matter of whether I want to keep going up the driveway backwards or not.
Pros and cons. I hate weighing them sometimes. Among other problems, I'm always afraid I'm going to regret the choice I make.
I wish the MPGs were better on the vehicles I think would be comfortable enough... :/
I might also need to compare insurance prices. I found it interesting... I was looking at the honda odyssey buthad to stop looking when I realized how low to the ground they are... but they're a little cheaper to insure than other minivans. and get better mpgs so, it sounded great.
I wonder what a honday pilot (2015 or older) would cost compared to a town and country as far as insurance goes.
More things to compare... but I feel like I've been ruling out a lot of vehicles and narrowing things down so that's always good.
I tried asking a local dealer, explaining my situation... My mom wants me to get awd but all the crossovers look like they have no leg room... so, I was thinking about going to some local lots and having my kids all get in and out to try them. The lady ended up asking me what my price range was, and mileage requirements. I then repeated I wasn't out trying to pick a single vehicle, I was trying to narrow it down to a specific make and model that might suit us. She said she'd research... came back with the traverse.
I'm pretty sure those didn't have a ton of room... and the MPGs on those aren't great either...
eh... too much to think about.
I think you may be correct in that the newer pilots may be a bit less roomy. My 09 was $7K, and is in meticulous condition. I stalked marketplace on facebook and craigslist ads until I had a list of cars I wanted to go see. The pilots hold their resale value better than most other vehicles even with incredibly high miles. Mine gets around 23-24 mpg as long as I keep my foot out of it...it doesn't ever feel like I'm driving that fast though :giggle:
As far as mini vans go, you can find some Chevy Astro vans that are AWD and get good mileage. My aunt and uncle live farther out than I do...with a 2.2 mile long driveway that is all steep hills and turns and they swore that van was the best thing they've had on the farm.
 

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When I had all 5 kids at home and we lived off grid up in the mountains, I always drove a chevy astro awd. They dont make them anymore, but the used ones would last over 300k miles. I've owned 2 in the last 25 years and I miss them. They are built on a truck body with the gas mileage of a mini van. It can climb sheer rock and drive down a rocky creek bed. I know cuz I've done both. All part of the wagon trail "driveway" we had.
I wish I had another one....
 

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Have you looked at the VW Atlas? It can seat 7 comfortably (even adults have leg room in the third row). It has all wheel drive (VW calls it 4 motion). Mileage isn't hateful with the VR6, can tow up to 5000 lbs with the factory tow package, has nice options, etc. I don't think the overall size is bad.

I bought a 2019 Atlas back in May, and really enjoy it.
 

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You might look at the Chevy traverse
A bit older would be the Jeep Commander
More unusual would be Land Rover
And of course A crew cab pick up truck is a six passenger or seven small ones
 

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passenger van
seriously seating in anything else for 7 or 8 means 7 or 8 sardines or possibly small children but not really for long drives.

the Honda mini van is about as close as you get to checking the boxes my brother has one it has 3500 pound towing he just got snow tires and rims and we were using it to move brush with the aluminum snowmobile trailer last week , he uses it like a small truck around his property. he no longer owns a truck I bought his last truck.

sadly vehicle manufactures just do not address larger family needs with anything but a mini van or passenger van

I had a 15 passenger van for 17 years when you take the last bench out you have a decent amount of space for groceries and supplies

I only needed seating for 5 comfortably so I had 2 benches and 72 inches of cargo space I had slide out drawers I made for my tools

yes it used more gas but everything is a trade off. going to the store t
 

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I knew a family several years ago that had 12 children. They bought a pickup with a topper on and bolted seats and seat belts down in the bed along the sides for the kids. That was they had 4x4 and room for everyone without a van, the center of the truck bed was still empty for toting boards and feed and such the like. It was an good option for them...one of the kids for a science project in highschool added an electric outlet in the bed of the truck and the kids put an electric heater in the back for winter time, and fans for summer with the slides open on the topper. They weren't rich and didn't have a fancy car but those were happy kids who loved to show off their "custom" truck.
 
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