Wednesday, May 2, 2012

I Gots Me a Van

So a couple of weeks ago a lovely teenage boy rear-ended me.  To make matters worse, he hit me so hard it caused a 4 car pile-up.  It took forever for his insurance to complete their investigation so I could get my car fixed, but it has been in the shop for about week now.  It's getting a whole new front grill and fender, along with a new lift gate and bumper.

Since I can't go without a car, his insurance is paying for my rental.  I was secretly hoping for another SUV, but instead, I got one of these...

A 2012 Dodge Grand Caravan.  When I pulled up to the body repair shop, it was waiting for me.  Steven also came to help me transfer the infant car seat base.  He was so stoked to get a van.  I wasn't so much, but having a brand new car for a week wouldn't be so bad.  I was actually a little curious to see if I'd like driving a mini-van.  Maybe I would love one, maybe I wouldn't.  Here's the breakdown of my mini-van thoughts.  Specifically for the Dodge Grand Caravan.  I have no idea what other vans have to offer me.

The trunk has an amazing amount of sunken space with all seats up.  It's very nice to open the lift gate and know that groceries shifted by driving won't spill out.  Just check out all this space...

And that's it for my loves.  I really thought I'd have a lot more, but this is the only one I have.  The rest are just likes.  

The automatic sliding doors.  Even though my kids are old enough to open the doors themselves, it's nice to have them just push a button and the doors just open up.  I don't have to worry about them swinging a door open and dinging the car next to me.  However, it's not a feature I am just goo-goo ga-ga over.  It's nice to have, but not something I couldn't live without.

I also like that it is a bit roomier than my Explorer. I contribute this to the configuration of the seats.  This one has two 'captain' seats in the middle and a bench that holds three passengers in the third row, allowing for more room behind the driver.

Even though I like the roomier feel, I do not like having the three seats all the way in the back.  On most days I tote five kids around in a carpool.  Little Man, Little Miss, Littlest Man, Chunky Monkey, and Little Man's friend from school.  It is a pain in my tooshy to climb between the 'captain' seat to get in the back and  buckle kids up.  In my Explorer, I just have to pull one handle, have a kid climb in and lean over to buckle.  No climbing in and performing acrobatics to get back out.  Just a lean and a push to get the middle row seat back up.  I also like that when I have just my three offspring, they can all sit in the middle row together.

I also dislike how low I feel to the ground while driving.  It has really taken me quite some time to get used to it.  It is also difficult for the kids to hear me when they are sitting in the back.  I don't know why, but I don't have this problem with my Explorer.  Some crazy sound configuration.

One thing that really surprised me was the gas mileage.  I have heard from so many people how minivans get great gas mileage.  Call me crazy, but I'm not seeing it.  I'm getting the same gas mileage in this van (which is supposed to be an eco friendly gas vehicle) than I do in my Explorer.  This shocked me tremendously.  I thought the savings on gas was going to convert me to a van lover.

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In the end, there are pros and cons to the mini van.  I can't say that my next vehicle won't be a mini van, but right now I'm anxiously awaiting my the return of my SUV.  I miss her dearly!

1 comment:

Alice said...

You should see ALL the junk in my trunk! An umbrella stroller, Radio Flyer wagon, an old quilt, a crate of "keep Colton busy" toys, and his backpack (change of clothes, bottled water, snacks, sunscreen, wipes). And I still have room for groceries!!

Colton sits on the passenger side in one of the front seats and my big kids (13 and 11) switch off between sitting by Colton, in the front, or in the back. I could see how it would be a pain in the butt to have so many in carseats!!

My favorite thing about the automatic doors is when it rains, I just open it and jump in that way to buckle Colton in. LOL!

I had an older Explorer, a 97, before I got my 2006 Nissan Quest and my van gets better gas mileage then my Explorer did. But not better than my Hyundai Sonata I had. I miss my little car with a sunroof.

I had a rental for almost a month after my van got hit. I was so happy to get MY vehicle back!