#MomLife Lifestyle

Oh No, This Mom Does Not Do Minivans

June 26, 2017

Thank you Autotrader for sponsoring this post!

On Father’s Day we all went to see Disney Pixar Cars 3 –what a great motivational movie!  When we left the theater my husband shared how motivated he was to get back on the road with his bike. I think the new character Cruz Ramirez may have had something to do with that. She was everything you would want in a friend – her enthusiasm is infectious and she was super encouraging to Lightening McQueen when he was what I would call depressed. Hubby hasn’t been on his bike at all this year and his new found motivation got me thinking about cars and my cars and what not. Mater reminds me of my car, no not because he’s old and Rusty, but because he’s a reliable friend. I’ve had some good times with my cars back in the day…

In high school I got my first car, it was the smallest car ever, a white Dodge Neon.  I thought I was so cute in my tiny car and as a sophomore in high school I drove that car all over my town. I couldn’t stay home. I didn’t know anything about car maintenance and I drove that car to the ground and during my first semester in college my Neon took its last breath. Where was Luigi and Guido when I needed them? (Cars inside joke!). I went on autotrader.com in search of a car that I could afford on a college student budget. I found another tiny car, a gold Nissan Sentra in the neighboring town. It was affordable, had decent mileage and it was in really good condition. I took much better care of this car and passed it down to my mom after my college graduation because my dad got me a Ford Explorer as a gift.

Question: What was the first car you ever had?

When you go from a Neon and Sentra to Ford Explorer you feel like the queen of the road. Something about sitting above everyone the road makes you feel powerful. I found my next car on autrotrader.com, a Nissan Murano that I had for many years until we went from a family of three to a family of four.  Suddenly my big car didn’t feel so big. When family came over they would have to squeeze in the middle of a newborn car seat with the base and a rear face toddler car seat. Talk about tight.  There was only one thing to do-get a larger car.

On Father’s Day we went to see Cars 3

My husband asked me the craziest question ever, “Do you want to get a mini van?”

Oh No, This Mom Does Not Do Minivans! What do I look like driving a mini van?

For families with larger hauling needs, passenger space is paramount. But there was no way I’d be hauling a minivan around. While the practicality of minivans is indisputable,  when I checked autotrader.com I quickly learned they aren’t your only option for transporting a big family and relatives and friends. In fact, there are many great alternatives that provide more capability, personality and style.

Using the autotrader.com advanced search filters I immediately selected a vehicle with a 3rd row.  This immediately narrowed my search down to ONLY the cars that would give me the space for family, friends, and cargo when needed.  We decided on a Toyota Highlander which totally fits my personality, lifestyle and style. It’s comfortable, has a great modern look, it’s reliable and it has so much space! Our car has been a part of the family for a year now and my kids love it.  It’s been there for us on our many adventures to the beach and water parks, road trips out of state, carpooling to extracurricular activities, and when we have friends and family along we have 3 seats for them!

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  • Reply Nikki June 26, 2017 at 3:44 pm

    The Toyota Highlander is a great choice! We are big fans of anything by Toyota, their cars last forever. I am hoping to get a new (or new to me) car within the next year. My current car is like 16 years old, and while it’s definitely a Mater (loyal, yet a little rusty), I fear the time is coming to put it out of its misery. I’ll keep autotrader in mind!

    • Reply Brenda November 16, 2017 at 9:00 am

      My twin sister’s family had s family van! It was the best! Her husband was a minister in a small town about 45 minutes from their home, to say the least there were some great naps taken on the way to church🤣. We went everywhere in that van, which included my two kids and at times my hubby! The eight of us tooling along! I called it a “party van”!

    • Reply Shanice Phillips November 16, 2017 at 9:06 am

      This was very insightful. I am actually learning to drive and in future would love the experience of having multiple vehicles like you. One day I too will find myself with a family and the information you gave about finding a vehicle besides a minivan is quite helpful. Thanks alot Jenell

  • Reply Ladonna Maxwell Dennis June 26, 2017 at 4:04 pm

    The first vehicle I had was a Ford pick-up truck. It caught fire one night when I was out on my lunch break at work. I’d left it running and the float in the carburetor got stuck. I’ve heard a lot of positive things about autotrader.com! We used to be a minivan family, until our kids got out of high school!

  • Reply lisa June 26, 2017 at 8:29 pm

    I love the Toyota Highlander ! I agree, I’m not a mini van gal either ,with a big family like mine we had a Suburban truck for years and we loved it. That trucked hauled everything we needed from family, toys, furniture, and much more. Since all the kids have grown up, we went to a Buick. I do know that autotrader is a good resource for finding information on vehicles.

  • Reply Ali Rost June 26, 2017 at 8:39 pm

    I made it 40+ years without owning, driving, or being seen in a mini van. That all changed last year. True story. I needed to haul a few big things across town, so reserved a truck at our local car rental. When I showed up to pick it up, they said no luck, it was having problems but guess what? They had a brand new mini van. I panicked, begged them for anything else .. nope. So they put all the seats down and I ventured forth. I kid you not, it was crazy how much I could fit in that darn thing and it drove like a breeze. I still will never own one .. but at least my maiden voyage turned out pretty ok!

  • Reply Melanie June 26, 2017 at 8:59 pm

    We had a Toyota Highlander for years. It was my favorite vehicle. Then I had triplet boys, and we were forced to get a minivan. There are still days that I hate that I am driving it, but then I remind myself to be thankful that we have the kids and something to drive. I am not a minivan person at heart, though!

  • Reply Jenn June 26, 2017 at 10:20 pm

    I am cracking up, because this grandma drives a Grand Prix, and will never own a mini van. I do like some of the new features, but I like fast car. I like a smaller, but powerful car. My Grand Prix does me just fine.

  • Reply Censie Sawyer June 26, 2017 at 11:56 pm

    YES!! Moms do not need to drive a mini van. so many other options now! I adore your shoes by the way!! I love my SUV that has a 3 row. It is perfect for us and I dont have to drive a minivan! HA

  • Reply Tiffany Haywood June 27, 2017 at 8:49 am

    Hey Jenell!! I’m with you girl! I do NOT do minivans. My husband ‘surprised’ me near the start of our marriage with a minivan and I was the most unhappy momma for about 3 years. I drive nothing but a truck or suv and then it needs to look exactly like an suv… none of this crossover stuff…LOL

  • Reply Madi June 27, 2017 at 9:18 am

    I love Toyota Highlanders, they look like such great cars! I have a Toyota Rav4 and it has been such a wonderful car, I would definitely get another Toyota car in the future! But definitely NOT a mini-van, I hate mini-vans so much, they are the worst!

  • Reply Natalie June 27, 2017 at 12:43 pm

    Even though I have 4 kids, I never really been a fan of driving vans or big suvs, i feel like i am driving a boat. I’ve always been a fan of cars that drive closer to the ground. Could be because I hate driving all together, I’ll have to work up to something like the Toyota Highlanders. It looks way more stylish than a fan or huge suv.

  • Reply Karlyn Cruz June 27, 2017 at 5:02 pm

    My parents have a highlander and they absolutely love it! I kinda like it too to be honest, but I’m happy with mine. I’m not a minivan person either so we had to compromise and traded my car for a bigger car. Auto Trader is fantastic for a lot of vehicles. Fortunately for us we got something we truly wanted from the dealership. Love your post and your honesty!

  • Reply Nancy L. June 28, 2017 at 7:32 pm

    The Toyota Highlander is a very nice choice. I was looking at the hybrid Toyota Highlander for my next car. I know gas is super cheap right now, but I would feel good about purchasing a hybrid. I’ll have to check out autotrader.com.
    We just saw Cars 3 movie and I thought it was a cute, too. Love your sweet family pic 🙂

  • Reply Jennifer G June 29, 2017 at 7:32 am

    We have yet to succumb to the mini van but we only have two children so we have a bit more in terms of options! Our first family car was a Chevy Impala.

  • Reply Tina Butler June 29, 2017 at 11:10 am

    I said the same thing, but with 3 kiddos a minivan was a great fit. That was back years ago and there are so many better choices now, but I do miss my mini van at times because it was one of our favorite family car choices. We got a Chevy Tahoe after the van, but I really missed it.

  • Reply Seppy July 5, 2017 at 10:06 pm

    If I’m honest…I don’t like driving and avoid it like the plague!!! We have a Toyota RAV4 (and so do my parents!) and it’s a great and reliable car!


  • Reply Kristin @ Camels & Chocolate July 6, 2017 at 9:28 am

    I still haven’t even seen the first Cars! I have some catching up to do =)

  • Reply Patricia July 6, 2017 at 11:24 am

    Toyotas are GREAT cars! They not only last a long time and are durable, but I heard that should you have to sell that car, you can have a higher resale value for it than other brands.

  • Reply kelly July 7, 2017 at 12:08 am

    So funny, growing up ALL the moms including my own drove mini-vans, they were so “in-style”. Now, I personally love the idea of a mid-size car or CRV

    Birdie Shoots

  • Reply Nikki July 7, 2017 at 1:26 am

    I think you just got me feeling better about my next car. It’s almost time and everyone has been hinting mini-van to me… It just doesn’t feel right. But I want that third row. I also kind of want sliding doors, so my kids stop swinging them into everything, but that’s another story… haha.

  • Reply Melissa Jellie July 7, 2017 at 10:59 pm

    I’ve seen more and more moms lately skipping the minivan. I totally agree. I’d do the same thing. There are so many other options now!

  • Reply MICHELLE L DANIELS November 13, 2017 at 8:15 am

    My first car was a dodge shadow. I had spent more time getting it fixed than actually driving it. I loved Cars, but did not see Cars 2. mldshelly12@gmail.com

  • Reply Damesha Wise November 13, 2017 at 4:24 pm

    The car jokes tickled me. My son is a new found Cars fan! My very first car was a 1991 Nissan Maxima-stick shift lol. Boyyyy did I have a rodeo with that baby. More money was spent fixing verses normal maintence. My husband so often jokes about me getting a minivan but I shall not. With almost two kids in tow our Kia Sorento is great for now. Although I have taken notes of the site you mentioned when considering more space for friends and family! drich7888@gmail.com

  • Reply Soyini Wisdom November 16, 2017 at 6:14 am

    I’m on the fence with this one because I always despised minivans and vowed never to get one. However, I recently had the chance to ride in an Odyssey (I think) and loved it! All I could think about was the spaciousness that I would have for my kids and all of their stuff. Plus the automatic closing doors were a great plus. That all being said, I don’t think I’ll pull the trigger just yet because I still want to appear cool LOl

  • Reply Shereese November 16, 2017 at 6:17 am

    I was so proud of my first car… Why? Because after graduating high school I chose to work and save up to purchase it. My 1st car was an 85 Century. I LOVED my car lol. I had enrolled in college and only condition was I had to drive my car to college by myself. I was so fearful but I did it! My first-time driving home happened to be Labor DAY weekend. I got to see my grandmother for the last time and I thank God I did. He kept me safe bover the road and allowed those last moments because she passed away 2 days after her birthday. I was crushed but I overcame that fear just in time.

  • Reply Katrina Hardy November 16, 2017 at 7:09 am

    My first car was an 89 Nissan Sentra and it was rusty gray lol. When I got it, it was in 2000 lol. I loved that car though. My next car was a two door ford explorer sport. I think you made an exceptional choice with the Toyota Highlander. Nice
    Size and sporty. In about three years when I pay my Altima off I definitely want an SUV.

  • Reply Tieasha Samuels November 16, 2017 at 8:21 am

    My first car was a black 1988 Ford Escort. Talk about a put-put LOL! My son told me last night I should get a van so the doors can open by themselves for him when I pick him up from school! My daughter 2nd that notion. Currently my husband drives the Kia Sorento & I the Nissan Altima. Our next vehicle will be another truck & mama’s definitely ready for her upgrade!

    Nov 16

  • Reply Keziah Gibbons November 16, 2017 at 8:32 am

    I’m not a fan of mini vans either! Lol! My first car was a 96 Ford Contour which my husband purchased for me. I loved that car and it gave off excellent heat! lol! There’s nothing like getting that first car!

  • Reply Clarisse November 16, 2017 at 9:50 am

    Same here, minivans just do not fit with my lifestyle, I opted for a 8 passengers SUV for my family and I love my Infiniti QX6o, practical and classy at the same time. My first car was a 1990 beat up Mitsubishi, I had so many problems with that baby that I thank God everyday I can now afford a reliable car.

  • Reply Lorine L. November 16, 2017 at 11:13 am

    What a mini van, I think not(lol). I grow up on old school station wagon and minivans as a kid, the only girl surround by 7 boys. Now with three kids of my own my husband knows a minivan is a NO, give me a suv anytime. That’s currently what I’m working toward!

  • Reply Katrina Angele November 16, 2017 at 2:02 pm

    I’ll have to utilize autotrader for our next purchase. Never thought to use them online. Just used to them as a magazine.

  • Reply Kwamesha Parker November 16, 2017 at 7:16 pm

    My family grew alot during high school and I gained two new siblings and would latter add another my freshman year of college. At my family had a suburban and then we got a minivan. It was so nice to to be able to have my own space or be able to stretch my legs even around carseats. I’m not sure if I’d ever drive a minivan myself. I think when my husband and I have kids we may be more SUV people. Thanks for sharing!


  • Reply Toshi J November 17, 2017 at 3:12 pm

    Giiiirrllll, first off, let me say, the way your husband felt after Cars is how I felt after seeing Sing. That movie spoke to me on a spiritual level. lol
    Anyway, I am so with you on the minivan thing. I love sports cars. I don’t own one, but I love them. I like sleek cars, convertibles (<3), or smaller trucks. I don't do minivans.

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