Well, it's official.
I'm a minivan mommy.
For you anti-minivan people out there....ahem, Lurenda.... I did NOT want to get one either, until we started comparing. The reason we got a minivan as opposed to an SUV or crossover, is this: A crossover, even though it has a back seat, is not a "real" back seat. It doesn't sit up off the floor - it's more of a seat to be used on occasion, rather than every day. And the reason we decided against an SUV is the gas mileage. My car got about 24 mpg, and a minivan is comparable. An SUV gets half that.
We went up to test drive the 2008 Sienna we saw online, and ended up bringing it home! We were pretty sure this was exactly the type of van we wanted.... It had the optional 8th passenger seat in the middle row, and not a lot of bells and whistles (I didn't want the dvd player, backup camera, etc). It had a more miles than I would like, but considering I only put 10-12,000 miles per year on my vehicle, it still has a lot of life in it. It was very well taken-care of, getting all the recommended service right on schedule.
I had wanted to sell my car privately, but they offered within a couple hundred of what I would have gotten - not to mention saving the headache and hassle of doing it (or not being able to do it) ourselves. They didn't offer to come down much off the listed price. We probably should have haggled more, but we're still very happy with the deal we got.
We had to take a loan, but got a good rate - better than our local banks could offer. Our lender "got us" a 2 year/20,000 mile powertrain warranty.... Meaning, they probably required one to give us a loan and added it in our loan. Not sure how I feel about that.... The warranty makes me feel good, but not the fact we'll be paying on it for the duration of the loan.
As I said previously, the thought of taking a loan for a vehicle stressed me out. But once I made the decision to trust my husband's leading and judgement, I had absolute peace about it. Even when signing the papers for the loan, I didn't have any apprehension. I really feel like this is the vehicle God wanted us to have.
I'm really happy with the whole experience. I highly recommend Crown Toyota in Lawrence. Every time we've gone there - whether looking, buying (Paul bought a truck there before we were married), or getting service, we've been very pleased with the experience. If you check them out, David Wilson was our salesman - he'll give us $100 referral bonus if you buy through him, so make sure you give him our name. :)
Zadie's infant car seat doesn't fit very well behind the front seats - we have to move way forward so her seat is properly positioned. So we put her in the middle seat and Jacob right next to her. Nathan wanted to sit in the back seat, so he's learned how to move the middle seat forward and back so he can get back there by himself. He also has to fasten his own seat belt, which he quickly learned to do. The boys love the van! They like the buttons that will automatically open and close the doors, and the BIG windows that roll down in the sliding doors. They think the back hatch is cool, too, for some reason. There's also a "bus driver" convex mirror that flips down that they think is great because they can see me (and I can see who's smacking who).
And here's what it looks like sitting in our driveway: