Family vans

Carsguide ·

31 March 2011

Family vans
The Citroen C4 Picasso is a very clever car with lots of great ideas, flexibility and driving enjoyment. Expensive and a bit off the wall but worth a look.

It is one of the best days of your life. Or should be because through the euphoria comes Mr Logic. He's been napping in your head for the past year or so and is now very much awake and wants to know where you're going to put the new arrival.  That's another bedroom and a bigger car. You won't be able to cart junior in the car with the other three, he says.

Society is comfortable with designing one-size-fits-all boxes.  The sedan car holds five people and homes have four bedrooms so the maximum accommodation that society builds for us is five - two adults, three children.

Children, lots of them, produce uncomfortable squirms in house and car designers.  In my case, Child No.4 led to a Nissan Nomad, a commercial van that replaced the bare-metal expanse in the rear with two extra rows of seats to accommodate up to six children. A frightening thought.

But the Nomad struggled through its tenure at our house, safely carted our kids and their friends to various sport and social functions and doubled as a furniture pick-up truck. It broke down a few times - radiator hoses, mainly - but generally was a content family bus.
It was loved, hated, crunched, thrown up in, became an occasional bed and nappy changeroom, and finally sent to another home to repeat the experiment that is child rearing.
 
This is not an excuse to go forth and breed. But it is a list of quality new - and used - vehicles with six seats or more that will fit more than the predetermined maximum of three kids.

NEW

  • Citroen C4 Picasso (from $39,990): Very clever car with lots of great ideas, flexibility and driving enjoyment. Expensive and a bit off the wall but worth a look.
  • Honda Odyssey (from $41,990): Safest bet - excellent all-round vehicle let down only by its asthmatic performance when fully laden or - gasp when asked to tow a trailer. Safe, economical, flexible and with excellent resale value.
  • Dodge Journey (from $36,990): Newer entrant with pleasant ambience and good pricing and doesnt look like a tradies van.
  • Hyundai iMax (from $36,990): Basically a commercial van made for people, but one of the better attempts. Has a four-star crash rating and is economical, affordable and roomy. Diesel engine is a no-brainer. 
  • Kia Grand Carnival (from $39,990): Market leader in terms of volume and more recently has overcome earlier mechanical woes. Good compromise for space and economy, especially the diesel.
  • Kia Rondo 7 (from $25,990): Better for a small brood as third row rom is precious and luggage area is tight. The price is a winner but youll be upgrading when the kids start growing - apparently they all do that.
  • Mercedes Viano (from $78,826): Expensive but maximum five-star safety van.
  • Ssangyong Stavic (from $32,990): Best seen while blindfolded, theres no doubting the keen price, high feature list, economy of the diesel and paltry resale value.
  • Toyota Tarago (from $52,490): Expensive but top notch quality. The Honda Odyssey can match it in all but performance.

 

  • VW Caddy Maxi Life (from $39,990): Makes sense but a bit too van-like to make a statement in the pre-school carpark.
  • VW Caravelle (from $49,990) - Seats nine so go for your life. Diesel only and may require special driving licence in some states.
  • VW Multivan (from $49,990): More restrained seven-seat version of Caravelle. Also diesel only.
  • Peugeot 4007 (from $45,190): This is a seven-seat version of the 4007 and its clone, the Mitsubishi Outlander.
  • Ford Territory (from $44,890): Seats seven from TS model up. Comes as cheaper 2WD version. New model with frugal diesel engine here soon so best to wait.
  • Holden Captiva 7 (from $35,490): Just upgraded and worth a look. Diesel is good and car has plenty of flexibility and family-friendly features.
  • Hyundai Santa Fe (from $37,990): Hot seller for ages and seats seven with god room. But do you need an SUV?
  • Kia Sorento (from $36,490): Same issue as Santa Fe, just looks a bit better.
  • Mazda CX-9 (from $50,015): Not cheap but follows Mazdas line of great quality. A bit thirsty on petrol, though, and no diesel option.

 

Other SUVs include:

  • Mitsubishi Challenger (from $49,390):
  • Mitsubishi Pajero (from $50,490):
  • Nissan Pathfinder (from $48,490):
  • Ssangyong Rexton (from $36,990):
  • Subaru Tribeca (from $56,990):
  • Toyota Kluger (from $39,990):
  • Toyota Prado (from $60,904):
  • Nissan Patrol (from $53,190):
  • Toyota Landcruiser (from $77,414):
  • Audi Q7 (from $88,614):
  • Mercedes R-Class (from $92,200):
  • Volvo XC90 (from $69,950):

  
USED

  • Ford Territory 2005 - $23,000
  • Subaru Tribeca 2007 (old face) - $35,000
  • Volvo XC90 2006 - $39,000
  • Chrysler Grand Voyager 2002 - $10,000
  • Ssangyong Stavic 2005 - $23,000
  • Ford Fairlane 8-str limousine 1989 - $18,000
  • Toyota Tarago 2006 - $27,000
  • Toyota Tarago 1998 - $7000
  • Toyota Prado 2005 - $40,000
  • Mitsubishi Delica 2005 - $11,000
  • Hyundai Santa Fe V6 2006 - $17,000
  • Land Rover Discovery 2007 - $48,000
  • Jeep Commander 2009 - $39,000

Written by

Neil Dowling

Published 31 March 2011

Published In

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