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Discussion Starter #1
We're trying to decide which is best for our family:

- Two kids under 3 yrs old now
- Third kid should be here late September :cool:
- We tow a Coleman pop up camper in the summer

Does anyone else have three kids in car seats? How is it loading them?

I'm thinking the Pilot is better for hauling the camper around (4000 lbs vs. 3500 lbs rating for the Odyssey).

Thanks for your input!

Doug
 

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Doug in CO said:
We're trying to decide which is best for our family:

- Two kids under 3 yrs old now
- Third kid should be here late September :cool:
- We tow a Coleman pop up camper in the summer

Does anyone else have three kids in car seats? How is it loading them?

I'm thinking the Pilot is better for hauling the camper around (4000 lbs vs. 3500 lbs rating for the Odyssey).

Thanks for your input!

Doug
Hey - Welcome Doug!!
One of our members, Tracy, is our resident car seat expert. Several threads discussing install & safety. If you search under Tracy's post - You'll find lot's of info. Hopefully Tracy will see this post.

Here's one of the threads Car Seats .

I vote for the Pilot!!

Good luck & keep us posted!!

;)
 

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My guess is that loading three would be a bit easier in the van. I think you could have 3 wide in the middle row, and, there is plenty of floor room to maneuver in while putting the kids in the 2nd row.

My wife and I looked at both the minivan and the suv and decided that we are not ready to be a "minivan" family yet. Also, AWD in the occasional KY snow helped make our decision final.

If you are interested in minivans, the new Sienna has AWD. Probably worth looking at.
 

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consider this....

Doug in CO and family,

my wife and i also have 3 children, ages 12,9 and 4.

i looked at the odyssey, pilot and mdx (and others).

the pilot and odyssey have identical tow ratings- 4000 lbs for a more aerodynamic boat and 3500 lbs for a camper.

the main advantage of the odyssey are the sliding doors.
the main disadvantage with 3 children is that one of the three car seats will eventually have to be put in the third row-very inconvenient.

the pilot will accomodate all three child seats in the second row.

if you and your wife ultimately decide on a minivan, i would definitely recommend you check out the new toyota sienna. IMHO, it will be even better than the odyssey.

good luck,

chris
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Good thoughts....

1. I'll search the archives more - thanks.

2. I'll go look at both of them by myself and see how it looks. Our last trip to the dealer was a Sat evening and the Honda showroom was PACKED. There was a line waiting to test drive Odysseys and Pilots and the thought of un-installing two car seats and re-installing them in the Pilot and Odyssey encouraged us to skip the test drive phase.

3. I thought the towing capacity of the Odyssey 'maxes' out at 3500 lbs. The MDX and Pilot literature mention the 3500/4000 lbs difference if you tow a boat. I'll look into that again.

4. I've heard good things about the Toyota Sienna, too. I just can't STAND how bland the Camry is, though. There is absolutely not driver "involvement" or "feel" to that car. It's like really good vanilla ice cream: bland! Toyota seems to suck the life out of their vehicles to make them more appliance like than car-like. (That's my biased opinion based on driving BMWs for the last 5 years - now that's what I call Driving!!!)

This is a great board and group - thanks for the input.

Doug
'96 Jeep Grand Cherokee Limited (soon to go)
'91 BMW M3 (www.rmcbmwcca.org/e30m3)
 

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Re: consider this....

cmdpm said:
the pilot and odyssey have identical tow ratings- 4000 lbs for a more aerodynamic boat and 3500 lbs for a camper.
Actually the Pilot has a towing rating of 3500/4500 lbs. for a trailer/boat. The difference is that they say the aerodynamics of a boat allow for a higher towing capacity.

The Odyssey has a towing rating of 3500 lbs.

I just rechecked this at hondacars.com
 

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I just came off 9 years with a minivan (Mercury Villager) and now have a Pilot.

In our family's experience, like 'em or hate 'em, minivans are great when you have kids. My two are now 14 and 18, and I think even at this age, they'll miss the comfort of being able to recline their captains chairs all the way back to take a snooze, get up and move from the middle seat to the rear, etc.

We also had a pop-up, until I sold it a few months ago. Even the Villager with 151 hp and a 2,000 lb. capacity had no trouble, even in the hills of Western PA. And we loaded both van and camper to the eyebrows when we went camping.

So...even though I LOVE my Pilot, in your situation, I'd recommend the mini-van.
 

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Drove down to Florida and back March 6 - March 16 in the Pilot. Two kids, son 12, daughter 8, two adults, and all the stuff. I was quite comfortable driving but I know the people in the back missed being able to recline their seats. A couple of days after we got home my son and I were driving in our van and my son said " Dad, if we drive to Florida next year let's take the van. There's more room, you can put your seats back, and the captains chairs have armrests on both sides"
 

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Re: Good thoughts....

Doug in CO said:


4. I've heard good things about the Toyota Sienna, too. I just can't STAND how bland the Camry is, though. There is absolutely not driver "involvement" or "feel" to that car. It's like really good vanilla ice cream: bland! Toyota seems to suck the life out of their vehicles to make them more appliance like than car-like. (That's my biased opinion based on driving BMWs for the last 5 years - now that's what I call Driving!!!)

Have you check out the new 2004 Siena? You are right about the previous model but the new model really has a lot of improvements. For your need, I think you definitely odd to look into the 2004 Sienna.
 

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A lot easier to access the rear seat.
 

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This would be nice for the third kid in rear facing car seat.
 

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kippy95 said:
This would be nice for the third kid in rear facing car seat.
the new volvo SUV has this too...
 

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You can also have the options of Nav plus DVD too.
 

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Re: Re: Pilot vs. Odyssey for family w/ 3 little kids?

Sage said:

One of our members, Tracy, is our resident car seat expert. Several threads discussing install & safety. If you search under Tracy's post - You'll find lot's of info. Hopefully Tracy will see this post.
Awww... where's the blushing icon? :)

Here's the deal... you can get three seats into the same row of almost any vehicle. The question is, do you want to? I'm assuming that since your kids are under 3, they are in harnessed seats. The 60/40 split seat is *great* for 2 kids, but makes it a little trickier when you want to install 3 seats in that row. The easiest way to get the seats to mesh together may be with the baby's rear-facing seat in the center. This, of course, can be difficult to deal with. So you may prefer to put one of the older kiddos in the back. I say the older kiddos because others have posted here that it's *very* difficult to install a rear-facing seat in the 3rd row. I strongly suggest you take your seats (including an infant seat) to the dealer and install them. See if you can put anyone in the third row. See if you can even access the third row. Don't worry, they won't think you're a weirdo - we've done it several times. :p Then you'll be able to tell whether you can live with this arrangement or not.

You also have to consider that when the kids grow out of the harnessed seats and into booster seats, you'll want easier access to the seatbelt buckle. This can be done, especially with narrower boosters, but again, the question, is do you want to?

Honestly, if I were in your shoes... as much as I want a Pilot, I'd probably be shopping for a minivan right now. With a center aisle. It will be so much easier to deal with (assuming it meets your towing needs).
 

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Doug in CO said:
We're trying to decide which is best for our family:

...

Does anyone else have three kids in car seats? How is it loading them?

... Thanks for your input!

Doug
Doug,
You have to make the ultimate decision -- 90's family look (minivan) or 00's family look (SUV). I have been loading three kids into a SUV since Feb. 2000 -- when my youngest was born. I had a Montero Sport, and upgraded to a Pilot in Jan. 2003. I went through the same debate (Ody vs. Pilot). My wife and I decided not to go with the minivan because the Pilot could do one more seating position at 8 (and also because we did not want to go with the usual family-bus look). Loading them will not be a problem -- there should be no problems getting three car seats into the second row (I have three occupying my Pilot everyday).

I have gone through every seat combination that you could think of: rear-facing infant, forward-facing infant, forward-facing toddler w/ 5-point harness, forward-facing booster w/ 5-point harness, forward-facing booster w/o 5-point harness and regular booster. :eek: I know, there are a lot of seats here. I was able to cycle various seats since my kids are all 17 months apart :)

If you need an adequate towing, awesome snow driving, pretty good rain-handling, quick acceleratingly (for an SUV) machine -- then the Pilot is for you.

I see all this stuff about the '04 Sienna, yeah, but it's a Toyota. I thought we were all family here??
If you really want a minivan and can wait a little longer, there will be another new kid on the block soon -- the 2004 Honda Odyssey!! :29: It will be a winner once it hits the streets.

PS. Three car seats WILL be a problem in the third row if you ever consider doing this setup in the future.
I've discussed this in an earlier post called 4 adults, 3 kids = No Problem!

Keep us posted.
 

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Discussion Starter #17
Looked at both at the $tealer today...

I took a look at the Ody and Pilot at one of the dealers today (Ralph Schomp in Littleton, CO). They had the Odyssey and Pilot parked next to eachother.

Although I'd prefer the Pilot (by a slight margin), the following are key factors:

- room behind the 3rd row seats: not much room for strollers or our dog in the Pilot. That's probably a "deal breaker" right there.
- access to rear seat - you are right - the aisle in a minivan does make more sense.

Both are awesome vehicles. 4wd is nice, but in the past three years, I've put my company pickup truck in 4wd no more than twice per year - and that weather would not have stopped a 2wd with traction control.

Also - I definitely I lean towards the Ody, but those pics of the Sienna do justify looking at it for sure! The last Camry I drove was a rental car in 2001, so I'm sure things have changed. Car and Driver had a nice write up on the new Sienna and basically said they made all the right improvements and they are eager to see how the Ody changes to meet the Toyota features. I still seem to be more of a Honda person than Toyota. I will for sure look at it, though.

(Ramirami: go Bears!!!! I'm originally from Arlington Heights, IL)

Thanks for all of your help. No decision yet, but probably minivan at this point.

Doug
(by the way, Schomp Honda was offering something like $1000 off MSRP for Ody and Pilots this month. We didn't talk serious numbers, so maybe they'd even come down from there)
 

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3 kids

I agree with Tracy... we have 3 kids, 2 of which in car seats. We just moved out of a minivan into the Pilot. Without a doubt, the ease of loading, unloading and tending to the youngest is much easier in the minivan.
 

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Odyssey hands down....

3 little kids with strollers, playpens, toys, etc.... More room in the Odyssey, plus getting kids in and out with the sliding doors is way easier...

No question in my mind from a family hauler standpoint.

I don't tow, so you'll have to flesh that one out on your own.

I would also agree on looking at the new Sienna. It's supposed to be as big (or nearly so) as the Odyssey, have the magic seat with a 60/40 split, and AWD (needed in Colorado???).

I think there's going to be a redesigned Odyssey for the '04 model year also (available late summer??). I haven't really followed what improvements will be made, but it's worth a little research.

Good luck, you've got a tough decision to make...
 
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