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I apologize if this has been discussed at length, I've scoured the forums trying to find a similar post but haven't found exactly what I'm looking for. So far we've test driven the Odyssey Elite Navi/Res, the Pacifica Limited Gas 7-seater, and a couple of Hybrid Limited variants (one with, and one without the moonroof). So far the Hybrid wins out in terms of the vehicle we want, but my wife is very concerned that it's not the vehicle we need, specifically will the lack of an 8th seat substantially limit us in the future.

We have an almost 5 year old (FF), 2.5 year old (RF), and one on the way. I thought the Odyssey was aggressively boring when I test drove it, but some of that is bias towards the Hybrid. My wife on the other hand doesn't care, she fell in love with the Magic slide seats and the 8th seat option, so it's a bit of a stalemate. When we tested the hybrid with car seats installed, the captains chairs slide forward a bit but you lose a lot of the 3rd row access without the seat tilt if you needed to help with buckling a kid in. The 5 year old can buckle himself now (although it takes forever and is not reliable), but in 6-12 months this third row access will be a bit of a moot point in my mind.

So I think the magic slide seats, while nice, are not a critical differentiator here. What appears to be the major stopgap is the 8th seat option. We take 2 or 3 long road trips per year, and while the infant is still needing a lot of support in the car, the 8th seat offers some additional seating flexibility. You could do 2 kids in the middle with wife in the center, one kid in the back and fold the 60 portion of the 3rd row down for a ton of storage. The 7 seater would likely mean two kids in the middle, wife/baby in the back, baby would need to be on latch so you can't fold any of the 3rd row in that situation. That will only be for the first year or so, after which the baby won't need as much in car attention. Another 8 seat advantage is when the in-laws visit, it offers a few more comfortable seating arrangements than a 7 seater, and then you have future use case when the kids have friends we need to shuffle around, but I think that's pretty far down the road.

So we're stuck, I need the hybrid with an 8th seat and panoramic moonroof and I'll be all set, sadly that doesn't exist. Plus the 8 seater gas model gives up that nice moonroof so that's a tough compromise as well. I should probably just give up the moonroof and do the 8 seater as the compromise, but I thought the hybrid was cool as **** and would love to make it work.

What I guess I'm asking for is if anyone has 3 kids in car seats with the hybrid and been able to make it work, any regrets not having the 8th seat? Sorry for the long post, appreciate any feedback!
 

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Post was awaiting approval since you're new. It's been approved. I don't have the answer but I'm sure someone will chime in to help you out. Good luck with whatever you end up with.
 

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I apologize if this has been discussed at length, I've scoured the forums trying to find a similar post but haven't found exactly what I'm looking for. So far we've test driven the Odyssey Elite Navi/Res, the Pacifica Limited Gas 7-seater, and a couple of Hybrid Limited variants (one with, and one without the moonroof). So far the Hybrid wins out in terms of the vehicle we want, but my wife is very concerned that it's not the vehicle we need, specifically will the lack of an 8th seat substantially limit us in the future.

We have an almost 5 year old (FF), 2.5 year old (RF), and one on the way. I thought the Odyssey was aggressively boring when I test drove it, but some of that is bias towards the Hybrid. My wife on the other hand doesn't care, she fell in love with the Magic slide seats and the 8th seat option, so it's a bit of a stalemate. When we tested the hybrid with car seats installed, the captains chairs slide forward a bit but you lose a lot of the 3rd row access without the seat tilt if you needed to help with buckling a kid in. The 5 year old can buckle himself now (although it takes forever and is not reliable), but in 6-12 months this third row access will be a bit of a moot point in my mind.

So I think the magic slide seats, while nice, are not a critical differentiator here. What appears to be the major stopgap is the 8th seat option. We take 2 or 3 long road trips per year, and while the infant is still needing a lot of support in the car, the 8th seat offers some additional seating flexibility. You could do 2 kids in the middle with wife in the center, one kid in the back and fold the 60 portion of the 3rd row down for a ton of storage. The 7 seater would likely mean two kids in the middle, wife/baby in the back, baby would need to be on latch so you can't fold any of the 3rd row in that situation. That will only be for the first year or so, after which the baby won't need as much in car attention. Another 8 seat advantage is when the in-laws visit, it offers a few more comfortable seating arrangements than a 7 seater, and then you have future use case when the kids have friends we need to shuffle around, but I think that's pretty far down the road.

So we're stuck, I need the hybrid with an 8th seat and panoramic moonroof and I'll be all set, sadly that doesn't exist. Plus the 8 seater gas model gives up that nice moonroof so that's a tough compromise as well. I should probably just give up the moonroof and do the 8 seater as the compromise, but I thought the hybrid was cool as **** and would love to make it work.

What I guess I'm asking for is if anyone has 3 kids in car seats with the hybrid and been able to make it work, any regrets not having the 8th seat? Sorry for the long post, appreciate any feedback!
I can’t comment much on the 8th seat and I don’t have kids but for me the big selling point is the fact that you can drive around 30 miles at a time without using gas. When I drive in all electric mode I can get around 70-80 MPGe in town. We have 3000 miles on our van now but have used the equivalent of only about 3 tanks of gas. We have a level 2 charger in the garage and usually charge the vehicle up each night. Looking at my electric bills for the last two months it has hardly made an impact (probably less than $30/month). Don’t know if those are the kind of selling points that would convince your wife...
 

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Discussion Starter #5
In terms of the all electric for ~30 miles, it's an awesome/unique capability. Our daily routine is about 10 miles of driving, our outback gets maybe 21mpgs for the type of driving we're doing even though it is rated for 27mpg city. I'd expect similar declines for the gas variant as well, resulting in maybe 13mpg but who knows. The electric range would probably take a hit under these conditions but should be enough to complete the trip, even if we use say 8kWhrs for 10 miles (20 mile total range), the difference would quickly add up to close to $500/year, not accounting for weekends and trips which should yield additional savings. Even put up against the cheaper odyssey elite trim, you'd pay that difference off in ~5-6 years (after the $7500 tax credit) and you'd have a substantially higher trim vehicle to boot. As you said, great selling point for the car.

We'd plan on buying the vehicle and owning for 8-10 years or so unless something shifted radically to warrant a change of plans. We have a 4 year old Outback that actually will fit three car seats (although tight). That's got another 4-6 years on it in terms of our planned use. I'm planning on selling/trading in my Fusion Hybrid that's just about 9 years old and 142k miles.

Appreciate the response thus far, obviously it'll just come down to us making the decision but the more examples of 3 kids+car seats+ hybrid, the better we'd probably feel on the decision.

Thanks!
 

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A couple of thoughts. I think your understanding of sunroof versus eight seats is correct, but want to reiterate. You can have one or the other, regardless whether the Pacifica is petrol or hybrid power.

Sunroof considerations. Upsides: it’s very cool. Downsides: car will get hotter inside on sunny summer days. More wind noise at highway speeds. One more thing to break. Possibility of water leaks. I skipped it on my car. I find the interior sufficiently light and airy without needing the glass roof.

Honda doubled down on the car seat/kid configuration with the new Odyssey. The Pac strikes me as better for switching between people and cargo. Both are quiet and comfortable, to an almost indistinguishable degree.

Price. I’m still lurking (OK, trolling...) over at Odyclub after buying a Pacifica. New Elites are selling in the $42k to $43k range, before taxes and such. Considering discounts and the tax credit, I think you can purchase the hybrid for the same or less than an Elite, and then enjoy the lower operating expense. That said, I expect the Honda will hold its value better over time.

Marital advice. If your spouse prefers the Honda and it’s their car, buy them what they want. If you lever them into a hybrid and then experience some bleeding edge early adopter pain, you will pay for it forever. So not worth it!

Good luck.

PS: My wife drives a 2016 Outback. That is the most miserable, uncomfortable, noisy, bad riding, unreliable car we have ever owned in many decades of driving. Either an Odyssey or a Pacifica is a massive upgrade in everything, except maybe snow plowing.
 

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Welcome to the forum and congratulations on seeing the greenlight for minivans. Your situation is sort of similar to mine. We are a family of five as well. I decided to buy a minivan last year when the third child was cooking. I did a lot of back-and-forth between the Odyssey and the Pacifica. The hybrid was not in my target range because of the lack of eighth seat as well as losing out the second row cargo space. The frequent visits of our parents was also a consideration for minivans.
The advantages of Odyssey are obviously magic slide seats as well as smoother engine and long term reliability per reviews. The pentastar V6 is good too but not Honda good (I had and still have Honda and Acura in my garage). That engine note is simply unbeatable. The hybrid may win the best drive battle here though.
The downsides for Odyssey are that it simply doesn’t feel upscale. It feels like a cheap Honda especially the interior at night (the Pacifica wins the aesthetics for me). Lots of minor quality issues for the Odyssey for my taste (though it may be sorted by now), but the Pacifica has that occasional major one :D. I hope I’m not one of those.
The Pacifica truly feels and drives like a luxury car at least from the driver’s perspective. The rear seats are better and more comfortable in the Odyssey though.
Having said that, it’s a wash between Odyssey and Pacifica with regards to seating flexibility. I frequently change the seating configuration depending on how many people are riding (few weeks at a time), and most of the time the 8th seat sits in the garage (covered obviously).
Now if you have to change the seating instantly all the time, there is no comparison to magic slide seats. Even though the Pacifica seats have flexiblity, you still need some work to do to change them (think about your wife here) :D. Also the Odyssey second row seats can slide forwards in sitting position (to provide more 3rd row leg space if needed) which the Pacifica can’t do. But the easy tilt seats of Pacifica are a god send for 3rd row access.
I hope that when the kids grow up a little, all can sit side by side in the second row.
The other issue is rear screens. The Odyssey has only ceiling mounted but Pacifica offers both seatback and ceiling mounted depending on trim levels. So far only one child wants to watch something, but in the coming few years they may want to watch different videos, so my seat back screens might help.
Cargo capacity (with third row up): the Odyssey has better rear cargo compartment, but Pacifica has more cargo volume if you add all the stow and go spaces.
The Odyssey is better if you want to carry large stuff such as strollers along with suitcases. In Pacifica my folded stroller sits only side to side while it will fit lengthwise in an Odyssey (I checked before buying). But the more space in Pacifica comes handy for longer trips when you want to place a lot of stuff out of sight such as cameras, or other expensive stuff, or even spare carton of diapers or a carton of bottled water (it sure comes handy- when traveling with kids). During my last trip I loaded the bins with dirty laundry which freed up space in my suitcases and car interior. You can see how the hybrid won’t fit my lifestyle. :D.
If your wife loves the Odyssey, then you should give serious thought to that. My wife still gives me that occasional stab when the kid in third row complains that she cannot see the screen when someone is sitting in the 2nd row or the 8th seat is up.
Hope it helps.
Please let me know if you have any specific questions.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Re: Marital Advice -> You can therefore fully appreciate my stress on this matter. There's no way I'd ever put my foot down on the hybrid, if there's a single day that she's on her own and has a miserable time getting the kids in the car, or we can't make everything fit on a trip, or one of the terrifying failure modes I've read about (shutting down on the highway) shows up while she's driving, I would feel really bad. I'm not without my own concerns over the hybrid as well, it's not a home run.

We both agreed that the Hybrid is the car we'd want to get, but not sure if it's the car we need given the added flexibility of some of the other variants. She thinks the Odyssey fits the utility bill better than the Hybrid, no question on that from my end, my issue is giving up all that the hybrid offers for flexibility that we might not even use frequently or need. As far as whose car it is and all that, it's replacing my fusion and I'll be driving it 80% of the time so technically it'd be mine, but marital bliss is not achieved on technicalities :)

Sunroof logic makes sense, probably shouldn't be a deal-breaker. There's technically a 'Full Sunroof' option that's coming out, it looks like they'd do away with the center section, keep a small front and fixed rear. That would probably allow for an 8th seat, and not force you into the 20" wheels (hopefully save money as well) on the Limited. No info on when that will be available, just says 'late availability' in the brochure.

It looks like we've got 1 check in the Family of 5 8-seater configuration. Really appreciate everyone's input!
 

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- The car seat latches on the 3rd row is only on the passenger and center seat. No latch on the driver side 3rd row.

- Having a rear facing car seat in the middle seat 3rd row leaves barely enough space for an adult male to sit on the left and right side of it.

- There isn't enough space to fit a rear facing car seat on the passenger 2nd row and the passenger 3rd row.

- A rear facing carseat on the 2nd row does prevent the 1st row chair from sliding all the way back, it does go far enough for me at 5'11".



For your situation, I think I would put a rear facing car seat on the drivers 2nd row and passenger 3rd row. The front facing can go on the passenger 2nd row, and it may be able to tilt forward letting you access the 3rd row. I can't comment if it'll be any better with 8 seats as I only have the 7 seater.
 

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Sorry, I can't help on the seating arrangements. I do think you're right that your five year old will be fairly independent with seat belt latching pretty soon.

I had a lot of self deliberation when it came to the sunroof. We have an older vehicle (a GM) that gave us a lot of grief over a leaking sunroof. Also, we really wanted as quiet of a ride as possible. So in the end, even though emotionally I loved the image of that beautiful sunroof, practicality won out. The truth is, you probably won't open those screens as much as you think, especially with really young babies on board.

I've also seen a lot of posts about the two front screens for kids vs. overhead ceiling. So, that's definitely something to consider. I've only got 2 kids so that was easy. However, one of my kids would rather watch YouTube kids on my phone than a movie anyway. So I'm looking forward to a vehicle that has USB charging ports everywhere.

I think which ever vehicle you choose, you'll be very happy. You've obviously done your due diligence in research. Good luck with your family growing to 5!!
 

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We have 4 kids, Twin babies , a 4 year old and a 7 year old.

Both the 4 year old and 7 year old sit in the 3rd row. Our 4yr old just went to a booster about a month and a half ago. Previously she would buckle herself or sister would help.
Our twins have a child seat adapter for easy in/out, both of them are in the 2nd row.

Couple things to note:

Gas model vs hybrid, the hybrid has more middle row room because the middle seat goes further back into the 3rd row. We have it all the way back and neither kid complains in the 3rd row.
We had a gas model once and i questioned why the drivers seat couldn't slide back nearly as far, turns out the fixed seat in the gas model due to the stow and go is actually much much further forward. There is about a 2 inch noticeable difference.

You'll be fine with a hybrid, if i was in your situation I would put the car seat mount for the infant in the middle passenger side. When you get in the car, have the kids enter the drivers side sliding door and get in the 3rd row. Swing the infant seat into the quick mount through the drivers side. Once that is locked in place, put the 2nd row drivers side forward and assist any 3rd row kids.

Your 5yr old is on the border able to assist the 2.5yr old. Give it 6 months and you'll be in a good place.

As far as 8th seat, we actually like it better with the center of the van open. Makes it incredibly easier to get stuff handed back.
 

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I also have 3 kids and an 8 seater. The youngest is 11 months, oldest is almost 5. For the first 8 months we used the 3 middle seats exclusively because it made buckleing in all 3 very easy. It would have been awfull if we had to crawl into the back to buckle in a kid.

We have since removed the middle seat and the oldest kid gets the back row to herself. She can buckle herself in now and it cuts down on the kids fighting. However I still prefer the 8 seater option as when we go on vacation with the grand parents once a year it allows us space to fit 4 adults and 3 kids in the car quite easily.
 

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We just traded in our 8-seat 2017 Limited (non Hybrid) yesterday for a 2019 Hybrid Limited (my quick impressions)

We have a 2 year old (forward facing), 5 year old (booster) and a Nana that we take regularly on road-trips and I'll tell you this:

* If the drive-ability is key, the Hybrid wins.
* If seating flexibility is key now and in the future, GET THE 8-SEAT. I have a feeling this is more the reality for you (as it was with us).

("Then why did you ditch the 8-seat?!" - because we only have 2, the 5 year old is find plugging herself in and Nana misses the middle seat, I felt sad about that, but she gets a whole row right behind the girls and can still play with them. Also the girls got video screens with the UConnect Theater setup so they are SUPER HAPPY. It was a WIN-win-win-lose so we went with it. The 'WIN' was my wife getting a plug-in.)

We live in Arizona, so it was easier to forgo the pano sunroof (because it's 115 out and more sun hitting the roof and penetrating doesn't help anyone).

Had we lived somewhere cooler, I would have REALLY wanted the Pano Roof.

If you can wait, Honda is rumored to be coming out with a Hybrid (maybe plugin) 2020 Odyssey and Pilot. You can find pictures of the testing mules out and about for the last year I think.

If you need to make a decision before the baby is born, I would strongly recommend going 8-seat and comparing the Gas Pacifica with the Gas Odyssey.

If your wife fell in love with the magic seat, I would go the Odyssey route. I didn't love the driving dynamics of the Pacifica Limited (gas + ZF 9 speed) that we just traded in last night. We had 21k miles on it and bought it new and plenty of road trips under our belt. It was fine, but it never _didn't_ annoy me atleast a little bit with how it shifted.

NOTE: Try and go Touring+ on the Odyssey because you'll get the new Honda-designed 10-speed and not the POS ZF 9-speed that they also got stuck with.

I know "Happy Wife, Happy Life" sounds so trite and stupid, but whoever is going to spend the most time toting the kids around WILL strongly influence how happy life is in the house hold (kids are so much work) and trying to make the 7-seater work is going to be just annoying enough that either your wife or you will not be pleased after the newness of the car wear off. I'm making an assumption this would be your wife, if I'm wrong, then I apologize and please flip flop the recommendation :)

I would 100% vote you go 8-seater and 90% vote you go the Honda Odyssey (Touring+) route on this one because your wife had a lean towards it.
 

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Discussion Starter #14 (Edited)
Thanks for the detailed responses! I read through your review of the 2017 gas 8-seater vs. the 2019 Hybrid, just makes me want to get the Hybrid more! :)

I didn't test out the higher trim Odyssey's since I'm not a big car guy, I couldn't justify the added expense, of which a substantial amount seemed to be towards the 10-speed vs. the 9-speed engine. I'm sure it's more enjoyable to drive but my issues with the Odyssey go beyond drivability, it was just a perceived comfort/finish when sitting in the car, it just felt lower tech and lower levels of luxury for comparable pricing. Maybe that's because I've only sat in Limited variants of the Pacifica, and the higher trim Odyssey's have a nicer feel, but that's not the impression I'm getting from online reviews and their brochure info.

The 8-seater Limited, with the 'Full Sunroof' whenever that becomes available would be a decent compromise but sunroof or not I just hate gas guzzling cars, it just eats at my brain for whatever reason. In my fusion hybrid I'm constantly in prognostics and health management mode, what's the temperature outside, what's the wind speed/direction, etc... The idea that I can see actual power output from the gas engine, electric, etc... in the Pacifica, that's substantially more information than has been available to me in the past. The 'hybrid view' stuff is gimmicky to me, I never look at the Fusions screen, but having actual power numbers would be incredibly interesting to me, highway driving into the wind, with the wind at our back, etc... Not really rational, it's a car for carting around kids/junk, but to get a minivan AND have it be interesting to drive, that seemed like a major win for me. I also agreed about the max torque at zero speed advantage of the electric drivetrain, it did feel peepier out of the gate, despite its 0-60s falling shorter of the gas models.

It's just stinks that there's a lot of practicality that's given up, no stow n go, no 8th seat option, etc... For vacations, the 8th seat would help, but only 'majorly' when we are needing constant attention for the baby, which is only the first year really. For when the in-laws visit (4 or 5 times a year), my tiny MIL might be able to sit in the back between our two narrow car-seats (Radian RXTs), FIL in a captains chair, or since are seats are so narrow we might be able to fit all three back there. Until the kids are out of booster seats I can't imagine carting a bunch of other kids around, so 4-6 years, at which point maybe we'd get an 8-seater SUV or whatever new comes out. For day to day, two kids in the back and one in the captains chair with easy 3rd row access (removing a captains chair or tilt/slide) would work, or older kid in the back with 2 in the 2nd row to allow 60 bench to fold down for weekend warrior needs.

To inis, not sure with brand new twins you've been doing any long trips, but have you taken any trips and did you feel storage limited? I guess that question would probably apply to anyone with the gas variant with 3rd row up as well (although stow/go bins help). Our outback has about 35.5cuft storage behind, and on trips we end up filling that to the brim AND have to use space on the second row floor. With the 3rd row up, we'd be looking at 32.3cuft, and very narrow/vertical type storage compared to the outback. We sometimes are bringing jogging strollers, regular strollers, pack n plays, all our luggage, etc... is that even possible unless you fold down the rear seat, or is there enough left over space elsewhere in the vehicle to get it done? Getting a rack mounted storage, which we have a cheapo one, could alleviate that but I wouldn't want that to be an 'every road trip for the life of the vehicle' deal, maybe when the infant is still needing attention I guess. Once we only need 1 3rd row seat up (which will happen when the baby no longer needs attention), storage on trips shouldn't be a concern here I would think.

Our test of the car seats in the car was a good idea, but I was terrified of dinging a new car on the lot so I didn't actually connect them, put towels down to protect the seats and all that. Combine that with the 40mph/40F winds/drizzle that day did not make for a conclusive study. Wife said she needs to see the hybrid again, so I think I see what the dealers are willing to allow in terms of hooking up car seats, test all the above configurations with seats installed, maybe bring some strollers/luggage. If it works great, if it doesn't then on to the 8-seater. Part of me wants to bring the kids so we can actually put them in the seats, but that seems like a recipe for disaster :)

Sorry for the long response and thanks again for all the input thus far! Sometimes it helps to just dialogue it even if there's no definitive answer.
 

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Maybe that's because I've only sat in Limited variants of the Pacifica, and the higher trim Odyssey's have a nicer feel, but that's not the impression I'm getting from online reviews and their brochure info.
I know what you mean - we are/were a Honda family but it's soooo "meh" in there. I do love the tech in the Pacifica (either version) - UConnect is sweet and Adaptive Cruise is a MUST for road trips. Like... a must... you thank God when traffic backs up and it's bumper to bumper and the car just handles it casually.

The 8-seater Limited, with the 'Full Sunroof' whenever that becomes available would be a decent compromise
I believe the answer from FCA was 'never going to happen' on this combo because the middle 8th seatbelt comes down from the roof (where the sunroof is on the 7-seat).

If they do a 2021/22 redesign they may change to seat-mounted belts and then they could do this though.

but sunroof or not I just hate gas guzzling cars, it just eats at my brain for whatever reason.
Ahhhhhhh - ok this is how my wife is. Drove her NUTS hearing the car rev up/see shitty real-time gas mileage on the read time display, etc. She is MUCH HAPPIER in the Hybrid, so if this is a "I can't get past this!" thing for you, it's fine man, get the Hybrid. Just motivate your 5 year old to buckle themselves more consistently with threats of candy being thrown away or them being strapped to the top of the van like I did :)

In my fusion hybrid I'm constantly in prognostics and health management mode, what's the temperature outside, what's the wind speed/direction, etc...
AHHHHHH - gotcha gotcha. If you are primarily the one driving the kids around, then go for the Hybrid. Sounds like you have to have it if you are one of those guys :)

If your wife drives them around 80%+ of the time though and she has to lift/load/unload 3 kids... oh man, it's hard for me to recommend something that isn't dead easy for your wife.

The 3rd row seat is NOT very accessible in the Hybrid. In the ICE version, the seats have this awesome "super lean forward" mode that we LOVED... but in Hybrid, it barely slides forward and ifyou have car seats in those seats that WILL NOT BE ENOUGH ROOM for you or your wife to lean in and help a little one with their belt. It will annoy you until your little one can just manage it on their own.

To your point though - not too many months away.

The idea that I can see actual power output from the gas engine, electric, etc... in the Pacifica, that's substantially more information than has been available to me in the past. The 'hybrid view' stuff is gimmicky to me, I never look at the Fusions screen, but having actual power numbers would be incredibly interesting to me, highway driving into the wind, with the wind at our back, etc...
Oh yea, it shows you Kw from Battery or Motor in real-time; it's slick.

Not really rational, it's a car for carting around kids/junk, but to get a minivan AND have it be interesting to drive, that seemed like a major win for me.
Don't beat yourself up - none of us here are 100% rational. A rational purchase would be a 10 year old Sienna for $10k.

It's just stinks that there's a lot of practicality that's given up, no stow n go, no 8th seat option, etc...
Agreed - I made the Stow and Go a requirement for our first purchase (my wife wanted the Hybrid then also) but we used them once in the two years we had them... I'm a "path of least resistance" type packer I discovered. "Just throw it in the back" :)

For vacations, the 8th seat would help, but only 'majorly' when we are needing constant attention for the baby, which is only the first year really. For when the in-laws visit (4 or 5 times a year), my tiny MIL might be able to sit in the back between our two narrow car-seats (Radian RXTs), FIL in a captains chair, or since are seats are so narrow we might be able to fit all three back there.
You can rationalize anything, but the truth is you WILL have growing/fitting pains with the 7-seat for the first year. I remember those days (as do you) and with all the feeding and wanting to keep your eyes on the baby, I would 100% go 8-seat so my wife or mom could be there. You are spot on though, after that year mark, I start relaxing a lot more.

For day to day, two kids in the back and one in the captains chair with easy 3rd row access (removing a captains chair or tilt/slide) would work, or older kid in the back with 2 in the 2nd row to allow 60 bench to fold down for weekend warrior needs.
Tilt/slide isn't really an accessibility option for anyone other than a child. As an adult 'reaching in' to help/grab with something will be annoying... BUT... interesting idea about _removing_ one of the chairs and always having 2 in the 3rd row together and a big open spot on one side... hmmmmm.

To inis, not sure with brand new twins you've been doing any long trips, but have you taken any trips and did you feel storage limited?
I didn't grok the first part of that sentence, but with our 2017 Limited YES, we almost always felt space limited unless the 3rd row was completely down or mostly down (60% side down). The MOMENT you throw a stroller, cooler, tent or single big suit case in that thing, you're done except for some duffel bags. Once you put down the 3rd row you have more options.

We sometimes are bringing jogging strollers, regular strollers, pack n plays, all our luggage, etc...
Yea you are going to be strapped for space... this alone makes me thing you HAVE to go 8-seater config just so you can put the entire 3rd row down or most of it at least.

is that even possible unless you fold down the rear seat, or is there enough left over space elsewhere in the vehicle to get it done? Getting a rack mounted storage, which we have a cheapo one, could alleviate that but I wouldn't want that to be an 'every road trip for the life of the vehicle' deal, maybe when the infant is still needing attention I guess.
No, you won't have enough room and the 2nd row foot area is not roomy enough to "load up" with extra duffels and stuff... you will be packed in like sardines and getting in/out at rest stops will be a chore.

What you PROBABLY want to consider is a trailer-hitch mounted storage container, but then you have to contend with blocking the rear lift gate... you can go roof-mounted, it's just a PIA to get things in/out of that storage unless you can make it easy and throw all the clothes/soft things up there.

Our test of the car seats in the car was a good idea, but I was terrified of dinging a new car on the lot so I didn't actually connect them, put towels down to protect the seats and all that.
Yep, exactly what we do on the white seats and they are fine. WARNING: Those seat covers you see in my pics, I got an extra set for the Nanny (2018 Ford Edge, vanilla seats) and it STAINED THEM GREEN. So be super careful or just stick to beach towels...

so I think I see what the dealers are willing to allow in terms of hooking up car seats, test all the above configurations with seats installed, maybe bring some strollers/luggage. If it works great, if it doesn't then on to the 8-seater. Part of me wants to bring the kids so we can actually put them in the seats, but that seems like a recipe for disaster :)
DUDE... "what dealer will allow" - no way, it's what YOU REQUIRE. A decent dealer will be super happy to have you do this - they will ENCOURAGE YOU to do this. It's part of the psychological manipulation where they encourage you to "move into" the car... start "seeing yourself in the car"... the fact that you WANT to do this (for practical reasons) makes it 10x better for them. If they humm and haw about it, tell them to pound sand... seriously this will help you narrow down a good dealership quickly which is a helpful thing to do.

Awesome idea about taking double stroller... fold and toss the stroller in the back with 3rd row up and sit back an take stock... then put 3rd row down and take stock.

You'll see VERY QUICKLY what you need based on how you typically pack.

Also bringing 1 or 2 kids with a backup plan (i.e. "if we get into negotiations, take the kids in the other car and leave") is totally fine. I've done that before. My kids played in a 2017 Odyssey for 20mins while the salesman walked us through the features :)

Sorry for the long response and thanks again for all the input thus far! Sometimes it helps to just dialogue it even if there's no definitive answer.
Heck yea, I feel the same way! No problem.

DON'T FORGET - there is no "Wrong" choice here. You can make ALL of this work. The only difference is how easily the car slots into your life VS needing to adjust some things to fit it's needs.

ALSO, the car you buy today doesn't decide the car you buy next year, or year after or 4 years from now. You may not get HotSexy this year, but maybe you get HotterSexier 2 years from now.

Don't stress man. You got this.
 

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I do this combination many times. I stow the passenger side second row seat and keep the other side seat up as well as the center seat together. This leaves an easy walk in space And access for the third row. It beats the use of Odyssey magic slide seats.

With two car seats in the back row, it is quite hard for an adult to fit in the middle (the shoulder space for adults is restricted by many car seats) Even if one can, it is quite uncomfortable and I wouldn’t recommend it for longer drives.


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Discussion Starter #17
Wow thanks for all the info! Wife and I both work from home so day to day driving is really getting kids to daycare and back, we go back and forth on morning/afternoon pick ups, and then I'm the primary driver on the weekends when it's all of us or road trips. Next fall gets ugly though, we're going from 1 drop off morning/afternoon to 3 drop offs. Kindergarten, daycare, infant care all in different places for a solid 2 years. We'll have to see how that plays out but consensus thinking is that someone takes daycare/infant, someone else takes 5 year old. Could be two cars or same car since kindergarten starts later in the morning. Wife and I both take semi-regular work trips though, so at times I'll be putting 3 in the car, other times wife will have to. Not something I'm worried about, especially if I 'signed up' for it, but can't have wife have any issues there. One thought was to just use the outback when I'm gone since all three seats will fit in there and it'd be easier than getting to a 3rd row. It really is a bit of a moot point though, the 3rd row access is not an issue when the 5 year old can buckle himself, and this is still 6 months from now anyways so out of the gate we should be ok.

As Bond007 mentioned, you can stow a 2nd row captain chair and access the third row, salesman had 3 kids and that's what he did, so that's where removing the chair altogether and putting two in the third row came from. My argument against it was that we might have needs for folding that rear 60 on the weekends, plus having the 2.5 year old in the third seat guarantees you have to go back there, even when the 5 year old is able to buckle himself. Counter is that really wouldn't need that 60 bench fold down much, strollers would fit in the rear (if you take the wheels of jogging stroller) or just put it in that open captain chair space. If I need to do major hauling from a hardware store, I'd drop the seats on the outback and be fine there, or just remove the car seat in the 60. Plus if that's what it would take to make it work for her when I'm on travel, by all means let's take it out!

For the 'Full Sunroof', that's buried in the 2019 brochure, cause that's where I'm at in this decision process. It's distinctly different than the tri-pane, as it states a 'powered front' and 'fixed rear', and says 'late availability'. It shows this as an option on the gas model trims up through the Limited. The only caveat listed in the brochure is that you can't get the tri-pane with the full sunroof (duh). If you look at the tri-pane, it very clearly states that it cannot be used with an 8-seat configuration, or something like 'cannot be used in combination with 20" wheels package' as an indirect reference whereas the full sunroof has no such verbiage. I read the 'Full Sunroof' description as meaning the center section would not have glass and therefore be able to support the center seat. I sent an email to chrysler to see when it would be available and they said thanks for your interest in the tri-pane sunroof and explained all those details on the tri-pane sunroof, sent a follow up but haven't heard back. I'm interested in that since it wouldn't force you into 20" wheels on the Limited (per the brochure), so in theory it could be cheaper plus you'd have two of the three panes, problem is no idea when or any other pricing details.

Plan is to request an extended test drive, bring it home and take our time in our own setting, fill it up with all our luggage/strollers, test the car seat configurations, etc... If it doesn't work at least I'll feel confident knowing we fully flushed it out, but I know the real challenge for me will be that it probably won't work 'now', but could easily work when the baby is older. Ah well, can always inverse rkala and get a slick new 2021 pacifica gas 8 seater, full sunroof and all! :)
 

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We have twins (8 months old now), a dog, and my aunt / the kids nanny that we also drive around from time to time. Plans are for her to move in with us eventually, at which time she'll be travelling around with us even more than now.

The babies are currently both in the second row. 3rd row is folded for our own use unless needed to carry the 3rd adult. We are expecting "issues" when the kids go from their buckets and adapters to their rear-facing seats.

Long term the plan is to have the kids in the rear bench so the 3rd adult can be in the 2nd row. One of the second row seats will be pulled to make life easy until there's a need for extra passengers (or if there ends up being a #3).

We cross-shopped the Honda. I loved those magic seats or whatever they call them. They were ideal for our flexibility requirements. But ultimately, other than the seats, the Pacifica won out for us. And once we decided on Pacifica it was down to traditional or hybrid. Since we have a long-term ownership plan and my wife's commute / kid transport needs fit the hybrid's range pretty well so we took the early adopter plunge.

The drive train, electric torque and the fact that it's a plug-in won us over. We ultimately decided that while we knew we'd have some growing pains when the kids went rear facing the drive and long term benefits outweighed the (relatively) short term seating arrangement struggle. We're stubborn, we'll make it work.

On a side note. I'm one of those guys that loves sunroofs. When buying the van we weren't going to spec one to save some money but ended up swinging a deal on one they had on the lot which had the wheel upgrade and the sunroof. I don't regret it one bit :)

FWIW the retractable liner is very good at helping insulate the interior, both from the hot sun in summer as well as helping keep the cold off the top of your head. For the most part we keep the liner opened at the stop point, where it's opened up for the front and covers the kids in the back. When we're solo or on the rare occasions without the kids it gets opened right up. Makes it super bright and open feeling in there. At night we open it for the kids sometimes, it's neat to see them looking up because it's different and watching the street lights, etc.

If the seating arrangements are a concern for cargo-capacity a couple of times a year I'd consider a rear cargo rack or roof-top carrier for when you need the extra space.

The retractable roof rack is a welcome inclusion and we'll utilize that and my brother's cargo carrier if / when needed. He just doesn't know it yet LOL
 

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We drove long distance with 5 people in Hybrid. Kids in the rear, grandma in the second row, one second row seat removed and left home to have more room in the van. The Hybrid 2nd row seats are more comfortable and have back/forward adjustment, but they don't fold in the floor and need good muscle to remove and reinstall.
 

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There is another thread about the Hybrid with 8 seats, NO it's NOT a OEM Chrysler option! BUT, it is possible from CSO Radio in NJ, there is a member who lives a hour from them and they said they're confident they can do it but no one has showed them a hybrid so they need to see one first! The member on the list that lives a hour away will be taking their 2019 when it arrives to CSO Radio to see what they think. Once they do 1 on site they should be able to sell them across the web.
 
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