What's the better family car?

Best family car?


  • Total voters
    15

jettafock

Veteran Member
Joined
Mar 2, 2004
Location
Catonsville, MD
TDI
2004 Jetta GLS TDI auto, platinum gray, ESP
I was wondering what people thought would be the best family car out there. My family is currently myself, wife and 11 month old. We plan on expanding to 1 more in the near future and maybe a 3rd down the road.
 
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oilhammer

Certified Volkswagen Nut & Vendor
Joined
Dec 11, 2001
Location
outside St Louis (where it's safe)
TDI
There are just too many to list....
Not sure what a "Sharon" is, but the Sharan is not sold in this country.

The Sienna would be my first minivan choice, I guess. Really this depends on what your needs are. Since I rarely ever go anywhere with all the members of my family together, I would not have a vehicle that can do that duty as a daily driver for either my wife or myself. Since we drive so much, that car would simply cost too much to keep fueled... it would be (and is) a third car (or in my case, I guess a sixth.... :p ).

But if I had to choose one car, the Mazda 5 (which is essentially a Ford Focus with a tophat and an extra seat) would be on my short list. They can be had with the proper number of pedals, are decent to drive, reasonably efficient, and the only other vehicle somewhat like them is the Kia Rondo, which although not bad, isn't as nice.
 

IndigoBlueWagon

TDIClub Enthusiast, Principal IDParts, Vendor , w/
Joined
Aug 16, 2004
Location
South of Boston
TDI
'97 Passat, '99.5 Golf, '02 Jetta Wagon, '15 GSW
One thing I learned is that you can get along with kids in a much smaller car than you think. Until you have a third your Jetta would do the job fine. We had two kids with a Corolla, and that worked OK.

Third kid kind of pushes you over the edge, especially with car seats the size they are these days. But that's a ways off for you, at least two or three years I would suspect. No sense in planning for it now.

Look at people who have several children and see how much less stuff they carry around than those with a first child. We do learn how to streamline things. Two words: umbrella stroller.
 

jettafock

Veteran Member
Joined
Mar 2, 2004
Location
Catonsville, MD
TDI
2004 Jetta GLS TDI auto, platinum gray, ESP
Doh. I meant the Routan minivan. I had the Sharan on my mind I guess. Why can't I edit the poll to change that? Can an op edit the poll for me?
 

eddjmemg

Veteran Member
Joined
Sep 24, 2012
Location
NC
TDI
2011 Jetta
If you're gonna have 3 kids try putting 3 car seats next to each other. Minivan is not even an option. Check out the nice space n well built Touareg. Plus the TDI of course gets sweet gas mileage. The Hybrid model has insane power with decent mileage. Daily driver Jetta TDI. Oh wait that's what I have already chosen!


2011 Jetta TDI
 

oilhammer

Certified Volkswagen Nut & Vendor
Joined
Dec 11, 2001
Location
outside St Louis (where it's safe)
TDI
There are just too many to list....
The T'reg has less interior volume than a B6 Passat wagon. It has about HALF the interior volume of a Sienna. It also has no 3rd row seating.

And yes, they are well built. So well built, than almost anything besides an oil change requires engine removal, LOL.

Unless you are planning having all your children in rapid succession, you won't ever have a situation that requires three big child seats all together. Children do this amazing thing: they GROW. And they grow FAST. The whole child seat thing is but a short chapter in parenting. The little booster seats that kids use for longer don't take up any more seat real estate than a teenager's butt, so those are not a worry.
 
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IndigoBlueWagon

TDIClub Enthusiast, Principal IDParts, Vendor , w/
Joined
Aug 16, 2004
Location
South of Boston
TDI
'97 Passat, '99.5 Golf, '02 Jetta Wagon, '15 GSW
My poor brother-in-law has a 6 year old and 5 year old triplets. He and his wife both work so they were constantly shuttling kids in different cars. As a result they've ended up owning 8 car seats. Yikes. Mercedes GL and Buick Rendezvous for them. Yuck.

Here's another idea for the OP. Consider what you'd spend on a family car or van. Say it's $15K over what you'd buy otherwise. Buy an older van, or make do with what you have. Stick the $15K or whatever in a 529 account for the kids' education. Much better way to use the money.
 

kjclow

Top Post Dawg
Joined
Apr 26, 2003
Location
Charlotte, NC
TDI
2010 JSW TDI silver and black. 2017 Ram Ecodiesel dark red with brown and beige interior.
I hate to admit it but I voted for the minivan route. With most states requiring kids in some type of seat until they're 8 or 50 (?) pounds, there will be a period of time when you may have three seats in the vehicle. Of course, you can only fit two in the middle row and the oldest would be in the far back. IBW's suggestion is god if you can find a decent used minivan. It wouldn't be either of the ones I used to own. The last one the auction company wouldn't even take from the dealer for over a year.

Rented a Chrysler minivan last year in San Diego. It was really nice to have all of that room for any where between 3 and 7 of us.
 

FanofAllDiesels

Veteran Member
Joined
Jan 22, 2004
Location
Westminster, MD
TDI
2001 Golf Gls
Dan, I also put a vote in for the minivan. When Allison was small we bought a Dodge Grand Caravan. Not only was it great for moving people around, but I put a hitch on and was able to use it to tow a 5 x 10 landscape trailer. My wife used it to tow the kids around and I used it as a truck. I can tell you that when Amy was between 5 and 10 we would drive every other year down to Disney with 4 adults and 3 kids + all of the luggage. Becky still misses all of the room that the Grand Caravan had.

The other thing to consider is that kids have friends. Even though we don't have the Grand Caravan anymore, we often have to use the Excursion now just because we are transporting our kids and their friends places.

Good luck on the decision.

Jeff
 

eddjmemg

Veteran Member
Joined
Sep 24, 2012
Location
NC
TDI
2011 Jetta
Here's another idea for the OP. Consider what you'd spend on a family car or van. Say it's $15K over what you'd buy otherwise. Buy an older van, or make do with what you have. Stick the $15K or whatever in a 529 account for the kids' education. Much better way to use the money.

Best advice I've seen here on this forum! Except the minivan one. That's a horrible idea! Lol


2011 Jetta TDI
 

blue_jetta

Veteran Member
Joined
Jul 16, 2005
Location
New Jersey, USA
TDI
2006 Blue Jetta, 2005.5 Black Jetta
I'll weigh in on this one...

Our Jettas can fit 3 car seats (if the right seats are selected) but they are not ideal for long trips. We had to use one of the Jettas twice for a long trip (~150 miles) due to temporary issues with the minivan. We survived both of those trips. The Jetta trunk is large but when you have to start packing strollers and pack-n-plays, the space gets used up quickly.

We ended up getting the Sienna before our 3rd came along because it was given to us by friends of my wife's family. It had 193k miles at the time but was very well maintained. We routinely keep one of the 2nd row captains seats removed (for ease of loading kids) unless we anticipate having an extra passenger.

Since the Sienna had such high mileage and the other vehicles were well over 100k, I decided to keep all 3 vehicles. The Jetta and Suzuki worked fine as daily drivers based on our needs.

We ended up with the black Jetta when my Father-in-law passed away. The main reason I decided to keep it because it could fit 3 car seats. We sold off the Suzuki.

Everything is paid for so I'm not looking to make any changes to our current vehicular configuration. In the future, I'd like to trade the minivan up to a full size van so we can get a larger camper (currently have a pop-up). If I wasn't thinking about towing capacity, I'd stick with a minivan.

So, I think you can manage 2 kids just fine in any VW sedan/wagon but any more than that and a minivan is really useful. The other thing to consider to is whether or not you are going to be hauling around any parent(s)/grandparent(s) in your travels. Given our family situation we are starting to do more of that now.
 

bennybmn

Veteran Member
Joined
Mar 17, 2012
Location
Long Island, NY
TDI
(Formerly) '11 Jetta 6 speed, Alltrack 6MT
My brother-in-law has 3 seats across the back of his Golf, but they usually use the Wifemobile (Honda Pilot) for long hauls.

A buddy of mine has a Swaggerwagon (Toyota Sienna) and he can fit a whole sheet of plywood in the back, something to consider if you're into woodworking or a DIY kinda guy.
 

supton

Top Post Dawg
Joined
May 25, 2004
Location
Central NH (USA)
TDI
'04 Jetta Wagon GLS
I'd vote minivan, but it is nice to have smaller, since most of the time a vehicle is moving air. Probably the Grand Caravan, get something cheap, then beat it to death--kids are kinda rough on things.

Space is good. My A4 was lousy with rear facing seats--and we are not that tall. I don't think it will take three booster seats across the back; given the small back seat I think my kids skate by just fine w/o now--but they sorta still need them. Kid seats are not small.

We thought about Mazada5 but went Camry in the end. The amount of trunk space is amazing; we somehow managed to get one of the last stickshifts also. I think the Camry might actually hold more in the trunk than my wagon, assuming the seats are up. Certainly larger. Yeah, three kids is the max, as is 5 people total; but we also never wanted to deal with broken electric sliding doors, which seems to be a common complaint, or a bad trans (maybe Dodge has fixed that now?).

We've managed with a Civic in the past, did the Jetta for a while, but are pretty content right now with the Camry, with just two kids. Three and we'd probably have a minivan, only because of trunk space issues I'm guessing.
 

Campbellonh

Veteran Member
Joined
Jan 15, 2003
Location
New Hampshire
TDI
formerly:Passat, 96, white and 10 Jetta, white gold
When our 3 kids were in car seats, we actually were driving an Isuzu Trooper, but when they were older we had both a Dodge minivan and a Passat sedan. We had looked at a Jetta, but three teenagers fit much better in the back seat of the Passat and the trunk was spaceous enough for our overnight bags for each of us, and sometimes camping gear or Christmas presents, etc. We only had the minivan for a couple of years, and it was a good family hauler too, but I didn't like it enough to want to by another one. Then the Passat served well until they grew up and moved out.
 
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