Anyone use the Prius for a " Young Family Car?"

Discussion in 'Gen 2 Prius Main Forum' started by GoEco, Apr 17, 2007.

  1. GoEco

    GoEco Red Prii Rule

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    We're thinking of trading in my (beloved) Guzzling SUV for a Prius. Am I crazy? We have 2 kids age 1 & 5 and this would be the main car (with the extra being an Accord - so ever-so-slightly larger). We do lots of commuting around driving with the kids in the car so this would be the one used the most to combat our insane gas prices here.

    We did test drive one and "test trunk" it to make sure it would at least fit the essentials and it would. I will have to learn to travel more lightly though.

    Thoughts?
     
  2. Neuvena

    Neuvena New Member

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    Yes!! I do. A mere four weeks ago I traded in my Honda Odyssey Minivan for a Prius (pkg 4). Prior, I spent about three weeks testing driving all the Toyota hybrids and chose the Prius. I Love it!! My two kids (2 and 5yo) fit perfectly in the back and I don't miss the extra space. I was encouraged to go for the Prius by another mother with two kids (4 and 6yo) she has had hers for two years and LOVES it. I used to put ~16 gallons of gas/week in the Odyssey and now I put ~5gallons of gas/week in the Prius!!!

    Our other car is a Honda CRV and will will always like something with four-wheel drive. When that car runs out we may go for the Hybrid Highlander.

    If I may make some suggestions...make sure you get at least Pkg. 2, that is the lowest cost pkg with vehicle stability control. Also, the backup camera is GREAT and a must have (I'm not sure what pkg that comes with). Also, I bought the silver color as it is the safest (do a google search for the New Zealand study) - it just felt better with the kids riding so often in the car.

    Good Luck!

    Tracy


    -----------
    We're thinking of trading in my (beloved) Guzzling SUV for a Prius. Am I crazy? We have 2 kids age 1 & 5 and this would be the main car (with the extra being an Accord - so ever-so-slightly larger). We do lots of commuting around driving with the kids in the car so this would be the one used the most to combat our insane gas prices here.

    We did test drive one and "test trunk" it to make sure it would at least fit the essentials and it would. I will have to learn to travel more lightly though.

    Thoughts?
    [/quote]
     
  3. jeneric

    jeneric New Member

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    2 kids is no problem. We even take it traveling and camping.

    When the kids' friends come is when we want the van.
     
  4. Tyrin

    Tyrin New Member

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    <div class='quotetop'>QUOTE(GoEco @ Apr 17 2007, 05:25 PM) [snapback]424933[/snapback]</div>
    Our family is only three, but we love the Pri. This summer we plan on shifting the car seat to one side, put down the other back seat flat, and load it up. We'll be taking suitcases, baby stuff, and a cello cross country. The Prius replaced my Cavalier, and I was shocked when I realized I traded UP in size!

    My 2 cents is that if you're a really young family like ours, and have never bought the minivan/suv, DON'T! You won't miss it.
     
  5. tacomel

    tacomel New Member

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    We frequently pack 2 adults, a near two-year-old, the stroller, a bunch of toys, and suitcases comfortably into the Prius very comfortably. This included a winter drive from Madison to Chicago to catch a flight to Florida, which entailed packing two seasons' worth of clothes.
     
  6. efusco

    efusco Moderator Emeritus
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    Ordered ours when we had a pair of 4 year olds...a month after taking delivery we found out we had a suprise 3rd on the way. The kids prefer the Prius and we find it an ideal family car for about 80% of what we do. We're 3 1/2 years+ into our Prius and love it.

    The other 20% of the time we use our Highlander Hybrid that replaced a Ford Windstar.
     
  7. Highly ImPriused

    Highly ImPriused Impressive Member

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    We've got a 3.5 year old in a booster seat and a 7 month old in a carseat. The only "problem" is that the rear-facing carseat for the baby doesn't allow the passenger seat directly in front of it to move all the way back. This is only an issue when we're all in the car together and my wife is driving, since it's a little tight for me in the passenger seat that way (not a problem for my wife though if I'm driving). Also in a few months we'll be able to turn the car seat around to forward facing and that will alleviate the problem. Overall it's very spacious in the rear seat. Most adults can fit back there very comfortably. You should have no problems with a 1 and 5 year old. BTW, the Prius has slightly more rear leg room than the Accord. You also get more cargo room in the Prius compared to most any regular car with a trunk.
     
  8. chogan

    chogan New Member

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    <div class='quotetop'>QUOTE(GoEco @ Apr 17 2007, 06:25 PM) [snapback]424933[/snapback]</div>
    Six year old and 11 year old here, and it works fine. The rear legroom is very good for a small car, and the hatchback configuration is handy. Not even close to running out of legroom in the back. It won't comfortably handle any more adults, though, so 2 parents + 2 kids + grandma was too much of a squeeze for us. And packing for a vacation is a squeeze if you tend to pack a lot of stuff. For running around town, it has worked well for us for the past 2 years.
     
  9. DocVijay

    DocVijay Active Member

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    <div class='quotetop'>QUOTE(efusco @ Apr 17 2007, 08:49 PM) [snapback]425011[/snapback]</div>
    My situation mirrors Evan's. Soon after taking delivery of the Prius, we found out #3 was on the way. If you have only 2 kids, then the Prius is a great car. Sure it's got less room than an SUV, but as you said, just learn to pack lighter.

    With 3 kids, the Prius is NOT ideal. It does work, but it is much more difficult. We still have an SUV, and even though we can get better mileage on long trips in the Prius, we always take the SUV because everyone fits better and has more room. I consider comfort for mileage a fair trade-off.

    So if you plan on staying with only 2 kids, then the Prius will be just fine.

    We're 1 1/2 years into our Prius and love it.
     
  10. Screaming Red

    Screaming Red Two Pri Wannabe

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    <div class='quotetop'>QUOTE(DocVijay @ Apr 18 2007, 12:26 AM) [snapback]425097[/snapback]</div>
    Au contrair. We bought the Pri to drag our 11- year old triplets to school and activities every day, and they fit fine in the back seat. We're in the Pri about an hour total weekdays, no trouble or fisticuffs so far. It did take an adjustment to get used to loading all the backpacks, cello (small child sized cello), viola and clarinet into the back area, but otherwise a smooth transition.

    When they start driving in 4 years, the Pri will be theirs.

    Do still have the honking big SUV for dragging lots of kids or to pull the camping trailer, but usually only drive it once a week now.
     
  11. DocVijay

    DocVijay Active Member

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    <div class='quotetop'>QUOTE(screaming red @ Apr 17 2007, 11:56 PM) [snapback]425120[/snapback]</div>

    And therein lies the key. If you have kids that are not in car seats or booster seats then yes, you can easily fit them in the back. But try and fit three car seats in the back. Evan (efusco) did it, but I could not. I tried to get it to work, but I was never able to get them to fit properly and still close the door.
     
  12. Godiva

    Godiva AmeriKan Citizen

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    <div class='quotetop'>QUOTE(DocVijay @ Apr 18 2007, 12:09 AM) [snapback]425130[/snapback]</div>
    How long are they in the car seats? (I don't have kids and we didn't have car seats when I was little. At least nothing beyond the baby stage.)
     
  13. GoEco

    GoEco Red Prii Rule

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    Thanks everyone! Some of you hit on the main concern, we won't have a back up huge car for rare instances (bringing home the Christmas Tree! Ack! any suggestions?). My car is the big car. Decisions, Decisions.

    <div class='quotetop'>QUOTE(Godiva @ Apr 17 2007, 10:17 PM) [snapback]425137[/snapback]</div>
    As long as possible! At least 5 years and 50 lbs...if not longer. It starts to depend upon where the belt hits the child.

    You might want to reconsider that. Rear-facing is always the safest for little ones. 12 months and 20 lbs. is just the minimum. Many of the better car seats (mainly Britax) accept rear-facing children much much longer. You can lessen the tilt when baby is older & their neck stronger, though, giving you more room in front.
    Rear-facing Safety Links!
    http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/9916868
    http://www.cpsafety.com/articles/stayrearfacing.aspx
    http://www.windsorpeak.com/dc/dcboard.php?...=full&page=


    Again, thanks everyone. Now it's time to decide. ugh. Why can't the CR-V come in a Hybrid! (ducking)
     
  14. chogan

    chogan New Member

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    <div class='quotetop'>QUOTE(GoEco @ Apr 18 2007, 02:48 AM) [snapback]425194[/snapback]</div>
    Rent. We went without a second car for a few months. The weekend rates at our local rent-a-car seemed really reasonable to me. I joined flexcar (Washington DC area) for another option but never used it. I seemed to "need" a larger vehicle about once a week, and finally broke down and bought a Mazda5 for hauling more than four people at a time.

    That said, the economics of rent versus own are good. Just the fixed costs of owning a lightly used ("spare") $20K auto (interest depreciation tax registration insurance) would have paid for 18 full weekend rentals (Friday PM to Monday AM) or 36 one-day rentals of a minivan at my local car rental place. And that's the most expensive thing they rent. If you only needed a full-sized sedan, you'd get twice as many days. Flexcar, by contrast, rents by the hour, so if you only need it for occasional errands, that's very cost effective.

    But it's not instantly available and car seats would be a major hassle and so on. So I took the lazy route and bought another car. But if you really only need a hauler a few times a year, it would be vastly cheaper and greener. Greener not just because it means not building another car, but mainly because if you have the big car there, you'll use it. Just because it's convenient.
     
  15. daronspicher

    daronspicher Active Member

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    Nah, it sucks.

    We had the Prius for a year, just the two of us. It's ok, small on the bigger trips and we seemingly only get 45mpg or so on open road like that when I get closer to 52-53mpg in daily commuter traffic.

    Then, add a baby and it's just not that great. Got the car seat in the middle in the back. One of us shoehorned into the seat on either side of that. The other side of the back seat with diaper bag, camera bag, stufff.... Back has some luggage, couple pillows, it's not that big. Front passenger side is the stroller in it's folded up position since there is no way this fits with the luggage in the back.

    Now that we're all compressed in the car, we're getting terrible mileage by my Pruis standards and it's absolutely not comfortable. It's doable, but in no way comfortable. At this point, the prius also feels 'loaded'

    And, so we're looking into Odyssey or Sienna in the next few months. As gas goes to $3.50 and we're the only ones in America looking to buy a minivan, I'm hoping to get a good deal.
     
  16. PA Prius

    PA Prius Active Member

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    The Prius is a great family car. We have a 13 and 14 year old. This summer we plan on taking it to the west coast and back, camping. The roof rack will likely drop our mileage from the mid-50's to the low 40's, but it sure beats an RV!

    PA P
     
  17. dmckinstry

    dmckinstry New Member

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    <div class='quotetop'>QUOTE(GoEco @ Apr 17 2007, 02:25 PM) [snapback]424933[/snapback]</div>
    Well, we're not young (i.e., my wife and I), but I've had both of us, my son, my older daughter, and one of our grandsons all in the car at the same time. My daughter wasn't with us for the longer part of the trip. We've picked her up at SeaTac and drove her with us to Olympia. No problems, including all of our luggage. All of our luggage wasn't that much because it was only a 650 mile round trip for us. My wife, the same grandson, and I went to California a few weeks ago. Anyway, again no problems.

    Two kids shouldn't be a problem, other than the normal keeping them entertained while traveling. I bought a 12V DVD player with screen from Radio Shack for $130. That helps some.

    Dave M.
     
  18. GoEco

    GoEco Red Prii Rule

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    Thanks. I was thinking more along the lines of all the "stuff" I seem to need for my kids. You'd think I live in my car (well, I almost do!).
     
  19. efusco

    efusco Moderator Emeritus
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    <div class='quotetop'>QUOTE(GoEco @ Apr 18 2007, 09:38 PM) [snapback]425758[/snapback]</div>
    The hatch area has a hidden storage area beneath the floor you see...I've removed that and the added depth gives a lot of storage space. Others have said that their stroller won't fit, but we've never had a problem with our Graco stroller. We've packed enough stuff for our family of 5 for a 10 day cruise trip, a 12 day Ireland trip (hauling the stuff from home to the airport 3 hours away is what I mean), and many other trips. We sometimes take the Prius to our lake house 1 1/2 hours away and have our 70lb lab in the back with the rest of us up front. I can make a Sam's Club run and come home with all of us, 6 cases of pop, a case of paper towels, a case of toilet paper and whatever other nick-nacks we bought.

    Unless we know we'll be hauling a particularly boxy or tall item we rarely give any thought to which vehicle we take as the Prius has always accomodated our routine shopping and errand running.

    Like I say though, for a couple years we kept our Expedition SUV as a back-up vehicle to the Prius and Windstar...but it saw only ~3000 mile sin those 2 1/2 years and most of those miles were ski trips to Colorado. We still need/want the SUV from time to time...my wife is taking a crib and a bunch of other baby stuff to her sister 4 hours away...while it probably could've fit in the Prius it isn't worth the trouble of working out the 'puzzle' to get it in and then she'd have to take it all out herself...but it could have gone either way...she likes the HiHy, I like the Prius and it's not worth fussing over the details. I'll take the HiHy on my annual ski trip just b/c it's easier to access my 'junk' in the back and it handles the terrain better w/ it's 4WD.

    There are definately some things the Prius isn't ideal for, but for a small family it'll sure make you feel better about the example you're setting for your kids and the world they're growing up in. I think you'll find the trade off very much worth your while.
     
  20. GoEco

    GoEco Red Prii Rule

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    Thanks efusco!

    I already tried out my P3 stroller in the trunk of the car at the dealership and it fit. I also noted those fabulous Toyota storage spots. I love how they give you access to every little space! I can put my stroller and one storage bin in it, and itl ooks like the rest of my stuff may fit in the secret little spots. We'll be at a loss for furniture hauling, like you note, and we don't have a dog; but otherwise this amy be the ticket! I've already sourced three red tourings and one red regular with the right Packages (6). Now I am just awaiting the detailing of my SUV and to sell it. I'm going to try for a couple of weeks (I hope at least one of the REd Prii I've found is left) before resorting to a trade-in. Wheeeee! This is fun!

    The only other drawback is just about every other car at my child's school is a prius and I hate being (or looking like) a follower. Oh well, I guess some trends are worth following!
     
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