It started with the kayaks – I bought the kids kayaks this year from Costco and they don’t really fit in the van with the kids. They do, if you put two kids in a row, and then take out one of the middle seats (aka, they take up entire cargo space). I bought crossbars for my roof, and started strapping them up there, but before buying crossbars, I began to reconsider the minivan.
We knew we needed to install a hitch for a bike rack, or consider a new vehicle as our lease was almost up – maybe one with a hitch already.
— When Anna was born, we leased a 2017 Toyota Sienna. We had traded in so many vehicles and lost so much money that we felt a lease would be the safest choice for us financially as we still were trying to figure out what we wanted to do with our life. We loved the Toyota Sienna, it was a fantastic choice… until it wasn’t.
We Test Drove A Lot of Vehicles
The best part about test driving vehicles during a pandemic is that the salesperson doesn’t drive with you, so it’s just you and the vehicle. The downside is that you don’t always get to understand the cool features.
We looked at small trucks and SUV’s. We knew we didn’t want a large truck because it was out of our price budget, our gas budget, and just didn’t feel like a good choice for us – we had a Silverado for a while and I hated driving it in the city, but the city is part of our life.
I ruled out most SUV’s because they lacked trunk space. At the end of the day, an SUV trunk is nothing compared to a minivan and with the garden, I haul a lot of garden waste on the regular. While, I almost bought a Subaru Outback, I also couldn’t stomach 6% interest and ran away from that.
We ended up leaning towards the 2021 Toyota Sienna (which we would need to wait for) or a small truck. We test drove the Ford Ranger, Toyota Tacoma, Chevy Colorado, Nissan Frontier and the Honda Ridgeline.
We bought a Honda Ridgeline.
Why the Ridgeline?
The Honda Ridgeline is the best choice for us because it had all the gizmos we wanted, plus the comfort I wanted. The Honda Ridgeline is so incredibly comfortable for long drives, unlike the Toyota Tacoma which was cramped for me. I didn’t feel comfortable in the Tacoma despite how much we loved that truck.
We also loved the Ridgeline because for 50,000$ you get all the features – you get adaptive cruise control, the right turn camera, lane keep assist, automatic start, and a moon roof. All this on the base model! Unlike the Ford Ranger which was comfortable yes, but felt cheap and lacked most basic upgrades.
We were hesitant of the Ridgeline because of it’s small box, but the small box has met our needs so far. We’ve hauled loads to the dump, brought back a couch from Vancouver, brought back 500lbs of fresh produce from Cache Creek, and loved on our 9.2L/100km highway fuel economy. The Honda Ridgeline is way more efficient than our minivan.
I Do Miss the Mini Van
I miss the Toyota Sienna because automatic sliding doors are incredibly handy. I also miss having indoor space. There’s not a lot of good places to keep our dogs when traveling. I currently put them in cat kennels under the kids feet.
But, I’m excited for new adventures. We’re going to save up. the winter and buy a small trailer. We love that we don’t have to do oil changes as often, and that highway drives are comfortable and easy. The kids love it too because nothing beats a picnic in the box of the truck.