Archived Q&A and Reviews

Van with space for 6 plus lots of cargo?

Our kids (11 and 12) and their friends have physically outgrown the 3rd seat of our Volvo wagon, so we'd like to get a used van that is big enough to hold 2 adults, our 2 kids, a friend each, PLUS cargo if, for example, we go camping together. The problem is this--when I look at most 3-seated minivans, they look like there's not much room for cargo with all 3 seats in, and, as they're higher than a station wagon, we'd rather not put a cargo carrier on top as we do on the Volvo. Is there a minivan where just one of the seven seats can be removed to provide more cargo space? If we need to get a regular van, what is the smallest appropriate one? I've noticed from the ads that some of the newer vans have lots of seat arrangements, but as we'd like to get a used one--probably not newer than 96 or 97--we'd need one that had this kind of versatility as of a few years ago. (A reliable model would be nice too.) Thanks.

We had the same situation of needing space for 2 adults,3 teens and cargo space inside the minivan(Plymouth 1994 Minivan). I took out the two seater in the middle out and put the three seater in its place. Doreen

Dodge Caravan has been available since 1991 with Captain's Seating in the middle. Each of these individual high backed seats may be removed independently. Stowing gear in front of people in the bench seat isn't all that wonderful, but it is possible. Since those models lack a left side sliding door, you can stack stuff against the left inside and the back of the driver's seat.

Alternatively when you can get by with five seats, you can move the rear bench forward and have a huge space in the rear. I never tried it on ours, but you might be able to but one bucket seat in the back.

Ford's econoline vans will hold a lot more, but ride quality, gas mileage and parking in structures make this choice less attractive. (I drive these for my kid's school) They also have a couple of Chevy vans but these have a horrible turn radius.