Wish to End the Odyssey


I am weary of my 2000 Honda Odyssey minivan but with school age kids I need a vehicle with three rows of seats. Both minivans and SUVs have so so mileage due to the weight of the vehicle. Any thing out there with 3 rows of seats, decent cargo space and better mileage … or am I dreaming??

– Amanda
San Diego, CA.


Day dreaming, perhaps! And there’s nothing wrong with that. But the reality is you’ll have to compromise somewhere when it comes to third row seating, ample cargo space and decent mileage.

These days you basically have three choices: minivans, SUVs and crossovers/station wagons.

The crossover/station wagon category has more interesting style choices as well as vehicles that don’t look or feel as bulky as a SUV or minivan. The Ford Flex, Subaru Tribeca, Buick Enclave, Mazda CX9 and Lincoln MKT all have a third row seating option available and city/hwy mpgs that range from the high teens to the mid- to high-twenties. The downside of these crossovers is that with the third row of seating in place you sacrifice cargo/trunk area. It’s a similar situation in the larger SUVS with third row capabilities.

So if it’s more people moving on short trips with less cargo, I say go the easier-on-the-eye crossover/station wagon.

But if it’s a soccer team with all their gear, you may just have to stick with the minivan for the time being. Sometimes college can’t come quickly enough!

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