Next month it will be ten (that’s right TEN) years since we purchased our
Over the last 20+ years, I have driven a variety of automobiles. Chevy Cavalier, Dodge Stratus, Volkswagen Jetta, Jeep Wrangler, Dodge Caliber and a Chevy Tahoe. Some were
With our family of five, the aging Chevy Tahoe was near the end of its automotive journey back in 2009 and we started our search for another large vehicle.
A mini-van just didn’t seem to be “me”. Don’t get me wrong, sliding doors, ample seating was appealing but each one I drove seemed small. I had spent the last few years driving a Tahoe and loved the space, size and the view I had while driving down the road. A m
We looked at a range of larger vehicles, even a few pick up trucks but nothing really caught my fancy. We always attended the Chicago Auto-Show each year and had spent some time at the Explorer Van Exhibit.
Explorer Conversion Vans uses three different lines of vans – Chevy/GMC, Ford Transit, and Mercedes-Benz Metris. You can pick a low-top or a high-top version. Inside you find yourself with spacious seating, cupholders for everyone and entertainment for those long road trips. We started looking at the Chevy version.
I checked out their website and what caught me first was their customer service. So responsive, so receptive and very helpful. With a handful of emails regarding what they had to offer, I was told they happened to have a demo available for sale with just a handful of miles on it (thinking we were just about 4,000 miles). They drove the van to my house and was able to test drive it right around my own neighborhood. While this might not happen every time you purchase a van directly from Explorer – it certainly was a plus!
Once we decided that this was the van for us, we actually made the purchase through one of our local Chevy Dealers. The process was smooth, quick with no drama (we already had the price determined by Explorer) and we were the proud owners of a Chevy Explorer Conversion Van. Only a few tears were shed as we piled into the new van and left our Tahoe behind, and that was from our youngest who was 18 months old at the time.
Over the last decade, this van has been the perfect companion for our family. Our travels have been to South Carolina, Colorado, Wisconsin, Indiana, Florida, Tennessee, Virginia, Washington DC. We have taken her camping, hockey tournaments, motorcycle vacations, Disney, hiking, sightseeing, museums, and drive-in movies. We’ve packed in family and friends for local and long-distance adventures.
How do you drive that thing??
Some people think a larger van can’t be easy to navigate the roads. I get questions all the time on how I can even manage driving a van this size. Here are just a few answers to the questions I usually answer:
- Parking: I think it is easy to park – with the backup camera it allows me to quickly see what is behind me. I do tend to back it into parking spots (easier to leave!) and always fit into spots. If you head to concerts and other outdoor events you tend to get the “closer” parking as they keep the larger vehicles together.
- Parking Garages: Driving in the city of Chicago I quickly learned which ones I fit into (has to be greater than 6ft 11in, but remember I have the low top version) and you tend to get the “special parking” closer to the exits as well. Always a plus.
- Gas mileage: Not too shabby, usually average about 15-19 miles per gallon and only hurts at the pump when you let it get all the way to empty (almost a 30-gallon tank). If you drive local (like I do) a full tank of gas can last almost 2-3 weeks.
- Highway Travels: You can pack a lot of stuff in the van and still have room to move around. Granted, we never had more than four people in the back for long trips so we always had space.
- Sleeping: While the back seat folds flat, we have never used it for sleeping during our travels. We have driven overnight – and the boys sleep in the captain chairs and the backseat (all while buckled) and had never had complaints!
- Durability: With basic maintenance and some general upkeep, we have topped 108,000 miles and still going strong.
- Chicago weather: Ok, this I will admit, if you don’t have the right tires on it, you might find yourself slipping a bit on the roads. This van is not four-wheel drive (newer versions might be?) but I never have issues. If it is that bad out – I stay home! This does fit 5+ sleds and lots of fully bundled kids ready to tackle the sled hills!!
My favorite part of this van is the size. Ever been caught in a downpour with 3-5 kids and need to get everyone into the car? With this
When you are in the market for your next vehicle, be certain to give Explorer Conversation Vans a look. I told my little ones when we purchased it (18 months, 5 years and 7 years) that this van would take them to college one day. We have less than a year before the first son departs, and looking forward to packing in the family of five and all his belongings to make the journey!