Re: Small children & SMB
As another data point, let me give you my experience with our kids aged 5 and 7 when we bought the van.
We have the EB-52 which looks a lot like the 50 except that it has 2 captains chairs in the second row. We did this because we like to have our kids close and this allows us to pass things back and forth without getting out of the seat. All four seats swivel when stopped.
On the downside, we lost the foldout kitchen option and have limited counter space:-)
We "countered" the counter space issue by adding foldout counters on both sides of the sink and behind the driver side passenger seat. That said, we rarely use them. I have pictures in my gallery (look for the oldest ones) if you are interested. We also got the EB which gives us more room in the rear for cabinets.
In an effort to secure rear loads from flying forward in a crash, I had SMB put in tiedowns at the rear of the van, on both sides of the access hatch for undervan storage. I also use the LATCH tie downs for car seats on the back of the rear sofa. This provides 5 (3 on the sofa, 2 in the rear) total tiedown points for load securing. We are less than consistent in using them but it was very inexpensive to have them added and I'm happy we did.
On a somewhat related point, one reason I chose to go with Quadvan 4x4 was due to the way they left crumple zone in the front of the van alone as opposed to the SMB strategy of welding it together to create a mount point. It was my perception that leaving it untouched was going to provide enhanced cushion in the event of a crash. How much will it help in reality? I have no idea.
The interior light fixtures have been a pain, my kids and I have whacked our heads repeatedly on them. I am awaiting a led 12v fixture that has a lower profile and swivels similar to camping headlights and I'll replace them all.
In summary, while I envy the 50 layout for the spacious front, we would make the same interior decision if we were to buy again today. It is better for us while traveling but slightly less convenient, compared to a 50, when camping. Potentially, we will remove the door side passenger captains seat when they get older and add back in the swing out kitchen.
2008 SMB EB-52, Quadvan 4x4, 6.0 PSD SOLD
2017 Ford Transit T250 148WB mid-roof w/ Quadvan 4x4