I need some help. We are still in need of a car that can fit all six of us. Obviously we thought we would have a bit more time to figure this out before Kembe came home from Haiti. We've been getting by with a very generous loaner minivan, but we need to find a permanent solution. The problem is, I am completely overwhelmed with the idea of choosing a car.
I am not a car person. I don't know about cars. I don't care about cars. Our strategy thus far has always been to pay cash for older Hondas and drive them for a long, long time. The only feeling I really have about cars is a mild disdain for minivans. Have I mentioned that here? I can't remember.
Anyways, we now have some rather specific car needs, and I have no clue where to start. And despite all my protestations about minivans, I'm pretty open to anything at this point. Getting my kids in and out of the car has become the bane of my existence. I am willing to put my ego aside. Take one for the team, if you will.
If you are a car person and have some ideas for me, I would love the feedback. If you aren't a car person, what I'm about to say will probably be the most boring thing you will ever read. I'm not a car person so I'm already boring myself.
Here is what I'm hoping for in a car:
1. (And this is most important): I need a car that allows the kids to get in and out on their own, where I can access their carseat straps without crawling into the back myself. Of my four kids, only Jafta can independently strap himself in. So I don't want a car that forces me to crawl into a third row to do the straps. Nor can I do a car that requires one of the first row seats to fold forward every time the kids get in and out. We still have toddler seats (not boosters) and an infant carseat, and I don't want to take one in and out every time we enter the car. So I'm thinking we either need bucket rows in the first row, with an "aisle" to the backseat - which I guess means a minivan? Or not? Or maybe there is a car that has a bench seat for the first row, where I could put the three smaller carseats, and then has a row behind it that could partially fold down, allowing Jafta access from the back of the car? (I know the Honda Flex has this. I need a cheaper idea than that). The minivan we are driving now is great because I can seat India in the back row and still reach her straps, and there are two bucket seats with room on either side for Jafta and India to get in themselves.
2. I need trunk space. My stroller is ginormous. I also need to pack groceries next to the stroller so I don't drop raw eggs on my foot when I open the trunk.
3. I need a car that's been around for a while. We have a limited budget. (And by limited, I mean we have no budget. We need to try to sell one of our cars and then use that money, which won't be much). I need an older-model car so that I can buy it used.
4. I actually do care about my environmental impact. Not sure how that works with a six-seater. Guessing I won't be able to afford a hybrid. But is there a happy medium between the Prius and the Hummer?
5. I need something low-maintainance. We've always been partial to Hondas. I don't wanna be in the shop all the time. A retro vw can is my dream car - but I'm hearing they are not so reliable. Or affordable.
6. As I said, I am open to minivans. But, if there is another option, that would be cool.
As I write this list, I get the sinking feeling that perhaps this car does not exist. If you have ideas for me, I would love to hear them. If you have a couple kids and a car you love, what is it and what do you love about it?
Also, does anybody know Oprah?
posted on Thursday, February 11, 2010