Monday, February 11, 2013

Thinking Out Loud: The Vehicle Dilemma

Several years ago, with only 2 kids and a history of fertility issues, I found the perfect car for us.  Our Chrysler Pacifica crossover was the perfect size for our situation.  It seats 6 total, with 4 captains chairs and 2 more seats in the back row.  While we had only the 2 kids, we kept the 3rd row down and had a great amount of cargo space.  When Hollyn came along, I was pleased that I'd chosen a vehicle we had room to grow into.  With one kid sitting in back, we lost some cargo space, but still have had enough for our needs - even family Costco trips.  Camping?  Well, that was tricky, but we made it work, somehow.  (Thanks to Brian.  *sigh*  It's so nice having a man who knows how to load so campactly.)

But, all along I knew our car would be best for UP TO 3 kids.  Although it can technically fit all 4, there is simply not enough cargo space left, especially since an additional person means even more cargo to include.  AND, Brian's little 23-year-old truck is not super reliable.  Surprised? ;-)  So that's been on our list to replace too.

Basically, it's time to re-evaluate our vehicle uses and needs.  At first I was thinking I'd keep my Pacifica since my day-to-day errands and chauffeuring don't require much cargo space. To make up for it, I thought I'd get Brian a 6 seater truck or SUV which I/we could swap for should I/we need the cargo space.  But Brian didn't love the idea of driving a big rig to and from work each day.  He wanted something small and gas efficient.  One night as I drove myself to another activity by myself, I realized that I also do a lot of either solo or 1-2 passenger driving.  I have band and now stake choir weekly, I go the gym several mornings a week alone.  I often do my grocery shopping at night alone.  SOOO, I see now that a small car would be used for more than just Brian's work commuting.  So yeah, something cheap with tax returns and that'll be good.

But what about the family car?  I still need something that can fit all of us, AND all our stuff.  Ideally, I want to be able to handle super-cargo trips like camping, vacations, and Costco.  It's currently between a minivan or an SUV that seats up to 9.  I'm NOT opposed to minivans for their own sake.  There is  no need to convince me of the merits of such a family car.  But the SUV would have some perks that I REALLY like.  Of course, so does the van.  Ugh!  It's so hard to decide.  Please offer your thoughts and ideas.  It's so hard to decide!

Minivan: The pluses are fuel efficiency, sliding doors, and drive-ability.  The cons are seating versatility and I'm concerned that even the stow-n-go type space behind the 3rd row isn't enough for the super-cargo instances.  These trips aren't super often compared to driving around down though, but when they do arise, I don't know what I'd do about it.

Does this seem like enough space for 6 people's luggage?


SUV: The kind I'm looking at has at least 8 seats (2, 3, and 3), but I'm especially tempted by the kind with a center seat in the front row.  In that case, the pluses are that we could potentially ALL sit in the first 2 rows, and  have the entire space behind the second row for cargo.  For the rest of the time when we don't want/need a kid up front, we'd have all sorts of options for where to put them.  One or two kids in the back/3rd row would still leave us with a seat or two that can be folded for more stuff space.  Also winter trips, rare as they are, would be safer.  Cons are the lessened fuel efficiency (not sure how different it is though.  Could be close), the lack of sliding doors, and perhaps trickier for parking.  (Comparing sizes though, the SUVs I'm looking at are only a few inches longer than a van,  (I'm not looking at Suburbans - those are more than a foot longer and too big.) and the same width.)

I don't know.  I'm not even going camping this summer, with a newborn and all, so it'll be about a year and a half before that situation even arises.  I just want something that does it all.  Could a van do that?  Would a mid-sized SUV be too much, despite it's similar size to a van?  I want your thoughts.

I could have the center seat down and it would function just as well as a van does inside


Kelly said...

I so want to talk this over with you. We've been doing our own thinking on a similar topic.

Kelly said...

So did you ever make up your mind?