Monday, April 22, 2013

The Great Vehicle Debate

If you are a Facebook friend, you might've seen my post yesterday about whether we should get a mini-van or an SUV.  We have outgrown our CR-V, and this summer, we will be in the market for a bigger vehicle. Now...I realize that a car purchase should be no big deal. I am a mom, and I should be practical at all times. I should also wear mom-jeans, be homeroom mother for both kids' classes (at the same time--I like a challenge!), make every craft on Pinterest, etc. Those things ain't happening around here, and apparently neither is the practicality.  I'm not horrible at making family-based decisions. But this one? This one is killing me, friends. Making me crazy.

I blame it on this:

THIS was the first car I ever owned. An '82 Cavalier Station Wagon (Awwwww, yeah.....).  I bought it for $800 cash; I made more than TWICE that in wrecks that were other people's fault.  My family situation growing up was unique in that my sister, who is 13 years older than me, got custody of me when I was 13.  She had her own family to raise (my darling nephews, who are now 21 and 24--I'm so damn old), so I was on my own as far as a car purchase.  This beaut was what I had the money to buy.  Ran great--never had one single real problem with it--but...yuck. I was a 16-year-old girl driving a station wagon.

Another view...just so you can get the full effect.

Now, don't get me wrong. I had some friends who started out driving some real winners, too (feel free to comment, high school friends, if you're reading! Let's reminisce about those fabulous cars..), but there were also plenty of kids who had decent cars. Nothing overly fancy, maybe a parent's discarded Toyota Corolla. And let's be real--there isn't much that's worse than a party wagon. Yeah.

I drove used cars after that. Specifically, I drove an old Mustang for awhile--a hand-me-down from Marty's sister. I shared Marty's Thunderbird (which was very nice at the time, but still used by the time we started sharing). Our first shared purchase was a used 2000 Grand Am--we thought we were riding in style then!  We got a used Explorer, which we drove for awhile. Then, we got our Honda Civic. My first NEW car. I loved that car--I still do. It was completely new, all shiny, with no smells of other people and their pets/bad habits. Still, despite the love I have for that's a Civic.  Very nice, great gas mileage, but obviously pretty un-fancy.

My history of crappy cars, along with the fact that I've never driven a car I would consider "fun" or "cool", makes me SOOOOOOO not want a van. I mean, as nice and shiny as this is, we all know it isn't considered all that hip:

I have a ton of FB friends who vowed their loyalty and love to their vans. I respect that, you all. I really do. I in no way think people who choose to drive vans are not hip. Some of my hippest (word?) friends are van-drivers. You guys rock those Siennas and Odysseys like a mutha. If anyone can be cool driving a van, it's my friends. Maybe it's a personal self-esteem issue. Maybe I already think I'm totally uncool, and that I just can't pull off the van like that. I don't know...

I also judge a car by how I feel when I listen to my music.  God, typing that makes me sound so...I don't know...selfish? Self-centered? I don't know...all I know is it's how I feel.  I can totally do my music in the Civic; I can have the windows rolled down and listen to this and not feel like a poser. The CR-V is pushing it, but it's all economical and green, so it works.  But a van? The windows down and me getting down to my music in a van?

I can't picture it yet. I mean, what if you heard this song coming from a car, and you looked in the rearview mirror and saw me--a mama in her late 30s in an Odyssey?  Actually that's a pretty funny thought.

Now, I CAN picture me listening to good stuff like this in a car that looks like this:

I'm not saying the Pilot is the coolest car out there, see.  How about this one?

Yeah. I can see that.

The logistics are that we need a 3rd row. Will we use it a lot? Definitely NOT. Only in the rare event that we might have some people in town and want to all ride together, and let's face it--people aren't lining up to come visit my crazy house. It's kind of a rarity. But eventually these kids will be out of car seats (okay, maybe not Amelia) and we might want to use that 3rd row for something.  At this point, there are obviously no more kids in the future, so needing another row for car seats isn't an issue.  Marty's tall height IS an issue. We need something that will give him the room to put his seat pretty much all the way back and not crush our children's feet in their seats.  No car seats in, and it's no big deal. Add the seats, it's tougher. Anderson is pretty squished when Marty drives. That needs to change.

If we go, and the Pilot won't work for us, I'll suck it up. Really, I will. But if there's a chance that the Pilot will meet our needs? That's the direction I want to go.  Does it make me feel horribly selfish? A little bit. But do I also think that, if cars bring us happiness (especially since I don't think I've ever really owned what I'd call a super nice car), and they also work for us, we should go with what makes us happy? Yes. Why not?

I'd love to hear some closing remarks on the issue...persuade me, friends. Help me see the light.


  1. We're on our way to baby #3 (if it ever decides to make its appearance) and are now debating if we need to replace our beloved Passat. When I was pregnant with #2 we knew we had to replace my Corolla because there was no way all four of us could comfortably fit in there, especially with the kids rear-facing for so long. So we took the plunge and started car shopping. I was (and kind of still am) staunchly opposed to getting a minivan. I just can't see myself driving a mom-mobile. But damn if they don't have all of the conveniences you need when you have kids. We finally settled on the Ford Flex, my Sexy Flexy, and I've gotta say, I love it. It's got the space we need and I don't feel so old and mom-ish. I just feel like a minivan is like giving in to mom jeans. I just can't do it. LOL Good luck on your hunt!

  2. We got a minivan about a month and a half ago, and I agreed to it only because we will eventually need the third row, (we actually used it a lot during our last trip to Florida!) and the extra storage space became handy during our recent move. I did not want a minivan, but my husband didn't accept my reason of "But I'm still relevant!!!" as a good excuse not to get one.

    He was like "Oh the sliding doors are so nice!" and I was like "I can open a door just fine." to which he replied "You can push a button on the key and it'll open from a distance; so convenient." and I was like "So lazy." I was not sold.

    That is, until both kids fell asleep on the way to Target one rainy day. The baby woke up once I parked the car, and we were able to hang out in the back while the toddler slept. THEN I had more than enough room to get the toddler out of his carseat, put the baby into his carrier, open up the back door via my key button, hoist the toddler on my hip, jump out of the back of the van, and speed walk into Target, staying as dry as possible, while the back door closed behind me because of that stupid key button.

    I felt like Super Woman. Ok, Town & Country, you win.