Saturday, October 19, 2013

The search for the #familycar


Duh, you guessed it. I've mentioned before, we are scouting out a new family car. It's coming. The minivan.is.coming. My cliche.life.will.be.complete!

No, honestly, I don't have a thing against the minivan, and between our Costco habit and my hubby's penchance for carpentry, we need some serious cargo space.

But, and not to get off topic, I'd just like to say, that when I was understudy-ing the role in Motherhood: the Musical that sings the "Minivan"song, and I had to go on unexpectedly for the first time, I accidentally left on my prop sunglasses for the entire number, to the great entertainment of my colleagues on stage as well as the audience.

I think this was not an accident. I think I will be buying some Jackie O's and permanently affixing them to my noggin as soon as the papers are signed on this thing. Anyhoo...

I'm so dying to get to some magical place where I can put all the front runners next to each other and climb through the backs so I can see where I won't be cursing my children to strap themselves into the back and won't be hitting my head on the entry way and/or inside DVD player.

And by the way, I am short. 

But that magical place [*cough* carmax *cough*] is at least an hour away, so before we go back I obviously need to list out the pros & cons & features & measurements here for you guys. 

You know, cuz that's why you are here. To make decisions for me.
[thanks]

RECRUITING FOR:
MUST HAVE
  • a roomier family car (we currently have a CR-V)
  • 3rd row seat for carpool/playdates & visiting grandparents
PREFER ALSO
  • some luxe feel for the driver
  • DVD & rear view camera
  • easy access to third row
  • roof rack?
IN THE CROSSOVER SUV TEAM:
Buick Enclave
PROS
  • I drove it; it feels hot (might have been 6 cylinder, 4WD)
  • LOTS of storage space for a crossover with a 3rd row, prob the most
  • I like the captains, easier access to the third row
  • LOTS of luxe features incl. AC adapter in back with cable inputs for a game system, heating & cooling seats
CONS 
  • mpg are prob going to be the lowest of anything we are looking at
  • it's basically a Chevy Traverse, just with luxe details, and the diff in price is quite a bit
There were three different types of cable inputs for the Buick; which means gaming system for hubby/son
The interior of the Buick was really enticing for a family of four
There was definitely more room in the back of the Buick than our CR-V, even with the third row up

Nissan Pathfinder
PROS
  • for some reason this is hubby's latest crush looks-wise
  • we would be buying new to get the newest design
  • "tri-zone" DVD system in seat-backs allows for individual entertainment
  • second row seats "kneel" so as to allow easy access to 3rd row while still maintaining all 3 seats (and potential car seats) in tact in 2nd row
  • may be able to get the 2014 hybrid edition
CONS 
  • we'd be buying new to get the newest design so we'd be paying a premium for that
  • still feels very big for a crossover
  • not much cargo space with 3rd row up; not much with it down either 
Mazda CX-9
PROS
  • least expensive of the crossover SUV options we are looking at
  • this manual-option transmission I found very exhilarating as a former manual driver
  • great, fun drive; hot design all around
CONS
  • the third row is truly an afterthought; very tight
  • visibility is a little poor
Some free-agent luxury SUV we didn't know we could get so cheap
PROS
  • we will finally 'belong' on the Main Line
  • we will enter our 40's in luxe
CONS
  • we will cringe every time our children enter it 
SOME OUTSIDE NOTES ON THESE SUV'S:
 
79.8 cubic feet storage space in Nissan Pathfinder.


The Enclave offers 23.3 cubic feet of cargo space behind the third row, 68.9 cubic feet with the third row folded and 115.2 cubic feet with the second and third rows of seats folded. These dimensions are among the largest in the class, and the Enclave offers more overall cargo space than some large SUVs like the Chevrolet Tahoe. The Enclave also comes standard with a power liftgate. Reviewers are very pleased with the Enclave’s available cargo space, as well as its small-item storage in the cabin.  
Another test driver appreciates that the second-row seats fold and slide easily to allow access to the third row. 

  IN THE MINIVAN TEAM:
Honda Odyssey
PROS
  • does not drive any differently than my CR-V
  • I've been in the back of one with 5 two-year-olds and still had shoulder space
  • seems to be the biggest, baddest minivan around
  • that minivan push-button door opening thing (as opposed to SUV's)
CONS 
  • does not drive any differently than my CR-V
  • it's priciest than any other minivan
Chrysler Town & Country
PROS
  • a LOT cheaper than the Honda, even with luxe details
  • all the seats completely recess to the floor; no lifting them out
  • push-button recess for third row (no wrestling for mama)
  • that minivan push-button door opening thing
CONS 
  • the least sexy of any of above
  • don't know what our maintenance will be like, since we are used to reliable Honda's   
  • There were two screens on the Town & Country; this intrigued me.
    I really liked that all the seats disappeared without having to be taken out
SOME OUTSIDE NOTES ON MINIVANS:
(the Caravan is the same frame as the Town & Country) 
The 2014 Honda Odyssey has good cargo space for its class. It has 38.4 cubic feet of cargo space behind the third row, 93.1 cubic feet behind the second row and 148.5 cubic feet behind the front seats. Reviewers love how easy it is to fold the third-row seats flat into the floor. One test driver says the Odyssey’s manual-folding third row folds down faster than the power-folding systems found in rival minivans. Another writes that when the third-row seats are in use, there is still enough space behind them for a week’s worth of groceries. Unlike the Dodge Grand Caravan’s second row, the Odyssey’s second-row seats do not fold flat into the floor. The bevy of small-item storage features inside the Odyssey draw praise from the automotive press. They include an available drink-chilling compartment, an available trash bag holder and a number of other bins, pockets and trays.

The Chrysler Town & Country has 33 cubic feet of cargo space behind the third row, 83.3 cubic feet behind the second row and 143.8 cubic feet behind the first. The second and third rows feature Chrysler’s Stow ‘n Go technology, folding flat into the floor, and reviewers say this is a very helpful feature. In competing minivans like the Honda Odyssey and Toyota Sienna, you have to remove the second-row seats from the vehicle to get a flat load floor. Both rear rows fold manually, but a power-folding third row is optional. One automotive journalist appreciates the variety of individual storage areas throughout the cabin, including the under-floor bins in front of the Stow ‘n Go seats.

Some test drivers think that the driver’s seat in the Town & Country lacks legroom, and is uncomfortable on long trips. The second-row seats are large and offer good support, according to other reviewers, though some also say that they are mounted a bit low. As with most minivans, some reviewers think that three adults will struggle to fit in the Town & Country’s third row, though one test driver says that two people will fit comfortably. 

As you can probably tell, I'm crush-ing on the Buick. And the front-runner for the minivan is prob the Town & Country.

I think, for this purchase, we might as well get the minivan. It will make more sense in these next few years. 

And I don't really understand, although I've always been loyal to Honda, why I would spend an extra 50% on what is still a minivan that I'm expecting the kids to crap up in 20 seconds flat? 

Mama may have to convince Hubby to get a Nissan Z for the second car in a few years. For now we are probably not trading in the CR-V so when he wants to upgrade, let's hope for that sports car mama can drive on the weekends...I've never even told you about my Audi TT bet with him...

I'll let you know what we end up getting! My MIL will be visiting around Halloween so that's probably when we'll have the next chance to make a move...

But, if I had to guess...

I'm going to be blasting the "minivan" song as I roll through the preschool line in no time...

"LOOK AT ME, IN MY MINIVA-A-AN"

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