Thursday, April 08, 2010

Car shopping

We seem to have decided, for the most part, that we should replace our car. Our current car is a 2002 Hyundai Elantra GT (that's a hatchback) with 170,000 km on it. The car has started to make some sounds. We've already put some good money into it this year. We'd be cramming three kids into the back seat together if we keep it, which is what we were fully planning to do, until the recent sounds started and we faced spending another chunk of money on it.

And so I started a search for a new car. I went to Mazda first. I've liked the Mazda 5 for some time and it does have an extra row of seating at the back making it a 6-seater. It also IS NOT A MINIVAN and don't let anyone else tell you different! I am so completely and totally anti-minivan. Not only are they supremely U-G-L-Y, they are also not fuel-efficient and too big for my tastes.

We test drove the Mazda 5 today. I loved it. There is one big problem though: John's legs are just a bit too long to be truly comfortable in the driver's seat. In fact, he has a little less leg room than in our Elantra hatchback, which totally blew me away. On the very large plus side, there is room for the three kids in there without being crammed in like sardines. Also, it handles great, is good on gas and is kind of sporty - decidedly not mini-van.

Last night I went to the Hyundai dealership. I drove the Tuscon (thumbs down!) and the Elantra Touring, the replacement car for our GT which they no longer make. I liked the Touring, not surprisingly since it drove just like our current car. It has a bit more cargo space in the trunk since it is a mini-wagon but we're faced with the same issue of cramming three car seats across the back and the only way that will work is if we buy a Sunshine Radian car seat for either the baby or Hope. If the baby is in it that will mean that I will never be able to cart the baby around in a bucket seat; I will always have to unbuckle and lift the baby out of the seat; not the end of the world, but inconvenient nonetheless. On the major plus side is that our current winter tires and roof rack will fit on the Touring, saving a bunch of money later on.

So, there is still no sure answer, no sign pointing us at the PERFECT CAR.

Any advice? What would you buy if you had three kids? Or maybe you already do.... if so, what do you drive? (Please don't advise a minivan.... I'm a bit pig-headed about my opinion on that.)


Julie said...

too bad john can't fit into the mazda very well. have you considered nissan? dan and adrian just bought the pathfinder. it has the extra row of seating in the back. they love it. it is LARGE though. surprisingly we can fit three carseats in the back of the neon. well, two of those full back booster types and one full on car seat. but i guess hope isn't in a booster yet... hmmm, tough one.

Lynn said...

Well, we do drive the dreaded minivan, but we had very little choice -- when the third one was born, our oldest was still in a proper car seat (not even an booster), so we need a car that could take three car seats. So, van.

If we were to shop today, I think we would look at small station wagons (do people even use that term any more? Or have I just dated myself back to the dinosaurs?). Our other car is a Subaru and although they are a little pricey, we've loved ours, never had any trouble with it, it's great in winter -- so we'd probably go first to the Outback wagon.

Maybe consider small SUVs as well, like the Honda CRV?

Good luck with the search!

J. said...

Well the only really comparable car the Mazda5 is the Kia Rondo, and some say that the Rondo is a bit better for front leg room (just google the two together and you'll get lots of comparison reviews). Otherwise, you're looking at the next size up of car, or the small SUVs (even some of them might be tight in getting three across in the style you need). We drove a Ford Flex for a few weeks after the rav was in an accident -- it's huge on the inside, but made me feel like I should have the hip hop music blaring and hydraulic lifts installed to really feel the urban vibe! - work wife j.