A Love-Hate Kind of Thing

I love my Subaru… and yet, I hate it.

All of you, oh faithful readers, know that my WRX (aka, C’s WRX) is our family car. And that name actually properly applies to our life now since Big O arrived last November. With AWD, 4 doors and a good, powerful engine, the Subaru Impreza WRX has all the makings of the ideal family car for those who want something safe and fun to drive.

However, it’s been anything but ideal since Big O made his appearance.

We always knew the WRX was slightly impractical. With a backseat that doesn’t fold down at all (there’s a 5″x12″ pass-through in the middle that works for bits of wood, skis, and reaching into the trunk when you want something while you’re driving), making the trunk rather small and the ability to carry anything larger than a suitcase rather impossible. But we were able to overlook that. The front race seats are super comfortable and I love them, but they’re big, and thick and take up a good portion of the back seat. Something we never considered or even thought about before because, well, we were never back there.

The stiff, adjustable suspension and STI springs C had installed a few years ago make driving uber fun, and cornering a joy; but with a baby in the back I just feel bad for Big O’s spine and poor head bobbling around. However, that’s not a design flaw on Subaru’s part, that’s fully C’s fault (I lay blame where I can).

I was overjoyed to have a newborn in the backseat of a sturdy, AWD Subaru throughout our Canadian winter. I never felt in danger or unsure on the road. And the only accident we had was when a Honda Civic slid into our rear when she couldn’t stop her car. It was a very gentle nudge, and shocked me more than hurt the car. The poor Civic driver was in tears as well and just kept babbling about how she needed to call her mother … poor thing. But I digress.

Both C and I knew the WRX could possibly have some space issues along the way; which is why we considered (ever so briefly) getting a wagon. That idea died almost as quickly as it was born when we both realized it would require selling the Rex. Neither of us is prepared to do such a thing.

However, the impracticality of the WRX truly came into play a few weeks ago.

My child was born big. He arrived in the world at 9lbs 4oz, and he’s only gone up since then. At just under 7 months old, he’s the size and weight of a 1-year-old. No joke. Big O isn’t called Big O for nothing. He’s a whopping 22lbs (probably more now since his last doctor’s appointment 4 weeks ago), and he outgrew his initial infant carrier seat. So, it was time to hunt for a new one.

C and I knew the seat we wanted to purchase. Top of the line, safest on the market, priced high enough to raise both our eyebrows, but hey; the kid’s worth it, right?

So, down to the baby store we go to drop the unfathomable amount on a seat to keep Big O safe and comfy for at least another year and a half (baby stuff has such a high turn over, it’s amazing). We arrived, VISA in hand, and just as we were about to swipe the card, C had a brilliant idea: “Let’s make sure it fits in the car,” says he.

Brilliant man, my husband.

So, out to the Rex we go to place the seat in the back. Confidence beaming from us both, feeling good and feeling silly for even having to check. Why, of course it will fit! This is a “family” sedan! The first baby seat fit, so why wouldn’t this one?! Ha, ha! We’re just wasting this poor sales girl’s time!

Well, the joke was on us. The seat’s bolsters were so high that the angled roofline of the door was a mere 10-12″ away from its edge, giving us a very small window of space in which to place our ginormous child in the seat.Thankfully, our large child was with us at the time and we tested it out with him as well. The poor child would surely have his head smacked every single time he was placed in the seat if we were to go with this particular model. Back to square one.

And so began the epic seat-finding journey, and my mild hatred for the WRX.

Aside from our own on-hands research (heading to every baby store we knew to coax poor sales people into bringing every single seat they sold out to our car to try and squeeze it in), we also did a lot of online research. From message board to message board I roamed. WRXTuners.com, NASIOC.com, Car-Seats.org, various mom sites: anywhere I could find information, I went.

From American-only car seat models unavailable here in Canada to quick-fix solutions involving pool noodles and rolled up towels, there was a plethora of advice, tips, comments and personal stories for me to browse through. With all that information at my fingertips, you’d think I was apt to find a seat ideally suited to the WRX.

No matter where I went, the general consensus of WRX owners (new and old) was:

Either you deal with the cramped, uncomfortable and impractical design of the WRX with a baby seat in the back… Or you buy a new car.

I’m sure you can all guess, oh faithful reader, what C and I are going to do.

Drive on,

- M.

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~ by drivingmsmiranda on June 23, 2012.

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