Family vehicle = failure to compute

Credit: velvettangerine/Flickr.com

Now don’t all panic at once. I have not jumped off the deep end into family life just yet. It’s still just me, C, our 3 crazy cats and a new car every week. No need to get all worked up for nothing.

However, oh faithful reader, it does seem that every other female around me at the moment is popping out offspring — it’s actually quite unnerving and I’m wondering if I should perhaps start wearing a mask and stop drinking any and all water all together, just in case.

And as our friends pop out little ones they inevitably turn to their resident “expert” for advice on what car they should buy to accomodate their brand new bundle of joy along their journey of life. And I often have a hard time coming up with a well-rounded answer. How many baby seats do you need to fit? What kind of driving are you doing? Will you be sharing the car between the two of you (husband and wife)? Do you both drive stick? Where are you driving? What kind of baby carriage will you have? Do you already have older children? Dogs? Ferrets? There’s just too much…

So, I got to thinking the other day: What will I want when that fateful day arises? And this all seems so girlie and grown-up of me to be considering — it kind of makes my head spin. But here goes.

This week’s tester, the MINI Countryman S All4 would most definitely be a contender. I used to think that the MINI Clubman would suffice, but in reality it’s just not big enough, nor is it practical at all when it comes to a baby seat, groceries, a stroller and so on. It just wouldn’t fly. The Countryman, on the other hand, offers 4 doors, a larger trunk, a higher ride height and all-wheel drive. All major pluses in my mind as a new mum (which I am not at the moment! I feel the need to keep reminding you all of this fact).

And yet, it’s not the perfect family vehicle.

I loathe and detest station wagons, save for the Golf TDI wagon I had a few months ago. It was a joy to drive and the turbo-diesel torque gave it such oomph from a stop I nearly forgot I was trailing a bum larger than a Kardashian’s. It was nimble on its wheels and offered plenty of space in the back for babies, puppies and diapers galore. What more could you ask from a family vehicle?

But what about the ever-popular and much more manly SUV? There are so many options in that class and its subsequent subclasses (CUVs, SAVs) that I just can’t wrap my brain around the options available. Would I take a Mazda CX-9 over a Ford Edge? Or a CX-7 over a Rogue (the answer there is, yes, sorry Mum)? An X1? An XC60? Tiguan? Touareg?

The choices are endless and limitless and it really all comes down to the amount you’re willing to dish out at the end of the month, and how safe the vehicle you’re paying for is. After all, your precious little ones will be along for the ride, and while I’d like to think our Subaru WRX with a Prodrive exhaust, STI adjustable suspension and Hella horns will make a great family vehicle, I’m not so sure it will.

Close friends of ours are having twins and they already have a nearly-2-year-old son. Their lives are about to change drastically. Not only are they adding two new lives to their family dynamic, they now have to support those two lives in every sense possible — including on the road. Their biggest dilemma? Fitting 3 baby seats in the backseat of a car. They’re a Subie family with a Forester XT and an Impreza, and while both are stellar cars and supremely safe in all seasons, they just aren’t practical enough for a 3-baby family.

And so their search began with their focus clearly on minivans and large, third-row SUVs. And while they conducted their search and I asked them what their main criteria was for finding the perfect family vehicle, they explained how important the space between the back seat and the back window was. I immediately associated it with space for baby bags and carriages, but was quickly corrected and told to consider what would happen to the baby in the very back if someone were to rearend them badly.

Oh. Right.

And so their search finally led them to the brand new Honda Odyssey van. It has the space, the technology and the large backend that means one of their children isn’t at risk of becoming a fly on a windscreen should a fender-bender occur.

I still have a hard time wrapping my head around a “good” family vehicle and at the moment would still go for something sporty and cool over something uber practical (read: MINI Countryman S All4 over a Mazda CX-7), and perhaps my failure to compute means I’m just not ready to be a mum yet — or that I truly am a car lover through and through and no amount of ovarian-driven hormones and motherly instincts will ever overcome that.

Drive on,
– M.

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~ by drivingmsmiranda on March 3, 2011.

One Response to “Family vehicle = failure to compute”

  1. […] was willing to “settle” for the Clubman. Eventually, C and I do plan to procreate (scary, I know) and we will need to cart around a mini Miranda sooner or later, and unfortunately […]

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