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    On a hunt for cars

    S and I spent our Friday afternoon at the Honda dealership checking out the Honda Pilot. Why? We’re looking for the next car. With my car being nine years old, and S2 on the way, we’re thinking about what’s next.

    I’m not thrilled with the idea of owning a giant of a car (Civic and Fit family here), but I’m considering our long term needs and local venue parking restrictions.

    The one thing on my ‘must have’ list is a 3rd row. Right now with one carseat in the back, the back row will fit one person comfortably and two if they are very skinny and super friendly. With 2 carseats in the back, we might as well say good-bye to taking on any passengers. This means that whenever we have family/friends come out to visit we are tied to taking 2 cars out, AND we will have to remove the carseats out of the 2nd car to fit everyone in (since I do drop-offs, S pickups, both cars are always ready with baby seating). This idea just sucks. Also depending where we go parking one car is hard, let alone two. Hence third row demand.

    Unfortunately, I don’t know any any non-SUV, non-minivan can that fulfill that requirement, so here we are looking at monster mobiles.

    Additionally, I’m seeing this vehicle staying with us for a minimum of 7-10 years. We’ll be shuttling the boys and their bikes/friends/sports gear. The extra space will be a real convenience. My sister called this purchase “soccer mommish”, and I’m thinking ‘Yeah? Have you met G?’ (we’re interviewing a soccer class for him today, btw)

    I’m struggling with this purchase, however, on 3 fronts:
    – size. I just can’t drive a large car. I’m very uncomfortable
    – ecological awareness. It’s hard to go from a 32+mpg car to one that gets at best 20mpg.
    – cost. 40K for a car! Really? That’s 1/4 of a house purchase in some places!!!

    So we’re hunting.

    The Pilot was first because we have 3 friends that ultimately purchased this car after doing shopping on their own. S and I like it, but I’m not in love (actually I have 1ย  gripe about the third row) and ready to plop down money just yet. I want to see what else is out there, but above all I need to face my gripes above.

    Also, we’ve talked about just getting another small car (since mine will likely need a pretty costly set of repairs coming up soon due to age/mileage) and renting a big vehicle when we have car-less family/friends in town. We need to look into this more. And make some spreadsheets (duh). We’ve idealized this scenario for car trips in the past and have NEVER done it (we got a car-hitch on my Honda with a trailer instead), so we need to figure out how realistic this will be. And yeah, it will be a 1K/week cash drop for a rental fee, but overall, cheaper than a 40K purchase… I think.

    If you have any cars you feel we must check out, holler. We’ll consider Ford, but not other American makes. I’m not sure I’m ready for a minivan, though. That’s a whole separate identity I’m not ready to face.

    10 responses to “On a hunt for cars”

    1. Tanja says:

      I feel like I could have written this post. I was at the Honda dealership yesterday as well and out of all of the over-sized people haulers that I test drove, during my recent search, the Honda Pilot won in terms of not feeling like I was driving a barcalounger on wheels. The gas mileage stopped me in my tracks too.

      If you want to experiment with station wagons, I think that the Volvo V70 has an optional 3rd row seating and gets 27 mpg freeway, which is a lot better than the 22 mpg that the Pilot gets.

    2. Amy says:

      We use to always rent from Toyota 101 they are cheaper than anything else (or they were 2 years ago.)I don’t know if it is big enough but, did you look at the Mazda 5 (a mini mini-van). Also know that a mid-size car, like Altima, Camery, or Accord will comfortably fit 3 across the back (carseats or adults) and have a larger trunk while still getting 25-34mpg, (Camery has a hybrid). Honda and Toyota both plan to release a hybrid minivan in 2012 so that might also be worth waiting for.

    3. Kelle says:

      i’m just smiling quietly to myself.

    4. JDW says:

      Check out the Mazda 5. The third row is tiny, so most of the time you can have it folded down for lots of cargo room. If you have guests you can put the carseats back there, or the guest if they are short-legged.

      It gets about 25-28 mpg.

    5. alison! says:

      RAV4s are considered compact-SUVs, if that makes a difference, and is rated 22/28. I don’t know what cars you’re looking at that are only getting 20 but that’s lower than all the compact SUVs I’ve seen (CRV, RAV4, etc).

      • avalikelava says:

        Alison,
        Unless the new RAV4s have the optional 3rd row (which I heard a rumor they do), we can’t consider it. Same for the CRV. They does meet the 3rd row criteria and without that, I’d rather consider getting a compact car instead. PS. it’s funny that the RAV4 is considered a “compact” SUV. The models over the last few years have blown up in size (in comparison to say their 2001 or so predecessors). It’s more of a “artist formerly known as a compact vehicle” vehicle ๐Ÿ™‚

    6. alison! says:

      What do you mean, you heard a rumor they do? I told you on Friday they do. ๐Ÿ™‚ It was one of the options we were considering when we were buying ours.

      Mine is considerably bigger than Dina’s (which is an older model) but they’re still smaller than a typical SUV (Highlander or Explorer), which is good, because I hate feeling like I’m driving a truck. (B’s truck makes me cry. :D)

    7. Julie says:

      Have you looked at the Hyundai Santa Fe? They have a 3rd row option and when you’re not using the 3rd row it folds away nicely for a ton of trunk space. You also won’t drop 40k on it and it drives like a car. It’s more in the class of a CRV but definitely has more trunk space than one. I can carry both my single and double stroller side by side in the back. We love ours.

    8. Kelly Marie says:

      I’ve been wanting a Pilot or Odyssey, but we JUST paid off our Element and are enjoying no car payment for the time being. Not being able to bring any passengers with us kind of sucks though ๐Ÿ™

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