Saturday, December 11, 2010

Baby you can drive my car...

...Yes I'm gonna be a star
Baby you can drive my car
-The Beatles, "Drive My Car

Today's agenda? Car shopping.

I finally said goodbye to my beloved Honda CR-V after the unpleasant crunch it received on I-40. When the damage was all said and done, it was totaled. So sad - I really loved that car. There's no question in my mind that I would have had an easier time saying goodbye to one of my pets than I had letting go of my baby! I certainly spent more time in it than I spend with Bonnie & Clyde. It's a good thing I wasn't here to see them tow it away because there would have been tears. And really, who cries over a vehicle?! Oh shut up. I know I'm a total sentimental crybaby.

Before we headed out shopping, I had narrowed it down to 6 vehicles - Honda CR-V, Pilot, and Odyssey. Toyota RAV-4, Highlander, and Sienna. Small SUV, bigger SUV, and minivan from the only 2 car makers I'm seriously willing to buy. As much as I loved the small SUV, there are certainly times that I wished for a bit more room - in particular, the times I want to carry someone else along with the Foster Foursome. But there are also a lot of times I've wanted room in the back for the stroller AND groceries.

And then there's the possibility of kid #3. If kid #3 moves from nebulous future possibility to real-life person requiring a car seat, then bigger car is no longer an option. No, we aren't having a kid for another couple of years, if at all. But IF we're going to want a van eventually, perhaps now is the time.

We started at the Toyota dealership where the salesman told me in no uncertain terms that I didn't need a van and I should test drive the RAV-4. Ummm, okay. Grumble. (Can you tell that I so DO NOT want to be car shopping?! I want my old car back and don't want to have to make such a big decision!) So I drove the RAV-4, and didn't like it any better than I did when I drove it 3 years ago. One model down, 5 to go. He wouldn't show us a van and didn't have time to help us drive a Highlander (he told us to come back on Monday) so another decision was made - I won't be buying a car there.

We headed down to the Honda dealership, and the whole experience was totally different. The salesguy actually listened to what I wanted, and first spent some time talking to me (ME! Not Derek!) about what I want. He helped me realize that the Pilot's current body style is much bigger and more truck-like than I would want. (One more down - 4 to go!) Then he showed me the Odyssey minivan ... cue the harp music. I loved it.

I wanted to hate it, but I absolutely loved it. Backup camera? Maybe I can finally learn to parallel park. Onboard computer that lets you upload your pictures via USB port? Yes please. "Cool box" to store sippy cups of milk? Cooled by the A/C? I am in love. Room for 3500 songs stored in the system's hard drive? Even Derek is in love!

But then, I got online to look at reviews. They all start out something like this (from Car & Driver's review):
  • They may be as fashionable as those old-timey, full-body swimsuits, but there’s no denying that minivans are the most sensible vehicles...
Sensible? Unfashionable? Ugh. Do I really want to pay ~$12K more for a sensible, not-so-cute car just because I sometimes need to drag someone else along? Do I want to pay $12K for a cool box? I could get a pretty snazzy cooler that's charged via cigarette lighter AND a super sweet ipod for that much money. I've managed to make it more than a decade without a backup camera - why do I suddenly want one now? But that push-button door opener is just about the greatest thing EVER invented! What does sensible really mean, anyway?

I'm so conflicted. I don't want to have to decide and I don't want a new car payment ... I just want my old, pre-wreck CRV. Boo.


Mindy Marshall said...

Sadly I think I've come to the same conclusion about the Pilot as well. Boo! What about another CR-V?

Sush said...

You remember that conversation we had when I got my CRV, and you told me how much you loved yours? I listened to you get all ecstatic over your CRV. I know you loved it, I love mine. Maybe its same song, different verse?
Good luck, I hate car buying too.
Love when they hand me the keys!

Beth said...

One of the happiest days in my car life was when we no longer had to drive a minivan - for all the convenience, it felt like a signal to the world "active ovaries on board, making room for maternal mayhem". Mandy was happy duct-taping parts of Zippy back together, and Kylie was driving the perfect teen car - a used 4 cylinder Volvo tank that went 0-60 in never. And we finally were driving a sedan; the minivan fashioned after a dustbuster was donated to WUNC. We had arrived! Just avoid that Honda thing that looks like a breadbox as interpreted by Picasso (LX?). And give up any illusions of being cool until body fluids and juice boxes no longer rule your life on the road.

Anonymous said...

I loved the CRV too! It was so fun to drive! And since I am on my 3rd Subaru, I can tell you that getting the same car again (and again) does not disappoint. You know where all the controls are, it's like coming back to an old friend. I also know several people with 3 kids who never had a mini-van and managed to do it with an SUV, although my mom only has one kid and has had a mini-van since the early 90s, so... who knows? I did love driving that van around in high school loaded down with all of my friends.
Good luck! The shopping around part sucks, but once you have your new vehicle, it is kinda fun!

Jennifer Davis said...

Did you try the Pilot, or did it just sound unappealing? I love mine, and it does NOT feel like a truck. It also makes me feel much cooler than the moms in minivans. (Which shouldn't matter. . . but totally does.)

You can't beat the minivan for the room, though.

Dwight said...

no one's fooled - the car seat kind of gives it away, no matter how fashionable your model.

Besides, you can't see it when you're inside!

Dean said...

Sounds like the CR-V is still the favorite.

When you start feeling knees bumping into your seat every time Jay or Luke shifts their weight, then you'll know it's upgrade time.

Which should be in, what, 2-3 years?

Anonymous said...

I am so glad no one was seriously hurt in the wreck. My daughter-in-law Tracy and my granddaughter Makayla were in an Odyssey when they had their head on colision. It saved their lives. The front of the van went under the motor instead of straight into the passenger compartment. Tracy had a broken sternum, but no damage to her legs. Even though it took a long time to feel better, the other car's occupants were in the hospital for over a month. It was such a hard hit, it knocked Makayla's shoes off. This was the wreck that resulted in Makayls's Chiari surgery. They bought another Odyssey.
Debbie Gilland

Anonymous said...

I can tell you that after having 3 kids in an SUV with no third row, my next car will either be a bigger SUV with a third row or an mini van. As they get older and want friends to come along or you have family/friends visiting, it gets so old needing to take 2 cars everywhere. I so wish we would have had the insight to get a bigger car years ago instead of needing to do it now. Think about a few years from now and how big/tall the boys will be and if you really want to hear the bickering because someones coat is one their side or the car seat is being pushed around between the two of them trying to make more room on their side. Car rides suck with 3 kids and one a car seat, hogging the middle. Just ask Mindy how the two girls fight and push it around. Go for the minivan or SUV with 3rd row.


Anonymous said...

Jen, the first time it's raining and you simply push a button to open the side doors or the back end of your mini van to load groceries (with a stroller back there), and everybody (well, maybe not Luke yet) can climb into the car on their own. Then you can easily buckle everyone in without standing in the rain! ... or you go to drop Jay off in the car line for Kindergarten - you push the button to open the door, he hops out and there's no worries about getting the door closed or fingers smooshed... then, yes, you will say, I LOVE having a mini van!!! And Honda's Odyssey, is awesome, the seats are very comfortable when traveling long distances - we have an LCD screen in ours and hook the iPod up to play movies (so you don't have to deal with DVDs - set a play list and off you go). I recommend it - haven't looked back yet (our other car, is none other than a 2004 Pilot!). It's great, but the 3rd row seats really only work well for little people... not teenagers or adults, no leg room - and no room for a stroller when using the 3rd row.

Good luck deciding...

Andrea Hauser

Brandi said...

So what did you wind up deciding on, Jen?

Ginger said...

Hmmm...I'll just pretend the post started with paragraph two. Poor Bonnie and Clyde!

My boss has a pilot - it rides nicely. One of my fave SUVs has always been a Tahoe.