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Cars for Moms - comments, concerns and wants!

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  • KCRamKCRam Mt. Arlington NJPosts: 3,516
    My dad has an 01 Dodge Grand Caravan as his "retirement Winnebago". He has the 4 bucket seats and the third row bench, which is an absolute nightmare to get to from the sides... almost easier to climb in from the rear hatch and flop over the seatback!

     

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  • I've found a wonderful link on the Chevy site,

    http://www.chevrolet.com/safety/latch/

    that will tell you how many car seats you can fit in any of their cars, or conversely, which cars will fit the number of cars seats you have. You can also find illustrations of where to put the car seats depending on if you want to use LATCH or prefer to belt them in. This may be an industry first and it is very easy to understand. Way to go Chevy!
  • SylviaSylvia Posts: 1,636
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  • badgerfanbadgerfan Posts: 1,564
    I hope both you and he are aware that the right side bucket in the second row can be flipped forward, making access to the third row pretty easy. There is a latch on the right side of the seat, unless they changed it from my 1996 Carvan with the 4 bucket seats.
  • remi11remi11 Posts: 4
    the same I have always looked for. First and foremost, something safe for snow being that I live up north. I do not believe that a 4X4 is completely safe. You need to drive slow in icy weather too with them, but they are safer than a car. Reliability and overall safety (airbags, etc) of course too. Right now I drive an suv, but not because of the stereotype "school mom". I bought it mainly for the snow because I am a freak in that weather. if suv's are ever banned, I will no doubt call in sick for work every day that it snows. Even if it means losing my job. My life is more important. child safety in a car is very important.
  • lancerfixerlancerfixer Posts: 1,308
    You need to drive slow in icy weather too with them, but they are safer than a car.

    I'm going to have to disagree with that statement. The only thing 4x4 helps with getting started off the line in low traction situations. After that, they stop and steer just like any other vehicle on ice...that is to say, poorly (in fact, more poorly than a car, given the greater mass and higher center of gravity.) Now, if by "up north" you mean "in the mountains of Colorado," then a more dedicated off-road machine (read: truck-based SUV) would defintiely have an advantage over a car. If you mean something along the lines of "the suburbs of Minneapolis," I submit that a well-designed car is the superior (and safer) choice. There are plenty of cars available with all wheel drive, and with lower centers of gravity, better mileage, better impact protection, and better handling, they're easier to live with on a day-to-day basis.
    I've lived in snowy climates my whole life (Massachusetts, Colorado, South Dakota, New Hampshire, and Iowa, in that order) and have owned front drive, rear drive, and four wheel drive vehicles. I've never been stuck in any of them, ever, and found the 4x4 (a GMC pickup) to be the most difficult to deal with in everyday driving.
    For a family vehicle that I trust with my kids' safety, make mine a wagon. A V70R would do nicely. ;)
  • jlawrence01jlawrence01 Posts: 1,828
    ***that I live up north. I do not believe that a 4X4 is completely safe. You need to drive slow in icy weather too with them, but they are safer than a car.***

    SUVs offer a false sense of security. Because people think that they are safer, they drive the vehicle in icy and snowy conditions as if the roads were clear.

    From my experience in the northern states, there are several critical factors in safe driving:

    1) Tires and the other mechanical components in the vehicle must be properly maintained.

    2) All drivers need to develop experience in snowy conditions. Mall parking lots at 3 am in the morning are great places to practice driving in snowy conditions.

    3) Speeds need to be reduced. I am not saying that you should drive 15 in a 55 zone but they should be reduced for the weather conditions.
  • marine2marine2 Posts: 1,155

    hope both you and he are aware that the right side bucket in the second row can be flipped forward, making access to the third row pretty easy. There is a latch on the right side of the seat, unless they changed it from my 1996 Carvan with the 4 bucket seats.


    You can't get access to the third row seat any easier than this, with stow and go. It will still seat four in back very easily.

    http://www.msnusers.com/Myminivan/shoebox.msnw?action=ShowPhoto&PhotoID=12
  • gretchenkgretchenk Posts: 1
    I am having my first child and I am ordering a Volvo V50 and I wanted to know what people thought of the built in booster seats. For $300 it seemed like it would be nice to have the booster seats built in but I wasn't sure if people liked them. I have asked around a little from my friends who already have children and some have said they like to move the booster seats between cars and that I would have to buy an additional set for sending my kid in a carpool. I like that they car has two booster seats so if we are taking someone elses kid we would have a seat for them also. I also like the idea that when the kid isn't in the car we could put the booster seat down and the car would be clean and I could take coworkers to lunch. Any thoughts?
  • davem2001davem2001 Posts: 564
    As a Dad - what you really need to maintain peace and domestic tranquility is the 3rd row. I guess if you only have one kid you are Ok with 2 rows, but when the second child comes along you'll need it.

    The old concept of "divide and conquer"...you put one kid in the second row, the other in the third row, on opposite sides of the car. Then, they can't touch each other....
  • gussguss Posts: 1,181
    I like the idea of the built in booster seats , If you ever have to fold down the seats to carry a load in the wagon you don't have to find a place for the booster seat. You also will like not fumbling with the latch system between cars.

    We have three kids in car seats and six car seats , I did not want to mess around with switching the between vehicles and making all the adjustments. With the built in You will not need to make any adjustments.

    If you are just having your baby though it could be up to 2 years before you use the booster seat. Infant seats are always rear facing.
  • SylviaSylvia Posts: 1,636
    If you plan on keeping the car for a while the built-in boosters are nice for older children. My oldest was in a regular car seat until 4 1/2 (?) or so and then went to the booster. You have some time before you need to worry about the booster seats and you will want to purchase one to put in rental cars (you never know when...) or if your child will need to ride with someone else.

    So long as you plan on having the car until your child is old enough to use the booster, it's probably worth the $300 for the convenience.

    Good luck and congratulations on baby #1!
  • marine2marine2 Posts: 1,155
    As a Dad - what you really need to maintain peace and domestic tranquility is the 3rd row. I guess if you only have one kid you are Ok with 2 rows, but when the second child comes along you'll need it.

    The old concept of "divide and conquer"...you put one kid in the second row, the other in the third row, on opposite sides of the car. Then, they can't touch each other....


    Yes, something like this

    http://sc.groups.msn.com/tn/66/10/Myminivan/1/c.jpg
  • anonymouspostsanonymousposts Posts: 4,202
    The need for space is much greater in the first year than it is afterwards. When I found out we were expecting we rushed out and traded our Accord coupe for a sedan thinking it would be more than enough. Well first time in the car with the car seat, stroller, diaper bag, groceries, and us had us looking for something larger. We lucked out and ended up doing a 24 month lease on an Odyssey for cheap. Served it's purpose and we could still keep the Accord.

    For me, this would make a perfect vehicle.

    5-speed is a must
    sunroof is a must
    Sliding doors would be great
    Smaller than an Odyssey but with more cargo room than my Accord.
    Plenty of front legroom .. (husband is 6'6)
    Decent power with great gas mileage
    Reliable
    AWD would be nice as well.

    So far the Mazda5 came close but the engine is a bit high-strung. There doesn't seem to be anything that meets all of that criteria but an Element meets most and is fairly inexpensive.
  • lancerfixerlancerfixer Posts: 1,308
    The need for space is much greater in the first year than it is afterwards. When I found out we were expecting we rushed out and traded our Accord coupe for a sedan thinking it would be more than enough.

    Really? I dunno, maybe I just pack really well; when our first child was born we had two coupes in the family; she's now 4 1/2, with a 19 month old brother, and we still have one of the coupes. The Cavalier (a hunk of metal more useful in its ore state; I wouldn't wish a bottom-line Chevy on my worst enemy's dog) was traded for a Volvo 740, which was itself replaced by an S70...we've still got the Accord coupe, and have never wanted for space. I've got to admit, though, now that the Accord is getting long in the tooth, the Mazda5 had caught my eye...

    I guess the whole point of this rambling is that I've never understood the "We've got a KID! We need a MINIVAN/SUV!" mentality. We've gotten the whole family and all the accoutrements in the S70 for trips from Iowa to Massachusetts and back with room to spare.

    My requirements are thus:
    -5 speed preferred, but overlookable if the price is right (call this the "S70 corollary," if you'd like)
    -Sunroof? Oh, it has a sunroof? OK, whatever. (the 740's leaked, and I've been leery of holes in the roof since...they're nice and all, but I keep my cars a long time.)
    -Good mileage
    -Decent power, but I certainly don't need to be a Schumacher (neither Michael, Ralf, nor Tony)
    -Despite living in snow country, would prefer NOT to have AWD...I'd rather not contend with the extra weight, complexity, and mileage penalty. This portion of Iowa's flat-ish, so hill climbing ability is moot; we live in the city, so the roads are plowed in a timely manner.
    -SAFE (after all, I've got two kids to transport.)

    But hey, that's just me. YMMV. Given these requirements, if I had the money to replace the Accord tomorrow, I'd have a shopping list of three: Passat TDI, Mazda5, and Volvo V50.
  • anonymouspostsanonymousposts Posts: 4,202
    one thing that increases our need for space is the fact that my husband is 6'6. That means his seat has to be all the way back which really hinders rear seat room making it kind of uncomfortable with more than 2 adult passengers on long trips. We didn't have the "gotta have a van/SUV mentality". We just happened across a great deal on the Ody lease that we couldn't turn down. A few months later we came across a late 90's Volvo Cross Country that we probably would've bought over the Ody had we seen it first. We just need something with good trunk space because our interior volume was affected by Gee's height.

    The van has also served it's purpose on road trips and for trips to the home improvement store. The Little Giant Ladder Gee just bought would've been difficult, if not impossible, to get in the Accord with the car seat in the middle. We rarely drive the van unless we are all together, have additional passengers, or we are going on our monthly drop-off of all of our recyclable items.

    Another factor that probably contributed to our buying the Ody was the size of little Gee's car seat and stroller. Both take up a good amount of space as the car seat is the 3-in-1 and the stroller takes up about 1/3 of the Accord's trunk and all of the space in the Si with the cargo cover installed.

    With all that said though the Odyssey sure is awesome! 240HP with a DVD player make that thing THE best car in our driveway for long trips. Gas mileage isn't too bad. We average around 25-26 MPG with the front/rear AC on and 3-4 people in it.
  • lancerfixerlancerfixer Posts: 1,308
    Sorry, that remark wasn't directed at you, but I can certainly see why it'd have been construed that way. The fact that Gee is 6'6" certainly makes a difference (I'm 5'10" and Mrs. Lance is 5'4"...)
    I do have a friend who's 6'5", and he's got a kid and an S70, also. He liked mine so much he ended up buying one of his own. :)
  • delangedelange Posts: 42
    Anonymousposts,

    I wish we had picked out a larger car when our kids were younger, like you did. My husband and I are both tall, too (he is 6'4", I'm 5'10"). When my kids were younger, of course I checked that the car seats fit and it was easy to help the kids in and out of them, room for the strollers, etc. Well, we bought a mid size sedan (V850), which fit the bill, and we still have and love.

    HOWEVER - tall parents have tall kids, and at about 5 years old, my oldest started out growing the back seat. Her knees hit unless the passenger seat is pushed forward all the way, which makes it hard for all four of us to fit comfortably.

    Now we have a slightly larger car that does fit us all (Pilot), and I hope it will continue to fit until the kids are old enough to drive themselves!

    On the other hand, we trashed the old car so much, its nice to get a new car, for any reason! :D
  • anonymouspostsanonymousposts Posts: 4,202
    I am 5'2. It's my husband that's the problem :)

    It appears that you are right about tall parents = tall kids. My son just hit the 15 month mark and with the seat all the way back in the Odyssey his legs are long enough for him to be able to kick the back of seat. Kind of amusing to me but a bit disturbing to Gee when he's trying to sleep.

    It was partially our fault for not doing a bit more research. We just assumed the Accord would be more than big enough and it probably was. We also have that condition known as "Chronic Car Buyer Syndrome" which probably cut the Accord's interior room by half :) Maybe you guys can give me tips on how to resist temptation since you both have kept your cars for a while.

    Our goal now is to drive what we have (04 Accord, 03 Civic Si, and a 94 Lexus) until 100,000 miles. If the perfect car comes along we might trade but as of right now there is nothing that satisfies EVERYTHING we both want.
  • delangedelange Posts: 42
    "It's my husband that's the problem"

    Oh, that was almost too good to pass up, but since my husband is looking over my shoulder, I better not.

    I'm afraid that I don't have the skills to help someone out of the CCBS group. In fact, I need to start one called:

    "I never get to have a nice new car until the old one absolutely dies and the mechanics refuse to work on it any more, and our parents are fussing at us about what we are driving their grandkids around in..."

    It is amazing that there really isn't the perfect family car yet. There are plenty that work and get the job done, but each one we looked at seemed to be lacking at least one feature to make them really great - easy for me to get into, plenty of leg room for all three rows, great gas mileage, comfortable to drive, reliable, etc.

    I think I need to get back to work on my calculations to warp space so that the inside of a car is bigger than the outside.
  • lancerfixerlancerfixer Posts: 1,308
    The Ford TARDIS?
  • anonymouspostsanonymousposts Posts: 4,202
    should be called "Chronic Car Keeper Syndrome". We know people like you and we are jealous. There's always the next best thing. However, since we now have the baby we have real requirements now as far as safety and features go. Everything we look at has some drawback. For instance, the above-mentioned Mazda5 on the outside is perfect. Compact size, excellent features for the price, and seating for 6. However, upon closer inspection we realized that it doesn't have a factory DVD option, the gas mileage is barely better than our Odyssey which has much more HP, and the engine revs are at 4000 when driving 70MPH. Might as well keep the Odyssey and buy it at the end of the lease. Only car that seems better at what our 2004 Odyssey does is a 2005 Odyssey. More room, more features, more safety, more power, and 30 MPG on the highway with the EX+ versions.
  • bottgersbottgers Posts: 2,028
    ......would be one that has a feature that completely disallows the use of a cell phone while driving. Come to think of it, that would be a good feature for everyone!
  • delangedelange Posts: 42
    Hey, have you ever considered a portable DVD system, instead of a factory installed one? It works for us quite well.

    Each kid gets his/her own for less than the cost of one installed. I don't have long drives around town, though, so always having it in all the time isn't important - we use them just on long trips.

    If I did have longer commutes, it might be a different story. It is amazing how many ways they can find to aggravate each other, and the "keep 'em busy" tactic would be a requirement.

    Another question: Does the Accord fit you all well, except for the storage space, or is there back seat space issues? We'll be needed to get a better commuter car within the next year, but would like the whole family to fit in, too.
  • anonymouspostsanonymousposts Posts: 4,202
    DVD player might be an option but it's so convenient to have it already there in the car. And it will be a bit before I would trust him to hold a portable DVD player. My commute to work is almost 40 miles each way. In the mini-van I can use the DVD player to occupy him, in the Accord the best tactic is McDonald's french fries and a sippy cup. I know McDonald's is bad for him but he still eats all of his vegetables so I treat him every now and then.

    Now that we don't have to carry the heavy duty stroller everywhere with us the Accord has more than enough room. The trunk will comfortably hold all of our luggage + the diaper bag + any misc. items we pick up along the way. As I said before, Gee is 6'6 and I am 5'2. I can easily sit behind him even with the seat adjusted all the way back for him. This includes the seat back being reclined as well, not with him sitting straight up. Our car seat is fairly large (Alpha Omega 3-in-1) and I can easily sit on either side of the car seat as can my Mother-in-Law who is about 5'7 and 160 lbs.

    As far as driving goes, I love my Accord. It's the 4 cylinder 5-speed manual version and I get about 32 MPG during my mixed driving. The automatic I had got an average of 31 MPG so there isn't a huge difference. It's comfortable, quiet, smooth, and all 3 versions of this generation I have owned have been reliable. It's also one of the safest sedans in it's class thanks to the standard side curtain airbags. The 2006 versions will have refreshed front/rear styling, ESC on V6 models, and more HP. There will supposedly be a LX-V6 version that has alloy wheels, moonroof, and VSA. Definitely a great car for the price IMO. As a commuter I don't think it can be beat. The Camry is also a good choice if you want a slightly softer ride vs. the Accord's slightly firmer ride.
  • delangedelange Posts: 42
    Thanks for the feedback - we might actually end up buying two cars within two years - something we are in shock just thinking about!
  • What about an after-market DVD system installed in the car? It's still a lot cheaper than factory-installed and you can often get a bigger screen. But watch out, because bigger screens can also mean less rear visibility for the driver.
  • Concerning booster seats... I love the idea of the built in booster, but it is a pricey option. True booster seats (as opposed to child seats) can be bought for less than $20, and easy switched between cars or you can buy a set for both cars, keep them in the trunk, etc. (High back booster cost a bit more, but you don't need a high-backed booster unless your car doesn't have head restraints (a.k.a. head rests).

    Also, try reading this article about booster seats: http://www.edmunds.com/ownership/safety/articles/42977/article.html
  • PF_FlyerPF_Flyer Pennsylvania Furnace, PAPosts: 5,860
    We've just revived a booster seat topic from the archives as well, so if you have the urge to sound off on strapping in, head over to:

    Danger of third row seats - may kill your kids?

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