Cars for Moms - comments, concerns and wants!

Karen_SKaren_S Member Posts: 5,092
edited October 2014 in General
Calling all moms! What are you looking for in a vehicle?


  • ccwinslowccwinslow Member Posts: 29
    I wanted to rank the following needs but couldn't. They're all important to me:

    Decent gas mileage
    Manual transmission
    Sporty good looks
    Smooth, road-hugging ride
    Front wheel drive
    Pep for highway merging
    Comfortable seating for 4-5
    Cargo room/room for dogs
    Excellent sound system

    I found all these (and more) in my 2004 Mazda6 Sport Wagon. It's a terrific car.

    C. C.
  • guidocheetoguidocheeto Member Posts: 4
    After having my first child I realized how much I need out of a car..
    I need baby in a safe but close position.
    I need space for all her stuff.. stroller, car seat.. with room for other passengers too.
    I would like a minivan, because the doors slide to the side instead of opening out, I take a while buckling and unbuckling her out of the seat in parking lots and I do not want to ding other cars or mine with the door wide open.
    I want some sort of distraction for her, like for her to watch her Wiggles DVD.
    I love the idea of power doors/back door on a mini van, so when I have my hands full with her and purchases I can open car very easily..
    MOM's really need alot out of their vehicles...
  • mirthmirth Member Posts: 1,212
    ...what would we do without the Wiggles? ;-)
  • hamptonhampton Member Posts: 1
    I am looking for a wagon or sedan that will hold three baby seats. My Crown Vic works but not the Protege5. Has anyone tried to fit three into the Mazda 6 wagon? Also, in a three row vehicle like the Freestyle or XC90, can one put two baby seats in the second row and still reach the third row? The both have nifty slide/fold second rows but I don't see how it could work with a baby seat installed! Thanks for any feedback.
  • SylviaSylvia Member Posts: 1,636
  • Kirstie_HKirstie_H EdmundsAdministrator Posts: 11,126
    THREE baby seats? Wow, what a challenge! I don't know of any vehicle that currently perfectly fits your situation. Many of the vehicles that have slide/fold down 2nd row seating won't work with the seats installed. Your best bet seems to be to get a vehicle that has 2nd-row split seats so that there's at least a "center aisle" to the 3rd row. Minivan is an obvious choice, but not everyone wants a minivan.

    You might check out these discussions:
    Mazda6 Wagon (2004)
    Malibu MAXX vs Mazda 6 hatch/wagon vs Outback

    The comparsion topic might give you ideas about other vehicles to suit your needs.

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  • KCRamKCRam Mt. Arlington NJMember Posts: 3,516
    The only vehicles I can think of that would match the seat space of your Crown Vic would be trucks of similar width... Ford Expedition/F150 SuperCrew, Chevy Tahoe/Avalanche.

    Most 3-row crossovers require that the second seat tilt, fold, or slide to get to the third row. Even if a child seat fits in the third robew, the issue of getting back there may be too large a hurdle unless you want to load/unload that child in from the rear hatch over the seatback.

    Most car specification listings will tell you how many LATCH fittings they have, and I would probably use that as a guide, regardless of how many passengers the car says it can seat. The Mazda6 seats 3 in the rear, but only has 2 LATCH positions.

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  • researchqueenresearchqueen Member Posts: 41
    I would not use LATCH as a guide to judge baby seat capability. The goverment only requires LATCH in two rear seats, not three. Usually, the middle seat doesn't have LATCH attachments, but can sometimes still fit a baby seat.


    A really good bet is the Volvo XC90. You shouldn't have a problem there, and the middle seat has a built-in booster seat, meaning you wont have to try to cram three huge pieces of plastic across. It's also a great car in general.


    A friend of mine also got three across in the Acura MDX, but honestly, I don't see how she did it. A lot depends on the width of your child seat, which can vary more often than you'd think.


    Let us know what you decided!
  • lexusguylexusguy Member Posts: 6,419
    Moms\Women love the Lexus RX. My wife isnt even a mom and she loves it. Another good choice is the Acura MDX, but get a used one.
  • racer63racer63 Member Posts: 83
    My wife is currently using our '04 GMC Sierra 2500HD Crew Cab as her family truckster. She says she likes it :-) It replaced a '99 Explorer XLT AWD, which did alot of things, just nothing particularly well. That in turn had replaced a '95 Jetta GLX, which was the family car around when we had our two kids.


    With two off-spring now 7 and 8, we didn't need the third seat, and wanted "dirty" cargo space, which the pick-up provides with a cap on the bed. Incrementally longer than a Burb/Yukon, but less money for a heavier duty truck. Only beef is sometimes parking can be a pain, but that's life with a full-size truck.
  • badtoybadtoy Member Posts: 343
    Those cars ("10 Coolest Cars for Soccer Moms") are the most pitiful recommendations I've ever seen. ALL of them are overweight and thirsty; the majority of them have less-than-average (some MUCH worse-than-average) reliability, and 90% of them handle like pigs.


    Cmon now -- how about setting up some criteria here, like:


    - How many people do you need to carry

    - What is your budget, car payment-wise, insurance-wise and fuel-wise

    - What do you ask of your car other than pure physical space (like handling and fun, f'rinstance)

    - Is reliability and resale value of any consequence to you at all


    Once you have answered these questions honestly, I think you'll find that the choices offered are average, poor and worse. May I suggest some alternatives?


    How about ANY station wagon other than a German one? (They are usually Mercedes or Audis, which have abysmal reliability, astronomic maintenance costs and terrible resale value.) A Subaru Forester (or its Saab equivalent) would be a great choice. Sparkling performance and handling with reliability to match.


    You MUST have a large SUV, you say? How about a Sequoia? Nice and large, with Toyota quality and resale value into the bargain.


    Only need room for five? How about the ultra-cutting-edge Scion xB? You will ALWAYS be noticed (especially if it's in hot tangerine), you will only sip gasoline, and your kids will think you're the coolest thing since (well, whatever they think is cool nowadays). Another good choice is the Honda Element, although it only has seating for four, which probably won't do.


    There are many good choices out there -- I just don't think American dinosaurs are it. Sorry....
  • lexusguylexusguy Member Posts: 6,419
    Well said. The E500 wagon that they recommend can cost as much as 80 THOUSAND dollars. 80. For a wagon. You can buy TWO RX330s or Acura MDXs for that. Is it really that much better? No. How many moms seriously care about the extra few ounces of sport you may get with a German car? My wife hated the ML500's rough ride. Oh and ask a Mom to use COMAND or iDrive. Hah!


    For small families I think a Forester (btw, there is no Saab version. The new Saab SUV is based on the Chevy Trailblazer, like a million other SUVs), or Pilot would do very well.
  • carlisimocarlisimo Member Posts: 1,280
    WRX wagon.


    mad tite JDM yo!
  • lexusguylexusguy Member Posts: 6,419
    plus, would anyone seriously put their little kids with their crayons and their slobbery dog in the back of an E500 wagon? Why not just take em to an art museum and have em just "run wild".
  • SylviaSylvia Member Posts: 1,636
    I didn't write the article, just posted the link. But I think you raise valid points! While you are free to post your comments about it in this discussion, you should also click on the Help link at the top of the page and submit your comments to the Editors to let them know how you feel and your thoughts on what should be considered as a Car for Moms!


    PS - I have two slobbery dogs and 2 kids in car seats. When all go somewhere our drive of choice is the old Volvo wagon, otherwise known as the "Roving land of Barbie doll and action figure body parts" which I find in every nook and cranny.
  • sapparosapparo Member Posts: 68
    Which E wagon, I haven't seen one of those in eons old or new. They actually can afford to produce this thing for such dismal sales? The upscale SUV'S have rendered MB and BMW wagons a thing of the past.


    The new Mazda 6 wagon looks real sharp with the sport package and big wheels all for around mid to upper 20's and handles great also. Subies new wagons look real nice and have upgraded interior materials and great high safety marks..


    I have to laugh seeing these maybe 5'-3 women coming out or sitting behind the wheel of a land barge Landcruiser or Hummer.
  • SylviaSylvia Member Posts: 1,636
    Mom's come in all different shapes and sizes. Please remember this discussion is primarily for women ("Mom") to state what she wants in a vehicle - not a place to discuss women and cars.


  • fintailfintail Member Posts: 54,968
    As far as I know expensive MB and BMW wagons are still a hot ticket in upscale urban and affluent suburban areas.


    The new E wagon, although painfully pricey, is a real beauty, better looking than any SUV could dream, and unlike a SUV, it isn't pretending to be something that it isn't. If I found I was a Halliburton heir or otherwise came into a fortune, I could see myself in one.
  • lexusguylexusguy Member Posts: 6,419
    Thats news to me. Im pretty sure the M class and X5 were made just for us because E wagons and 5 wagons dont sell here. BMW also gave us X3 instead of 3 wagon.
  • fintailfintail Member Posts: 54,968
    The M and X exist to cash in on fads. The E wagon has sold here for 25 years. I don't think the BMWs have been nearly as popular, but they do have their fans.
  • lexusguylexusguy Member Posts: 6,419
    25 years ago, companies could sell station wagons. In Europe, they still can. This is the reason why the Germans (and Volvo) still make wagons and nobody else does. There used to be Camry and Accord wagons as well, you'll notice they are long gone. People would much rather have a Highlander or Pilot.
  • fintailfintail Member Posts: 54,968
    Or an Exploder or something else that is really just a pretend wagon.


    Accord wagon in NA? I know they sell it elsewhere...and it is kind of interesting.
  • SylviaSylvia Member Posts: 1,636
    There are a number of great comparison discussions in the Forums. So we can keep this discussion on-topic of "Cars for Moms..." here are some places to discuss specific vehicles or class comparisons:


    Help me select a Wagon

    Upcoming Wagons & Crossovers
  • KCRamKCRam Mt. Arlington NJMember Posts: 3,516
    ...try here:


    What Wagon Would You Like To See Offered?



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  • lancerfixerlancerfixer Member Posts: 1,284
    Today I saw a Mercedes E-Class wagon with three child seats (not baby seats...belt positioning boosters) across the back. They seemed to fit just fine.


    As far as cars for moms; well, it's been four years since our first child; we've now got two, and there is NOTHING I can say or do to get my wife to give up her Honda Accord coupe!

    Actually, the two car seats fit in the back seat of the Accord just fine. For family trips we take my Volvo S70, but we've never wanted for passenger or cargo space in either car (and this includes family trips from Iowa to Massachusetts at least annually.) I'd like to get her a wagon (or get me a wagon and have her drive my car...either way is fine by me) I guess I've always been mystified by people who have one kid and decide they need a Honda Odyssey or Chevy Tahoe.
  • lexusguylexusguy Member Posts: 6,419
    Or a Suburban or 'slade.
  • researchqueenresearchqueen Member Posts: 41
    My friend has four kids (three are triplets), and she says that what she really wants is a minivan, or any reasonable-looking car, that has a total of four rows of seating. Sure, she could get a passenger van, but those things are WAY ugly. Does anyone else feel the same way?
  • KCRamKCRam Mt. Arlington NJMember Posts: 3,516
    For 4 rows of seats to be A) remotely comfortable, and B) relatively accessible, nothing will work except a full-size van. A minivan or SUV would have major entry/exit issues unless they had three doors per side - that huge slider on a full size Econoline-Club Wagon, Express/Savana, or Sprinter allows safe, easy access for all passenger rows. That level of access would also be imperative in an emergency situation - yoiu're never in a seat that requires climbing over or folding down another seat to get to a door.



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  • gussguss Member Posts: 1,167
    We have three kids and while the mini-van works excellent, for looks I think the passenger vans are much nicer. My neighbor has 3 kids and he has a Ford as a third vehicle, he's not giving up his Porsche. It has tons of room and looks more manly than a mini-van.


    The downside he gets killed at the pumps, 8-9 mpg.


    Before we got our mini-van I joked to my wife about buying a used limo. Think how cool the kids would look pulling up to school in that.
  • researchqueenresearchqueen Member Posts: 41
    Guss -- Limo? Only in Beverly Hills! (And I don't doubt that happens.)

    kram -- You're right about the safety issue. But isn't that already an issue in many minivans and SUVs, where you have to fold and flip a seat to get to the third row? I shudder to think of what would happen in an accident... I've never really thought about it before, but it's a serious question.


    I have my minivan configured for my convenience -- the second row seats have the space in the middle, which makes it easier for me to load my daughter in her carseat (because it's right next to the open door). The carpool kids have to climb into the second row, and cross to the third row by squeezing between the two second-row seats. I had been thinking about putting the second row seats together to make it easier on the carpool kids (especially now that my daughter is almost 3). Now that I think about the difficulties of exiting the car with my current configuration, I'm even more likely to make that change. Thanks!
  • KCRamKCRam Mt. Arlington NJMember Posts: 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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  • Kirstie_HKirstie_H EdmundsAdministrator Posts: 11,126


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  • researchqueenresearchqueen Member Posts: 41
    I've found a wonderful link on the Chevy site,

    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 Member Posts: 1,636
    One of our journalists is writing an article about women and trucks: why they love their trucks, the decisions that they have to make when purchasing a truck versus a car, and whether or not they’ve encountered discrimination or bias when buying or driving a truck. If you’d like to share your story, please respond to [email protected] by Sunday, March 26th. Thanks!
  • badgerfanbadgerfan Member Posts: 1,565
    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 Member 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 Member Posts: 1,284
    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 Member Posts: 1,757
    ***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 Member 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.
  • gretchenkgretchenk Member 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 Member Posts: 557
    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" 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 Member Posts: 1,167
    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 Member 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 Member 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" 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
  • anonymouspostsanonymousposts Member Posts: 3,802
    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
    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 Member Posts: 1,284
    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 Member Posts: 3,802
    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 Member Posts: 1,284
    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 Member Posts: 42

    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 Member Posts: 3,802
    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.
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