This holiday season, The Salty Mamas are going to be logging a LOT of car hours. We’re only one holiday in and we’ve already driven hundreds and hundreds of miles. (Okay, Christine’s family is maybe at nearly 100, but Jaymi has totally made up for it). Between Christmas tree and present shopping, schlepping to holiday parties, and visiting out of town friends and family, we spend a lot of time in the close quarters that are our cars. All the more reason to make sure we LOVE our cars!
Last year at this time, we were trying to decide on what car we needed for our new family of 5. Here are some of the unique things to consider when picking out your perfect family car:
Seating arrangement flexibility.
First, we needed a car that could fit three car seats – which, we found out, isn’t as easy as you may think! But more than that, we wanted to be able to move kids around based on which two were getting along best. For us, a third row was clutch! We can put all three kids in the middle row, or exile provide more personal space in the third row. Check out the different seating options for all cars you’re considering on Cars.com so you can save time by crossing some makes and models off your list.
Expected uses of your car.
My husband had big fantasies that we would be spending a lot of time camping in our new car. I knew that I’d be hauling a thousand pounds of kid stuff everywhere, not to mention our mega shopping trips for 78 rolls of toilet paper and 126 bottles of water all the time! We haven’t camped yet, but we sure do fill the trunk up all the time! Think about how you’re going to use your car the most – if you drive long distances often, maybe something with better MPG’s is a smarter choice.
Oh, my kids are the only ones that are constantly asking for things just out of reach? No? I didn’t think so. So next time you test drive a car, drop something on the floor in the backseat and see if you can reach it while safely driving. In retrospect, I should have done this. My car is either a little too big, or my arms a little too short. Either way, picking out a car with kids has a whole different set of requirements – and this should be one of them!
My son spent a LOT of time campaigning for a green car. Like, BRIGHT green. Think neon green. Mommy was thinking more like white. In the end, we got a silver car because it met lots of other criteria on our list. But for some reason my son did not understand why his color preference wasn’t as important as, say, leg room for my 6’7” husband. So when we were browsing on Cars.com, we had to make SURE to sort by the colors we liked…and conveniently leave out green as an option.
Once we found our perfect non-green car with three rows, lots of trunk space and decent reachability, we were ready to take our leap – and we couldn’t be happier with our Ford Explorer. It may not be as “cool” as the convertible I used to drive, or as rugged as my husbands old all-wheel drive mountain machine, but for our family? It’s just right.