If you recall from last week, I mentioned that we are expecting our third kid in September. Three kids! Its nuts to think about. With the upcoming arrival of this little bundle we have been undergoing some major re-vamping of our life. First of all, the 4th bedroom in our house is currently home to a desk, a bazillion books, some diplomas and a futon that is more popular than the Hilton with our family. Therefore, moving our oldest downstairs to occupy that room wasn’t really on the table. So instead we (and by “we” I of course mean “I”) have been ordering bunk beds, moving belongings, organizing clothing, etc etc to accommodate baby brother. The house, however, isn’t the only thing that had a major overhaul. I think its safe to say that three is often the magic number that pushes parents to start looking for a bigger car.
Ah, there it is. The reason for this post. The reason for me to ask you to set all judging aside and hear me out. That’s right, folks. We bought a minivan. A soccer mom driving, kid hauling, door sliding minivan. And I love it. Now I know what many of you are thinking. You are thinking that I am just one casserole away from becoming a mom-jean wearing, kid herding, lunatic driving mom. But in all reality, though my jeans do currently have an elastic waist, I am still pretty cool. At least as cool as I ever was before.
Now I have to admit that we started our search with an open mind, and we did look at several “cross overs” with a third row seat. In fact, my husband was far more against buying a mini than I was, and we actually spent an entire day looking at nothing other than SUVs. I did think it was funny, though, that the age and “family status” of each sales person played a large role in what they thought we should buy. For example, a young, single or perhaps married with one kid, spiked hair, popped collar salesman almost always told us we wanted a cross over. No one buys minivans anymore. Not with all the other options out there. But then you get the older man with his nice, but worn shoes, his thickening midsection and thinning hair, who was an admitted husband to one and father to many, and he would always tell us that the minivan is where its at. The same idea went for the female sales people (though most of them had full heads of hair). I couldn’t help but be drawn to the experience of the older salespeople, though I’d be lying if the I said the allure of a nice SUV wasn’t still there.
I guess I should back track here and say that I am not a great decision maker. Well, that’s maybe not fair, I can make decisions. Its just painful for me. Very painful. I cannot just walk into the store and buy what looks good and walk out. I need to read reviews, I need to research, I need to compare. In the end, I usually feel like I need institutionalized. Big decisions for me are just that. Big. So buying a new car was big, and not even knowing what type of car to get made it all the worse. But then it happened. We decided to take a peak at the minivans. Let me tell you, I slipped into one and it had me at hello. Everything about it screamed practicality, and to be honest, I thought it was a pretty sweet ride. So lets get down to the nitty gritty. Here are the things I fell in love with about the minivan. I am going to bullet them because that is what a over-analyzing, anal person like myself does.
- Storage. Storage. Storage. Ever opened the back of third row SUV? Did you see the back of the back seat about three inches in front of you? Not in a mini van! We travel a ton in our car and so having room to put our stuff is a HUGE deal for me.
- Super kid friendly. I’m talking small things. Cup holders, a built in mirror to see the kids, buttons that the kids can push to open and close the door, the ability to move around easily (and yes, we looked at lots of SUVs with the second row captains chairs), pull up sunshades on all the back windows. Its a kid carrying dream.
- Features. We were able to get all the awesome features available at a significant less price than it would have cost to get the same features in an SUV. Rear entertainment, navigation, bluetooth, USB port, back up camera, blind spot sensor, XM radio, leather seats, sun roofs, etc. etc. Put all of that in a SUV and you’ll be paying several thousands of dollars more. (And there were some really affordable minis with all these options available, might I add.)
- Sliding doors. I can open them with a button and the kids can get in and out without me fearing for the safety of the paint job on any neighboring cars.
- Same or better gas mileage than the SUVs.
- No 4 wheel drive (except on certain Toyota Siennas), but front wheel drive with traction control. I know I live in Utah, but I grew up in Idaho and can hold my own in the snow with or without 4 wheel drive.
- Did I mention storage?
So those were my selling points. The only con I could really come up with was that it was, in fact, a minivan and with that comes the possibility of being judged by those who hate. To me, that is not much of a con. I love my mini and I will proclaim it from the mountain top if I must. (Please note how I call it a mini. Thats cool, right? Should have added it to the list.) But alas, I am not here to tell you what to buy. (Though you might be impressed that I know pretty much everything there is to know about every kind of van and many crossover SUVs on the market. Or that might just make you think I’m a dingbat. Yes a dingbat. That’s the kind of thing a mini van driving mom would say, right?) So you get what suits you. For me, it was a van. When it comes down to it, the above list might not appeal to you. If you don’t need extra space, or you don’t care about kid friendly features, then maybe the SUV is for you. Or even if you feel your pants start to inch up with just the mere thought of driving a minivan, then by all means don’t. No one likes a camel toe. Not even mini van drivers.