Author Topic: 2 kids - what car to get  (Read 1617 times)

getmoneyeatpizza

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2 kids - what car to get
« on: May 14, 2018, 07:41:32 PM »
We have a second baby on the way and I'm tall and physically can't sit in front of a second car seat in our little vw golf. So we need a new car. We only have one car and have on street parking. Our commute is only 3 miles which we often bike but won't be able to with the new baby.

I need a setup where we can take 2 adults and the two kids in car seats. And occasionally have my wife squeeze in the back if we go somewhere with grandma. We travel a lot on weekends and take camping gear and bikes so I would get a hitch and a bike rack and a cargo tray. And maybe even a roof rack so I can haul a roof top bag or a canoe.

During this car search I REALLY wish they still made non luxury station wagons. A modern ford focus or accord or camry wagon would be perfect for what I'm looking for. All these cars are about 190 inches with lots of legroom, no crazy clearance, and no AWD. All the modern crossovers are 181 inches which squeezes legroom and trunk room too much IMO.

So I'm thinking about:

Hyundai Sonata: 11k for a 2016 with 40k miles

This is the cheapest. Huge backseat and the most legroom. Big trunk. I just wish it was a wagon. A cargo tray and maybe a roof rack.

Subaru Outback: 18k for 2016 with 50k miles

I like the big huge trunk, and the roof rack. I don't need AWD or the clearance but they are both nice to haves.

Prius V: 16k for a 2012 with 60k miles

This felt so cheap and bumpy when we drove it but it had enough legroom. The trunk is very shallow though and things can't be stacked above the seat for safety reasons.

Any advice? Anything else? I'm open to a minivan but the mileage isn't very good and I don't want to park it on the street. I also want a back up camera with something like that which means a newer car.


ALSO - If someone is in a similar situation can you share specific examples of a set up where they have the driver side rear seat free for an adult, an infant in the center, and then an convertible on the passenger side rear? Our son is 2 and we will be rear facing for at least another year in his Grayco Contender 65.

Also my son will flip around the time our 2nd turns about 1 so we'd have to upgrade that infant seat as well. I'm wondering if we could even just fit a Combi coccoro from the start in the center position.

I've read the three across guides but I'd like confirmation these setups also work for 2 car seats and an adult.

ysette9

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2 kids - what car to get
« Reply #1 on: May 14, 2018, 10:17:24 PM »
Personally I would buy new car seats to fit in the Golf so you don’t need a new car. I have two Combi Coccoro convertible seats which I’ve used for my 4 year-old since birth (preemie). One is forward-facing for the big one and the other is backwards facing for the little one. They are small enough that they can fit right next to each other in the back seat of my GTI, leaving the passenger seat behind the driver clear for an adult. You could do that and then slide the driver’s side seat back to accommodate your legs. I am short and so can talk about this theoretically but haven’t put it to the test yet. I usually have my husband behind my seat on long trips so he can help entertain the squawking horde in the back. :-)
« Last Edit: May 14, 2018, 10:23:07 PM by ysette9 »

ysette9

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Re: 2 kids - what car to get
« Reply #2 on: May 14, 2018, 10:20:30 PM »
If my brain doesn’t fail me entirely by tomorrow morning I will try sliding my seat back to see how far it will go with the two car seats. I have the baby in the middle backwards facing which is the most obtrusive position. If this thread falls out of my brain between now and then, feel free to send me a PM as a reminder. :)

Grogounet

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Re: 2 kids - what car to get
« Reply #3 on: May 14, 2018, 11:48:57 PM »
Personally I would buy new car seats to fit in the Golf so you donít need a new car. I have two Combi Coccoro convertible seats which Iíve used for my 4 year-old since birth (preemie). One is forward-facing for the big one and the other is backwards facing for the little one. They are small enough that they can fit right next to each other in the back seat of my GTI, leaving the passenger seat behind the driver clear for an adult. You could do that and then slide the driverís side seat back to accommodate your legs. I am short and so can talk about this theoretically but havenít put it to the test yet. I usually have my husband behind my seat on long trips so he can help entertain the squawking horde in the back. :-)

Agreed I have mates who had 3 kids at the back of a Golf
And I had until it got written off 2 kids at the back of a Peugeot 306 convertible: Kids LLOOOOOOVED it

vivian

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Re: 2 kids - what car to get
« Reply #4 on: May 15, 2018, 05:10:19 AM »
Another vote for new car seats. Fitting more car seats is not just about the car, but also about the car seats. They vary quite a bit in how much space they take side to side and front to back when rear facing. The Diono Radian is another slim car seat.

Another trick is to use the seat belt to secure the seat instead of latch. Both are equally safe. But latch keeps the carseat right in the middle of the seat. With seat belt installation, you can push the car seat over an inch or so, giving you some critical space.


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ysette9

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Re: 2 kids - what car to get
« Reply #5 on: May 15, 2018, 08:13:52 AM »
I gave it a try this morning and the driver’s seat will go back as far as it can with both car seats installed.


Snowman99

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Re: 2 kids - what car to get
« Reply #6 on: May 15, 2018, 09:02:21 AM »
We drive a 2015 Outback with 2 Diono Radian RXT car seats for our 1 and 3 year olds.  Works great.  Subaru redesigned the Outback in 2015 so it should be the same dimensions as the 2016.

We go on a lot of road trips and occasionally my wife has to sit in the back middle seats to calm the kids down.  She can sit right between the 2 car seats without a problem.

Outback has roof racks that fit a box on top no problem.  We also attached a trailer hitch, and I haul a trailer to get rid of yard waste, etc.  We have gotten very good at minimizing our packing, though, so we barely have to use the roof rack for trips anymore.

The downside with the AWD is that you do have to replace your tires more often.  Expect new tires every 40k miles.

Also, even though it is a 4 cylinder engine, the gas mileage is not that great.  You also have to use synthetic oil, which makes your oil changes more expensive, albeit less frequent (every 7,500 miles).

mm1970

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Re: 2 kids - what car to get
« Reply #7 on: May 15, 2018, 10:31:34 AM »
Another vote for new car seats. Fitting more car seats is not just about the car, but also about the car seats. They vary quite a bit in how much space they take side to side and front to back when rear facing. The Diono Radian is another slim car seat.

Another trick is to use the seat belt to secure the seat instead of latch. Both are equally safe. But latch keeps the carseat right in the middle of the seat. With seat belt installation, you can push the car seat over an inch or so, giving you some critical space.


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Okay, I'm short, but I don't think the slimness is the issue.  We have a Diono Radian and it's slim but also VERY tall.  A lot longer than every other car seat we've ever owned, so rear-facing was a nightmare in our smaller cars.

I would think that a smaller bucket seat carseat would work behind the tall person though.

slappy

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Re: 2 kids - what car to get
« Reply #8 on: May 15, 2018, 10:44:13 AM »
Another vote for new car seats. Fitting more car seats is not just about the car, but also about the car seats. They vary quite a bit in how much space they take side to side and front to back when rear facing. The Diono Radian is another slim car seat.

Another trick is to use the seat belt to secure the seat instead of latch. Both are equally safe. But latch keeps the carseat right in the middle of the seat. With seat belt installation, you can push the car seat over an inch or so, giving you some critical space.


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Okay, I'm short, but I don't think the slimness is the issue.  We have a Diono Radian and it's slim but also VERY tall.  A lot longer than every other car seat we've ever owned, so rear-facing was a nightmare in our smaller cars.

I would think that a smaller bucket seat carseat would work behind the tall person though.

If the seat it slim enough, the driver's seat will be able to be adjusted back without running into the seat. Also, Diono sells an angle adjuster that is supposed to give a few more inches of space.  OP, it may be best to at least test a few seats in the car before committing to a new car. Your local baby supply store should allow you to take the seats out and put the in the vehicle to test positions before you buy.

MBot

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Re: 2 kids - what car to get
« Reply #9 on: May 15, 2018, 09:39:46 PM »
Another vote for new car seats. Fitting more car seats is not just about the car, but also about the car seats. They vary quite a bit in how much space they take side to side and front to back when rear facing. The Diono Radian is another slim car seat.

Another trick is to use the seat belt to secure the seat instead of latch. Both are equally safe. But latch keeps the carseat right in the middle of the seat. With seat belt installation, you can push the car seat over an inch or so, giving you some critical space.


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Okay, I'm short, but I don't think the slimness is the issue.  We have a Diono Radian and it's slim but also VERY tall.  A lot longer than every other car seat we've ever owned, so rear-facing was a nightmare in our smaller cars.

I would think that a smaller bucket seat carseat would work behind the tall person though.

If the seat it slim enough, the driver's seat will be able to be adjusted back without running into the seat. Also, Diono sells an angle adjuster that is supposed to give a few more inches of space.  OP, it may be best to at least test a few seats in the car before committing to a new car. Your local baby supply store should allow you to take the seats out and put the in the vehicle to test positions before you buy.

The angle adjuster gives us about another 4Ē. Pretty good in a Civic.

ToTheMoon

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Re: 2 kids - what car to get
« Reply #10 on: May 15, 2018, 11:28:50 PM »
I don't know how tall you are, but my sister and BIL were in a similar situation 2 years ago.

BIL is 6'2 or 6'3.  They found the Hyundai Elantra Touring (wagon) with 2 Diono Radians has done the trick. Lots of space for everyone, including their huge dog.  It's a bit of an econobox and not super exciting to drive, but gets good mileage when they need it and fits all of their activities (with a roof box.)

elliha

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Re: 2 kids - what car to get
« Reply #11 on: May 16, 2018, 02:58:43 AM »
We have a rear facing big seat in the middle seat (get one that is OK to use in this spot of course) and a forward facing seat in the seat behind the passenger seat and before that we had an infant seat in the middle and the rear facing seat behind the passenger seat. As long as the two seats "fit" this is not very hard to do even in a smaller car. A Golf might be on the smaller side for this but do have a go and see how it turns out, sometimes smaller cars are fine for this. Positioned like this I can both sit in the front seat and in the back seat of our car. I strongly advice to keep rear facing as long as possible so good for you planning to do so rather than going forward facing out of comfort.

MrsWolfeRN

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Re: 2 kids - what car to get
« Reply #12 on: May 16, 2018, 06:53:26 AM »
Consider a Crown Victoria: the fuel mileage will not be as good as the other vehicles you have mentioned, but it can be gotten for about half of the cost by getting a decommissioned police car. We got a 2008 model with about 80k miles in 2011 and paid about $6k; it is still running strong. These are extremely safe and also cheap and easy to work on. My husband is 6'6" so he wanted something big to be comfortable. We also have the Contender 65 for our older child, and there is enough room between the seats to have him rear facing in the middle like in ysette9's picture. There are three latch positions in the back as well. Our younger one is still in the smaller infant seat so he fits behind me and I still get plenty of leg room (I am average height). Your rear passenger will be a little cramped but once your older one can front face, he can go behind you, the infant can go in the middle, and your rear passenger can go behind the shorter front passenger. The trunk is also huge, and it would be easy to add a hitch. One caveat to this car: the front seats are designed for larger than average people; I get a backache if I drive it for long distances because I am sitting on the edge of the seat.

formerlydivorcedmom

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Re: 2 kids - what car to get
« Reply #13 on: May 16, 2018, 09:31:01 AM »
My husband and I are relatively short, so I can't speak to tall drivers.

I have a 2015 Prius, and we love it.  The backseat is surprisingly roomy (and my 5'9 twelve-year-old fits in the back without hitting her head!).  We put the seats down last night and hauled 8 bags of mulch home, and probably could have fit another 2.  It really is a great car, once you get used to the giant blind spots.

Before that, we had a 2005 Subaru Forester.  I LOVED that car.  I could fit two full car seats in the back and squeeze myself into the middle seat.  The gas mileage wasn't as good (abt 25 mpg), but I could haul just about anything.  In hindsight, I wish I'd kept the Forester rather than trading it in for the Prius, but once we figured out oldest kid would be giant, it made sense at the time to get a car with a slightly bigger backseat.

BayAreaFrugal

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Re: 2 kids - what car to get
« Reply #14 on: May 16, 2018, 06:17:33 PM »
I think several people are missing the critical factor that both car seats need to fit rear facing. It's a lot easier to fit two car seats next to each other when one is RF and the other is FF. Two RF seats is really hard. I recently asked almost this exact question in the facebook group Car Seats for the Littles and didn't get very helpful responses, which I found quite surprising. Surely this is an issue lots of people have faced.

My son will be 27 months when #2 is born, and we've somewhat resigned ourselves to the idea of switching him to FF behind the driver's seat so everyone can fit in the car, but I'm really hoping we can figure out a way to keep him RF, whether that be with a seat that takes up less space front-to-back that could fit behind the driver's seat (I'm not optimistic this will work with any seat), or with two seats that are slim enough to fit RF behind the passenger seat and in the center (I'm more optimistic that this is possible).

slappy

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Re: 2 kids - what car to get
« Reply #15 on: May 17, 2018, 06:54:36 AM »
I think several people are missing the critical factor that both car seats need to fit rear facing. It's a lot easier to fit two car seats next to each other when one is RF and the other is FF. Two RF seats is really hard. I recently asked almost this exact question in the facebook group Car Seats for the Littles and didn't get very helpful responses, which I found quite surprising. Surely this is an issue lots of people have faced.

My son will be 27 months when #2 is born, and we've somewhat resigned ourselves to the idea of switching him to FF behind the driver's seat so everyone can fit in the car, but I'm really hoping we can figure out a way to keep him RF, whether that be with a seat that takes up less space front-to-back that could fit behind the driver's seat (I'm not optimistic this will work with any seat), or with two seats that are slim enough to fit RF behind the passenger seat and in the center (I'm more optimistic that this is possible).

I don't think anyone is missing this point. Ysette9 posted a photo of her vehicle with a rear facing seat in the middle that doesn't affect the driver seat. Dionos have been mentioned as not only slim seats, but they have the angle adjuster that allows them to sit more upright (for the older child), thus giving more space behind the seat. I mentioned above exactly what you said, which is that if the seats are slim enough, they won't get in the way of the driver seat at all.

beer-man

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Re: 2 kids - what car to get
« Reply #16 on: May 17, 2018, 07:05:16 AM »
All those cars are winners!

Snowman99

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Re: 2 kids - what car to get
« Reply #17 on: May 17, 2018, 11:57:44 AM »
Angle adjuster in the Diono is an absolute must for rear facing unless you are driving a minivan.

mm1970

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Re: 2 kids - what car to get
« Reply #18 on: May 18, 2018, 08:00:16 AM »
Angle adjuster in the Diono is an absolute must for rear facing unless you are driving a minivan.
we didn't have one, which is prob why it didn't work with our civic

BayAreaFrugal

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Re: 2 kids - what car to get
« Reply #19 on: May 18, 2018, 02:02:07 PM »
I think several people are missing the critical factor that both car seats need to fit rear facing. It's a lot easier to fit two car seats next to each other when one is RF and the other is FF. Two RF seats is really hard. I recently asked almost this exact question in the facebook group Car Seats for the Littles and didn't get very helpful responses, which I found quite surprising. Surely this is an issue lots of people have faced.

My son will be 27 months when #2 is born, and we've somewhat resigned ourselves to the idea of switching him to FF behind the driver's seat so everyone can fit in the car, but I'm really hoping we can figure out a way to keep him RF, whether that be with a seat that takes up less space front-to-back that could fit behind the driver's seat (I'm not optimistic this will work with any seat), or with two seats that are slim enough to fit RF behind the passenger seat and in the center (I'm more optimistic that this is possible).

I don't think anyone is missing this point. Ysette9 posted a photo of her vehicle with a rear facing seat in the middle that doesn't affect the driver seat. Dionos have been mentioned as not only slim seats, but they have the angle adjuster that allows them to sit more upright (for the older child), thus giving more space behind the seat. I mentioned above exactly what you said, which is that if the seats are slim enough, they won't get in the way of the driver seat at all.

Her picture shows a RF seat next to a FF seat. That's exactly what OP (and myself) are trying to avoid. Both seats have to be RF.

catccc

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Re: 2 kids - what car to get
« Reply #20 on: May 18, 2018, 02:28:38 PM »
Angle adjuster in the Diono is an absolute must for rear facing unless you are driving a minivan.
we didn't have one, which is prob why it didn't work with our civic

IDK, we didn't find it is a must.  We were able to RF two Dionos in our Toyota Matrix without the angle adjuster.  DH is 5'11", and the seat wasn't all the way back, but close to it.

Anyway, to the OP, when people think their car isn't big enough for their growing family, I always recommend searching for a car seat configuration that will work.  It just makes sense- a couple to a few hundred for a car seat v. thousands for a car.  Both will get you a resolution to your problem, but one option costs a heck of a lot more.

TeresaB

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Re: 2 kids - what car to get
« Reply #21 on: May 18, 2018, 06:32:32 PM »
I don't know how tall you are, but my sister and BIL were in a similar situation 2 years ago.

BIL is 6'2 or 6'3.  They found the Hyundai Elantra Touring (wagon) with 2 Diono Radians has done the trick. Lots of space for everyone, including their huge dog.  It's a bit of an econobox and not super exciting to drive, but gets good mileage when they need it and fits all of their activities (with a roof box.)
I second this vehicle recommendation. My parents have this car and we were able to fit three rear facing car seats across the back. Two car seats and an adult is no problem.

ysette9

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Re: 2 kids - what car to get
« Reply #22 on: May 18, 2018, 08:32:33 PM »
Both of those car seats will fit rear facing in my GTI/Golf no problem. I have one turned around since my oldest is almost 4. If it will make people feel more comfortable, I can post a photo showing both seats rear facing, but as someone already pointed out, the challenging thing is getting the driver’s side seat back last a rear-facing car seat, which I have already shown. Quite frankly, i am comfortably seated on the couch with a book and a glass of wine (and clearly my phone too) and would prefer you took my word for it. :)

slappy

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Re: 2 kids - what car to get
« Reply #23 on: May 21, 2018, 06:51:43 AM »
I think several people are missing the critical factor that both car seats need to fit rear facing. It's a lot easier to fit two car seats next to each other when one is RF and the other is FF. Two RF seats is really hard. I recently asked almost this exact question in the facebook group Car Seats for the Littles and didn't get very helpful responses, which I found quite surprising. Surely this is an issue lots of people have faced.

My son will be 27 months when #2 is born, and we've somewhat resigned ourselves to the idea of switching him to FF behind the driver's seat so everyone can fit in the car, but I'm really hoping we can figure out a way to keep him RF, whether that be with a seat that takes up less space front-to-back that could fit behind the driver's seat (I'm not optimistic this will work with any seat), or with two seats that are slim enough to fit RF behind the passenger seat and in the center (I'm more optimistic that this is possible).

I don't think anyone is missing this point. Ysette9 posted a photo of her vehicle with a rear facing seat in the middle that doesn't affect the driver seat. Dionos have been mentioned as not only slim seats, but they have the angle adjuster that allows them to sit more upright (for the older child), thus giving more space behind the seat. I mentioned above exactly what you said, which is that if the seats are slim enough, they won't get in the way of the driver seat at all.

Her picture shows a RF seat next to a FF seat. That's exactly what OP (and myself) are trying to avoid. Both seats have to be RF.

I see she already responded, but I would think the seats take up the same width whether they are RF or FF.

getmoneyeatpizza

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Re: 2 kids - what car to get
« Reply #24 on: June 02, 2018, 09:20:27 PM »
I probably should have mentioned that my wife has put her foot down about needing a new car and I can't blame her. Our VW has been a headache to maintain, sunroof leaks and no one can fix it and has 161k miles.

we are probably going to get the sonata for 11k. subaru, prius v are all too expensive. No elantra touring nearby but if I see one I'll test it.

from a test today it seems a sonata will fit our contender rear facing next to a combi corroco in the middle. Also if we leave the middle open the front drivers seat folds down well and and its easy for my wife to get into the middle seat between the two car seats.