Author Topic: Cars that fit 2 carseats + 1 adult (another dump the minivan thread)  (Read 2580 times)

kiva822

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 15
Greetings

Mostly lurker here posting to the community for some suggestions on which way to go with our car situation. 

Background: family of 4. Twin 6 year old girls + medium size dog.  We won't be having more kids.  Before getting the van, the kids were toted around in our 2003 VW TDI wagon (currently 260k; love that car).  However, the biggest issue is that we could not fit an adult in the middle of the backseat w/ 2 car seats installed.  As the girls are 6 (they're really small), we're justing moving to a 5-point booster seat, so thinking there may be some more room back there. 

Both my wife and I bounce around town and outlying communities for work and so we need two cars.  However, most trips are very short in duration and each of us may only drive 30 miles/day.  If she goes further, she takes the TDI and gets to claim mileage.   

About 2 years ago, I lost the debate on getting a minivan. The used prices were so nuts that we went new, planning on keeping it until the wheels fell off.  Put 1/2 down and paid off the other half in about 12 months.  It's a 2015 Odyssey.  To be fair, the car is awesome and I'm a total mini-van convert. The utility is unparalleled as well as the convenience.  On 3 occasions we did some 4-7hr trips with another family of 4 and all our luggage. It was cool.  But that doesn't happen nearly as often to warrant the downside. 

All the short-tripping is killing us.  I figure we spend about $100/mo just in fuel vs. when the kids were in the TDI.  Now, the van is more reliable, being new, more comfortable, safer, etc., but coupled with insurance and registration costs, this thing is a boat anchor.

I was able to show the wife the #'s and she reluctantly agreed that it appear a better idea to cut bait and, perhaps, think about a used van when the kids are in middle school, have more friends to cart around, activities, etc.  We have 14k in HELOC debt to pay off + my student loan of 13k so, i figure, we sell the van, pay off the HELOC, buy another vehicle, and put all the payment proceeds towards the student loan which would have that paid off in about 12 months. Our only remaining debt would be our mortgage.

Anyway, I guess my questions are these:

(1) Given all the short tripping, what about an EV?  Do any of the EV's have the ability to fit 2 5-point booster seats + an adult in the middle with enough comfort for, say, a 3hr trip?  Also, in same case, where the hell would the dog go?  However, that may not matter as we could just use the TDI for the longer out-of-town trip (assuming the different car seat configuration will allow an adult in the middle). 

(2)  If no EV, other car suggestions for same configuration in back seat + ability to take a dog?  I'm fine with getting roof racks / trailer hitch racks for extra cargo. 

(3) Am i just being an alarmist re: the minivan downsides and just keep it?

It is possible I will be moving toward some more private practice which would enable me to not have to drive as much. However, for now, my job requires me to bounce between school sites and to frequently do so on a moment's notice.

any other suggestions or inquiries welcome.

« Last Edit: August 02, 2017, 01:28:05 AM by kiva822 »

Secretly Saving

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 418
Re: Cars that fit 2 carseats + 1 adult (another dump the minivan thread)
« Reply #1 on: August 02, 2017, 04:46:56 AM »
This is slightly along other lines, but might help with the fit.  Recaro brand car seats are the narrowest.  We purchased those to help with the fit in smalller vehicles.  Recaro is a well reviewed brand (they make seats for race cars, so they are well designed in terms of safety!)

SimpleCycle

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 886
  • Location: Chicago
Re: Cars that fit 2 carseats + 1 adult (another dump the minivan thread)
« Reply #2 on: August 02, 2017, 04:51:02 AM »
Have you tried the new car seats in the TDI to see if it's a better fit?  That seems like the first step.  Have you tried the car seats installed passenger side/middle with the adult sitting behind the driver's side?  I think the Diono Radians can support that configuration.

I guess I'm not totally understanding the use case.  You want to road trip with three adults, two kids, and a dog?  How frequently do you plan to do that?

researcher1

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 158
Re: Cars that fit 2 carseats + 1 adult (another dump the minivan thread)
« Reply #3 on: August 02, 2017, 07:01:45 AM »
Keep the minivan. 

I wouldn't have purchased a van, but it is a sunk cost, and it's completely paid off. 
You know the history of this vehicle, and can keep it for the next 10-15 years.

I'm guessing you would get $20K if you sold the van, and you want to pay off a $14K HELOC.
That leaves $6K to buy a turd of a vehicle for your precious family to drive around in.
It doesn't seem worth it to me.

slappy

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 689
Re: Cars that fit 2 carseats + 1 adult (another dump the minivan thread)
« Reply #4 on: August 02, 2017, 07:10:17 AM »
Have you tried the new car seats in the TDI to see if it's a better fit?  That seems like the first step.  Have you tried the car seats installed passenger side/middle with the adult sitting behind the driver's side?  I think the Diono Radians can support that configuration.

I guess I'm not totally understanding the use case.  You want to road trip with three adults, two kids, and a dog?  How frequently do you plan to do that?

This. How often are you planning to have a third adult? I have two kids in the back of a subaru legacy. I have sat in between the seats and it's tight, but doable. Much easier to do in my outback though. (I'm female, 5'7" and 140 pounds.)

kiva822

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 15
Re: Cars that fit 2 carseats + 1 adult (another dump the minivan thread)
« Reply #5 on: August 02, 2017, 12:28:29 PM »
Hey Folks

Sorry if I was unclear.  The primary configuration is 2 kids + 2 adults with probably 1-2x/week additional adult. 

KBB and local craigslist indicate 26-28k for the van, if that matters.

« Last Edit: August 03, 2017, 12:16:38 AM by kiva822 »

Peanutty

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 14
Re: Cars that fit 2 carseats + 1 adult (another dump the minivan thread)
« Reply #6 on: August 02, 2017, 01:12:16 PM »
Get slim profile booster seats and put the girls beside each other, then the adult can have the side seat? The Clek is (admittedly) a very expensive line of car seats/booster seats, but the savings of having a more fuel-efficient car would probably offset the expensive car seat costs within a few months. One of the big selling features of the Clek is that they can fit 3-carseats across in virtually any North American vehicle.

Booster seats are also (imo) WAY easier to move around than a regular old car seat. So most of the time you could have the space open in the middle between the girls, and then just slide the booster seats to be beside each other in the event of an additional passenger.

slappy

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 689
Re: Cars that fit 2 carseats + 1 adult (another dump the minivan thread)
« Reply #7 on: August 02, 2017, 03:13:27 PM »
Get slim profile booster seats and put the girls beside each other, then the adult can have the side seat? The Clek is (admittedly) a very expensive line of car seats/booster seats, but the savings of having a more fuel-efficient car would probably offset the expensive car seat costs within a few months. One of the big selling features of the Clek is that they can fit 3-carseats across in virtually any North American vehicle.

Booster seats are also (imo) WAY easier to move around than a regular old car seat. So most of the time you could have the space open in the middle between the girls, and then just slide the booster seats to be beside each other in the event of an additional passenger.

This

kiva822

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 15
Re: Cars that fit 2 carseats + 1 adult (another dump the minivan thread)
« Reply #8 on: August 03, 2017, 12:29:48 AM »
cool. We will look into those boosters.  A quick google doesn't indicate they have any with 5-point harnesses, but that means we have more research to do :)

I don't think the full price of the vehicle is a sunk cost. The sunk cost is the 5-8k we'll lose in depreciation and taxes.  I can 'recover' the rest by selling the vehicle.

thoughts on a vehicle choice which will handle the booster + adult + dog configuration using roof racks, etc. for cargo?

I've also thought about getting a scooter or similar for moving about town, but they're dangerous...


slappy

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 689
Re: Cars that fit 2 carseats + 1 adult (another dump the minivan thread)
« Reply #9 on: August 03, 2017, 05:50:28 AM »
cool. We will look into those boosters.  A quick google doesn't indicate they have any with 5-point harnesses, but that means we have more research to do :)

I don't think the full price of the vehicle is a sunk cost. The sunk cost is the 5-8k we'll lose in depreciation and taxes.  I can 'recover' the rest by selling the vehicle.

thoughts on a vehicle choice which will handle the booster + adult + dog configuration using roof racks, etc. for cargo?

I've also thought about getting a scooter or similar for moving about town, but they're dangerous...

I mentioned this already, but I have a Subaru Outback and it works. The dog goes in the cargo area in the back.

NeonPegasus

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 374
  • Location: Metro Atlanta, GA
    • Neon Pegasus
Re: Cars that fit 2 carseats + 1 adult (another dump the minivan thread)
« Reply #10 on: August 03, 2017, 06:14:32 AM »
You won't be taking an EV on a 3 hr trip, unless you're springing for a Tesla.

You are not going to fit 3 adults, 2 kids, a dog and luggage in a sedan and be comfortable. Drop a dog or adult and you may be talking but otherwise you'll need something bigger.

Have you considered a used SUV? You can get a used '10 or older Toyota Highlander for less than $10k. That gives you room for everyone plus dog and luggage. The downside is the file efficiency won't be as good.

That's the thing - you simply can't comfortably transport that many people/things in a super fuel efficient way.

If you're looking for a vehicle that will transport 2 adults, 2 kids and a dog around town, look for a used LEAF. I wouldn't road trip in them, not only because of range but also because they don't carry a spare tire but for day to day around town driving, they're great.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

NeonPegasus

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 374
  • Location: Metro Atlanta, GA
    • Neon Pegasus
Re: Cars that fit 2 carseats + 1 adult (another dump the minivan thread)
« Reply #11 on: August 03, 2017, 06:17:06 AM »
Also, if you need a booster only, check out bubblebums. Those are inexpensive options for secondary cars.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

Ratrem133

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 6
Re: Cars that fit 2 carseats + 1 adult (another dump the minivan thread)
« Reply #12 on: August 04, 2017, 09:02:46 PM »
We have a golf TDI wagon type and love it with our 3 kids under 8. Have taken it on long trips been getting 50+ mpg easy as much as 57. We have had no problem fitting the 3 kids plus all our stuff for trips.
Here is what I do:
1) sell the minivan
2) buy a commuter sedan
3) get two bubblebum or similar boosters to only when you have the third adult with you. Keep your regular seats that you feel more comfortable enough the rest of the time. At 6 occasional trips in a booster should be okay as long as they are 40lbs.

kiva822

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 15
Re: Cars that fit 2 carseats + 1 adult (another dump the minivan thread)
« Reply #13 on: August 04, 2017, 11:01:54 PM »
We have a golf TDI wagon type and love it with our 3 kids under 8. Have taken it on long trips been getting 50+ mpg easy as much as 57. We have had no problem fitting the 3 kids plus all our stuff for trips.
Here is what I do:
1) sell the minivan
2) buy a commuter sedan
3) get two bubblebum or similar boosters to only when you have the third adult with you. Keep your regular seats that you feel more comfortable enough the rest of the time. At 6 occasional trips in a booster should be okay as long as they are 40lbs.

I like this plan.  BTW, which TDI do you have?  Ours is a MKIV...a bit smaller than the newer versions.

I think we're going to first get the booster seats we want (narrow type) as the kids have mostly outgrown their car seats. They're pretty small kids.  They technically can stay in them longer, but they're starting to get less comfortable, it seems.

Going to look at the leaf and maybe a fit...


Ratrem133

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 6
Re: Cars that fit 2 carseats + 1 adult (another dump the minivan thread)
« Reply #14 on: August 05, 2017, 09:25:50 AM »
We have a 2015 TDI golf sportwagen. It is similar to the Jetta sportwagen. 2015 is the only year for diesel. They released them again recently with very nice incentives. Another thing I really like about it is that the seats are a fake leather type material v-Tex not cloth. Cloth ruins so quickly with kids (at least mine) and usually you have to go way up in packages to get a non cloth seating surface and wind up with extra features not needed. We also looked at the Prius V, but it was so much more money, had cloth seats (unless we wanted to spend even more money), and way less cargo room. This was first "new" car we ever purchased. Buying a 2015 leftover also allowed the excise tax assessment to be way less. All in all I am happy with it. As you know these cars last forever which was a huge selling point, likely will be the car my DH drives for the rest of his working years or used as a car for our girls to share:

tyler2016

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 117
    • Tyler's Guides
Re: Cars that fit 2 carseats + 1 adult (another dump the minivan thread)
« Reply #15 on: August 06, 2017, 05:42:42 AM »
The latest generation of Jettas are big cars for being in the compact class. You can find them a few years old for 10-13k. I recently bought one that came off lease in great shape for 12.

Goldielocks

  • Walrus Stache
  • *******
  • Posts: 6257
  • Location: BC
Re: Cars that fit 2 carseats + 1 adult (another dump the minivan thread)
« Reply #16 on: August 06, 2017, 08:38:31 AM »
The gas mileage on my mini van really sucked with the short drive and all the stop signs I navigated.   I think it was down to 11 MPG, on average.  It was an 8 year old dodge grand caravan at the time that we were doing all the shuttling.

The challenge in your scenario is that you bought it new.   Cripes, that is a very expensive car you have there!  As others have said, it is a sunk cost and selling and buying another car may not net you out a whole lot of money at this point.

So, do the math -- We did not drive our minivan many miles per year.  Mileage on the highway was actually very good, it was just the local trips under 3 miles each that sucked.  When I did the math, losing 15 MPG at 3 miles and $3 per gallon:  60 cents per trip, or maybe $6 per week == $300 per year.

Likewise buying an EV sounds nice, but would save very few dollars, NET if your mileage per year is low.

That is not a lot of money to waste, so the decision to switch out the car should not be made based on fuel economy alone.  Only do it if you would free up thousands of dollars to use for another goal.

Oh,  and use this as an incentive to try out family bike trips when you can, now that the kids CAN ride a bike for a mile.  We started biking twice a week with the school drop offs.. I also looked for slightly longer routes with fewer stop signs to get to my destinations.

englishteacheralex

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1800
  • Age: 39
  • Location: Honolulu, HI
Re: Cars that fit 2 carseats + 1 adult (another dump the minivan thread)
« Reply #17 on: August 06, 2017, 09:58:55 AM »
Nobody's mentioned the glorious Mazda 5.

It's a mini-minivan. A lot of people hate them because they are way smaller than a conventional minivan. And I will concede that you lose a lot of cargo space compared to an Odyssey or what have you, and the mpg isn't spectacular.

However, we have a stick shift Mazda 5 and we fill up the tank about 2x/month even with a daily 16 mile round trip car commute. I find it to be a treat to drive. Most of the time, we are 2 adults/1 baby/1 toddler, and if you keep the back seat folded down it has a TON of cargo space. Every now and again we give somebody a ride, which means we stick the baby in the back seat. With the back seat up, the cargo space is much more limited, but you can still fit stuff around the seats.

We also have a roof rack and could put cargo on top if we wanted to take a long road trip.

Our 2009 Mazda 5 had 62k miles when we bought it  via Craigslist for $4600. Pretty sweet! Highly recommended. They don't make them anymore.

Edited to add: our insurance actually went down when we bought this and sold our 1999 Toyota Corolla. (Was $45/month, went down $2! We don't carry collision but do carry the highest possible liability.) Registration went up slightly, but Hawaii car registration is wildly expensive anyway.
« Last Edit: August 06, 2017, 10:02:18 AM by englishteacheralex »