Author Topic: Commuter car with 2 car seats  (Read 863 times)

Apples

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Commuter car with 2 car seats
« on: April 22, 2019, 01:49:28 PM »
We need to get a new-to-us vehicle, as our current one is really hitting the wall at this point.  My DH drives 40 miles round-trip to work every day, and in the future he and I will split daycare dropoff/pickup duties.  We currently have 0 babies, but plan to have 2, within the next few years.  I'd like suggestions on commuter cars that work well for car seats.  I realize all cars could probably work, but since we get the chance to make this decision, I like to aim for a better-than-average experience.  Are there commuter cars that have more rear and trunk space than others?  A wider and more convenient back door setup?  Anyone have a great experience with a commuter car and car seats?  We've been driving a 2009 Ford Escape because that was my college and young adult car, and I'd like to downgrade to save on gas.  I'm happy for any experiences and advice that people who have done this can share.

Things to know: 
*We have a "family adventure" car already for trips, a 2015 Subaru Forester we take on several trips a year.
*I'd like to get a car with 60,000 miles or less - we average about 15,000 a year on our cars (and I imagine that will go up with kids) and want to keep it through most of the "kids trash the car" years, plus I hate car shopping so I'm happy to own it longer.
*We won't get a hybrid car.  Don't try to talk me into it.  It's not a rationally-made decision.   
*DH and I are both 5'7" so height shouldn't be a concern. 
*This car will constantly have 2 kids in it with the need to run an errand like groceries or Home Depot, as we live miles out of town (which DH works in), so daycare and errands will usually be one on the same trip.


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Re: Commuter car with 2 car seats
« Reply #1 on: April 22, 2019, 02:27:04 PM »
Get a 4-door sedan, something like a Civi, Elantra, or Focus. I drive an Elantra right now.


The Honda Fit is also a great commuter car and fits 2 car seats easily, but I personally wanted more space between the backseat and the carseats- and the trunk just wasn't deep enough for me to feel comfortable if I was rear ended with kids in the car. (I think a lot of the cargo space would also be compromised with car seats, so I wouldn't recommend it for your "errand" car.)

I'd recommend something with a separate trunk, not a hatch. It's a good idea to have cargo secured, so there are no projectiles in an accident.

Finally- there are tons of car seats out there. Find the ones that fit the car, even if it's something more expensive.  I know way too many people who have literally bought cars to fit less expensive car seats.

mm1970

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Re: Commuter car with 2 car seats
« Reply #2 on: April 22, 2019, 03:59:45 PM »
Get a 4-door sedan, something like a Civi, Elantra, or Focus. I drive an Elantra right now.


The Honda Fit is also a great commuter car and fits 2 car seats easily, but I personally wanted more space between the backseat and the carseats- and the trunk just wasn't deep enough for me to feel comfortable if I was rear ended with kids in the car. (I think a lot of the cargo space would also be compromised with car seats, so I wouldn't recommend it for your "errand" car.)

I'd recommend something with a separate trunk, not a hatch. It's a good idea to have cargo secured, so there are no projectiles in an accident.

Finally- there are tons of car seats out there. Find the ones that fit the car, even if it's something more expensive.  I know way too many people who have literally bought cars to fit less expensive car seats.
Yep.  We have a Matrix (hatchback), which we use for trips and a Civic.  They both work fine for 2 seats.

nereo

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Re: Commuter car with 2 car seats
« Reply #3 on: April 22, 2019, 05:38:23 PM »
Serious question:  Why are you considering this now with currently zero children?  As someone who's recently become a parent: it might take far longer than you expect for the first, and then the second might be years later, or not at all.

The good news is you can buy whatever (used) car makes sense for you now, and sell it and buy whatever (used) car makes sense for you in 2, 3, or 7 years.

FWIW we have a civic and our car seat works just fine, no complaints. We could do two if we had a second kid, but we don't.

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Re: Commuter car with 2 car seats
« Reply #4 on: April 22, 2019, 05:48:20 PM »
Serious question:  Why are you considering this now with currently zero children?  As someone who's recently become a parent: it might take far longer than you expect for the first, and then the second might be years later, or not at all.

The good news is you can buy whatever (used) car makes sense for you now, and sell it and buy whatever (used) car makes sense for you in 2, 3, or 7 years.

FWIW we have a civic and our car seat works just fine, no complaints. We could do two if we had a second kid, but we don't.

According to the first post, they need a car anyway. Might as well get one that will last 10+ years, rather than buy one that won't. If they were looking to buy a minivan now, I'd question it, but a practical used sedan isn't going to be expensive and works with or without kids.

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Re: Commuter car with 2 car seats
« Reply #5 on: April 22, 2019, 05:54:20 PM »
Serious question:  Why are you considering this now with currently zero children?  As someone who's recently become a parent: it might take far longer than you expect for the first, and then the second might be years later, or not at all.

The good news is you can buy whatever (used) car makes sense for you now, and sell it and buy whatever (used) car makes sense for you in 2, 3, or 7 years.

FWIW we have a civic and our car seat works just fine, no complaints. We could do two if we had a second kid, but we don't.

According to the first post, they need a car anyway. Might as well get one that will last 10+ years, rather than buy one that won't. If they were looking to buy a minivan now, I'd question it, but a practical used sedan isn't going to be expensive and works with or without kids.

I disagree, but that's me.  The great thing about buying used cars is that there are always cars to buy, and always cars to sell, and as long as you're not buying something built within the last 3 years or with < 45k miles the depreciation curve is relatively flat.

Broader point (made before me) is that most 4-door cars can take two car seats just fine.  Civic, Matrix, Focus, Elantra - they'll all work just fine.

Apples

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Re: Commuter car with 2 car seats
« Reply #6 on: April 23, 2019, 04:35:29 AM »
Thanks for the info everyone.  I figured there weren't going to be huge differences between cars, but wanted to check in case there were really good or really bad options out there.  I'll reconsider on the hatchback based on some of the posts here.  And to answer the more recent question, because I plan to keep this car 8-10 years and in that time will definitely have kids.  And I hate buying and selling cars.  So might as well just get a car that will work for that now.

MsPeacock

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Re: Commuter car with 2 car seats
« Reply #7 on: April 23, 2019, 07:21:16 AM »
All the cars others have mentioned are good choices. I just want to add - as a parent of now adult-sized children (age 15 and 12) that if you plan to keep the car long-term (10+ years) , be sure to consider how the back seat will accommodate large people, not just car seats. My kids are both taller and heavier than me. Some of the little sedans don't work well for long road trips for big people in the backseat. The 12 year old is aiming to end up somewhere in the 6'4" range in the next two years or so (he is incredibly tall).

Apples

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Re: Commuter car with 2 car seats
« Reply #8 on: April 23, 2019, 08:32:51 AM »
Thanks Ms Peacock!  Even if we have a kid within 1 year of getting the car, it's unlikely that kid will make it to 10 before we have to get a different car.  Living in a rural area, we just do too much driving.  We put 15,000 miles on cars now without any kid errands to run, I imagine with soccer practices and birthday parties (which will each be at least 10 miles one way) it'll go even faster.

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Re: Commuter car with 2 car seats
« Reply #9 on: April 25, 2019, 07:35:01 AM »
If I read this correctly you have two cars, only use one for commuting and that one is going away.
Well, use the other for commuting until you need two cars.

Apples

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Re: Commuter car with 2 car seats
« Reply #10 on: April 25, 2019, 08:08:31 AM »
Tester...you're sort of right, but I wasn't clear.

1 car is used for daily commuting.  In addition, I have a work truck.  However, I shouldn't use that work truck to do non-work things.  This includes going to workout classes, errands, nights out, etc.  The 1 commuter car gets home anytime between 5 and 9 at night, as DH has a variable work schedule.  So if I have somewhere to be at 7, there is about a 60% chance the commuter car is home and available, but about 40% of the time I also need a car to get somewhere.  Hence the second car, which we bought with an eye towards being the road trip car, as my in-laws live 600 miles away and we visit 3-4 times a year.  We usually take a cooler of beer and tree care equipment there and come home with some sort of furniture, so we use the entirety of the car on these trips just the two of us (the Forester).

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Re: Commuter car with 2 car seats
« Reply #11 on: April 25, 2019, 08:31:19 AM »
If I read this correctly you have two cars, only use one for commuting and that one is going away.
Well, use the other for commuting until you need two cars.

Since the OP said her husband drives 40 miles round trip for his work commute, that likely means she (assuming this is a female) stays at home. I don't think many people are going to accept being stuck at home 50s housewife style while the car is 40 miles away.  Especially once kids enter the equation.