Author Topic: I may have a kid in the near future and need car purchase advice  (Read 5591 times)

Mr. Paws

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I am looking for the best combination of reliability, good gas mileage, cheap to maintain and low purchase price.  I would like to buy a car under $5,000 so I would feel comfortable only carrying liability insurance. I am in the early stages of searching and so far I have been looking at old corollas and civics.

I have a lot of friends with babies and they keep saying I need to keep my small suv because its a pain to get babies in and out of small cars not to mention hauling baby stuff around.  To me it seems like it wouldn't be that big of a deal and worth the small suffering on my part.  Am I missing something?  I would love to hear from people with children and small cars.  Also, any advice on other cars I should look, at considering a child may be in my future within the next year.

ShoulderThingThatGoesUp

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Re: I may have a kid in the near future and need car purchase advice
« Reply #1 on: May 19, 2016, 08:45:00 AM »
Getting a kid in and out of a small car is not hard. Consider that spending a few thousand more may be reasonable - ESC is a truly important safety innovation and it's relatively recent, so get an efficient used car that has it.

ketchup

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Re: I may have a kid in the near future and need car purchase advice
« Reply #2 on: May 19, 2016, 08:56:10 AM »
I'd say wait until after the kid arrives and see what you actually need.  "Baby stuff" can mean between 5lbs and 500lbs of cargo depending on the parent and situation.

mtn

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Re: I may have a kid in the near future and need car purchase advice
« Reply #3 on: May 19, 2016, 08:56:44 AM »
You do need to make sure that the carseat will fit, and if you have a significant other, that they fit with the carseat in it as well. It isn't always that easy. Also, kids take up a lot of room--carseat, stroller, diaper bag, etc. Not all necessary of course, and people can make it work, but I know my parents quickly bought a Park Avenue after my brother was born, and upgraded to a Roadmaster after I was born--they could have gotten by, but it was just easier with the bigger car. On that end, I would not rule out minivans--they can be had pretty cheap.

In any case, I'd recommend looking at the following: 
-Pontiac Vibe/Toyota Matrix (same car, basically a Corolla wagon) 
-Mazda 3 (hatch or sedan) 
-Mazda 6 (sedan or wagon)
-Mazda 5 (mini-minivan)--not sure if they're cheap enough yet
-Toyota Prius's might be in that range by now. Probably close to it
-Various Subaru's--they get poor MPG and have head gasket issues, but are tremendous cars and very safe
-Toyota Camry/Lexus ES (watch out for oil sludge in the V6--same as the Sienna below)
-Honda Accord/Civic

Minivans:
-Toyota Sienna (watch out for engine sludge issues on the first gen) 
-Mazda MPV
-Kia Sedona
-Chrysler/Dodge/VW minivan (watch out for transmission issues)

FLBiker

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Re: I may have a kid in the near future and need car purchase advice
« Reply #4 on: May 19, 2016, 08:59:09 AM »
We've got a 1 year old, and you absolutely don't need a small SUV.  In fact, we have a small SUV (1999 Ford Explorer Sport) and have never put the carseat in it.  We just use the Corolla.

COlady

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Re: I may have a kid in the near future and need car purchase advice
« Reply #5 on: May 19, 2016, 09:01:25 AM »
I am looking for the best combination of reliability, good gas mileage, cheap to maintain and low purchase price.  I would like to buy a car under $5,000 so I would feel comfortable only carrying liability insurance. I am in the early stages of searching and so far I have been looking at old corollas and civics.

I have a lot of friends with babies and they keep saying I need to keep my small suv because its a pain to get babies in and out of small cars not to mention hauling baby stuff around.  To me it seems like it wouldn't be that big of a deal and worth the small suffering on my part.  Am I missing something?  I would love to hear from people with children and small cars.  Also, any advice on other cars I should look, at considering a child may be in my future within the next year.

Or you could buy a car thinking that it'll fit your new baby in the belly great. Then you go to your first ultrasound and find out that there are actually two babies in your belly.....happened to me. I second the wait and see what your needs are approach.

mtn

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Re: I may have a kid in the near future and need car purchase advice
« Reply #6 on: May 19, 2016, 09:11:55 AM »
One thing on the MPG--Figure out how much you think you'll be driving. If you don't have a car, would it really change that much when you have a baby (it may, but it may not as well). If you're only driving 5000 miles a year, at $4.00 a gallon there is only a $333 difference from 20MPG to 30MPG annually.

Fun fact: The difference between 20MPG and 30MPG is the same as the difference in 30MPG and 60MPG, and that is MORE than the difference in 60MPG and 10,000MPG.

Mr. Paws

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Re: I may have a kid in the near future and need car purchase advice
« Reply #7 on: May 19, 2016, 09:15:03 AM »
Thanks for the replies so far.  I was also thinking about the Vibe someone mentioned above but I haven't really looked into it much yet. I am not as concerned with multiple adults in the car.  My wife has an old 4 door camry that we could take if all of us are together.  That's probably where the car seat will be most of the time anyway. However, I am sure there will be situations where I will need to haul the baby at some point in my car. That's why i am including it in my thought process.

I commute to work daily and roundtrip its 20 miles.  I put about 12K on a car in a year.  My wife only drives for school and grocery shopping and puts about 6K miles or less on her car each year.

mtn

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Re: I may have a kid in the near future and need car purchase advice
« Reply #8 on: May 19, 2016, 09:28:47 AM »
Thanks for the replies so far.  I was also thinking about the Vibe someone mentioned above but I haven't really looked into it much yet. I am not as concerned with multiple adults in the car.  My wife has an old 4 door camry that we could take if all of us are together.  That's probably where the car seat will be most of the time anyway. However, I am sure there will be situations where I will need to haul the baby at some point in my car. That's why i am including it in my thought process.

I commute to work daily and roundtrip its 20 miles.  I put about 12K on a car in a year.  My wife only drives for school and grocery shopping and puts about 6K miles or less on her car each year.

So what do you have now?

Mr. Paws

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Re: I may have a kid in the near future and need car purchase advice
« Reply #9 on: May 19, 2016, 09:39:06 AM »
Thanks for the replies so far.  I was also thinking about the Vibe someone mentioned above but I haven't really looked into it much yet. I am not as concerned with multiple adults in the car.  My wife has an old 4 door camry that we could take if all of us are together.  That's probably where the car seat will be most of the time anyway. However, I am sure there will be situations where I will need to haul the baby at some point in my car. That's why i am including it in my thought process.

I commute to work daily and roundtrip its 20 miles.  I put about 12K on a car in a year.  My wife only drives for school and grocery shopping and puts about 6K miles or less on her car each year.

So what do you have now?

Nissan Rogue

lsalinas

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Re: I may have a kid in the near future and need car purchase advice
« Reply #10 on: May 19, 2016, 09:46:12 AM »
I have twins and we drive a '08 Toyota Yaris sedan and a '10 Hyundai Accent sedan and we are comfortable.  But to reiterate two important points that other posters have already put out there: 

1.  When car shopping, you need to figure out how much legroom you need and how far back you can put the front seat before it hits the carseat.  We already owned both cars when the babies were born so we didn't have to lug a carseat while car shopping.  Instead the baby store let us try the carseat models in the cars before we bought them.  We went with infant seats first and then the convertible car seats after. 

2.  Figure out how much baby gear you will be hauling.  We travel light.  One backpack serves as our diaper bag for both and we have a cheap double umbrella stroller, but if we had a nice sturdy double stroller with big wheels it might not fit in our trunk.


mtn

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Re: I may have a kid in the near future and need car purchase advice
« Reply #11 on: May 19, 2016, 09:48:28 AM »
Thanks for the replies so far.  I was also thinking about the Vibe someone mentioned above but I haven't really looked into it much yet. I am not as concerned with multiple adults in the car.  My wife has an old 4 door camry that we could take if all of us are together.  That's probably where the car seat will be most of the time anyway. However, I am sure there will be situations where I will need to haul the baby at some point in my car. That's why i am including it in my thought process.

I commute to work daily and roundtrip its 20 miles.  I put about 12K on a car in a year.  My wife only drives for school and grocery shopping and puts about 6K miles or less on her car each year.

So what do you have now?

Nissan Rogue

So are you just trying to get some money out of it (trade down to something cheaper) or is there another reason that you're looking? With your commute, I wouldn't worry about trying to improve MPG unless you can get into a Prius or a Civic Hybrid. Anything else just won't have the return.


AlwaysLearningToSave

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Re: I may have a kid in the near future and need car purchase advice
« Reply #12 on: May 19, 2016, 10:01:53 AM »
We have a not-quite-two-year-old daughter and drive a 2003 Vibe and a 2005 Civic.  Most of the time we carry the daughter in the Civic.  It works fine.  Maybe a little extra bending and reaching to put the baby in but not so much of an inconvenience that would justify buying a different car.  If you are both young and healthy and able to hold 20 pounds at arms length, its not a big deal.

Having the car seat in the back of the Civic requires the passenger seat to be pushed a little more forward than I would prefer.  To solve that problem, I drive any time the three of us are going anywhere together and petite wife rides shotgun.  I can still fit in the passenger's seat just fine but I prefer more legroom.

The Vibe is larger and doesn't require the seat to be pushed forward to accommodate the car seat.  I like the Vibe because it is so utilitarian but still gets decent gas mileage.  Wife hates it because it is "ugly" (its a little beat up cosmetically, but still works just fine).  The only thing I dislike the Vibe for is that it is so light that it handles like a hockey puck on snow and ice.

Mr. Paws

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Re: I may have a kid in the near future and need car purchase advice
« Reply #13 on: May 19, 2016, 10:14:38 AM »
Thanks for the replies so far.  I was also thinking about the Vibe someone mentioned above but I haven't really looked into it much yet. I am not as concerned with multiple adults in the car.  My wife has an old 4 door camry that we could take if all of us are together.  That's probably where the car seat will be most of the time anyway. However, I am sure there will be situations where I will need to haul the baby at some point in my car. That's why i am including it in my thought process.

I commute to work daily and roundtrip its 20 miles.  I put about 12K on a car in a year.  My wife only drives for school and grocery shopping and puts about 6K miles or less on her car each year.

So what do you have now?

Nissan Rogue

So are you just trying to get some money out of it (trade down to something cheaper) or is there another reason that you're looking? With your commute, I wouldn't worry about trying to improve MPG unless you can get into a Prius or a Civic Hybrid. Anything else just won't have the return.

Besides fuel economy, insurance and maintenance costs are big ones.  I would love to reduce my insurance down to the most basic coverage.  The Rogue is too valuable for me to ditch comprehensive and collision.  Also maintenance on this car seems to always be more expensive than the camry. 

Cyaphas

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Re: I may have a kid in the near future and need car purchase advice
« Reply #14 on: May 19, 2016, 10:20:39 AM »
Older Volvo and Subaru wagons have always been appealing to me, but I'm also a much bigger guy than the average joe. I'm looking on my local craigslist and there are some great deals on Passats and Outbacks.

naners

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Re: I may have a kid in the near future and need car purchase advice
« Reply #15 on: May 19, 2016, 10:22:02 AM »
Again I am mysteriously reading a thread on car purchases even though we live in NYC and will probably never own one while we live in the city....but here's my 2c.

Consider getting a small carseat, like the combi coccoro:
http://www.amazon.com/Combi-8220105A-Coccoro-Harness-Licorice/dp/B00IL5IN78/ref=cm_cr_arp_d_product_top?ie=UTF8
We're going to get one for use in taxis etc. but lots of reviews say it fits very well in small cars.

catccc

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Re: I may have a kid in the near future and need car purchase advice
« Reply #16 on: May 19, 2016, 10:27:06 AM »
Family of four here in a 2005 toyota matrix (very similar to the vibe in size).  Our youngest is five now and we are about to turn her around, but there was a time when both were rear facing, and it worked just fine. 

I'll tell you what is a hassle, getting an "infant bucket" in and out of a car.  Just get a good carrier and wear you baby, instead.  Better for you, too.  I know a mom that developed carpal tunnel from toting her kid around in a heavy carseat.  Babywearing distributes the baby's weight evenly on your frame.  So much better for parent and baby...

I don't understand when people think that having a baby means needing a big SUV.  There's no reason for that.  Our little hatchback is plenty of space for our family, even on a road trip.

My sister has toddler twins and her husband is probably over 6 ft tall.  They extended rear face, too, and it works fine in both of their smaller cars- a honda civic and a mazda 3.

I really like our matrix.  For our next car we may look into a mazda 3 or a prius.

COlady

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Re: I may have a kid in the near future and need car purchase advice
« Reply #17 on: May 19, 2016, 10:35:41 AM »
I have twins and we drive a '08 Toyota Yaris sedan and a '10 Hyundai Accent sedan and we are comfortable.  But to reiterate two important points that other posters have already put out there: 

1.  When car shopping, you need to figure out how much legroom you need and how far back you can put the front seat before it hits the carseat.  We already owned both cars when the babies were born so we didn't have to lug a carseat while car shopping.  Instead the baby store let us try the carseat models in the cars before we bought them.  We went with infant seats first and then the convertible car seats after. 

2.  Figure out how much baby gear you will be hauling.  We travel light.  One backpack serves as our diaper bag for both and we have a cheap double umbrella stroller, but if we had a nice sturdy double stroller with big wheels it might not fit in our trunk.

I think you and I have discussed this before...but are your twins rear facing??? I'm guessing no because I don't know how you could drive a Hyundai Accent with 2 rear facing carseats. We have a Subaru legacy and could not fit infant seats or convertible seats rf and still be able to drive the car.

ChairmanKaga

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Re: I may have a kid in the near future and need car purchase advice
« Reply #18 on: May 19, 2016, 10:45:30 AM »
Two rear-facing car seats rendered my Fit undrivable. My seat was so far forward that I literally could not operate the clutch. Test fit extensively.

meerkat

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Re: I may have a kid in the near future and need car purchase advice
« Reply #19 on: May 19, 2016, 10:59:27 AM »
And it didn't even occur to me to research what car seats fit best into back seats because they're all supposed to fit, but some definitely fit better than others.

Back with a couple of links I found helpful in researching our next car seat:
http://www.thecarcrashdetective.com/2015/07/best-rear-facing-convertible-car-seats-for-leg-room.html/
http://carseatblog.com/22818/the-ultimate-rear-facing-convertible-space-comparison-review-size-matters/

TrMama

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Re: I may have a kid in the near future and need car purchase advice
« Reply #20 on: May 19, 2016, 11:05:04 AM »
Ditto the advice to research car seats at the same time as researching cars. Spending a bit of extra cash on a seat that's less of a space hog could allow you to spend a lot less on the car . . .

We drove a Corolla as our family car until my kids were 6 and 8. I loved that car.

lsalinas

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Re: I may have a kid in the near future and need car purchase advice
« Reply #21 on: May 19, 2016, 11:07:00 AM »
COlady,

Yes my twins are still rear-facing.  My husband is 5 ft 9 and I am 5 ft 4 - I suspect our height makes it a comfortable fit.  Which is why I told the OP that determining leg room needs is important.  I imagine taller people might have trouble getting into our cars.

GuitarStv

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Re: I may have a kid in the near future and need car purchase advice
« Reply #22 on: May 19, 2016, 11:16:02 AM »
We've got a 1 year old, and you absolutely don't need a small SUV.  In fact, we have a small SUV (1999 Ford Explorer Sport) and have never put the carseat in it.  We just use the Corolla.

+1

Our Corolla fits two adults, child in the car seat and a dog just fine.

nottoolatetostart

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Re: I may have a kid in the near future and need car purchase advice
« Reply #23 on: May 19, 2016, 12:32:43 PM »
Another family of four here. We have a '09 Toyota Matrix that fits both my kids. Just turned my 3.5 yr old around and have a 2 yr old now rear facing. We have 2 Britax marathon car seats back there now and when they were infants, we did a Chicco Keyfit. Works perfectly. Plenty of room. We also have a Honda Civic, but we just named my car - the Matrix - as the family car so he does not have car seats in his car. We use it for long roadtrips too. We have a Burley trailer that folds up in the trunk, bike rack on the back, and then a Thule on the roof for our luggage.

Love my Matrix! Still looks new and we expect to have it for quite some time. It has about 95k miles now. We are 5'6" and 5'8", if that helps.

unimpoverished

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Re: I may have a kid in the near future and need car purchase advice
« Reply #24 on: May 19, 2016, 01:43:45 PM »
I really still can't wrap my mind around why people with fewer than three children insist they "need" a big car/SUV/minivan to accommodate car seats. I recently put my two kids, one rear-facing and one front-facing, in a friend's Honda Fit along with two adults and more than enough baby stuff for a pleasant outing. The passenger seat was pretty short on leg room, but it was perfectly safe and functional for an in-town trip. We drive a Prius, which very comfortably holds our family of four with two 5'9" adults.

Also, keep in mind that any mild inconvenience that comes with leaning down to put an infant seat into a small car is short-lived compared to the term of the average car loan. My two-year old can climb into and out of her seat on her own and just needs a little help with the buckles.

FireZoneBlitz

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Re: I may have a kid in the near future and need car purchase advice
« Reply #25 on: May 19, 2016, 01:49:29 PM »
We have an Acura TSX and a Honda Accord.  Do you keep stuff in your trunk?  Keep it empty and you can easily fit a stroller or anything you need to carry in one day in either of those.  We went on vacation for a week with the Accord and it fit the stroller, two suitcases, all the baby stuff, and we have room for more.

Some of the sedans like the Accord have huge trunks - almost bigger than hatchbacks.  We have another one on the way and we are resisting the SUV upgrade.  We'll have to see how it goes.

ABC123

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Re: I may have a kid in the near future and need car purchase advice
« Reply #26 on: May 19, 2016, 02:34:56 PM »
I have 2 boys, age 5 and 7.  We have a Hyundai Elantra and a Toyota Camry.  Love them both.  The Elantra is fairly new, so I'm not sure how well it would have worked when they were still rear-facing.  It would have been pretty tight.  We now have a surprise newbie on the way, due in November.  We have already checked it out, and we will be able to fit a rear-facing infant seat in the Camry, with both boys in booster seats by the windows.  But it's not going to work in the Elantra.  My husband wants to upgrade to a Sonata so they can all fit, we are still debating about that.

But in any case, NOOOOOO you absolutely do NOT need an SUV just because you have a baby.  I definitely wouldn't want to deal with a 2-door car, but just about any 4 door car will be absolutely fine.  If you have just one, not the twins that someone mentioned earlier, then they recommend the baby be in the middle of the back seat, which should give some wiggle room. 

And to give some unsolicited advice, please keep your baby rear-facing until at least 2, even though you can legally turn them at 1.  It is so much safer.

bogart

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Re: I may have a kid in the near future and need car purchase advice
« Reply #27 on: May 19, 2016, 03:05:33 PM »
Concurring with those who recommend checking leg room with a car seat installed.

Get a 4-door car.  You don't want to be dealing with putting a car seat in/out of a two-door car.

In perfect contrast with @catccc below I am a huge fan of bucket seats (and I baby wore, too).  Anything I could do to avoid waking a sleeping baby was good by me, and those seats let him stay asleep while I e.g. went grocery shopping if he had fallen asleep en route there.  Plus, they were handy when I, DH, and my mom were juggling having different people drop off/pick up DS (which has actually been pretty much his entire life, though he's now so big he's out of a car seat altogether).  Just a different perspective.

tobitonic

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Re: I may have a kid in the near future and need car purchase advice
« Reply #28 on: May 19, 2016, 06:27:23 PM »
Nearly every sedan out there these days can do 3 across. You just need narrower seats with smaller vehicles.

Mr. Paws

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Re: I may have a kid in the near future and need car purchase advice
« Reply #29 on: May 20, 2016, 07:12:59 AM »
People keep mentioning height as well.  We are small people.  I am only 5'8 and wife is 5'0.

nottoolatetostart

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Re: I may have a kid in the near future and need car purchase advice
« Reply #30 on: May 20, 2016, 08:14:26 AM »
Concurring with those who recommend checking leg room with a car seat installed.

Get a 4-door car.  You don't want to be dealing with putting a car seat in/out of a two-door car.

In perfect contrast with @catccc below I am a huge fan of bucket seats (and I baby wore, too). 

Totally agree! Love bucket seats. Open the door, pop baby in, shut door, get in car. I dreaded switching babies to the regular car seat, especially in the winter. Now I have two to continually buckle into convertible. Good thing we don't drive much anymore.

tweezers

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Re: I may have a kid in the near future and need car purchase advice
« Reply #31 on: May 20, 2016, 09:09:17 AM »
We have a 2008 Honda Fit and a 1993 Honda Civic Hatchback, and a 5 and 7 year old.  The Fit is the primary kid transport vehicle, and its been fine with Britax convertibles both rear and forward facing.  There's always been enough room in the back for plenty of stuff.  The civic is similarly roomy, but its a 2-door so a pain to get in and out of with kids.

mm1970

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Re: I may have a kid in the near future and need car purchase advice
« Reply #32 on: May 20, 2016, 02:00:52 PM »
Nearly every sedan out there these days can do 3 across. You just need narrower seats with smaller vehicles.

I think the carseat issue is width and length.

Width: the Diono Radian wins, as far as I can tell, on width.  And its great for travel, but heavy.
But.  It's hard to use rear facing in a small car. Or to be more specific, it would be hard to have two rear facing ones in a small car.  We were able to do it, but only in my husband's car in the passenger side.  He would not be able to use it on the driver's side, because the seat was too tall, and he is 6' (but I'm 5'2").

Height: Britax Roundabout and marathon worked pretty well for us.  They are easy to install, and not as tall, so you can use 2 of them RF in our cars (Civic, Matrix). 
However, width, you cannot do 3 across.

Luckily, our kids are 6 years apart.  So Kid #2 was rear facing until a little over age 2.  We switched him because he kept kicking his big brother in the face - we had to have the seat in the middle.  Kid #1 was in a booster.

Now they are 10 and almost 4, so we have a 5-pt booster for the little guy and the big kid is out of carseats.

I have friends who have 3 kids, all in carseats for a total of 4 years.  There was no way to do that in a car with only one backseat.  Third row was necessary.

frugaldrummer

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Re: I may have a kid in the near future and need car purchase advice
« Reply #33 on: May 20, 2016, 02:15:21 PM »
I had a 1983 honda civic hatchback when my oldest was born.  2 doors, much smaller than today's honda civics.  And it worked FINE.  Really, 4 doors would have been nice but I was young and perfectly capable of wrestling the car seat in and out of the back seat.  And we didn't have some giant ridiculously fancy stroller, a simple umbrella stroller worked great for most of his toddler-hood, and we used a backpack when he was younger.

Incidentally, I own a Matrix right now (same as Pontiac Vibe) and can fit tons of things in the back, plus it has a split back seat so you could put half of it down to accommodate, say, lumber from Home Depot and still have room to put the car seat in the back too.

slappy

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Re: I may have a kid in the near future and need car purchase advice
« Reply #34 on: May 20, 2016, 02:32:55 PM »



I have friends who have 3 kids, all in carseats for a total of 4 years.  There was no way to do that in a car with only one backseat.  Third row was necessary.
[/quote]

I'm sorry, but this statement is simply not true. The issue with fitting car seats in cars is more about the seat than the car, unless you have a two door vehicle.  I believe "car seats for the littles" has info about which seats can fit three across on a whole list of vehicles. Buying three of the compact, high end car seats is cheaper than buying a new car.

My sister in law has a vehicle with a third row, but it's not a mini van. If/when she has a third kid, that car is going to be a pain for her. Luckily by that time her oldest will be almost 7, and able to get herself in and out of her seat in the third row. But it's such a pain to get back there, and I can't imagine it will be that fun for her to be stuck back there while her siblings are in the second row and her parents are way up front.

Fishinshawn

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Re: I may have a kid in the near future and need car purchase advice
« Reply #35 on: May 20, 2016, 03:12:58 PM »
The Dino radians all fit great rear facing in smaller 4drs if you buy the angle adjuster to lift the back up a bit. As mentioned above they are also very narrow, so they can fit 3 across in almost anything. I have 3 across in my grand prix, granted it is a wide car, but there is also lots of room between the seats. Check out the mentioned FB group car seats for the littles for advice on just about any car fitament/vehicle combos.

When my 17yo finally gets his license he will get my grand prix and I will be buying 1 of a few rigs, just depends on what is available and lower mile sat the time: Scion Xb or the hatchback 4dr Xa, Toyota Matrix/pontiac vibe, or a Toyota prius 4dr hatch.  I may consider the toyota Yaris as a fall back. I considered the honda fit, but the hatch and seats seem a bit narrower then the other options.

chesebert

  • Pencil Stache
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Re: I may have a kid in the near future and need car purchase advice
« Reply #36 on: May 20, 2016, 03:23:50 PM »
Older Volvo and Subaru wagons have always been appealing to me, but I'm also a much bigger guy than the average joe. I'm looking on my local craigslist and there are some great deals on Passats and Outbacks.

+1 OP, wagon is your answer. Universally (almost) hated in the States but loved in Europe.

Fishinshawn

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Re: I may have a kid in the near future and need car purchase advice
« Reply #37 on: May 20, 2016, 05:46:21 PM »
Older Volvo and Subaru wagons have always been appealing to me, but I'm also a much bigger guy than the average joe. I'm looking on my local craigslist and there are some great deals on Passats and Outbacks.

+1 OP, wagon is your answer. Universally (almost) hated in the States but loved in Europe.

The problem with anything pre 2002 is that they are not equipped with the latch system, which in and of itself isn't a huge deal because you can use a seat belt if you can get it tight enough, but they also didn't come with top tether latches for forward facing. There are some retrofit kits out there, but some of them can be difficult to find because well you are looking at greater then 14 years.  There is a ford focus wagon that MR. MMM says is pretty decent, and it was the #1 selling wagon in the world if I remember correctly...