Author Topic: Step-kids very part time - vehicle selection??  (Read 743 times)

mustacheinthemaking

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 4
Step-kids very part time - vehicle selection??
« on: June 30, 2019, 11:18:50 AM »
My husband has 3 kids from a previous relationship (age 9, 11, 13), and I'm pregnant with our first together. I drive a 2-door Pontiac G5 2010 given to me (new at the time) by my grandfather when I finished my Masters. My husband, age 45, has never learned to drive (long story), but now has his learner's. He's gotten by with riding the bus, walking and biking his whole life and isn't even that keen on driving, but with a baby on the way, I think it would be helpful, especially since right now I'm doing all the driving when we pick up his kids (4 hour one-way), drive them back to us, drive them back home, and drive ourselves back. That's 16+ hours of driving in a long weekend sometimes. We've also stayed at Airbnb's in their city, but often my family and some of my husband's family (who live closer to us) want to see the kids for holidays.

My car currently has 260,000km (in Canada) and eventually will need to be replaced with something (It has so many km's because for years I did a ridiculous commute of 1.5-2.5 hours one way to work). I have 2 jobs now, both of which I can walk to, and my husband takes the bus. He's looking for a new job with better pay (especially with baby on the way), but right now he takes the bus. He'd probably bike to work most of the time if he could, but winters here are pretty brutal. We'll only ever have one vehicle.

In terms of hobbies, we like biking and camping. My husband would also love to get into kayaking as we live near tons of water. He's worked for 10 years in the outdoor gear industry.

We've talked about getting a 6 or 7-seater so that when his kids visit, all 6 of us can fit. We've been together only 2 years (and 1 of those years was actually 5000km from his kids so they had to fly to see us) so we don't have a great historical precedent on visits, but it seems we see them for 2-3 weeks in the summer, and an additional 3 weekends where we visit them in their city, followed by an extended holiday visit for 4-7 days (Easter or Christmas).

Right now, if you can believe it, we squeeze the 3 kids, AND our dog, on camping trips with the trunk absolutely packed to the max. No roof rack.

My question is - does it make sense to get a 6 or 7 seater when we only see them so infrequently? Yes, a van would come in handy for camping, we wouldn't drive it much for work, and it would be way more convenient for visiting with them. But it's less fuel efficient, and comes with a higher price tag generally.

The alternative would be to get a 5-seater (wagon or maybe compact crossover for camping storage, roof racks, a baby and the dog).... and then rent a van when we visit the kids. Looking at Costco car rentals (usually the best rate), it's $700 (Canadian) per week. So we'd be looking at potentially $2800 a year. For a baby mustachian, I'm not that savvy with math, so I'm hoping someone can help me here with the logic and financials of either choice.

To complicate things, his partner has very questionable parenting skills (undiagnosed ADHD, paranoid and suspicious, house is in near-derelict condition, emotional dysregulation), and we've been considering that his kids (especially his son, the oldest) at some point might choose to come live with us.

We're currently renting a house right now, and the same struggle applies for number of bedrooms when considering buying a house. (One boy, two girls). Feel free to chime in on that front too, LOL.

Thanks in advance!!

six-car-habit

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 172
Re: Step-kids very part time - vehicle selection??
« Reply #1 on: June 30, 2019, 03:07:21 PM »
Used Ford Explorer with 3rd row seats. There are thousands of them out there. Used prices are pretty reasonable. Nearly any shop can work on them. Big enough to fit dogs. Big enough to put kayaks on top. Most come with hitch already factory installed, just buy an adapter for a bicycle carrier. Roof rack standard. Those 3 kids will being growing exponentially in size in the next few years.  Since you are mostly walking / busing to work, gas mileage / cost shouldn't be a big issue.

chemistk

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 380
Re: Step-kids very part time - vehicle selection??
« Reply #2 on: July 01, 2019, 06:30:38 AM »
I think you'd be absolutely crazy to not get a used minivan.

-You can haul everyone plus gear.

-With 6 people, and especially since one is an infant, it's going to be more challenging to get in and out of the back seats of an SUV.

-Find one with or install roof racks - kayaks on top! Or, most seats down/out - kayaks in back!

-Minivans are great cars for someone to get acclimated to driving. High visibility, usually come with plenty of safety features.

-If any of the kids do come to live with you full-time (and it really sounds like that should happen), you'll have even more 'gear' you'll be carrying around.



formerlydivorcedmom

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 625
  • Location: Texas
Re: Step-kids very part time - vehicle selection??
« Reply #3 on: July 01, 2019, 04:25:23 PM »
Congratulations on upcoming baby!

I'm going to ignore your question and focus on this -
To complicate things, his partner has very questionable parenting skills (undiagnosed ADHD, paranoid and suspicious, house is in near-derelict condition, emotional dysregulation), and we've been considering that his kids (especially his son, the oldest) at some point might choose to come live with us.
I would ask your H if there is a reason that he is not asking for primary custody RIGHT NOW.  That is not an environment where children should be living.

My stepdaughter is 12.  Her mom has a mental illness that presents in similar ways to that.  For years, my H said he was waiting until it got too much for SD, because SD loved her mom (and because her mom was always accusing us of trying to steal SD, so we were trying to prove we weren't).  Last year there was a situation, and we realized that SD was never going to ask for anything different because she was afraid of what would happen to mom without SD there to take care of her, and that SD has a better poker face than most professionals, so we had no idea how bad it really was.    H has primary custody now, and SD is in counseling to reverse some of the negative effects of living with her mom.

I wish you the best of luck.

okcisok

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 146
Re: Step-kids very part time - vehicle selection??
« Reply #4 on: July 01, 2019, 05:02:05 PM »
Subaru Outback! My SO has three kids about the same ages as your stepkids. His ex lives in the same town, so he has them week on, week off. I just happened to have purchased a Subaru Outback in the pre-Mustachian days, when it didn't seem a little ridiculous for one person and a dog to have a station wagon. His kids love my car! They regularly say it's more roomy and comfortable for them than his giant SUV.

All five of us can fit nicely, including one booster seat and one 50 lb dog. Subarus last forever, which is why I bought one. It has all-wheel drive, as I was regularly driving on dirt & gravel roads. Kayaks fit on the top and there's still room in the trunk for all the gear plus dog.

For me, it was a nice compromise between a FIT or similar vehicle, and a minivan when we only have them 50% of the time. I've not had an infant in it, nor do I plan to, so YMMV.

Best of luck!

RWD

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 3330
  • Location: Mississippi
Re: Step-kids very part time - vehicle selection??
« Reply #5 on: July 01, 2019, 05:24:15 PM »
Subaru Outback!

All five of us can fit nicely

They need to seat six, not five.

RWD

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 3330
  • Location: Mississippi
Re: Step-kids very part time - vehicle selection??
« Reply #6 on: July 01, 2019, 05:37:34 PM »
2011+ Toyota Highlander Hybrid. Seats 7, extremely reliable, and gets 28/28 mpg. Available used for around $15k.

Tester

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 204
Re: Step-kids very part time - vehicle selection??
« Reply #7 on: July 02, 2019, 08:45:22 AM »
For me a minivan was the answer.
For a friend a SUV with 3rd row.
In the minivan my 7 year old son can stand.
In the SUV not.
Not to mention the height for getting in/out.

erutio

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 367
Re: Step-kids very part time - vehicle selection??
« Reply #8 on: July 02, 2019, 09:23:00 AM »
You guys seem quite responsible and mustachian.  All the points in your post seem reasonable. 
If it was only the 3 or you, it wouldn't make sense.  But +3 big kids/teenagers and now its seems buying a used minivan or midsized SUV with 3rd row (someone mentioned Highlander) would be prudent.  It fits with your camping interests and lifestyle, so I'd say go for it.

Jon Bon

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 808
  • Location: Midwest
Re: Step-kids very part time - vehicle selection??
« Reply #9 on: July 02, 2019, 04:15:55 PM »
Minivan can haul a 4x8 sheet of plywood.

A 3 row SUV cannot*

Shoot most trucks cant haul a 4x8 sheet of plywood, thus why minivans are the best vehicle on the planet. Fight me!




*ok maybe the suburban at 70k new?

 

okcisok

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 146
Re: Step-kids very part time - vehicle selection??
« Reply #10 on: July 02, 2019, 10:45:42 PM »
Subaru Outback!

All five of us can fit nicely

They need to seat six, not five.

Whoops! Then I second/third the used minivan idea. The Frugalwoods drove one when it was just the two of them and a dog, and found it very useful for hauling stuff and people

MsPeacock

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1539
  • Location: High COL
Re: Step-kids very part time - vehicle selection??
« Reply #11 on: July 03, 2019, 07:11:31 AM »
The thing about 3rd row seats in a SUV is that they are really small and you lose pretty much all the storage space. A mini-van is your best bet - particularly with older kids who will soon be adult-sized. My kids are 16 and 12 - both now taller than me (I am 5'8" - 12 year old is now 5'9".). Anyone over maybe 4'-5" isn't going to be comfortable in those 3rd row seats in an SUV, particularly for long drives. (I had a 3 row Highlander - I know of what I speak).  Get a mini-van.