and a car seat in the backseat

Gavin, Oliver and I spent the weekend looking at new cars. With Baby 2.0’s arrival in May and other possibilities on the horizon we decided it was time to investigate a larger and possibly second car.

We started Saturday looking at the Toyota RAV4 , we drove it around the block a few times, added it to our “maybe” list and then check out the Venza, it was an instant no. The interior console was huge and it felt like a car that even my grandmother would be horrified to drive.

Up next was the Mazda 5, theoretically it seats 6. We usually rent one in Houston when we visit my parents. It was surprising on the hills and in the turns, but the interior plastics were like chocolate box liners and the seats were less than ideal.

After lunch we continued on with the VW Sport Wagon, it was like driving a small, dark cave, a very nice small dark cave, and the seats were hard to get out of.

We then tried the Subaru Forester and Outback, both were very nice and scored quite high on the Installability Test (how easy it was to install the toddler’s carseat). The Forester felt weirdly un-spacious around the steering wheel, and the Outback had lots of fiddily little electronic bits which drove me slightly nuts.

I think I drove the VW/Subaru sales guy slightly crazy with my list of not-wants. I did not want electric seats, or heated seats, or an in-console sat nav system, or bluetooth (I don’t want to talk to people who call me when I’m driving!), or the flappy-panel gear box, or any number of other really “neat” features that so many cars come loaded with these days. I wanted good leg room, a spot for me to hook up the audio for my ipod, enough space in the back for 2 car seats, good trunk space, a sunroof and a fun ride. Apparently I was the first person who threatened to smash the “fiddily electronic bits” with a brick.

Today we began our search anew, starting with the Honda CR-V. It was by far the most fun to drive and very versatile, only problem, the seats in the lower-priced model did not have adjustable lumbar support.

We then went back to the Toyota dealership and drove the RAV4 again. We tested out the optional “3d row seating” which was fine, as long as the people in the third row didn’t have legs, and the people in the middle row were very petite.  This time we took it on a slightly longer road test, on the back roads, it was like driving on Flan. The softened suspension amplified every bump and roll for a slightly sea-sick sensation.

So we went back to the Honda dealership to look at the CR-V again. The slightly more expensive, leather seated version had adjustable lumbar support.

After two days of looking at cars we decided we had enough and headed home armed with a stack of glossy brochures. Oliver is currently admiring the Toyota RAV4’s lovely photos.

Oliver’s favorite part was tearing around the showrooms investigating the new cars. His least favorite part was being loaded, unloaded, reloaded and unloaded again from his car seat in and out of new cars. After 12, Gavin lost track of the number of times he installed, uninstalled and reinstalled the car seat.

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