Debating larger car - please help! — The Bump
February 2016 Moms

Debating larger car - please help!

This question is mostly directed to STMs or people who have experience with this - I could really use to hear some outside opinions on this.
So currently I have a Mazda 6 sedan (4 door) - this is the only car that we have, H and I share and he gets rides to work when I have classes. With baby boy coming we have finally crossed into the conversation about if we need a bigger car. I searched the forms and didn't see this yet so forgive me if it has already been asked.

Our current car I'm sure would fit the car seat just fine the concern comes in when we talk about travel and our dogs. We have two labs (100lbs and 75lbs so they are big) and as we have a sedan whenever we take them somewhere they have to be in the back seat. Generally speaking we won't have both of them in the car at the same time as baby more than once a year, but even just our bigger one takes up the majority of the back seat right now. We also travel to a week long vacation annually with the family and this year our car was packed without any of the baby gear which makes me nervous.

Those are the reasons we are thinking about getting bigger - specifically a Mazda CX-5. (We would be able to have the dogs ride in the trunk completely away from stepping on LO.

My hesitation is that I think we may be able to manage one dog in the back at a time with LO if I strap them into the seats and I don't know really how much extra gear a baby will really be. So if it is a silly thing to do then I'd rather avoid the hassle.

We owe more than our car is worth as a trade-in but with getting a used car I found of the CX-5 we would be paying about the same for our monthly payments, possibly less. We talked about waiting until LO comes to see - the pitfall here is that I will be leaving my job so if we do this now we are more likely to get a lower interest rate on the new car.

Any opinions/experience is welcome!!
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Re: Debating larger car - please help!

  • We have a Malibu and a patriot (SUV) and both car seats fit fine in both. However, when we have 1 visitor, one of us has to jump and squeeze between the the seats, very uncomfortable. They are extremely close. We are having a 3rd baby, we looked into it. If we decide to keep the Malibu we will be buying slimmer car seats to fit car seats. For traveling the truck is pretty big so that's no issue. However, it will be extremely difficult to deal with 3 car seats and how to get the child in the middle buckled. :/ (we do rear facing as long as possible) We also owe more on the car than it's worth, but I used a few trade in calculators and we are going to get a bigger SUV (gmc Acadia) it has 3 rows and it will help with visitors and room! Long story short, we are going to try to upgrade as well. Lol

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    Zepplin1218
  • I'm a FTM but was in a similar situation! SO and I don't share cares, but I used to drive a Yaris Hatchback 2-door manual and it was not only a death trap, but SO never learned to drive it, and it would have been the biggest pain in the ass dealing with baby with a 2-door.

    I traded in at the beginning of August for a Kia Soul... Best decision of my life. I absolutely love the car, gets amazing safety ratings, and it's a great price/fit for what I was looking for.
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    Zepplin1218
  • @ThecoffeeBunch - I hadn't even thought about other people riding too! My MIL doesn't drive herself anywhere so she is always an extra passenger and usually along with my SIL. That is def. another factor. Your comment about how it looks hits it for me too. H and I are partially having a hard time because being only 23 and 25 the thought of already switching to a 'family car' feels so odd - but I'm sure we would get used to it too.
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  • we were just talking about this this weekend because I said "when I want to get a mini van" which sparked the conversation. I have a large sedan (kia optima) and my husband has a CX-5. We were discussing that if we ever went anywhere with our dog we would have to take his car. Our dog is 100 lbs and there is no way that another dog would fit in the back with her and we were laughing about the idea of putting her in the seat next to a car seat (shes a big drooler so it would leave baby very slobbery). You know your dogs best but if I were in your situation with both pets and already looking into a bigger vehicle I'd look bigger than a CX-5.

    *Kate*

    February 2016

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    Zepplin1218
  • @ThecoffeeBunch - I hadn't even thought about other people riding too! My MIL doesn't drive herself anywhere so she is always an extra passenger and usually along with my SIL. That is def. another factor. Your comment about how it looks hits it for me too. H and I are partially having a hard time because being only 23 and 25 the thought of already switching to a 'family car' feels so odd - but I'm sure we would get used to it too.
    You will and it won't bother you anymore. The way I look at it now is its all about my family at this point in my life… and that exactly what the car should be. Everyone I spoke too that has a decent sized family has owned a van at some point in their life and all have said it was awesome and so practical. I would love a big ol SUV but along with gas prices (yuk!) I am not sure I wouldn't accidentally move people out of the way in a big ol tank! Go test drive one, look at them online… I guarantee you will secretly want one. :)

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    Zepplin1218
  • When my twins were born we went from a ford focus to a Kia Sorrento thinking it would be plenty of room. Wrong! A year later we drive a Chrysler town & country and LOVE it! I laugh at SUV moms (secretly) because they don't know what they're missing out on ;)
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    minivanmafia
  • mcklough said:

    we were just talking about this this weekend because I said "when I want to get a mini van" which sparked the conversation. I have a large sedan (kia optima) and my husband has a CX-5. We were discussing that if we ever went anywhere with our dog we would have to take his car. Our dog is 100 lbs and there is no way that another dog would fit in the back with her and we were laughing about the idea of putting her in the seat next to a car seat (shes a big drooler so it would leave baby very slobbery). You know your dogs best but if I were in your situation with both pets and already looking into a bigger vehicle I'd look bigger than a CX-5.

    It's good to hear from someone who has the car we're thinking about! I figured if ever the two dogs need to be in there at once we would put the 100lb in the trunk (he barks and moves more) and the 75lb in the back seat with LO. But we also want the car to last a long time and we hadn't even been thinking about anything bigger - maybe we should.

    @Twindling @ThecoffeeBunch -  you both are making me think we should consider bigger than an SUV seeing as the pups are as big as I am! We hadn't even had the van thought cross our mind.
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    minivanmafia
  • I drive a Kia Sorento currently, its a 2008 so no 3rd row unfortunately. My husband has a grand prix so his is a bit more of a tight squeeze I can imagine once we have 2 car seats in there - we will be trading his in once mine is paid off shortly after this LO is born and getting another SUV but one with a third row. I really want a new Sorento but not sure if that'd be weird we had 2 lol. 
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    Zepplin1218
  • I wish I had a mini van! The thought of sliding doors makes me drool 8->

    We just upgraded to a Ford Explorer. It has 3rd row seating which I absolutely wanted. With 2 car seats in the car (soon to be 3) there wasn't any room for anyone else to be in the car with me.

    MMC Aug 2010
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    Zepplin1218minivanmafia
  • mcklough said:

    we were just talking about this this weekend because I said "when I want to get a mini van" which sparked the conversation. I have a large sedan (kia optima) and my husband has a CX-5. We were discussing that if we ever went anywhere with our dog we would have to take his car. Our dog is 100 lbs and there is no way that another dog would fit in the back with her and we were laughing about the idea of putting her in the seat next to a car seat (shes a big drooler so it would leave baby very slobbery). You know your dogs best but if I were in your situation with both pets and already looking into a bigger vehicle I'd look bigger than a CX-5.

    It's good to hear from someone who has the car we're thinking about! I figured if ever the two dogs need to be in there at once we would put the 100lb in the trunk (he barks and moves more) and the 75lb in the back seat with LO. But we also want the car to last a long time and we hadn't even been thinking about anything bigger - maybe we should.

    @Twindling @ThecoffeeBunch -  you both are making me think we should consider bigger than an SUV seeing as the pups are as big as I am! We hadn't even had the van thought cross our mind.

    If we ever get together I'll try to take DHs car and you can put your dogs in there to give it a go :)

    *Kate*

    February 2016

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    Zepplin1218
  • I have a lease for a Nissan Altima that I just got this year so I'm sticking it out for a couple years because it has plenty of room for a car seat, huge trunk (which was surprising to me) and really good gas mileage. When my lease is up, I'll probably trade up for the new Murano.

     

    We're a Nissan family (H works for them), hence all the Nissan/Infiniti cars in my life..

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    RN0107
  • We have a van too. I love it to death. We will have 4 kids soon and we have to drive my MIL more than I would like. You can fold down some of the rear seats too while still using one or two. I imagine that would help with your dogs.
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    minivanmafia
  • I say that if it's financially feasible for you then go for it. We have a Nissan Titan and I am so glad for how roomy it is and all the extra space for stuff we have with the cover over the bed. If it's a little too much of a strain on the purse strings, I say rent a car the one or two times a year you need the extra space.



    Zepplin1218
  • I don't know if I am just crazy but baby stuff takes up so much room! We have a Highlander, and during my first's 1 st year, if we were going out of town, the car would be packed to the ceiling. Now that he's older and doesn't need as much stuff, it's not as bad. but with this new one coming, I am already worried about how to fit two car seats, two small dogs, toddler stuff and baby stuff in our car for trips. 

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  • Dodge caravan! Love the sliding doors! stm and already love the space! I can't imagine even trying to fit a double stroller and groceries in the trunk of a car.

    I also over pack so it's even better
    minivanmafiaZepplin1218
  • I have a GMC Terrain and love it!! Plenty of room for all of DS's crap and fits his HUGE convertible car seat like a dream! I don't foresee any issues when DS2 arrives. If we have a 3rd we will be switching to a Suburban or Yukon. Whatever car you do decide on I would go with leather seats if at all possible.... kids and cloth seats do not mix!!!

     
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  • My husband and I had our own bmw when we had our 2 children which worked fine. We have had our 2 pit bulls since my first child was 1. My husband would always take the dogs in his car if they went anywhere. Once I got pregnant with our third baby we knew having 3 car seats in the back of my car would be very tight. 3 months after my third baby was born we bought a new Tahoe. Seats 9, leather, third row seating etc. I love it. It sits us all comfortably and we have been many places with our 2 pits. We can easily flip up the seats in the third row or take them out. I'm so happy we decided to buy an SUV. Yes, gas sucks. But it's my car so I usually always stay local unless we go out as a family. Very worth it. I'm pregnant with baby #4 and have more than enough room. Personally I'm not into vans and will never purchase one. My inlaws last year bought a brand new Durango. It's very nice as well. Just look around, test drive and see what will work best for the new baby and dogs.
    Zepplin1218
  • We are debating this as well so it's interesting reading everyone's responses! I have a teeny car and my SO has a Cayenne which is not as big on the inside as it looks like it would be. Some friends have told me that baby stuff takes up a surprising amount of space, and we also have 2 dogs (one of whom is 100lbs). So I'm thinking about looking for something with a 3rd row or at least with a bigger trunk.  Then again, I feel ridiculous getting a new car because of just one kid! We may wait it out and see what happens because I'm also not thrilled about taking on a car payment after being without one. Maybe this can just be motivation for me to not over-pack like I always do...


    Zepplin1218
  • We bought a Kia Sedona mini van shortly after ds was born. I never wanted one and absolutely love the space it gives us.
    One thing that gives me pause is that you are underwater in your current vehicle. Can you find the $ to make up the difference, or would you be rolling it into a new loan? I'm really not a fan of borrowing money, especially on cars, so I would be working the numbers to figure out what we could do without taking on extra debt.
  • We bought a Ford Explorer last year. Love it! I have two kids right now and it's perfect. I'm not sure how adding a 3rd will be but it is big and does have 3rd row seating so it shouldn't be a problem. We test drove a few mini vans and although they were nice it just didn't feel right for me.We also needed something more snow-friendly since the roads are complete crap for most of the year so the SUV just made sense for our family. I do wonder if a van would have made more sense, but I love my explorer so much I don't have regrets yet!
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    RN0107
  • We actually had the same debate. We have a chow lab mix who is about 55 lbs who generally rode in the back of H's Chevy cobalt and a toy poodle that is 10 lbs and rode on my lap. I drove a Ford Focus so neither of us had large cars.
    Needless to say, we traded in the cobalt (because they seem to have never ending problems) for a 2015 Jeep Patriot and we love it. We tether the dogs in the back, and for right now leave the seats folded down for them to get to the Windows.
    Once LO is here, the seats won't be folded anymore, but the pups will still go on rides with us and baby
  • Something to think about is even if you drive the car with 1 dog and the carseat if you were in an accident the dog could potentially hurt the baby significantly in the backseat together, and yes babies have a ton of stuff but a small suv with a Thule box on top worked great for our family. Good luck
    SoSirius
  • SoSiriusSoSirius
    Eighth Anniversary 250 Love Its 100 Comments First Answer
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    edited September 2015
    So, this is coming from a car seat nerd so bear with me. First, like PP mentioned, the dogs should be secured because they could cause serious injury to any of the other passengers in the car in an accident. I don't have dogs so no specific suggestions other than that there are harnesses available to do that.

    Second, when you look at a car and you have car seats involved, you have to look at a few things so you don't kick yourself later on. 

    - Overlapping seat belts. This just means that you can't use both of those seats at the same time (even two adult passengers). I believe that Town and Country (third row) and the Rav4 have overlapping seat belts. There are more but I'd have to double check the specific car.

    - Head rests. The only safe position for anyone without a car seat or high back booster to ride in is one with a head rest. If a seat doesn't have a head rest, it isn't safe to sit there without a car seat or a high back booster.

    - Tethers. All forward facing car seats NEED to be tethered. Depending on the car, you may have plenty of seats but only two have tethers so that is the max amount of FFing seats you can have in that car at any given time. This is a great resource for that: http://thecarseatlady.com/latch3rowvehicle/. Don't worry too much about lower anchors. You can always use seat belts to install a seat and it is just as safe.

    In terms of being able to fit baby's things, the PnP takes up a lot of trunk space alone. We usually leave the stroller and baby wear. Other than that, you'll need extra outfits for messes, food, DIAPERS (take up a lot of room in your bag), bath items, toys, etc. for trips. 

    ETA: Oh look, I could have saved some time B-): http://thecarseatlady.com/what-to-avoid-when-buying-a-new-car/
    Reinhrsminivanmafia
  • I had a Equinox up until last March. I loved my Equinox---it works fabulously for one child and our one dog when he would travel with us up north to the in-laws or even down the street to my parents. The downside was that when I would grocery shop I only had limited space in the back with the full size stroller. When we knew we would be trying for a second baby I started to look into bigger vehicles. Test drove several and then drove the Chrysler Town and Country---I said I would never be a mini-van driving mom----but let me tell you I don't know if I will ever go back for a long, long time. I love being able to push a button to open and close my trunk and back doors. I love the DVD player for long car rides and the ability to flip seats back and forth if I need to. It also feels luxurious with my heated seats and steering wheel and I am paying the same price for all these bells and whistles as I was for my previous car. 

    Now knowing we will have a second kid soon, I like having the space in the back to be able to climb in and get car seats buckled and in and out. There has already been several times when we were potty training that I had to change DS into fresh clothes---I can do that locking myself in the car with him to concentrate on him. When it rains--I can get everyone into the van and climb into the back easily to buckle everyone in without getting soaked too. 
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  • If you do decide to get a bigger car I would seriously consider selling your car on your own and then purchasing what you want instead of trading in. Could make the difference of thousands and when you're upside down on the car it would really be worth it. I'm the only member of my immediate family that hasn't been in the car business but I still know far more than I should.
  • I have the same car and the Mazda 5 is not much bigger. We are going to get a bigger car but we are thinking more of a full size SUV. Like an explorer or highlander. We have one son and one on the way and to be honest it was too small with one kid.
  • We bought a Honda Pilot about 2 years ago and I love driving it as much as when I first drove it off the lot -if not more.

    It has tons of space, 3rd row seating, tons of cup holders, and the 2nd & 3rd rows fold down. We've comfortably fit 4 adults, a car seat and a booster seat and could have easily fit 2 more people.
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