Alex Frakt wrote: sunnyday wrote:
My wife and I have a 3 month old and own a 2006 4 door civic (138k miles) which she uses to commute 43 miles round trip and a 1995 Mazda Miata (153k miles) which I love and use to commute 4 miles round trip. We just took a 5 hour road trip and had enough space in the Civic to fit everything, but we'll be taking a 12 hour road trip in December which will include 3 adults and a 9 month old. I'm tempted to try it but fitting luggage, baby gear and gifts will probably be too tight
It's a 14 day trip so renting a minivan or suv would probably cost over $500.
Mail the gifts and everything else you don't need for the actual trip to your destination and then drive the Civic. You don't need a larger car at this point. Save your money until you have a second child at which point you'll want a three row vehicle unless you know that you'll never need to carry more than the four of you. I've been looking at 3 row vehicles and I wish I could wait a couple more years because they all currently have lousy gas mileage. This will change as the next generation of minivans and three row SUVs start appearing in the 2016 model year (i.e, mid-2015). We may even get some hybrids or diesels.
If you are determined to get something right now that will work through 2 kids if you don't expect to carry more then 4 very often, take a look at the Mazda5. It's relatively cheap (25k real world pricing as loaded as you can get it), has the best mileage of the bunch and gives a lot more flexibility than a two row SUV despite having very similar exterior dimensions. Don't expect to fill 6 seats and carry a bunch of stuff though, for that you'll need a real minivan or a three row SUV, but you can fill 4 or 5 seats and carry a quite a bit of stuff. It even looks like you can get a paddle board inside, although any passengers will have to ride behind you because it will run from the dashboard to the rear hatch. Finally, even though it's not a Miata, it is a Mazda, so they made it as fun to drive as possible.
I agree. The small, 3 row SUVs really aren't fit for kids as they get older (RAV, CRV, etc). If you end up with only 2 kids, one of those might work well enough and have space for those emergency situations where you want to bring parents along for a ride to a restaurant or something. However, if you routinely need to take 5 folks (3 kids, 2 adults, or more), then I think a real 3 row vehicle is indicated, and that would be a minivan or a larger SUV like a Toyota Highlander/Sequoia, Chevy Traverse, etc. They aren't cheap and the mileage is lousy.
We have a 2006 RAV and it is too small for us: 2 kids, 2 adults, 1 dog, camping gear. We bought a roof top carrier which makes camping doable again, but it doesn't help with carpooling, with having family over and wanting to go down the road to a park together, etc. This summer we're renting a minivan for a weekend, but many times throughout the year we wish we had a legit 3 row vehicle. One option is to buy an older, 3 row vehicle as a backup - like a 5-10 year old vehicle, nothing fancy, but reliable. We haven't taken that step yet.