How big of a car do you need for a kid and his/her stuff?

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SeaToTheBay
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How big of a car do you need for a kid and his/her stuff?

Post by SeaToTheBay » Thu Feb 13, 2020 2:59 pm

I currently have a BMW M3 sedan and am thinking about replacing it with a Tesla Model 3. My wife has a same-sized car (Mercedes C-class) that she wants to keep a few more years, and we both hate driving big cars. We have a 10-month-old son and are leaning toward not having any more kids, although haven't ruled it out.

Despite being a huge car enthusiast, I tend to keep cars for a few years (the transaction cost kills me and I've never bought a new car before), so I want to make sure a Model 3 will have enough space for our kiddo (or two?) and all the things he will want to do for the first few years of his life. While our compact sedans have worked fine so far, taking all his baby gear for even a weekend trip (bulky car seat, cooler, luggage, bassinet at the time, etc.) filled up the whole car. I guess there are roof boxes you can buy for longer trips...

Am I missing an opportunity to meaningfully upsize our car for the next few years? I don't like driving anything bigger than I need because big cars are bulky/cumbersome to drive and park. Is there any sport or activity he's likely to want to do over the next several years that would require a bigger car? I remember taking up the cello while growing up and that filling up most of a good-sized trunk, but that wasn't until middle school. Tesla has their Model Y SUV coming out soon, but that's additional bulk, cost, and delay that I'm wondering if I can do fine without.

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Re: How big of a car do you need for a kid and his/her stuff?

Post by anon_investor » Thu Feb 13, 2020 3:01 pm

I think it really depends on your use case (future use case). For example, will your kid play hockey? Maybe you would need more room for gear?

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Re: How big of a car do you need for a kid and his/her stuff?

Post by bloom2708 » Thu Feb 13, 2020 3:03 pm

With 1 kid, you can drive anything.

The 2nd and really the 3rd can alter the dynamics based on the ages.
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Re: How big of a car do you need for a kid and his/her stuff?

Post by HereToLearn » Thu Feb 13, 2020 3:11 pm

Do you anticipate wanting to drive your child's friends anywhere?

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Re: How big of a car do you need for a kid and his/her stuff?

Post by Brianmcg321 » Thu Feb 13, 2020 3:12 pm

Tahoe or bigger.
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Re: How big of a car do you need for a kid and his/her stuff?

Post by researcher » Thu Feb 13, 2020 3:17 pm

SeaToTheBay wrote:
Thu Feb 13, 2020 2:59 pm
I currently have a BMW M3 sedan and am thinking about replacing it with a Tesla Model 3. My wife has a same-sized car (Mercedes C-class) that she wants to keep a few more years, and we both hate driving big cars. We have a 10-month-old son and are leaning toward not having any more kids, although haven't ruled it out.

Despite being a huge car enthusiast, I tend to keep cars for a few years (the transaction cost kills me and I've never bought a new car before), so I want to make sure a Model 3 will have enough space for our kiddo (or two?) and all the things he will want to do for the first few years of his life. While our compact sedans have worked fine so far, taking all his baby gear for even a weekend trip (bulky car seat, cooler, luggage, bassinet at the time, etc.) filled up the whole car. I guess there are roof boxes you can buy for longer trips...

Am I missing an opportunity to meaningfully upsize our car for the next few years? I don't like driving anything bigger than I need because big cars are bulky/cumbersome to drive and park. Is there any sport or activity he's likely to want to do over the next several years that would require a bigger car? I remember taking up the cello while growing up and that filling up most of a good-sized trunk, but that wasn't until middle school. Tesla has their Model Y SUV coming out soon, but that's additional bulk, cost, and delay that I'm wondering if I can do fine without.
There will likely be a many chiming with recommendations for big SUVs/minivans...don't listen to them.
Any vehicle has sufficient space for one child, and the vehicles you have/considering are perfectly adequate for two kids.

The key is to not schlep the kitchen sick with you, and to buy compact versions of the stuff you need...
- There are many compact car seats to choose from: https://www.babycenter.com/609_got-a-sm ... 0001048.bc
- A small umbrella stroller and compact 'pack-n-play' take up very little space
- A soft-sided cooler with slim freezer packs can be put anywhere inside any car.

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Re: How big of a car do you need for a kid and his/her stuff?

Post by SeaToTheBay » Thu Feb 13, 2020 3:18 pm

HereToLearn wrote:
Thu Feb 13, 2020 3:11 pm
Do you anticipate wanting to drive your child's friends anywhere?
That's exactly the kind of thing I was thinking about... And these days with car seats required until a much later age than when I was growing up, 3 across in the back basically isn't possible for a number of years. Hmm...
bloom2708 wrote:
Thu Feb 13, 2020 3:03 pm
With 1 kid, you can drive anything.

The 2nd and really the 3rd can alter the dynamics based on the ages.
I also have a Lotus Elise so I don't think I can drive ANYthing with 1 kid :D

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Re: How big of a car do you need for a kid and his/her stuff?

Post by stoptothink » Thu Feb 13, 2020 3:20 pm

Brianmcg321 wrote:
Thu Feb 13, 2020 3:12 pm
Tahoe or bigger.
Definitely this :sharebeer . We went on 10+ day road trips, with camping gear for 4, with both our kids...in an '09 hyundai accent 3-door hatch. It's a tad more comfortable in the VW jetta now. If you need more space than a subcompact offers while transporting a single kid, the bigger issue is what the heck are you bringing. 3 kids changes everything on this front.

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Re: How big of a car do you need for a kid and his/her stuff?

Post by mega317 » Thu Feb 13, 2020 3:29 pm

One can make anything work. We car camped with a CUV and that was with an 80 pound dog taking up most of the back.

It seems like you have some financial flexibility. Maybe "think about replacing" the BMW for a few years until you know what you need.
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Re: How big of a car do you need for a kid and his/her stuff?

Post by Kenkat » Thu Feb 13, 2020 3:30 pm

We were fine with sedans with one kid. 4 doors beats 2 but usually when you have one kid you are young and limber still.

When we added a second kid, we eventually moved on to a minivan although a crossover / SUV is also an option.

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Re: How big of a car do you need for a kid and his/her stuff?

Post by researcher » Thu Feb 13, 2020 3:36 pm

SeaToTheBay wrote:
Thu Feb 13, 2020 3:18 pm
That's exactly the kind of thing I was thinking about... And these days with car seats required until a much later age than when I was growing up, 3 across in the back basically isn't possible for a number of years. Hmm...
This is wrong.

Google "3 car seats in a Tesla Model 3" and you will find multiple articles/posts of owners successfully putting 3 across in a Model 3.

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Re: How big of a car do you need for a kid and his/her stuff?

Post by alfaspider » Thu Feb 13, 2020 3:44 pm

I have two (3 and 1) with a Subaru STI (compact Sedan about the size of a Model 3). It suits around-town trips fine, and we've done weekend trips with the whole family as well. That being said, it does depend on your use case. If you are jointing a carpool and need to cart around more than 2 kids, a larger vehicle will start to become necessary.

But if you are a car enthusiast, don't let anybody tell you that a Canyonero is the only option. Buy gear that fits your car, not a car that fits your gear.

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Re: How big of a car do you need for a kid and his/her stuff?

Post by 123 » Thu Feb 13, 2020 3:57 pm

It largely depends on the age of the child. Children in their late teens and 20's can use a lot of space when they take their camping gear on a trip. Children over 30 often need a lot of space for stuff on their way back from the mall. Children over 60 need a lot of space when they bring their toilet along (RV style).
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Re: How big of a car do you need for a kid and his/her stuff?

Post by Jack FFR1846 » Thu Feb 13, 2020 4:06 pm

SeaToTheBay wrote:
Thu Feb 13, 2020 3:18 pm
I also have a Lotus Elise so I don't think I can drive ANYthing with 1 kid :D
So I'll say you're wrong there. First, go on to LotusTalk (I had an 07 touring storm titanium Elise) and look up the passenger airbag disable switch installation.

When my first kid was 4, I started building my Factory Five Cobra (replica of a Shelby Cobra with a proper 4" round tube frame, a Ford V8 and high 2 second 0-60 times) which went on the road in 2000. Want to put a kid to sleep? The side pipes exit just about where the kid's ear is and the rumble guaranteed that he was asleep 5 minutes into the ride. Car show guys always knew my car as my older son grew up because it had the car seat, then booster seat and he came with me. We went to the first Wicked Big Meet (biggest Subaru event in the world) and many following ones. There was plenty of room in the car for what we really needed.

Next was the Elise. While our kids were older, I can say from having owned one that there's more than enough room in the trunk for an umbrella stroller, a bag of stuff for the kid and room in the passenger side footwell for more stuff. Disable the airbag and you're good to go.

I'll also say that we were fine putting him in the car seat in the back of my real M3 (E30) and that sure, the 2 door makes it more difficult, but would you like cheese with that whine?

"Oh, but what if junior and his friends need to get to the T ball game". There's a huge advantage. When volunteers are needed to bring the kids to the next town over to play T Ball or whatever, nobody's going to ask the guy with that little 2 seater. The elevendy soccer moms with mini vans and Escalades are going to get to be pretend Uber drivers and you get to choose to drive your kid yourself or just meet the herd as they pull into the local parking lot after the game. Our kid never missed anything because dad's car wasn't big enough. I've never owned a mini van. I see no reason for them.
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Re: How big of a car do you need for a kid and his/her stuff?

Post by fyre4ce » Thu Feb 13, 2020 4:13 pm

You definitely do NOT need an SUV for one or even two kids. I drive a 3-series sedan and we've been able to make it work with 3 adults plus one baby plus gear without issue. A sedan is totally fine for at least 2 kids. For the occasional (a few times per year) camping trip with lots of people and gear, go rent something. It's guaranteed to be cheaper than owning a big vehicle outright, and personally I wouldn't want to give up driving a M3 the other 350-odd days out of the year for a few corner-case trips. If you have 3+ children, then go for a crossover with a third row. They're about $20k cheaper than a truck-frame full-size SUV and get much better gas mileage. In my opinion the only legitimate justification for a full-size SUV is someone who regularly needs 3-row seating and towing a >3000 lb trailer. Those people exist but are rare.

A Model 3 will not be appreciably bigger than your M3 sedan, save for the frunk. It seems like if you're needing to upgrade space it makes sense to go for a larger increase than that.

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Re: How big of a car do you need for a kid and his/her stuff?

Post by SeaToTheBay » Thu Feb 13, 2020 4:15 pm

Entertaining and useful responses, thanks. Sounds like I'm likely to be fine for common requirements. Absolute worst case, I'm not married to the thing and can also rent a larger vehicle if we ever go on some extensive road trip (in which case an electric car is probably a suboptimal choice anyway).

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Re: How big of a car do you need for a kid and his/her stuff?

Post by kelvan80 » Thu Feb 13, 2020 4:23 pm

For long trips where you need more space you could always rent a smaller suv but for one kiddo I wouldn't make any changes.

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Re: How big of a car do you need for a kid and his/her stuff?

Post by runner3081 » Thu Feb 13, 2020 4:55 pm

We had an SUV with one kid, once it became unreliable, we replaced it with a Nissan Versa. No issues at all with 2 adults and one kid.

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Re: How big of a car do you need for a kid and his/her stuff?

Post by dm200 » Thu Feb 13, 2020 5:04 pm

We just had one kid, but we found the original (shorter version) Chrysler Minivan ideal.

We took several long trips every year to visit family in two different locations.

To some degree, we were part of car pools for school and sports.

A LOT of flexibility for seating and carrying stuff!

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Re: How big of a car do you need for a kid and his/her stuff?

Post by Jags4186 » Thu Feb 13, 2020 5:07 pm

When I was growing up in the 90s my parents had a 2 door BMW coupe and a 4 door BMW sedan. If it didn’t fit we didn’t take it. 2 kids 2 adults.

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Re: How big of a car do you need for a kid and his/her stuff?

Post by BanquetBeer » Thu Feb 13, 2020 5:12 pm

How tall are you? We are on the taller side and there isn’t much space in a Civic with a 5 year old. I don’t think we would fit in a BMW (lux cars have more insulation/dampening/thicker seats). Less space than the economy cars.

We have done 2 person camping trips - cooler takes up a lot of space in the trunk. If you tell yourself you will rent a car, seems like a roadblock (excuse) not to go.

I would get a small hatchback. We would not be fine with 2 small cars. Kids furniture, bigger play set toys, etc. and wagons are super in (if you have 2+ kids, way better than a stroller). I got the 4 door civic knowing i would get rid of it by the time my kids are <10. Other car is large.

But we can’t comfortably fit in it with a rear facing car seat behind you.

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Re: How big of a car do you need for a kid and his/her stuff?

Post by Rattlesnake » Thu Feb 13, 2020 5:24 pm

I still remember the day (when I was working) that the lady I worked with came in and she said she'd done it... I looked at her and (knowing she had 2 boys like 10ish that played hockey), said, what??? She says, I bought a Suburban....

Anyone in those shoes knows why....
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Re: How big of a car do you need for a kid and his/her stuff?

Post by quantAndHold » Thu Feb 13, 2020 5:35 pm

A single kid? We did fine with a Corolla.

Once we got to 3 kids, we upsized to a Honda CR-V.

If we were doing it again, we would have a minivan.

One advantage to having the smallest car in your kid's social circle is that you will not get stuck driving half the neighborhood to hockey practice.

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Re: How big of a car do you need for a kid and his/her stuff?

Post by KFBR392 » Thu Feb 13, 2020 5:41 pm

A Tesla 3 would probably work just fine with one kid. Even when you have more stuff to haul than usual, it has two trunks!

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Re: How big of a car do you need for a kid and his/her stuff?

Post by dm200 » Thu Feb 13, 2020 5:59 pm

quantAndHold wrote:
Thu Feb 13, 2020 5:35 pm
A single kid? We did fine with a Corolla.
Once we got to 3 kids, we upsized to a Honda CR-V.
If we were doing it again, we would have a minivan.
One advantage to having the smallest car in your kid's social circle is that you will not get stuck driving half the neighborhood to hockey practice.
Yes to the minivan.

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Re: How big of a car do you need for a kid and his/her stuff?

Post by Jack FFR1846 » Thu Feb 13, 2020 6:08 pm

If you feel the Elise isn't big enough, find a manual Evora. Maybe splurge for the 400 or GT.
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Re: How big of a car do you need for a kid and his/her stuff?

Post by cmr79 » Thu Feb 13, 2020 6:16 pm

BanquetBeer wrote:
Thu Feb 13, 2020 5:12 pm
How tall are you? We are on the taller side and there isn’t much space in a Civic with a 5 year old.
I'm 6'5" and have a Civic sedan with two kids in car seats. As long as both don't need to be rear-facing (I agree with that part), all four of us fit just fine and have enough trunk space to pack for a week vacation as long as we don't need to bring something big like a stroller or pack n play.

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Re: How big of a car do you need for a kid and his/her stuff?

Post by dm200 » Thu Feb 13, 2020 6:17 pm

Perhaps, as a test, rent a minivan (such as one you might buy) for a day or two and see how it goes!

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Re: How big of a car do you need for a kid and his/her stuff?

Post by lthenderson » Thu Feb 13, 2020 6:24 pm

SeaToTheBay wrote:
Thu Feb 13, 2020 2:59 pm
While our compact sedans have worked fine so far, taking all his baby gear for even a weekend trip (bulky car seat, cooler, luggage, bassinet at the time, etc.) filled up the whole car. I guess there are roof boxes you can buy for longer trips...
Not the answer you are looking for but I think you need to re-evaluate what you think you have to bring on these trips. I've never had a large cooler or a bassinet on any of the trips when my kids were that age. If they weren't able to roll around, we simply used an empty drawer removed from a dresser and padded with a blanket sat on the floor as a bassinet. Once they could roll, we took a pack and play. Other than that, one small bag with diapers and cleaning supplies, a collapsing umbrella stroller and that was it. If needing to bring refrigerated milk, small insulated bags with an ice pack will fit just about anywhere.

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Re: How big of a car do you need for a kid and his/her stuff?

Post by stoptothink » Thu Feb 13, 2020 6:53 pm

lthenderson wrote:
Thu Feb 13, 2020 6:24 pm
SeaToTheBay wrote:
Thu Feb 13, 2020 2:59 pm
While our compact sedans have worked fine so far, taking all his baby gear for even a weekend trip (bulky car seat, cooler, luggage, bassinet at the time, etc.) filled up the whole car. I guess there are roof boxes you can buy for longer trips...
Not the answer you are looking for but I think you need to re-evaluate what you think you have to bring on these trips. I've never had a large cooler or a bassinet on any of the trips when my kids were that age. If they weren't able to roll around, we simply used an empty drawer removed from a dresser and padded with a blanket sat on the floor as a bassinet. Once they could roll, we took a pack and play. Other than that, one small bag with diapers and cleaning supplies, a collapsing umbrella stroller and that was it. If needing to bring refrigerated milk, small insulated bags with an ice pack will fit just about anywhere.
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Re: How big of a car do you need for a kid and his/her stuff?

Post by Lalamimi » Thu Feb 13, 2020 7:03 pm

1st kid, we had a 1975 Malibu. swivel seats. worked great. By second kid, we bought a Delta 88. Stroller not of mammoth size back in the day. You don't need to haul the entire house when going anywhere. My daughter has a 1 yr old and a 3 1/2 yr old. Just leased an Acura SUV of some type.

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Re: How big of a car do you need for a kid and his/her stuff?

Post by yatesd » Thu Feb 13, 2020 7:03 pm

In Vietnam they manage a family of 4 and all of their shopping on one scooter, so yes a small car will work.

That said, with (1) child, a dog, and grandparents, we have preferred 7 seaters (minivan, or SUV). A large hatchback or wagon is also a decent compromise.

Some things to consider:

- Family road trips
- driving with grandparents
- driving and taking friends (we also preferred to be the one driving...safety and control)
- camping, sports, bikes, etc.

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Re: How big of a car do you need for a kid and his/her stuff?

Post by Plano » Thu Feb 13, 2020 7:09 pm

With younger kids, it's not the size of the vehicle but the height that matters. On a daily basis, you will be picking up the kid, then bending and twisting to secure him in the car seat. At 10 months, this is not an issue. At 2 or 3 years old, in the middle of a tantrum, it might be.

For me, the bending over to wrestle on the seatbelt was harder than the lifting part. I couldn't do it in a lower-slung vehicle. Our son weighed a ton at age 3 and had very strong opinions about his car seat. We tested a couple of SUVs until we found one that was a good height. I also started a core-strengthening workout, as a hedge. The good news is he turned out to be a pretty mellow guy -- nothing like he was at 3. :sharebeer

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Re: How big of a car do you need for a kid and his/her stuff?

Post by tibbitts » Thu Feb 13, 2020 7:50 pm

Everybody seems to forget the dog.

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Re: How big of a car do you need for a kid and his/her stuff?

Post by iamlucky13 » Thu Feb 13, 2020 7:54 pm

I wouldn't think there's anything wrong with a Model 3 and kids. A Model 3 and kids and dog would be difficult, though.

The key is learning to control the urge to pack everything you own when you travel, which unfortunately I've never been able to restrain my wife from, hence part of why why we have a Subaru (our labrador is another reason).

We use a Pack-and-Play for the younger child to sleep in. It is reasonably compact when folded up. We've transitioned to a sleeping bag for the older kid when he was around 3. We use a lunch-sized cooler (and maybe a thermos if a bit more space is needed) for enough milk and snacks for the trip, then do a quick grocery stop at our destination. I highly prefer that to bringing a full-size cooler.

I take both of our kids around town as needed without any issue in my 18 year old Civic Coupe. The worst part is buckling them in by squeezing behind the folded passenger seat, but in the grand scheme of things, it's not really a major hassle for someone in moderate or better fitness. Since they are both of front-facing size and don't need much leg room, it actually would be no trouble taking a weekend trip with them in my car instead of the station wagon, as long as we made other arrangements for our dog.

According to Edmunds, the Model 3 has a little under 3" more leg room and almost 6" more rear seat hip room than my car.
SeaToTheBay wrote:
Thu Feb 13, 2020 3:18 pm
HereToLearn wrote:
Thu Feb 13, 2020 3:11 pm
Do you anticipate wanting to drive your child's friends anywhere?
That's exactly the kind of thing I was thinking about... And these days with car seats required until a much later age than when I was growing up, 3 across in the back basically isn't possible for a number of years. Hmm...
The Diono Radian is narrower than most car seats on the market today, and should fit 3-across in the back of most mid-size cars. Some adults should be able to fit in between two such car seats, but not all, and obviously this is a less comfortable scenario that would not be pleasant on a regular basis.

It also is expensive, very heavy, and will take up all your legroom if used rear-facing for an infant, so my preference is a dedicated infant seat for the time they are rear-facing.

There should be other options that are similar width.

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Re: How big of a car do you need for a kid and his/her stuff?

Post by Watty » Thu Feb 13, 2020 8:38 pm

SeaToTheBay wrote:
Thu Feb 13, 2020 2:59 pm
....I tend to keep cars for a few years...
One thing to keep in mind is that in theory at least your kid could learn to drive on a car you are driving now. :shock:

Once your kid gets to be in grade school this becomes a lot more realistic and by then buying cars that will be appropriate for a teenanger to drive is a big factor in selecting which car to drive.

Timing your cars purchases through your kids different stages takes some planning. You may also want to wait a few more years to buy a car like a minivan. The problem is that if you buy one now then you will likely end up buying another minivan when your kid is in middle school. If you can wait to buy one for a few years then you may not need another minivan when this one needs to be replaced.

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Re: How big of a car do you need for a kid and his/her stuff?

Post by Pigeon » Thu Feb 13, 2020 9:23 pm

I raised 2 kids with a Corolla and a Camry. We had a fairly large dog as well. It was fine. We did veto the cello or the tuba because the school district wouldn't let the kids take them on the bus, but my kid's bet friend was a cellist and we managed to give her a ride to orchestra practice fairly often.

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Re: How big of a car do you need for a kid and his/her stuff?

Post by abuss368 » Thu Feb 13, 2020 9:32 pm

We are driving mid size (some would consider it smaller size) SUVs. A Nissan Rouge and Hyundai Tucson. I personally could never get into buying a higher end vehicle as it just appears to be a complete waste of money.

Kids play sports and this has worked very well for us.
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Re: How big of a car do you need for a kid and his/her stuff?

Post by getthatmarshmallow » Thu Feb 13, 2020 10:15 pm

With our first, we kept our Honda Fit. Plenty of room for everything. Before we had kids, we moved a washing machine in that little car. Kids are little and between me, who packs light, and the spouse, who makes the back of the car look like a Tetris puzzle, everything fits.

We replaced the Fit (not by choice) with a CR-V shortly before kid #2 showed up. We would have been fine with the Fit, but the extra room in the CR-V is nice for camping trips, bicycles, and skiing. We also have a hitch installed so we can use a utility trailer for various home projects. If we were to replace it, and we plan to drive this one till it dies, we might get the minivan just to have room for carpooling as the kids get older. Given that spouse works from home and I have a short commute that I am increasingly doing by bike, the minivan might be ten years off....

The car we drive the most, however, is our Accord, which is plenty roomy for two kids in car seats and a guest who doesn't mind being a tiny bit cramped on a short trip. Better gas mileage, nicer ride.

Wannaretireearly
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Re: How big of a car do you need for a kid and his/her stuff?

Post by Wannaretireearly » Fri Feb 14, 2020 3:01 am

Started with a minivan 9 years ago. Replaced a coupe with a hyundai palisade last year. 2 kids and lots of stuff.
If your in a city with parking issues etc yep smaller side better.

But, once you do go bigger, for very good reasons it's hard to go back. Comfort levels for you and passengers is another level imo with a larger vehicle. Spacious, great ride etc.

When a Uber Prius comes to pick us up, I now cringe....Hate the bumpy ride of regular sedans in general.

It's a luxury imo. Once u get used to it, its hard to go back....
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Re: How big of a car do you need for a kid and his/her stuff?

Post by onourway » Fri Feb 14, 2020 6:02 am

researcher wrote:
Thu Feb 13, 2020 3:36 pm
SeaToTheBay wrote:
Thu Feb 13, 2020 3:18 pm
That's exactly the kind of thing I was thinking about... And these days with car seats required until a much later age than when I was growing up, 3 across in the back basically isn't possible for a number of years. Hmm...
This is wrong.

Google "3 car seats in a Tesla Model 3" and you will find multiple articles/posts of owners successfully putting 3 across in a Model 3.
3 car seats are possible in most cars if you buy the right seat. However, it gets much more difficult when they transition to booster seats where they need access to the built-in seatbelts in the car. Not possible with the Diono’s in most cars, and the vast majority of dedicated booster seats are wider than the Diono, often much wider, and most anything narrower is designed for temporary use.

If people are getting 3 across in a Model 3 in boosters, I’m interested.

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dm200
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Re: How big of a car do you need for a kid and his/her stuff?

Post by dm200 » Fri Feb 14, 2020 9:26 am

Not relevant to the kid(s) issue, but we found that the front passenger seat, being a bit higher, was really easy and convenient for my then elderly mother-in-law to get in and out of when she would visit us, or we would visit her.

To keep from being hooked in to carpool the hockey team - when you don't want to - have your other car be very small - and have an excuse of why the minivan it not available.

While many different and smaller vehicles may be "adequate", we found the minivan to be much superior in our situation.

Our main "family" car when our son was very little was a 1974 Dodge Dart - two door. He rode in a car seat in the back, until he was old enough to just be in the back seat. The problem then was that he could not see out of any of the car windows. When we got the minivan, it was wonderful for travel, especially long distance, because he then had a good view outside.

squirm
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Re: How big of a car do you need for a kid and his/her stuff?

Post by squirm » Fri Feb 14, 2020 9:41 am

Just rent one for a week via turo and figure it for yourself.

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Re: How big of a car do you need for a kid and his/her stuff?

Post by lthenderson » Fri Feb 14, 2020 11:04 am

dm200 wrote:
Fri Feb 14, 2020 9:26 am

While many different and smaller vehicles may be "adequate", we found the minivan to be much superior in our situation.
When our kids were little, we hauled them everywhere in a Chevy Prism and Honda Civic Coupe and always had lots of room. Now that one is a teenager and the other soon to be a teen, we go everywhere in a minivan. Part of this is because a teenager "needs" to pack way more stuff for a one week vacation than an 10 month old infant. The second thing is with a minivan, everyone has a lot more personal space which tends to make the experience much more pleasant and with less complaining. I intend to keep the minivan until the kids have flown the nest.

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Re: How big of a car do you need for a kid and his/her stuff?

Post by LiterallyIronic » Fri Feb 14, 2020 11:15 am

One kid? We've been doing just fine with a Toyota Corolla. Even when my wife is nannying and we have three car seats in the back, it's fine.

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Re: How big of a car do you need for a kid and his/her stuff?

Post by lazydavid » Fri Feb 14, 2020 11:35 am

I lived through a very similar situation to yours, although you didn't specify the generation of your M3, so you probably already have more room than the cars I'll discuss below. But hopefully the similarities will be helpful.

I had an E46 (2000) 3-series sedan (sadly, not an M3) for the first five years of my son's life. It was totally fine, plenty of room for all 3 of us, even though I'm 6'4" and my wife is 5'11". I could even fit his rear-facing child seat behind me, though I did have to move the seat up farther than would be comfortable for a multi-hour drive to do so. Once he was forward-facing though, even that wasn't an issue.

Around that time, we did replace my wife's Sebring Convertible with a Lexus RX350, but that was more about 4 doors and seat height. As a previous poster mentioned, there's a lot less bending involved in putting a kid into the back seat of a CUV vs. a sedan. That said, I drove the kiddo around in my car much more than she did (daycare near my office), and had no issues at all doing so. Sidenote: If you haven't already done so, spend the extra money on an additional base, and leave one permanently installed in both of your cars. Much easier to just snap the carrier in and go when switching cars, rather than trying to re-secure the base.

I traded in the E46 on an E90 (2011) sedan (still not an M3, but this one has more torque than the M3 so that's a plus :) ), which has a marginally bigger back seat--I think something like 1.1 or 1.3 inches extra legroom--but still much smaller than in the newer F30 and G20. He was in a booster by this point, and again no issues. Nowadays, he's 5' 9", and the front seat does have to be moved up to get him comfortable in the back. I can tolerate about a 2 hour drive with him behind me. We can fit 3, but not 4, people in the car with all the gear needed for a weekend Lacrosse tournament--equipment, 10x10 canopy tent, cooler, luggage, folding wagon, etc. That seems more than enough space for me.

From my experience, there is no reason to trade in your M3.

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Re: How big of a car do you need for a kid and his/her stuff?

Post by mega317 » Fri Feb 14, 2020 2:49 pm

lthenderson wrote:
Fri Feb 14, 2020 11:04 am
a teenager "needs" to pack way more stuff for a one week vacation than an 10 month old infant.
Really? I felt like with the pack n play, blanket, stroller, diapers, enough clothes to account for spit ups and blow outs, bedtime routine stuff, that it was an unbelievable amount of stuff. I can't wait....
https://www.bogleheads.org/forum/viewtopic.php?t=6212

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Re: How big of a car do you need for a kid and his/her stuff?

Post by researcher » Fri Feb 14, 2020 2:57 pm

onourway wrote:
Fri Feb 14, 2020 6:02 am
3 car seats are possible in most cars if you buy the right seat. However, it gets much more difficult when they transition to booster seats where they need access to the built-in seatbelts in the car. Not possible with the Diono’s in most cars, and the vast majority of dedicated booster seats are wider than the Diono, often much wider, and most anything narrower is designed for temporary use.

If people are getting 3 across in a Model 3 in boosters, I’m interested.
You must have misread the OP. He does not have triplets.
In fact, he only has ONE 10 month old child and "leaning toward not having any more kids."
It is highly unlikely for the OP to have a need for 3 booster seats at the same time, but rather a combination of car seat types.

And if he did happen to have such a need, it is certainly not impossible...
https://thecarseatlady.com/narrowest-boosters/

The Graco RightGuide is only 13" wide, or 4" narrower than your Diono.

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Re: How big of a car do you need for a kid and his/her stuff?

Post by lthenderson » Fri Feb 14, 2020 3:00 pm

mega317 wrote:
Fri Feb 14, 2020 2:49 pm
lthenderson wrote:
Fri Feb 14, 2020 11:04 am
a teenager "needs" to pack way more stuff for a one week vacation than an 10 month old infant.
Really? I felt like with the pack n play, blanket, stroller, diapers, enough clothes to account for spit ups and blow outs, bedtime routine stuff, that it was an unbelievable amount of stuff. I can't wait....
I should have specified I have a teenage girl. I know when I was a teenage boy, I certainly didn't pack much stuff much to my mother's chagrin.

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Re: How big of a car do you need for a kid and his/her stuff?

Post by onourway » Fri Feb 14, 2020 3:27 pm

researcher wrote:
Fri Feb 14, 2020 2:57 pm
onourway wrote:
Fri Feb 14, 2020 6:02 am
3 car seats are possible in most cars if you buy the right seat. However, it gets much more difficult when they transition to booster seats where they need access to the built-in seatbelts in the car. Not possible with the Diono’s in most cars, and the vast majority of dedicated booster seats are wider than the Diono, often much wider, and most anything narrower is designed for temporary use.

If people are getting 3 across in a Model 3 in boosters, I’m interested.
You must have misread the OP. He does not have triplets.
In fact, he only has ONE 10 month old child and "leaning toward not having any more kids."
It is highly unlikely for the OP to have a need for 3 booster seats at the same time, but rather a combination of car seat types.

And if he did happen to have such a need, it is certainly not impossible...
https://thecarseatlady.com/narrowest-boosters/

The Graco RightGuide is only 13" wide, or 4" narrower than your Diono.
I didn't misread anything. I was not making recommendations for the OP, I was adding input on the 3 seats discussion (in part because, having 3 kids, the Model 3 I believe is largely off our list). The point stands that I often see people suggesting that you can fit 3 car seats in a given vehicle which is true - but it's only part of the story. Having been through this period myself, the 3 boosters across is far more difficult in most cars because you have to have access to the built-in seatbelts. The Model 3 is all the worse in this respect because the female receptacles fit flush with the seat cushion. People who only have one or two boosters are having difficulty with this because the booster's natural location to sit covers the receptacle.

I can find plenty of evidence of people fitting 3 car seats across in a Model 3. I haven't yet seen evidence of 3 boosters across other than the inflatable Bubblebums which fit in just about anything but are not a permanent solution, IMO.

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