Thank-you Capital One Auto Navigator for sponsoring this post.
This Summer, my husband and I had a conversation that I never saw coming. A conversation I originally chalked up us silly banter. But as time pressed on, it became a conversation that seemed more and more serious. It was a conversation about a minivan. I am still in flux with the topic. I have one kid. Do we really need a minivan? Am I seriously going to become “that mom”?
Let’s rewind 4 years. We were newly engaged and car shopping. We both had small sedans and a love for road trips. Upgrading to a mid-sized SUV seemed like the perfect option. Fast forward to 2015 and there we were loading up our itty-bitty baby into our SUV and taking him home for the first time. As I opened the door to hop into the front passengers seat, I remember thinking, “wow this is a tight squeeze”. Brody slept comfortably in his car seat behind me. As months have gone by and we have switched to his convertible car seat (which we love), things have gotten tighter and tighter. It is slowly starting to look like it is time for an upgrade.
Earlier this week, I opened up the topic of family friendly vehicles to the moms in the Momma Society Private Facebook Group (ps-are you a part of the incredible group yet? You can join below.). There were conversations about features we loved and features we wish we had in a family friendly vehicle. And there were conversations about minivans. That word I had shunned my husband from saying. But when you hear a mom in the group mention that she loves her minivan more than her house and I started thinking hmm…. maybe a minivan wouldn’t be so bad after all.
As the debate continues in our home, here are the 7 most mentioned features + topics when it comes to upgrading to a family friendly car.
Blame it on the Arizona heat, but I never realized the importance of backseat air-conditioning before we had Brody. With all of the padding, car seats get warm—really warm, and taking your sweaty baby out of the car sparks some #momguilt. Our current car has vents in the back, but the air hardly reaches the rear facing car seat, even using the handy Noogle extension. Air vents that are in the ceiling would be much more ideal.
4-Door (bonus points if sliding)
Another must-have for family friendly cars is 4-doors. Saying good-bye to your sporty coupe can be tough, but squeezing a baby into a backseat of a 2-door car is a lot more painful.
Space for Diaper Changes
Making diaper changes in the car is synonymous with newborn life. Brody’s infant car seat must have put him in the perfect position for poopingbecause we had more diaper blowouts in the car than anywhere else. Having an SUV, the trunk made a handy spot to set down the diaper-changing mat and do a quick change while we were on the go. A mom in the Momma Society Facebook group mentioned using her truck bed for the same purpose. Be sure your vehicle has a handy spot for convenient diaper changes.
One of the most important factors in vehicle shopping is always the price. Captial One has a really helpful new tool called Auto Navigator to help make this part easier. You can explore different cars from local dealers to find a car you like and see what the monthly payments would be. You can even get pre-approved for car financing. My husband and I have been playing around with the Auto Navigator to see what cars meet both our criteria and budget.
In addition to space for diaper changes, family friendly vehicles need a surplus of room for gear. Strollers are inevitably bulky and with the addition of all of the other baby gear, substantial trunk space becomes essential. With our current car, it is hard to even fit our groceries in the trunk if we have the stroller in there. Other mommas brought up great points about making sure it could fit a double stroller (if you have more than one kiddo) or a wagon for those trips to the zoo.
Foldable 3rd Row Seating
A third row of seats is something I never expected our little family of three to want or need. A year an a half into motherhood and I now fully understand why this is at the top of the wish list for many mommas. Not only do the 3rd row seats accommodate more passengers, but many of them fold down into the car, creating a plethora of additional trunk space. And let’s be real, carseats take up 2 seats in most cars.
Room for Car Seats
My biggest pet peeve with our current vehicle is the lack of space between the back row and the front seats. It is nearly impossible for my husband to sit in the passenger seat without his head being far too close to the windshield. This is especially evident with Brody’s rear-facing convertible car seat installed, as it takes up quite a bit of room. We will certainly be testing our next car out with car seats installed before we decide to buy.
What are your biggest pet peeves about your car? Did you make the switch to a minivan? What features do you wish your car had?