"I will never own a minivan. There is just no reason for it. Even if I have three kids, you can still fit three car seats in one row of an SUV" - Me when I only had one child.
"Kill me now" - Me as a mom of three car seat-aged children sitting in one row of my SUV.
A little back story, in October of 2012 my husband and I bought our first brand new vehicle- a Kia Sportage. It was so cool with all the bells and whistles and was super sporty looking. Sure it was a fairly small SUV (a crossover technically), but I only had two kids and wasn't planning anymore. Shortly thereafter I found out I was pregnant with our third child. Panic ensued. We tried to take our brand new car in to see if it could be traded. Not a chance. The offer we got for it was laughable. We got our infant seat (Chicco Keyfit 30) out of the attic and tried to put it into the car with the seats our other two already had (a Graco Nautilus and a Safety 1st Complete Air). That was a negative. We literally couldn't even fit all three on the bench, let alone install them. I scoured the internet for another option.
I ended up coming across raving reviews for the Diono Radian RXT seat, which boasted the ability to easily fit three across. The seats weren't exactly cheap, but we didn't have any other option. The only hope I had was that I could fit two of the RXT's and one Keyfit30 in a single row. Thankfully the Keyfit30 appeared to be one of the most narrow infant seats, so at least we were ok there. I ordered and held my breath until they arrived. The result?? It was tight, but it worked!
So from the time Maisy was born (last July) until now, I've had three kids (all in harnessed car seats) across in my Sportage. Plus a stroller in the back. It's been challenging to say the least. The car was awesome, but just not a good fit for our family. The cargo area was way too small to fit groceries if the stroller was there too. All we heard while driving were screams of "she/he's touching me!" and "stop kicking me!" Basically torture for all involved. Add to that the knowledge that as Maisy's infant seat was nearing expiration (it was our original seat with Dominic and was only good through May 2014) and she was getting bigger, the only convertible seat we'd be able to fit was another RXT. This was unfortunate because we did already own other car seats she could use, they just wouldn't fit.
Ear plugging was fairly common around here.
We decided to try again to trade the Sportage in since it had been almost a year since we last checked and the amount we owed had obviously gone done considerably from a years worth of payments. We started browsing used minivans with the thought that we could actually end up with a lower payment as long as we got a fair price for our trade. We knew the numbers that would work for us and started searching for options in our area.
From the beginning, I really had my heart set on a Volkswagen. I've owned two in the past (both Jettas) and will always be partial to them. I was pretty open to options. The van didn't need to be fully loaded as I was really interested in a lower payment. We searched used vehicles with fairly low miles. We found several in our price range in various models. Then we saw the perfect one.
A white Rountan with low mileage and a ton of upgrades that was well within our price range popped up at a dealership in Northern VA. Jeff emailed a salesman about it and was told someone was currently there looking at it, but that he would get back to us if they didn't end up getting it. Nail biter! We heard back. It was still there.
On Saturday evening we loaded all three kids up and made the hour drive to Sterling, VA. Between afternoon activities and Virginia traffic, we didn't get there until about 6pm. They were closing at 7. Eeek! The whole way I had major anxiety about what they would offer us for the Sportage. I was terrified we'd get all the way there and they would low ball us and the whole trip would be pointless. We knew our rock bottom price. Moment of truth- they came back with a price that was actually a little more than we expected. From that point on it was just the normal process to get things handled and us out the door. I was in such shock over how fair they were and how easily it had been. I'm so thankful to Koon's Ford of Sterling for literally staying open an extra two hours on a Saturday night to take care of our sale. Special shout out to our salesman who was easy going and transparent (we've dealt with some shady salesmen in the past).
Also, thank you to the cleaning lady. You can imagine what three kids in a dealership for three hours at bedtime can mean...
Oh just wiping up an entire cup of tea spilled all over the floor. I'm sure they love us.
Overall, I'm still on a high from the whole experience and I'm so happy to be a "van mom". For serious I'm in love.
And Maisy gets to use a seat that we already owned. Win.