June 01, 2009

I Drive a Big White Car

If you watch the Wiggles, you'll know I'm paraphrasing Sam and his big red car. But, yes, it's true, I drive I big car... an SUV to be exact. Before you light your torches let me explain some things. First of all, my SUV, a Chevrolet Suburban, is the only vehicle we own that can seat our entire family. The six of us cannot fit in my husband's current vehicle. Our Suburban is used primarily when our children need to go somewhere with us. Call my Suburban a gas guzzler, but I fill it up on average, just once a month because Hubby's car is used whenever possible. Running to the grocery store sans kids? Hubby's car is used... which is a huge sacrifice on my part considering we live in a desert climate and the A/C in his car doesn't work.
If you have ever put an infant or child car seat in a vehicle, you know they tend to take up more room than just one seat. In theory, our Suburban seats eight people. With car seats we have room for the six of us and no one else. (Actually, if you sit at an angle in the third row you can squeeze yourself between the two car seats back there, but it's not a comfortable or safe way to travel). We had a lot of trouble finding a vehicle that would fit four car seats and still leave us room for "stuff" (strollers, etc). Minivans tend to have room for all the people but not a lot of space for any miscellaneous gear.
Where am I going with all of this? Well, on the heels of the GM bankruptcy announcement I've heard many automakers are going to stop making "big" vehicles. I get the environmental impact of that. A family of three may not necessarily need a huge SUV that seats 8. But a family of six (or more)... we need something we can all get around in. I'll be curious to see what type of vehicles are on the market the next time we need to buy a new car... which could be soon because we are pretty much driving Hubby's car into the ground.
(Don't forget you have until Thursday night to enter the Pay It Forward Challenge.)


MaryAnne said...

Driving an AC-free car in a desert climate is dedication!

Do minivans even get better mileage than SUVs? We're cramming three carseats into a sedan car out of financial necessity, but it was a tight fit and a lot of research to get three car seats to fit safely with correct installation. And there's definitely very little room left for "stuff" - even fitting a few board books and other car ride toys in requires stellar organization in the back seat! And don't even get me started on buckling the kid into the middle seat...

Miss Behavin said...

I have the same problem when all the kids are home - 6 of us trying to squeeze into a 5 seater doesn't work. Corbin is the only one with a carseat but it's true, that thing takes up more than one spot.

It sucked hearing about GM. Sad!

Quadmama said...

MaryAnne: you are a genius if you managed to fit three carseats in a sedan car. I'm still trying to picture it.

Miss Behavin': 6 in a five seater? Good luck!

Stephanie B said...

I do understand your dilemma. We own a new minivan for the same reason and use it the same (except our other car is also new so we don't have a sacrifice). The van is pretty much only used to get big stuff or carry the baby. But I only have three children.

And my mini-van gets close to 28 mpg. Seriously. I do agree that going to four kids all the time would seriously reduce cargo space.

Perhaps there are hybrid SUVs that could give you room but not cost so much fuel-wise or you could just focus on the new smaller car to replace your husband's. Changing to the method you're using from our old gas-guzzling minivan (only vehicle) reduced our gas cost by 50% DURING the time when gas cost %50 more than it does now.

I can see keeping the one if you have a comfortable run-around car.

Quadmama said...

In an emergency it would be nice to have a second car that seats the entire family, but for now the arrangement we have works. I figure when my girls can drive we'll get them a small car so they can't cart their friends around, too!

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