Originally published on the Chicago Moms blog
We’re headed to the Chicago Auto Show this weekend to research a new vehicle. Our ten-year-old mini-van is falling apart. It has more than 110,000 miles on it, so it’s not like it hasn’t earned the right to fall apart. It’s just that we were hoping to get another year out of it.
For years now I’ve been planning to replace the mini-van with something smaller. I even had a vehicle or two in mind. Every time I saw one, I’d say to my husband, “What do you think? Will it work for us?” It’s the main issue with a vehicle, isn’t it? We can talk about the color and features and gas mileage, but in the end the question of whether or not it will fit your family’s lifestyle is always at the top of the list.
Last week we were in Florida to enjoy the sun, sand and theme parks. We rented a smaller SUV to drive around while on vacation. We really enjoyed the car, but every time we drove somewhere we’d talk about whether or not it was big enough.
Oh, it was fine for hauling the girls to and from after-school activities and summer camp. We’d be comfortable driving downstate to visit the relatives. It would be too small to take a trip Wisconsin with us, our stuff, the golf clubs and the dog. We don’t think we could get all four bikes in the back for biking anywhere.
This is the problem, isn’t it? One vehicle is too big for every day use, but perfect for all the other times when you need to carry a lot of stuff. Another vehicle is perfect for every use, but too small to carry much stuff. We want to find something that works for both parts.
Of course you also have to factor in cost and longevity. We keep our vehicles for a long time so we need something that will last. The cost of everything we’re looking at gives me panic attacks — and we’re not looking at anything that would qualify as a luxury vehicle.
I don’t know if we’ll find the perfect vehicle or just settle for something good enough. All I do know is I just want to get this over with so I don’t have to do it again for a decade.