“Instructions for living a life: Pay attention. Be astonished. Tell about it.” ― Mary Oliver
That’s right, I’m finally at the point in my life where I can no longer masquerade as a non-mommy in my little Volvo S60 sedan. If I’m being honest, I’m probably way PAST that point – I’ve been driving it for nine years because I’m sure I don’t need to tell you what a treat it is to NOT have made a car payment for many, many years. All those savings were surely diverted to my wardrobe fund. 🙂
So why the need for new wheels? Firstly, the girls are quickly becoming cramped in the back seat of my car. And it will only get worse, what with the massive car seat contraptions they are destined to be in ’til their prom (have you seen the height/weight recommendations? We are small people!).
But more than that, there is a need for more seating despite our family of four (and we have NO plans – zero – for a baby Chang #3!) If I don’t make a change soon we will be hopelessly boxed out of the coveted carpool club. That’s right, sentenced to a lifetime of chauffeuring my own children to every. single. friggin’. event. Every practice, every game, every birthday party. Me, myself, and I. Even if two other neighborhood moms are headed the exact same place, for the exact same event, I’ll have to protest when they kindly offer to swing by with their cavernous minivans, since I can’t hope to repay the favor and the only thing worse than being a 24/7 chauffeur is being the town moocher!
So these last few weeks I’ve been researching smaller SUVs/crossovers and test-driving some possibilities. Since the back seat is really for kids to ride in and not even on a daily basis, I’ve ruled out a minivan. If you know me at all, I’m sure this is no surprise. Though I know they are practical and a good value, I just can’t. Sort of like how I can’t wear “sensible” shoes even though I’m sure my back, feet, and yes, bank account, are paying for it.
What’s in the running? Right now, the newly launched Infiniti JX, which is basically their answer to a minivan, and the Audi Q7. The LR4 was in the mix, but recently fell out as I think they are just lacking in the safety extras and interior luxury for the price.
Pros of the Infinity: Very nice backseat configuration and easiest access to the third row. Seems to have the most extras for the price. Cons: drive performance/feel. I’m used to the tighter European-style cars and the steering felt so “soft” when I was driving the JX. Not a huge deal, but definitely not my preference. When I drive I want to feel like I’m driving, not just coasting on autopilot. Also, My parents just bought one – and am I seriously going to be driving the same car as my mom?! I know, a very petty concern.
Pros of the Audi: The drive feels much tighter/better, and the brand is a bit sportier. Interior is luxurious and has the latest technology. Cons: Access to third row not as elegant as the Infinity. Also higher price for arguably fewer features than the Infinity – seems to be typical in comparing Japanese vehicles with European imports.
We’ll see what we end up with. It will be mainly decided by price since it seems the cars are pretty comparable. And we’ve learned from past experience that negotiating car prices is not a core skill I possess. Probably because I do not have any kind of poker face and because I just want what I want. But what my dear husband wants is to buy it cheap(er). So he will be handling the next step. Update to come soon!