My Convertible Life

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Can You Get a Convertible with a Third Row?

When my husband and I were first married, we had a Honda Accord and a Toyota Celica between the two of us -- both were paid for and working fine. After Junius was born, we needed more room for a car seat, so we traded in my convertible Celica -- for a convertible Solara (I am the Convertible Girl after all). Driving smaller cars -- and eschewing the bump up to a minivan or big honkin' SUV -- has been a source of quiet pride for both of us. It always seemed more financially and environmentally responsible -- plus it gave my husband a chance to show off his skill at packing a family of four for a week's vacation into one regular-sized vehicle.

But after a few years of watching friends help us out by picking up our kids from preschool or taking them to the park and not being able to return the favor -- because no amount of squeezing will fit three (much less four) car seats and/or boosters in the back of an Accord -- we're considering a big move. We don't need anything large enough to hold the whole swim team, pack luggage for 20 and tow a boat at the same time -- just something with a third row so that we could take our two kids and a couple of friends in the car together.

So here's where I need your help... taking into consideration that I want to seat at least six people without spending a fortune or buying more vehicle than necessary, what would you recommend?

Photo from A 2 Z Limosine Fleet.

14 comments:

  1. I hate to tell you this, but I have a third row seat, and it is terribly inconvenient.

    Minivan. I'm sorry to utter the word, but I'm afraid that is our best option.

    Sigh.

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  2. Kind of need to agree with Marty about the third row. That being said, we do enjoy our Toyota Highlander HYBRID SUV. It does have the optional third row-mainly for kids, though in a pinch 2 adults could sit back there. Mini vans really aren't so bad. One suggestion though, make sure you have 4 car seats to use when you are testing out your car. Just because a car has three seats in a row, that doesn't mean that three CARSEATS fit comfortably (or even 2 kids without a carseat and one with a carseat.) As a frequent field trip driver for my class, ask me how I know this.

    Get the van. Teachers would LOVE to have you accompany the kids on field trips.

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  3. Sure it's a minivan, for all love. Life is too short to worry about status and reputation; I guess living 11 hours and 6 hours from NC respectively placed more of a premium on function over form. Minivans work, they are more fuel efficient than an SUV, the doors open wider and they give you a ton of room. We went for one of the smaller ones - a Mazda MPV. They don't make them anymore, but a used one would work.

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  4. Minivan. We bought a Toyota Sienna years ago, and while the quality has been relatively good, it burns through brake pads at a rate. If I had to do over, I would have gone for the Honda Odyssey. Here are the latest EPA gas mileage ratings to consider: http://www.fueleconomy.gov/feg/byclass/Minivan2010.shtml.
    Upside, you have a lot of room not only for other kids, but also luggage/gear for great weekend trips and vacations and (eventually) for packing them away to a dorm in college -- which takes an *unbelievable* amount of cargo space. Thankfully, you are still a long way off from that blog post!

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  5. Haha. Minvans all around. I came back hoping for some other suggestions.

    Also to tell you that we can only get TWO carseats in our damn Jeep. And I've ridden in that third row with Mallory. Makes me hyperventilate just thinking about it.

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  6. SWAGGER WAGON. My sis and her 3 feral children rove around in a minivan. The 3rd row is a pain in the ass but it's not used that often. I think the van seats 8 and really, they thought of everything. 7 million compartments, cup holders and blessed power outlets. I'd go minivan before SUV any day. Minivans are hot.

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  7. Picture it: A lovely hot afternoon in July. Only a 35% chance of rain. So you go to the park with your kids. Then the sky lets loose and it thunderstorms more than you've ever seen before. Flash flood style. So you all start running to the car, except you have to pick up CC since little people don't run so fast. As you get poured on, you open the van door (using the remote so you don't even have to fiddle with keys or heaven forbid touch the door handle)and you all jump in. Then you shut the door and you can take your time putting kids in seats and just climb up front without having to get back out in the rain. Not that I've ever done that.

    I love my Odyssey.

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  8. I was wondering when this post was coming. I even thought of emailing you and pointing out the elephant in the room. We are struggling with thw same issue as one of our cars continues its downward slide to the junk car on the block. All my friends with the "swagger wagon" say they will never go back to a regular car. They love the convenience and room in the minivan (and cup holders, I keep hearing about double digit numbers of cup holders). I try to console myself by hoping that I'll only own one minivan and then the next car will be just a mini.

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  9. My sil and bil have a CR-V (with a third row) and like it very much. Their other car is a mini-cooper.

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  10. The Odyssey all the way. We can cart around tons of friends, move furniture without taking seats out. The kids can listen to their music and we get to listen to ours at the same time- love those headphones!! I could go on, but I think you get the idea....

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  11. Also- it isn't like you have to drive the minivan FOREVER.. eventually you won't need the space and you can sell it!

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  12. Minivan has worked well for us. Great for carpooling and long trips and it's a smooth ride.
    ML

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  13. I agree with the minivan contingent. While I hate the fact that I actually drive one, I have to say that it is awfully convenient. Our Montero has a 3rd row, yet one of the reasons we had to add the van was that the third car seat didn't fit into the passenger row. When I looked at how close the child sitting in the "way back" would actually be to the back of the car (and therefore any rear end accident), I knew I couldn't comfortably do it.

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  14. Sorry, I mistakenly said my sil and bil have a CR-V. It is actually a Rav4, but they do really like it with a third row.

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