In case you hadn’t heard…our family is growing again. Kid number three will be here in June! This is probably the last one. :)

Something we’ve been putting off is replacing Stacie’s old 2001 Jetta…primarily because we wanted to see how big our family would get, and how big a car we would need. The last thing I wanted to do was buy something a year or two ago and then have to replace it again. Here’s a picture of Stacie saying goodbye to her old car.

Goodbye Old Jetta

Originally, I wanted to try and replace her car with a Passat. I’ve had really good experiences with the last two VWs, so I wanted to give them a chance first. Turns out two car seats and a booster seat in the back of a Passat is not a good idea. If you already owned one, and had to make it work…you could, but it’s definitely not ideal. So we turned to looking at bigger cars…and you find that your options start to shrink dramatically. We wanted a third row, so that basically narrows it down to some SUVs and Minivans.

For the most part, we want our car to be practical, and if it happens to look fun and cool, that’s great. We started to lean towards minivans, simply because they offer some of the roomiest interiors. I think the Odyssey third row was listed at nearly 20 inches more leg room than a Tahoe, and about 10 inches more than a Pilot. Minivans in general are cheaper than lots of the bigger SUVs and get better mileage too…so minivan it is!

Once we decided on a minivan, we narrowed our choices pretty quickly. The Odyssey is the only one with a 5 star crash rating for every category. Honda ranks pretty high on my list of trusted manufacturers, up there with Toyota. I test drove the Sienna…and it was OK, but I liked the way the Odyssey drove better. Another big factor is that we wanted leather, and Toyota forces you to get DVD and Nav with their cheapest leather model. Honda on the other hand has several options at their first leather model (EX-L). If you want it without DVD and Nav, you can actually get it that way, and this makes it about $5k cheaper than Toyota’s lowest leather offering. We don’t need NAV (phones are better), and we don’t need DVD (tablets are better). We had test driven our friend’s 2012 Odyssey and really liked it, so we made up our mind on the Odyssey. It has a rear backup camera, easy stow third row, leather throughout, programmable garage door opener, bluetooth audio (I’m jealous). Our plan is to take out the center seat in the 2nd row, and Luke can just climb into the third row and buckle himself into a booster seat.

I sent out a bunch of quote requests and compared them to truecar.com. The plan was to take Stacie’s car to Carmax first, get a quote, and then if I needed to, compare that to what the dealer was willing to offer. This was my first time going to Carmax, and it was awesome. We were there maybe 20-30 mins total, and we had a quote that was good for seven days. It was near the top end of what I was hoping to get, so I decided to not even bother with the dealer. I absolutely recommend Carmax. If I was looking for a used car, I would definitely go there. Car dealer wasn’t too painful. They honored the quote they had emailed. I tried to get them to throw in rubber mats for a 5 star yelp review, but that was a no go. “Do you know how much those mats are?” he tells me. He gets out the accessories book. “They are $290 with installation.” Really, you have to pay to install rubber mats? Oh well, I’ll get them for $160 on Amazon and do it myself, thanks.

Stacie settled on a really nice blue color, and she’s learning to drive it. It’s definitely bigger…but it doesn’t feel that big. I’m excited that the kids will have plenty of room on long car drives.

2013 Odyssey

Something else I was excited about was finding a good way to “save” her new seats from the wear and tear of car seats. If you’ve never put car seats in a car, they have a tendency to leave indentations in the seats because they have to be strapped in so tight. I’ve done this in both leather and cloth…and it happens to both. You basically put your entire weight on the seat, and pull the straps tight. There are usually a few “pressure points” where the seats push into the seats, but if you can find a way to dissipate those pressure points, it should prevent any serious indentations. We have seat protectors that we put under the seats, but they also came with pieces to go on the back of the seats that we’ve never used. But instead of just putting them behind the seat, I folded them over three times to make them really thick. Now when those pressure points hit the seat, the folded over “foam” backing takes the brunt of the seat, and should leave the new leather seats mostly unscathed.

Seat Saver

Seat Saver

That was our new car journey over the break. This gives us both plenty of time to break the new car in for baby #3. And other than Stacie’s growing belly, the new car is starting to make it very real that our house is going to be just a little bit crazier this next year.