Behind the Wheel, Sarah

Kid cars, crazy cars

February 13, 2013

Family cars hold a special place in our memories, don't they?

A friend of mine recently told me that when she was a kid in the early 70s, her family had this jalopy of an old silver station wagon. It was a beater even back then. The kids would put the seats down flat during long road trips — forget seat belts! — and bicker and roughhouse for hours as their parents smoked (windows rolled up, of course) and drove them to visit state parks. Sure, the view was nice, but all the kids really cared about was avoiding getting stuffed under those foldable seats and locked in the cargo space by one of their evil siblings. They were feral children, to say the least. That was a long time ago, and since then, U.S. News has developed different ideas about what makes a good family car. Earlier this month, they published their annual list of the very best. Here’s which cars came out on top: For 2012, the Honda Fit and the Honda CR-V topped the list in the car and SUV categories. The Honda Odyssey topped the minivan list. The features that pulled in the voters were rear-seat entertainment systems and even wi-fi hotspots. Really? I didn’t know you could get wi-fi in your car! Talk about taking your office with you. We’re still rolling around in our sedans and even with one kid, I sometimes wish for more space and easier car seat access. Add in another kid and car seat someday and things are going to get really complicated. So when I see parents changing their kid’s diaper in the flat, roomy back of an SUV or van while I am huddled in a sloped backseat of my Mazda6, I can’t help but get envious. Then there is trunk space. My parents’ hybrid Camry as the tiniest trunk because of the battery in the back. When four adults can barely cram in suitcases for a weekend trip, adding in a pack ‘n’ play, high chair and stroller isn’t even part of the discussion. I know I’m kind of old-school; I still read books written on actual paper. So one of the things I really love in a car is back seat reading lights so my entertainment doesn’t end when the sun goes down. I perhaps naively hope my kids will use the reading light someday instead of a built-in DVD player. So if ranking my best family car for 2013, reading lights, trunk space and a roomy backseat top my list. What tops your list? What’s the best family car you’ve owned, and why?
LWTK’s mommy blogger, Sarah, is attempting to be a good mama to little Henry, wife to Shea, full-time employee and part-time grad student all while avoiding making dinner from a box every night. In her non-existent free time, she’s running, eating popcorn and blogging about it all at The Gatsby Diaries.

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