I gotta tell you I feel swindled by the auto industry as a mother with a family. One of the conditions of the auto industry bailout was that more fuel efficient cars would be available on the market. But it seems like fuel efficiency is only being targeted for singles couples and families with only 1 or two small children. Those of us with larger families, who really need the financial break that fuel efficiency offers, have to dig deeper into our pockets for less return. Well, I am determined to buck the system, defy the odds, and find a car to fit my family and my budget. As some of you already know I am on a quest to find a fuel efficient car for my family. I have been driving used Chrylser Town and Country’s for the last 9 years. A total of 3. We bought the TnC because the used model were the most well equipped and well priced for a family with three fast growing kids. The space has served me well over the years with the development of my company, my concert tours, and the need to transport kids and equipment. My minivan has been an important parenting partner. But my life, and life in general in this country, has hit some bumpy terrain in the last few years. My family dynamic has changed, my professional course has changed, my budget has changed, and of course we all know the economy has changed dramatically! Translation I have to make some very deep cuts in my budget and my car is the perfect place to start. Well, not perfect because the fuel efficient options available to me are anything but plentiful.
About 10 days ago I wrote a post about my need to go on a gasoline diet to trim my budget. I identified 5 vehicles that I wanted to look into that were priced under 17,000 and provided over 30 MPG. Well, I have made some headway with my research. This week I am driving a Chevy Sonic. Bright orange, my favorite color! It definitely has a lot of pep, but it was a serious shock getting into this compact dynamo. After spending nearly a decade up high behind the wheel of the largest minivan made, in the Sonic I feel like I am ridding so low, as if I am on a skateboard! But I can’t argue with how easy it is to park the Sonic. Nothing to sniff at in my crowded city of Chicago. But alas I wouldn’t be able to welcome the Chevy Sonic into my home unless I were to give up a child. With my son at 6’4″ and climbing, there isn’t enough leg room left in the back for my girls to feel comfortable, especially if they were to add a friend. The Sonic is a 5 seater, but not a 5 seater for a long limbed family like mine.
Another car I had to scratch off the list is the Hyundai Elantra Hatchback. Like the Sonic it is a 5 seater but only for a tinier bunch. However, at Grossinger Hyundai the salesperson was quick to get me into a Hyundai Elantra Sedan which to my surprise had a great deal more legroom in the back seat. But best of all it has a 60/40 split rear seat that allows for pass through from the trunk. It isn’t a hatchback, but it still has the adaptability of one. And with my concert equipment I need that option. So off with the hatchback and on with the sedan.
I also had a chance to visit Grossinger Kia to check out the Kia Soul. I was shocked by the amount of space inside the cabin. It felt a lot more like home to me with the high head room. I didn’t feel closed in at all. But the real test took place on Saturday after my Halloween concert at Berwyn Kia. I brought my kids and 2 friends to experience the SOUL with me. It was a tale of things to come seeing my son behind the wheel.
He is 14 1/2, just a year away form a driver’s permit. (Insert elevated heartbeat sound here.) That’s something I have to think about when exploring my car options now. I’m not just buying for me to drive, I’m buying for him. That’s a game changer.
So, if you are keeping score I have gone from 5 cars to 4, with one substitution. I still need to get inside the Nissan Versa and the Dodge Dart. After I have finished my space prescreen I will move onto the test drive phase, the warranty evaluation, the options, and then the deal. If you have any questions you would like me to seek the answers to during my journey I hope you will share them in the comments. I would also love to hear your personal testimonials if you happen to own one of these cars, or if you own a car you think I have missed. I’m happy to have you walk this path to purchase with me.
Miss Lori can be found Musing from her Minivan at MissLori.TV, Wearetherealdeal.com, YoungChicagonista, and TheChicagoMoms.com. You can also see her Activating to Be Great at Miss Lori’s CAMPUS on Youtube, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, TOUT and LinkedIn.