Car Shopping

It used to be easy to bring Artemis with us places:

By the time she was 5 months old, that wasn’t quite as simple:

Now that she’s 7 months old and over 60 pounds, it’s getting downright impossible to stuff her in the back seat with the kids (she’s long outgrown the front seat). 

Since the lease is coming up on my Civic, The Bean and I started discussing about possibly trading it in for something that would still be in our price range, but actually fit everyone comfortably.

And that’s when we discovered that finding a car we both agreed on was going to be much more difficult than we originally anticipated.

“What about the Mazda 5?”

“Bean, we’ve been through this a million times.  Yes, it’s got great seating.  Yes, it’s affordable.  Yes, Artemis will fit nicely, which solves the problem we have with the Civic.  It’s perfect in every way except one…..”

“Becky, you’re being ridiculous.  It’s not a minivan.”

“Dude.  It’s a minivan.”

“It is NOT a minivan.”

“Well, look at this!  My friend Google seems to disagree with you.  It’s known as ‘Mazda’s Mini-Minivan’.”

“It’s not a minivan.  In fact, back when they first released it they used to have trouble with them catching on fire.  When they looked into why that was, it was because people were souping them up and using them for street racing.  Would people soup up and try to street race a minivan?  I don’t think so.”

“It has a sliding door, Bean.”

“It’s not a minivan!  It’s a very cool little car!”

“Excellent.  Then I think you should get it.  I’m sure all the ladies will be checking you out, in your totally sexy not-minivan.”

“You’re trying to joke, but it really is a sexy little car.  You’d look great it in it.  I think it suits you.”

“Stop trying to sell me on it, Mr. I-Used-To-Sell-Cars.  I’ll consider it, okay?  I do like the price and the seating.  It’s perfect… it’s just…. I just always promised myself I’d never drive a minivan, and I don’t care what you say.  It’s a minivan. Just… let me think about it.”

***later that day***

“So, have you thought about that one car?  That great looking 6 seater?”

“You mean the minivan?”

“It’s not a minivan.”

“Yes, it is.  Actually, I did think about it, but then I got distracted by the Nissan Cube.  HOW AWESOME IS THIS THING?  Look at it!  Look at all the window space!”

“You can’t be serious.”

“Well, actually, they don’t have a good lease on it, but I wish they did.”

“You’re kidding, right?  It’s hideous.  Nobody in their right mind could like that thing.”

“But it comes with a shag carpet toupee!  I’m dead serious – look!  For twenty-five dollars extra, you get a shag toupee to put on your dashboard.”

“You’re kidding.  Please tell me you’re joking, Becky.”

“No!  I mean, who wouldn’t want that?”

“……. This is what happens when you let women design cars.  You get asymmetrical toasters with shag toupees.”

“I swear, one of these days I’m gonna hit you with a rock.  It’s not a gender thing – it’s an awesome thing.  You’re just not awesome enough to appreciate it.”

“Yes.  I’m sure that’s what it is.”


“…… You know, I always wondered who the heck actually bought cars like that.  Now I know.  And I’m married to one of them.”

“Whatever.  You spend all your time daydreaming about Porsches.  Will your Porsche come with a shag toupee?  No?  Well, then I pity you.”

****the next day****

“Hi, Bean.  Whatcha calling for?”

“Gooooood afternoon, Becky!  This is a complimentary call from the Mazda 5 Owners Association.  You have been pre-selected from a pool of applicants to be one of the lucky people who can drive the Mazda 5!  All you need to do is come down to your local Mazda dealership and fill out the paperwork on this sexy, zippy car with wonderful cargo space, and it’ll be yours!”

“Oh, well, lovely.  Does it come complimentary with a piece of shag carpeting for my dashboard?”

“Uh… no, but it does come with available seating for six, and it is available in a variety of beautiful colors.”

“What kind of minivan doesn’t come with shag carpeting?  What kind of ragtag organization is this?”

“Ah, well, that’s the beauty of it.  It’s not a minivan.”

“It’s a minivan, Bean.”

“This isn’t the Bean  – this is the Mazda 5 Owners Association.  And while your sexy new Mazda 5 doesn’t come with shag carpeting, we are offering a special, just for you – your new Mazda 5 will come pre-financed and will be paid for completely by the Bank of Bean – you won’t have to put down a penny.  Now tell me, can you beat a deal like that?”

“Well, no…. but on the other hand, I found another vehicle I really like – the Kia Soul?  DUDE.  HAVE YOU SEEN IT?  ITS AWESOME.  IT COMES IN ‘ALIEN GREEN’.  WHO DOESN’T WANT AN ALIEN GREEN SUV?!”


“Their ad campaign seems to be focused on giant dancing ghetto gangster hamsters.  It’s surreal.  Bean, I want to be a part of this lifestyle.  I’m ready.  Let’s do this thing.”

He didn’t have anything to say to that – I’m thinking he was overwhelmed by how awesome and right this would be for our family.

In other news, The Bean has boring taste in cars.


16 thoughts on “Car Shopping

  1. Oh how I would love to just listen to these conversations. As someone whose cousin has a Mazda 5, it is a pretty good vehicle. It is also a minivan and I wouldn't be caught driving one either. Good luck in your search/convincing!


  2. Say no to minivans! It's a slippery slope – every new car of yours will be a minivan after that until your kids leave home. I too have eyed the kia soul. Go for one of the midsize half breeds maybe? Those sleek little half suv half sedans that they made for moms who rebel against minivans.


  3. A friend of mine has a Nissan Cube… it looks ridiculous, but is astonishingly fun to drive! I have also promised myself that I will not be a minivan driver, though I'm not sure how well that will balance with my fondness for large dogs and carting all my tack around in my vehicle.


  4. I just bought a Mazda 3 Hatchback – Skyactiv. My old “car” was a Suburban, and I've driven Suburbans for 14 years, so yeah, it was kind of culture shock at first. But, I can make a trip to the feed store AND Costco and fit everything into the back of that thing and still get 40 mpg on the way home – with the two kids! LOVE!

    However, my kids and dogs cannot ride at the same time in it, as I have to put the rear seats down for the dogs (108 lb. Lab/Dane and 40 lb. Boxer). But we kept the Suburban for cases where everyone is going together (and for hauling the horse trailer and camping, etc.).

    Anyway, I'm with you on the minivan thing, but you should look at the Mazda CX-5! It's sharp! It's a shame they don't make the Mazda 6 in a hatchback anymore. 😦


  5. Half Dozen:

    Boy, I hope you check back and read this. For the record, it would at be awesome if you would attach some kind of fake email address to your blogger profile (and forward to your real email address) – this isn't the first time I've had a question or comment for you!

    The Mazda 3 is on our short list of cars to look at (we found out the Mazda 5 doesn't have a lease option – how weird is that?)

    Right now I'm looking at the Mazda 3, Jeep Patriot, Kia Soul, and daydreaming about the Mazda CX-5 (unless The Bean can work some magic it's out of our price range.)

    My main question is this: Artemis will top out at about 80 pounds. Do you think one 80 pound dog can ride somewhat comfortably in that back area of the Mazda 3? It doesn't have to be luxurious for her- she just has to fit on longer trips.



    Also, Bean, if you are reading this… SEE? IT IS A MINIVAN. THE PEOPLE HAVE SPOKEN.


  6. Hey Becky, as the daughter of a kia sales man, skip the Soul. It doesn't have enough space in the hatchback/trunck for what you need. Kia does have a station wagon called the Rondo that would work for your family. Has a 3rd row of seats that you can fold down for a flat cargo space.

    I have a 2009 (Left over with 5000km on it or I wouldn't have been able to afford it)Optima with 120,000km and (knock on wood)haven't done a thing to it other than breaks and pads.


  7. Sam – Wouldn't you know it.

    The problem with the Rio Hondo is that it is PERFECT for me…… and therefore discontinued. Apparently since 2010 they don't sell it here in the US anymore.

    It can join the rank of every other car I've fallen in love with and therefore isn't sold anymore:

    Honda Element
    Pontiac Vibe
    Chevy HHR

    I have the magical ability to discontinue cars just by displaying interest in them.


  8. Unless you've tried one and found it to your liking, you could probably cross the HHR off your list of discontinued dream cars. I drove a rental HHR for a week, and while it had plenty of cargo space, I wouldn't recommend it for someone over 5'6″. I'm 5'8″, and the windshield was quite low. I had to hunch to get a decent field of view.

    Have you guys considered the Honda CRV or the Fit? The CRV is on the same chassis as the Element, and you can get it in all-wheel drive if that's what you want.


  9. Hi Becky,
    The back of the Mazda 3 is iffy for a dog of that size, unless for a very short trip and it isn't expected to move around much (not typically a Lab trait). The problem is the slope of the rear window cuts down on the vertical headspace. The rear seat is a 60/40 split tho, so you could potentially have the 40 folded down giving more room for dog, and the boys would sit next to each other on the 60. This would be difficult tho if they are both in carseats (boosters might work). We had a 2009 Civic (totaled last fall), and the seats in this car are smaller, so keep that in mind. If you are a lead foot like me, you will probably enjoy it tho. Very zippy. I can easily hit 60 in 4th gear, 75 in 5th gear, and I'm left wondering, “what's 6th gear for?” 😉 I've figured it out tho. You might check out mr. Money mustaches list of cars for other ideas… I ended up buying a 2012 with 8300 miles on it for a really good price, even tho MMM recommends buying older, I justified it because I tend to keep my cars for a long time. Have fun car shopping! I really wanted the mazdaspeed 3 but couldn't justify the difference in gas mileage, sadly.. Zoom, zoom! My other choice was a Subaru Impreza, but I couldn't find one I liked in my price range – but you might look at those too. They are AWD.
    (Sorry for no paragraphs, I really need to get a keyboard for my iPad -the hunt and peck thing sucks!!)


  10. The Element wasn't discontinued until 2011, you could probably find a good used one. The Mr. has an '03 which is still great at 150K miles. The only weird thing is that there are only 2 seatbelts in the back instead of 3. It has a lot of room, we can fit a lot of gear plus 2 decent sized dogs.
    Check out Consumer Reports for car ratings, I know that Jeeps tend to break a lot, thought they're not hard to fix, if you have a lot of tools lying around. 🙂 The Journey isn't rated that well either.
    I'd go for a Subaru Outback or Forester, they're bigger than the Impreza. Good luck, hope you find something cool!


  11. Did you remind him that he'll get his awesome Porsche when he's wearing a shag toupe?

    Oh, and I got a really good look at a Mazda 3 today. Artemis won't fit. Don't bother looking any closer. Nope. Two thumbs down!

    Just tell him you HAVE to have a Tahoe. Bite the bullet and be happy!


  12. What is this unreasonable prejudice against minivans? Especially as the owner of at least one car that caught on fire, I would think that you would be happy for a NEW Mazda anything! Seriously, a NEW car? Woo-hoo! I just sold my lovely Highlander and bought a Dodge Caravan and I am so happy with it. I can open both sliding doors and rear tailgate with my remote 🙂 My kids don't even have to sit in the same ROW with each other, and I actually climbed through the back tailgate and into the front seat while 5 months pregnant when some thoughtless goober parked too close to my driver side door and I couldn't open it 😉


  13. 1. It is TOTALLY a minivan.

    2. I love the orange cube. If I didn't need the towing power, that's what I'd be driving. Either that or an orange Suzuki SX4.

    3. Subaru is the answer but we can't afford it.

    4. OMG I also love the honda Element. My husband HATES them and I have wanted one from the first time I saw it.


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