But we still haven't bought. It isn't that we lack the money to replace this car. We have the money. We've been diligently saving since we last bought a car (replacing the sporty two door I drove pre-kids with a Prius).
The problem is that they don't make the car we want to buy. Here is our wish list of features:
- At least 30 mpg highway. We're on the green side, we live in a city that has poor public transit, and our job locations pretty much ensure that we're going to each drive solo to work. We need good gas mileage to keep us from feeling too bad about our lifestyle. (And to save the planet, of course. But mostly, its about guilt.)
- Enough cargo space so that we can haul ourselves, our two kids, and all the stuff we need for the two kids to Arizona to see my parents. We're also looking ahead to the days when we can have hobbies again (and when the kids start having hobbies) and guessing that we'll want some toy-hauling capabilities. The Subaru is great for carrying surfboards. One stroller just about fills the Prius' trunk.
- I would really like a optional third row of seats.* Or at least a back seat big enough so that an adult can squeeze in there with the two car seats. Kids are in car seats for a long time these days- we have several more years of dual car seats. It would be nice to be able to pick my sister up to join us for a family lunch. When my parents visit, it would be nice if we could all fit in one car for the outings to the zoo, etc.
- We don't care if the cargo space and the extra seating are mutually exclusive. We don't need to haul a lot of people and a lot of stuff at the same time.
Ford, GM, Chrysler- are you listening? Here is your chance to regain the lead in the minivan market that you invented and get back in the good graces of the coastal environmentalists who hate the SUVs you've been making for so long**. Make a hybrid minivan. Chances are, we'd buy it.
*Hubby would be willing to forgo this feature. He'd be perfectly happy with a full-sized station wagon that got at least 30 mpg. This car does not exist, either. Right now, the Ford Escape hybrid is his front runner for a replacement to the Subaru. However, our current plan is to wait until someone makes the car we want or the Subaru fails and forces us to settle on something else.
**Yes, I know, they only made them because people bought them. Since having kids, I can understand a little better why people buy SUVs. Kids come with a lot of stuff. Perhaps part of the reason the SUVs sold so well was that they solve a real problem. Perhaps some of the people who bought SUVs would have been interested in alternative solutions to that problem that didn't involve driving a gas guzzler. Surely there are other enviromentalist parents out there, who are facing the same need to haul kids and stuff that we are, and are just as unwillingly to ditch their environmentalist principles and just buy an Expedition. Have the car companies even considered that market?