The New Car Short List

Last week I posted about the great new car hunt being on. With Carters surgery less than 2 weeks away, the decision needs to be made pronto.

I have received some really great advice and suggestions and here is what I have learned:

  1. Car dealerships are not open on Sunday in Denver. WHAT is up with that?
  2. VW has some of the best, responsive social media reps out there.
  3. I may be better off with a *gulp* MINIVAN. Oh, it creeps me out to even type it. I am a truck/SUV type girl.

While a mini-van makes a ton of sense I am just not sure that¬† I can do it. The big players in the market are the Sienna, Odyssey and Town & Country. Sienna is the ONLY one that offers AWD and that is pretty high on my list. Plus the 2011 has these wicked cool reclining seats that may look gimicky but for long car rides I can totally see how they could help with Carters leg circulation issues. Topping the reason for a mini-van? They can be converted with wheelchair ramps pretty easily. I just don’t know if I can do it though. Toyota’s have had a lot of issues lately although I was happy to see they are mostly manufactured at a plant in Indiana. But, I may have mentioned, it is a minivan!

Topping the list of mid-size SUV’s I need to look at are in no particular order:

  • Chevy’s Traverse
  • VW Touareg
  • Subaru Forester
  • Acura MDX
  • Ford Flex

Can I just say that I am loving the Consumer Reports videos for helping to make this easier? It $5 for the online version for a month and I just may keep it when I am done with this. It has saved me so much leg work!

I only have two more Saturdays to look, and this one is pretty filled with basketball. Wish me luck.

*Nothing in this post is sponsored or compensated in any way. Promise.

Social Media for New Car Shopping?

looking for a new wheelchair friendly carIn the next month I plan to buy a car. Whether or not it is new will depend on pricing and other details but the main gist of my car hunt is to find something for Carter and I. Let me repeat that—for the first time I am looking for a car that fits just Carter and I. That feels so good to say! Finally! Bob will take the older SUV and pass that to Con next year when he starts driving.¬† So, this car is really about making life easier for the two of us to get around-wheelchair and all.

I’m wondering how I can bring social media and blogging into this hunt??? Cause the deal is, I AM buying the car. I have no illusions that by being a blogger I should get any sort of deal, let’s face it, I am not that popular of a blogger~LOL! What I am hoping is that the social media departments of some car companies may help to make sure I find the RIGHT car for us. I am going to be blogging my way through this both here and on Spina Bifida Connection because in the disability world, the right car makes all the difference in your level of independence-whether you are the driver or not. AND for a mom with a wheelchair using kid, it makes all the difference in how much work is involved getting the kiddo out and about. Ideally, as part of this hunt, I would be able to try out several different cars in more than a 20 min test drive.

I would like to really examine some of the options out there. Right now I am pretty open but I have narrowed a few things down.

What I want:

  • Super easy access for Carter to transfer into the front, passenger seat. It should have as little of a difference in height from his wheelchair seat as possible. Our current car is too low and the SUV is too high.
  • Probably looking for a ‘cross over’-a mix of a car and an SUV. I rented a cross over Kia Sorrento this past summer and liked the overall feel of this style of car.
  • Decent leg room all around. While Bob and Connor won’t be the main riders of this car, they are 6’2 and 6’8. They should be comfortable if we need to use it as a family.
  • Something with an easy lift up SUV type trunk that I can throw the wheelchair in without having to do any breakdown.
  • All wheel drive for those CO roads.
  • High crash and safety ratings
  • Easy, fold down seats

Somethings that will weigh into the decision if I find a few models with the above criteria:

  • Gas mileage. Would love to explore alternative fuel options-not big on the corn fed alternatives though
  • Socio-economic and ecological impact of the manufacture
  • Cup holders-big ones, in the middle of the passenger and driver–yeah, silly I know but it’s the little things :)
  • navigation system
  • ipod jack and satellite radio (we are passed the days of needing dvd entertainment systems for the kids)
  • LOVE the safety of ONSTAR in the SUV I have now….would like a system like that again
  • High reviews from current owners and places like Consumer Reports
  • Thinking I want a silver color-seems like it would blend road sludge the best
  • Would like to look at ramp/lift systems but we are not ready to go there yet. Carter can still transfer safely given the right environment.
  • Heated seats

SO, who has suggestions on what I need to add to my list or a car they love I should check out? He is having surgery in 2 weeks and I would like to spend this last bit of time we have before the major recoup visiting lots and having him try them out.

Forever Memories

Bob’s parents are here this week and while our schedule is hectic, we have had some time to talk, laugh and stroll down memory lane. Tonight over a quick and early dinner they told stories of the times they would ski with their young kids and how those were some of the happiest family times they had. They had some great stories to tell of kids skiing off into tree areas, lift ‘incidents’ and a hysterical one about someone (who shall remain nameless) tried to stop someone else from losing control by sticking a poll between their skis. Think on that one for a minute…

That conversation left me thinking about our family trips and how I have always held them as sacred. We have had some real ups and downs on family trips, from panic attacks on the plane (me! Stupid stewardess burned the pilots dinner and I was SURE the plane was on fire) to memories that will, hopefully, last a life time (Carter taking his first steps right down the middle of Main Street, USA). Family trips have bonded us all with common experiences that we have all learned from.

Will my kids someday sit around the dinner table and laugh about when Dad fell off the ski lift, or commiserate over the day I drug them through NASA instead of taking them to Disneyworld????

I hope so….

*Sony’s Open Season 3 will be released on DVD Jan. 25. I able to review the movie early for this post. We’ll be talking about sweet family travel memories and giving away prizes during our Jan. 24 TravelingMom Monday Twitter party. If you’d like a chance to win, please click here to get the details on how to enter. And, if you’ve still got little ones, they can get a taste of the Open Season characters Boog and his friends with online games Cannonball and Jamboree.