Since we had our baby girl Abby in November, my wife Kate and I knew that this day was likely coming. Our Nissan Sentra has served us well over the past five years, but we always knew that it probably wasn’t meant to be a family car. This thought crept in shortly after we bought it, and saw a shockingly high number of older people cruising around in the same car. And it was hammered home the first time we tried to put our stroller in the trunk. On the plus side, it did fit. On the down side, we had to take two of the three wheels off, and empty everything else out of the trunk.
Also added to the growing list of issues is the fact that for the forseeable future, we are going to have kids in child seats in our car. Lawmakers, car seat manufacturers and automakers have all teamed up in an effort to ensure that virtually until our kids are actually driving the car, they’ll be in a car seat. The compact simply wasn’t going to cut it as our sole mode of transportation anymore.
So, it was settled, we were going to be buying a new (to us, anyway) car.
In the months before we had our child, Kate and I had heard from our friends with kids that we should just go ahead, give in, get it over with and buy the minivan. We heard all about how they’re the most practical and effective choice you can make once you have kids, and every trip involves packing up approximately one-third of your household belongings. As a side benefit, when the situation arises, a van makes a fine place to stash your friend Squeege for a few hours when he has partied a little too heartily. Fun for one and all!
As much as Steph and Cory tried to sell it, I wasn’t buying it. There had to be another way.
As it turns out, there was. And it has brought me full circle on car ownership.
Kate and I recognized that we needed extra space for all of Abby’s things, as well as our own, so enter the station wagon.
My first car was a 1993 Cavalier station wagon I inherited from my step-mom when I was 17. It was teal, and no in case you were wondering, I have never been cool. But, there was something wonderful about being able to carry excess cargo without having to resort to a van or an SUV, something that would certainly come in handy now that we have a child. So we set off to find our own version of the Griswold Family Truckster. However, early on we noticed that apparently the rest of the world has moved on from station wagons, and they are in very short supply.
Luckily, we can always depend on Europe, so in the name of safety, practicality and cargo space, we finally settled on a Volvo V70 (the wagon).
Our early reviews have been great, even if our model may not have all of the gizmos of the current fleet of Volvos, it certainly is a giant step up from the Nissan, or its predecessor, the Saturn. We are already wondering what we ever did without heated seats. Or a sunroof, even if it was minus-20 most of last week.
Best of all, the insurance we pay on two cars is now more than $100 less than I paid on that Cavalier wagon oh so many years ago.
The wagon probably isn’t making a comeback in North America anytime soon, which is a shame, because I’ve always had a soft spot for them.Maybe with a little bit of luck, we can pass a wagon onto Abby as her first car and keep the family tradition going.