Posted by: ppernick | January 22, 2008

Soccer Mom

I’m getting ever so much closer to that title.  The latest would be the purchase of the ultimate Soccer Mom automobile – the minivan.

Ari and I started looking at cars a number of months ago. When we first started looking, I wasn’t ready for the whole minivan thing.  I knew we needed a large car but hadn’t quite comprehended all of our needs and the reality of what type of car that meant.

So…what did I want in a car?  Something large enough to fit at least two car seats, the two of us, and two out-of-town guests (namely parents) AWD and Navigation system were the big features for me.  Auxiliary port was the big thing for Ari. 

It quickly became evident that the size we wanted meant we were looking at minivans or mid-size SUVs.  And, after talking with my boss (who has 4 young daughters), I started heavily leaning towards minivan over SUV.  Especially after he pointed out that in bad weather you can actually get into the back of the car and get the kids ready without taking a step outside. 

I also came to a decision that AWD was not just a desire but a must have.  Between a recent ski trip that Ari took and some nasty weather last week, this has already proven to be a smart decision.  (It was wonderful to be able to get out of the house in a situation where my Saturn wouldn’t have been able to get out of the garage.)

These two items alone limited our options to one – The Toyota Sienna.

I can’t say that either one of us was extremely happy that to get these two features in one car we only had one option.  However, it turns out that the Sienna is highly rated by Consumer Reports.  In fact, it’s currently either the top-rated minivan or tied with the Honda Odyssey, which has apparently held that title for a few years now.

I have been quite happy with our new car.  I constantly use the Bluetooth capability.  I try to talk to my parents and Ari’s parents so that Simeon can hear their voices – even if he doesn’t always talk loud enough for them to hear him.  The auxiliary port allows me to plug in my Zune and listen to music or podcasts clearly.  And I absolutely love being able to push a button and have my side mirrors fold in as I pull into the garage.  

The biggest difference for me, however, has been how much more comfortable I feel behind the wheel.  In my Saturn, I was so low to the ground everybody’s headlights would blind me and it was only worse in the rain.  Now that I’m up high, I feel much more relaxed again driving when it’s dark – which at this time of the year is to and from work.

So…yeah…I’ve got a toddler who likes kicking balls, kid #2 on the way, and I’ve now got the minivan…what else does it take to be a full-fledged Soccer Mom before Simeon is old enough to join a team?

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