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Discussion Starter #1
So my fiance is due in December. This will be our first child (it's a boy!). Right now she is driving a 97 Camry, and I really dont feel comfortable with her driving that in the future. I want something newer, safer, and more reliable. I'm thinking of leasing a new (2012 or 2013) car for her while the deals are going on during this time of the year. It would definitely be nicer to buy something, but if I do buy something it would be used in $10k range. I'm not well versed in finances so feel free to correct me if i'm wrong in my thinking, but at that amount a loan would probably be around the same as a lease for a new $15-20k car?

so anyway, what do you all with newborns and toddlers find necessary in a family car? what characteristics do you look for specifically? I see a lot of members who say they need to move on from their IS to a more family friendly car, but it being a sedan what is it that makes not as family friendly? (not gonna lie i'm pretty narrow in my views of cars) is it the small trunk?

what cars right now do you think are good choices? i've mostly been looking at hatchbacks (funny since i hated hatchbacks): veloster, golf, versa in particular. i'd be comfortable paying maybe $250/mo max, but ideally closer to $200/mo.
 

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So my fiance is due in December. This will be our first child (it's a boy!). Right now she is driving a 97 Camry, and I really dont feel comfortable with her driving that in the future. I want something newer, safer, and more reliable. I'm thinking of leasing a new (2012 or 2013) car for her while the deals are going on during this time of the year. It would definitely be nicer to buy something, but if I do buy something it would be used in $10k range. I'm not well versed in finances so feel free to correct me if i'm wrong in my thinking, but at that amount a loan would probably be around the same as a lease for a new $15-20k car?

so anyway, what do you all with newborns and toddlers find necessary in a family car? what characteristics do you look for specifically? I see a lot of members who say they need to move on from their IS to a more family friendly car, but it being a sedan what is it that makes not as family friendly? (not gonna lie i'm pretty narrow in my views of cars) is it the small trunk?

what cars right now do you think are good choices? i've mostly been looking at hatchbacks (funny since i hated hatchbacks): veloster, golf, versa in particular. i'd be comfortable paying maybe $250/mo max, but ideally closer to $200/mo.
My dad is driving a base Rav4 and paying $209 a month. I'd start looking into fill fledged sedans, or 'crossovers'like the Altima, Camry,Maxima, Avalon. Hell, the Rav4 or CRV aren't bad choices either.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
hmm well thing is neither of us really like big cars, which is why i haven't looked at any SUVs. and the mileage they get generally wouldnt be as good. the upside is that there is a lot of space. being my first child, i'm not sure what is "adequate" in terms of trunk storage. i have almost 4 year old niece and and 2.5 year old nephew, and as soon as my sister had her daughter she got a toyota highlander. the extra space is good for someone with kids... but i dont personally seeing us having another one anytime soon.
 

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There are great financial calculators for cars and other stuff on fool.com here - Fool.com: Foolish Calculators

If you have lots of disposable income or are not familiar with picking out a decent used car then leasing could be a good idea. Otherwise you can get a great used car for 10-15k and save a ton of money for other kid related and family stuff.

#1 rule - don't shop payments. Figure out what payments should be with typical interest rates and shop price. Use the Fool "What will my payments be" input just a price, interest rate and # months and see what the montly payment looks like. Then click Tables and scroll to the bottom to see the total Cumulative Interest Paid. This is how much extra you're paying to finance.

#2 rule - Buy something your wife likes.

After that there are tons of variables. I bought an 02 IS with 150k as a family car to haul our kids around in. There is plenty of room for two kids in the back and the trunk is big enough if you don't have a massive stroller. At one point we had two young kids and our two cars were a Mini Cooper and an Audi TT. Small cars are totally doable if you want to work with them.

LATCH car seat connectors in the back are great. Stability control is something that I wanted that the IS doesn't have. Side airbags are a plus. Leather is nice for preventing interior stains. Car seats pushing the front seat forward or kids kicking the front seats suck. Having lots of rear leg room is nice. A Honda Element is a great reliable car that isn't too big, has lots of utility and massive rear seat leg room.

Kids screw up cars and that's a good reason not to buy new. There is less stress when they spill stuff or throw things into the side of the car.

Toyota has 1.9% financing on CPO cars right now. That could be a good option for something newer. The financing is cheap and they come with an extended warranty.

Some other sites to check out:

Confessions of a Car Salesman - Edmunds.com - Read all this before car shopping to learn how dealerships can work.

IIHS-HLDI: Crash Testing&Highway Safety - Check the crash test ratings of cars here

http://www.car-seat.org/ - To figure out which car seats are decent and which ones work well in which cars. We got a Chicco Keyfit 30 as a first seat and it worked great. It's for sale if you're interested.
 

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Something else to consider is rear seat access. Some people prefer SUVs because you don't have to lean over to mess with kids or carseats in the back. That was never a problem for me but it is for my wife.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
some good points. especially rule #2... hahah. but i do want something we'll both be comfortable driving as well. i figure this will be our main car for family stuff as a newer car will be more gas friendly than the IS and more spacious etc. but yeh in the end is will be her car (even tho i'm paying for it :( lol). i'll have to take at those sites when i have some time tomorrow. thanks for your input!
 

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Congratulations with your soon-to-be-first child!!! Do you have a name for him? :bigSmile:

I agree-- Get something your wife likes.

I notice you live in MA (Go Red Sox). I used to live in MA, get a car that is good in MA weather. Maybe an AWD?

What have you seen so far?
 

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you should be able to find very good deals on the 8th gen accord now. the new generation is out and dealers are looking to make space for the new inventory. you should be able to get an lx or lx-p within your price range.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Congratulations with your soon-to-be-first child!!! Do you have a name for him? :bigSmile:

I agree-- Get something your wife likes.

I notice you live in MA (Go Red Sox). I used to live in MA, get a car that is good in MA weather. Maybe an AWD?

What have you seen so far?
we haven't agreed on a name yet, but it's narrowed down to a few.

haha, funny since i'm not really a baseball or Red Sox fan (LOL - plus they played like shit this season). But I do love the Celts and Pats!

havent looked at any yet, was thinking of dealership hopping this weekend. Have only been reading up on possible models i want to look at so far. and i also wanted to know what i should look for when i do go to the dealer. because.... well... when i look at a car all i look at is the performance side :lol:. i dont really know what i need in terms of a family, i normally dont drive more than 2 people in my car.

you should be able to find very good deals on the 8th gen accord now. the new generation is out and dealers are looking to make space for the new inventory. you should be able to get an lx or lx-p within your price range.
mmm.. i kind of want to stray away from Honda if i can. My mom has a 2000 Accord LX V6 that we bought new, and after the first couple years we had a lot of lot of issues with it. Battery died twice within 6 months, and a few other things.
 

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we haven't agreed on a name yet, but it's narrowed down to a few.

haha, funny since i'm not really a baseball or Red Sox fan (LOL - plus they played like shit this season). But I do love the Celts and Pats!

havent looked at any yet, was thinking of dealership hopping this weekend. Have only been reading up on possible models i want to look at so far. and i also wanted to know what i should look for when i do go to the dealer. because.... well... when i look at a car all i look at is the performance side :lol:. i dont really know what i need in terms of a family, i normally dont drive more than 2 people in my car.



mmm.. i kind of want to stray away from Honda if i can. My mom has a 2000 Accord LX V6 that we bought new, and after the first couple years we had a lot of lot of issues with it. Battery died twice within 6 months, and a few other things.

For your family car, what are you and your wife's options so far? :bigSmile:

My 2010 328xi had so many issues as well. The headlight went out twice. lol
 

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I don't have kids yet, but i have a lot of friends that do. I know you aren't crazy about bigger cars but think about all the crap you have to haul around when you start having children. Trust me, you're going to want an SUV or a small crossover. Yes you can get around with 2 kids in an Altima, but you are going to hate life trying to get them in and out after a while.

I have several friends that tried to pull it off (one had a mini cooper) and they finally gave in and got Tahoe/Suburbans/Pilots/etc. and never looked back. Family vacations are something to consider too...think of all of the things you will need to take with you on a road trip.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
I don't have kids yet, but i have a lot of friends that do. I know you aren't crazy about bigger cars but think about all the crap you have to haul around when you start having children. Trust me, you're going to want an SUV or a small crossover. Yes you can get around with 2 kids in an Altima, but you are going to hate life trying to get them in and out after a while.

I have several friends that tried to pull it off (one had a mini cooper) and they finally gave in and got Tahoe/Suburbans/Pilots/etc. and never looked back. Family vacations are something to consider too...think of all of the things you will need to take with you on a road trip.
well yeh that's why i was looking at hatchbacks. the trunk is nearly as big as an SUV, but it might enough for just one child? i'm gonna go look at a Golf and a Versa this weekend with my friend who used to work at a nissan dealership.

hm speaking of Mazda, i might take a lot at a Mazda3 hatch since it's in the same class.
 

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Subary Legacy GT wagon might not be a bad one to look at either. You can probably get a nice used one in your price range. And it's turbocharged so it's not boring to drive.
 

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2005+ LGT would be a great choice if the ringlands don't self destruct. The back seats work for kids but are on the smaller side for fitting rear facing carseats. Probably similar to the IS300 back seats.
 

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Get a minivan. I know they aren't cool and hip and awesome or as XTREME as a CUV/Small SUV, but with even one sprog, they are the best vehicle to own. Flat floor, low level for loading, all of them have 19 billion things for kids to do while driving along to keep them from screaming in your ear, and most of them now have crazy ass seat set ups that will fold flush with the floor in 22 different configurations. Get the minivan, live with the fact that it isn't cool, be happy because it will make your life infinitely easier.
 

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^I hate to say it but rob is right. My friend who's older came over to build some speakers one day. We took his minivan to Lowes to buy wood. Apparently you can get an entire 4'x8' sheet of MDF in the back. True story.
 

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Discussion Starter #18 (Edited)
hmm so i went to a Volkswagen dealer over this weekend. We looked at the Golf and Jetta. She really like the Jetta, and surprisingly the trunk is really deep. Took it for a test drive and it drove well, throttle wasnt as responsive as I would like but overall it was pretty solid. Came down to a lease agreement for a Jetta SE Convenience of $210/mo trading in her Camry for $2k and putting down another $1k. At that price I was pretty ready to sign and deal, but I needed to get the okay from her parents as it's still her dad's car.

In the end they decided they wanted to keep the Camry (idk why really other than to save us money in the future) as we were getting a pretty good deal for it. And I had learned after the fact that the Camry was in an accident that was considered a total loss... the passenger side was hit and the two doors had to be replaced. Instead of totaling it her dad had it repaired instead (he got $4400 for it and repaired it for like $3000 i think). Anyway they're gonna give her mom's car to her.. 06 Camry XLE V6. i dont really feel comfortable with anyone driving that car after knowing it's been in that kind of accident.. but ehh cant argue much against her parents...
 

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hmm so i went to a Volkswagen dealer over this weekend. We looked at the Golf and Jetta. She really like the Jetta, and surprisingly the trunk is really deep. Took it for a test drive and it drove well, throttle wasnt as responsive as I would like but overall it was pretty solid. Came down to a lease agreement for a Jetta SE Convenience of $210/mo trading in her Camry for $2k and putting down another $1k. At that price I was pretty ready to sign and deal, but I needed to get the okay from her parents as it's still her dad's car.

In the end they decided they wanted to keep it (idk why really other than to save us money in the future) as we were getting a pretty good deal for it. And I had learned after the fact that the Camry was in an accident that was considered a total loss... the passenger side was hit and the two doors had to be replaced. Instead of totaling it her dad had it repaired instead (he got $4400 for it and repaired it for like $3000 i think). Anyway they're gonna give her mom's car to her.. 06 Camry XLE V6. i dont really feel comfortable with anyone driving that car after knowing it's been in that kind of accident.. but ehh cant argue much against her parents...
I think she'll like the Jetta. Make sure to post picsif you pick it up. We like pics.
 

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Discussion Starter #20
I think she'll like the Jetta. Make sure to post picsif you pick it up. We like pics.
think you misread. but i edited my post to make it clearer. they wanted to keep the Camry =[ and gave her 06 fully loaded one that her mom is currently driving. Not gonna lie, i was pretty sad for a bit after the whole discussion cause I was looking forward to it even tho i wouldn't be the one primarily driving it. haha.
 
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