My first car was a 1981 Chevy Caprice Classic. No, I’m not that old. It was a hand-me-down from my grandmother when I turned 16 and I think she’s still looking down from heaven laughing at the image of my trying-to-be-cool self driving that cruiser around town.
I drove it through college, at which time I graduated and got a used Toyota Corolla. I drove that until I was pregnant with my first in 2003. At that time, I turned to Hubby and told him enough was enough – for my third car, I deserved to drive a cool car, and I wasn’t going to be pigeonholed into a Mom-mobile. Not yet anyway. We did a lot of research that fall, and when I was 8 months pregnant, I picked up my first “new” car – a 2004 Honda Pilot. I love it.
Here’s why: Space
For our four-person family, there’s ample enough room. It has an optional third row that we open when we’re carpooling anyone else, but most of the time we have the seat folded down. Without the third row, it’s a significant-sized trunk. I keep a single Baby Jogger in there and do frequent diaper changes with baby laying straight down in the back.
It drives like a car. We test drove many other SUVs and so many of them drove like a “truck” to me. I felt like I was driving something big and bulky, and I wasn’t confident driving them. I didn’t have that feeling at all with the Pilot and I still don’t – of course my husband tells me it’s because it has the makeup of a car under the hood – but I really don’t care. I’m comfortable driving it and that’s important. Soup it up… or not It has all the usuals you’d expect in SUV – option for a sun roof, child locks, DVD players and a navigation system if you so choose.
What I would change:
It’s amazing how everything that was once so big, now seems so small as our family has grown. Our four bedroom house, once full of empty rooms, is now overflowing with toys and odds and ends. I have to say I feel a bit of the same way with the Pilot. I didn’t feel that way until I had my second son – and most of the time it’s fine – but if we’re trying to drive an additional adult or two around, it does feel cramped. And because both of my boys are in Britax Marathons (big car seats), it’s a tight squeeze for someone to get in and out if they want to sit in the middle of the second row. So what do I want? I want the inside of a mini-van in the body of a mini Cooper. But since that’s only possible in my uber-universe where my 14-month old changes his own diaper and my 4-year-old does the dishes, I’ll sticking with my Pilot. It’s a good car for a family of four.
Whitney Wingerd is the owner/originator of Mommies With Style. She lives in the Philadelphia area with her husband and two young sons.