family car

Photo by 920Wendy

The following is a guest post by Ideal Bite's Mama Bite contributor Jennifer Orr.  

When my husband and I first announced that we were pregnant with our first kid, our friends and fam told us that a minivan or, at the very least, an SUV was crucial, not just for baby and her safety, but to lug all her stuff too.

We were briefly swayed by this logic and tested a few - we even tested a beautiful shiny black Volvo station wagon (our compromise) with a soft, tawny leather interior...mmm...I can still smell that car.

Nevertheless, we decided that, with the price of gas in CA and oil's toll on the environment, we would stick with a nice, boring, mid-size, fuel-efficient four-door sedan.

Six years and two kids later, we're still driving that same car. Now, compared to that sexy Volvo, our ho-hum Honda has probably saved us about $2,500 in gas and almost 1,000 extra trips to the pump.

Yes, our backseat is crowded with car seats, but I love that my oldest daughter can easily reach across the seat and hand her sister a dropped sippy cup (thereby keeping her and me happy for the ride). The "stuff" we cart around is usually just one smallish stroller, which fits neatly in our trunk with groceries, luggage, golf clubs, or ice chests. The kids' big red wagon fits back there, so does a bike, and so have various collectables I've found at the antique fair here.

Other benefits: I can park in just about any space, even those hard-to-fit "compact" ones; I can actually do a three-point turn in just three moves and without running anyone off the road; plus all I have to do is open the car door and my two-year-old can climb in and out all by herself, which my aching back greatly appreciates. Oh, did I mention how much money we're saving on gas?

Trust me, you don't need to spend your cash on a pricey SUV. If you're starting a family, stick with your midsize car and see how you feel before running out to get the latest monster. We love our mid-size car so much that we recently purchased another one for my husband. And this one's even a hybrid.

What kind of car does your family drive?