Archive for September 26th, 2008

Cars & Car Seats

Friday, September 26th, 2008

Car shopping. The mere words are enough to strike fear (of slick used-car-salesmen) deep into the heart of many people. Others just hate the process, car lots, test drives, sales people, pressure, negotiating, haggling, negotiating some more … you get the idea.
Richard and I both used to sell cars in the past (I know, I do realize that ranks us somewhere below lawyers, but just above pond scum) so the whole dealership process is old familiar territory to us.

We drive an Expedition that inhales gas at the rate of 12 MPG. Thanks to record $4.00+ gas prices this summer we had the  experience of paying over $100 to fill up an empty tank… and (after we recovered from the shock) we promptly started looking into a smaller gas-friendly vehicle that wouldn’t end up costing us our first-born child to drive (She *is* starting to grow on us and we wouldn’t mind keeping her around for a while).  : )~

Choosing a budget (ie: fuel) friendly car to drive should be a walk in the park. So off we go. Everything goes great till we load up the car-seat in the first car and get in … and my knees (sitting in the passenger seat with the car-seat behind me) are about 8 inches under my chin with my shins pressed against the glove-box while I admire all the fine workmanship and details in the dash directly in front of my face!  Guess that was the wrong car to try out. Off to the next dealership, the next car should be better.
Repeated the process at the next place … with the same results, and additional bruises on my shins.
We’re beginning to get the sinking feeling that this is going to be a much more difficult process than we originally anticipated. The problem is that while the car-seat fits fine in the MIDDLE of the backseat, more often than not we are transporting a puppy/s or dog/s to the vet or airport and need room for a dog crate (or three or four),  which requires the car-seat to be behind the passenger seat of the car.

I have come to the realization that car-seat designers all drive big roomy (gas-guzzling) SUVs. They obviously did NOT design their car-seats with the concept of fitting in a small fuel friendly vehicle in mind!

After coming to the realization that a car was just not going to be comfortably feasible to meet our baby and canine transportation needs, we ended up with a slightly larger vehicle that has both good gas mileage and cargo space to carry the dogs – the Chevy HHR-SS. The only 2008 model still available in NM was black (not the ideal color for someone living down a dirt road) but it fits the car-seat, the dogs, (and my bruised shins) comfortably. It looks a little odd, but kind of tends to grow on you after a while!  : )