Sep 4, 2012

Buying All of the Things: A New Car Part 2

Along with these two new wonderful additions that will be joining our family in 2013 (we hope!) come a lot of things! It's amazing just how much stuff such tiny little people will need. In this series, I am going to walk you through our decisions as we are making them. We will talk cars, cribs, DSLR cameras, strollers, and other registry items.

We bought a car! Look at our beautiful new Buick Enclave. It's a crossover SUV on the outside and a minivan in the inside. The perfect world. Sadly, this picture isn't actually OUR car which isn't in stock yet and will be here soon. This is a photo of an Enclave in the right color from the Buick webpage.
As I reminder, here is Part One of buying a car, including our spreadsheet and a list of the features we were looking for in a car. The Enclave fits all of our needs and most of our wants!

Car Needs:
  • Third Row Seating: a very comfortable elevated third row
  • Easy Access to Third Row (I'll need to be climbing back there so I can see the babies on longer car rides): the second row is two captains chairs that easily fold forward to access the third row, but I can also squeeze between them to get to the back (with no car seat in the seat)
  • Movable Second Row (to ensure rear facers fit well): the second row moves forward and backward
  • Ample Cargo Space (for a big double stroller and all of the other THINGS we need): plenty of space, in fact one of the largest cargo spaces we looked at
  • LATCH system: LATCH is only present in the two second row captains chairs with a top tether in the center position of the third row
  • Rear View Camera: not the ideal rear view camera as it is small and displays in the rear view mirror, but the feature is there (if we upgraded to a vehicle with navigation the rear view camera could have displayed on that larger screen)
  • Heated Seats (we were spoiled by Debs and yes this is now a need): yes!
Car Wants:
  • Power Liftgate: yes
  • Remote Entry: and remote engine start which is amazing because the car automatically heats/cools to 72 when the remote start is engaged
  • Push Button Ignition: no to put the car into drive I will have to pull the key out of my purse (we wondered if waiting for the 2013 Enclave would get us this feature but according to our sales guy it won't - this feature is just not supported in the Enclave)
  • Navigation (I know my phone has this, but I would rather never have to look at my phone with the babies in the car): for an additional $2,500 we decided navigation just wasn't worth it but we will have on-star which means we can speak to a real person to get directions which will then scroll across the radio display
  • Air Conditioned Seats (I'm not a fan of the just peed my pants sensation of air conditioned seats, but Casey is): this feature wouldn't have cost as much extra as we thought (only $800) but it was difficult to justify even that small expense for something so unnecessary
  • Good Gas Mileage: the Enclave compares to any of the other crossover SUVs on our list with 17mpg in the city and 24mpg on the highway (not great mileage but consistent with its class)
For other people looking at cars, in the end we narrowed our choice to the Enclave and the Infiniti JX. Here is how we eliminated cars:
Infiniti JX -- We still like the Infiniti JX. It had every feature we were interested in, but since it is such a new car (released in April 2012) there are no dealer incentives or other pricing specials. While the MSRP of the Infiniti loaded the way we wanted it and the Buick loaded the way we wanted it are VERY similar, the final prices were not. Since we also really liked the Enclave and saw some advantages/disadvantages of each, even our Infiniti sales guy looked at our quoted price for the Enclave and said buy that!
Mazda CX-9 -- The Mazda had most of the features we wanted, but a few big drawbacks. It has NO latches in the third row. This isn't a deal killer since you can attach a car seat with a seat belt, but it was certainly disappointing. The third row of the Mazda was very cramped and uncomfortable for a full-size adult. The third row felt like it was meant to be kept folded down and pulled up when needed rather than actually sat in. Again, not a deal killer, but a drawback. The deal killer was the ride. Our sales person at the Mazda dealership said that the car we test drove was out of balance and that was why the ride was SO bumpy and SO uncomfortable. Whatever the reason, it was truly awful! I attempted to sit in the third row but all of the bumping was awful! We considered going to another dealership to test drive another Mazda, but due to the other drawbacks decided we just didn't need to.
GMC Acadia -- The Acadia was very similar to the Enclave but while the Enclave felt/drove like a luxury car, the Acadia felt/drove like a larger SUV. Due to some pricing specials on the Enclave for the options we wanted the payments on these two vehicles were VERY similar and the Enclave just drove nicer, felt nicer, and was overall more luxurious. Also, we're suckers for pretty wood which is in the Enclave but not the Acadia.
Chevrolet Traverse -- The Chevrolet Traverse is also on the same chassis as the Enclave and Acadia but down a "niceness level" again. It was missing MANY of our wants, including a power lift gate, which as we looked we realized was more of a need than a want. It also didn't feel as well built as the Acadia or the Enclave. We worried about the quality of the leathers and plastics used and how well they would hold up to the beatings of the hot Texas sun.
Hyundai Veracruz -- We never even test drove a Hyundai. It couldn't check off most of our wants. It also doesn't offer a rear view camera or heated seats which were both on our need list.
Kia Sorrento -- We drove to a Kia dealership and after seeing this car in person didn't bother test driving. With the third row up, their is NO cargo space. A single stroller wouldn't fit, let alone our needed double. For a family with onky two forward facing children where the third row was for the occasional time you have extra passengers, the Kia has great features for the money and a sleek profile. For a potentially neurotic new mom who wants to be able to see her rear-facing twins during long car trips during the next two years (such as family trips to Oklahoma to see family) this lack of cargo space was a deal killer.
Toyota Highlander -- The Highlander suffered from the same issue as the Kia. With the third row up, their is not enough cargo space! The Highlander had more cargo space than the Kia, but still not enough.
Honda Pilot -- The Pilot is another nice car we never drove. We struggled to get Honda dealerships to respond to our email requests for information. When they finally did, we were disappointed by the pricing on the Pilot. It's a good vehicle, but they are really proud of it!
We are really excited for our Buick Enclave to come in (they had to order it from another dealer) and start driving it! Sadly, they couldn't find a vehicle with our desired interior color, exterior color, and options in a300 mile radius. So, we had to settle for second choice colors, but I think we'll be really happy with it! We know this is going to be a great car to bring our babies home in and get us through the next few years.


  1. Congrats! Did you look at vans? We really want sliding doors where the kids can crawl in!

  2. Hope you had a great deal! You should also be aware that the cars that need to be ordered from the factory should not cost more than the cars they already have in the dealership. Never let a car dealer locate the car you want from another dealership. They would often charge you unnecessary fees for this.

    Kerstin Shed

  3. Congrats on the car. :) It is important to break-in the vehicle. Like your feet in a new pair of shoes, your car’s parts – the engine and all the springs – need time to settle in before you break into a run. Typically, in the first 1,000 miles of the break-in period, you need to keep your speed under 55mph and avoid loading heavy cargo.

    Tyra Shortino

  4. Congrats! As a practical habit to lengthen your car’s service life, it would be best to not overload the vehicle. Stick to the prescribed weight load limit, since the added weight will give more strain and wear and tear on the car engine and other parts of the vehicle.

    Naomi Champy

  5. Great looking car! It would be good to find your car a good insurer, since, sometimes, no matter how careful you drive, others just aren’t that cautious. Make sure you have your car protected by hiring a good insurer that will pay for damaged parts and guarantee repairs.

    Carry Bacot