Family cars suitable for three kids

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Okay, baby #3 is on the way and we may or may not be staying here for a while longer. My boys are 4 & 6, so booster-seat age, and we currently have a Golf station wagon, which my initial test showed won't accomodate a baby car seat + two booser seats. If our stay isn't extended, then we'll be here for about a month after the baby's born, so I'm thinking that we could just cheat and cut the styrofoam to narrow the boosters for that short time. But if we are here for 2 more years, that won't do, and, and we'll have to research a new car -- but I'd like to avoid a minivan, from cost and parking considerations.

 

So, from any of you who have 3 kids and a car, what kind of car do you drive? What's the smallest car we can get away with?

 

(And the answer is not, as a few of my friends, in a clueless moment, suggested, is not to move the older boy to the front seat -- my husband has to sit somewhere!)

 

For that matter, do you feel like a freak for having 3 in Germany?

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we had the same problem and after a 16 houir drive to Croatia we sold our golf and bought a Ford Galaxy and have not looked back

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Treat yourselves and forget any (if any) cost implications and get a VW Multivan. No its not a minivan. Its a real van. You sit up high, so driving is really comfortable. 7 seats. very useful when carrying the kids plus their friends. A fold out table. Very handy for meals or kids games during long journeys. And, of course, there is loads of space for everyones bags and the kids play equpment like inflatable boats and camping chairs and cooler boxes on trips to the lake. Parking isnt really an issue either.

OK. so your not going to go for the ideal family machine. But you can dream for a while! And consider having MORE kids!

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so I'm thinking that we could just cheat and cut the styrofoam to narrow the boosters for that short time.

So, you want to cheat on the safety of your kid? WRONG!! That is just soo wrong I don't know where to begin.

 

Get an auto that allows for what you need in the back. It has nothing to do with the ages, but the height and weight of each kid. That is what child seats are designed for. One size does not fit all.

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If we leave a month after the baby's born, we simply can't buy a car for a month, nor can I imagine the cost of renting one for that long. What would you do? And, incidentally, we're talking booster seats for kids ages 3 - 8 -- that's a pretty broad age/size range ("one size fits most", I'd say), and the point of a car seat at that age is largely to get the shoulder belt to fit properly, across the chest, rather than at the neck as it otherwise might.

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Go ahead and put your child in harms way. What do I care if its cost is too much for you. You have to decide on your childs value. No matter how much I talk about this, there is alway someone who claims poverty as an excuse.

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I really don't mean to belabor the topic, but do you have some expert knowledge on booster seats? If booster seats are designed to custom-fit each child's height and weight, how can there be a booster seat for AGES 3 THROUGH 8?!! (And are you some kind of frequent poster on child-safety issues?)

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Eurovol just needs to calm his obsessive car safety thing down a bit.Think about it people- back when we were kids we all used to covet that middle back seat so we could ride holding onto the two front seats! (obviously sans seatbelts!) I'm not saying that seatbelts, car seats, and air bags aren't good inventions, but lets keep things in perspective here now! It's only this year that some sort of booster has even been legally required in the UK for older kids. I *don't* think the OP is planning on strapping her older kid to the hood, just for rooms' sake! May he who doesn't drive the world's safest auto (at any cost) be the first to throw stones!

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@Betsy - I had a 2001 VW Golf station wagon, and managed to put 2 booster seats and 1 big baby car seat in the backseat. Maybe try some different configurations on your car again? The one that worked for me was the boosters on the outsides and the big baby carseat in the middle. It was tight as tight could be, but they did all fit after quite some struggle. I didn't think it would work at first either, but some clever manipulations finally made it.

 

Also maybe you might look for 1 booster seat on the market that is thinner than the ones you have now. I have noticed they vary pretty significantly.

 

@Eurovol - I wouldn't jump to conclusions that she would put her children's safety at risk. You don't know what her booster seats look like, so you can't say for sure that a little trimming would alter the safety integrity.

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One of my cars is a Mitsubishi space star MPV. It gets bad reviews but is one of the best cars I have,

its the Equip DID 1.9 over 50 mpg, seats five, Built like a tank.

 

I would go for something like this or, Mazda 5, Crolla versio, Honda do one. check the uk Auto Trader web site.

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We have three kids (1.5, 4, 6) and don't feel like freaks here, though a bit unusual. We drive a VW Sharan which is amazingly peppy and accomodates all of us + two additional passengers. Don't know the mileage, but it doesn't seem too bad and parking's been easier than we ever imagined. Three's a blast - even if the logistics prove challenging at times. Good luck!

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Hi Betsy

 

maybe a Renault Megane Scenic would be a good option for you. I think they have three-point seatbelts on all backseats and they are quite small and great for children because they sit higher and can see more.

 

By the way I think to have three (or more) children is a great thing to do.

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I'd measure the width of your current booster seats. They are not all the same width and you could probably find 2 new ones which are slightly narrower and would allow you to have all 3 seats in the back. This is what we did and it is the least expensive, easiest and safest option.

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Not that I wish to start a war here but I kinda agree with Eurovol, if you're going to start cutting styrofoam on a booster seat then you're not using it to the standard to which it's been made and this is when safety becomes an issue.

I'm sure it's been a long time since any of us stood between the front seats but driving has changed in the last 20/30 years. It's the other nutters on the road you have to keep an eye out for.

 

I too, will be in a similar situation soon, we currently have Fiat Punto and our third is due in May. (No we don't feel like freaks). And we are thinking about a 7 seater, not sure which yet...

 

I suggest betsy that you find out whether your stay is extended before buying a new car and try and use public transport for those 'family' days out

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I would go for something like this or, Mazda 5, Crolla versio, Honda do one. check the uk Auto Trader web site.

I knew you would have to slip in something about the UK. Why the hell would she look on UK Auto trader website? For one she is in Germany, and secondly the cars from the UK are going to be right hand drive.

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We have three children, bought a Zafira to accommodate them and have never looked back since, absolutely brilliant and a far nicer drive than Galaxy and Co. Because we were buying new, I tried out every single variation, VW van, Chrysler, Seat etc and the Zafira, aside from being Top Gear's top choice, was superior on all fronts.

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Sounds like it's 50/50 whether they'll be staying in DE longer than 4 weeks after the baby is born, so buying another car now would be a total waste of money.

Try looking for other narrower seats first - booster seats only cost a couple of € - and you can stick with the current car.

When you know for certain that you'll be staying in DE for longer, then do the research and buy a newer/bigger car. Although you may want to avoid MPVs they are the only realistic alternative when you've got a bigger family. And they're not as big as some of the US-produced MPVs. Galaxy/Sharan or Zafira handles like a car and are about the same length/breadth as a station wagon.

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