I spent £10,000! I drive some long distances to visit family and friends around Europe with the Littlins. I had also read some research which said that due to the head body weight ratio it is far safer for children to be in a rear facing car seat till the age of 4. Well, there weren’t many of those seats on the market when I went looking, so instead I started looking for a car that could have it’s seats facing backwards. There are very few.
Finally, I narrowed it down to a couple and ended up buying a used Mercedes Viano van. And it was silly things that spun it for me, silly practicalities that are useful for a parent when driving on their own with kids (which I often do), such as:
- a light switch for the passenger area that I can operate from the front – I can switch it off before I open the doors & they are sleeping or I can flick it on while driving and have a glimpse at them to see if they are sleeping (via an additional mirror, because they are sitting with their backs to me)
- total blackout windows in the back- these not only reduce the heat when travelling, but Autumn to Spring I can leave a sleeping child in the car (with an open window) on our drive. Wouldn’t even think of it on a hot sunny day though!
- electric windows operated from the front (lots of minibus type MPVs don’t have this)
- large sliding doors, which you can get the child in and out comfortably
- large reclining captain’s seats– means the kids can be in a more comfy position for sleeping (as I tend to drive at nights) and bonus no more arguments over who’s driving, as it is fun either driving or sitting in the back.
Now that I’ve had her over a 18 months, I have a true love-hate relationship with this car. Absolutely adore the way she drives and the comfort, the nuances that sold her to me. But I am appalled at the chassis quality of this 7 year old car having rust marks in quite a few place.
This car is expensive not only to buy (especially new), but the run too: The fuel efficiency is simply non-existent – 25-30mpg, 35 mpg if I am careful. (I had planned to counter the fuel guzzler aspect of it by cycling more. However, I had a bad cycling accident just as we purchased her and have yet to get back on bicycle other than the static rehab ones.)
There is, however, something special about this car, because the Littlins love it. Their eyes light up as they climb in. Is it the places it takes them or the fun times we’ve had having picnics in it on rainy days?
We’ve just got them some super-duper Kiddy carseats to go in it and they are even more excited! Seems my Littlins just favour the German engineering? 😀
Have you made any “insane” purchases based on some research you read? Is it really marketers playing on our parental guilt ?