It’s time for the Sienna to move on to another family who will appreciate it more than I do.  I’m over it.  Done.  Finis.  I was done driving a van when we bought it back in ’05, but my dd was still rear-facing and you just can’t deny the ease of getting kids in and out of vans.  It’s a great people hauler and the stuff we’ve fit into it has been amazing—beds, gigantic TVs, wood, a grill, etc.—but it’s nearly as big as a bus!

I’m at a crossroads as to which vehicle to buy and I could use personal experience input because I’m really torn.  After a recent rental car experience with a Kia Optima (heh, that car had some pickup, I tell you—I finally gave in and drove at 80 mph because that was *its* speed), I’ve crossed sedans off my list because they sit too low to the ground.  I simply had too much trouble seeing around the mammoth vehicles in front of me on the freeway to anticipate what was coming.

I’ve loved SUVs since we bought our first, a RAV4, in 1996.   The smaller SUVs sit just high enough to give me visibility, yet are easy to drive, and they have 4-wheel/AWD, which is something I think I need, but dh disagrees since we already have one.  More than anything, I want to drive something that I *love* to drive, not a utility vehicle, which is what the van is to me.  Sure, the van has some great features that I appreciate, but I don’t love it.

Here’s the problem.  There are lots and lots of small, 5-passenger SUVs from which to choose.  Yay!  However, we occasionally have visitors—perhaps two to three times a year—and we need to drive them around with the kids in tow.  We could use 2 vehicles as dh points out.  Score 1 for dh.  BUT, there are times when I pick up the neighbor kids (twins) from school when their mom is busy.  It’s usually an emergency pick-up, not a normal carpool situation, but it does happen.  With a 5-person SUV, that means a kid sits in the front seat since I have my 2 kids in the vehicle already.  So I’m also looking at 7-passenger SUVs.  Ugh.  Now we’re talking about busses again.

Hold the phone.  Let’s throw another piece of the puzzle in: I’d like for there to be seatbelt pretensioners in the back seat.  Cha-ching!  That narrows things down quite a bit.  By a lot.  My dh rolls his eyes.  But he didn’t see how far forward my dd flew when I slammed on the brakes last school year when a woman pulled out in front of us at dropoff without looking.  If that happened in a quick stop, what could happen in an actual crash?

So, how important is it to have a 7-passenger vehicle when the vast majority of the time it’ll be just the 4.5 of us in it (gotta count the dog!)?  Carseat fit is unimportant to me at this point since my ds is nearly out of his booster and my dd is in a booster for the next few years.  It’s great to be able to accommodate extra kids, but to justify a huge purchase for other people essentially is nuts, especially when I can put that extra money into new flooring for my house where my frieze carpet is starting to look like Berber in spots.

Why does this have to be so hard?  Big or small.  It should be an easy decision, so why am I having a hard time deciding if I should cater to other people.  Argh!  Someone slap me upside the head!  Give me advice!