Almost 6 years ago, Joe and I purchased a 2003 Subaru Outback Wagon. My first pick for a car was a Honda Civic but we got the Outback because Joe wanted to be able to easily haul around music equipment and we wanted something that would work as a family car, as well. So, Outback it was.
There are some things I like about the car – the fact that it’s not super low to the ground and it has some great cargo space (not that I need it usually; even when I was still with Joe, he hauled his stuff in his 2-door Accent). It also has quite a bit of power for a 4 cylinder. Beyond that, I pretty much hate it. It was a mild dislike at first but once Jack came around, it turned into full on hate.
It is NOT family friendly, at least for families with small children. The middle back is not set up for LATCH, so Jack’s carseat is behind the driver’s side seat. Since the day his carseat was set to forward-facing, he has kicked the back of that seat incessantly. Because of the height of the seats in the back and the comparatively low ceiling of the car, there is a lot of head knocking going on – Jack’s and mine. The LATCH anchors are buried between the seats, as well, meaning even with our nifty and normally easy-to-install Britax, I’ve gotta dig. (And I would go into more detail about trying to install the Graco SnugRide in the center back with the seatbelts but I might have a heart attack from the memories of frustration. Let’s just say if you have a Subaru, don’t even bother trying to use the middle back for your carseat.)
The seats themselves are uncomfortable. Before I drove an Outback, I wasn’t even aware that cars could BE uncomfortable. These seats are hard, I always feel as if I’m leaning slightly to the right, and my legs start to hurt or fall asleep on long drives – and that was BEFORE I had Jack. Now my tailbone cries out in agony, as well.
You’d think anyone could fit in a Subaru, wouldn’t you? My ex-FIL is 6’2″ and had plenty of leg and head room in his wife’s tiny Ford Aspire. In my Subaru – in the driver’s seat with it scooted all the way back and lowered to the floor of the car – his head touched the ceiling and his legs wouldn’t stretch out. He drove the car once and ever since rented a (compact!) car when visiting. No joke. Also, there should really only be two seats in the back unless the middle person wants to use the other passengers’ laps as extra cushioning. And this is coming from a slim 5’2″ chick!
I’m not even going to discuss gas mileage.
So, anyway…I’ve wanted a new car for a long time. I want something that is easier to find a parking space for in this city of parallel parking. I want something that Jack can easily climb into without slamming his head. I want something that doesn’t leave me sore after driving, and something that makes it less likely that I will have to pass by parking spaces. Right now, most signs point to a Honda Fit (that thing is like a transformer car!!!). I’m open to suggestions, though. And I’d love to hear any “AVOID THIS CAR” stories from other parents out there. (Especially if you can help me rag on the Subaru.)