I know that discussing the family beater isn’t the usual par for the course for BangShift, but bear with me for a moment. The sedan. The station wagon. The minivan. The sport-utility vehicle. The cute-utility. Whatever you are using as the end-all, be-all “everybody in!” vehicle, a lot of thought gets put into what it actually is, isn’t there? As much as most of us would like to, using a Mustang as a family car is pretty much a “no”. There’s things you have to look at in order to pick a proper family car.
First off, it has to be roomy. If you have more than one kid, you know damn well what I mean by this: “Dad, he keeps touching me!!” And that goes for more than passenger room. Usually the family ride has been beaten with the ugly stick (not always, but usually) and having the room to throw stuff in the back, be it luggage, Timmy’s friends, or even having the ability to jam one month’s worth of firewood in the back can help win back some points. If it’s gonna be ugly, it better prove useful. That was your mantra that got you through your college years, and it still works today.
It has to be powerful, sure…but you have to be careful here, because now there is such a thing as “too powerful”. Those of you who have a significant other who isn’t into the whole gear head thing have probably faced the uphill battle of convincing their partner that a Dodge Magnum SRT8 with a Magnuson blower on top of the 6.1L Hemi under the hood would make a perfect family ride. Especially when there’s outside influences that keep shoving your family towards something with four doors, a five-star safety rating, and enough airbags that if you crash, your car will go into full “marshmallow mode”.
And then there’s durability, and this comes in two forms: the obvious functional type that we focus on with our cars, and the special focus of the interior. Nobody wants the family ride to constantly be broken down…ask Lohnes about the joys of his Chrysler Pacifica sometime. He will tell you what that’s like. And while it’s nice to put Junior in the hot rod every now and again, every time something breaks on the family car is asking for problems. And when you go to clean out the interior of the family car, it becomes clear why you don’t want to use the hot rod: fossilized French fries, toys that haven’t been seen since they appeared at Christmas, and stains in the carpet that an exorcism couldn’t remove. And remember, you’ll be cleaning it…because you’re the one to clean the car, remember?
With all of that in mind, what would you pick for a new family car if you had to replace your current one right now? Would you go new or used? What kind of vehicle would you pick, and why? Do you look for basic functionality and practicality, or do you try to sneak in something fun, like a sleeper that you’re schlepping the kids around in? Is fuel economy a concern? Is power what you’re looking for? Maybe you’re wishing that minivan manufacturers offered a carpet-delete option so you could hose out the Town and Country every weekend. We’re curious to see what you come up with, so lay it out for us!