The New ‘Mom Wheels’

We bought a new car this weekend in order to accommodate our growing family and we took Weston with us as a negotiation tool. You see, buying a new car is never really the most fun way to spend an afternoon. But if you take a kid with you, the salespeople want your family out the door just as much as you want the experience to be over with…a win-win situation. But before I get to my new ‘mom wheels’ (as I so affectionally call the newest grocery-getter), let’s take a look down memory lane at the cars of Karen’s past…


My senior year of high school and college years were spent driving a little red two-door coupe – cementing my desire to drive small(er) vehicles. When we received orders to Fort Drum, New York upon Clay’s commissioning, I knew that my beloved aging sporty car wouldn’t stand a chance against the lake effect snow. So the week after our wedding, we purchased our first vehicle together – a 2002 Jeep Liberty Renegade. We were young (21 and 22, respectively) and looking back, we probably shouldn’t have bought a used SUV from the indoor showroom in the Salmon Run Mall in Watertown from a salesman named ‘The Hammer’. But live and learn, right?

At the time, Clay drove a Jeep Grand Cherokee so we thought a Liberty was a sensible choice for me to drive. Lucy (our chocolate lab we welcomed into our family the summer of 2005) loved riding in the back and we had many adventures in that car. But it was just okay. I never loved driving it and once it hit 50K miles, it started to go downhill fast. We didn’t have great luck with Clay’s Grand Cherokee either so after owning two Jeeps, we vow never to get another one again anytime soon.


When Clay came home from his first deployment, we traded in both Jeeps for new vehicles (super long deployment + me working + no kids = much more disposable income than we have now…haha). I ended up with a 2007 Jetta that I absolutely adored. I loved that car. I drove it for two years – we brought Weston home from the hospital in that car and planned to drive it for many years. Until we realized that the infant car seat would not fit in the back without either front seat pushed all the way forward…womp womp. I’m not a tiny gal and my long legs couldn’t handle the newly squashed interior. And it was a tight fit for Lucy too. So with a tear rolling down my cheek, we traded in my Jetta for a 2008 Volvo XC90 – my first official ‘mom car’.

And you know what? For a large(ish) vehicle, the Volvo XC90 rocks. It has a third row (that we barely use but it is nice to have the option), comfortable interior, and it handles like a car (I can’t stand driving SUVs or trucks). It is about to hit 100K miles and it is still going strong. It has taken us from North Carolina to Oklahoma to Washington DC countless times and shows no signs of stopping. But with our family growing by another pair of feet, we knew that we wanted both of our cars to fit two adults, two kids, and Lucy. And Clay’s quad-cab truck had room for all the humans but not enough room for Lucy. So we decided to trade his truck for a new family car that I can zip around town in so he can drive the Volvo XC90 back and forth to work (only a 10 minute commute) to help preserve the mileage.

{wrong model but same sentiment}

We’ve been eying the 2013 Subaru Outback for quite some time. We love the spacious interior and the wagon-style lends plenty of space for Lucy in the back. The AWD ensures that it will handle itself well wherever we get stationed next (hopefully to a colder climate!) while still having good fuel economy. The color is Ice Silver Metallic (our first silver/bluish car!) and we opted for the all-weather package and black interior to help combat the messes that happen with children, dogs, and outdoor activities.


We briefly considered a couple of larger vehicles – Honda Pilot and Toyota Highlander – but since we’re hanging on to the Volvo XC90, having two third-row SUVs seemed a bit redundant and unnecessary. And we both admit that if we were to get a minivan, the new Honda Odyssey would float our boat the best, but again, a minivan just seems like overkill at this point in our lives. We’ve learned that we don’t need a ton of space. Besides, as I mentioned earlier, I enjoy driving small(er) vehicles so the Subaru Outback is a perfect fit. So we’re part of the Subaru family now – and hopefully we will be for a very long time.


8 thoughts on “The New ‘Mom Wheels’

  1. Love Subarus! If we don’t have a third child by the time we need to replace our Honda Pilot I am going to lobby for a wagon/crossover. If we do have a third child the Odyssey will be our destiny :).

  2. Nice!!! We traded our Pilot in on a Traverse last May – although there are only 2 of us – we also like the 3rd row option and have used it many times. Those mid-sized SUVs just ride and travel so nice! Your new color won’t show dirt very much either – bonus!!! Our red is almost as bad as black (which we will never have again). Enjoy!!! We are heading to Toronto for Spring Break rather than DC – have been told that Spring Break in DC is just crowded with way too many people. We will try to come some other time ’cause we do want to see you guys and the city!!
    Aunt Sue

  3. You’ll love it! Of course I may be a bit biased since we own an old Outback (for the teenager), a WRX, and a Legacy with plans of trading in the Legacy for a 2014 Forester. 😉 They’ve handled great in the WA and Lake Tahoe winters, and I feel safer in my Subie than in any other car I’ve ever owned.

  4. We also just ‘upgraded on space’. We don’t have a third child yet but it is in the future and I also watch my nieces at times. We went with the Traverse like your Aunt Sue. I love it, but really it’s the closest thing to a minivan for an SUV. For a long time we were looking at the mid-size, I liked the Subaru too. Great choice, I hope you enjoy your new mom wheels.

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