It occurred to me the other day that, since having Daisy (almost 5 years ago), we’ve been through 6 cars. Which is probably (definitely) a little excessive, but hey, at least I have a bit of an insight now into the the most desirable functionalities of the family car. I’m practically running my own Top Gear from my driveway, except we drive mid-range people carriers, rather than prestige sports cars and none of us are quite as odious as Jeremy Clarkson (I hope).
Anyway, mostly due to a lack of anything else to write about, I thought I’d share with you the cars that have seen us through our parenthood travels, so far, and whether or not they were actually any good for transporting small humans (and their many many many belongings) around.
When Daisy was born, we had a BMW. Please don’t ask me what series it was because unless we’re talking about Grey’s Anatomy, I have no idea. All I know is that it must have been a very rare model because it had functioning indicators. It was the Spouse’s company car. My own car (Blanche, the topless 206) had met her demise at the hands of a rogue seagull on the M1 a year previously. It was an estate, which is quite important when you will inevitably have to shove a pram in the back at some point; and it had isofix. Something which I recall fighting with in the hospital car park, the day after Daisy was born, but which is actually a very handy (and safety complimenting) feature to have.
Little anecdote for you: The BMW and I once had a run in with a very inconveniently located wall, which resulted in quite the scrape across the front bumper. I neglected to mention it to the Spouse (who was then merely the Boyfriend) at the time and he didn’t notice it until a couple of weeks later, when he’d just returned from the supermarket. I feigned shock and outrage, “Ermahgerd! Someone must’ve hit you when you were in the shop!” *Gasps*. Apparently that Performing Arts degree came in handy because he seemingly bought it. But on the eve of our wedding, I confessed all in a dramatic unburdening, knowing that I could not marry this man with such a deep dark secret hanging over me. I confessed to my terrible driving skills and incredible lying abilities and he didn’t ditch me at the alter, which was a bonus (or was it?).
We’ve always been a one car family, as the Spouse generally commutes by train and also he’s too tight to fund another vehicle. But in the early days of Daisy, all of my NCT friends lived in different towns and the Spouse was working more locally so would often pilfer the car for himself. It became frustrating and one of the many things we, as new parents, found to have heated “discussions” about. So one evening, after the Spouse had been out and gotten himself a little tipsy, he came home and announced that he’d just bought me a car. On eBay. A little tin can that had Peaguot scribbled on the back. Blanche’s elderly (slightly senile, very creaky) great aunt. It had no isofix. It had no boot space. It had no class. I promptly scraped it along the gatepost (it had no parking sensors either) and a few weeks later it packed up completely. And thus we returned to being a one car family.
When I fell pregnant with Ralph, we bade farewell to the BMW and decided that a people carrier was the way to go. We purchased a Ford S Max (fondly known as the Smax) and it was a dream. Spacious, yet sexy. Large enough to accommodate a family of 4, a double buggy and all the other paraphernalia that tended to accompany us. It had DVD players built into the headrest, which basically saved our sanity on journeys down to family in the South. It was automatic (which I hated initially because I wasn’t sure what to do with my feet at traffic lights, but I grew to love). It was a very smooth and nimble ride (sounds rude). The turning circle was crap, but hey, we can’t have everything. And yes, I inadvertently let it get intimate with another gate post, but I was very sorry and the Smax was very forgiving. I loved that car. But alas, the Spouse’s midlife crisis hit and he traded it in for a Range Rover Evoque.
Sure, it looked good on the driveway and it meant that I could take on boy racers with a little more aplomb, but the thing was completely impractical for a family. The boot was a squeeze, the back seat even more so and he’d chosen one with some bizarre floral trim that made it feel like were driving a hawaiin shirt. Plus, it was a manual, which after getting used to (and falling in love with), an auto, just gave me calf ache. And also I scraped it on a gate post (I’m not even kidding). Then I fell pregnant with Rufus and it became very very apparent that getting rid of the Smax had been a big mistake. Huge. So we traded in the Rangey and got another.
I still loved the Smax pt. II, but this new one didn’t quite measure up to it’s predecessor. I still maintain that it’s a brilliant family car, however, this one seemed to be unwell. It refused to accelerate from anywhere without wheel spinning and juddering like a male at climax. Ford ran some diagnostic tests, but couldn’t find a problem and so it was just something we had to live with. We did, for a time, but it became increasingly more annoying (much like the Spouse), then it began to randomly cut out briefly at the most inconvenient of moments and we decided another Smax would have to bite the dust *waves sadly*.
And so here we are, in the present day, with our present car… a Citroen C4 Grand Picasso. The Smax’s chubbier, less sassy cousin, but we love her just the same. Cheaper than the Ford, but with extra bells and whistles (yes I’m talking about you, massaging seats), value for money wise – it ticks every box. It lacks the sleekness of the Smax for sure and it doesnt have a gear stick, which creates all sort of dilemmas about what one is supposed to do with their left hand, but it’s a bloody good car and accommodates our every need as a family of five, including 3 isofix points across the back seat and a sizeable boot. Plus it has parking sensors at every single angle so I think it may even be safe from errant gate posts.