White Dog, Quinn and I all looked up when Steve came home for lunch and asked, “What do you have planned for this afternoon?” We three exchanged puzzled glances and the White Dogs moved closer to me as I cautiously answered, “Nothing special. Why do you ask?” “I have a slow afternoon and thought maybe you guys might want to go test drive some cars.” A ride? A ride? White Dog and The Other White Dog were at the front door tails wagging in a heartbeat.
Steve has been campaigning for a new family car for a while now. And the reality is with our family’s growth in recent months (Michael and then Quinn joining us) that the SUV is no longer big enough to hold us plus Dragon, Candace and Gregg when we want to all go somewhere. And then there is the always open possibility that another needy pup might somehow find its way into our fold (we came close just recently). So at a time when Steve and I should be considering mid-life crisis imported sports cars, we are contemplating a minivan!
We drove over to the nationwide mega used car dealer (Steve had done lots of research online) to actually test the comfort, roominess and drive of some of the vehicles on his short list. No one could agree on colors, except that we didn’t want light blue or brown. Quinn liked the ease of entry to the minivans, especially the wider door and lower hop up. He wasn’t sure about the lack of a bench seat in the second row but soon discovered he could rest his head on the front console which made him feel like he was “advising” on the driving. TOWD liked that he could lie next to Steve when his dad was sitting in the second row captain chairs. Neither White Dog was crazy about the third row seat because it was “so far away from the action.” We hope with others in the car that they will like the additional room.
White Dog tried out the chairs in back first and while she enjoyed the curl up comfort, she gave a “paws down” to the fact that the window was a stretch to reach (How can you hang your head into the breeze?). The console was wide and would make a lovely sitting perch. WD was leery of the auto close side door but loved the leaping room when it was open. She watched over the “way back” seat as Steve tested how my wheelchair fit in the space…”Perfect!” she woofed over her shoulder to me.
Steve was surprised at the quickness and drivability of the breed (especially with a 4.0 liter engine). Yes, he is a car nut and it has taken him some time to come to terms with the idea of a “soccer mom” car. I think White Dog helped on that front when she suggested he, instead, think of it as a Swiss Army Knife of Vehicles. “You can fold all the seats down, you can put some seats up and others down, you can stow stuff in the floor, you can fit a comfy bed for us, you can put your bike on the roof rack, I bet there are 110 ways to make a minivan useful.”
All of us enjoyed the smooth rides and the climate control (especial the White Dog height cooling vents in the back) as we drove around town and on the highway. After the testing adventure, we thanked the salesman, took his business card (which he tucked into White Dog’s collar), climbed back into the old SUV, and headed home with much to think about… but I am pretty sure I see a new ride coming our way in the not too distant future.