25 June 2013

Car Buying

So we have to buy a new car.  We haven't done that in 15 years, and we were lucky that time because I knew exactly what I wanted to buy and that car was perfect. We drove it for years, it got amazing gas mileage, it fit all five of us even though we bought it before we had children, and we hardly ever had to repair it. And it went for well over 200,00 miles. We finally sold it before we went to Kyrgyzstan the second time because it wasn't practical to store it.  I will always miss that car.

Now we can ship a car to Mexico, but we're having a really hard time finding something that works.  We've been told that having a car with a high clearance is really important because of the flooding in Guadalajara every summer, although I'm sure that there are plenty of low-clearance cars getting driven there.  But we'd also like to not just have to stick to neatly-paved roads, so there are some good reasons to get a high-clearance car.  It also can't be more than 10 years old and we can't ship anything really big.  And it needs to be easily serviceable in Guadalajara.

Those are their rules.  For me, I don't want a car that only seats five. That worked when our oldest was 10, but now he's 14 and taller than me.  My next son will likely be taller than me before we leave Mexico.  Two adult-sized people plus a child in a booster seat don't really sit well on one bench.  So we need a third row that's easy to get to because it will be needed every time we get in the car.  I'd also like something with decent gas mileage and that's not going to need lots of maintenance, but that is used and inconspicuous.

We are having a really hard time finding a car that fits all these needs. Minivans have the seat configuration and space we need, but they're not high clearance.  SUVs with more space are too big to ship (plus they're annoying to drive).  Crossovers are awfully small for three children when two are teenagers.

And I really want a car in Mexico. Jalisco is a big state with lots to see and I want to be out on the weekends.


  1. That's quite a list of specs. When are you guys leaving?

  2. Not till the fall, so we have some time. Time that should be spent learning Spanish!

  3. I don't know how high a clearance you need, but we have been really happy with our Rav4 here. If I remember correctly, the US version has an option for a third-row seat and a V6 engine. I'm sure you've looked into everything...but just in case, I thought I'd mention it.

  4. Bridget, that's one of the first cars we looked at, but it's not easy to get to the back seat (and we're finding there aren't a lot of used versions with the third row).

    Hopefully my oldest will change his mind about wanting to sit in the back. It's just too hard to get him back there.