My Car Wish List for Adventurous Road Trips, and Everyday Family Travel

I haven’t quite made peace with letting go of my Chevy Suburban, even though I know it’s the right thing to do.  We need a smaller car, one that makes sense for my solo trips and diminishing chauffeur  responsibilities. But even though we’re downsizing, I don’t want any loss of the car features that are essential to living in the Northeast or for adventurous family road trips.

Chevy Suburban on Beach - Gulf Coast, Texas

Family Travel Car Wish List

What we need is a car that can seat 5 comfortably, with gear and a dog in the rear, and that can handle our snow conditions. The Suburban had 4-wheel drive and some kind of stability thingamajig that seemed to keep it true even on the iciest roads. So I want that in this next car. Other necessities to look for in the next car:

  • Heated seats (at least for the driver) covered in a wipe-able fabric – I don’t care if it’s leather or leatherette – as long as its not easily stained and dirtied cloth. Lumbar support and arm rests are also much appreciated on 12-hour driving days.
  • Lots of cup holders of the kind that adjust to hold Starbucks lattes snugly. Other storage compartments are a plus.
  • Plugs –  We need enough plugs to charge iPhones, run multiple electronic gadgets, and keep the car refrigerator running. Doesn’t everybody?
  • Mirror Gauge – I like seeing the thermostat gauge change when driving across temperate zones; and it’s helpful to see what direction we’re headed in when completely disoriented by blinding snow or endless plains.
  • Fuel efficiency – In the nearly 10 years that we’ve had the Suburban, gas prices have sky rocketed from $1.00/gallon to seriously scary numbers. I don’t want anything less than 20+ mpg.
  • A quiet ride is a given. I’ve come to expect that in the Suburban, and I demand no less in the next vehicle. My husband’s car rattles & shakes when hitting 80mph, which is not a big deal when you live in a 65mph-or-less zone, but it would be annoying on the open road.
  • iPhone Integration – I’ve been jerry-rigging an iPhone adaptor so that I could listen to audiobooks on long car rides. But I want plug and play ease.
  • Cargo Space – Our new car must be able to hold at least 4 pairs of skis (out of the 14 pairs that are apparently necessary to a ski team family,) two skim boards, beach chairs, umbrellas, backpacking back packs, and much more – often all at the same time.

That’s it. My car needs are pretty simple. I want to get from Point A to Point B with a modicum of comfort, in the least expensive way possible. Oh, and the vehicle has to look pretty for my travel photography across America.

Can you think of anything else I should be looking for in a new car? What’s the one feature you couldn’t live without? And what cars do you think belong on my short list?

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