The quest for a family-friendly car

Our current family situation:

  • Full-time working dad-to-be who drives 20 min. to work every day + loads his music gear in on the weekend to drive usually over an hour to get to the venues he performs at. 
  • Full-time working mom-to-me who commutes to work (train and bus)
  • Bernese mountain dog who takes up the whole back seat space 
Our current car:
  • Toyota Celica 2000
In the coming months, I'll be on maternity leave and will "need" a car with me at home while DF is at work with his. Time to start shopping!

The first car's mission = "daily trips to work and weekly trips to bars and venues". It needs to be:
  • Cheap on gas
  • Easy to manoeuver and park
  • Easy to load with his music gear (hatchback)
The second car's mission = "family car and backup when first car is gone". It needs to be:
  • Roomy (must sit 2 adults + 2 babies/kids + 1 large dog + some cargo)
  • Safe
  • Kids-friendly (anti-stain fabrics, assisted doors, sun protection in the back, easy to climb into and out, are all bonuses.)
  • Dog-friendly (hatchback)
  • Easy to load (hatchback + floor must not be too high)
  • DF will go on a hunger strike if I ever try to force him into a mini-van.
  • I will go on a hunger strike if the whole family cannot sit in the same car with their essentials (read strollers).
Since the Celica we have meets the needs for our first car, our search will be focussed on adding a family car.

Are you an anti-minivan mom? 
If so, what do you drive? 
How do you like it? 
Do you have any suggestions of what might the perfect-family car if minivans are out of the question?


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