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Car search for 3 kids 4 and under…

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Cassie, my Toyota Camry, was my first “big girl purchase” right out of grad school and I bought her new at a local Toyota dealership.  We are in it for the long haul together.  Cassie will belong to me until the wheels fall off, no joke.  But, my husband’s Ford Focus on the other hand…it is tiny, absolutely tiny. Perfect for a small family or a single person but not for a growing family with young kids.  My husband is 6”2 and he manages to fit his tall body in that car (still baffled by this). We’ve been jamming our two boys in the Focus since we became parents and it’s no longer working. It was time for the Focus to hit the road and find a new home.  No tears shed on that one, no sir.

I have been hearing awesome reviews about a RVA company, CarLotz, from our friend Cam who works there. I started researching SUV’s online at various dealerships but kept going back to CarLotz.  I made an appointment, got pre-approved for financing, and headed over to the West Broad location.  I walked in and immediately felt welcomed.  The environment felt relaxed and comfortable.  CarLotz is in no shape or form your traditional dealership! With their consignment model, buyers save money and receive pricing transparency.  The non-commissioned sales team mean you can shop comfortably knowing their incentives are aligned with the buyers. We started off by talking about our options for the Focus so I would have a better idea what price range I wanted to stay in for the new car.

Where CarLotz sets itself apart is that it’s the first in its arena with consignment option for selling.  Trading your car in for equity is an option but they offer consignment, which makes the seller considerably more money in most cases.  For example, for us we made 3500 dollars more with consigning the Focus.   They detailed and took pictures of the Focus and gave us a call when it sold.   Oh, and the impressive part, average time on the lot at CarLotz for consignment is 30 days and they sold us in 4 weeks.    No brainer for us, we wanted more bang for our buck! Also, we didn’t want to deal with the hassle of selling ourselves or hassling with a dealership.

Now the fun stuff, finding a car to fit our family of 5.  Our kids are 3 ½ and 1 ½ and new bundle of joy arriving in August.  My requirements: 3rd row and decent sized trunk for a double stroller and all of the crap, I mean stuff, we lug around for these kiddos of ours.  In my online research, I kept reading reviews on Toyota Highlander, Honda Pilot, Honda Odyssey, Chevy Suburban, and Chevy Tahoe.  Impressive, because CarLotz had all of them on their lot.   I got to test drive with my new pal Jarratt and he gave me the features on them all.  His opinions and comparisons felt authentic and helpful.  I ruled the Tahoe out when I got there because the price was outside of our budget at $50,000.

  • Honda Pilot – was too small for us.  When the third row was up the trunk was almost nonexistent.  This car would be a great fit for a family with older kids but with ours being little and all needing large car seats we need more space.

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  • Toyota Highlander– same as above.  The inside felt bigger than the Pilot but you sacrificed trunk space for third row.  Double Bob Strollers are big, and I needed to feel comfortable that I could fit the massive amount of crap, I mean stuff, that we have to haul around with us every day.

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  • Chevrolet Suburban –One word: sleek.  Total Soccer Mom meets security detail for Governor McAulliffe vibe.   The leather seats and the black exterior had me swooning.  It was massive, but in a good way.  I could drive over top of a car with no dent or scrape (Don’t worry, I didn’t try).  My husband seems to think I would run over someone in the Target parking lot in this car, insert eye roll.  It drove really smooth and the bucket seats were the perfect solution for young children.  I was impressed with how easy it was for me to drive, despite the size.   The MPG is where the Suburban lacked, at only 15 MPG in town/city and 21 on highway we would be at the gas station constantly and the tank would cost us 60$ to fill.

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  • Honda Odyssey – Ability to seat 8, but can remove the middle seat in the second row to create bucket seats.  Seat warmers, back up camera, sun roof, refrigerator in the front (Yes, I said refrigerator anyone want to have happy hour in the van!?), and leather interior.  It drove like I was on clouds, and didn’t feel like I was driving a tank in a black ops mission.  The sliding doors on both sides are a great feature for preschool drop off and pick up.  The price was unbeatable for the mileage. Plus, it’s a Honda, so it will last forever.

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Drumroll please, I am a minivan mom. The price plus low mileage was unbeatable.  It’s actually much “cooler” than I anticipated.  Even with the third row up, the trunk is massive and can easily fit a double stroller and a trunk load of groceries.  Smith crew is ready for some road trips!

The entire process took 2.5 hours.  There was no backroom negotiation, no “Let me talk to my manager ma’am” or long drawn out hostage negotiation event that left me feeling defeated and exhausted.  I was in and out and so pleased with the staff, my new wheels, and the entire experience.  If you are in the Charlotte NC. Chesapeake VA, Tampa FL, Greensboro NC, Midlothian VA or Richmond VA area do yourself a favor and consign/sell your current car and find a new car with CarLotz.  If you see us cruising around RVA in our new Odyssey, give me a honk or wave! Let CarLotz know I sent you when you head over for your next car buying or consignment experience!

Do you have a name for your car like Cassie the Camry?  The van is still nameless at this moment.  Send me some ideas!

Xoxo,

Erin

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2 Comments

  • Reply
    Khalida
    January 30, 2018 at 8:30 pm

    My cars name was the princess but now that its more experienced “Old Faithful is more fitting

    • Reply
      FitFamilyLife
      January 30, 2018 at 8:32 pm

      Hahaha, old faithful 😂 love it!

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