We understand automobiles as machines that carry us around with our stuff. The definition necessarily involves some degree of practicality. Koenigseggs have hardly any space for people inside, let alone luggage. How do we make sense of them as cars?
In our morning roundup of car news, we brought up a question asked by Kicking Tires: "are sedans the forgotten family car?" Reader ThirdPedalGirl gave us a clear answer, breaking down why families choose one type of vehicle over another, and what practicality really means.
Yes. (Begin rant...) Because the last time sedans were a family car, there were no ginormous and heavy car seats such as are now required for babies and small children.
Consider the rear-facing infant seat that has the removable "bucket" that snaps into a base which remains in the car. The bucket alone weighs about eight pounds, and that's on a basic seat, not a fancy Recaro or Britax version; those are even heavier. An average newborn weighs about seven and a half pounds. So, even on the day you bring Baby home, you are dealing with a minimum of a 15-1/2 lbs dead-weight that you must bend over from the waist with and slide into the back seat of a car.
A child must remain rear-facing until they are 1 year old or twenty pounds. At that point, if baby still fits in that bucket-style infant seat, you're dealing with nearly 30 lbs of dead weight you must sling into the back seat of a sedan. Is it ANY WONDER that so many women want a higher vehicle?
I myself am happy to put up with the inconvenience - and did. When my child was at that stage, I owned a stick shift '92 Saturn SL with no power steering. But I also was not hauling said child to day care daily, nor was I doing all the family errands with baby in tow. Nor did I have more than one child to deal with.
I'd like anyone who criticizes families for not buying a sedan or a wagon to take a pile of encyclopedias totaling 25 lbs of weight, bundle them together, and then head out for a Saturday morning's worth of errands in your small hatch, station wagon or sedan. You must strap the pile of books into the center seat of the rear bench (this is often the only seat in which a rear-facing car seat will fit) and unstrap the pile at each stop you make. Oh, and remember, you must not leave that pile of books unattended for even one minute.
After you have done that every Saturday for a month, then you have my blessing to continue hating on people who buy a crossover or SUV as a "family car."
Too long, didn't read? While I myself am happy to cram a car seat into a sedan, I most certainly understand why many parents simply will not put up with it.
Photo Credit: Bentley Smith