My Love/Hate Relationship with my SUV


I’m what you’d call an SUV mom. Parking at the back of the Target lot and reminding the kids, “Watch your doors!!” is the norm for us.

My husband is a wannabe van man. He’d love nothing more than hopping in a van and rolling down the road. I get it. They’re like the unicorn of family vehicles with their auto-sliding doors that never hit another car, built-in vacuums, great cargo space, and good gas mileage.

I just can’t do it. It has nothing to do with being cool – I wore brown corduroy overalls with a lime-green Esprit shirt back in the day. I’ve never been cool. I just hate driving anything other than an SUV.

We recently made the jump to a truck in disguise – aka: a big SUV. Our Ford Expedition was a good deal and the cheaper version of Chevy and GMCs similar vehicles.

Our other car? It’s a 2008 Camry with melted orange crayon in the front seat and a Mickey Mouse bandana holding up one of the sun visors. We can’t seem to figure out quite the right combo of vehicles.

If you struggle as much as we do when buying cars for the family, here are a few things I love about having an SUV and some that aren’t so great.

6 things I love about my SUV

  1. It holds the road: Our SUVs have always been on the heavier side and I like the way they handle. The four-wheel-drive is great in the winter.
  2. Kids in car seats: The first time I buckled my son’s infant seat in the back of my dad’s F-250 diesel I was sold on big vehicles and car seats. It is so much easier to buckle kids in an SUV than it is in a car. There’s no hunching over or hitting your head on the roof.
  3. I fit better: I know, that sounds weird. The world is built for women smaller than me and I am only 5’8”! My long arms and legs are so much more comfortable driving an SUV and I can sit in the back of ours with zero issues.
  4. Cargo space: It’s decent with the third row up, great with the third row down and I can haul pretty much anything with all of the seats down.
  5.  Road trips: An SUV is so great on road trips. Everyone is happy – the driver, the navigator, and the kids in the back.
  6. The radio: I realize this is ridiculous. The radio is the factory model. But, because it’s bigger, it just sounds better. Driving solo to the grocery store and blasting the radio is like a mini vacation. I am sure the college kids in Ames are like, “Why does that old lady have her music so loud?” and I want to tell them, “Just wait 15 years and you’ll understand!!”

5 things I hate about my SUV

  1. Gas mileage: If you commute, a big SUV isn’t great for gas mileage. 
  2. Cost to own: When we jumped up to the bigger SUV, everything costs more. Tires, registration, parts…you get the idea.
  3. Doors: There are times when some joker scopes out my lone SUV in the back of the lot and parks as close as possible. I’ve had to squeeze the kids through about a 12-inch gap before.
  4. Overall size: Our 1950s-era garage struggles to hold our SUV and all of the kids’ outdoor toys.
  5. Parking: Finding the right parking spot is not easy. If I am running errands to a part of town I know parking is tight, I take our other car.

Our family has a never-ending pursuit to find the right combo of vehicles. We have two elementary-age sons, don’t commute far, need room to haul bike gear, want a third row for kids’ friends, need a vehicle that works on snow, and hate car payments.

What’s your advice for finding the right combo of vehicles for a growing family?

family SUV


  1. We face the same thing. Fitting our Accord in the garage and trying to squeeze the Explorer in next to it. We have an 80’s garage and it’s still tight! Advice to home building families (this is something my father did in 1970) – ask the contractor to make the garage wider and deeper. BTW…hi Brittney! Say hello to Tyler!


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