If you read my blog about a month ago, you'll know that I was pretty angry at my Focus after it ruined a weekend trip. Since I'll have it paid off in December, our plan has always been to upgrade to a bigger vehicle. Whether or not we have a third kid (and since our second kid is steadfastly refusing to sleep or potty train, that's looking less and less likely), we definitely need something with more space than a four door car. Trying to go anywhere in my car is ridiculous because with two car seats and two kids in it, there's no space left for anything else. Not to mention that, obviously, my car is not reliable.
Shortly after blogging about my car, I contacted a [wonderful, fabulous] PR person from GM about doing a possible test drive. She wrote me back quickly and said that yes, this would be a possibility and we set up dates to test drive a 2012 GMC Acadia Denali, which is one of our two top contenders as we are looking at American crossovers. This beauty was delivered to my house last week and I fell in love...
Now, keep in mind that I drive a Ford Focus, so the difference in size is like moving from a van down by the river to a mansion; however, even without this obvious difference, the interior space was excellent for our family of four. For the first time in oh, EVER, the boys didn't fight on a car ride because they weren't sitting practically on top of each other. We were able to put their things in the third row, instead of piling them on the floor at their feet.
If we had a third child and needed to utilize the third row (which has a latch system!), there would still be plenty of space to put items, as the storage space behind the third row was ample.
We took my parents for a drive and both found the third row to be comfortable as adults, which is important to us because we would like to have the option to take others in the vehicle, too. The 2nd row captain's chairs with the third row seating made this feel we had the space of a minivan but with something sportier than a minivan.
Although I'm used to driving a smaller car, I never felt like I was driving something huge. Actually, I never felt like this handled any differently than my smaller car, which was a huge plus. I had no trouble parking or navigating turns, but I felt much safer in it and I definitely enjoyed being higher up. In fact, the Acadia has a 5 star safety rating when compared to vehicles of similar size and weight.
I also loved all of the in-car safety features, like the rear vision camera system. I live in a neighborhood with a lot of small children who don't always look before they take off in a bike or on a scooter and it's an honest fear of mine that a child will dart out behind me. Having a backup camera when I was leaving my driveway each day was great, plus it made backing up in parking lots that much easier.
What I really enjoyed about this opportunity was the ability to essentially test drive a vehicle for a week straight with the kids in it, with their carseats and everything. Both of my boys were able to climb in and out on their own, which is important and not something that we would've been able to figure out just by doing a dealership test drive. I felt like this was a kid-friendly vehicle, but with the roominess and comfort for it to be adult-friendly, as well. This is something that I could see growing with our family. It works for their carseats now, but the boys will definitely still fit in it when they're teenagers and hauling sports equipment or band instruments. I liked that I can see it growing with us, which is definitely NOT something that I can see with my Ford Focus (and not just because I frequently want to drive it off a cliff).
Now, in the interest of full disclosure, this was the fully loaded Acadia Denali with a list price of $50,000, which is out of our price range (unfortunately, because this car did make me swoon). It had all the bells and whistles, to the extent that I'm still not sure what some buttons did! As I said earlier, our plan is to start car shopping in December or January and after our week with the Acadia, we will definitely be looking at Acadias, but we will be looking at the baseline models. I definitely feel like they are the best for our family in terms of space and safety. Hopefully in a few months, I'll be updating with our new car!
Although we were provided with the Acadia to test drive for a week, all opinions provided are my own.