It is time for us to let go of our little Renault Clio. I can drive manual now, but I do not feel comfortable with it. One rainy night with sporadic hail, I was on the way home from grocery shopping and the car stalled when making a left turn. I was stretched across two lanes. A car began approaching me from each direction and luckily both saw me in time to swerve. I realized that I stalled because I tried driving in 2nd gear instead of moving it down to 1st gear. I quickly adjusted it to 1st gear and drove the rest of the way home shaking.
Finding an automatic car in France is a challenge. You cannot go to a dealership and expect to see any. Our goal was to find a used automatic car with good trunk space. The Clio can only fit the stroller in the trunk with maybe a diaper bag and computer case. Our next car should be able to last us when baby #2 arrives, so it should be able to fit a double or two strollers. I am not pregnant right now; we are considering having another little one by the end of next year. Another restraint is the car must have less than 80,000 km (49,700 miles) for less than 10,000 euros.
Last week we stopped at a dealership in Manosque. Only a 2006 Hyundai Santa Fe and a 2002 Toyota Corolla were available as automatics. The Toyota Corolla was not in good condition and had too many miles. My husband fell in love with the metallic silver Santa Fe. It is a 4×4 that reminds me of the Nissan Xterra I had in the US. My husband returned later for a test drive and was motivated to make the purchase. It shut off whenever he came to a stop. Not a good sign.
My father-in-law found a Peugeot 307 SW for sale in Normandy for 5,000 euros with 69,000 km (42,900 miles). The elderly owners recently passed and the son was selling the car. My father-in-law inspected the car and said it was in immaculate condition. He is knowledgeable of cars, so we trust his opinion that it is a good buy. Before settling on this car, we wanted to look around at local dealerships because it is nice to be able to test drive ourselves and have a warranty.
We found a Kia Sportage at a dealership 1.5 hours to the west and another 1 hour to the south. So last Saturday we had a road trip. We stopped at every dealership on the way and no one had used automatics for sale. We arrived to find the first Kia was not in good condition. Its previous owner was a teenager that drove the car roughly – lots of scrapes all around the body and inside was worn and dirty. The Kia in the south looked better in the photos than this one, so we kept our hopes up.
Two hours later, we arrived at the dealership in the south only to find it was closed. My husband called the man he talked to earlier and he told us that an emergency came up so he had to leave early. All this way for nothing. We stopped at more dealerships in the area and, again, did not come across any automatics.
In the parking lot of the last dealership, we came across a Peugeot 307 SW. While we inspected the exterior, the family returned to the car. The couple said that they love it and had no complaints. It was a year older than the one we are considering, but the inside looked recent. It was also more sporty on the outside than we expected. We both really liked the car.
Saturday’s road trip lasted 8 hours, we visited more than 12 dealerships and only found only one automatic. We returned home empty handed. I went online to research the Peugeot 307 SW and found that it did well in crash tests. I went to the Britax website and found that our new car seat fits in it. We decided to go for it.
Not quite an SUV, but it is sporty. I love that it has the rails on top, a large trunk, and three full seats in the back. The back seats are individual, not like our current car where the middle seat is extremely narrow. Two of the seats have isofix in the back, but I cannot figure out if they also have anchor points. It also has a skylight to enjoy beautiful sunny days on the road.
Next weekend we are going to Normandy to retrieve the car. This time, we are going to try and get there in one day instead of two days. Google maps shows that it is a 10 hour trip when taking the highway, so I am estimating that it will take us 14 hours. We will stop at least every 2 hours for 30 – 60 min to give Juliana breaks. Thankfully, our new car seat arrived last week and it is even more comfortable than I imagined.
Out of guilt for taking her on another long trip so soon, I ordered her another Lamaze toy, Dee Dee Dragon. I hope it gets here in time. I received an email from Amazon last night stating it shipped and will be delivered by Wednesday – we are leaving Friday. Her two favorite toys are by the Lamaze brand, so hopefully she will forgive us for this trip.
Pop open the bubbly! In one week, we will have an automatic car. Isn’t she pretty…