So we finally found a buyer for my Nissan Cube, sold it, and bought the Ford Flex we’ve been eyeballing since the girls arrived. I really liked the Cube, and had expected it to work once we got kids, but two babies in rear-facing car seats take up a lot more room than we had anticipated.
One would think that a vehicle with a roomy interior and reasonably comfortable seating for 5 (the Cube) would be able to accommodate two adults and two babies. Wrong! Rear-facing car seats take up way more room than an adult. Parents with only one infant usually put him/her in the center of the rear seat, so the car seat pokes out in between the two front seats, rather than pressing into the back of one of the front seats, which is a no-no. And if you’ve got one infant and one child in a front facing car seat, you can at least put the infant behind the passenger seat, so the driver doesn’t have to be squished all the way up against the steering wheel to avoid impeding the car seat.
Mike and I are both 5’11” but his legs are two inches longer than me. As a result, he generally has to put his seat all the way back in whatever car he drives. This means that there is no room for a rear-facing car seat behind him in a normal car when he drives. I was ok in the Cube with a baby behind me, but even in the passenger seat he was pretty uncomfortable. It also irritated me that if I wanted to drive anywhere with the babies and my 4-year old friend (in a front-facing car seat), there was no way the Cube could accommodate us. One adult driver, two infants, and a 4-year old. Seems like a reasonable group for a 5 passenger car to fit, huh?
Anyhow, now that the justification and griping is out of the way: the Flex is pretty awesome. The one we got is black with a silver roof, is the Limited trim level, and has the 3.5 liter V6 instead of the twin-turbo EcoBoost engine. We were underwhelmed by the power increase of the EcoBoost, and it only comes with the AWD, which we don’t need here in LA. It has Microsoft’s Sync system, so most everything is voice controlled, including navigation, phone, and even music choice. We opted for a 7-seater rather than a 6-seater, since the whole point is to carry people. I realized a little late that the 3rd row of seats, despite being pretty comfortable for adults and containing one set of LATCH connectors for car seats, is a little small for the *&$!%^@ rear-facing car seats. So for the moment, the girls really need to both be in the 2nd row, which makes accessing the 3rd row for passengers a bit of a hassle, since their car seat bases need to be removed to gain access to the 3rd row. Oh, well. It’s not unworkable and once they face forward we can put one in the 3rd row and one in the 2nd row very conveniently.
It worked very well for my parents’ visit, with 4 adults and 2 babies in rear-facing car seats in the vehicle. Success!