Musings from a Mom: Downsizing the Family Car

Cadillac Srx Luxury Crossove
Can the Cadillac SRX Luxury Crossover be the new family car?

The challenges of downsizing the family car from three to two rows.

After ten years with three rows in our main family vehicle, the Buick Enclave, we are downsizing.  I admit – it’s hard to give up that extra space; just knowing it is there is a comfort.

But we are carrying extra space around every day that we simply don’t use.

How does a family downsize from three rows to two rows?

Very carefully. 🙂

In looking at what we needed, we wanted a slightly shorter vehicle than our current Buick Enclave that was lower to the ground, that still offered generous cargo space.  Here are some midsize crossovers we considered in our car buying process.

Cadillac SRX Luxury Crossover

There is a lot to like about the Cadillac SRX.  The newer model sits lower to the ground and has sleek lines that give it a luxurious yet sporty feel.  It provides a solid ride across a wide enough build allowing three people to fit comfortably in the second row.  The cargo space is ample and high, though not as high as some of other midsize SUV’s or crossovers out there.

From the backseat, our children really love the car.  After testing other vehicles of the same size the SRX wins the “Best Airflow” award. The rear vents are placed beautifully and provide large amounts of air to the back seat.  With growing kids that are in sports year round and our sunshine out here in California, this is something that the entire family appreciates.  If you opt for the Cadillac SRX Premium package, they also get ventilated seats in the second row!

The base price on the SRX starts in the low 40’s and maxes out in the lower to mid 50’s fully loaded.

Mercedes ML350

Downsizing The Family Car

Surround your family in luxury with the Mercedes ML350

The Mercedes ML350 is a beautiful vehicle that offers families the opportunity to be surrounded in luxury while still riding up higher like a truck. The cargo space is really nice and the benefit of the ML350 is the extra height provided in the cargo area making Home Depot runs that much easier!

From the back seat, the second row seating offers average legroom and space when compared to its peers.  The Mercedes ML350 does win the “Best Feeling of Safety” award which naturally comes for me in a higher car.  Running boards are needed in order for kids to comfortably enter and exit the vehicle safely.  Organization and storage is offered as well allowing children to keep their favorite things tucked away.

We were not shopping for a vehicle in the price range of a new Mercedes so we test drove  Certified Pre-Owned vehicle.  When compared to the Cadillac SRX, the ML350 rode too much like a truck for my taste and sat higher than I was looking for. The 2014 Mercedes ML350 starts in the upper 40’s and maxes out close to $60,000 with all the bells and whistles.


Downsizing The Family Car

The Mazda CX-9 offers a smaller third row, but is that really downsizing?

Mazda CX-9

The Mazda CX-9 is a great solution for the small step down in size we are seeking in our vehicle. The nice thing is the CX-9 offers a smaller third row just in case you need it.  It’s a place to stick the kids if you need to, but does not change the overall size of the vehicle much in terms of how large it feels when you drive it.

The Mazda CX-9 wins the “Best Fuel Economy” award in the vehicles we are comparing with 17/24 miles per gallon.  From the back seat, the seats are comfortable and offer organization as well but our kids wanted better airflow and had a few organization suggestions for the center console in the second row.

The CX-9 offers truly great pricing for a vehicle of its size starting just below $30,000 and topping out in the low $40’s fully loaded.

After test drives and research, we ultimately chose….

Drumroll please…

The 2014 Cadillac SRX!  We should hopefully have our new “downsized” family vehicle next week.


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Amy Barseghian, founder of OC Mentor, has been a social media influencer and blogger since 2008. A mom of... More about Amy Barseghian