We made a decision this week. Last year we went on holiday to Brittany in France with my wife's parents. We drove down from our home in Leicestershire, caught a ferry over to France and drove down. All this in our Vauxhall Vectra car.
Now it is a nice car, reasonable economical and comfortable to a point. That point we found out was well within the eight hours of driving from the ferry to where we were staying in France. And as we are not getting any younger (my wife and I are both forty, both her parents are sixty-five) we decided comfort was required and so headed off to buy a new car, or at least a new-ish car.
We walked in to the dealership checked out all the used MPVs they had and pretty much elimitated all of them. They were all good cars but each had something not quite right. In most of these it's due to the seven seater arrangement. In the back of these cars there are three independent seats, each of which are bucket seats that are slightly narrower than the ones in the front - and hence not all that comfortable. We tried removing the middle seat and giving it a go but they still weren't right.
The only one we liked was the Kia Sedona of 2005 as it was a six seater - three sets of two seats, all of good width. Problem was we didn't want a car that old and the following year Kia also moved to the seven seat option increasing the second rank of seats to three, making each one narrower. So the 2007 version was just as unsuitable.
Then we looked over at the Kia Carens. We had discounted it as it is in the same size range as the Citroen Xsara Picasso we also have which is likewise not quite big enough. The Carens though is wonderful, more than enough headroom and legroom and comfortable all round.
The reason for this is that although it too is a seven seat arrangement, the second rank is not bucket seats, but a more normal bench seat and so confortable in the rear also. And we chose a new car rather than a used car, as it was down a level in price. Next friday and we can pick the Carens up from the dealer - we cannot wait.
So we celebrated and headed straight from there to an Italian-American restaurant called Frankie and Benny's - the same place we headed when we bought the Vectra two and half years ago. I fear we may have set up a new tradition. Let's hope it won't take buying a new car to go there again, the food's great.
And to round of the day we decided on a movie - and picked Zodiac. Great film it was. This day is getting better and better.