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I finally realized that fatherhood had taken over my life. It’s the cycle of life that I thought I’ll never be in. Happy being a Bachelor for more then 40 years till I met my wife. I thought , sure, we can still survive with a Coupé . Then came baby 1 and we changed to a five door hatchback ( Have your tried putting a baby in the back seat of a Coupé, I’ll spent more $ after to see the chiropractor for my back). But when baby 2 came along, suddenly with two child seats at the back , there is no room left to put anyone else, the maid can’t even fit in between. There are days when we have to go out with the elders. (luckily we only have two of them in singapore). Don’t know where to fit if there are all 4 and 2 kids and my wife and me. I need a V class Mercedes or a Toyota HiAce van for that. I know many people will say “Hey, we can manage to squeeze up to 8 in a SUV or MPV”. They can sit on laps and the adults can sit “one in one out” seating positions. First it’s so uncomfortable, after even a 30mins drive . As an adult, I can’t seem to feel my legs if I’m in the middle or 3rd row after the squeeze. Good luck trying to ask two 80 year olds to do that, you will never hear the end of it. Secondly, legally you are only supposed to have the right amount of people per seat belt. So our quest was simple, or so we thought… My wife and my needs were simple. 1) Safety first for the kids. (Who cares about looks😂 that is when Parenthood hits) 2) Comfort for everyone in the car. 3) Have enough booth space at the back to at least put 1 stroller with all rows of seats up. 4) Reasonable size and height that can go into most car parks and easy to drive. ( if it’s huge, I’m sure someone will ding the car on the first day of driving it) 5) As cheap as possible with all those needs. well, this is abit of an option point. Good to have , but with COE at this price, it’s a tall order. Our little adventure started one sunny Monday morning. We have mondays off (lucky us)😝. We visited, I can’t remember how and dealership and Parallel importers, second hand car dealers too. To make it short, We did not see the Rolls-Royce , Ferrari, Lamborghini, Bentley , Porsche,Aston Martin ,etc… So after seeing a lot of brands. I can tell you we learned a lot. As our priority was safety first for the kids. They are at 7 months and 2.5 years old of me writing this . They both need a properly child care seats . The youngest one needs a back facing type as he has not fully developed his core and neck muscles to fit front facing child seats. So we needed seats that have Isofix features, ( I’m not going back to the dark ages especially when it comes to the safety of our kids) if you know, most 7-8 seats have 3 rows of seats. And there are two types of configurations. The ones with the opening in the middle of the 2nd row ( eg: Toyota Alphard) and the ones without the opening. And if you decide to choose the ones which have middle opening to walk to the 3rd row. The easy part is that you don’t really need to move anything or seats, You just open the doors and the walk into the car and go to the back from the middle aisle. It’s not very wide, but an adult can squeeze through. Here comes the question. Generally , the most comfortable and expensive seats are the 2nds rows, with the leg and arm rest and some even comes with massage options. Good points to score points with the elderly on the massage options. But no, most car makers don’t think this way, they don’t have isofix at the 3rd rows and they want you to put your kids in the 2nd row after you spend buckets loads of $ on those prized seats. How is my child going to enjoy the massage or leg rest when the child seat is a buffer between them. And I rather score points with my mother in law then make her climb into the 3rd row back seats😅. If you chose the other configuration without the middle opening at the 2nd row seats. You won’t be an able to get to the 3rd rows with two child seats fixed into the 2nd row seats. Maybe some cars can , but the gap is so small when you can’t fold the seats down to access the 3rd row seats. Only a few cars made it to our list because of the isofix at the 3rd row seats. Sad to say the popular Toyota Alphard didn’t made it , they don’t Isofix at the 3rd row, even the Volvo XC90 ( known for its safety features) doesn’t come with it at the 3rd rows, all Japanese brands don’t have it at all. and some other continental brands too, like Mercedes MLB20, BMW 218GT, Citroen, Peugeot, Alfa, Fiat, Skoda and Korean brand Hyundai and Chinese BYD M3e both didn’t have IsoFix at the 3rd row too. Audi and Renault didn’t have anything in their show room at Leng Kee as of now. If you are still with me after my long rant, here is our list of cars that made it. 😂. Kia Carnival Opel Zafira E Life Seat Alhambra Volkswagen Sharan (The VW Touran didn’t make it as it has no booth space for my stroller after all 7 seats are up) With every list there can finally only be one left. How we came to the one was pretty easy. Kia carnival is huge at 5115mm long. Parking it is going to be a challenge at older carparks and I’m sure one of us will ding it. Also the engine is a diesel 2.2L and our government tax on diesel is not something we want to consider. Next off the list was the Opel Zafira E Life. With a range of only 230 km range after a electric charge, going up north for a family holiday is going to be a challenge. The two horse ( Alhambra and Sharan) race to the last comes built from the same factory in Portugal, and they are under the umbrella of Volkswagen Group. Volkswagen “The people’s car “ in the English and kudos to them for designing this for the normal people in mind, it is the perfect made for the family like mine, two or more young kids with elder parents. They have integrated child seats for those with kids from 3-12. Saves you spending more money for buying boaster seats for the older kids or when your young kids gets older. Have enough space to put the stroller at the back with all 7 seats up. Not as easy to get to the 3rd row back seats as the ones with middle aisle configuration. But it’s not hard either to get to the back with its sliding door and reasonable gap ( I’m 1.78m and I could climb in with easy). Yea I have two kids, and “IF” (please note on the word “IF”) I decide placed both the kids in the 2nd middle row, just to take the piss out of my in-laws…😅 I can put one in the middle and one to the side of the 2nd row (because they are all 3 individual seats in the 2nd row and they all have Isofix on them), while the rest of the adults can still go to the back from the other side. If when my wife is willing to give us another bundle of joy or the agent of Chaos depending on the kids mood. But she said, her factory is close. it really spacious in the middle row, I can have three adults sitting side by side without feeling squeezed not like my BMW 216AT back row seats. But I would like my elders to be comfortable, so putting the youngest in the middle seat on the 2nd row and having two elderly flanking that child and have my helper at the back with the older child works best for us. But there can only one car “to rule them all”. we went with the Sharan based on the badge the power of the engine. Well first it’s a VW, and I was told that the whole singapore market for Seat’s last years new car sales was less then 100 units, somehow no one’s wants a Seat, I’m not sure if this report is true, but yes I don’t see a lot of Seats on the road compared to VW. So resale for the Seat is not ideal. The Engine for the Seat Alhambra is a 1.4 and the VW Sharan a 2.0, they are both turbocharged and power is more then 110kw and hence they fall into category “B” for the COE. The Sharan has all the extras and nicer interior, like the sun roof, yes it’s nice to have but not a need. The difference with its current discount on both cars in $ was not significant large. (Out goes point 5 on our list) But in return was neutralized by the better resale value and VW brand, but the one that closed the deal for me was being able to have the same engine (EA888) as the Golf GTI with a 7.8 seconds to 100km, making my dreams of me going back to being the young bachelor I was at heart. 😎 Even though my wife thinks I’m already an old uncle in my late 40’s 😆. I still want to put the windows down , have the sun roof opened and blast my music from Gold 90.5 (boomer station) and feel the wind in my face while I hand surf with my arms hanging out the door ledge. Hey , you are never to old to still be an young Ah Beng at heart. Your sincerely, Ctaiwee
Hi there, I considering a family utility vehicle which is solid and safe. I notice that the price of a 2005 volvo xc90 and 2005 benz ML350 are about the same. XC90 is a much more common car on the road. Does anyone have any feedback about the 2005 or 2004 ML350? For about the same price, would you go for the three pointed star?
Spacio Website http://toyota.jp/corollaspacio/index.html Sienta Website http://toyota.jp/sienta/index.html Also, what is the price and OMV difference between the 2 cars from PI?