I currently have a PT Cruiser, which I like and its okay, we use it as the dog car for trips and fits our Basset Hound and German Shepard mix (she passed away but we now have a Husky mix that's about the same size, so two dogs still). We do need to fold down the seats, so no one else can ride with us and the dogs.
I have a baby due in February and my 21 year old step daughter is moving out with us for grad school - so 3 adults, 1 infant, and 2 large dogs (and a partridge in a pear tree! ;)) We're moving to San Diego, so no worrying about AWD for snow and heavy rain. My mum will probably be visiting often, so 4 adults in a pinch would be great but not neccessary (I would imagine that 2 adults and an car seat would fit in the 2nd row in most cars well). Not interested in a minivan or a medium to large SUV, but a small SUV or a crossover would work. I've been looking at different station wagons, I do love hatchbacks, but not sure which one would work best. We do need room for 2 50-100 lbs dogs to lay down in the back without folding down seats. I love the Honda Element, but the back cargo area isn't that big. Any ideas?
DD Seraphina born at home on 2/21/2012!"Childbirth is more admirable than conquest, more amazing than self-defense, and as courageous as either one."
My Subaru Outback Station Wagon fit 2 adults, 3 kids across the back and my 45lb husky mix and 85lb black lab/golden retriever. Or without dogs, strollers, kid back packs, groceries for 5+. I've had it for 13 years and it has 275,000 miles on it.
Subaru wagon was also my first thought.
That said, if you're interested in wagons in general, why not just try out a few? In San Diego you definatley don't need the towing/4W capabilites of many Subarus.
We are eyeballing the ford flex as our next car. It's sort of a cross between a suv and a station wagon. Love the three rows and all fold flat seats.(even the front passenger fold flat!) Amazing cargo room, better to pack than my Landrover discovery yet more car like height, better for kids and dogs to get into. Even with people in the 3rd row we can still put our large double stroller in the back, with larger half of the 3rd row folded down you could fit a adult back there and still have room for dogs. I'm sure dogs would love all the good seats that appear as various seats get folded.
Avis has them for rent, we have gotten them twice. Liked it more each time. They are getting a redesign for the 2013 model due next spring/summer
So what if I don't fit cleanly into a defined parenting style, my kids don't fit into a personality archetype either!