My son (now 30+) and the last 3 cars we bought – 1995 Aerostar Van, 1998 Honda CRV, and 2020 Hyundai Santa Fe (we gave our son the Honda when he went away to college – he still drives it every day)

After 25-years, I finally upgraded my ride. No longer am I driving the 7-passenger Ford Aerostar van we bought when our kids where in Jr. High School. When we bought it, it was the perfect car for our family of four. It could haul most of the neighborhood kids and tow the boat at the same time. It’s served us well and has carried us off on many family vacations in addition to work and school.

But for the last 15-years it’s been just me and the empty seats that once were filled with stinky, noisy boys always asking for a drive through the next Mcdonald’s or drop off at a friends. I felt guilty commuting to work by myself, but I worked an off shift that wasn’t one that lent itself to carpooling.

In the last few years it’s become my junk wagon. We removed the two sets of rear seats so that we had ample storage for picking up garage sale finds and moving items around from my mom’s house to mine. It seemed like we were always trading my unfinished projects for hers.

Photo Credit: Hyundai

But this year being one I’ll never forget for so many terrible reasons like the Corona Virus pandemic is also the year that my husband retired (after 39 years and 1 month) and the year we decided our safety was more important that driving a van whose odometer hadn’t even hit 200K miles yet. One that had been cared for lovingly since day one by my husband, and one that still looked remarkably well considering its age. While it still looked mostly factory fresh, I’d grown wider and more deeply etched during that same time – not fair!

What finally convinced us to invest in a new car was the new safety and technology features I was missing out on. Our van had only a driver’s side airbag and an add-on backup camera that I loved but which had stopped working recently. I missed the added safety it provided so we needed to fix it or buy a new car.

Trying to buy a car during a pandemic isn’t a good idea, trust me. It was in the first few weeks of our state’s lockdown and trying to test drive a car and negotiate with a salesperson when you’re both trying to physically distance yourself while wearing masks isn’t easy. Many dealerships were closed and those that were open had minimal staffing. But we persisted and the dealer we bought from was thrilled to sell to us – it’s been a hard year for dealers, too.

We chose a 2020 Hyundai SANTA FE SE AWD after much deliberation. It’s main selling point is that it’s super comfortable and spacious for a tall and plus size woman with physical limitations. In fact, in the cross-over vehicles category, it was the only one I didn’t bump up against the headliner in and I could adjust the seats without first having to pull my thigh out of the way.

2020 Hyundai Sante Fe Calypso Red
Photo Credit: Hyundai

The number of safety features is amazing but my favorites are the back-up camera (a life-saver) and the Smart Cruise Control that’s like hooking your car onto the one in front of you making it impossible to rear-end them. It’s magic! I swear there are also airbags for the airbags….they’re everywhere!

I love the car and I’m working on remembering how to spell Hyundai and I’m crazy about the Calypso Red. My husband talked me out of every red car in the past because he claimed the insurance costs were higher. Since this is probably the last car I’ll ever buy, red was my only choice!

We’ve gone on to have terrible things happen that we’ll never forget in this year of death and destruction, like losing my mom unexpectedly. But the car makes me smile because my mom was supposed to go with my husband the day she became ill to pick up the car. The color and features were a surprise for me and she was loving keeping me in the dark. This new car reminds me how happy she was to be a part of us adding a little fun to our 2020 and me finally getting the red car I always wanted. I just wish she was here to enjoy it with me.

What have you done for yourself to help balance the stress and pressure of these unusual times? I moved five hours from home to care for my grandkids – this car made it possible to do it without worrying about breaking down.