POLL: your wheels

How do you get around?

I am guessing that most of you readers have a car. 

There may be some of you who don’t.

Perhaps you prefer a bicycle or public transport. 

Perhaps it is not so much your car as the family’s car… fine.

In any event, how do you get in and out?


What sort of car do you have?

  • 4 door (86%, 834 Votes)
  • 2 door (14%, 134 Votes)

Total Voters: 968

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
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  1. Nathan says:

    I guess it’s time for my “But, Father!” comment.

    Isn’t this a Catholic Blog? How can you have a poll on Catholic Family Cars without the 12 or 15 passenger “Church Van?” Isn’t the size of your family van an indicator of holiness, orthodoxy, and the degree to which the schedule and discipline in your family are spinning madly out of control?

    BTW, we’re lukewarm Catholics. We only have a 12-passenger van.

    In Christ,

  2. chironomo says:

    It may be politically incorrect in the midst of a “buy american” campaign (or did that idea go by the wayside as well?) but we have two Hondas… a 2008 Accord and a 2005 Odyssey depending on whether we have 1,2,3, 4 or 5 of the kids with us…The Accord is much more fun to drive though!

  3. Julie says:

    Yes, Father, there should be an airport van option. Put me down for a Dodge Ram 12-passenger van. It ain’t pretty, but it’s one grand vehicle.

  4. marnie says:

    The 4-door is for the weekends. Weekdays I use a 2-door Mercedes-Benz that seats 52 and can cram up to 120 during rush hours… and it comes with a dri… hmm… chauffer!

  5. Maureen says:

    I don’t have a car. I walk or take the bus, which is why I don’t get out much in the really cold weather. :)

  6. Marc says:

    Nor do I have a car. I can get where I need to be via the Metro here in DC. It is predicted to be 70 degrees outside, later on today.

  7. Lori Ehrman says:

    Well if the lukewarm drive 12 passenger vans I must be cold. I drive a Yukon XL. It can haul both are family and our livestock. Very practical on a farm in Texas.

  8. Faustina says:

    I have a 10 year old Toyota which I bought second hand, a nice little car. However, my preferred mode is bicycle. I live in an urban area and if you include the time finding a parking space for the car, a bicycle is faster.

  9. David Andrew says:

    I voted 2-door, but it’s a compromise. I’ve got one of those AWFUL 2 and 1/2 door Saturns. Half of the time I can’t get the half-door open because I’m squeezed into a parking space that barely permits me to open the regular door (which must be open to open the rear 1/2 door).

    Never again. Not a 2 1/2 door, and certainly not a Saturn.

    I’m thinking of getting one of those little European “Smartcars” that are becoming popular in this country even though they look positively silly on our roads. You know the ones; they look like they come two to a blister pack in contrasting colors. You just pop them out of the foil backing on the pack, wind them up and they’ll go for about a mile. I’m told by a friend from Switzerland that they are actually available for purchase from an “automated dealership” which is like a giant vending machine. You put in a credit card and select the one you want. Out it comes and you drive away!

    Next, Sam’s Club will have them available in bulk, packaged for stackable storage in your garage. You’ll get a free propane-powered forklift with the purchase of 4 or more for easy stacking and retrieval.

  10. ckdexterhaven says:

    I have a 4 door SUV. Just put a bumper sticker on it that says “I love my carbon footprint” right next to the bumper sticker that has the Obama logo with the words “Because everyone else deserves what you worked hard for”. Yep, I always try to find a volvo with an Obama sticker to park next to.

  11. Nathan says:

    Lori Ehrman: Au contraire! If your Yukon hauls both family and livestock, I would submit that you’re “on fire” with Catholic charity! If you can take a couple of heifers out to the back pasture on your way to Holy Mass with a large family, you’re doing God’s business.

    In Christ,

  12. chironomo says:


    I like the “vending machine” idea… we have a “smart car” dealership here in Sarasota. Every time I see one on the road here, I try and imagine what an even minor accident between a smart-car and any one of the numerous H2’s, Yukons, Suburbans, or the omni-present Crown-Vic’s would look like. I’m picturing something like the effects of running over an empty Coke can….

  13. JoyfulMom7 says:

    Father, I drive a 15 passenger van most days, but love it when I can drive our mini-van! Mini-van so much easier to park! Large families need big cars! (And Nathan, around here I know more Protestants than Catholics who have large families and drive big cars – lots of Mennonites and Evangelicals – I had all seven of mine as a Protestant).

  14. Dr. Eric says:

    We have a Toyota Camry and a Sienna (8 seater) for our transportation. There was a Family Practice Doc in the town I used to live in who drove a conversion van. He had 8 kids and was Missouri Synod Lutheran!!!

  15. Dr. Eric says:

    I only have 4 kids, but that Doc was quite a bit older than me.

  16. I love my Infiniti FX35. Its an AWESOME car. NO problems whatsoever and it GOES when I need it to.

  17. Nathan says:

    JoyfulMom7: Excellent point. I’m thrilled you brought your seven to the Catholic Church–I’m also a convert. We have a lot of fun here with the large Catholic family theme, and I hope I’m not coming across here as anything but tongue-in-cheek. As a friend of ours with eight children once said, “We embrace our alternative lifestyle.”

    In Christ,

  18. Jimbo says:

    Fr. Z.,

    Put us down for a P.T. Cruiser (my work car) and a Dodge Caravan (the family vehicle). We bought the van when we had our fourth. The van and the youngest are approaching ten years old. The van has 160,000 miles on it. The youngest…not quite that many. Grandpa has supplied the oldest two with their own cars (Ford Escort ZX2, Kia Optima). I pay the insurance. We live in the rural Midwest, and have to drive to get everywhere.

  19. Rather Read says:

    I have a 2008 Toyota Corolla. Great milage and comfortable too. I love it.

  20. laurazim says:

    We also have a mini van but are in the process of discerning both our next child and our next vehicle! We currently have 5 children (ages 13 to 3 months), so we’re at maximum capacity in our mini van. Lots of great commuter vans go up for auction in the next month, but they’re all 15 passenger…a little long for me to comfortably navigate. Either way, we’re hoping to maximize our “carbon offset” by using every available seat in whichever van we end up with!! ;)

  21. chironomo says:

    Off topic and I don’t want to get in trouble here, but does anybody know what’s up with NLM today… the site seems to be down.

  22. Bryan says:

    3 cars (talk about big carbon footprint…):

    2000 Olds Silhouette soccermomminivan (utility vehicle….) 5 doors
    2009 VW Jetta Turbodiesel Sportwagen (50mpg hwy/40city) 4 doors
    1971 Lotus Europa (hey, a guy’s gotta have SOME fun…) 2 doors

    Guess I have the entire spectrum…no pickup truck, though. This is civilized country here in eastern PA…;)

  23. SeminarianKY says:

    I drive a red 4-door 2006 Ford Focus. Nothing too fancy, but it’s a reliable car with good gas mileage (32 mpg).

  24. Calleva says:

    In the UK we would call my car a 3-door as it is a hatchback.

    I have four children and one husband. While the children were little, we had an estate car/station wagon with extra seats (factory extra) but there was always a smaller second car for shopping, school run, etc. Our cars always had four passenger doors.

    I am now 50-something and my children are young adults. They do occasionally come home, but usually there are just two of us here. I have always wanted an \’exciting\’ car. When he retired, my husband got a second-hand BMW 5-series which holds five of us comfortably. It occurred to me that there is no reason why I should not get something sporty and a bit foxy. After a lot of haggling (and that was just with the husband) I got a Mercedes C-class coupe, with the glorious word ‘Kompressor’ on the back. It was five years old but had all the toys, and for me it is compensation for being over 50. There has to be something.

    I sometimes feel I should downgrade my car as an act of humility, but at the moment I want to enjoy it!

  25. Liz F. says:

    12-passenger for Sundays, various clunkers for weekdays. I remember once at a gathering with lots of families, with many children running about, someone saying, “The culture of life sure is LOUD.” lol.

  26. I have a 2005 Scion XB. It looks like a milk wagon, in a chic sort of way. I was never a four-door sedan kind of guy, and I needed to be able to haul things. I also like that Toyota made a big car small, and a small car big. So I’ve got plenty of head and leg room in the back seat, and it is still classified as a “compact.” True, with a Toyota Echo (Yaris) engine, it doesn’t have a lot of pick-up, but I’m not drag racing. But I do sit tall in the saddle.

    Because I do a fair amount of long-distance driving (as opposed to short trips around the city), I have a lot of extras like satellite radio. And it’s my first car with and ABS system, so it’s also the safest car I’ve ever had.

    People should buy cars based on what they need, not what makes the neighbors think they’re rich.

  27. Frank H. says:

    “…does anybody know what’s up with NLM today… the site seems to be down. Comment by chironomo”

    Works for me, but it re-directs to a new URL.

  28. Erin says:

    I live in a large city and don’t have one.

  29. Michael says:

    2-door. Much to my wife’s dismay, last year I bought a car I’d wanted for a long time — a 1998 Cadillac Eldorado (red). Take that, Al Gore! Anyway, it had less miles on it than the piece of… well, you know… ’02 Saturn I traded in. Of course, then gas immediately went up to $4.00 a gallon. Timing is everything. At least it’s come back down. But back to the door issue — that’s the only drawback to the car. There are times when it would be so nice to have four doors. Plus the doors on the Eldo weigh about a ton. But I love it, anyway.


  30. JohnE says:

    1991 Toyota Corolla purchased in 1990, 230,000 miles, only car I’ve ever owned (well except for the cars my wife drives; I’ve had the Toyota longer than my wife). Still gets better gas mileage than most new cars advertised (35-40).

  31. big white van says:

    2 door or 4 door? try 6 door, which is how many my full size 15 passenger van has

  32. Janet says:

    4-door Kia Spectra. But I live in a walking-friendly ‘bedroom community’, so I mostly just drive to work.

  33. kat says:

    We have the big-mama 12 passenger Ford van that I love (I find it easier to drive than the minivan ’cause of the mirrors, but much harder to park), a cute Jeep Wrangler, and an old pickup truck that stays on the farm. So one 4 door, and two 2 doors.

  34. James says:

    I don’t drive. I walk or take the bus or subway (in Boston).

    What I’d like to do is find some way to live in a small town without being dependent on a car. It’s doable in Europe, but harder to manage here in the US.

    I love not owning one. It frees up so much more of my life for more important things than paying for and worrying about (and sitting in) a 2-ton hunk of metal.

  35. Laura Lowder says:

    1999 Ford Escort – will be 10 years old on May 31, has 181K miles on ‘er – a sweet and dependable little car. I’m thinking of replacing her in another 100K miles with a Fortwo –

  36. Ohio Annie says:

    James, I hear ya. I went without a car for 10 years. It was easy in Minneapolis and northern California. More difficult in central Ohio, where the bus commute to work was an hour and a quarter. I had time to say the entire rosary. I have a car now and love it too.

  37. HijikataToshizo says:

    I drive a Dodge Ram SRT-10. For those who don’t know what the 10 stands for, it is when Dodge threw in the Viper V10 engine in their Ram truck. Needless to say, it is really quick!

  38. Scarlett says:

    I’m in DC, and so I mostly divide my time between bus/Metro and my bike. I just pulled the bike back out yesterday after the cold weather we’ve had, and my legs are complaining today! I may have to ease back into waistline-friendly travel.

  39. I prefer the bicycle and to walk here in St Louis. STL isn’t a small town but getting around by bike is made possible by utilizing the bike racks on the buses and you can take the bike on the commuter train.

    But, I have to have a car for those times when biking is not an option…

  40. Margaret says:

    12-passenger GMC Savana. A three-door, which was not a voting option. :)

  41. Renee says:

    Just purchased a Toyota FJ Cruiser and an UrbanRunner. My husbands runs around in a 98 Camry with just under 300,000 miles on it and it still runs great. Incredibly dependable cars.

  42. Tominellay says:

    Pontiac Vibe, manual transmission…

  43. Joe Gallaher says:

    Father Father Father.I agree with Nathan.Shoulda had an option for 15/12 passenger vans. [How many doors does it have?] Over the past 25 years and raising 11 children we have gone thru 4 15 passenger vans and 3 suburbans.Currently only 1 van and 1 suburban.Great site Father and keep up the good work.Joe and Roxane.

  44. Dominic H says:

    No car. Lived near the centre of London for years, where there is really absolutely no need for a car, and it would be prohibitively expensive to have one.

    Now I live by the sea, in a smaller (but still not that small) town (bit of a strange shape though: it must stretch along the coast for about 7 miles, but never run inland for much more than 1 and a half), and it would be more useful, certainly, but by no means essential. Probably helps that I live less than 5 mins walk from the railway station, where, even early on sunday morning there are 4 trains an hour, linking up at least some of the places I am likely to go

  45. Large 1999 Dodge Ram Diesel 4×4, no little girly cars here, besides I need it on the dairy farm, basically a tractor with a fancy cab, wife used to have a mini van, now with 2 of the 4 in college, uses a Honda CRV when the kids were little and before Tony died the mini van was full with 5 kids and the two of us, (sniff-tear) I miss him.

    Topic for another day Father, some refer to My little Tony as an angel in heaven,(mainly the evangelical protestants on my wifes side) one of my friends corrected me and stated that he is a Saint in heaven, being he died at barely 3 years of age he probably went right to Heaven and I should pray to him for help when I need it. So which is it Angel or Saint?

  46. Joe Gallaher says:

    Sorry Father.Suburbans can have up to six doors if you count rear double door as two.Vans can have four to six depending on sliding door or double door configuration.Thanks and may God Bless you.

  47. The Feds says:

    Because my wife and I have four sons (with the third one to start driving in less than two months…) we have four cars, a Suburban (for whole-family outings), a Nissan Maxima (for Mom & Dad, and no more than three others), a VW Golf (with the worlds worst electrical system), and a Ford F-150 pickup. Three of them are American (the Nissan was made in Smyrna, Tenn). I should have invested in Oil Companies years ago…

  48. Bede says:

    I normally take a bus or train. Not quite sure how to count the number of doors on the commuter rail…

  49. ChristopherY says:

    I’m rolling in a 2005 Isuzu Rodeo. It seats the wife, baby, and me. I wish we had more kids, but we’ve only been married a little over a year.

  50. jon says:

    My wife and I have a Toyota Yaris (3 door hatchback). I also have a bike that I use to get around in the summer when I can. Cars are coffins. Also, the Yaris gets 40+mpg, so it’s awesome!

  51. Well, I have a four-door car, but it’s not a tame “family” car. My toy is a 2007 Dodge Charger with the 5.7L V8 Hemi. Not the most fuel economical, even when it disables four of the cylinders in fuel saver mode, but it’s a lot of fun.

  52. Fr Paul McDonald says:

    I have a practical white 2005 Subaru Impreza sedan, with real snow tires and five-speed manual for negotiating unplowed driveways, etc. But my black 1975 Mercury Grand Marquis, with 460 c.i.d.V8 (that’s 7.5 litres) is my real pride and joy.

  53. joy says:

    2000 Miata, Orange 5-speed, stereo plays chant and poliphony


  54. Thanks for the consciousness-raising quiz, Father. 2 doors for me.

    If anyone in this community is interested in doing a more in-depth carbon footprint calculation, I encourage you to look at http://www.carbonadvicegroup.com- calculator and carbon offsets.

    – Murray

  55. Jayna says:

    I have a 1997 Dodge Stratus with about 130,000 miles on it. I think the only thing that’s holding it together is the rust. And maybe dirt. I’m planning on getting a new car in the next year or two, it will mostly likely be a VW Jetta. (And by new, I mean used, but, well, anything made after 2000 feels pretty new to me.)

  56. Kathy says:

    I didn’t learn to drive until I was in my 40s, and I’ve never had a car. I take the bus/train and/or walk. Today I opted to walk instead of ride, only to be drenched with puddle muck courtesy of the passing bus. I’d love to have a dark blue Toyota Corolla CE 4-door automatic–my dream car!

  57. little gal says:

    I went for eight years without a car. I live in the city and used public transportation or walked. Approximately one year ago I bought a new Chevy Aveo hatchback and I love it! I can squeeze into the smallest parking spaces. The only down side to having a car is that I found too many pounds…walking has definite advantages!!

  58. Luigi says:

    4 Door 4WD Pick-Up, AKA Crew Cab.

    Carbon Footprint? Considerable.

    Conscience? Clear.

  59. John P. says:

    I drive a 2002 2 Door Chevrolet Tracker Convertible (Or it was until someone cut the top to break in, we now have a hard top on it) It’s a little 4 cylinder SUV, gets 22MPG around town, 25 on the highway. It’s only let me down once when the battery died. I thank God every day that I have a reliable, dependable car to get me from point A to point B and back again. The radio is almost always set to the Catholic station or playing my “Voices of Tranquility” Gregorian Chant CD. So far it’s been great, has 40,000 miles on it, though I am sure it will get many more once I enter the seminary!

  60. Tom from Illinois says:

    Your list of choices was not extensive enough for the land of plenty.
    Most days I get to work with a bicycle.
    If it is icy or raining hard I take the motorcycle, a 1983 KZ1100. It was our three week honeymoon vehicle. One hundred ponies pushing two wheels is always fun, so sometimes I have to take a long way home.
    If I don’t want to dress for the ride, I can drive the pickup, a 1997 GMC K2500 with two doors.
    If the truck is blocked in the driveway, we have the van, a 1999 GMC Safari with five doors. It is our all purpose travelling, full family vacationing, and camping vehicle.
    There is also the car aquired for our daughters’ commute to the local community college, a four door 2000 Grand Prix.
    Since all the vehicles except the bicycle have more than 100,000 miles, we get reliability through redundancy.
    I have on occasion walked the 1.5 miles to work, but in a small town in the Midwest it usually means fending off three or so motorists offering rides. Most people here in the sticks cannot conceive of transportation without a private set of wheels.

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