When we moved to Florida last year, we had to learn how to live here, or at least my two daughters and I had to, as my husband is an original Floridian. The first thing we had to take care of was not finding a place to live but getting a proper vehicle for our little family, so that we could get from one place to another. Coming from a walkable European city with great public transportation and getting to Florida where you have to drive even to get to the nearest grocery store or a nearby park was a huge challenge for me.
After some research, done mostly by my husband, we decided to get a used BMW i3. We wanted something affordable, not too big, and easy to use around the city. A BMW i3 was just what we needed at that point. It is a small car, but big enough to easily fit 2 child car seats with some space in between.
As a bonus, the way the back doors open (only after opening the front ones first) is something I found to be a good safety feature (while driving with 2 young kids in the back).
Windows in the back doors do not roll down, which can be both a good and a bad thing, but at least there are no buttons for kids to play with during the drive. Also, they had a good view from their seating positions and how the windows are designed.
Due to the size of the whole car, I could easily reach my kids whenever they needed some help. Air conditioning worked fine, even in Florida heat, but sometimes it took a while to really kick in.
Overall, the BMW i3 is a really great car to use within a city full of charging stations. The range on a full charge is small (especially in our 2015 model), but with some planning for charging, it was not a problem for us. We could easily get to the store, park, playground, or beach, and then while running normal errands we could charge the car in the meantime. It’s just important to make sure your battery is full before going on further distances.
The trunk in the BMW i3 was big enough for our weekly grocery shopping and beach days, but would not fit 2 kids’ small bikes or other particularly large items.
I need to admit I really liked and still like our BMW i3. Getting the Tesla Model 3 doesn’t change my feelings towards our previous car, but of course points out a few features that make Tesla a way better car. It’s bigger, has more range, and most of all is safer. We used to avoid driving the BMW i3 on the Interstate, since the i3 is light and too shaky to enjoy driving it on fast roads. The Tesla Model 3 is heavier and doesn’t make driving between speeding cars as threatening.
I liked being able to reach my girls from the front seat in the BMW i3, but putting the little one in a car seat was a challenge. She has lots of space in the Tesla Model 3 and can easily climb into her seat on her own, which makes it easier and quicker, especially getting ready for school in the morning (which we seem to have a tendency to always be rushing to do).
The big trunk, and especially its hidden lower space, is just what you need to keep your groceries in one spot without sliding between the turns. We all love the big screen in the Tesla Model 3 and all its features. It is so easy to monitor and change the AC or radio station. I love how the AC can be easily moved where you want it.
The navigation system is great. Our 5-year old daughter knows already when Autopilot is on, and always asks for it to be turned on (or orders that it be turned on). We love to play games, especially Beach Buggy, while being stranded in the car during heavy Florida rain and waiting for it to clear away to get out of the car.
It used to be tiring and boring sometimes sitting in the car during rain, but now we can also enjoy the rain through the glass roof. It is amazing how you feel looking through that glass roof. The phrase having your head in the clouds finally makes some sense.
I’ve never been a car person, never owned a car or had a need to have one (I still think it’s amazing to be car free). But now I can say I love electric cars.
Hey, is it a coincidence that we went from 3 to 3 (i3 to Model 3)? They are both quiet, clean, fast, and great fun for the whole family. It’s so nice when you don’t need to get fuel from stinky gas stations. You can just enjoy and go green while driving.
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