Sharing nuggets of wisdom is part of fatherhood. How to pronounce “February” (that “r” is in there for a reason). How to tie your shoes (there’s nothing wrong with the bunny-ears approach). How to shave your face (you know, growing a beard isn’t a bad idea). We learn so much from our dads, and driving and maintaining a car stands as a hallmark of any father-child relationship. From learning to parallel park to changing the oil, and from heel-toe shifting to understanding the physics behind oversteer and the inherent superiority of rear-wheel drive, many of us wouldn’t have made it to “Guru” status without a little fatherly guidance.
Last month we interviewed some of our Guru moms about their past, current, and future cars. With Father’s Day this weekend, now is a great time to share some stories about a handful of great dads at CarGurus, what they drive, and how having kids can change your view on cars forever.
Brian Kramer | Public Relations Manager
He’s proudly expecting a second son soon, but when his first was born, Brian Kramer knew he would need to trade in his old front-wheel-drive Accord for something capable of climbing his steep driveway (particularly in winter). After a close examination of the family budget (kids cost money, you know), Brian decided on a 2016 Jeep Compass. The all-wheel drive was the primary feature drawing Brian to the Jeep brand, and the remote starter has proven to be an added bonus. It may not have the character of his first car—a 1987 Saab 900s—but the safety, practicality, and cargo space make the Jeep the right car for him and his family. Brian’s not sure what his dream car would be, but he acknowledges his criteria has changed dramatically since he became a dad.
Dominic Serafini | Digital Ad Sales Executive
Dominic Serafini’s first car survived repeated attempts to kill it. He liked his lifted 1994 Subaru GL’s aggressive look, drove it hard, and didn’t know how to take care of it, but it kept running way longer than he expected and turned him into a loyal Subaru customer. But when he needed a new car as the parent of daughters Clio and Sabine in 2013, he wanted a vehicle with three rows of seating to accommodate his kids and their friends, and he and his wife really didn’t like the Tribeca. They test-drove a variety of vehicles before settling on a 2013 Ford Explorer XLT 4WD, which had all the safety details he and his wife wanted, including inflatable rear seatbelts, a rear-view camera with a nice, big screen, and blind-spot detection. He’s got his own 2003 Subaru WRX for thrills, but his current car fantasy? Getting a new Explorer with two features his current one doesn’t have: a panoramic moonroof and a key fob that will not wear out his pants pockets but will let him start the vehicle remotely.
Scott DeCastro | Sales SDR Team Lead
Not every dad here at CarGurus instantly traded his sedan for a larger crossover. Scott DeCastro, one of the more avid car enthusiasts at CarGurus, still drives his white 2008 Acura TL Base a with black leather interior. “When I purchased the Acura, I was looking for a fun-to-drive, understated luxury sedan.” That was 6 years ago. Now that Scott has a 2-year-old daughter, he’s found that having a sedan without folding rear seats is becoming a bit of an issue, and says that if he had had kids when purchasing the car, he might have chosen an Audi A6 sedan or “any wagon out there currently.” But Scott does have a lot of praise for his TL: “the car is very solid and well-engineered; it is a Honda Accord with different exterior styling and a bit more luxury inside.” Scott likes its comfort, simplicity, styling (he points out this was the last year before Acura introduced the “bird beak” front end to the TL), and easy control layout. Scott’s dream car is a Porsche 911, and when asked if that’s changed since becoming a father, he said “I wouldn’t say that my choice hasn’t changed, however, I have become more realistic in the trim level I would hopefully purchase one day.”
Kyle Lomeli | VP of Dealer/OEM Solutions
It shouldn’t be surprising that an engineer has a very specific idea for a car improvement. Kyle Lomeli and his wife, Jessica, bought their current car, a 2006 Honda Civic EX sedan, before he came to work for CarGurus, in anticipation of their first child. They chose the Civic over a Corolla partly because the Honda had curtain airbags, which cost extra for the Toyota. Kyle and his family are overall very pleased with the Civic’s safety features and cost of ownership, but he wishes it were quieter and had a little more pickup. Kyle admits he now cares a lot less about having a fun car than a safe and quiet one, because he doesn’t want his kids to have to yell to get his attention while he’s driving, which might also impact their outside-the-car behavior. His idea for a car improvement was inspired by the fact that Honda’s Odyssey and Chrysler’s new Pacifica each offer a vacuum cleaner. Kyle wants to take that a step further by upgrading the vacuum to a “self-driving” unit like the Roomba. We like that idea and hope Kyle has a cat.
John Shaughnessy | Ad Sales National Account Director
John Shaughnessy might be better classified as a JeepGuru than a CarGuru. He’s owned three cars in his life, and all of them have worn the famous seven-slotted grille. A father of two, John had to give up his second Wrangler after 120,000 miles and start shopping for cars that could provide a bit more safety than the Wrangler’s removable soft top. As John puts it, “I had to get something safer… which is an abstraction, as I’ve never been in an accident.” The Wrangler was eventually replaced by a 2009 Jeep Liberty Sport. John appreciates the 4-wheel drive but misses his Wrangler’s soft top and would probably opt for a Wrangler Unlimited if he had to replace his Liberty, largely to regain the removable roof. John considers the 4-door off-roader one of his dream cars, and although he’s declined to comment further, it seems like John enjoys nothing more than driving topless.
Andrew Grochal | Business Development Manager
Having your first child can lead to a lot of questions about your car, and that’s exactly where Andrew Grochal, a Business Development Manager here at CarGurus, found himself after having his first child just 3 months ago. (Congrats, Andrew!) Luckily, Andrew’s own father was able to provide the perfect ride for his first grandkid when he passed down to Andrew a 2004 Lexus RX 330. “When my wife and I were preparing to have a baby, I think he got worried about us trying to hop in an Uber with a car seat and at the same time he decided he was ready for something newer*.” It turns out that a relatively large, comfortable, and reliable (Andrew’s RX 330 has 192,000 miles on it) luxury SUV is the perfect fit for a 3-month-old baby. Andrew loves the RX’s space: “plenty of room for a carseat, stroller, bassinet, toys, etc. (yep…this is my life now)”. And the RX is quite different from his first car, a turquoise 1992 Toyota Previa minivan called “the big blue egg.” But just because Andrew likes the RX 330 doesn’t mean he can’t still dream of owning a less kid-friendly vehicle. Andrew thinks “Audis are pretty sweet” and can imagine himself driving an Audi A5 Cabriolet. “My wife is going to tell me I’m crazy and that a convertible with a newborn makes no sense, but hey, we all gotta have dreams!”
*Side note from Andrew: “My dad ended up buying a 2014 CPO Lexus RX 350, which he used CarGurus to find! I did tell him that he had to use CarGurus, but he ended up using it to find a great deal — he actually came to the dealership armed with printouts of other great deals on similar cars in the area and used that to negotiate.”
–John Harrington, Matt Smith, and Steve Halloran
Happy Father’s Day, everyone! What do you think is the perfect car for a driving dad, and why?
Bring along CarGurus’ mobile app to help check prices, find good deals, and research cars on your smartphone.