So... AKNOT is whole once again, and runs great.
There is, however, one niggling problem. The excellent mechanics stressed to us once again that it is extremely difficult to get parts for this vehicle. And with that in consideration, it is both hard to need to rely on AKNOT the way that we need to until we can get the ID.Buzz (whenever Volkswagen actually delivers those here) AND a sickening possible cratering of investment. As it is, we are already well past the point where we will be able to recoup all of our resources sunk into AKNOT - however awesome it is at this moment.
This lead to a brief and intensive review of our needs. Plus an uncomfortable reckoning of how much we really want a van - but that all the vans in our price range are either craptacular or not fit for purpose (moving kids and dog). After discovering that some weakly-van-like options are simply too small [AHEM - Honda Element], we stumbled on the hideous functionality that is the Ford Flex.
It's sort of a mega-wagon. Not really a van, because it's not tall enough or utility enough, but also not an SUV, because it has zero swagger and also way to low-slung. The particular incarnation that we snapped up from what appeared to be a chop shop operation has too many blemishes to mention. But should work for us for the duration.