Home » Minivans Have The Hardest Life Of Any Car, So It’s Time To Stop Calling Them Uncool

Minivans Have The Hardest Life Of Any Car, So It’s Time To Stop Calling Them Uncool

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“Oh, I’ll never drive a minivan,” I often hear from my friends. “They’re so uncool.” This has been the refrain from pretty much anyone in the Millennium generation for decades now, and yet it makes no sense. To call a minivan uncool is like saying a decorated soldier or a weightlifter or a farmer is uncool; you don’t have to like them, but there’s no way in hell “uncool” is the right word. And so today, on the second edition of the “David’s Takes” Sunday Op-Ed, I argue that minivans are the toughest cars on the streets, and that for that alone, they deserve respect.

Stop by any car dealership and have a look around at the various different vehicle shapes — the trucks, the crossovers, the body-on-frame SUVs, the sedans, the hatchbacks, the minivans, the wagons, and on and on. The vast majority of these noncommercial machines will live coddled lives. Even the trucks, with their heated leather seats and air suspension, will likely never see a hay bale in their beds or a trailer on their hitches. Most of these vehicles will be used as commuters for the entire duration of their soft, cushy lives. But one of those vehicles will live a lifetime of suffering; it will be beaten up from the day it’s brought home from the dealership to the day it gets forklifted onto junkyard jack stands to be pilfered for parts. Even in the afterlife, it will receive only ridicule from the masses, and will never truly be appreciated for its considerable sacrifices.

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That vehicle is the minivan.

Let’s take it all the way back to day one; the van has just come off the assembly line at Windsor or Hanover or wherever, and has made its way onto a lot in Yadkinville, North Carolina, where a young couple, Meghan and Bill, are browsing for a new vehicle to hold their rapidly-growing family. “Yeah, we’re on number three and four now — they’re twins!” the couple tells the dealership salesperson. “We love our Cherokee, but it’s just not roomy enough for the car seats. We really like the van over there,” they continue, pointing.

So the salesperson lets the couple take a test drive with their kids, who have yanked open the sliding doors and are bouncing around the rear, yelling and screaming. “Mom! This thing is awesome! Look, I can even stand!”

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“Ok Kaden, that’s great, but I need you to put your seatbelt on and sit on your booster,” Meghan replies.

“But mom, we’re only going on a short—”

“I don’t care, Kaiden! Get your ass in that seat!” She’s a bit frustrated. Buying cars can be a stressful ordeal.

Kaiden pouts, but then sits and starts playing with his iPad.

An hour later, Meghan and Bill have traded in their Jeep Cherokee, and are cruising back home in their massive house-on-wheels. Meghan loves the vehicle, but you can tell that Bill’s eyes have glazed over a bit, and he feels dead inside as he stares out the window at a brand new Ford Bronco on a neighboring dealership lot.

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You see, Bill grew up with a 1991 Dodge Caravan as his family runabout, and he’s therefore got it in his head that minivans are uncool. After all, if your dad — the most uncool person in most children’s’ minds — used a vehicle to drop you off at soccer practice, then this vehicle cannot possibly be cool. This is basic math.

It’s A Grueling Life For A Minivan

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The van I grew up with. As you can see, it lived until my five brothers and I were adult enough to drive it and do dumb shit with it. Like get it stick in our front yard.

For 12 years Meghan and Bill shuttle their children around in the van they bought from that dealership, taking their four youngsters to soccer practice, piano lessons, Boy Scouts, birthday parties — the whole lot. And in this role, the minivan excels. This is why Meghan and Bill had bought the machine in the first place — to haul their kids around, and though Bill finds the van deeply uncool and even a bit emasculating, he knew there was nothing else that could do this job better. So he deals with it.

Over that time, the family puts 150,000 miles on the van. Timmy learns for the first time how to use a fork while sitting in that second row; the practice necessary to make that happen results in huge mounds of food on the van’s carpet. Kaidynne fits all his baseball gear in the cargo area, but the whole inside of the car has to deal with his sharp cleats, which do a number on the back of the front seats. The third child, Johnny, and the fourth Child, Liz, love the outdoors; they have their dad take the van out into the woods and unload/loading it with firewood and wet tents and tarps and backpacks and other equipment.

Sometimes — especially when they were young — the kids fought in the back during road trips, they had digestion-related accidents, and as they grew older, the bodily fluids that used to drench the van’s carpets with were replaced with Coca-Cola and ice cream and Gatorade.

The van shrugged it all of, and continued diligently transporting Meghan and Bill’s most precious cargo, along with their friends and various equipment associated with after-school activities.

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Then, after 12 years, the kids became teenagers, and it was time for the family to move on and get something a bit safer, as the van was now missing a lot of safety features standard in the newest crop of people-haulers.

So what happens to a minivan when it gets old and needs a new home? Does it go off into low-mileage retirement like a classic sedan might? Does it become a commuter car like the trucks and crossover SUVs it once shared a dealership lot with?

No, the van — which just spent a dozen years getting vomit and juice and the family dog’s diarrhea spilled all over it as it frantically drove around to get a bunch of kids to the right places at the right time — now enters an even tougher phase of its life, and the final one. It becomes a cargo van.

After ~15 Years Of Tough Family-Hauling, Life Gets Even Harder For Minivans

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You see, an old minivan’s value is extremely limited. Nobody’s going to buy an old one to carry their kids around to school and to soccer practice, because families typically don’t want their children riding in aging, unsafe vehicles that could break down due to age. Check out my 1994 Chrysler Voyager diesel 5-speed in the image above. I bought this thing for $600. Why? Because nobody wants it. It’s never going to be a family vehicle like it once was, and it’s never going to be a weekend toy because no matter how old it is, nobody’s ever going to consider a minivan a classic; they’re just too “uncool.” Of course, I strongly disagree, which is why I bought that one from Germany, and am treating it like any of my other vintage classic automobiles.

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Still, I’m an anomaly, which is why I knew that only two fates could befall an old van like mine. It could 1. Go straight to a junkyard. or two. It could become a cargo van for a small business.

Paint vans, delivery vans, welding services-vans, fencing services-vans, lawn services-vans — there may not be any more family-hauling duties in an old minivan’s future once it reaches a certain age, but you can bet that the vehicle’s retirement is going to be a back-breaking affair, and that the vehicle will meet its demise completely filthy, dented, smelly, and leaky. Every single ounce of utility will be squeezed out of the vehicle that raised Bob and Meghan’s family, and then that van will sit at a junkyard where nobody will pick any parts off of it because nobody gives enough of a damn to do their own repairs on a minivan, and a few weeks later the van will be a metal cube ready to be melted into an I-Beam.

How Can Something This Tough Be ‘Uncool’?

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So we can sit in our cushy full-size pickup trucks that we’ve never taken off-road or used to tow, and we can point and laugh at minivans. We can call their drivers “poor schmucks,” and tell the world that we won’t be caught dead driving these uncool, sliding-door equipped machines that our uncool parents used to shlep us around. But just know that we’re wrong. Minivans get beaten up from the day they’re purchased to the day they’re sent to the junkyard. They get scratched and bruised by kids who don’t know how to be careful, because of safety advancements they become chopped liver in the eyes of families once they reach a certain age, and then the only use for them is to haul around ladders and gallons of paint for a small house remodeling business that hires reckless teens who don’t give a damn about the junky old minivan their boss told them to use to get to job sites.

For minivans, there is no mercy. And in a country where we value hard work and sympathize with fatigue and injury, surely we can realize that we’re wrong about these big sliding-door-equipped people haulers. They’re anything but uncool.

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Six Inna Row Makes it Go
Six Inna Row Makes it Go
3 months ago

I always liked the Dustbuster minivans, especially the Chevy Lumina APV. My inner Trekkie always wanted to take a white Lumina and turn it into a Next Generation shuttlecraft cosplay (carplay?).
On a similar note, on Facebook Marketplace, there was a Honda Odyssey minivan that someone had converted into a Planet Express ship from Futurama. They had added the fins, and even painted the whole thing in light blue house paint, including the windows except for the windshield! I tried to find a link to share, but now I can’t find it! Which is weird because for the longest time it kept popping up on my feed when I’d go browsing. Figures now I cann’t find it.
Stupid Murphy and his stupid law.

RedR58
RedR58
3 months ago

Never liked minivans. Have no interest in minivans. In fact, I don’t have interest in any car with more than 2 doors (not counting a hatchback door). My sister and I grew up the 1980s and though one would naturally expect a typical family of 4 like we were at the time, my parents never owned a single minivan. They had some sedans and a Volvo 240 wagon. But we also had a 1988 Volkswagen Vanagon Wolfsburg edition van. It was that metallic blue and had a pair of rear-facing seats behind the front seats, facing a rear bench with the folding table in the middle opposite the sliding door. It wasn’t the camper version, but it did turn out to be the coolest clubhouse we could ever have. I drove that sucker towards the end of high school but it had apparently had a harder life than my parents knew as a demo vehicle while owned by the dealer as the engine just gave out not 3 years later. Then I found myself in a 1987 Grand Am.

If I could have any of the cars growing up again now, it would be that Vanagon.

Last edited 3 months ago by RedR58
Vetatur Fumare
Vetatur Fumare
3 months ago

Still looking for a first-gen Mazda5 with no rust. Want.

Also, you forgot that the minivan will do a stint with a less wealthy family before becoming the mount of an unlicensed plumber.

Another Engineer
Another Engineer
3 months ago
Reply to  Vetatur Fumare

I’ve looked so hard at all alternatives to a “not really mini” van. The Mazda5 was so promising, but the mileage was crap and the same as a full minivan once you put a topper on to make up the cargo space.

Vetatur Fumare
Vetatur Fumare
3 months ago

It might be a bit too big for our needs anyhow, we only have two kids. Looking to get a JDM Corolla Wagon instead, once our Caldina gets too old to repair.

Another Engineer
Another Engineer
3 months ago
Reply to  Vetatur Fumare

Sounds perfect. Three carseats across the middle and cavernous storage in the back made the Odyssey uniquely perfect for our three kids camping road trips.

Vetatur Fumare
Vetatur Fumare
3 months ago

We once went for a three-day camping trip with our daughter and another couple, two tents, the whole shebang – in a Suzuki SX4 hatchback. They were pretty uncomfortable in the rear, though!
I once considered a Kia Rondo, but those things guzzle gas like a full-size SUV, no matter which engine.

Chartreuse Bison
Chartreuse Bison
3 months ago

Ugly cars aren’t cool, that’s all there is to it. It’s not just minivans, it’s all sorts of ugly ass cars where people will spout off specs or utility or whatever.
Doesn’t matter, if it’s ugly it’s not cool

Last edited 3 months ago by Chartreuse Bison
Vetatur Fumare
Vetatur Fumare
3 months ago

De gustibus non disputandum est.

Beauty (or visual interest) is in the eyes of the beholder.

Chartreuse Bison
Chartreuse Bison
3 months ago
Reply to  Vetatur Fumare

Exactly, which is why arguing about specs and features isn’t going to make it more beautiful to someone who thinks it isn’t.
People aren’t saying “Ugh I don’t want a practical vehicle” they are saying “Ugh I don’t want vehicle shaped like an eggplant”

Vetatur Fumare
Vetatur Fumare
3 months ago

Nah, they are saying they don’t like the image and that they swallowed the SUV/Truck advertising.
I do agree that a large number of them are ugly, but I would love a Peugeot 806, first-gen Mazda5, any Renault Espace, or an Eagle Summit Wagon. The first-gen Honda Odyssey looks good to me, too, and the Mazda MPV. Hell, I kinda like the dustbusters, too…

Widgetsltd
Widgetsltd
3 months ago

The C8 Corvette has all of the performance specs and is a real value for the money, but it looks like absolute ass. If you told a robot to design a Ferrari it might come out looking like a C8. Despite maybe being shaped like an eggplant, my 1996 Caravan LE was a more cohesive design than the C8.

Vetatur Fumare
Vetatur Fumare
3 months ago
Reply to  Widgetsltd

Seconded. The C8 looks like one of the noisy, blinking Chinese toys one can buy from street vendors in Queens.

Hondaimpbmw 12
Hondaimpbmw 12
2 months ago
Reply to  Widgetsltd

If some corner office inhabitant had not insisted that the trunk needed to swallow 2 golf bags and accruements, the C8 could have looked a lot better. 🙁

Rust Buckets
Rust Buckets
2 months ago

Minivans are not ugly for the most part, definitely not universally

Tom T
Tom T
3 months ago

Crossovers and SUV’s are far worse than a minivan. If you want to say to the world ” I have no imagination and I am just waiting to die”, buy a crossover.

Another Engineer
Another Engineer
3 months ago
Reply to  Tom T

Yes, only the appearance of cargo space and offroad capacity, but with less passenger room and higher load height. Sure my Odyssey has had what pretends to be its skid plate torn off in a snowbank in Denali and on the McCarthy Road in Wrangell, but it got us there.

Mr Sarcastic
Mr Sarcastic
3 months ago

First how about the definition of cool. In sports say football cool is the QB, running back, wide receiver. The minivan is the equipment manager or lineman at most. Say what you want minivans aren’t cool.

Clark B
Clark B
3 months ago

I’ve definitely grown to appreciate minivans more. When I was growing up, my mother hated minivans and point blank refused to own one. So I grew up in a 2001 Volvo V70 T5, (which replaced the 1993 Volvo 850) with the rear facing jump seats. I thought those seats were the coolest damn things. It was always easy to spot my mom in the carpool line, only one other classmate got dropped off in a Volvo wagon and her mom’s was a different color. Incidentally, I am still friends with this former classmate, although I doubt Volvo wagons played a significant role in our ~17 year friendship.

What really made me appreciate minivans was the time I drove one regularly for a month. I had graduated college and was moving to another city about an hour away. It was an early 2000s Town and Country, with the long wheelbase. It was silver and every single surface on the inside was navy blue, and had about 250k on it. I started calling it Geraldine. Without any seats in the back, it was amazing how much shit I could haul with it. It was comfortable and had enough power with the V6. In a way, I kind of missed it when I gave it back to my aunt. Part of it might just be because it’s nice driving a beater, I’m meticulous about my cars and it was nice not giving a fuck for a change. I don’t need that kind of hauling capacity these days, since my Sportwagen is plenty big enough for everything I’ve needed to carry.

TriangleRAD
TriangleRAD
3 months ago

Younger people don’t understand what a phenomenon the original ChryCo minivans were when they came out. At the time, we lived on a circular street in a new townhouse neighborhood near Dulles Airport. Fairfax County, VA in the ’80s was vibrant and growing insanely rapidly. Our neighborhood was packed with young families like mine.

From the summer of ’84 through early ’86, you could stand on our front porch, look around the whole street, and seemingly watch the Caravans and Voyagers multiply week-to-week, pushing out the wagons. There were stories on the news about the minivan craze. Even the Family Circus comic jumped on the bandwagon, with the family trading in their big brown wagon on a pale blue Caravan, which is exactly what my own family did, trading away mom’s maroon-and-woodgrain ’81 Cutlass Cruiser wagon for a light blue ’85 Caravan SE.

In that time and place, when your family got a minivan, your 8-year-old social standing in the neighborhood immediately went up.

A few years later, it happened again when the extended-wheelbase Grand Caravan and Grand Voyager were introduced and suddenly the short-wheelbase vans were yesterday’s news in suburban America.

1996 brought the jellybean styling, but also brought dual sliding doors. If your family happened to be the first one on the block to nab one of those, yeah you bet you were cool for a bit. The only cooler thing was if Dad’s tech stocks were doing really well and he sprang for the luxurious Town & Country instead of the pedestrian Voyager.

The story of the minivan, particularly the Chrysler minivans, is the story of suburban America in the last 15 years of the 20th Century.

Rabob Rabob
Rabob Rabob
3 months ago
Reply to  TriangleRAD

Trying to one-up your neighbors with a minivan has to be the lamest thing ever

Anthony Magagnoli
Anthony Magagnoli
3 months ago

You know what minivans say? They say, “I HAD SEX.”

Jalop Gold
Jalop Gold
3 months ago

Or, we can have sex in here! (Minivan sex is best car sex)

Anthony Magagnoli
Anthony Magagnoli
3 months ago

Amen. And driving one isn’t even the penalty box they once were.

Rust Buckets
Rust Buckets
2 months ago

When were they a penalty box? I haven’t spent much time driving anything older than my old 2003 Grand Caravan, which was a quiet, smooth, extremely comfortable vehicle. And I have looked in enough older ones to know that they universally have a cushy ass interior with extremely comfortable-looking seats.

Shop-Teacher
Shop-Teacher
3 months ago

I agree that minivans deserves respect. They are undoubtedly the most practical vehicles ever conceived, hands down. I have been unwilling to own one so far, not because they’re “uncool.” I don’t care about cool. I don’t care what other people think about my vehicles. No, I have been unwilling to buy a minivan heretofore, because they’re so damn ugly. I don’t like the way they look, so I am not willing to spend my money on something that visually displeases me.

The Kia Carnival could change that. I’m not in the market for a vehicle right now, but it has the potential to sway me over to team minivan.

Lockleaf
Lockleaf
3 months ago
Reply to  Shop-Teacher

This is more my take. They are horrendously ugly. And any loss of utility is a compromise I am willing to deal with so I dont drive something I visually despise. Also, there is one element of these discussions that no one seems to bring up. I don’t want all the shite I put in the bed of a truck inside my vehicle. The only way I would allow that is if it were purchased exclusively to be abused that way. But since I am supposed to be putting my family inside it for any and all reasons, I don’t want the interior made even worse by adding hay, or rust stains, or transmission fluid, or engine oil, or any of the other things I put in the truck bed. That would ruin the family utility of it. And if I’m buying a vehicle for my hauling purposes exclusively, then I’m just going to buy something I don’t have to share the cabin space with the garbage and detritus I haul.

Shop-Teacher
Shop-Teacher
2 months ago
Reply to  Lockleaf

There is also something to be said for the safety of keeping heavy/sharp things separated from the passenger cabin. Some of that stuff can mess you up in an accident, if it’s riding inside with you.

Rust Buckets
Rust Buckets
2 months ago
Reply to  Shop-Teacher

Yeah, gotta hard disagree with that one. I frequently haul stuff in my pickup that would majorly damage the back of my head if I ever was in a crash. They’re called headache racks for a reason. I have never had something in minivan or station wagon that could remotely do that.

Shop-Teacher
Shop-Teacher
2 months ago
Reply to  Rust Buckets

That sounds like you’re agreeing with me then.

Rust Buckets
Rust Buckets
2 months ago
Reply to  Shop-Teacher

You said a pickup is safer than a minivan for hauling because it’s keeping your cargo in a separate area. I said that in my experience, I think the pickup is if anything less safe than a minivan for hauling heavy things.

Not sure why you think I’m agreeing with you, I literally said the opposite thing.

Shop-Teacher
Shop-Teacher
2 months ago
Reply to  Rust Buckets

You said, “I frequently haul stuff in my pickup that would majorly damage the back of my head if I ever was in a crash. They’re called headache racks for a reason.”

How in the world does that make hauling those things in the back of a minivan or a station wagon safer or even as safe? Which is what Lockleaf and I were talking about. You can haul things in a pickup that would not be safe to haul in a minivan or station wagon.

You apparently are simultaneously saying you would never haul those things in a minivan or station wagon (which is agreeing with us), but saying you don’t agree with us for … reasons.

Rust Buckets
Rust Buckets
2 months ago
Reply to  Shop-Teacher

I haul tall and heavy things in a pickup that couldn’t be hauled in a minivan, and I haul them much closer to the back of my head than I would in a station wagon or minivan. That’s why I think pickups are not safer. And it’s not like a 1/8″ thick window is really that much of a separation.

Shop-Teacher
Shop-Teacher
2 months ago
Reply to  Rust Buckets

If it’s tall enough that it won’t fit in the van, then it’s over the roof line and will hit the roof, not just the glass. Plus, as you pointed out, headache racks are a thing you can add. Nobody puts those in their family minivan.

You also have way better time downs in a pickup bed than in a minivan.

I’m not shitting on minivans. In my initial comment, I led with, “I agree minivans deserves respect. They are undoubtedly the most practical vehicles ever conceived, hands down.”

However, for certain hauling jobs, pickup trucks are the better safer alternative. Different tools, for different jobs.

Rust Buckets
Rust Buckets
2 months ago
Reply to  Shop-Teacher

Lol my minivan had tie downs and my pickup had literally 0

Shop-Teacher
Shop-Teacher
2 months ago
Reply to  Rust Buckets

Whatever dude. You just like to argue. I’m done with you.

Another Engineer
Another Engineer
2 months ago
Reply to  Lockleaf

congratulations on being in the 2% of truck owners that would get more utility out of a truck than a van (or hatchback). For everyone else, the cargo capacity and utility-trailer hauling of a van are sufficient and the weather protection, low loading height, and vehicle size of the van are very advantageous. I would also say that my 2007 Odyssey is free from such concerns as stained carpet and scratched interior so I’m free to haul sheet goods, mulch, and dump runs (though a utility trailer is the best of both worlds).

Rust Buckets
Rust Buckets
2 months ago

As somebody who has hauled a LOT of stuff in both a minivan and a long bed pickup, I do live the pickup. I’ve hauled about 4 tons of rock in the pickup, and I frequently carry long lumber, pipe, concrete, ATVs, ect that I could never put in the van.

They both have their uses, but one is actually meant to be used as a utility vehicle and the other isn’t.

Another Engineer
Another Engineer
2 months ago
Reply to  Rust Buckets

A long bed pickup is a utility vehicle, agreed. A lifted 4×4 short bed that never sees dirt isn’t. I find short bed pickups with 8′ 2x4s sticking over the bed or with snow machines propped on their tailgates to be hilarious. I would say that it is not coincidence that 4×8 sheet goods fit in the Honda and Toyota vans between the wheel wells. I’ve carried 10′ lumber and butcher block (with hatch closed) and 1000 lbs of bagged concrete mix in my van too. I may get doubting looks from the teenaged loader at the big box store or lumber yard, but these vans were designed for 1000+ lbs of passengers. Sure there is a limit, but not one a DIYer or even most tradesmen are likely to see very often.

Jonathan Green
Jonathan Green
3 months ago

The problem with the “SUV” is that most of them lack “S” and “U”.

UnseenCat
UnseenCat
3 months ago

Minivans as a class of vehicle don’t have to be uncool. It’s a matter of what the automakers and their designers do with the form factor.

The first-gen Chrysler minivans were very cool. They were a new concept, could be outfitted anywhere from basic tradesman panel vans to luxe highway cruisers. More versatile than many station wagons and still capable of fitting in many suburban garages — what wasn’t to like about them?

Then there was GM’s take with the Astro/Savanna. A scaled-down version of their very successful G-series van platform, again suitable as a hard-working vehicle in commercial service or ready to be outfitted with the best in luxury conversion-van features. Ford’s Aerostar similarly brought Econoline practicality and versatility into a compact size with spiffy new styling.

And while controversial and lacking in final execution, GM’s “dustbuster” front-drive minivans had a cool factor for their advanced looks. They were really purpose-built as people-movers; compact replacements for station wagons, rather than possessing the full-spectrum utility of more traditional minivans. But still a cool attempt.

It’s been during subsequent generations that the coolness wore off. Not unexpected, really. Once everybody’s doing something, it’s not unique and cool anymore. Fashionable, at best, and fashionable descends inevitably into “uncool” with overexposure.

I don’t think some of the “jellybean” styles of the late 90s and earlier 2000s helped. It brought minivans more in line with popular car styling, but the ovoid shapes didn’t help cubic capacity — and pushed minivans more toward suburban station wagon substitutes than all-purpose haulers. And as crash safety rules tightened, minivans got heavier but engine power options lagged a bit behind. The cool factor started getting seriously tarnished.

The 5th-generation makeover of the Chrysler minivans was initially controversial with its more squarish, upright styling, but I always thought it brought back some of the coolness factor. It was back to being down-to-business yet still attractive, and the bigger, more rectangular rear tailgate opening is much nicer for getting large objects in an out than with the intervening egg-shaped generations.

Now, with VW’s ID Buzz going into production, it looks to me like minivans are continuing to get their groove back.

EricTheViking
EricTheViking
3 months ago

Hmm, when did Chrysler built the right-hand-drive Dodge Grand Caravan AS (the well-worn Caravan on the right in the first photo)?

Shooting Brake
Shooting Brake
3 months ago

As someone who gets derided for driving shooting brakes for the last 24 years now, (all of them Volvo’s) I concur with David’s thoughts on Minivans as they apply to wagons as well.

I say to hell with what others think! 🙂

Scramblerken
Scramblerken
3 months ago

I can imagine this uncool thing come from arbiters of good taste, judgement and class like are found in the NASIOC demographic.

Matti Sillanpää
Matti Sillanpää
3 months ago

Personally I think anybody who has to have cool car to be cool, isn’t really that cool person. Minivans and vans in general I think are epitome of cool, as they enable so much cool action and utility.

Scottingham
Scottingham
3 months ago

It’s funny that what really makes people cool is not caring what other people think. The people that try hard to be cool are, by definition, NOT.

Mr Sarcastic
Mr Sarcastic
3 months ago

Yeah my mom’s definition of cool.

Matti Sillanpää
Matti Sillanpää
2 months ago
Reply to  Mr Sarcastic

Might be, I know quite few of cool moms. Epic skiiers and climbers. Few champion ice climbers.

Mrbrown89
Mrbrown89
3 months ago

Our 2022 Pachy its about to take another road trip that involves going out of the country, we drive to Mexico from Michigan. The car just eats miles while getting 30MPG with 2 adults, 3 kids and 2 dogs. I feel I am driving a spaceship.

I am planning to drive it to the ground, either the HV battery dies first or the engine. I am pretty meticulous with maintenance, the car calls for 10K oil change intervals but I am doing them every 7500 just to keep it safe.

Taargus Taargus
Taargus Taargus
3 months ago

PREACH

S C
S C
3 months ago

This might be my own personal preference speaking but if a minivan has a factory lift to it & some mildly aggressive off road tires, I would turn my head & check it out.

Objectively, I think marketing is failing minivans.

I don’t really see them marketed as anything other than efficient & sensible family haulers. I’ve never once seen a minivan promoted in a manner that made me think, “oh shit, this is pretty rad”

It doesn’t even have to have a stick shift (though one can dream)… Just something that helps them in the “fun” department…

Rust Buckets
Rust Buckets
2 months ago
Reply to  S C

So….. You’re a crossover person? You just described a Honda Pilot with sliding doors.

S C
S C
2 months ago
Reply to  Rust Buckets

Oddly enough, I just bought a used Passport. It wasn’t my first choice of vehicles but I appreciate the extra ground clearance (as mild as it is) over the Pilot & threw some Wildpeaks on it. It looks…. not bad now.

Fourmotioneer
Fourmotioneer
3 months ago

I think that what this piece misses is the fact that few of us minivan drivers have any desire to come across as cool

TDI in PNW
TDI in PNW
3 months ago

It’s a matter of priorities. Minivans are great for utility but boring to drive and not much to look at. They’re honest, workhorse machines.

Martin Ibert
Martin Ibert
3 months ago

For the record, I never considered my parents to be uncool. Not even as a teenager.

Rafael
Rafael
3 months ago

I love minivans, they have most of the advantages of vans and the footprint (tyreprint?) of a normal car.
My wife had an irrational hate of every car with a long roof (SW, minivans etc), but she relented once she realized the car had more space than our (then) apartment. Now she sneers at cars with less than seven seats!
To be quite honest, I myself can’t see the point of any other configuration. Why not max up the usable area every time? Sedans and coupes look cool, but I can’t see them from the inside. Of course, to each, their own, but I don’t see myself ever buying any other type of car again.

Rust Buckets
Rust Buckets
2 months ago
Reply to  Rafael

Wagon/hatchback/van two box bodystyles are objectively superior in almost every way, from almost every perspective.

Austin Vail
Austin Vail
3 months ago

My family has owned a 2005 Honda Odyssey for almost 16 years now. It has acquired over 270k miles on countless road trips across the country, hauled everything from trees to furniture, and been the most constant and familiar vehicle for my sister and I for most of our lives. It’s been used and abused but meticulously maintained. It bears many scratches and small dents yet still presents fairly well from 20 feet away. The interior has held up shockingly well all things considered, it helps that it’s been detailed by the dealer a few times. It’s still rolling on run-flat tires, and they’ve done their job for us in the past so we keep paying the few shops that have the right equipment to put new run-flats on it as they wear out.

It’s certainly showing its age by now and has had some bizarre failures, such as the air conditioning melting and spreading black goo throughout the system in Arizona, adding a couple more days to that trip to the Grand Canyon while we waited for it to be fixed. Or the time all the electronics stopped working and the doors froze shut during a Montana winter. Nowadays its primary ailment is the power steering going out, which we’ve had “fixed” numerous times to no avail.

And through all of this, part of me can’t bear the thought of letting it go. Yeah it’s not cool, but it’s almost as significant a part of my childhood memories as the house I grew up in. It’s more than proven itself as a nearly unstoppable and unbeatably versatile family-hauling beast. There is almost nothing you can’t do with it that it won’t excel at. I now look down on the average SUV owner as ignorant fools, so caught up in thoughts of image and ego that they don’t realize any rational person is laughing behind their backs at how awful their pathetic “sport utility vehicle” is in comparison to the glorious true utility of a minivan.

My parents have been talking of replacing it with a newer van due to its age and wear lately, and I’ve told them that if they ever do, I would like to buy it from them. I don’t like how complex and tech-laden the handful of new minivan options have become, and I still believe our Odyssey has it wear it counts. Someday I intend to restore it to its former glory, taking it to a body shop to make it beautiful again and rebuilding the worn mechanical items the proper way. While I’m at it, I want to see if the AWD system from a Ridgeline can be made to work on an Odyssey as they share a platform and snow performance has been the van’s one weak point, and I’d like a set of BMW X5 wheels for it because I don’t have faith in the future of run-flat tire availability – I’m frankly surprised we’re still able to get them at all. And I’ll have those wheels painted body color because Jason was right, it makes everything look classier.

That minivan is loved and appreciated and its story won’t be over until parts are no longer anywhere to be found and my bodges don’t work.

As for the future of minivans in general, might I remind you wagons were once “uncool” as well (and still kinda are to the general public)? Station wagons were the default family vehicle, then became uncool as minivans took over, then SUVs became the new thing and hipsters decided they were ironically cool and car guys decided they were genuinely cool. Now minivans are deemed uncool as… trucks capture some of the family car market from SUVs? Yeah there’s a weird development nobody talks about, but anyway, it stands to reason that just as every fashion trend becomes cool again 20 years later and station wagons are now cool again, minivans will also be cool again and SUVs will be the embarrassingly uncool family cars of the future, particularly as the world grows more climate conscious and gas guzzlers are seen as relics of a backwards era of misguided CAFE regulations.

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