Will minivans rise again?


(Not to be out done the new 2011 Honda Odyssey Ad. Although I personally like the Swagger Wagon ad more.)

Have you noticed recently a bunch of minivan ads trying to make these functional, yet stigmatizing vehicles seem cool?

Last spring Toyota entertained many and convinced some that minivans can be cool with their “Swagger Wagon” ad campaign.

(Missed the campaign? Check it out above.  The ad was so popular they have created an entire Swagger Wagon channel on You Tube with bunches of other videos from the Swagger Wagon parents. Also regular parents are apparently submitting their own remixes. )

Analysts credit the Toyota campaign with increasing sales of the Sienna by 18.5 percent  through November and other minivan makers are jumping on board with crazy ads as well.

From The New York Times:

“Other automakers have jumped on the theme, too. For example, in a series of ads that began this fall, Honda claims its 2011 Odyssey “beckons like no van before.” One spot deploys a song by the metal rockers Judas Priest to awe a grocery-toting father with the van’s capabilities. In another, a couple seeking a romantic night out finds an Odyssey with rose petals spilling out of the sliding doors, chocolate-covered strawberries in a cooler compartment and a fire crackling on the rear-seat video screen.”

Chrysler, which invented minivans in 1983, plans to offer a high-powered version of its 2011 Dodge Grand Caravan, aimed at fathers, which it has nicknamed the ‘man van.’ ”

“And Ford Motor, which stopped making minivans in 2006, is jumping back into the game with the diminutive C-Max. The seven-passenger vehicle is about two feet shorter than the Odyssey and Sienna and offers high-tech features like sensors that allow drivers to open the rear liftgate simply by waving a leg under the bumper.”

Ford calls the C-Max a compact “people mover” and hopes its European design will make the vehicle practical for families without the unflattering “minivan” label. “Many are hard pressed to notice it has sliding doors. That wasn’t by accident,” said a Ford spokesman, Said Deep.”

The New York Times reports that sales of the Honda Odyssey are up 42 percent since October, when the 2011 model and ad campaigns were introduced.

In their heyday minivan makers sold about 1.37 million in 2000. Minivans were on pace to sell about 450,000 last year, a 9.3 percent increase from 2009.

You all know I love my minivan. I wrote about it when we purchased it and we couldn’t live without it. How do you travel comfortably across the country with three kids if you don’t have a minivan?

As far as being cool, it is the nicest car I’ve ever driven. Leather seats that heat up. It hauls butt and has a really nice dash board.

Just for fun: Here are the words to the original “Swagger Wagon” song.

[INTRO MOM AND DAD]

Yeah

This one goes out to all you minivan families out there.
Sienna SE…in the house.
Where my mother/fathers at?
Where my kids at?

Where my kids at?
Where my kids at?
Where my kids at?
Where my kids at?
Where my kids at?

No, seriously honeywhere are the kids?
They’re right there, see?
Oh, cool beans.

[VERSE DAD]
I roll hard through the streets and the cul-de-sacs,
Proud parent of an honor roll student, Jack.
I got a swing in the front, a tree house in the back,
My #1 Dad mug says, Yeah, Im the Mack.

[VERSE MOM]
I’m the world’s best nurse when my kids get sick,
I make a mean gel-mold, I perfected my tricks,
Back when I used to party as a college chick.
Now I’m cruising to their playdates lookin’ all slick…

[CHROUS]
In my Swagger Wagon,
Yeah, the Swagger Wagon,
It’s the Swagger Wagon,
I got the pride in my ride.
In my Swagger Wagon,
Yeah, the Swagger Wagon,
It’s the Swagger Wagon.

[VERSE DAD]

Check it…

I love hangin’ with my daughter sippin’ tea, keep my pinky up,
All the drawings on my fridge sport an A+.
I’m an awesome parent, (Right!) and it’s apparent, (True!)
And in this house there’s no mother/father swearin’.

[VERSE MOM]
Straight owning bake sales with my cupcake skills,
I’m better with the money, so I handle the bills,
And I always buy in bulk, ain’t afraid of no spills.
Every Mother’s Day proves…I’m kind of a big deal.

Daughter: Mommy, I need to go potty.

Bring the beat back, ’cause, yo, I got more to say,
You know I’m always front and center at the school play.
I kiss their boo-boos, clean doggie doo-doos,
Cut the crust off of PB&Js, chill the Yoo-hoos.

[VERSE DAD]

Singin’ “Farmer in the Dell” in perfect harmony,
When I’m rollin’ with my posse in the HOV.
We rock the SE, not an SUV,
And it’s true, if I were you, I’d be jealous of me…

So are you driving a “swagger wagon” or sheepishly pulling up in your minivan?

Do you feel like you lose your identity or become too much of a soccer mom in the minivan?

If you’re a man do you mind driving the minivan?

Could these ad campaigns convince you that minivans are once again cool?

104 comments Add your comment

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motherjanegoose

January 4th, 2011
7:07 am

I have never been a mini van person and likely never will be. We do rent them when we take our summer trip to St. Augustine, as it is drivable and we take our dog too.

I do not like driving a mini van. Especially on the interstate in bumper to bumper traffic. Too big for me.

I am an executive level with National car rental ( I rent a lot of cars) and can typically walk in and select any car on the lot, when I rent. I never select a mini van but do select a Malibu or Impala. This is the reason I bought my first Malibu, I drove it all over Texas and like it …plus I could afford it. Once in a while I will take and SUV, if they are out of my preference.

I am a creature of habit with a car and do not like to try new models ( unlike my husband ;0). This is because I know where all the switches are: lights and windshield wipers. I also know how the luggage fits in the trunk and I do not want it exposed in the back of the van. Guess I am weird about this and probably in the minority here… we will see.

madmommy

January 4th, 2011
7:14 am

While I have been known to ride in the van of a friends and it does make playdates/carpool that much easier, I just don’t see the need in having a van with only a family of 3, Now, there are times I wish I did have a bigger car to move more people about, but it only happens about once every few months. The ads are a hoot and really tap into what it’s like to go from a cool swinging single to rockin’ the mom/dad life.

Now, back in the day our parents had the station wagon and it seemed to work pretty well for us. We couldn’t pack near as much stuff as most people do today, but I don’t think we had as much either.

The only thing I dislike about the vans are the drop down movie players since it totally blocks out the rear view mirror. However, should the need ever arise for me to drive a van, I will do so knowing I will have the space to really hit Home Depot and Costco while still having a seat for everyone.

motherjanegoose

January 4th, 2011
7:22 am

@madmommy…those station wagons were stylin’…NOT!

I had a 1966 baby blue Ford Station wagon to take to college…maybe that is why I am not into it!
See, I learned something here.

FYI…I hate movie players in cars period…unless on a LONG trip. I prefer actual conversation.

Renee

January 4th, 2011
7:32 am

Back in 2007 we decided we needed to get a bigger vehicle. It was between a Honda Odyssey and Honda Pilot. We reached a great online deal with a local dealer for the same price for either. We went and test drove both. The Odyssey had everything we could ever hope for. It was perfect and comfortable. But, it was a minivan and we were not “minivan people.” The Pilot was nice, but the rear seats were uncomfortable.

Finally – after a couple hours thinking and talking – we got the Pilot because we were not “minivan people.” Three months later we made a deal with them to trade it in on the Odyssey (lost a couple grand in the deal). We’ve been happy with it ever since.

If you can get over the stigma of being a “minivan person,” then you’ll love it.

NoWay

January 4th, 2011
7:53 am

Minivans are tangible evidence of evil.

deidre_NC

January 4th, 2011
8:01 am

my family had one of those station wagons too…my sister and i liked sitting in the rear faccing window and flirting with boys when a car with one would get next to us on the highway when we went on vacations lol…ihad a minivan once..it was ok..i had lots of kids to haul around so it worked for that. i persoanlly am with MJG- prefer to have a vehicle that i am familiar with, i hate having ro figure out where all the stuff is. i prefer SUV’s…have had then for years and i have to drive many miles to anywhere i go-the height seems to be easier on my fibromylagia pain and back problems….a long trip in a little car hurts me. i have driven altimas a lot from rentals and do not like then, i had a charger one time and loved it…it didnt have a lot of bells and whistles so to speak and i am used to that…my old jimmy has everything….when i have to remember to turn the lights off forget it. there goes the battery. its been years since i had a car that the lights werent automatic. but no i wouldnt want a van again. i think suv’s have pretty much taken the place of them. ?

Clay

January 4th, 2011
8:16 am

How do you take three children (kids are goats) without a minivan? Easily–we do it every year. We have three children and we travel very nicely in our Nissan Armada, thank you. I also have a F-150 Super Crew with fiberglass tonneau cover and we can load up our three little ones in the back seat and a week’s worth of beach gear in the bed and travel very comfortably.

We used to be minivan people–had Chrysler vans between 1996 and 2005. Every time I pull up next to a guy driving a minivan, I can see the look in his eyes that tells me I’m glad to be out of them.

Photius

January 4th, 2011
8:17 am

Die, Mini Van…. DIE. Men who drive mini vans should be tarred and feathered for they have lost their soul.

Sid

January 4th, 2011
8:41 am

we got an Odyssey in summer ‘09 after my wife got t-boned in her Pilot. we had a Sienna for a rental which we took to Florida (already had trip planned) which convinced me to go the van route vs another Pilot and I have no regrets! it totally cracks me up that people place such a stigma on them – that thing is a Gulf Stream on tires (all it needs is a galley and/or lavatory)! a funny thing happens when you grow up: by the time you can afford a flashy car it seems a lot less important than when you couldn’t…

Techmom

January 4th, 2011
8:44 am

My husband & I made an agreement when we got married that we’d never own a minivan. Of course it helps that we only have 1 kid. My husband drives a crew-cab truck and that becomes our family vehicle when we all go somewhere or travel. I drive a 2-door car (paid off and runs great). It would be nice to have a larger vehicle because I do see to always have more than my 1 but they either squish into my backseat or my husband and I swap vehicles for the day.

I understand why people like minivans as compared to SUVs- if you have more than 1 small child, it’s simply a lot easier to get them in and out. But I personally don’t like the look of vans and never have. I’d rather drive a station wagon.

My SIL is pregnant and just bought a Subaru Forrester but she already said she can’t wait until she has her second so she can get a “Swagger Wagon” (she’s 23). Her husband evidently convinced her they don’t need a minivan with only 1 child. I wonder how long it will take him to lose this battle.

DB

January 4th, 2011
8:46 am

Hey, now, don’t be hatin’ on the mini van! I have LOVED my mini vans — I’ve had mini-vans for 19 years, now. One was totalled on Ga 400 last August when I was rear-ended by someone, but I replaced it with another used Sienna, even though my husband offered something a bit sportier. Even friends at work were saying, “I would have thought you’d want something other than a Mom-Mobile.” When it comes to hauling kids’ stuff to and from college, it’s hard to beat a mini-van. I wanted fold-down seats for the dog carrier in the back, and when we went to get our Christmas tree this year, I just flipped up a seat and that little sucker slid right into the back in 30 seconds. I love being higher than the rest of the traffic — when I drive my husband’s car, I feel almost claustrophobic, like all the SUVs and vans are closing in on me on the interstate!

I don’t care if it’s “fashionable”, or whatever. For me, it’s practical at this point of my life, and you can’t imagine how little I care about “style points”. My dad owned a car dealership for almost 35 years — I am NOT impressed by cars, I washed too dang many of them working for my dad in the summers growing up! (On the flip side, I’m one of the few women I know who can drive a straight drive . . .) When the kids were small, I wanted a comfortable car that separated the kids in the backseat (!) that we could use traveling to see grandparents (300 miles in one direction, 500 in another). We also used it for numerous family vacations, and drove them until they died — the first for 130,000, the second for 220,000, and the third one died it’s untimely death at 114,000.

They have been great cars for us. My husband feeds his soul with his little straight-drive car, so if I get the yen, I use his car to zip up to grocery store (and then get annoyed when there’s not enough room for groceries!) When the last kid graduates from college in a couple of years, I will retire the mini-van and get something with a little zoom. But in the meantime, you can pry my minivan from my cold, dead fingers!

really

January 4th, 2011
8:47 am

i hope so. i’m tired of seeing a bunch of housewives trying to drive oversized suvs…and poorly at that! if you’re not going to drive something normal-sized, at least learn how to drive. oh, and learn how to park in ONE space at a time. not TWO!!! mini vans may be the answer to 5′5, 95 pound women failing to properly navigate navigators… danger, will robinson!

MomsRule

January 4th, 2011
8:49 am

I do not like mini-vans. I’ve never had one, never rented one, never driven one. Yuck.

I remember when my boys were quite young and thought our neighbors mini-van was “cool” “MOM, can we get one?!” — “No way! Never gonna happen!” LOL

@motherjanegoose 7:22 am, I could not agree with you more about the movie players in cars! I can understand a long trip (though we’ve never used one) but not for day to day life. We have so many fun and educational conversations in the car.

BShepC

January 4th, 2011
8:52 am

DB…AMEN. I love love love our minivan and I always said I’d NEVER drive/buy one. Got it after we had our second child and I will never go back. So easy with the sliding doors (esp. with a baby carrier). My grandparent’s live near and I am always helping them out driving them around town and can easily fit both grandparents and kids in minivan. Awesome for those big HD trips, when we redid our bathroom, the new vanity top and the cabinets fit in the minivan with the kids. Can move small furniture with them. We have a Sienna and it is great for reconfiguring for those goofy moves…ie when we helped my grandparents downsize. So I guess we got it for our kids and grandparent’s too :)

motherjanegoose

January 4th, 2011
8:54 am

@ clay…F 150 …ouch for you if gas goes to $5 per gallon!

Another question…do folks like the cars that you do not have to put the key in to start them, just push a button? ( Mine first experience was Nissan Altima….they were out of Malibus) I HATE them. The fob thing has to be near you, in your purse or pocket but I am afraid I will lose it as it is not in the ignition. I am also wary about depending solely on electronics ( big surprise). I had my GPS blitz out on a trip and luckily I had a map. I then had to get to a Best Buy ( in Iowa) to purchase a new one and realized how much I depended on it. I would never buy a car with the push button start
( hope they do not all go in that direction) as I prefer an actual key you insert.

a mom

January 4th, 2011
8:59 am

I never, ever, was a mini-van person. I have been through the years of carpool, long trips, etc. and never was tempted. I had a Volvo station wagon for 16 years and then a 4-door sedan, which was only OK. I have had my SUV for about 3 years and love it. My youngest is 16 with legs that go on forever. He can sit comfortably in either the front or back. I still have carpool and can handle 3 more 16 year old boys easily. We use it to haul everything as the seats lay flat and I can always put a carrier on top. It rides very well and is easy to handle; better than the sedan. I have rented a van we were on soccer trips just so that we could fit 6+ in one vehicle. Not for me!

motherjanegoose

January 4th, 2011
9:03 am

HAHA! I was thinking of you DB and your minivan, when I read the topic today. I know you love yours! To each his own. I have driven several different models and do not care for them myself.

Oh yes, I can drive a standard transmission…on the floor and maybe even on the column.
I drove a DUMP TRUCK with the shift on the column but that has been MANY years ago.
Hugs to you today! Our son’s car is a standard and I can still drive it.

I actually miss having a truck, we always had one when we lived in Texas. I wish we could have gotten one this last time. My husband carpools with 2-3 other men to work and so that would not work for us, unless we went with a big model king cab which would suck gas and perhaps defeat the carpool!

Alecia

January 4th, 2011
9:08 am

Bought a mini van in ‘09 and the gas mileage is a lot better than any of the SUVs I considered. Also, the price was really good. On the Hwy my Town and Country gets atleast 30 mpg(V6). The seats fold down and it’s great for hauling stuff. There’s also extra storage compartments under the rear seats. I can see fine through the rear view mirror with the DVD player down. It does not completely block it and the van it not too big. The last car I owned was a Lincoln Town Car, which was bigger. The downside to the van is the horsepower. Compared to my Lincoln(V8), it’s like driving a lawn mower. Not cool for the I85 on ramp. The extra 2 cylinders are greatly missed. On the bright side, it burns a lot less fuel than a Lincoln.

motherjanegoose

January 4th, 2011
9:10 am

DB…I too feel claustrophobic when the semis box me in on 285…dang can’t they take the side roads…;) That might be ONE reason for me to have a vehicle that is higher up…I hate it when I cannot see what is up ahead and I have driven 2 miles in 30 minutes.

My son told me it took him 30 minutes to go 1 mile from where he works ( DB you know) on the Tuesday before Christmas, due to holiday traffic. There is nothin’ like our traffic here in Atlanta, except NYC but I will not drive there…I take a taxi.

JOD

January 4th, 2011
9:13 am

My husband has been hinting around that I should look at a minivan – I think he only does it because he knows I hate them so. I’ll take my SUV any time…

DB

January 4th, 2011
9:16 am

@a mom: That reminds me of another reason why I love our mini-van — leg room! With a husband over 6 feet and a son who is 6′3″, finding a car that had enough leg room for long trips was crucial. We did look at several SUVs four or five years ago, but never found one that had enough leg room in the back. OK for kids — but miserable for long, leggy teens.

When I was a Girl Scout leader, between my co-leader and myself, we could carry the entire troop in two mini-vans, and not have to beg for driving help from parents whenever we wanted to take a field trip (and we LOVED field trips!)

@MJG: My mom has one of those push-button Altimas. I was like you — always worried about losing the fob — which is nuts, because I never worry about losing a KEY, and it’s the same darn thing, but for some reason, it just seems different. It takes a little getting used to, but I guess I just don’t see the point — I mean, you have to take the key out of your purse to unlock the car, anyway . . .

JJ

January 4th, 2011
9:24 am

No minivan here! Never ever ever. I drive an SUV and I’ve never looked back. My mom traded in her Sienna for a Highlander just last week. I was so happy to see that van go away!!!

And I don’t care how much gas costs, I am safer in my SUV than any other vehicle I’ve ever owned. I have it for 10 years now, and I absolutely LOVE it. I have over 172,000 miles on it. It’s a VERY dependable vehicle and I haven’t had very many problems with it, and just put new tires on it New Years eve.

motherjanegoose

January 4th, 2011
9:27 am

DB…losing a key for a rental car will now cost you $200 or more…it usually says so on the key…so I have worried about losing it! Can AAA get the car going without the original key fob and code…I do not know. What do you do if you lose the key? Can they make another one for you…sorry but I have no clue.

motherjanegoose

January 4th, 2011
9:28 am

I am referring to the electronic push button cars in my previous post.

JATL

January 4th, 2011
9:28 am

I LOVE my Swagger Wagon -absolutely LOVE it! I never have been a mini van fan, and when the stroller years are over, I plan to go back to my beloved Mini (they actually hold a lot more than you think). However, just before the birth of my second child, I had fallen in love with the idea of remote controlled sliding doors, seats automatically folding into the floor to allow for more cargo room, etc. I had a piece of crap 2004 Dodge Caravan for about a year and a half, and then we found my fabulous Swagger Wagon in June. I had originally wanted this one, but new and fully loaded cost close to $50K, so when we found one that was 2 years old at CarMax, we were excited! You can say what you want, but it’s incredibly convenient, easy to get in and out of (and when hauling older grandparents -one of whom is 6′5″ with bad knees) -ease of exit and entry is important. It’s nice to have the grandparents and the kids in the car and not be cramped. It’s also one of the only vehicles that can haul us and my double BOB stroller and groceries, luggage, camping gear, etc.

I don’t plan to have it forever, but as I said before -during these stroller years when we have to have carseats and take extras like pack-n-plays, it’s been really nice. Having one with buttery leather interior, walnut wood inlays, state of the art sound system, DVD, GPS, sonar, backup camera,etc. (basically anything and everything you can get on a car) has been pretty sweet!

I also find two things interesting -from what I can see, mini vans are as popular as ever. Everywhere I look there are mini vans. Also -and I found this really surprising -so many of the people I know in town are buying or have already bought them. They’re EVERYWHERE in family-dense areas like Decatur, Grant Park, Ormewood Park, Inman Park, Candler Park and Va Highlands. I used to have a Subaru wagon, and I liked it, but it wasn’t very roomy. When I took my oldest to his little 1/2 day preschool before the mini van, I would be one of about 3 non mini vans in a lot full of them! I have found that surprising.

One thing I NEVER thought I would hear about myself -my husband told some friends last fall after this happened, “We just got a trailer hitch put on the back of J’s mini van.” Wow -never thought I would hear “trailer hitch,” “mini van,” and my name in the same breath! We bought a pop up camper -and the whole thing has been great.

motherjanegoose

January 4th, 2011
9:39 am

JJ…darn what kind of car payments would someone make on a $50,000 car?

Our first house, we bought, was a brick 1400 square foot 3 bdr 2 ba with a two car garage and fenced yard for $52,500. The kitchen had just been remodeled and all new carpet. Twenty one years ago in Texas.

Maybe folks who buy those kinds of cars can pay cash?

jarvis

January 4th, 2011
9:46 am

They’re like a vaccuum. They’ll suck the cool right out of ya.

JJ

January 4th, 2011
9:49 am

MJG Why are you asking me? I haven’t had a car payment in well over 15 years…….I pay cash for my vehicles.

Theresa Walsh Giarrusso

January 4th, 2011
9:51 am

jarvis — don’t the kids suck the cool right out of you???

guys — I have a second topic popping up around 12 or 12:30 today — check back later

Techmom

January 4th, 2011
10:00 am

Ha, MJG, I highly doubt many people are paying cash for $50k vehicle. I would also venture to guess most Swagger Wagons aren’t $50k… according to Toyota’s website, the high-end Sienna with All-wheel drive has an MSRP of $40k. But for grins, $40k financed for 5 years @ 1.9% (only well-qualified buyers will get this though) gives you a payment of roughly $700/mo.

Photius

January 4th, 2011
10:04 am

If your husband is driving your Mini Van, the other men are laughing at him.

motherjanegoose

January 4th, 2011
10:04 am

JJ…ooops…I meant JATL ( who mentioned it in her post) and typed in your name instead…she was talking about a $50,000 car. SO SORRY!

@ Techmom….ouch!

TWG…never considered myself to be cool, so I never lost it either….LOL.

penguinmom

January 4th, 2011
10:22 am

I really don’t understand why it matters so much to some people what other people (strangers on the road) think about what they are driving. I drive a mini-van because it carries my 3 kids and their stuff easily. If I only had one kid, I would drive a smaller car mainly for the gas mileage savings. As for men, if you aren’t confident enough in your self-image to be seen in driving a mini-van, then you aren’t a real man in my book.

@MJG – I agree about the movie players for everyday travel. We do listen to audio books in the car sometimes, but those spark discussions instead of stifling them. It’s a bit sad to me if your kids can’t keep themselves occupied while you drive on an errand. How many excellent teaching moments are these parents losing by avoiding engaging their kids in conversation?

JATL

January 4th, 2011
10:23 am

@MJG -I have real issues paying that much for a vehicle. I know many who do it, but the frugality I’ve incorporated over the last 5 years just makes me clinch at the thought of it! That’s why we didn’t purchase the brand new Sienna when I originally looked at it, but it was oh-so-nice to find it a few years later, in great condition with low mileage for over 20K less! I won’t say I’ll never, ever buy another brand new car, but it would be hard for me to really enjoy it at this point.

@Techmom -the brand new version of the Sienna I sat in was $48K. It had every bell and whistle known to man that could be placed on a vehicle. I was surprised it couldn’t fly!

I know some folks who buy fairly high end vehicles and pay cash. In the last two years I’ve known three people who paid cash for cars and each car was over $45K -one was around 70K. Some people have trust funds or inheritance money they draw high interest from or other investments that are paying off -and some are just wealthy. However, most mini van purchases are financed since 98% of them are being bought by younger families who don’t have the money up front to buy cars.

Kate

January 4th, 2011
10:34 am

Once we became a family of 5 we had to get a minivan. My kids refer to it as the mommy-mobile. I definitely would have preferred a SUV, but once we looked at the gas mileage their was no doubt that I would have to settle for a minivan. I drove a Corolla before that so the van was quite an adjustment for me (not to mention our lawnmower, garage door and mailbox) but I think I have finally got the hang of it. I always say what my van lacks in coolness it more than makes up for in convenience!

motherjanegoose

January 4th, 2011
10:36 am

JATL…I am thinking, if you were paying cash for a $50,000 vehicle…would it be a mini van?

Of course, I NEVER plan to pay that kind of money for a car. $20,000 would be a stretch for me.
We used to buy new cars but now find that those with 15,000 miles on them are great too and we have saved quite a bit of money letting someone else pay for a new car and getting it gently broken in.
@ penguinmom….love books on tape and we also had a basket of cassettes ( when mine were small) and sang songs all the time in our car…made up our own verses too!

I am also not about every bell and whistle…more things to break!

LM

January 4th, 2011
10:43 am

I had a old Honda Prelude when I had my daughter. Talk about not being a mommy-mobile. I finally got a mini-van and it was so much easier for the HD trips. Really didn’t see the need for our daughter, but for hauling and trips it was great. Didn’t have it too long and gave it to my Mother when she totaled her station wagon. Second mini-van was several years later, got it so my greyhound would have room when traveling. Got horrible gas mileage and when the rear wheel came off while driving to work one morning. After that I refused to drive it and drove work cars.

I work for a used car dealer and move a lot of cars each week. I have driven just about every make and model. I don’t even think twice about jumping in and figuring out all the buttons and switches. When my husband wanted to get a VW TDI, I could not figure out why. Now we have two 2004 TDI’s and a older TDI Jetta for my daugther and we also have a diesel dually. We have gotten all the parts and pieces to start bio-diesel.

When my daugther was learning to drive I insisted her first car would be a manual shift. A few months ago she thanked me for insisting she learn to drive a stick. She was out with some friends and one of the guys had too much to drink. She was able to drive his truck home for him.

Mini-vans have their place, most of the time they get better gas mileage than a SUV, they can carry more than a car. But unless I get another large dog, I don’t see me driving one again.

Grant

January 4th, 2011
10:47 am

No way I would ever – EVER – have a minivan. From the standpoint of room, I cannot see where they offer any advantages over a SUV. Honestly, I can’t see where a minivan offers anything.
And, I’ll admit it, I’m one of those who believe that minivan owners fit the stereotype.
For road trips with the kids, it’s usually our Durango simply from a logistics standpoint but, if it’s just me and/or the better half, it’s almost always the BMW.

A

January 4th, 2011
10:58 am

Hate minivans, especially when driven by moms with phone to their ear and who knows how many kids in back. I’m surprised I haven’t seen any minivan accidents due to this negligence.

motherjanegoose

January 4th, 2011
11:07 am

LM…good points and you approach it from a new perspective.

I AM NOT A GADGET PERSON…those here know I can barely work our remote control.

On the flip side, I have no problem hopping a plane to Alaska and having dinner with folks I have never met before, navigating my way out of an airport in a different city than Atlanta, standing up in front of 500 people and giving a 3 hour presentation or telling stories to 100 Kindergarteners for 30 minutes.

Some folks love mini vans and some hate them. Some love the beach and some hate it.
Some eat mac and cheese for Thanksgiving and some prefer mashed potatoes ;0.
My husband loves to drink milk and I could live without it forever! A fascinating world we live in.
I love the insights I get into people’s lives and opinions on this blog….thanks everyone!

A

January 4th, 2011
11:11 am

If you can spend over $40K on a minivan, how about an extra 10-20 bucks on a Bluetooth. If you want to crash your minivan/SUV, that’s your business, but there are other people out on the road too!

Becky

January 4th, 2011
11:26 am

I have driven mini vans and like DB really like them..No,I haven’t ever owned one, but I’m not going to rule that out..

@really..I can drive a straight shift vehicle, on the floor or column..I can drive a 6 speed dually and PARK it with no problems..Not only can I park in between the lines, I always back into parking spots..I can also paralell (sp) park any vehicle that I drive..So is the real problem that you can’t properly drive an SUV or park it in between the lines?

@jarvis..vacuum..:) Most everyone that I know spells it wrong..:)

NoWay

January 4th, 2011
11:27 am

Minivans do have their place- in a trash heap. I will take my Z4 and happily drive it daily, pick up my kid in it and even haul TWO 7′ Christmas trees in it.

motherjanegoose

January 4th, 2011
11:34 am

@ Becky…tipping my hat to you…I am AWFUL at parallel parking. I can back in though!
Glad YOU know how to spell vacuum….LOL. Hope your Christmas was great. I should be out your way soon! HUGS!

Lady Strange

January 4th, 2011
12:02 pm

I much prefer my small SUV to a mini van. I only have one child but my little SUV held all the stuff for our road trip from Georgia to Wisconsin and back (2 adults and one toddler). So I really don’t need anything larger at this time. I much prefer the handling of my SUV, driving a mini van is like driving a big box, it just does not handle well.

LM

January 4th, 2011
12:13 pm

Some mini-vans are built on a car platform others on a truck platform. It really makes a difference in how the vehicle handles. Not all feel boxy and some like your driving a car, it really just depends on the make and model.

As to image, every car is designed for a specific (sp) demographic. If you think about it, when you look at a car/truck/van/suv you have a preset idea of who is driving it. Think about the little old lady driving a porsche or some other sporty car. Mini-vans are the same, most everyone associates them with mommy-mobile, but many are used for sales and service people. The men who feel they lost their manhood because they are driving a mini-van are the same guys who have big tires on trucks and loud stereo in sport cars, inverse proportion(again sterotyping), lol

Photius

January 4th, 2011
12:38 pm

Ok – let’s check the estrogen and get back to reality: no man worth his salt is ever going to think well of himself while driving a mini-van. If you have a husband that does enjoy driving it or thinks it looks good, then ladies – your man is a wuss, a pansy – someone you dominate and boss around all the time. The majority of men do ridicule other men who drive mini vans, it’s just a fact. So ladies, if your man is driving the mini van today – Cheers to you! You married a wuss!

BlondeHoney

January 4th, 2011
12:44 pm

I suffered through the minivan years with a Ford Aerostar and finally said goodbye to it when the youngest was in high school for my cherry red 5 speed convertible mustang..woohoo :)

Becky

January 4th, 2011
12:47 pm

@MJG..Thanks..I worked once with my ex and my job consisted of traveling across the state and installing verifone systems..Trust me, in some of the smaller towns way down south, you have to paralell park..

My Christmas was really good even though I went to a funeral the day after Christmas and both kids were sick at least one day during the 2 weeks they had out of school..Still have nothing to complain about..

Looking forward to meeting for lunch again..Just keep me informed about when you will be in my neck of the woods..