In Defense of the Minivan

The minivan has long been touted as unfashionable by young drivers and is repeatedly atop the unofficial, unwritten, but universally accepted list of vehicles that cool kids should, if you will pardon my pun, steer clear of. There are many reasons for the minivan’s classification as “straight up social suicide” by the High School Board of Social Acceptability and Coolness (this board is as of yet unsanctioned), not the least of which is because it has been pinned to the soccer mom demographic. Other rationales typically cited by teens include a lack of speedy performance and a not-so-sexy appearance, but a part of me wonders how and why a rational human being deems a piece of heavy machinery to be sexy in the first place. I mean, do people actually plan to treat their Lamborghini Murcielago’s to a romantic dinner, an oil change, and a couple of gallons of Shell V-Power premium grade fuel just so they might get lucky later that night? No, because Lamborghini’s are not hot chicks that refuse to date me despite my persistence, they are automobiles designed to transport a person from point A to point B. What is more, even if one was to have the hots for his or her vehicle (which I suppose it could be argued that some do), I would argue that an upright, practical minivan trumps the benefits of a high maintenance, selfish sports car seven days a week and twice on Sunday. Allow me to explain…

For one, the highly coveted Lamborghini’s and Ferrari’s are stage 5 clingers. Not only will you feel as if you must drive your hot-rod everywhere (no matter how impractical) just because you can, but you will also return from each trip feeling claustrophobic and cramped for space. SPACE. Sports cars are often so covetous of this precious commodity that they only leave room for you and a few of your personal belongings to travel with them. These vehicles scoff at the idea of you bringing more than yourself and occasionally one other individual on dates with them. Personally, I perceive such cut-and-dried ultimatums as a turn off. This said, I prefer the minivan because she will allow you plenty of space to breathe in your relationship. Furthermore, a Sienna or an Odyssey encourages you to bring all of your poker buddies and even a few members of your Saturday foursome along on your journey. In many cases, the simultaneous bonding between your friends and your van will even enhance the relationship you have with your significant other because once she gets a whiff of a few of your buddies beer farts on her back seat, she will appreciate your restraint that much more.

Aside from sheer size and comfort, minivans also obliterate Corvettes, Porsche Boxsters and the like in the “consideration for your thin wallet” department. When confronted with the situation of fuel, the Dodge Grand Caravan’s or Chrysler Town and Country’s are quite contented with the cheapest menu item. This is a huge bonus, especially since, with ranges upwards of 500 miles per tank, your vehicle will maintain the endurance and stamina required to satisfy you. Flashy compact luxury vehicles on the other hand, while they may look alluring on their exteriors, lack performance where it counts. Another area where the billfold appreciates your minivan’s cheap tastes is in the oil change department. While the Audi’s and Lexus’ of the world have become notorious for burdening you with three-digit oil service bills, minivans return from the beauty (I mean service) shop with receipts that will not force you to smile through gritted teeth while you curse their petty indulgences under your breath.

All this said, however, perhaps the most important area in which your three-dimensional, complex Sienna or Sedona boasts superiority over shallow, uni-dimensional sport cruisers is through its consideration for all you hold dear. Where Maserati’s would have your two-year old shoved in the trunk for lack of space (and a foul diaper stench), a Toyota van treats little Susie like a queen. Not only is her mere existence grounds for promotion to a “captain’s chair”, but your van also sees to it that she is perpetually amused with entertainment on the rear DVD player. A woman who knows how to care for your children is a woman indeed.

She may not be the fastest or the sleekest vehicle on the road, but your baby is in it for the long haul, and for that reason she is a keeper. Slow and steady wins the race. Beauty is shallow, short-lived fads and design preferences change, and the sexiest v8 kit on the block today will be no more than rusty scrap metal tomorrow. A healthy relationship with you and your significant other is one in which both of you give and take equally, and minivans understand this. So shed the the preconceived notions, eradicate from your mind the ill-contrived nicknames (Mom Mobile, Loser Cruiser, Babe Blocker), and embrace the ultra-hip, 401k-rescuing powers of the super-cool Swagger Wagon.

Yours very sincerely and respectfully,

A Not-So-Well Respected Man

P.S. Yes, I have personal experience owning a 2004 Sienna Minivan. Her name was “The Golden Bullet” and she was very precious to me. Yes, my ownership of said van has made me biased, but this does not mean that I am wrong.


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