• Jul 9, 2007

My uncle's motoring choice has always had me a little puzzled. He's got a garage full of Mercedes, Range Rovers, Hummers and a Magnum PI-style Ferrari 308 GTS that he never drives. What does he drive instead? A Chrysler minivan. Chances are you know somebody like that, too. Over at the Kicking Tires blog, the Suburban Dad makes some sense of it all.

With big seats and far reaches to the dashboard, Suburban Dad figures minivans aren't, as the stereotype goes, for soccer moms. They're for other suburban dads. That might go a long way towards explaining crossover van-utes like the Chevy Uplander. Follow the link for an interesting quick read on the rapidly dissipating American trend.

[Source: Kicking Tires]



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  • 37 Comments
      • 7 Years Ago
      yes, yes they are just for soccer moms.
      those dads are weiners.

      and the Uplander was the worst pc. of doody GM ever made......it won the "the worst auto today" award if you recall.
      this vehicle is the reason GM no longer makes a van.
        • 7 Years Ago
        You're a tool.

        You can't beat the practical nature of these vans. Nothing comes close. Nothing. Not even those fancy, schmancy Lambda triplets.
        • 7 Years Ago
        Never owned one, but if Chrysler ever did the SRT-6 or 8 treatment to this vehicle, I would buy one.

        In current form, they're just weenie mobiles.

        You can't beat these things for vacation trips. Just being able to separate the kids (the good ones from the evil ones) makes long-distance travel much more pleasant.

      Ben K.
      • 7 Years Ago
      In the late 90's we had the Olds, Chevy and Pontiac version of the current van. After driving a Suburban, Tahoe and Yukon. The van was much more practical for use with kids. The power sliding doors were awesome. The restyling of the current GM minivan, look alot like the front end of a Honda Pilot SUV, i bet that scares some Honda owners. The new GM crossovers should probably offer a version with a sliding door on one side some day. There is no substitue for them. The Chevy Uplander finally got a good dose of power (240hp) and you can't beat the versatility. How about an SS model, short wheelbase model, in black, red or white with 18" rims.
      • 7 Years Ago
      see the euro ford s-max for family-friendly sportiness in a family hauler.

      the issue w/ minivans was the image -- as the suv culture emerged, minivans didn't adapt in NA to the 'macho' image of driving a suv. i'm a fan of minivans super practical, spacious, good gas mileage and reasonable towing capacity. while i don't have a family - i don't know why parents would want to drive a less spacious, poor ergonomics, inefficient space layout and less fuel efficient vehicle for their family (unless there is a massive boat involved). may want to re-evaluate your priorities if your vanity is that important that you're willing to give up those family-friendly features for a 'not-a-soccer-mom/dad-and-we-make-a-lot-of-money-to-blow on-gas' image for a primary family transport vehicle.
        • 7 Years Ago
        Our minivan is the most versatile vehicle one can own.

        Amidst the starting craze for SUVs, I bought a minivan. One had to be crazy to pay the same $ or more, for a fraction of the versatility, lower fuel economy, lesser comfort, ...

        Travel in comfort with 4 - 7 passengers and plenty of cargo space.

        No fuss with big items. I've seen plenty SUVs - up to the 'majestic' HUMMER - incapable of loading that new big screen TV at store X, that little trampoline for the kids doesn't fit (and they couldn't reach the roof - haha), a chair, a large plant ...
        I show up at store x and even the lumberyard. 4x8 sheets of material. No problem. 10 foot lumber/pipes/... No problem.

        Fuel economy is better than SUVs. Not as great as some gas sipping sedans, but there are US sedans that have the same numbers. Without the comfort and space versatility.

        No problem to tow an average compact trailer or small boat.

        While a minivan is not for everybody, everybody is impressed by the versatility of our van when they're driving along on a trip and/or ride along to pick up that new front door for their house ;)

        A the lumberyard or DIY big box stores I frequently get big eyes from new people loading. "You don't have a truck?" Nope. I have 4 cubic yards of cargo ... and I don't even need to leave the tailgate open like most trucks to haul a bit of drywall or lumber. "I didn't know you could do that, that it would fit just like that ..."
        • 7 Years Ago
        well said. people who hate on minivans just can't get over the image of minivans. In reality, minivans are a much more logical choice than any SUV. Now that they are re-badging them as cross-overs, I'm sure the anti-minivan crowd will jump on them because they are "cool". idiots.

        minivans rule. don't tell anyone.
      • 7 Years Ago
      why are there no fast minivans?
        • 7 Years Ago
        Torque Steer. Though, there are plenty of fast FWD cars out there, few have the mass a "mini"-van has...
        • 7 Years Ago
        But Chrysler already has 4wd, why not give it some balls?
        • 7 Years Ago
        For a little bit Chrysler was putting their turbo 4 in the Caravan. Up the boost and those things can do the quarter in under 13 seconds. Sleeper, indeed.
      • 7 Years Ago
      This is kind of irrelevant, because there aren't any other "muscular minivans" on the market, and the Uplander will be gone soon anyway.

      The only good things that can be said about the Uplander now is that its powertrain is finally acceptably quick (though unrefined) and the front crash tests are much better. It still has an awful ride and terrible side crash tests, though. Plus it has terrible repair records.

      I still love minivans, though. I've been looking at used Entourages. Much bigger than the Santa Fe with the same gas mileage.
      • 7 Years Ago
      Extending the nose of the Venture to make the Uplander probably helps its front-crash performance. Yes, there are better vans, but they cost more. The Uplander, in its panel-van guise, was a welcome alternative for businesses that found fullsize vans to big and thirsty and the imports (Sienna, Odyssey, Sedona) too fancy for rough-and-tumble commercial jobs. Even though they're ceasing production, I still see a bunch of Uplanders on the road, many of them as delivery or work vans.
      • 7 Years Ago
      Felipe: Nothing in your post is news to me. The thing is GM didn't let a dismal car (Citation and cousins come to mind) run them out of the car market. Could GM have gome back and designed a better mini-van? Yes. The Arcadia and sisters rendered them unnecessary.

      The resurgence of the station wagon (Sport Wagons) the emergence of CUVs are the reason the mini-van market is shrinking all together. GM hedged their bets on the emerging genre.

      Both the Sport Wagon and CUV are way cooler than any minivan ever made. As ruler of that domain, Chrysler needs to re-define the mini-van. A well executed SRT edition would do just that.
      • 7 Years Ago
      I use to feel the same way about Minivan's, but now with a car seat in the back of my Murano, and the possibility of another in a few years, I'm thinking the utility of a minivan is worth it despite the bland sex appeal. However, I owe my new found respect for minivans to my father-in-law who traded in his Ford Expedition for a Caravan a few years ago. While the quality is lacking, he loves the utility. He can haul bolts of cloth from warehouse to factory as easily as the Expedition, but now he can also throw open the side doors and get his elderly in-laws in without the problems the old SUV posed. Plus, he can take his in-laws and grand kids in the same car! Not even the new generation of large crossovers (Acadia/Enclave/Outlook or 2008 Highlander) can offer the same utility. Unfortunately, my wife would throw a fit if I even suggested we take a look at a Quest, Sienna or Odyssey.
      • 7 Years Ago
      Oh yeah, everyone I know that drives a minivan also has a Ferrari in their garage.

      What a dumb story.
      • 7 Years Ago
      Here's my soccerdad rant about minivans: I can't find a good replacement for my 03 MPV (which, by the way, has been an excellent vehicle). The problem? Everyone has abandoned the medium sized minivan.

      Blame Honda. With a lackluster showing from the too-small original Odessey, they went upsize big time, building the best large minivan. One by one, everyone followed. I shopped the Honda when I bought my MPV, and thought it was good, just too cumbersome. I happily bought the MPV, and pocketed a few grand in the price difference.

      My MPV has room for 6 comfortably, seven in a pinch. I put a roof luggage carrier on it once or twice a year when I need it, otherwise, the space behind the third seat suffices for the routine stuff.

      My MPV is nimble, because it is shorter, lighter, and narrower than its bigger brothers. Let me make a fundamental observation about vehicle size and design here: width is not a critical factor in minivan comfort or capacity. Why? Because as you add passengers to your vehicle, you put two in the first, second and third rows as needed. It is not until you put the seventh passenger in that you have a row with three across. I think the width of a Honda or Chrysler minivan is overkill on most days.

      Don't try to swap me into a crossover. They lack the utility of a minivan. Once every couple of months, I pull out my seats and use my MPV for house projects, landscaping, etc. Most crossovers can't do that. Most crossovers also are too small in the third row for your average 7th grader.

      Amazingly, in the crossover and SUV market, you can buy any size, but look at the hole in the minivan market. Nice, but too small, are the Mazda5 and Kia Rondo. Gone are all of the original size medium minivans: MPV, short wheel-based Chrysler, original Sedona, Villager, original Quest, short wheelbase GM vans, original Sienna, etc.

      Give me a good medium sized minivan (maybe with a Diesel option), and I'll buy, along with 100,000 or so of my friends.
      • 7 Years Ago
      oh my gosh i hate minivans. they are driven by people who take 30 seconds to get up to 40 miles per hour, they don't make right turns on unprotected greens, they clog the fast lane at 67 mph, they slow to 20 to go over road obstacles and pot holes; basically, every horrible thing you can do in a car minivans do.

      At least SUVs drive like crazy, so they are out of your way. a minivan blocks you, and then puts along just to piss you off.
        • 7 Years Ago
        Frank d.

        Uh no..that's not it. There are still some minivan drivers that have completely disregarded all rules of the road, some even more dangerous.

        It's the driver, usually, not the minivan, but being a minivan on the road isn't any better than a car.
        • 7 Years Ago
        I take my 4 cyl, 3 speed AUTO van and regularly drive 110 mph, passing most everyone. I have TWO Valentine V1s, too.
      • 7 Years Ago
      It's obvious that most of you are viscerally responding to the photograph and didn't bother reading the article. We can all agree the Uplander sucked, but that's not the point.
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