• Jan 21, 2011
2012 Ford C-Max – Click above for high-res image gallery

Toyota can call the Sienna a swagger wagon all it wants, but the slogan isn't going to make moms any happier about hopping behind the wheel. According to The Detroit Free Press, most mothers aren't fooled by gimmicky marketing or the latest attempts to redesign the minivan as a stylish piece of transportation. Reporter Krista Jahnke followed a group of mothers from Detroit.MomsLikeMe.com as they toured the Detroit Auto Show to critique the latest wave of minivans.

What did they think? While the vast majority appreciated the added creature comforts of the newest generation of family haulers, they still seemed to feel that the minivan was always going to be a practical choice first and an aesthetic one dead last.

One woman even admitted that she cried the first time she had to drive a minivan. Admittedly, we feel her pain.

The crew took the time to check out the all-new Ford C-Max, Honda Odyssey, Toyota Sienna, Dodge Grand Caravan and Volkswagen Routan, and was kind enough share its opinion on each. Despite its significantly smaller size, the C-Max fared well amongst those who know minivans best, while the Grand Caravan was penalized for its cavernous, grime-trapping center console. Head over to The Detroit Free Press to see all of their impressions.

[Source: The Detroit Free Press]

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    • 1 Second Ago
      • 3 Years Ago
      Minivan style is all right here, courtesy of the Italians and a&c, of course, lol:
        • 3 Years Ago
        Ha, that actually *is* pretty cool looking...well, perhaps with the exception of the nose. Poor sightlibes in the back coupled with the low height would make it impractical and claustrophobic, but I'm still intrigued.

        As a drummer who needs the hauling capacity of a wagon or minivan, I'd give it a look!
      • 3 Years Ago
      Too bad Ford only offers a fixed glass roof on the C-Max: a big sunroof would have been way better.
      • 3 Years Ago
      No style? Get the eff over it. My first ride was the family minivan when I was 16. It was awesome. It even did decent burnouts. I got over the styling despite the fact that I was in high school and feared judgment from everyone. The only reason moms can't is that the implications of the styling are true of the driver, and the truth hurts.
        • 3 Years Ago
        Burnouts? You must have has an Astro or Safari.
        One of the kids in my HS class had an Astro. Rather than being mocked, he was the one everyone usually wanted to ride with - that thing was the party wagon.
        • 3 Years Ago
        I wish. It was a Pontiac TransSport with the 3.4L. By "decent burnouts" I meant that it could squeal the tires for a couple of seconds, maybe 3 or 4 if you really nailed it hard. That was better than most of my 16 year old friends' rides could muster, so it was enough. It obviously had nothing on the Ranger I got a couple of years later, but it would have embarrassed the Mazda6 3.0L I drive today.
      • 3 Years Ago
      Were they analyzing the REFRESHED Chrysler minivans? Seems like it. Even after a refresh, mommies seem to think that the minivans are ugly, uncomfortable, and not intuitive... when compared to their competitors?

      I'm starting to get worried about Sergio's turnaround plans.
        • 3 Years Ago
        Did you actually read the article?
        They didnt call them "ugly, uncomfortable, and not intuitive".
        They had two complaints, the location of the shifter and the storage unit in the center of the front row bieng a magnet for dirt. One of the ladys did say that the pre refesh model was uncomfterable though.
        • 3 Years Ago
        This was "a panel of women who attended the North American International Auto Show" - so yes, these are Chrysler's latest & greatest from the Detroit show.
        • 3 Years Ago
        Yes I read the article... and it gave me the impression that they are struggling to win over mommies.

        Ugly:"Specci, who previously owned a Town & Country, picked it as her least favorite based on uncomfortable seats and body styling she called ugly."
        Unintuitive: complaints about the touch screen/gear shifter on the dashboard
        Uncomfortable: the seats.. and they also complained about hard plastic on the console.
      • 3 Years Ago
      I'm not quite sure if it counts as a Minivan, but I think that the Mazda 5 is a pretty good looking people hauler.
        • 3 Years Ago
        I have to agree, fantastic little thing, but you can just take the tardis if you need something really roomy.
        • 3 Years Ago
        Yeah I was wondering where the Mazda 5 was while all of this was going on. Or if the hype the C-Max is getting means that we might get some other cool MPVs like the Honda Stream on our side of the Pacific.
        • 3 Years Ago
        That was before Mazda uglified it with the horizontal tail lamps and the swirls and lines in the sides. It used to be one hot little van, one that I had even considered buying over my Mazda3 Sport!
      • 3 Years Ago
      -> I would think that question only applies here in the USA. The North American market missed many stylish people haulers in exchange to jellybeaned shaped blandness.

      -> For example, the JDM-spec Odyssey, Mitsu's Grandeur, Toyota Estima, Opel Zafira, Hyundai H1 Starex, Honda Stream, and many others.

      -> I'm just glad that the C-Max & Mazda 5 are opening up the gates of bringing more compact, more economical, and more affordable mini-minivans.
      • 3 Years Ago
      Our minivan (Toyota Sienna AWD) is the best vehicle we have ever owned. It does everything it was designed to do exceedingly well. We didn't buy it for looks, styling or to take to the autocross. We bought it because it holds a lot of stuff (especially versus similarly priced SUV's), seats 7, gets decent fuel mileage (especially versus a SUV), and the price was fair ($25K). The AWD system works well and it's been extremely reliable.

      It's the equivalent of the dowdy family wagon of yesteryear. They were also purchased for utilitarian reasons first and style was down the list. There's only so much you can do to style a box.
      • 3 Years Ago
      Isn't the s-max available in the states? thats quite a decent van...
      • 3 Years Ago
      I do think the new C-Max wagon will do quite well in the USA, especially since you can fold both the second and third row seats down to create an almost flat and very large cargo area. And Ford will offer decently powerful engines so the C-Max won't feel "flatfooted" on acceleration, too.
      • 3 Years Ago
      "I think people are predisposed to think they need to drive something huge like that"

      So true - this woman is dead on. Upon learning my wife was pregnant with our first, you wouldn't believe the number of times I was asked which minivan we would be getting. And they were serious. A baby is very small and will stay that way for years; there is no need for a "minivan". Even calling those gigantic things "mini"vans is a total misnomer. We ended it getting a manual trans 3.6 CTS. Awesome car, stylish, fun to drive, and plenty large enough for us, our daughter, and even a future sibling.
      • 3 Years Ago
      I love all the attention the C-Max gets when Mazda has offered the same damned thing here for the past few years.
        • 3 Years Ago
        They never marked it, it was always intended to be low-volume since they import it from Japan and don't make much money on it. I don't think I ever saw a single commercial for it.
      • 3 Years Ago
      This how my wife (4ft 11inch)came to love our T&C mini van,
      before kids, no way she would drive one, too big can't see out of one. She had never driven one before.
      1st kid, maybe some day she said. As we stuffed the kid in the back of my 01 jetta.
      2nd kid I want one now! Got a old used one and she love it so much that we had to get a newer one, She could actually see out of it better than anything else (coming from her old Acura RS no supprise)
      3rd kid, she wants to have one for the rest of her life! LOL!
      Very hand I must say. love opening tall the sliding and rear doors with a touch of the key! LOL!
        • 3 Years Ago
        We didn't get our first minivan until we had 3 kids and the youngest was 7. We had been using a wagon up until then (small, Saturn SW2). We kicked ourselves for waiting so long to get a minivan. Those stupid things are amazing.

        We looked at SUVs and CUVs (shudder) but none of those gave us everything we needed, the vans did. Minivans don't have any less style than an SUV or CUV IMO, so that's a non-starter in my mind.

        For others the proverbial mileage may vary, I suppose.
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