Monday, July 13, 2015

I hate minivans

I hate minivans...

I have since Lee Iacocca strolled past an assembly line of half-built K-cars before proudly coming to a stop in front of an '84 Dodge Caravan.

It doesn't matter whose badge they carry, they're all awful...

It's not about the obvious assault on automotive design.  Face it, there just isn't any way to make these bulging weebles look good.  All the heavy metal rifts and pyrotechnics in the world won't make them cool no matter what Honda thinks.

They're the ultimate expression of the Costco generation.  And why not, they're perfect for it.  As in, perfectly proportioned for America's ever expanding... "proportions."  They're designed to let you stuff the kids, the dog and a pallet of Kirkland Peanut butter with plenty of room left over for that 32 Oz triple-mocha latte' in the cup holder.

They drive just like the family car mostly because they're just a top heavy, overweight and under-powered version of it. 

One thing you're not likely to see is a lot of turbocharged or "High Performance" versions.  That's because the whole "family friendly" thing kind of goes out the window  the first time soccer mom encounters  200 foot pounds of torque steer on a wet road.  Oh, did I forget to mention that most of them are Front Wheel Drive?

It's why anything over 300HP these days will have all that power going to either the rear wheels or ALL the wheels...

They have their benefits though...  For one, they're disposable.   When you're done with them you just ball them up and toss them over the wall of the nearest junkyard .  Which is how the majority end up when their owners discover their 6 foot blind spot.

I mean, let's get real here.  It's taken almost 20 years for the rear view backup camera to become mainstream and nothing has more need of it than a minivan.  BMW's and Mercedes aside ( that don't need them BTW ) the first mass produced vehicles to  have them as standard equipment were minivans.  

Not because it was cool but because there was a very real need especially when half your market is wearing trifocals and racing to get the senior special at Country Kitchen.

Thing is, I don't deny the need for something in that market segment but I think a small SUV or a wagon like the very cool ( sadly discontinued ) Dodge Magnum would have done a better job.

Yeah, the Smithsonian has a Caravan on display but is it really such an honor when it's sitting next to Jerry Seinfeld's Puffy shirt? 

Personally, I think the shirt was a more positive influence.

I'm a car guy meaning I have a deep appreciation for things like styling, performance and serviceability.  In other words, all things NOT a minivan. 

The sight of one of those lumbering sloths struggling to attain the speed limit just sucks the life out of my day.  They're everywhere!  weaving between lanes, cutting off traffic and generally just being a nuisance.

Worse are the drivers.  From my research I've come up with three primary types.

1. The Early Bird specials  -  Usually the senior set determined to slow traffic to nothing more than 10 miles below the speed limit on their way to fish stick Friday.

2. The Soccer Moms - Those terrible taxis piloted by frenzied souls attempting to find that perfect balance between their smartphone and actual driving.

3. The drag racer - Usually a male who hasn't quite figured out that not everything with a aluminium wheels is a "performance" car.  These guys are convinced that 150 HP in a 2 Ton bus is a match for any Corvette and they're going to prove it.  

I can't really blame him though, he's just desperate to reclaim his Y chromosome.  Thing is, that isn't going to happen in a rolling Uterus with third row seats.

I'd prefer not to be around any of them especially if they decide to "Crossover" to something like an SUV.  Nothing like throwing around an extra ton of steel while "soccer mom" juggles text messages, voicemails, screaming at the kids and driving...In that order.

I'm not anti-family, anti-senior or really anti-anything unless its perpetuating a bad idea.  Which lies at the core of my hatred for those ugly metal eggs otherwise known as minivans.  

They had their place and their time back when this country was still grappling with the need for more than 9 miles per gallon and vehicles made out of more steel than you'd find in the average 747. 

But that time has passed.  Time to move on.  Time to close a chapter on one of this country's worst inventions.

Die Minivan DIE!