By on October 19, 2010

Part three in our ongoing series features Honda’s Odyssey, and makes “hipper than thou” minivan marketing an official trend (remember kids, you need three to make a trend). Post-irony never saw this one coming…

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28 Comments on “Honda’s Minivan Hip Replacement...”


  • avatar

    Rad as they are, minivans are still too expensive for the demographic that is most likely to be interested in this sort of image.

    • 0 avatar
      PeregrineFalcon

      Five points to the gentleman in the hat; assuming you’re talking about “minivans that aren’t terrible.” Dodge blows out brand new Caravans for ~$16K at least once a year; but there’s a reason for that.

    • 0 avatar
      psarhjinian

      Most young parents, myself included, who buy minivans tend to buy used if finances are an issue.
       
      There’s a few people who will pick the Mazda5 (which is good, but can be cramped for people and cargo) or 3.3L Caravan (which is a miserable vehicle).  I’m not sure who buys them new, but I suspect it tends to be the more well-off dual-earner families whose children are older.

  • avatar
    dwford

    You must really hate your family life to get excited about a minivan because of fireworks and heavy metal music. How does this ad make you think you can reclaim your youth by buying an Odyssey? Points for using correct music for the desired demo (Gen-X). It always annoyed me that Cadillac tried to lure younger buyers using music that appeals to people in their 60′s.

  • avatar
    mikedt

    As a father and a mini van owner I really don’t get this need for my mini van to be cool or hip. It’s for hauling the family and their crap – I want it cheap, safe, reliable and spacious. It’s not for picking up chicks. If that’s what you need then maybe you shouldn’t have gotten married?

  • avatar

    Toyota’s “Swagger Wagon” campaign is a cultural touchstone not because the vehicle is cool but because it points out the obvious: that rap/hip-hop music is truly an important part of pop culture.
    Do the math: When our cutesy 35-year-old “Swagger Wagon” parents were 11, they were diggin’ Aerosmith/Run- DMC’s “Walk This Way”. The following winter, it would be The Beastie Boys’ (You Gotta) “Fight For Your Right To Party”.
    The Honda Odyssey ad, however, is just wrong. Being beckoned by a minivan is like someone being beckoned by their mother. Wrong on SO MANY levels.

  • avatar
    SherbornSean

    Let’s lighten up a little bit here.  This is just Honda announcing “we’re back and happy to wear the crown of top minivan for the next 5 years.” 

    Every parent feels a little conflicted over their role, occasionally giving in to dreams of what might have been.  It’s OK to indulge those fantasies once in a while.  Just as long as you get back in the van and make it to soccer practice on time.

  • avatar
    Sammy B

    I see a disturbing lack of Foghat in that ad!  Honda won’t be able to top the “Respect the Van” campaign w/ “Slow Ride” cranking….

  • avatar
    Zackman

    (remember kids, you need three to make a trend).

    Well, Jack Kerouac dismissed the “beat” generation by saying that three people do not make a generation, but in the world of automobiles, three may be so.

    What Pete said brings back memories – we couldn’t afford the Chrysler minivans in the 80′s, even the bare-bones models, and that’s when we really needed one! We made do with our ’81 Reliant, stick shift, no A/C, no nothing. But we survived and thrived just the same!

    So, to all the auto makers who over-content and over-price their stuff that would really be of benefit to their families: a pox on your house!

    • 0 avatar
      SherbornSean

      Zackman,
      You make a good point — Toyota and Honda sure have ben taking minivan pricing higher.  $45K for a top of the line model?  Sounds crazy to me, unless they have found a way to prevent it from selling like a combination of spoilt milk, vomit and Junior’s diapers. 

      That might just be worth $700/month.

  • avatar

    LOL what a great ad

  • avatar
    ash78

    If you think about what people have spent on SUVs–which still shocks me to this day, considering an easy 30% of the price goes to things that are rarely if ever used, like beefy suspensions, transaxles, tranny coolers, and trailer hitches–these are a relative bargain.
     
    Remember, a fully-loaded $40k minivan is probably an alternative to someone looking at a $50k+ Tahoe. It’s all relative.
     
    As a new dad myself, seeing the strain on the budget, I think there need to be FAR more vehicles like the Mazda5 ($18-$23k range) than these high-end loaded mega-vans, but if they’re a step towards getting people out of ladder-framed death machines, then that’s a success in my book. That’s where GM’s Lambda vehicles really shine, IMO–getting people out of the excess capacity of SUVs and into something more objectively appropriate for their needs.

    • 0 avatar
      iNeon

      if they’re a step towards getting people out of ladder-framed death machines, then that’s a success in my book. That’s where GM’s Lambda vehicles really shine, IMO–getting people out of the excess capacity of SUVs and into something more objectively appropriate for their needs.
       
      Have you ever looked at the MPG computer in the typical soccer mom’s minivan? My Sister gets 19 MPG in a 3.3L Town & Country. My Father, on the other hand– only gets 16 MPG in a 5.2L Ram.
       
      Pulling a 24-Foot boat.
       
      We can pretend to be objective all we want, but the fact of the matter is: we can’t look at the EPA sticker and proclaim every person’s getting better than that highway number. In the real world, minivans are barely more efficient than a full-framed death machine. BTW: It doesn’t take a V8 to make a vehicle a weapon.

    • 0 avatar
      psarhjinian

      Have you checked the city mileage of a body-on-frame truck?  Highway numbers are nice, but I’ve seen what my father’s F-150 gets versus our Sienna.  In urban/suburban family duty things shift somewhat.

    • 0 avatar
      ash78

      @iNeon,
       
      I don’t particularly care about mpg numbers, since you assessment probably isn’t far from most people’s experiences in real life. I’m more concerned with the number of people who buy a 7,000# RWD beast when they really need a 4,500# FWD pussycat. But nobody restricts those choices, so we have to just assume they’re acting rationally.
       
      Yes, vehicle choice IS a matter of public safety at a certain point, and I don’t propose “telling people what they can and can’t buy” — however, I do propose a tiered licensing system that more accurately reflects the skill and time-behind-wheel required to operate ever larger and more complex vehicles. In a purely free market, minivans should fill that void, but trucks have gotten so good with their roadworthiness over the past decade, the minivan driveability advantage has almost disappeared.

    • 0 avatar
      iNeon

      Let people drive what they will.

    • 0 avatar

      Let people drive what they will.

      Sorry, but no. People are free to buy what they will, but there should be at least a basic knowledge test (with particular focus on inertia, and center-of-gravity) before anyone is allowed to operate an SUV. Or a 400 hp sports car, for that matter.

  • avatar
    FleetofWheel

    Still don’t get the contradiction of wanting to boast about your fertility with ‘Baby on Board’ signs and window stickers of lacrosse, prep schools et all and being slightly embarrassed to be driving a minivan.
     
    Given the high price of premium minivans, how is driving around a spacious, luxurious $40K+ vehicle some kind of compromise?

    • 0 avatar
      Zackman

      You need lots of window glass space to display your family stickers – you know, Dad, Mom, a dozen kids, cats, dogs, birds and everything else some people display on their vans next to the soccer ball and various political campaign declarations. “Baby on board”? You’re 20 years too late for that! But, a sticker that reads: “My scumbag, low-life, derelict, druggie son can beat up your honor student” is always a welcome sight!

  • avatar
    Jimal

    Lets forget for a moment that the Transit Connect is far hipper than anything Honda, Toyota or Dodge are offering. If they could ever offer a consumer version of that…

    • 0 avatar
      PeregrineFalcon

      Ford has the Transit Connect with a rear bench, but that requires the XLT Wagon trim; and at that price you’re pretty much on-par with a V6 Sienna 7-seater.

      Not much of a bargain there.

    • 0 avatar
      ash78

      Plus, last time I checked the passenger Connect is only available with an anemic NA 4-banger and the price is pushing $30k. Unfortunately, not a great value for the non-commercial customer.
       
      Stick an Ecoboost in there and price it competitively, though…

  • avatar
    MRL325i

    No factory roof rack/rails on these things.  Way to remove utility, Honda.

  • avatar
    findude

    Never mind the ad, just look at that Odyssey. I have a 2002 Odyssey, bought new, which is probably the best car I’ve ever owned. It is certainly not the one I loved the most (it’s near the bottom of that list), but I begrudge it a healthy respect for being very good at what it does.
     
    But, a couple of days ago I had a chance to drive a mid 1970′s VW bus with a Westfalia camper package.  I came back home and took a good look at the interior of the Odyssey. Imagine what I could do with a serious pop-up top on that thing. . . . . .  Of course, the VW bus was two feet shorter and about a foot taller and the front crumple zone consisted of your shins.  But still, why aren’t the minivan makers of today partnering with some coach builder (Westfalia or Riviera or one of those) to offer families a minivan that comfortably sleeps four?
     
    Food for thought.

  • avatar
    MRL325i

    “But still, why aren’t the minivan makers of today partnering with some coach builder (Westfalia or Riviera or one of those) to offer families a minivan that comfortably sleeps four?”

    Because the makers have convinced too many that a minivan is a dorkmobile, so that would only add to the dork factor.  Poncho tried it with the Azztec.  I see many more Combi/Wetphalias around than those things.

    It is funny how they are trying to make minivans cool.

  • avatar
    VanillaDude

    The reason for the SUV boom was the minivan. Minivans suck. I have been stuck with one for five years and loath it. It does the jobs it is tasked to do, but it is about as exciting to own and drive as a toilet. I am holding off replacing my wagon because if I get a new vehicle, my wife will stick me with daily life with this monstrocity because my family should always get the newest safest vehicle, and right now, it is this craptastic minivan.

    It tries. It really does. It has loads of comfy touches. It is silent. It is often complimented by other minivan driving parental drones. There is nothing wrong with it except for the fact that having one is like eating pretty sandwiches made of cardboard. You driving soul goes into a coma. Your testoserone plunges, and you swear you start to lactate and begin to wear white sneakers with mom jeans.

    These ad agencies are jacking with us. They know the truth. Minivans are rolling purses and about as interesting as making a Checker taxi cab a sports car by pasting rally stripes and a spoiler on it.

    So keep this Honda or Toyota or Dodge “man-van” crap out of my face. $40,000?! No way would I ever spend that much money on a product this stupifyingly dull. Ad agencies cannot just tell these minivan manufacturers that drivers have caught on to these machines as being rolling sensory deprivation tanks.


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