By on September 14, 2017

2018 Chevrolet Tahoe Grande sliding doors - Image: Chevrolet, FCA, The Truth About CarsWould a minivan with all-wheel drive, added ground clearance, and wheel arch cladding ever stand a chance of being called an SUV?

It’s not so far-fetched. There was a time when the Subaru Outback was perceived as nothing more than a wagon, but times changed.

What about the other way around: does the Chevrolet Tahoe Grande’s sliding doors necessitate a minivan designation for America’s top-selling full-size SUV? In other words, is a full-size SUV with sliding doors no longer an SUV? 

No, the Chevrolet Tahoe Grande isn’t a real thing. It’s a rendering completed by TTAC’s own Matt Posky, merging a Tahoe with a Dodge Grand Caravan, after a discussion about sliding doors in TTAC’s Slack virtual HQ. Why have these profoundly practical design elements been forced into limited use by only a handful of new vehicle nameplates?Range Rover Autobiography rear access - Image: Land roverWhat if sliding doors made an appearance on a full-size SUV like the Chevrolet Tahoe, or a smaller utility vehicle like the Mazda CX-9? Wouldn’t the gargantuan entry port have a wonderful effect on accessing the third row? Why not extend the wonders of the sliding door concept to smaller crossovers like the Honda CR-V and Toyota RAV4, enabling greater second row access with some allowance for easily reaching into the deeper recesses of the cargo bay?

Naturally, the other key benefit of sliding doors would remain: parking lot door dings from children (and adults) hastily opening front-hinged doors cease.2018 Honda Odyssey sliding doors - Image: HondaWe don’t know if there’s any chance of practical minivan cues being applied to SUVs and crossovers. Scratch that. We know there’s essentially no chance of practical minivan cues being applied to SUVs and crossovers. And it seems likely that automakers are operating under the belief that, for example, a Chevrolet Tahoe with sliding doors would be labelled by consumers as a minivan.

So now it’s up to you. Can TTAC’s B&B respond to this QOTD in such a manner as to inform automakers that, no, a full-size SUV with sliding doors would just be a more flexible full-size SUV?

Or is an SUV with sliding doors just a minivan?

[Illustration: Matt Posky; Images: General Motors, FCA, Honda, Land Rover]

Timothy Cain is a contributing analyst at The Truth About Cars and Autofocus.ca and the founder and former editor of GoodCarBadCar.net. Follow on Twitter @timcaincars and Instagram.

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65 Comments on “QOTD: Do the New Chevrolet Tahoe Grande’s Sliding Doors Make It a Van or an SUV?...”


  • avatar
    Big Al From 'Murica

    While we have had larger, BOF minivans (Astro), as this is more closely related to the full sized truck and has a pretty large footprint, wouldn’t this be a full sized van? I mean it is the same vein as that Nissan thing and nobody calls it a minivan.

    • 0 avatar
      Luke42

      I’ve looked into full sized vans for family use, and the interior just isn’t as space-efficient or as flexible as a passengers oriented “minivan”.

      It’s a much larger vehicle without much benefit. Also, RWD is a negative (FWD and AWD are much better in the snow in the American Midwest). The only thing you get for a family vehicle by going to, say, a Ford Transit is towing capacity.

      Full sized vans also just as expensive as a regular minivan or even a full-sized pickup truck.

      I want the full-sized van to he the answer when minivans aren’t up to the task, but the devil is in the details. At least in the US-market variants that I’ve seen.

      • 0 avatar
        cdotson

        It’s a bit ironic you call out towing capacity as the sole benefit of going to a Transit. The Transit wagon’s towing capacity is only about 500lbs higher than that of the Flex. Even the cargo van’s towing capacity is less than you get in an Expedition.

        The Nissan NV passenger van only tows like 8700 lbs. The GM 3500 vans are the only ones left with 10k tow limits, and I would hate to get one of those because they’re ancient, have poor ergonomics, don’t offer head restraints for passengers, and my wife’s friend’s 2014 is having frame rust issues (in central Virginia).

        My next travel trailer is going to be between 8500 and 11k lbs. I have three kids and a dog, and one of the benefits of the hypothetical next trailer is the ability to take nieces/nephews camping with us. I need a crew cab pickup to tow the trailer, but then dog and cousins can’t ride.

        I’m halfway between saying the stupid tow ratings are for suckers (current trailer + cargo + passengers marginally exceeds present truck’s GCWR while only limiting highway speed in mountains) and adding a “sleeper” cab to an F250 with a third row of seats.

        • 0 avatar
          Luke42

          I didn’t even consider an Edge. It’s just not the right vehicle for us. It’s simultaneously too small and too big for my family’s purposes.

          Two rows and swinging doors are great in the efficient-commuter-car slot in our driveway (three across works for short trips and in a pinch), but disqualify it for the family-hauler slot. We have 3 kids under 7 (and we haven’t ruled out more), and so 3 rows is essential for a family hauler. Towing is a nice-to-have and something I want, but ultimately secondary.

          I bet the Edge is a great fit for other families, though.

      • 0 avatar
        JohnTaurus

        You do realize that there is a FWD large van, don’t you? It just happens to be quite ugly.

        Its the Ram ProMaster.

        • 0 avatar
          Luke42

          The Promaster FWD, especially with rhe Diesel engine, is interesting, especially since I value a lower load floor.

          But it’s not cheap and it’s an FCA product.

          I had put it on my “check the reliability ratings in a few years” bucket. That was a couple of years ago, so maybe it’s time to revisit that!

          I also love the cheerful-and-practical Transit Connect vans (I drove a Ford Ranger in my 20s). They’re FWD vans, too. But, their tow ratings are practically nonexistent, and their interiors are not optimized for family duty. They don’t solve my problems, even though I like them for being the kind of simple practical working vehicles that pickup trucks used to be.

      • 0 avatar
        stuki

        Once you have more than 4 kids, you realistically pretty much run out of space in a minivan. The Transits et al can scale a good bit further if you have the space for them. And when you run out of space in those…. You have a “workforce” big enough to make those 60s era schoolbus renovations a family affair…

    • 0 avatar
      gtemnykh

      FYI Astro was NOT BOF. Only the Aerostar was. Mazda’s MPV was likewise reinforced unibody with integral frame rails ala XJ Cherokee.

  • avatar
    qest

    I’d still buy a van because I’m not so shallow that I need to display my masculinity with my vehicle choice, but the more vehicles with sliding doors, the better, as far as I’m concerned.

  • avatar
    AVT

    The better question is can a sliding door be applied to the Tahoe given the size of its platform. I can see it working on a suburban, but a tahoe, I think there would be severe structural limitations.

  • avatar
    Luke42

    I’m a minivan guy, both by stage-of-life (3 young children in carseats) and temperament (I’m pragmatic about tools).

    The biggest practical weakness of minivans is that they can only tow up to 3500lbs, which makes RVing a bit of a stretch.

    Big SUVs have two problems: a) lousy fuel economy around town and b) poor 3rd row access with carseats installed.

    Putting sliding doors with good 3rd row access (with Honda MagicSlide-style seats?) on a Tahoe means I’d pretty much have to take a second look at one of these things. Making a tradeoff between fuel economy and towing capacity might make sense, if I can buckle all three of my kids in easily.

    As I’ve said many times, the SUV makers should man up and put practical features like sliding doors on these vehicles. Faux butch styling is completely orthogonal from practicality, and sliding doors are practical.

    But what minivan guys think is obvious, because we’ve already self-selected for practicality. Do the SUV people insist on styling over practicality?

    • 0 avatar
      87 Morgan

      Luke42, to answer your question did I choose styling over practicality? No.

      I traded an 05 Chrysler T&C (which was a great minivan, zero issues touring model with most of the luxo features) AND a Ram 2500 CC 4×4 for one Suburban.

      We had at the time a camper that the minivan could on paper tow, but in reality I was not willing to hook up a trailer to it and drive up I-70. The 2500 seemingly could tow as much as a Kenworth. We also ski a lot, and as much as I love the comments here about good tires and FWD, no thank you. I will opt for good tires and 4wd/AWD all day long (we have driven through some fairly gnarly snowstorms in the mountains that a FWD would have just made the whole trip a lot more difficult if not impossible and or unsafe). We still have the Suburban and use the heck out of its space inside, the camper is another story. We now tent camp as someone drove their VW bug into the Coleman (through it?) 3 years ago on I 70. We have found the tents work just fine.

      So, the Burban was a nice compromise and a way to clear up some garage space etc. To this day, I still regret trading the Ram 2500 though.
      As for the MPG, since I am that guy….I can tell you for certainty the burb gets 1 mpg less in town and 2 mpg less on the highway than the Chrysler T&C. 05′ T&C vs an 08′ Burb so I understand the ‘old’ technology theory and that the newer vans get better mpg. The mpg hit for me, was not enough of a $$ variance to matter.

      • 0 avatar
        qest

        Toyota Sienna with AWD and winter tires.

        • 0 avatar
          87 Morgan

          I also tow a tandem axle horse trailer with livestock in it from time to time.

          For some us, a minivan is not the answer when looking for one utilitarian vehicle that can do multiple chores.

        • 0 avatar
          zamoti

          Funny how this comes up, but also note how unpopular those things are. I looked at one, but the price was a bit obscene for what you get. Also, no spare tire as the rear differential goes where the spare well would, so it’s runflats or a can of tire gunk.
          Also, note that since Dodge killed off the old AWD Caravans there hasn’t been an AWD minivan since (no, the ancient and tiny Mazda MPV doesn’t count).

          • 0 avatar
            markf

            “Also, note that since Dodge killed off the old AWD Caravans there hasn’t been an AWD minivan since (no, the ancient and tiny Mazda MPV doesn’t count).”

            Sienna is available with AWD

          • 0 avatar
            gtemnykh

            “no, the ancient and tiny Mazda MPV doesn’t count”

            It wasn’t exactly tiny, certainly not as commodious or as large on the outside as a current minivan, but it had three legitimate rows of fairly comfortable seats. Just not much cargo room behind the third row (11 cu ft).

      • 0 avatar
        Luke42

        The Tahoe seating arrangement (2nd row seats which must be folded in order to access the 3rd row) is not practical for my purposes.

        Walking around swinging doors with a toddler-in-tow, an infant in a bucket seat, and an opinionated 7 year old is just work that doesn’t need to happen.

        The Tahoe looks fine if your kids are all over about 8, but my oldest is 7.

        So, it’s a minivan for me! But I’d like the towing capacity, if someone would build a minivan on a stronger chassis.

        P.S. Living here in the flatlands of the Midwest, 4×4 is completely unnecessary for here — except to make up for the poor winter driving characteristics of RWD vehicles.

        • 0 avatar
          28-Cars-Later

          Feel the power of van!

          What does one do with an opinionated seven year old?

        • 0 avatar
          zamoti

          I tried everything under the sun to avoid a minivan, but looking back it was dumb. Had Volvo wagons which was fine when we only had two kids. When #3 came, we got a CX-9 which was a royal pain. 3rd row was useless so we had to stuff all three car seats in the 2nd row. Eventually #1 got big enough to ride in 3rd row, but now there’s no cargo room. Enter the roof box. I hated having to put that thing on in the winter, freezing my fingers off the entire time. Loading and unloading that thing from the top of a tall CUV was a pain, trying to balance on a wet bumper while hefting a heavy suitcase or pack ‘n’ play out. What a miserable way to fly. Now that they’re older, we have a Navigator and since they’re almost all out of carseats it’s pretty easy.
          I should have bought that Quest I was looking at way back when and skipped all the nonsense. If I could go back and redo anything, I would just have gotten the van instead.
          New parents, you’ve been warned.

          • 0 avatar
            dima

            Absolutely agree. Fortunately, when time came for me to choose (2 small kids), I choose minivan. Had to go with Mazda 5 as my wife liked the size of it. She refused to drive normal minivan ( too big for her). Even Mazda 5 was way more practical then CUV or SUV. It served us very well. Still it is a favorite car we ever owned (for kids and us). Sliding doors are the thing that makes life easy.

    • 0 avatar
      shane_the_ee

      Note that the 3500lb towing capacity of a minivan is, in practice, a lot less than 3500lbs due to the rear axle weight limit. It’s 3500lbs if you have an empty minivan.*
      The 2nd row in the 2018 Expedition is supposed to be specifically designed for 3rd row access with carseats installed in the 2nd row, ala the new Odyssey. Spoken as a 2015 Odyssey owner with 4 kids in car seats looking to buy a small travel trailer before next summer and an SUV with which to tow it…
      *But you bought a minivan because you needed room for kids and their accessories. So start with 3500lbs and deduct for the kids and things (say 150lbs off the rear axle weight), and now you’re left with 200lbs of tongue weight and a 2000lbs max trailer weight.

    • 0 avatar
      stuki

      Isn’t what you are asking for, pretty much exactly an NV passenger “van” (more like panel truck. Or perhaps stretched, sliding door SUV)?

  • avatar
    Zackman

    Minivans aren’t mini. That term should have been retired by the 1990s. They’re just “vans”.

    This article is preposterous to me, but you succeeded in having me clicking and commenting, so kudos to you, and I’m a sucker because I took the bait – but that’s OK, I’m still smiling about the whole thing!

    • 0 avatar
      arach

      Mazda 5 is a perfect minivan!

      • 0 avatar
        vwbias

        As the owner of both a Honda Odyssey and a Mazda 5, I can say the Mazda is the perfect minivan until you:
        a) have children over about 4 years old.
        b) need to actually use the 3rd row.
        c) Do any long highway trips.

        The Pro’s of the Mazda5 are:
        – Fantastic around town, easy to park and maneuver.
        – Fun to drive (Well more fun than any other minivan…)
        – Excellent for getting baby seats in and out of. (Sliding doors)
        – Very reliable. ours is 7 years old (2010) and we’ve had zero mechanical issues with it.

        Mazda5 cons:
        – Under-powered for extended highway use (especially in the mountains and/or with cargo)
        – Loud inside, in typical Mazda fashion very little sound deadening, lots of wind and tire noise. (It’s fine around town, but a little tiring on the highway.)

        • 0 avatar
          dima

          Mazda 5 is great. Had it till it got 160k miles. At that time kids where 9 and 6. Still fit perfectly. the longest trip we had was 8 hours. Not a single complain from them or us. We had Grand Turing. Yes, it could had more power, but we had 2009 and it felt adequate in most of the time. Perhaps due to 5 speed auto.

          • 0 avatar
            gearhead77

            We just sold our 08 Mazda 5 GT after 8 years of ownership. Only 59k, but the rust and some other issues were creeping up. It had become a third car anyway and we determined we really didn’t need it.

            It treated us well and we got out of it before putting real money into it. It was a fun little box and the only time I really wished for more power was on the highway with hills and a full load. That 2.3 enjoyed being run hard and the 5 spd auto always performed intuitively and quickly.

            But, the Odyssey that followed it and the Sienna SE that has taken the Odysseys place shows that the big vans are much better at family duties (especially growing families)compared to the 5. And, since the MZR 2.3 wasn’t particularly fuel efficient, our real world mileage isn’t too much different with the larger vans. I will take the greater comfort, power and capabilities of the big vans.

            We can take the grandparents with us without two cars with a big van. I can load nearly anything into the back and still use the third row. If something is larger than that, the seats move easily and quickly (the Hondas came out)

      • 0 avatar
        dima

        +1

    • 0 avatar
      Luke42

      The term “minivan” is vestigial, but the distinction between passengers oriented vans and commercial trucks with bolt-in seats is real.

  • avatar
    Thinkin...

    Good question, but why limit it to SUVs? Let’s not forget the Peugeot 1007… sliding doors for a subcompact city car!

    http://zonderpump.com/peugeot-1007.html

  • avatar
    TDIGuy

    Well GM tried it before by labeling the Montana and it’s ilk a CUV, whereas it was a van the year before.

    Just not sure how it would be perceived since it seems people are buying SUVs now *because not van*. Despite being practical, you wouldn’t want anyone to mistake you as a van driver, now would you?

    • 0 avatar
      arach

      Nope, wouldn’t want to be caught dead as a van driver.

      I know van drivers look at “people who don’t want to be van drivers” as superficial, but some times you NEED something but don’t WANT something, and SUVs can be a good compromise- see, I “NEED” a van but really don’t WANT to need a van. I hate the idea that my life has become so insignificant that my kids rule everything, like there’s no more “ME” left in the world. My kids take away all my passions and all the things I enjoy, and its not to say I don’t love and enjoy my kids, but thats ALL life is about.

      And now I am buying a car, and I can buy the Suburban, and dream about fishing trips, and dragging race cars to the track, and off road camping, and buying a boat- all things I won’t do- or I can admit that for the next 8 years my life will be lame, dragging my kids to soccer practice and school plays.

      You know what? Make fun of me for choosing the SUVs, but I’d rather keep that dream alive than admit my life sucks.

      • 0 avatar
        thegamper

        A kindred spirit. This was probably me about 5 years ago. Kids grow, they still take a disproportionate amount of your time, money, social life, but you grow into the role, it sucks less over time. Hang in there buddy. Im still somewhat of a reluctant parent, but its a lot better now than when I had kids in diapers and life was essentially indentured servitude to family and suicide watch for 3 little kids/toddlers running rampant everywhere you go.

      • 0 avatar
        mittencuh

        Why not buy a mid-trim minivan and use the price difference between that and a Suburban to pick up a new or used fun car (no kids allowed)?

      • 0 avatar
        rentonben

        >>My kids take away all my passions and all the things I enjoy, and its not to say I don’t love and enjoy my kids, but thats ALL life is about.

        My $.02:

        Don’t do this! Your kids will hate you for catering to them – take them hunting, take them to foreign countries, take them to fancy restaurants. Do all the damn things you want to do and just bring them along. Kids learn to be adults by watching adults to awesome things.

        I take my kids mountain climbing, cheap and sketchy taco trucks, weird pubs, fancy museums, foreign countries and all the other stuff *I* like doing. Because I’m having fun, they have fun too.

      • 0 avatar
        Luke42

        “You know what? Make fun of me for choosing the SUVs, but I’d rather keep that dream alive than admit my life sucks.”

        Maybe that’s the difference here.

        I really don’t want to go back to my 20s because I had no sex, I had no money, and I had no confidence. I did some cool stuff (accumulating pilot ratings, riding motorcycles, building supercomputers, etc) — but that’s all just the prologue.

        My real life started when we had our first child.

        I’m very happy to be a balding almost-40 minivan dad. It’s way better than what came before!!!

  • avatar
    gomez

    This would make way too much sense. Tesla should have done that with the Model X instead of those goofy-ass falcon doors. You get the same benefits as the falcon door (large access area, a novel take on the rear SUV door, etc.) without the negatives (not being able to open in an average-height garage, not being able to put a roof rack on the vehicle, needing lots of sensors in the door to prevent hitting other vehicles/objects, poor fit/finish/reliability). Yes, there would be those that start calling it a minivan, but the average Tesla owner wouldn’t care.

    • 0 avatar
      BigOldChryslers

      I was going to make basically the same comment. The falcon wing door is an over-engineered solution done mostly to avoid using sliding doors, which is the obvious and proven solution.

      I disagree that Tesla owners wouldn’t care though. Even if Tesla touted it as a CUV/SUV, the press would call it a minivan if it had sliders. I think that would limit the market for it by association.

  • avatar
    Rocket

    It doesn’t even need to be a large vehicle for sliding doors to be practical. The compact 2-row B-Max is a great example. Sliders would have been the right move for Tesla. I’m certainly not suggesting all cars should have sliders, but sometimes they just make sense. Of course, sensible oftentimes doesn’t apply to car-buying decisions, or more young families would be driving minivans.

    https://www.ford.co.uk/cars/b-max

    https://www.ford.co.uk/content/dam/guxeu/rhd/central/cars/b-max/gallery/exterior/3col/ford-bmax-eu-B-MAX_05_RHD-16×9-2160×1215.jpg.renditions.small.jpeg

    • 0 avatar
      JohnTaurus

      I love the B-Max. I wish it would’ve been more successful, and that Ford would have brought it here to complement the C-Max. In other words, it would be the Prius C to the C-Max’s Prius (V?).

      Oh well.

  • avatar
    notapreppie

    I never understood why medium/large SUVs and vans don’t ALL come with sliders.

    I mean, I can understand on smaller cars since the added weight becomes a bigger factor. But, when your car already weighs 2+ tons, the relative weight increase isn’t that big.

  • avatar
    dukeisduke

    I had to look at the calendar to make sure it wasn’t April 1st. Got me for a second there. The thing that looked funny was the back end of the “Tahoe” – it’s a Dodge Caravan.

    • 0 avatar
      Luke42

      It got me!

      I started googling to see when and where I could buy a Tahoe Grande, and which seating arrangements were available.

      Alas, I hadn’t missed a new product announcement somewhere.

      This vehicle would compliment a Tesla Model 3 nicely in Luke’s Fantasy Driveway 2020. (The efficient commuter car does most of the miles, so it’s more important to have an EV for that role.)

      It’s important to note that sliding doors also implies a minivan-style seating arrangement. Just putting sliding doors on a Tahoe’s existing wouldn’t really give it the combination of capabilities I’m looking for.

  • avatar
    Hank

    I can’t think of any vehicle I’ve driven in the past couple years that was less space efficient than Tahoes and Suburbans. I guess years of minivans and pickups leaves one with a high expectation for the “U” in SUV, and a cramped, uncomfortable third row in a vehicle of that size is inexcusable when some minivans offer real seating, with real access, and leg and hip room all the way back.

    That said, I like them, they drive very well for their size and are well equipped. That’s part of the issue. Rarely do the buyers ever, ever actually sit their own but in that back seat for four hours, or they’d know how bad it is.

    Then there is the price. They should be higher than minivans–you’re getting greater towing capacity and a larger engine, etc. However, the size of their cost premium is still quite disproportionate, especially if, like me, you’ve bought well-equipped Silverados enough to know just how high the Tahoe/Suburban markup is even to more capable V8 BOF vehicles.

    They’re all just station wagons anyway.

  • avatar
    roverv8i

    A van is a van because of the interior volume. They have a much higher floor to ceiling height than a SUV/CUV. The doors are not relevant. Traditional full size vans often came with the double side doors instead of a sliding door. Vans also have flat floors when the seats are removed or they are fold into the floor. Again, making for a much larger vertical space. There will not be a hump in the floor of a van. SUV/CUV’s have a hump of at least some sort front to back. Bigger if it’s rear wheel drive. This is typically hidden when the seats are folded to make a somewhat flat to flat load space but you do lose all the space between the seat back and the actual floor of the vehicle. This may actually be the simplest way to look at it. A van has a load floor that is the actual floor, not the top of the seats and trunk. The seats in a van are just an accessory for carrying Human cargo.

  • avatar
    Syke

    The only way that Tahoe could replace a minivan is if the floor is completely flat once the second and third row of seats and folded away or removed.

    My main need for a minivan is as an RV to camp in. Which means I need a flat floor for the air mattress and sleeping bag. And enough headroom that I can dress in the van while kneeling. I’ve yet to see an SUV/CUV that gives me that.

    • 0 avatar
      stuki

      The Sequoia does it. You may have to do your kneel-dressing in the front seat, but aside from that, it’s a good vehicle to live out of in the boons. At least as long as you don’t plan on venturing too far from gas stations. I’m sure there are others as well. Minivans arguably does the space part of it better, but you’re much more limited in how far down a forrest service road or goat track you can go, to get away from the main road.

  • avatar
    slavuta

    No, it is not a minivan. Body style determines class, not the availability of sliding door. Nobody calls Nissan Stanza Wagon a minivan for some reason. Minivan is car-based thing, not SUV-based. But I think, it is more grey area than clean cut line.

  • avatar
    Richard Chen

    Remember when Ford opted not to engineer sliding doors for the Flex, and instead spent the money on the interior?

  • avatar
    Higheriq

    Sliding doors = van or minivan (depending on construction). Period.

  • avatar
    newenthusiast

    I’m going to say no, it’s subjectively not a van. I suspect that the actual NHTSA or EPA requirements might be met, but as a consumer, I would not consider it as such.

    Vans have a lower floor, and more usable cargo space than a Tahoe or a Suburban, even though something like the Express is based on a pick truck.

    The biggest thing is SUV seats are fixed, unlike minivans or vans. Even if they ALL fold down, the cargo floor is MUCH higher than a van. I also don’t believe any SUV on the market offers DIY bolt in/off seats for consumers to customize as needed.

    That being said, if something like the Ford Flex or any 3 row crossover had sliding doors, it would make them more practical for ingress and egress for everyone. I’d love it.

    Also, it would offer more vehicle options to the companies who modify vehicles for drivers or families that need to consider wheelchair transport on a regular basis. For instance, right now BraunAbility offers a wheelchair accessible Ford Explorer (for those that need greater towing capacity) but it requires a custom made sliding door system on the passenger side. If OEMs offered this already, it would reduce costs for buyers in a segment where income is more likely to be limited and insurance may not cover all the costs of such a vehicle.

  • avatar
    turbo_awd

    In this case, it’s a victim of marketing/TV culture doing TOO GOOD a job of demonizing “soccer mom” from the 90s as someone practical, dependable, in charge, and trying to make life go smoothly, rather than trying to make it “fun”. People just can’t see themselves as “that”. It’s almost like you’ve given up on life at that point.

    We all swear we won’t raise our kids the same way our parents raised us, because we hated X, Y or Z about it. And, the longer I have kids, the more I understand my parents and realize that we’re more alike than different.

    My wife would have DIED rather than drive a minivan. But, when kid #2 came along, the dual stroller wouldn’t fit into the compact sedan’s trunk (I’d tried to advise her into the hatchback, but she wouldn’t hear of it), and so we looked at pretty much EVERY 3-row SUV on the market even remotely in our price range back in ’09 (we had our reasons). And every single one had the same problem: 3rd row was a super pain to access, and if you had a car seat or two already strapped in, you just couldn’t do it. She finally gave in and accepted an ’08 Grand Caravan off-rental as a “temporary” solution – it was relatively cheap, so we wouldn’t lose too much by buying something else later, whenever we found that something “better”. That something else – 7 years later – turned out to be a ’15 T&C Touring L (and that was only because of an airbag recall on the ’08). At this point, she has worked through her issues, and gladly tells everyone how much she loves the van and how practical it is. And the ’15’s actually kinda fun to drive. Good power, can turn a little, etc..

    I’ve hauled more 4x8s in that car (the ’08) than many people in their trucks – guy at Home Depot even said “wow – my truck can’t hold a full 4×8!”, 12-foot 2x10s, etc. Unless you really need more than 3500 lbs towing or a huge METAL cargo bed or whatever, a minivan’s a better solution for the weekend DIYer.. Better mpg, a roof to cover stuff up if you need to leave it inside, room for 7 when needed. Stow-n-Go is a HUGE win!

    But no, minivan = “boring, soulless, no fun” slave-to-the-man car. SUV (same basic platform, just a little rearrangement of doors, ride height, seating to be less practical) = “rugged, weekend warrior” vehicle that shows the man that he can shove it.. Marketing works, people..

  • avatar
    Prado

    You will never see sliding doors on SUVs/CUVs because it would then become too obvious to the oblivious consumer that they actual are driving glorified vans/minivans and not the rugged off road capable vehicle that they imagine themselves in. That mocked up Tahoe/Suburban makes me sad and just emphasizes the silly high beltline and zero ground clearance of the current generation. #NotMyTahoe

  • avatar
    MRF 95 T-Bird

    It’s a van like the Nissan NV which is based on the Titan is a full sized van. Or the full sized Chevrolet Express. Sliders or swing out doors and a large cargo area make it a van.

  • avatar
    markf

    SUVs are just minivans without the convenience of sliding doors

  • avatar
    Johnster

    I like this and if I were going to buy a full-sized SUV and sliding rear doors were an option I’d like to have them. But let’s face it, they’re just too practical to sell well.

    Besides, who would give up having the chance to ding the doors of cars parked next to you?

  • avatar
    gtemnykh

    “Would a minivan with all-wheel drive, added ground clearance, and wheel arch cladding ever stand a chance of being called an SUV?”

    “Simpsons did it!”

    http://www.theautochannel.com/vehicles/new/reviews/1997/nhromiak97061201.html

    I guess Mazda called it a “sport utility van” this retaining the correct letters in the acronym.

    Our family really likes ours, it’s relegated to local/farm duty now and rust is slowly getting the best of it, but it truly was a perfect package, and very comfortable on long trips. For my current purposes, it would be perfect since it can fit a lot of things, do road trips, and still manage beach driving better than a AWD crossover thanks to a true mechanical 4wd system and good clearance. What it really needed though was more power, the 3.0L V6 was relevant back in the early 90s, but by the late 90s a 155hp V6 was outgunned by just about everyone. The 3.4L in my 4Runner feels MUCH stronger especially in terms of low end torque (217ft lb to the Mazda’s 169), let alone what a modern powerplant would do for that car.

  • avatar

    We’ve been socialized into equating sliding side doors = minivan. Could they work as per the “concept” picture, absolutely. Who cares what the public calls it? More important is would the public BUY it?


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