1972 Ford Carousel (photo courtesy: forum.chryslerminivan.net)
What is the deal with minivans? I was thinking the other day that as an outdoor person, minivan’s are perfect. They have lots of room for people and gear, AWD (in some cases), lots of roof space, and better MPG’s than an SUV. But apparently I can’t own one because they’re not cool. I could get a wagon though. Isn’t a minivan just a super-sized wagon?
My wife and I are planning on taking a large 20 day vacation this summer where we plan on driving aver 5000 miles with our three older children. My wife drives a 2008 Ford Taurus X, which we love, but does not have enough space for a family of five for such a long journey. We were originally going to rent a minivan from the local enterprise, but a two week rental will set us back $1,300 with tax.
Here’s the situation: I own an 08 Dodge Caravan, 117000KM’s (Canada), bought used at 94000KM’s or so. It’s been good to us…but I have this feeling in my stomach that doom is pending on this van. I keep it well maintained, do my own work on it when I can. I am noticing more and more rust spots (underbody) and oil seepages under the hood (oil levels are good). It’s a base SE, no power doors or lift gate. Last time I did some brake work a bolt broke due to corrosion.
We have 2 kids and love the space of the stow and go’s and such. However, I’m no fool, this van is a liability in my mind. Am I overreacting?
Want to sell and buy a similar vintage Honda CR-V. (Read More…)
The Wall Street Journal [sub] asked several Chrysler dealers about the newest hotness being developed in Auburn Hills, and came away with the tales of a “man van” that Chrysler hopes will lend the Dodge Caravan some masculine swagger. According to the WSJ, this re-man-ification of the minivan includes:
a slightly sportier look on the outside, possibly finished off with a black-and-gray interior trimmed with hot-colored stitching on the seats and steering wheel
“Edgy” ads are in for marketers looking to reignite America’s love affair with the minivan. If you thought Toyota’s “Swagger Wagon” Sienna spot seemed strange, check out this inexplicably surreal ad for Dodge’s Caravan. The ad’s creator Wieden + Kennedy was hired to give Dodge a hipper image, but thus far it has singularly failed to capture the magic of its previous auto work, like Honda’s “Cog” spot. Maybe that’s why Chrysler Group decided to go with Gotham for its forthcoming corporate image-enhancing ad campaign.
There’s nothing truly original in the car business. Everyone begs, steals and borrows from everyone else. Or sometimes, the same (and usually obvious) idea ferments for years in various heads or companies, and then suddenly appears in the same format at the same time in totally different places. How about the modern FWD mini-van? It first bubbled up in two totally different branches of Chrysler, sat for years,and then suddenly sprang forth, one in the US, the other in France, both at the same time. Coincidence, or is it just that every idea has its day in the sun? For the minivan, that would be 1983. In France, it was the Espace; in the US it was the Dodge Caravan/Plymouth Voyager. (Read More…)
It’s heartbreaking. To see a major company that literally carried a healthy portion of America’s heartland go up in Euro-flames. I remember the beauty of it. The 1990′s minivans that completely obliterated their competition. LH sedans that were state of the art for their time. Cloud cars that had more power and road feel than their American brethren. Neons that were so good that even Toyota was jealous. Believe it or not, I still think the talent base of Chrysler is there. But to get it out…