Tag: Minivan

By on February 7, 2017

2017 Ford Flex Limited EcoBoost - Image: © Timothy Cain/The Truth About Cars

My sister hates the Ford Flex.

She’s never driven a Ford Flex, mind you. She just hates the way it looks.

I, on the other hand, am a huge fan of the Ford Flex’s exterior design, particularly in Blue Jeans paint, particularly without these black wheels.

There are only two sides to this argument. There is no middle ground on which you stand and declare, “Meh, it’s alright.” Since 2008, consumers have fallen on either one side of the fence or the other. You either love the Ford Flex, or you hate the Ford Flex.

Based on the Flex’s lack of marketplace success, there are apparently too many haters. Some nine years after the Flex was launched, inspired in 2008 by the 2005’s Ford Fairlane Concept, Ford’s alternative crossover is increasingly forced into an ever-narrowing niche. The style quotient remains high — at least in the eyes of those who’ve always loved it — but the Flex now manifests too many signs of old age in a market full of remarkably competent and more popular challengers. (Read More…)

By on January 30, 2017

FCA Windsor minivan assembly Dodge Grand Caravan 2011 - Image: FCA

A good many questions that start with the phrase, “Given an unlimited budget … ” tend to focus on what a person would buy with a bottomless pit of money — and why not? It’s fun to fill our imaginary garages with machines made of moonbeams and unobtanium.

Not this time. Right now, I’m here to ask you: what car makes you froth at the mouth? What car offends you worse than a gunnysack full or rotting tuna? What car would you never buy?

(Read More…)

By on January 18, 2017

2016 Honda Odyssey Touring Elite

Sometimes a manufacturer churns out a base trim that — all things considered — might just be the best choice for that particular model. Here’s a candidate.

Wait, wait, wait! Yes, this is a minivan … but before you scroll past this post to revel in Steph’s news reports or one of Jack’s adventures, consider this: when was the last time you bought something which truly made your life easier? Because that’s what minivans are all about.

(Read More…)

By on November 11, 2016

2017 Chrysler Pacifica, Image: FCA

Tranquility returns to North America as FCA’s ill-fated minivan assembly plant prepares itself for a return to active duty.

That, the used car rulebook is getting an update, an autoworkers’ union puts its hand out for government cash, and Porsche shrinks the price-tag and stretches the length of the Panamera … after the break!

(Read More…)

By on September 19, 2016

1982 Volkswagen Transporter Westfalia in Colorado Junkyard - ©2016 Murilee Martin - The Truth About Cars

The Volkswagen Vanagon has a global cult following, for reasons I have never understood, and the Westfalia camper version is an object of heavy-duty veneration among Vanagon zealots. You hear about the crazy prices that any Westfalia Vanagon will fetch … but it turns out that most serious Volkswagen fanatics are too cheap to pay the prices they quote so knowledgeably. So, rough examples of the Vanagon show up often at cheap self-service wrecking yards.

Here’s an ’82 that I found last week in the Denver area. (Read More…)

By on September 6, 2016

1996 Isuzu Oasis in Colorado junkyard, LH front view - ©2016 Murilee Martin - The Truth About Cars

One of the best things about haunting high-inventory-turnover self-service junkyards is finding really rare vehicles. Sometimes those ultra-rare machines are ancient European cars nobody remembers, sometimes they are commonplace cars with options nobody ordered, and sometimes they are obscure imported minivans that disappeared without a trace.

Today’s Junkyard Find is the third type, with a bewildering badge-engineering subplot that made sense to about a half-dozen suits in Japan. (Read More…)

By on July 26, 2016

2015 Honda Odyssey EX potato field, Image: © 2016 Timothy Cain/The Truth About Cars

Ten days ago, we were reaching the final stages of a basement semi-renovation that would see GoodCarBadCar’s headquarters moved from the top floor of GCBC Towers to the basement. The new office would make room for a new miniature inhabitant upstairs, create easier outside access for the dog, and carve out greater work/life balance. Ikea is more than a year from opening in our locale, however, so it fell to Mrs. Cain and me to install new shelving. We needed lumber. Lots of it.

Naturally, this calls for a pickup truck. That’s how it works, right? That’s what the marketers tell us. That’s what many of us tell ourselves. That’s what society has led us to believe.

We took our Honda Odyssey instead.

Thus began a 1,000-mile nine-day span in which our long-term 2015 Honda Odyssey would once again prove that minivans make the most sense most of the time. (Read More…)

By on May 25, 2016

2016 Kia Sedona Exterior Front, Image: © 2016 Alex L. Dykes/The Truth About Cars

Let’s face it: Nobody wants to drive what their parents drove, even if it’s the right vehicle for the task at hand. Minivan shoppers balked at their parent’s station wagon, and CUV shoppers seem to believe that minivans are the gateway to mom-jeans and velcro sneakers.

My sister-in-law is the perfect example of a conflicted minivan shopper. With four kids, she needs a minivan. However, because she grew up sitting in the back of a string of Chevrolet Astro vans, she has a special hatred reserved for minivans. It probably doesn’t help that her parents recently traded in an Oldsmobile Silhouette for a Chrysler Town & Country.

Technically, a family of six will fit in your average three-row crossover, but even the biggest CUVs have a cramped back seat and limited cargo compared to the average minivan.

Seeing an opportunity to differentiate itself, Kia decided to put a different twist on the Sedona when it was redesigned for 2015. The latest Sedona gives up some traditional minivan practicality in an attempt to appeal to crossover shoppers on the fence.

(Read More…)

By on May 4, 2016

2017 Chrysler Pacifica Exterior Front 3/4. Image: Fiat Chrysler Automobiles

A dream collaboration has finally become a reality for Fiat Chrysler Automobiles CEO Sergio Marchionne.

After angling for a partnership for over a year, FCA has announced a joint venture with Google’s Self-Driving Car Project. This is the first time the mega company has worked directly with an automaker to test its shadowy autonomous vehicle technology. (Read More…)

By on April 22, 2016

1992 Toyota Previa in Colorado Junkyard, LH front view - ©2016 Murilee Martin - The Truth About Cars

Living in Colorado, I have become something of a connoisseur of low-sales volume, all/four-wheel-drive versions of otherwise commonplace vehicles. The rarest one so far has got to be this ’87 Ford Tempo AWD, but I also have managed to find some fairly unusual All-Trac-equipped Toyota vehicles.

There’s this ’90 Camry All-Trac, a car that’s a rarity even in this state and just about unheard of anywhere else, and a few examples of the Corolla All-Trac wagon. Now we have this gleaming gold Previa All-Trac. (Read More…)

By on April 9, 2016

Gaffigan Pacifica ad

Chrysler needed a pitchman who could rally a nation of parents around its all-important 2017 Pacifica minivan, so it called on Jim Gaffigan.

In a series of new commercials released by Fiat Chrysler Automobiles, the deadpan “everyman” stand-up comic talks up the Pacifica’s ability to improve one’s “dad brand.”

Gaffigan, known for refraining from profanity while practicing the time-honored art of observational humor, comes across as vaguely narcissistic and aloof in the ads, often forgetting the names of his own kids and watching video clips of himself on the Pacifica’s flip-up seatback monitors.

(Read More…)

By on March 28, 2016

Toyota Tarago

There are longer minivan jumps you could watch, even some with explosions, but no flying family hauler can match the poise and grace of this 1980s Toyota Tarago.

Somewhere in rural Australia — possibly near a dingo — this sturdy conveyance not only survived its flight seemingly unscathed, it probably stopped off for a case of Fosters after the jump before driving a pack of blonde teens home.

(Read More…)

By on March 2, 2016

Thomas' Honda Mobilio sits beside his Chrysler Town & Country in Japan, Image: © 2016 Thomas Kreutzer/The Truth About Cars

It wasn’t supposed to be like this.

The Town & Country I worked so hard to import into Japan was supposed to be my wife’s. I had planned to buy whatever I wanted and, although I hadn’t quite decided on what that was going to be, classic Japanese iron was on my mind. The second-generation Toyota Soarer and the ’90s-era Toyota Celica GT-Four were leading candidates. I was having fun considering other options, too.

A second minivan, however, was not among them.

(Read More…)

By on February 29, 2016

Ford Transit Connect XLT Exterior, Image: © Nicholas Naylor

(Everybody say “Hi!” to Nick, who is here to share his tale of Transit Connect ownership with the B&B! — JB)

Last year, when my wife and I were first looking at minivans, I went by the Ford dealer to check out the new Transit Connect. The van really appealed to me, with its emphasis on utility, its quirky charm, and the Euro pedigree. My wife, our designated minivan driver, wouldn’t give it the slightest consideration. She deemed it more suitable for a mobile pet cremation business than for Mommy duty. We wound up with a Nissan Quest, which I wrote about here and with which we have been very happy.

Last year I started a surfboard business. This meant that I was borrowing the Quest for long stretches at a time. It also meant that it was finally time for me to consider getting something appropriately capacious for myself, giving me a perfect excuse to add a Transit Connect to our fleet.

(Read More…)

By on January 15, 2016

1968 Comparison Test (2 of 26)

Hi folks,

I have a ’15 Subaru WRX and a ’68 Ford Mustang. I pick my daughter up from daycare everyday. When the weather is nice, I drive the Mustang.

My wife and I are thinking of having a second kid, which would render my Mustang unusable since there’s no middle seat and zero space behind the driver. I’ve been lurking on a bunch of model-specific sites and on The H.A.M.B., but I can’t find much info on classics that will fit two car seats comfortably, at least one of which would be rear-facing.

(Read More…)

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