Tag: minivans

By on August 15, 2016

2016 Mazda 5 sliding doorsTwo years after reporting on its U.S. death, TTAC can now report the Mazda5 will live on in current form for at least another model year in Canada.

The 2017 Mazda5 is not yet featured on Mazda’s Canadian media site, but when asked by TTAC last week whether the one true remaining North American “mini”van would hold its place in Mazda Canada’s lineup, we received an affirmative response.

“We are continuing to offer the Mazda5 here in the Canadian market,” Mazda Canada’s director of public relations, Sandra Lemaitre, told us via email last Friday. “The 2017 model year Mazda5 began production in July, so it should be in dealer showrooms shortly. It will be a carryover product with no major changes.”

This is news that will excite seven Canadians, and perhaps nine Americans who are considering crossing the border for a USD-equivalent $18,555 manual-transmission mini-MPV. (Read More…)

By on August 10, 2016

2017 Chrysler Pacifica44 percent of the new vehicles sold by Fiat Chrysler Automobiles in the United States in July 2016 were Jeeps. As Fiat Chrysler, under a new sales reporting methodology, flatlined in July, Jeep volume jumped 5 percent, year-over-year.

Total new vehicle volume rose by a scant 0.6 percent in the United States in July, a gain of fewer than 11,000 units for an auto industry which grew by an average of 19,400 units in the first six months. Overall sales at FCA grew at half that rate, a gain of a few hundred units in July after FCA volume jumped by more than 9,000 sales per month in the first-half of 2016.

A 27-percent drop in passenger car volume at FCA created greater need for Jeep to pull more than its fair share of the automaker’s U.S. sales load in July, particularly with pickup truck sales growth at Ram quickly slowing.

Yet Jeep isn’t the only division at FCA that continues to counteract the automaker’s disappearing car volume. And we do mean disappearing in a literal sense. (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 June 29, 2016

2015 Honda Odyssey EX

365 days ago, we drove away from the Honda dealer in a brand-new 2015 Honda Odyssey EX.

While minivan ownership was never an aspiration of mine, neither was I ever of the mindset that minivan ownership made it obvious that I was a parent. I figure the first boy we brought home from the IWK Health Centre had already made that apparent enough; my wife’s womb swollen with another boy serves as further evidence.

Children, a 70-pound Boxer/Ibizan Hound mix, periodic child care responsibilities, an ever-present InStep bike trailer, frequent grandparent visits, and a home renovation that’s not quite two-thirds complete don’t mandate minivan ownership.

But minivan ownership sure does make life easier.

One year into this four-year Honda Odyssey experiment, there are no regrets. (Read More…)

By on May 23, 2016

2015 Honda Odyssey EX

8,000 trouble-free miles ended in early April when our 2015 Honda Odyssey EX began squeaking, squawking, and groaning.

An intermittent rattle in the glovebox this was not. The noise was growing worse by the day. Sounding like a flexing structure when turning into an uneven parking lot entry, like a handful of golf balls bouncing around together when traversing a rougher section of road at very low speed, and like a dying crow in nearly every other circumstance, our Odyssey went from refined to cacophonous in a matter of days.

All blame was laid at the feet of our minivan’s power sliding doors, large apparatuses responsible for shuttering two vast orifices in the sides of a 17-foot-long pod that lacks the inherent structural rigidity of a traditional three-box saloon car. (Read More…)

By on April 29, 2016

2015 Ford Transit

The Ford Transit was America’s best-selling van in March 2016 and the first-quarter of 2016, full stop.

Not just the best-selling full-size commercial van. Not just the best-selling commercial van overall. The Ford Transit was America’s best-selling van, besting all of its direct rivals as well as each and every minivan.

Much has been made of the all-American Ford Mustang’s one-month stand in Germany. Even if the Mustang’s “Best-Selling Sports Car In Germany” status is only temporarily grasped, it certainly was a noteworthy turn of events. Meanwhile, Ford of Europe’s long-running commercial van, now Americanized, is dominating on our side of the Atlantic. (Read More…)

By on January 25, 2016

2015_Toyota_Sienna_SE-1

Minivan sales in America fell 8 percent to only 513,000 units in 2015, less than half the number of MPVs sold in the United States a decade ago. Yet the number of sales produced by the three biggest players, across four nameplates, are more than healthy enough to suggest Fiat Chrysler Automobiles is wise to reinvest in their Windsor, Ontario, plant and the all-new Pacifica van.

Of course, the degree of wisdom employed by FCA as the automaker goes about reinventing its van is up for debate. Switching from Town & Country to Pacifica? Leaving the Dodge Grand Caravan to lumber along in previous-gen form? Neglecting all-wheel-drive in a gaga-for-SUVs market? There are upsides and downsides to each of these decisions.

But FCA’s decision to stick with a segment from which Ford, General Motors, Hyundai and Mazda fled is a wise one. The minivan market is much, much smaller than it was a decade ago. But if half a million people in America want to buy a minivan every year, the automakers which historically controlled the sector will want to own as large a chunk of that market as possible. (Read More…)

By on December 18, 2015

2015_Toyota_Sienna_SE_001

So I’m driving along the other day, and I get up behind this Toyota Sienna that looks like it has a body kit. And not just a body kit, but powder coated wheels, too. This thing looked like your standard airport rental Sienna had been turned over to the people in charge of making Hyundais appealing in their last model year before a redesign.

It turns out that this vehicle is available for order from your local Toyota dealer. It’s called the SE Premium, and Toyota pitches it as a minivan that offers “extra swagger” for your whole family, as if your whole minivan-owning family already has enough swagger to go around, but some extra couldn’t hurt.

(Read More…)

By on November 25, 2015

2015 Honda Odyssey vs 2016 Honda Pilot

They say the grass is greener on the other side. I say, just give me more grass on my side; any color will do.

I’m blessed with a job that enables me to work from home and drive a whole bunch of new cars. Strangely, even with a new vehicle delivered to my driveway each and every week, my desire to own a multitude of vehicles of different types – Miata and Wrangler, Mustang and Raptor, Suburban and M5, Volt and 911, Macan and GTI – only seems to increase. In other words, I’m not operating under the assumption that I’d find vehicular happiness if only I could have that vehicle. Rather, I’m under the belief that I’ll source vehicular happiness only if I own so many vehicles that I can always be able to exit my nonexistent garage/barn in the right vehicle for the right moment. This would require a Miata for sudden Friday night trips to the grocery store for children’s Tylenol, a Suburban for the holidays when all the family visits and wants to go out on our nonexistent boat, a Wrangler for those pointless off-road jaunts one takes when one owns a Wrangler, a Raptor for those pointless off-road jaunts one takes when one owns a Raptor and needs to pick up lumber on the way home, a Volt for the commuting I don’t do, a GTI for when we have a babysitter, a Macan for winter weekends away, and an M5 and 911 because, well, why not?

Alas, it is not to be. So we drive a 2015 Honda Odyssey. (Read More…)

By on October 7, 2015

All-new 2015 Jeep® Renegade Limited

Total Fiat Chrysler Automobiles volume is up six percent this year thanks to record sales at Jeep, FCA’s top-selling outlet. However, despite that wave of Jeep-directed affection in the U.S., sales at the company’s other brands have fallen two percent through the first nine months of 2015.

Even in September, an extraordinarily high-volume month for the U.S. auto industry, a month in which sales shot up 15 percent compared with the same period one year earlier, FCA’s non-Jeep marques posted only a modest one percent increase. Jeep’s 40 percent surge to more than 77,000 sales produced a 14 percent overall uptick for FCA’s U.S. operations, which includes Chrysler, Dodge, Jeep, and Ram plus Fiat and Alfa Romeo. (Read More…)

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