By on September 5, 2010

The cow is on my side. (Please don’t tell her I ate her brother for dinner.)

In observance of Labor Day, I stray from my labor work as a Booth Babe and write about something considered unsexy: Minivans. I think by now we’re all well aware of my feelings on minivans. And we’re also well aware how you feel about my feelings on minivans.

I was afraid this was an insurmountable issue between you and me, and that’s sad. Life is too short for such ire brought on by automotive classism, don’t you think? So just for you, I have gone searching for some minivans in which the driver might actually be datable. MIGHT. I am making no promises.

Let’s explore, shall we?

Honda SkyDeck Concept

From the outside the Honda SkyDeck looks like pretty much every other minivan, but inside it looks like a chic minimalist beach house Ari Gold would rent in Malibu for the summer. The glass roof is perfect for star-gazing – tres romantique! Scissor doors are just hot on anything. In fact, I might do an aftermarket scissor door on my fridge. Alas, the Skydeck is only a concept at this point.

Volkswagen New Small Family line

The VW NSF is another concept, but one that will actually hit the streets pretty soon. A compact three-door version is due in 2011, with a five-door in summer 2012. The timing couldn’t be more perfect as we’ll have a couple of months to date before the world ends. This VW was written up here at TTAC back in ’07 and I love the design – it’s something a cute hippie boy who showers and doesn’t smell like patchouli but still cares about the earth and bunnies would drive.

Nissan FORUM Concept

This is the ultimate party wagon, perfect for a group date – and much classier than those party vans with the stripper poles in the middle. Those swiveling captain’s chairs are begging for a poker game. There’s an outdoor Bose audio system and a microwave for God’s sake. We can go to the drive in, microwave our own popcorn and watch a movie on a blanket with surround sound from the minivan doors! Modern science is the best, isn’t it?

And, well, that’s about all I found. All concepts. Everything out there now is extremely family-oriented, and car seats just don’t scream “hot date” to me at this stage in the game. Much like how pig and elephant DNA just won’t splice, utilitarian family vehicles and sexy cars haven’t found a way to mate yet in a commercially viable way. These concepts show us with a little dreaming, it could be possible. Keep the hope alive, kids.

The Booth Babe is an anonymous auto show model who dishes about what really goes on behind the scenes. Read her blog at http://doyoucomewiththecar.blogspot.com. And if you treat her nicely, read her each Sunday at Thetruthaboutcars.com

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71 Comments on “The Booth Babe Chronicles: Can A Minivan Be Cool?...”


  • avatar
    John Horner

    ah, never mind

  • avatar
    Educator(of teachers)Dan

    Most useless article ever posted on this blog.  And I say that as a long time reader and commenter.

    • 0 avatar
      sco

      +1.
      No waiit, oh now I get it, this is like an Andy Kaufmann routine right, it’s intentionally bad and you’re just trying to get a response, any response. right? God I hope so.

    • 0 avatar
      italianstallion

      +2
      Worse than usual.

    • 0 avatar
      dastanley

      SCO, you broke the code.  The BB articles are angry, immature, and rude.  BB/TTAC is just trolling for hits.  BB does this under the guise of being a modern empowered woman and anyone who disagrees with her in their posts is apparently insecure in their manhood.  Wanna shut BB down on TTAC?  Don’t open her articles nor post comments (which I just did).

  • avatar
    KIM1963

    Minivans serve their purpose , but cool they are NOT !

    • 0 avatar
      Dukeboy01

      +1

      And as the owner of a 2006 Honda Odyssey, I wouldn’t want them to be. Sexy means chopped down windows that you can’t see out of, like in the new Camaro, the Chevy HHR, and the Dodge Charger. Not something you want when you’re relying on a vehicle to schlep your kids around day to day.

      As for the concepts, the big skyview window in the Honda concept translates to a nice greenhouse effect in the real world no matter how good the A/C is. That means grumpy, whining kids. There’s also no place to mount a drop down DVD player to distract the little monsters from the fact that they’re about to succomb to heatstroke.

      The VW might be big enough to move people or to move cargo, but not both. The picture makes it look as if it has rear opening “suicide” doors. One of the many advantages to the traditional minivan is that the sliding doors eliminate the possibility that over- exuberant children will ding the doors of the Lexus parked next to you. As for the Nissan, I wonder how long Barbie will last in the microwave? A microwave is the answer to a question that very few parents are asking. (Mini regrigerators make a lot more sense.)

      Of course every minivan currently on the market is “extremely  family oriented.” That’s who buys them. Booth Babe doesn’t really do much to deconstruct the myth of car show models being, well, airheads with her musings, does she?

    • 0 avatar
      Alexdi

      The glass roof could be effective if the glass were designed to filter light wavelengths outside of the visible spectrum. From the press materials on the Mustang’s glass:

      “According to the company, the glass roof filters 90 percent of the sun’s heat-generating infrared (IR) rays and 96 percent of burn-causing ultraviolet (UV) rays.” … “Those who live in warm climates also benefit because there is no more than a two-degree difference in interior cabin temperature from a glass roof Mustang to a regular coupe due to the tinting.”

      That’s not bad. I suspect similar glass is used in the sunroof of my 2010 vehicle, and I don’t feel any difference with the sunshade open or closed.

  • avatar

    A minivan can be cool when filled with two friends, two downhill bikes and full riding gear and is either headed to a lift access bike park or returning from a bike park safe and dry after a full day of riding while it is torrentially raining outside.  Try that in your porsche, bmw, lexus, etc.

  • avatar
    allythom

    I clicked through on this.  Someone remind me why ?

  • avatar
    ragtopman

    Don’t know why I keep giving this column a try; must be a libido thing.

  • avatar
    jpcavanaugh

    I can answer your question.  A minivan can be cool.  But not a decent minivan that will outsell a Ford Flex.
    GM tried a cool minivan.  They looked like dustbusters.  Little Chrysler ate GM’s lunch.  Nissan tried a cool minivan – the Quest.  Not bad, really, but certainly not a success.
    Here’s the problem:  Anyone who needs “cool” in a minivan is not a minivan customer anyway.  The cool minivan will never be bought in numbers by the cool people, and it will have a losing combination of utility and value, and will never sell to those of us who appreciate the minivan for what it is.  I cannot imagine carrying an extension ladder or a dozen bags of topsoil in anything pictured here.
    What makes a minivan cool to those of us not in the in-crowd?  Lots of cargo capacity, comfort, clever little features that make life a little easier, durability, and price.  And cupholders.  This is why Chrysler has hit the sweet spot that everyone else has missed.  Nobody has yet hit that magic tradeoff any better than the Chrysler units, which are currently leading the sales charts, even after Chrysler’s epic trials and product issues.
    I guess we are all snobs of some sort.  I was leaving the Home Depot yesterday and found myself rolling my eyes at the bozo with the Porsche SUV (which he found the need to park right outside the door then abandon) and the guy with the stupid Smart car.  I may be the only person in the country who would feel both morally and intellectually superior to either of them as I entered my 99 Town and Country with 195K on the counter.  But I don’t think so.

    • 0 avatar
      Dukeboy01

      I feel morally and intellectually superior to them as well in my wife’s Honda Odyssey. So there are two of us at least.  

    • 0 avatar
      golden2husky

      Cool, no.  But what would be wrong with adding some real dynamics to the thing?  Suspension choices don’t hinder utility, even if they can compromise ride.  But what is so wrong with making a real performance suspension option?
       
      Regarding the Booth Babe, I believe her days here are numbered…sad to say, only red light $camera articles get less read.  Too bad, because the $cameras are a real threat to us all.  I guess they are not a sexy enough read…

    • 0 avatar
      psarhjinian

      The first issue is that suspension choices cause problems with ride quality and drivability.  The Oddy is a about as harsh as you can get, and it “feels” big and jittery next to the Sienna and Caravan as a result.  Ditto the “performance” crossovers, only moreso because the massive rims they come with make them feel heavy-footed.
       
      The Sienna, meanwhile, rides, drives and is as easy as a Camry LE.
       
      The second is that, if you value performance, you’ll probably skip right by this segment anyway, so why bother?  The closest you can get to a true “performance” minivan is the Mazda5, and it’s selling like plague-infected hotcakes.

  • avatar
    sfdennis1

    Ok, so Booth Babe could have included another example or two of unique one-box/minvan concepts, as there have been several over the years (the Ford Airstream concept?)…and/or asked if American families are too hopelessly bland in their tastes for anything interesting to succeed in the marketplace, but, jeez there’s a little bit of “he-man woman-haters club” stuff based on some these comments…trust, there have been LOTS of useless articles posted on TTAC, I’d rank this as ‘holiday filler’ and leave it at that…

  • avatar

    The practical needs for over 90 percent of SUV/CUV owners would be better served by a minivan… if only those people weren’t such image-conscious, shallow, empty-headed buffoons as this Booth Babe.
     
    But at least she knows her target audience.

  • avatar
    michal1980

    is it hard to pms every day?  Becuase your always b8tchin

    I think booth baby is the female verison of Jack B. Only with less brains, and less ability to write about cars.

    If you did come with the car, I’d leave both at the side of the road.

  • avatar
    Conslaw

    The last thing in the world that I need is for a booth babe to think my car’s sexy — or that I’m sexy because of my car.  My wife thinks I’m sexy when I take care of the kids.  I don’t have room for another woman in my life.  If Tiger Woods can’t afford his harem, I for sure can’t.
    What makes a vehicle sexy, anyway?  In my minivan, you can fold two rows flat and get busy in the back.  Try that in a Corvette.

  • avatar
    LennyZ

    Minivans are perfect vehicles for transporting kids. Vans I’ve had did a wonderful job in hauling around our family in comfort and safety. They weren’t “cool”. Thank god I got over that in my twenties and I bought a vehicle suitable for my family’s needs. If one feels the need to look cool all of the time, to the detriment of raising a family, maybe their money is best spent in therapy working on self esteem issues rather than pissing it away on a car. I don’t fully agree with the other postings since I’ve been entertained by some of the Booth Babe’s articles but this one is pretty bad and the tone sounds shrill and angry.

    • 0 avatar
      Hank

      Yep.  All the minivan bashing on this site and others is really starting to wear very thin, and says far, far more about the bashers than the vehicles they criticize.
       

  • avatar
    frenchy

    I think the point of the article is a minivan that would still allow a guy to be “datable”. Which I would assume to mean single, so all of you talking about your wife and kids were off the mark in your response.
    To answer which minivans are cool? Mazda 5 is cool enough. Honda Fit is basically a mini minivan so that would work. My Subaru WRX wagon usually has the back seats folded down and is used like a minivan except the part about hauling people around.
    As for the booth babe, she seems like the reason the site nomarriage.com recommends not marrying American women. All materialistic and crap. It kind of reminds me of an old Reel Big Fish lyric. “She said she loved me ‘cuz I played guitar, that’s okay I didn’t love her at all”. That probably sums up how most mature men feel about women that would base dating decisions on vehicle choice.  Booth Babe is too shallow for me.
     

  • avatar

    Had VW made the microbus concept, that would be cool. But count me among those who think cool is irrelevant (though interesting). If I’d had a wife and several kids, there’s a good chance there’d be one in the driveway, although there’d be a better chance if you could get them with clutches. Minivans are, after all, quite practical. My mother’s last car was a ’97 Dodge Caravan, and I quite liked driving it, and the style, and it did what my parents needed. She was crippled, it had a ramp so she could drive her scooter into the minivan, and transfer onto the swiveling passenger seat.

    That VW NSF (National Science Foundation?) is not a minivan.

  • avatar
    Austin Greene

    There’s room for the Booth Babe in my TTAC.
     
    While I don’t always agree with her editorial stance, I do find it a needed challenge to my sometimes myopic male perspective.
     
    Gender politics aside, she brings a needed female point of view to this sandbox.  It takes courage on her behalf to through a slab of meat at us once a week.  And I’m a more informed reader for it.
     
    Furthermore, I can sympathize with some of her commentary.  You see I once showed my garage queen Impala SS at a local cruise night.  My overwhelming reaction to the people who spoke to me that night was: 1) they needed to take a shower; and, 2) they needed to get a girlfriend.

  • avatar
    windswords

    I used to think you folks were a little too hard on Booth Babe. But not any more.

  • avatar
    KalapanaBlack

    I’ll let others do the general booth babe bashing. Lord knows I’m not in the least a fan of most of her viewpoints, but just because she somehow has them posted on this website of otherwise impeccable quality (I’ve been a daily reader since the days of the Subaru Flying “V”), does not mean I have to agree with them. Also, let’s keep in mind that just because she’s not writing specifically for TTAC doesn’t mean that the no-flaming-the-author policy is no longer in effect for her articles.

    This, however, is different. It looks like she did no more than 3 minutes of internet research for this article. I’m being generous. This is a fluff piece of a kind with those that TTAC would normally thumb its editorial nose at in a mainstream paper automag. Who cares about a VW concept that’s been on-again-off-again for over a decade? Besides, are you seriously telling me that any decent woman out there would ridicule a man in a 270 hp Kia Sedona (the SWB version of which I happen to get a practicality stiffy for), yet would gladly go out with the murse-toting hipster in girl jeans and that nightmarish extended-wheelbase New Beetle? Come on, lady.

    The problems with the other examples are equally as egregious:
    -A pie-in-the-sky Honda concept that looks for all the world like the ’99-vintage JDM Odyssey, but with an Entourage-approved interior? (Oooh, aaah, a concept car’s interior. I bet that’ll make it to production. Not to mention, if you take your living tips from that particular HBO series, you’re a shallow tool. What woman wouldn’t go for that?)
    -A Nissan concept that is essentially a lightly-masked 2011 Quest harbinger, which you can almost buy at the dealership, minus the absurd glitz such as the (probably nonfunctioning, even on the concept) microwave.

    And that’s it. There have been a massive number of minivan concepts, most of which actually held innovative features like the Ford Airstream that somebody else mentioned, or at least good styling such as the cruise-ship-inspired Honda ASM concept from 2003, or the exquisite Chinese-designed Buick Business concept from last year. At the very least, we could’ve had some of the myriad interesting MPV/minivan/crossover vehicles on sale in Japan and Europe from every manufacturer for years now, like the weird/useful Citroen Picasso/C3 Picasso, or the driver-focused Toyota Estima (nee Previa), now in its fourth non-US generation.

    See? I just invested four times the research and thought into a simple comment, when her post was so much fluff because, one assumes, she had to put something up on the blog this week to keep her readership (?) coming back for more. And it took me seven minutes.

    TTAC, I usually don’t nit-pick, and I’m well aware of the guidelines of the site (and hope I’m within them). However, and I say this in full constructive criticism mode: if something this inconsequential floats by, best to keep on letting it float. It’s uncouth for one to disparage the branding mis-steps of others, while destroying one’s own brand with this sub-Daewoo-quality nonsense.

    • 0 avatar
      Syke

      No it’s not just childish ranting.  I know.
       
      I work for a Honda/Yamaha motorcycle – Qingqi scooter – CanAm ATV – SeaDoo personal watercraft dealership.  I spent two years working at the service desk.  Believe me, there is NOTHING more unreasonable and asshole in this world than a personal watercraft owner who might have to do without his beloved toy ONE weekend between Memorial Day and Labor Day.  At which point you’re putting up with a level of abuse that outdoes what Booth Babe puts up with.  At least security is nearby should someone get on her like some of our customer have to us.
       
      We plaster a smile on our faces, treat the customer with as much respect as we can no matter how they’re behaving, and smilingly talk a Booth Babe blog in the back room once the customer is out of the building.  Normal human behavior.  It doesn’t mean you hate your job.  It doesn’t mean you hate people.  It does mean that you’re entertaining someone other there with your stories of what jerks other people can be.  The last time I looked, this is not a commitable offense.
       
      I enjoy Booth Babe’s blog and her columns here, because I understand where she’s coming from.  And I got transferred from the service desk because I’m a good employee, who unfortunately (for the company) treats people the same way they treat me.  Oh yeah, at two years, I hold the company record for staying in that job.

  • avatar
    PeriSoft

    Merits of the article aside – hot damn, there’s a mess of insecure guys around here. I’ve seen people react badly to other articles, but almost never do people get personally offended and angry like they do here. The idea that the sheer spitefulness exhibited in boothbabe comments has nothing to do with gender is absurd.
     
    TTAC, I advocate an experiment – randomly post a few booth babe articles attributed to a male. Let’s see if the comments are as violently negative.
     
    My guess? Posts like Kalapana’s will remain, but those like dastanly’s will disappear. And as for michal1980 – streetfire is thataway.

    • 0 avatar
      TrailerTrash

      Well, I don’t know the emotions behind many replies above…but I think they took the whole premise a teeny bit to heavy.
      I know BB was trying to just get a good discussion going in a fun car guy/gal kind of way.

      To me, it’s a lot like sports talk.  Fans just never get enough. The day after talk bashes every move a player or coach made.

      Truthfully, IS a van sexy?
      I dunno…is a wagon cool?
      Is a truck cool?

      Beyond their real function, we all try to make our rides a little more than they really are.
      In reality, they are ALL tools.

      We all just want a little color and fun in our meaningless and dull lives.

      For those of the sixties…we REALLY knew vans and what they could be.
      To have a van and get going across country with friends and, well…refreshments…that was living!

      So come on…all aboard the magic bus!
      http://www.popartdiva.com/ProductPages/AllAboardTheMagicBus.html

    • 0 avatar
      Syke

      Yeah, I’ve been wondering, too.  I occasional hit Booth Babe’s blog, and while I’ve disagreed with some things that she’s written, she’s never engendered in me the depths of vile that I’ve been seeing for the past few weeks.  I really wonder if the writer claimed to be a male car show model, would his identical comments create the same anger?
       
      It’s getting to the point that I’m seriously wondering which is funnier: Booth Babe’s column, or some of the more over-the-top replies.  To some of these, my first thought is, “Sorry it quit working, guy.  Try Viagra.”

    • 0 avatar
      psarhjinian

      You’re exactly right, both that it’s insecurity and that you could attribute Booth Babe article to, oh, Jack Baruth and no one would notice the difference.
       
      it’s very much insecurity.  A lot of men don’t like opinionated women not because the positions they hold, or the attitude they cop, but because they’re authoritative and opinionated in the first place.  They’ll use what that woman says as justification, but it’s insecurity at it’s core.
       
      Booth Babe’s articles aren’t appreciably better or worse than many others and this one is pretty vapid, but no more so than one of Bertel or Cammy’s weekend filler—or, in ye olden days, Justin or Johnny’s flullier stuff—or Jack’s grudges against the Stig.  But the response is way off the scale.  I’ll bet that the author and the masthead are laughing at every post, too.

    • 0 avatar
      michal1980

      oh please, I browsed her blog. Its just childish ranting.   She sounds like someone that hates her job, hates men, and posts worthless ‘articles’.  On her blog Ed defends her. What a big surprise. If I hired someone, and paid them for garabage, which path is easier to accept:

      That I made a good pick in an ’employee’. OR

      That I was WRONG, and picked someone that add’s no value.

      That doesn’t mean there isn’t a place for a womans POV on TTAC. But Booth Babe is just a token, and a poor one at that.

  • avatar
    dhathewa

    Last month, my 2001 Sienna minivan hauled 4 people and our gear (and it could have carried more)  up Forest Service Road 27 (a fairly nasty bit of road, that) in Wyoming’s Bighorn National Forest so that we could go on a backpack trip.  Tomorrow, it pulls our boat to the St. Croix.

    Sexy?  Probably not.

    Capable?  Yes.

    Guess which quality I care about.

  • avatar
    reclusive_in_nature

    What’s with all the Booth Babe hate? Judging by the posts you’d think she defended GM, questioned Toyota’s reliability, or made an offensive comment about a country other than the United States.
    Funny how a group of people that supposedly doesn’t care about being cool get their panties in a wad when someone calls their vehicle type uncool. Here’s a cold, hard fact of life for you: Minivans (and wagons too) are NEVER going to be cool. Just because people don’t stop you in the street to praise how practical and efficient your vehicle is doesn’t mean you need to flame a commentator for pointing that fact out.
    Keep up the good work Booth Babe.

    • 0 avatar
      psarhjinian

      It’s not that she says minivans are uncool.  Minivans are uncool.
       
      It’s not that her detractors** say they don’t care about being cool.
       
      It’s that her detractors do care about what’s cool, but don’t want to seem like they do.  What they really won’t want, though, is to be told that their rugged individualism doesn’t matter, especially by an attractive female***.
       
      It’s rather like an indie hipster who’ll say that he/she doesn’t care about how popular some band is because it’s all about the music. That same person will spit nails when a confident, literate critic skewers that perception and says that an uncool music doesn’t get airplay because it’s, by and large, really bad.

      ** or at least, not her detractors who say this is a fluffy article, rather than her detractors who make comments about PMS.
      *** Assuming she’s female. It could be the work of an bored and/or inebriated Bertel Schmitt, in which case it’s a brilliant skewering of alpha male car-nut insecurity.

  • avatar
    psarhjinian

    I’ve actually been thinking about the “You won’t get laid in a minivan” and I think I see the point.
     
    It says that yes, you probably have and, more importantly, are taking care of kids.  Unless it’s your parents’ car (in which case you’re subject to teenage dating rules, which are different) or you bought it from your parents (in which case you’re just barely out of teenagerhood), you’re either off the market (married), supposed to be off the market (cheating), or recently on the market (divorcee or widower).  In the former cases, you’re bad dating material; in the latter, you’re a special case and dating will be a special challenge and limited to a pool of people who are willing to get past one hell of an obstacle.
     
    If you’re none of the above, you’re probably just weird and present your own challenges.
     
    We discussed this, or rather, some of us tried to discuss it and the rest got snitty about people reminding them about how there are actual rules to sexual politics and that if you break them, yes, you’re likely to participate in the mating dance.  This is no different from the unwritten-but-understood rules of the business world, the sports pitch, etc, etc.  You can’t contravene social norms and expect to get anywhere.
     
    Now, that said, all these concepts are stupid from the principle of “minivans” as we understand them.  It’s like trying to make five-star, favour-explosion bran flakes.  They’re bran flakes, for f*cks’ sake.  If you wanted favour, you wouldn’t be buying them in the first place and attempting to make them something they’re not is a waste of time an effort.
     
    Which pretty much describes crossovers.

    • 0 avatar
      TrailerTrash

      Well Psarh…you’re almost there.
      But that’s what is wrong with going down this generalization road.

      For an example, I just gave my 1999 (HOT RED) Dodge Sport Caravan to my nephew.
      He needed it badly as a master engineer at the UofI, Champaign.

      All I ever get from him are bus loads of thank yous!
      Its the perfect college vehicle.
      He moves his stuff around lots of times and has a girlfriend needing the same.

      Unless he’s gone on drugs, this is the most perfect college car/van for him.

      Glad I kept it in top shape.

  • avatar
    obbop

    A van of any type MAY, some day, make the difference between fully and partially homeless for some of you.
    A state of flux is winding throughout USA society, its tendrils grabbing many societal aspects.
    You may never be grasped by those creeping tendrils but one never knows for sure what the future holds.
     

  • avatar
    DearS

    Me and my friends got around in a Gran Caravan most of high school. We went to a bunch of parties in that van, and others. Took girls on quadruple dates. Got to school and home 6-7 deep in the van. It was the coolest idea ever I feel. My friends were scary fast in those vans too, we used to lean over to one side or another for fear of the van tipping over in a corner. To me that proves coolness is mostly subjective. I got around 6-7 deep in a 90 Corolla to in the Dominican, over taking and being over taken by cops 6-7 deep in their patrol land cruisers, with the stereo and the sirens on blast. American is too shame based sometimes to let a minivan or a Corolla be cool. Or cops for that matter.

    • 0 avatar
      psarhjinian

      Booth Babe is not talking about high school minivan, ahem, ownership.
       
      I drove a minivan (or rather, my parents’ one) though high school.  I certainly enjoyed the opportunity it gave for impromptu parties, mass transit and nookie space.  I was almost deflowered in a different minivan (a Caravan, I recall), were the timing not epically poor.  But that was nearly half a lifetime ago, and if my 34-year old self was, for unknown reasons, on the market again, picking up a woman on a first date in my Sienna probably wouldn’t work even if I did remove the car seats, vacuum up the Cheerios and steam-cleaned the various stains out of the thing.  I can see it working, but the range of scenarios pretty much amounts to hooking up with either another parent or someone socially concussed.
       
      When you’re in highschool, any car means freedom, even if it’s a clapped-out Uplander.  That same Uplander, when you’re thirty, means something completely different.

    • 0 avatar
      Robstar

      I don’t agree at all.  My wife would have much preferred (at age 25) me driving a minivan than a stick sports car.  Then again she isn’t a typical american woman (Actually she isn’t american).
      I really think that ANY definition of minivans being cool or uncool has to be framed in a larger context — I think some “American” women may find minivans uncool.  My wife on the other hand, at age 25, was comfortable with driving a minivan and could have driven one in an emergency but couldn’t drive my stick sports car.  She did have the same type of car, after-all, and she was unmarried & childless!
      Now that we are married and (still childless) she still wants me to trade in my sports car for a minivan — regardless if we ever have kids or not.

  • avatar
    ajla

    Here’s a good counterpoint for this- it is a TTAC article from 2006:
     
    Minivan Man Rocks!!!
     
    This was also written by a female contributor (if that matters here).
     
     

  • avatar
    Johnster

    In my experience, minivan owners are practical people who, in years gone by, would have probably bought station wagons. They are intelligent enough and confident enough not to feel the need to buy the fashion accessory that most SUVs and CUVs have sadly become.  Sure, a lot of these people are not really into cars, but they’re still cool.

    As has been pointed out before in the pages of the TTAC, the Toyota Swagger Wagon commercials hilarious and ironic because they portray a couple who appear to believe that their sensible, but uncool, Toyota Sienna minivan is actually cool.  Of course the Toyota Sienna isn’t cool, but it’s a good minivan.

    There is something refreshingly honest about actually seeing a family together riding in a minivan, instead of crammed into a 3 rows of seats in an SUV or CUV.

    To some degree the minivan seems to have become something of a “chick car.”  Perhaps it’s my age showing, but I keep running into these sexy women-of-a-certain-age driving minivans.  Most of them live in the suburbs, but some live in small towns.  Some are married and some are single.  Some have older kids, some are empty-nesters and some have never had children.

    They are sexy because they have lives and interests and their minivans accommodate those lives and interests.  Maybe they use their minivans to haul antiques and furniture; bedding plants and bags of fertilizer; large dogs in their carriers.  Then they put up the third row seat and use the minivan to carpool with friends to who knows where.

    No, minivans are not cool.  But, there are a lot of very cool minivan owners out there.  They’re cool because they’re not trying to be cool. Some of them even own a cool interesting fun-to-drive second car.

    • 0 avatar
      IGB

      They’re called MILF’s.
       
      The BB is merely not into DILF’s. Very few single males actually drive minivans. The fact that she doesn’t find the image of the married male “datable” is fine.

  • avatar
    FJ20ET

    The Toyota Hiace would like a word with you.

  • avatar
    WaftableTorque

    Chris Bangle had a theory as to why 2 box vehicles like SUV’s became aspirational whereas minivans didn’t, and why so many people want cars with trunks.
    Personally, my left brain says 4 cylinder MPV, but my right brain says V12 bi-turbo flagship.
    http://money.cnn.com/2007/03/09/news/companies/pluggedin_taylor_bmw.fortune/index.htm

  • avatar
    LALoser

    At first I thought BB was Cammy, because of the just below the surface Anti-Americanism. But after reviewing the words and style…. I think BB is a composite.

  • avatar
    peekay

    I’ve never owned a minivan… but I think they’re great!  For someone who needs to move people, or stuff, they can’t be beat.  Easy access through the sliding doors, great space utilization, easy to drive… I can’t understand why they’re ridiculed so badly.  OK maybe BoothBabe doesn’t want her date showing up in one but I think minivans rock!  And I do know musicians and other cool people who own them!

  • avatar
    MadHungarian

    The answer to the original question, can a minivan be cool, is it depends.  Cases in point:

    First, which minivan is it?  A Corvair Greenbrier fits the package size and car-based design criteria of minivanhood, and it is very certainly cool.

    Second, it depends on what you are using the minivan for.  In 1992 I volunteered for a presidential campaign and one of my jobs was to drive one of the press vans when the candidate was in town.  The vans in question were several rented Dodge Grand Caravans.  A minivan is definitely cool when you spend the whole day in it doing things like driving behind a police escort, going the wrong way on one way streets, driving onto the airport tarmac, and having 5 CNN guys bailing out of the vehicle at NASCAR pitcrew speed well before it comes to a complete stop.

  • avatar
    gimmeamanual

    Kenny Brown Windstar?
    http://www.insideline.com/ford/windstar/1999/full-test-1999-kenny-brown-supercharged-windstar.html

  • avatar
    Syke

    How times have changed:
     
    I’m old enough to clearly remember back when vans (ok, not minivans, Econoline based custom pleasure palaces) were some of the sexiest vehicles on the road.  And one hell of a way to get laid.  To the point that, if were in your late teens/early twenties and picked up your date in one, you could take it for granted that her father would go ballistic.  Yeah, we’re talking the 70’s.
     
    Same time period:  I also remember one of the British car magazines making a big deal out of TVR getting their booth babes at the London (I think) show to go completely naked, rather than just topless.
     
    How times have changed.
     

    • 0 avatar
      psarhjinian

      How times have changed

      No, they haven’t.  You can still get laid in a minivan, just not past your late teens/early twenties. You couldn’t in the 1970s, either, generally speaking.

      It’s all about context.

  • avatar
    fredtal

    I got laid in a minivan Friday night when I brought the family home from the ball game.

  • avatar
    PanzerJaeger

    So much mysogyny, so little common sense…  

  • avatar
    Educator(of teachers)Dan

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J2tt1cg1h_I
     
    Guys I never said I disagreed with her premise.  I just thought it was f*(@ing useless article that likely took about 5 min to write.  BTW that video probably say it better than the Booth Babe ever could.

  • avatar
    grzydj

    People who think they’re too cool for a minivan are in total denial. If you’ve ever contemplated what kind of vehicle you need to haul your kids to school, then your practical side instantly told you a minivan is the best rig for the job, because you know it is. However, your ego kicked in and told you that the guys at the office might make fun of you and tell everybody you’re a domesticated suburbanite who watches re-runs of Friends, but if you buy an SUV, which isn’t nearly as practical or convenient and you’d never take it off-road will magically inflate your ego as you pull up to that school zone as you chuckle about what Joey said to Phoebe last night.
     
    What’s 4LOW mean?

  • avatar
    DweezilSFV

    1st generation Voyager/Caravan ? Cool to me. I would love one.

    And man points for never having watched an episode of Friends. Extra man points for never going to see a Jennifer Aniston movie.

    So, do I lose the bonus man points for not getting why BB’s article was so objectionable as to generate such blow back ?  

    • 0 avatar
      Syke

      How many man points for having no idea who Jennifer Aniston is, other than someone who’s on the covers of all the gossip magazines at the supermarket checkout?  I assume she’s an actress of some kind or other.

  • avatar
    skor

    Minivans are really just an evolution of the 1950’s era station wagons.  Park a modern minivan next to a 1950’s station and just about all the external dimensions are the same.  Fact is that most people want their rides to be nothing more than a utilitarian appliance.  After a while, elitists start making fun of such unhip rides, and auto makers try to sex up the dowdy things.  While they may or may not be successful in sexing up the things, they almost always succeed in reducing the utility — which is what happened to station wagons when they got as low as sports cars, with hoods as long as aircraft carrier decks.  Eventually no one wants to be associated with such a thing, so the car makers go back to building an updated 1950’s station wagon with a new name.  The cycle then repeats.

  • avatar
    bunkie

    “Extra man points for never going to see a Jennifer Aniston movie.”

    Despite never having seen a single episode of Friends, I can’t imagine life being as much fun without having seen Office Space.

    There’s a logical progression. Custom vans are about what you do to get laid. Minivans are about what you have to do after you get laid. Multiple times. Corvettes are about what you do after you’ve finally paid off the child support.

    • 0 avatar
      Syke

      “Custom vans are about what you do to get laid. Minivans are about what you have to do after you get laid. Multiple times. Corvettes are about what you do after you’ve finally paid off the child support.”
       
      Do you have any idea how much effort it takes to get beer out of a keyboard?

  • avatar
    Zombo

    Vans of any kind haven’t been cool since the 70s and aren’t likely to ever be again . As far as the hatred for the Booth Babe articles go –  comments , even negative ones only make the column more read by others . Mostly I just ignore her rants about car show dorks since I don’t get the point of car shows anyway . If I can’t sit in it or take it for a test drive , just looking at a car from a short distance is a useless waste of time to me . Probably why I ride a DL1000 and am not part of the crowd standing around in barroom parking lots gazing at the chrome gee gaws festooning their ‘loud pipes save lives’ bikes .

  • avatar
    HoldenSSVSE

    But, but, but, Toyota…the ads…and Honda…respect the van…they are…never mind.
    OK, OK, OK, my winter beater hauling up to the ski areas minivan is totally uncool.  It’s as practical as you can get.  But fine, its uncool.

  • avatar
    mikey

    Hmmmm …..So the well respected,Cammy Corrigan writes a nice little piece about Kia and Hyundai. I skimmed it. Personally I couldn’t give a sh– what Kia or Hyundai does. Anyway six of the B&B post a comment.

     Now the much maligned Booth Babe posts a ” Minivans are not cool piece” and gets 60 comments.

     Next thing you know some of the B&B are asking Ed N to dump Booth Babe.

     Don’t get me wrong, Cammys stuff is top notch. But why all the hate for Booth Babe?

     

  • avatar
    Mainedog

    Let’s see.  I can use my minivan to tow my ATV, carry my kayak, carry around my daughter and any friends during my time as a part-time single dad, haul building materials or serve as a mobile office.
    But I’m supposed to feel bad because booth babe tells me that it isn’t cool to have one?  She wouldn’t date me.  Boo Hoo.  I tend to not date anyone that shallow either.
    I suppose I could take the Corvette, classic Oldsmobile or Dually on a date instead (‘m guessing she wouldn’t like my daily driver/beater ’86 Nova either – even if it’s clean), but I think I’ll stick to hanging around people who can recognize that something with a purpose is much more useful than something that just looks pretty.  Maybe she’d be happier as well finding someone with an SLK or a Cayman instead.

    • 0 avatar
      psarhjinian

      But I’m supposed to feel bad because booth babe tells me that it isn’t cool to have one?

      Jesus, no.  What she’s saying is that it’s not the best vehicle to take to a first date because it raises a lot of questions, and that those questions would be problematic if you hadn’t disclosed the answers before the first date.   It’d be like showing up to the first date with a wedding band and/or a kid in tow.  You drive a minivan?  Ok, fine, but be prepared for it to raise a “warning flag”.

      Nor is she talking about high-school or university students’ first car that happens to be a minivan.  In those cases, the circumstances are completely different.

      It’s not an issue of being shallow, or not thinking minivans aren’t cool, it’s an issue of social misrepresentation.   If you’re going to dinner at McDonald’s in a 911 it raises the same questions, as does going to a hundred-dollar-entree venue in an ’86 Bonneville that smells of mildew, has garbage in the footwells and vinyl that’s oddly sticky.   It’s not about having a nice car, or a rich guy’s car, or a not-minivan car: it’s about not committing a social faux pas on your first date.

      Why is this so hard for the erstwhile B&B to understand?

      Or why are so many of us falling all over ourselves to excuse or explain away our choice of vehicle in the first place?  Is it perhaps that we don’t like having our masculinity called into question, even by proxy?

    • 0 avatar
      ajla

      Ok, fine, but be prepared for it to raise a “warning flag”.
      What vehicle out there doesn’t raise a warning flag though?
       
      Isn’t it good for the “family man” divorced/widowed single parent to show up for a date with a minivan because it a good snapshot of that person’s life and priorities? Wouldn’t it be dishonest for someone like that to show up for a date in a yellow Camaro SS or a murdered-out CL550? TBB herself wrote “pretending to be someone you’re not will get you no love.”
       
      The (admittedly very defensive) message I’m getting from the minivan-on-a-date defenders here is that if their date isn’t into the vibe the minivan gives off then they aren’t going to be a compatible match anyway so why does it matter what they think? They are looking for someone that doesn’t consider the van a social faux pas.

  • avatar
    BlisterInTheSun

    I like the Booth Babe Chronicles.
    She is intelligent and opinionated, and while I disagree with some things, I agree with others, and her style of writing is engaging and fun.
    Is she shallow?  I don’t know about that, but I would certainly say that she is not vapid.
    Smart women are hot!

  • avatar
    slim69

    @Psar: Why are you so vigorously defending what BB “meant”?

    I agree with the people who say this column is vapid.  I hope TTAC isn’t paying BB much. 

    As for the big (?) question:
    1.  A minivan is a tool, doesn’t need to be “cool”.  Doesn’t mean the driver can’t be cool. Your car doesn’t define you.  However, I do think they could be much better.  I have a ’01 Sienna, which is a great car (camping, carpool, etc), but the front is just homely.  The Dodge Big Kahuna concept was really cool.  Why isn’t there a 3-row version of the Scion xB?  Or a uni-body FWD H3?  GMC Acadia is pretty good (is it a minivan?).

    2.  Don’t feel bad because of what BB writes!  Smart guys (who often drive minivans) are too sensitive to what “popular” girls think.  She is obviously the type who is impressed by a man’s car (see “hot date” line).  She probably dates the “cool” (a$$hole) guys and wonders why they don’t marry her.  She wrote a provocative article, so this is the natural result (and probably what she enjoys)!  What I don’t understand is, if the car show jerks bother her so much, why is she still doing that job? 

  • avatar
    davey49

    Scissor doors are incredibly stupid and minivans are the best road vehicles ever! WOOHOO!

  • avatar
    Hank

    I think some of you are missing the point of at least a few of the detractors of this post (not of Booth Babe as a writer, or a person, but of just this post).  It’s low-hanging fruit, and criticizing minivans or not being cool (we’re not talking 328 GTB v. Carrera here, we’re talking Sienna v. Quest, et al) is like criticizing a Deusenberg’s high cost of ownership, or an Aveo’s lack of a third row.  It’s just pointless, and it seems to me lately that here at TTAC and a couple other blogs and rags, it has just become the “me too” post of the day.
     

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