By on May 10, 2018

Genchi gembutsu. It’s a term I heard fairly often during my time in the Great Midwestern Sedan Factory and it means, more or less, “Go look at the issue.” In the years since, I’ve often heard “Agile coaches” and “Scrum masters” in IT talk about “Gemba Walks,” which are supposed to be the same thing. The problem is that software development is nothing like a factory floor, system administration even less so, and if I have to hear one more dimwitted IBM consultant with a two-year DeVry degree lecturing me about “how Japanese manufacturers do things” I’m going to drag said consultant into the paint booth at Marysville and let him drown in whatever shade of grey is being indifferently sprayed on the cars that day. It’s cargo culture at its most pathetic, garnished with a sprig of racism.

Yet there is more than enough truth in the original application of genchi gembutsu. If you’re hearing about a problem on the factory floor, don’t waste time talking about it in the office. Go to the place and look at the problem. Until you do that, you’re just guessing.

It was with that concept in mind that I borrowed a three-row CUV recently for a 1,300-mile trip around the Midwest. Over and over again I’ve decried the modern fetish for massive unibody crossovers, but rarely have I driven one for more than a few miles at a time. This seemed like a good time to “go to the place” and “look at the problem.” I took this vehicle and tested it on its ability to substitute for vehicles both smaller and larger. A week later, I remain shaken, if not stirred, by the experience.

The astute reader will note than I’m leaving out the brand and model of the three-row crossover in question, because I’m not trying to a review a particular take on this extremely generic formula. The only identifying information I’ll give is that the sticker price was under $50,000, although not by much. It came out of the “mommyblogger” rotation in a major city and had more than six thousand miles on it when I took delivery. Here in Ohio, it would have to be sold as a used car. It will likely be run through the auctions as an “executive program” vehicle and it will wind up being driven by a mommy (or daddy) who does not blog. Let’s call it the “Splenda,” since just like that artificial sweetener the three-row CUV is intended to be a substitute of sorts.

You buy a Splenda because financial, physical, or behavioral constraints prohibit you from buying a Tahoe but you also can’t afford to have the neighbors see you in an Accord or Camry. It’s best to think of it as a minivan with some of the capacity and usefulness removed in the pursuit of style and/or social acceptability. It’s no coincidence that Toyota and Honda both make their Splendas from the minivan platform; in many ways these are just minivans with a raised floor.

Long-time readers will recall that I split my non-leisure driving time between a Honda Accord and a Chevrolet Silverado, which are extremely generic vehicles even if my particular examples of them are a bit over-specified. For this Splenda test, I took various tasks that I usally assign to the Accord or the Silverado, assigned them to this crossover, and judged how well the Splenda did compared to the vehicle that would normally perform the job.

Task Zero: Cross-country tourism.

I started with a 700-mile drive to visit various touristy sites, split about 60/30/10 between freeway, two-lane state routes, and back roads. Without the presence of Splenda, this would be an Accord trip — and almost immediately I wished for the crossover to be replaced with said Accord, a wish that recurred with depressingly regularity through my drive. To begin with, Splenda didn’t have the Accord’s sneeze-proof stability on the freeway. Left to itself, the vehicle would sniff from one side of the lane to the other. Crosswinds greatly exacerbated this tendency. When the road was dry, I found Splenda to be considerably less pleasant than my four-and-a-half-year-old, 60,000-mile coupe. When the rain hit, however, I was grateful for Splenda’s higher windshield, which proved to be far less susceptible to 18-wheeler-induced spray-blindness.

The extra half-ton of weight that Splenda carries compared to the Accord revealed itself in a few different ways. It’s sluggish in normal driving, which means that you reach for the kickdown gear more often, which drops mileage into the very low twenties. I’d have used no more fuel had I chosen my 5,800-pound, 420-horsepower Silverado instead. The difference between Splenda and the Accord on back roads is very similar to the difference between my memories of running a 5k at 185 pounds and my current experience of jogging around the neighborhood at about 30 percent more weight, with one important difference: Splenda carries its extra weight nice and high, which requires some fairly massive spring and damping rates. The crossover rides worse than the sedan but also has more body roll. It’s a Christmas miracle!

For Task Zero, I’d rate Splenda as inferior to the Accord and equal to the Silverado.

Task One: Big Boxes

While I was off playing tourist, a couple of boxes arrived at my local FedEx store: my new 30-quart Pelican Cooler and a Lynskey R275 road bike for this summer’s cycling adventures. I know from experience that full-sized bike boxes won’t fit in the Accord, so I took Splenda to the FedEx store, folding both rows of seats behind me.

Given Splenda’s size, I expected it to swallow both boxes with aplomb. It wasn’t that simple. The bike box couldn’t go in vertical, nor could it quite fit horizontally. I had to go at an angle, and the sloping rear window prevented me from putting the Pelican on top of the slanted box via the cargo entrance. I solved the issue by shoving the bike box up to 45 degrees and putting the cooler box in through the left rear door. That worked well enough.

For Task One, I’d rate the crossover as infinitely superior to the Accord and inferior to the Silverado, which would have swallowed both boxes in its 6.5-foot bed sans complaint.

Task Two: Bike Trip, Part One

On Friday night, my 9-year-old son and I grabbed our mountain bikes and headed for the nearest entrance to the Olentangy Trail. From there, we rode 14 miles to a dinner meeting with Danger Girl downtown. Once dinner was over, we tossed our bikes in the back of the Silverado and caught a ride back up to Splenda.

My mountain bike, a Lynskey Pro29, is just this side of enormous, so I expected that I would have trouble fitting it in Splenda. It went in through the hatch — barely. My son’s Cleary Meerkat 24-inch MTB was a tight fit on top of it, with a blanket between the bikes to cut down on scratching. There was not room for either half of the second-row seat to come up, so I put my son in the front seat. This would have been unacceptable for anything besides a short neighborhood drive at low speeds. Had we been riding our mountain bikes at an actual mountain bike trail, we would have ruined Splenda’s leather interior with mud. Any serious cyclist would have to put a hitch rack on Splenda, just like the one I have on my Accord.

For Task Two, I would rate the crossover superior to a sedan without a hitch rack and inferior to the Silverado. Putting a hitch rack on both Splenda and my Accord would make them effectively equal.

Task Three: Bike Trip, Part Two

Alright! It’s Sunday, which means we’re either racing a car or a bicycle around these parts. This particular Sunday was a BMX race, so we needed to fit three people, two bicycles, one gear bag, the aforementioned Pelican Cooler, three folding chairs, and a toolbox in the vehicle. Splenda couldn’t do it, so I called an audible and switched to the Silverado. With a hitch rack, Splenda could have done it, but the same is true for my Accord, which we have used multiple times in exactly this situation.

For Task Three, Splenda failed the requirements.

Task Four: The Worker Bee Goes To Work

I commuted to my day job in Splenda four times. I appreciated how easy it was to park the vehicle thanks to its sub-Tahoe proportions, but I didn’t like that sluggish response from the powertrain, nor did I like getting fuel economy in the teens. In traffic, Splenda’s extra ride height gave me a great view of the functionally identical vehicles all around me; the SUV was an advantage in that respect 20 years ago, but this seat positioning is the default now.

For Task Four, Splenda was inferior to the Accord and superior to the Silverado.

Final Results: I was surprised at just how little advantage Splenda offered compared to a regular family sedan. In fact, I think you can boil it down to just two things: a stubby third row and the ability to carry slightly larger boxes. The problem is that a real minivan would have done a better job than Splenda in pretty much all circumstances, particularly Task Three, which is easily possible in a Pacifica or Sienna. Furthermore, the dynamic advantage of Splenda over a minivan is virtually nil. So why bother?

I think the only way to understand Splenda is to think of it as a 1977 Cutlass Supreme Coupe. The people who bought “PLCs” knew they were giving up space and utility compared to a sedan or wagon. They did it because they wanted the look. The same is true of Splenda. It’s not very good at doing car stuff and it’s not very good at doing minivan/truck stuff. You have to want something that looks like Splenda in order to buy a Splenda.

Were I lucky enough to have four sons instead of one, I’d suck up my pride and I’d get a Pacifica. Since I’m not that lucky, Splenda offers me virtually zero additional functionality but it extracts a significant penalty in everything from purchase price to operating costs to vehicle dynamics. And that, as they say, is that. I’ve been to the three-row mountaintop. And I have no desire to ever go back.

[Image: Subaru]

(This image depicts a concept vehicle that never made it to production, and was used only for illustrative purposes. Jack’s secret remains safe – Ed.)

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65 Comments on “No Fixed Abode: Sleepy In CU-Ville...”

  • avatar

    “I think the only way to understand Splenda is to think of it as a 1977 Cutlass Supreme Coupe. ”

    Exactly. There was no rational reason to spend more money on a Cutlass, Cordoba, Regal, Cougar or Eldorado, but people bought them by the boatload anyway.

    It’s blatant consumerism, and consumerism isn’t rational. People consume anyway. Go figure.

    (By the way, my GF and I are planning our first blended-family vacation this summer, and we’re going to have to rent something much bigger than either of our cars. There’s no way in hell we’re renting a CUV – this is a job for a minivan.)

    • 0 avatar

      I think the analogy is pretty apt with one exception: 2010s sedans, for the most part, have crappy rear headroom. CUVs tend to beat them on four-person comfort and therefore are more practical on that front. In contrast, ’70s PLCs were almost uniformly less practical than their sedan counterparts. I’ll note, however, that this advantage for 2010s CUVs could be mitigated with slightly different 2010s sedan designs. Crappy rear headroom is a pretty new phenomenon.

      I was going to argue that CUVs beat beat minivans in terms of having a smaller footprint, but that one’s a push. 3-row CUVs and minivans generally both have pretty large footprints.

      Jack’s spot on about the Christmas miracle. CUVs tend to be a lose-lose in terms of ride and handling. Most people don’t notice, apparently. I do, and I think a lot of commenters here do.

      • 0 avatar

        The great advantage of the ’70s PLCs was that, in the back seat, you were isolated from the outside world: the perfect place to smoke or drink without being seen through the opera windows.

      • 0 avatar

        EGG-ZACKLY. Sedans don’t sell because they’re NOT SEDANS anymore, they’re four-door coupes with rear legroom for miles and rear headroom for children. The SUV long roof gets you rear headroom.

        Also every idiot thinks they need AWD, and approximately 1 in 100 idiots actually does.

        • 0 avatar

          “Also every idiot thinks they need AWD, and approximately 1 in 100 idiots actually does.”

          I’d change that to 40% and take out the word ‘idiots.’ AWD IS helpful when there’s snow and ice on the ground and it even helps in certain rainy circumstances.

        • 0 avatar

          LOL at Bunkie and FreedMike, you two rapscallions. I had almost written, “Except in some very specific ways–perhaps better sightlines for a very tall driver–1970s PLCs were almost uniformly less practical than their sedan counterparts.” I suppose your scenarios constitute “very specific ways.”

          • 0 avatar

            For a coupe driver, a back seat is very impractical. But drop the back seat and the insurance rate skyrockets because it is now a two-seat “sports car”, even when it’s a Lincoln Mark V.

        • 0 avatar

          @ HotPotato – “[T]hey’re four-door coupes with rear legroom for miles and rear headroom for children.” Interesting point, it lends credence to my belief that current sedan design criteria usually include “fore-aft dimension to accomodate Yamato-class child seat” but not “sufficient headroom for adult male of average height.”

          And you’re right about AWD as well.

    • 0 avatar

      I drove my twins from Austin to Asheville, NC last summer. My neighbor graciously lent me his 2015 Caravan w/ the rear entertainment package. I could listen to Sirius radio up front while the kids watched dvd’s in back with the wireless headphones. Got 25+ mpg doing 70+ the whole way. It was a glorious ride. I was an admitted never-minivaner before I had kids. But now I’ve SEEN THE LIGHT!! We’re currently shopping for a new mininvan to replace the soul sucking 2003 VW Jetta – god I loathe car…

  • avatar

    This just doesn’t pass the smell test. This article was thought out long before you got into your crossover. Drive your accord/truck, fine. They seem to meet your needs. But why you got to hate on people who find their needs met with a crossover? Personal opinions aside, it really just isn’t that helpful.

    One could write the opposite article without any real difficulty. “I decided to swap my CUV for a sedan and a truck. Reasons why that sucks: 1. I only have parking room for one car. 2. I have to make payments on two cars. 3. I have to insure 2 cars. 4. My truck doesn’t have enclosed storage. 5. I have to drive both at the same time to hold 7 people.”

  • avatar

    After 70,000 miles and 4 years in a 2010 Highlander (V6 4WD) were does this enthusiast find himself? BORED and eagerly anticipating loan payoff and replacement.

    It is a perfectly adequate appliance that conducts itself reliably and well but holds 0 passion for me. (Which is exactly the way I feel about my MIL Acadia and my wife’s Terrain when I’ve driven them 100 plus miles at a stretch.)

    If you truly need three rows CUVs are a compromise on the minivan you should have gotten. If you don’t need 3 rows then they are wretched excess and you could be having so much more fun in a sedan that would likely have a better power to weight ratio, superior fuel economy, and road holding ability.

    • 0 avatar

      PrincipalDan, your MIL has an odd name, but compared to your feelings about her it blends into the background.

    • 0 avatar

      Dan, while I agree that a car drives much better, generally, than a CUV, people don’t seem to care.

      People don’t seem to prioritize driving dynamics. Perhaps a CUV feels better to some people, like your women (lol wife and MIL). They probably could have gotten a better deal on a loaded Malibu or Impala that undoubtedly handles better, right?

      • 0 avatar

        No people don’t seem to care. If this website was owned by Consumer Reports that assertion would be reasonable, but we are enthusiasts therefore we will gripe about these things and shake our heads in disbelief.

        The world goes nuts for soccer and most Americans barely pay attention when finally the World Cup rolls around. Auto Enthusiasts are like those rabid soccer fans that the most of USA shakes their heads at.

        I will subscribe to “Happy Wife, Happy Life” but I can internally think – “Dang I could have got you a nearly-loaded Malibu for the price of a mid-level Terrain.” (Her money too, I’ll help her shop but her money, her choices.)

        • 0 avatar

          “If this website was owned by Consumer Reports ”

          It would still allow people sharing a similar interest to express their opinions in the blog.

          I learn something every time I read blogs on various websites. Different people think differently about common things.

        • 0 avatar

          People dont care because they spend 90% of their driving time staring at someone else’s bumper or a red light. Traffic takes any and all of the spirit out of driving, and at that point, who really cares what they are sitting in as long as it is comfortable? And for comfort, the CUVs will top sedans all day long.

  • avatar

    I think Splenda is an MDX. And my dad owned one of those Cutlass Supreme Coupes that I was very much looking forward to driving in High School. Until he drove it off a bridge in a snow storm in Northern Virginia. He replaced it with Chevettes. I’m still scarred.

  • avatar

    “You have to want something that looks like Splenda in order to buy a Splenda.”


    Who sees this runty Easter Egg and thinks, “Oh yea, I got to get me some of that *STYLE*”?

  • avatar
    Arthur Dailey

    As someone who owned/leased/drove multiple PLC’s during their prime, I can agree with JB’s comparison. And I can also agree regarding the utility of a mini-van versus a 3 row CUV. But then I also believe that in many instances a mini-van has more utility than a pick-up. Such as when moving kids to and from school/college/dorms. Or trips to IKEA.

    As an economic/historical aside, remember that PLC’s came into their ‘prime’ when a great many Boomers were still single, and had more than adequate disposable income. I also knew a significant number of pre-Boomers, who purchased a PLC when they divorced/left their wives. For a single person, a PLC was actually more utilitarian than a wagon. And a 2nd set of doors was often unnecessary. And I replaced my Corvette with a T-Bird when I realized that there were times when, I needed more than just 2 seats.

    For similar demographic reasons, station wagons were in great demand when Boomers were still living at home//children, and minivans became de rigeur during the ‘Baby Bounce’.

    Demographics have a great deal of bearing on consumer spending patterns.

  • avatar

    I’m not sure you can get a Pathfinder to just under $50K, but that’s what stuck in my head as I read this article.

    As for why people choose these modern-day PLCs, Jack said it best when he wrote about himself, “Were I lucky enough to have four sons instead of one, I’d suck up my pride and I’d get a Pacifica.” So, yeah, even when the obvious choice is a minivan, Jack would have to suck up his pride. This is a choice most others wouldn’t make, as they’d just buy the outdoorsy, adventure-filled SUV.

    • 0 avatar
      Kyree S. Williams

      “as they’d just buy the outdoorsy, adventure-filled SUV.”

      To me, a minivan is just as outdoorsy, especially with cross bars and/or a bike rack.

    • 0 avatar

      Yeah, I was thinking that, since a Journey couldn’t possibly be that expensive.

      Maybe the Infiniti version of the Failfinder?

  • avatar

    I wish there were more van options out there, but there isn’t. But the only three row that even rates on my “consider” list is the Atlas and I still don’t really want one.

    Had a Traverse as a rental once and I was happy to get back in our Odyssey at the end of the trip. Didn’t get the appeal, especially schlepping twin boys in car seats and grandparents around. High ingress/egress, awkward third row access and no cargo space with the third row up. Same mileage (minivan still better slightly) and handles like a minivan. Just don’t get it.

    Love our minivans. Hell, I just put a 26 gallon air compressor in its box my Golf, which I could not have done with my previous Cruze.

    • 0 avatar

      Odyssey rules. Had tons of bikes in there. Once on a whim I bought a kayak from the AirBnB I was staying at and just threw it in the back with all our luggage, although I did have to lower one of the middle seats. Took the wife, two full size car seats, granpa, sister, and nephews (plural) to the museums in comfort. Can’t beat it.

  • avatar

    Nice article.

    Now do the exact same thing with a full-sized pickup truck. Your choice.

    • 0 avatar

      Right. How does a full-size pickup compare to his (often talked about and praised for its usefulness when appropriate) full-size pickup in vague terms without naming the competing truck?

      Then someone will make known some outrageous and preposterous “fact” that everyone else must prove wrong to his satisfaction, or accept without question.

  • avatar

    To paraphrase what I think was an H. L. Mencken quote, nobody ever went broke underestimating the taste or intelligence of the American consumer. The proliferation of these absurdities, because minivans and wagons and (increasingly) sedans aren’t for Cool People, is just one more example.

  • avatar

    Cool People are more concerned with fitting in than exercising practical judgment. Nevertheless, if some of them knew that Jack was cool and they read this fine article, they might reconsider their choices.

  • avatar

    Nice summary. Most people would be fine with a sedan, honestly I think mnay would be fine with a coupe since carrying 4 people comfortably is not really a requirement in daily driving unless you have to transport children (not talking about toddlers here since they require special seats). Kids are small and flexible, thus they fit fine into 2 door vehicles. And pickups are far better at carrying oversized items due to the open bed. Add a bed cover to handle security of items (like tools) or protection of items from the weather. I had Isuzu Rodeo back in the day and its ONLY advantage was: (as mentioned in the article) driving in the rain. At every other task I needed a vehicle for it FAILED. It couldn’t hold much because the hatch size/shape limited many items from fitting. You didn’t want to put certain items into it due to making a mess, you know stuff like gardening or home improvement projects. It got poor mileage, handled terribly (like scary bad) and had poor visibility all of which made it a poor daily driver. I traded it in after only 8 months and got a Ranger extended cab instead. To this day that SUV rates as my quickest vehicle purchase regret ever… and keep in mind I bought a VW Passat at one point. I got hand it the marketing folks, they have managed to get people to purchase these SUVs despite all their shortcomings.

  • avatar

    Wagon plus hitch (fits bike rack, luggage shelf, or can actually tow light weight things). AWD + Turbo for extra points. Keeps bike in box dry for those rare PNW rainy spells. Does not seat more than 4 in any kind of comfort though, so if you’re lucky enough to need more seats get the van.

  • avatar

    20 years ago at least, genchi genbutsu was a the real deal for some Japanese execs. My particular experience was with Isuzu and their involvement in the Duramax diesel V8. Those guys were far more hands on than the GM guys who were much more the “wide aisle” tour type.

  • avatar

    After comment #100 or 24 hours, whichever comes first, please tell us the real name of Splenda. Interestingly, I noticed just recently how similar the Pilot’s exterior styling is to the Odyssey. A Pilot just isn’t butch, so why not simply get the more useful interior layout of the Odyssey, especially if awd isn’t a consideration?

  • avatar

    I once had a Malibu Maxx. The packaging on that thing was absolutely effing brilliant. The execution and quality were absolutely effing atrocious. Toyota then, as they often do, perfected the Malibu Maxx as the Venza. I really don’t get CUVs for reasons cited in the article. But the reason I dislike them is more about that the people who drive them actually think they are “sporty.”

    • 0 avatar
      Firestorm 500

      For darn sure a Maxx or minivan isn’t “sporty”.

      • 0 avatar

        A Malibu Maxx SS, on the other hand…I still scour the ads now and then seeing if I can find one. GM made a super low volume hot-rod pushrod engine for the thing, ditto the huge wheels and other bits, and improved the dynamics in every way. Weirdly expensive to insure, probably because parts are all but unavailable by now.

  • avatar

    I grew up with my parents driving three generations of Chrysler minivans (without much issue, surprisingly). Those things hauled us and our stuff all over, from vacations to scout camp in the Pa mountains. They were comfortable-ish (stow n go seats were thinly padded) and did everything better than a SUV. I hated them and my mother grew to dislike the image of a van. Man, now I truly appreciate how versatile they are and could only wish we had a Pacifica Limited on those trips. These crossovers are fine. We had a CX-9 and it was a good utility vehicle. It worked fine as my brother moved out, but still, we missed the space of a van. Eventually, as I moved out, the CX-9 was replaced with a 16 Accord which has been great. Super comfortable and gets WAY better mileage than the Mazda. Funny that now my parents have that aforementioned Accord and a Cherokee. They prefer taking the Honda everywhere as it’s more comfortable (read: less “bouncy”) and gets better mpg. I always laugh seeing young families now stuffing their stuff in small suv’s knowing a CPO van would cost the same and offer so much more utility. Oh well.

    TLDR: Crossover’s are fine and are great when keeping up with the Joneses, however, if raising a family, a minivan is a perfect tool.

  • avatar

    I wouldn’t own a CUV. No point. If you need “Swiss army knife” utility get a pickup or a minivan or both. If I had to chose between these two, I’d buy the pickup any day but that’s better for me living in the Great White North.
    Motorcycles have always been my preferred recreational choice therefore I rarely ever consider owning a new car.

  • avatar

    I love our Durango – but I have no delusions that it’s anything other than a V8 station wagon with a bit of ground clearance.

  • avatar

    Honestly, most manufacturers, at last Honda, wants to get people in their CUVs-SUVs. The new 2018 Accord when compared to the 2017 sits lower to the ground and is more uncomfortable to get in and out of. It isn’t terrible, it just is harder than in the 2017 model. So what’s the solution? Honda has a CR-V for you, or a Pilot.
    I don’t think Jack’s Splenda is a Pilot. The Pilots are surprisingly roomy and fast given their size. Also fuel consumption isn’t too bad considering. The silhouette looks like a CX-9 but I don’ think that was meant to reflect the car he drove. It was probably used for artistic reasons. He probably drove a 3 row Explorer or some other American SUV like an Acadia or sibling.

  • avatar

    Kids are older and starting to drive themselves but I can’t imagine getting rid of my Odyssey. Now I just leave the back seat folded and can roll my FS mountain bike in the back for quick trips to the trail or remove middle seats and load bikes then sleep 2 on a quick overnight – way easier than setting up a tent. And once in a while I do carry 6 or 7 people, plus gear. I do think Honda screwed up by making the center seats non-removable (as I understand it). I would look elsewhere now.

  • avatar

    Small observation, but I once managed to shove a full-size bike box (I dunno, 5’x3′?) in the back seat of a late-model Toyota Avalon (and also, with a bit of wrangling, in my Mazda2). It’s more than a little disappointing that a 3-row CUV couldn’t do the same.

  • avatar

    I agree with JB’s judgements of this vehicle, whatever it was. But I wonder, if he had to choose just one of them as his only car, if it would be the Accord? There’s so many wheeled and stringed objects that it couldn’t carry. Add a hitch and a small utility trailer and you can haul like a champ, but that’s not very common these days. Hauling a trailer requires extra attention, and the thought of backing one reduces many to tears and sweats. People might think,” Why didn’t he get a truck?”

    When I spotted a Fiat 500 towing a five-foot flatbed loaded with a bedroom dresser and drawers, I was filled with admiration at the practicality of it all, having just enough capability for the job. Contemporary American consumerism is a monument to excess capacity, from Jack’s 600hp musclecars to the 36 megapixel camera I use to create 2 MPx web postings. It’s usually wiser to buy what you need for 90% of your uses, and figure out the rest later, with racks and hitches and rentals and deliveries.

    I’ll test this myself soon. We’ve decided that my daughter, the aspiring forest ecologist, is the one who really needs the family CUV (a Tiguan). That C-Max we got her isn’t at its best on Washington state logging roads, despite being better for 90% of her urban and interstate mileage. So next winter, after we swap cars, our Denver driveway will host just two C-Maxes, for my wife and I. So I’ll see how much I miss having a high-pants CUV “just in case.” Maybe I’ll finally buy a snow blower.

  • avatar

    “I have to hear one more dimwitted IBM consultant with a two-year DeVry degree ”

    In my 20 years of working in banking IT, I have yet to meet any IBM consultant with a “two-year DeVry degree”. I have, however, met quite a few of them with big-name degrees whose lack of creativity or insight could have led you to that conclusion.

  • avatar

    I give up; what the hell is a ‘PLC?’

  • avatar

    You have hit the nail on the head! The 3 row belly dragger is the minivan coupe!

  • avatar

    I want a 3 row unibody (Durango) over a minivan because I sometimes tow more than 5000# and six in a pickup is crowded. Plus a pickup takes up a lot of garage space. For big boxes I have a trailer. YMMV

    I would gladly trade the 2 row CUV on a minvan in a heartbeat, but the rules were MIL would give use the CUV for when our daughter drives to school but only if we promise not to trade it.

    Our daughter doesn’t like it either. She wants a current gen Charger. Go figure.

    • 0 avatar

      As you say, YMMV. Where I live, trailers are not permitted in the yards where they may be visible by anybody; any trailer must be parked in “overflow parking” which is extremely limited for the number of residents in the community (only two lots with approximately 20 spaces each, with no fewer than 50 households around each one.) As such, and with only two parking spaces available for each household (not counting the few that have garages in their homes, eating floor space), residents here simply cannot comfortably maintain more than two vehicles. Any additional vehicle takes up parking in the overflow lots and once those are full, they park in the streets, which the HOA abhors but refuses to make more parking available OR loosen the rules.

      Yes, I own my home in this community. When I moved here, I had no idea I might one day need more than two parking places.

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