QOTD: Who's Fooling Who?

Steph Willems
by Steph Willems
qotd who s fooling who

You were probably thrilled to get a glimpse of the next-generation Kia Sedona yesterday, perhaps even dissolving into uncontrollable babbling, tears rolling unchecked down your crimson cheeks. Pull yourself together! It’s still a minivan. Kia just decided to play dress-up, disguising the new people mover as everyone’s favorite vehicle type: the easy-driving, socially acceptable crossover.

We’ve reached a point in history when the utility and versatility of a minivan — a once huge segment of the American auto landscape — needs to be dressed up as a SUV in order to (hopefully) sell. Are the segment’s attributes not enough? Clearly not. Stigma of such vehicles and declining sales forced Kia’s hand, prompting a re-do. But it begs the question — could it force a change in your thinking?

Maybe not the Sedona, but any minivan model.

Lose the sloping hood and the unmistakable profile of a minivan, and perhaps the overall package becomes that much sweeter. It already takes something of an individualist to get into a minivan these days, despite the many pluses that come with the purchase. A huge, flat cargo floor afforded by hideaway (or removable) seating gives a minivan the edge when it comes time for home improvement projects or moving day. That, plus the all-wheel drive cropping up in the segment (Chrysler, Toyota) and increasing hybridization, means would-be buyers have less reason to consider a crossover.

And yet buyers continue to vacate the minivan market in droves. The last thing an automaker can do to stem the flow is to gussy up a minivan in SUV clothes.

Would having the appearance of an SUV make you more likely to purchase a family vehicle with sliding rear side doors?

[Image: Kia Motors]

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6 of 26 comments
  • Arthur Dailey Arthur Dailey on Jun 25, 2020

    "Stigma"? Who exactly is judging the minivan driver? And should the minivan driver even care? Personally I give no credence to those who actually fall for the marketing hype that 'you are what you drive'. That belief is why people lease vehicles way over their income level. While contemplating the universe recently, I decided that the vehicle that I truly want is another minivan. I have home improvement projects on a semi-regular basis. I have a dog. I have a child who will be returning to school, out of town. I expect to become a grandparent in the near future (another child, not the student). I have children who will probably be moving in the near future. I like to take one 'driving vacation' each year. Once a year, I go on a golf day trip which means a foursome with golf bags. What vehicle can handle all of that better than a minivan? Unfortunately in my extensive experience with Dodge minivans, the maintenance costs and downtime with them becomes excessive. I am too cheap to pay for a Sienna or Odyssey. And no, I don't buy used. My one recent experience with a used vehicle resulting in too many trips to the garage and eventually a reluctance to drive it on the highway, at night or any distance from home. Despite it being one of the top vehicles for longevity/quality, having low mileage when we got it, and only having one previous owner. So I am probably relegated to a 'small', 4/5 seat CUV as a compromise.

    • See 1 previous
    • Arthur Dailey Arthur Dailey on Jun 25, 2020

      @Felix Hoenikker Somebody I work with recently reluctantly replaced his Odyssey with just over 450,000 kms when the transmission quit. I would like one or a Sienna, but not the payments required. In theory rather than a Toyota or Honda I could purchase a Caravan and still have over $10k left for repairs. But even then any resulting down time would still prove frustrating.

  • 3800FAN 3800FAN on Jun 25, 2020

    Ever sit behind the wheel of an Atlas? The hoodline is so high long and wide you cant see the ground before 30 feet from the car. Give me the sloped hoodline and great visavility of a minivan anyday.

  • Jdmcomp Jdmcomp on Jun 28, 2020

    Nothing new, just another CUV. Been around for years, where have you been. I like the new Sedona, Sliding doors are useful.

  • 902Chris 902Chris on Jul 02, 2020

    "Lose the sloping hood and the unmistakable profile of a minivan, and perhaps the overall package becomes that much sweeter" They have that, it's called the Sorento, and it will ride on the same platform and share a lot of parts. Do you want a minivan-ish SUV, or a SUV-ish minivan? Consumers can pick between the two. They don't have to decide for everyone. As a long term hatch and SUV driver, this is the first minivan to hit my radar.