Tag: minivans

By on August 19, 2020

honda

Facing off against a stalwart Chrysler Pacifica and reborn Voyager, all-new Kia Sedona, and newly hybridized Toyota Sienna, the 2021 Honda Odyssey lopes into the coming model year with a mild refresh in tow.

Minor trim and content enhancements complete the mid-cycle overhaul, but Odyssey aficionados living north of the border are in for a shock. (Read More…)

By on August 10, 2020

2014 Chrysler Town & Country

A defunct minivan is under investigation by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration after three owners reported fires breaking out in the interior of their vehicles.

The preliminary probe, opened August 6th, covers only the 2014 Chrysler Town & Country, the high-zoot sibling of the Dodge Grand Caravan. It seems the trouble lies with the vehicle’s charge hub, which sits between the second- and third-row seats. (Read More…)

By on July 30, 2020

honda

It’s true that the once-hot minivan segment was shrinking rapidly even before the pandemic hit. Since then, things have only gotten worse for a vehicle type once seen as the go-to conveyance for growing families.

How bad is it? Our own Tim Cain recently traded in his Honda Odyssey for a shiny new Ridgeline pickup. We were aghast.

Well, this turn of events hasn’t stopped Honda from putting what it feels is its best minivan forward. For 2021, the Odyssey returns with a fresh(ened) face and new content. But can it budge the sales needle when it goes on sale next month? (Read More…)

By on July 21, 2020

2020 Chrysler Pacifica Limited with S Appearance - Image: Chrysler“How bad is it? And how bad is it going to be?”

Those were our questions five months ago when describing the American minivan category’s paltry 408,982 sales in calendar year 2019. At that time, the rate of decline experienced by the segment suggested that, “America won’t even acquire 300,000 minivans next year.”

Enter novel coronavirus and, consequently, a second-quarter in which auto sales in the United States tumbled by a third. For perspective, that’s 1.5 million fewer sales between April and June of 2020 than during the equivalent period one year earlier.

Meanwhile, as quarantines and lockdowns and isolations and shutdowns caused new vehicle demand to shrink, the previously beloved minivan segment saw its share of the U.S. market absolutely crater. (Read More…)

By on July 17, 2020

fca canada

In the Stephen King novel Pet Cemetery, a rural family discovers that burying the body of a dead pet (and later, larger mammals) in the old graveyard out back returns the deceased family member to the clan — miraculously reanimated, yet fundamentally changed.

That seems to be what Fiat Chrysler has in mind for a famously long-running nameplate. (Read More…)

By on June 25, 2020

kia

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? (Read More…)

By on June 24, 2020

kia

The vehicle you see here may bear the name of a minivan, but Kia Motors affectionately (and perhaps optimistically) refers to it as a “Grand Utility Vehicle.”

Appearing in South Korea on Wednesday wearing next-generation duds, the Carnival —aka the North American-market Sedona — apparently wants to be mistaken for an SUV. The brand’s designers made sure the resemblance was more than fleeting. (Read More…)

By on June 18, 2020

Kia

What a year 2020’s turned out to be! Sure, there’s stuff happening in the background, but look at all the minivan news. Chrysler’s coming out with an all-wheel-drive Pacifica, Toyota’s turning the Sienna into a dedicated hybrid, and Kia — well, Kia’s not giving up.

As the least popular minivan in a shrinking segment, Kia’s Sedona will not fade from the U.S. market. Not when there’s a fourth-generation model about to debut in Kia’s South Korean home base.  (Read More…)

By on June 8, 2020

fca

Seating, fuel economy, and traction: these are the three areas in which the 2021 Chrysler Pacifica and all-new Toyota Sienna will do battle, though neither of these vehicles is a direct match for the other.

In the shrinking minivan segment, the urge to offer everything a buyer might want has led us to this point. Orders opened for the all-wheel drive Pacifica on Friday — a product that Chrysler hopes will give would-be crossover buyers food for thought. In the Toyota corner, standard hybrid power and available AWD greets buyers for 2021. Similar beasts, but not at all identical.

Will seating decide the victor? (Read More…)

By on May 18, 2020

Long overdue for a revamp, the fourth-generation Toyota Sienna bowed today, ditching the previous model’s 3.5-liter V6 engine in favor of a more fuel-conscious alternative.

Before, the long-running minivan offered buyers the option of braving wintry weather or semi-rugged excursions with the confidence of all-wheel drive. That option remains — but it’s coupled with a standard feature previous Sienna buyers couldn’t get their hands on: a hybrid powertrain. (Read More…)

By on May 14, 2020

2018 Toyota Sienna red - Image: Toyota

It seems that Chrysler’s Pacifica won’t be the only available hybrid minivan for long.

While the Ontario-built model, which challenges Toyota’s Sienna by adding all-wheel drive for 2021, remains the only hybrid people mover in the segment, it’s possible the Sienna might soon become the only AWD HEV minivan. (Read More…)

By on May 12, 2020

Image: 1994 Toyota Previa

Some segments and roles just don’t mix. While unfavorable bodystyles and vehicle sizes can be kitted out for sport or luxury, perhaps even succeeding in their mission, sometimes a vehicle’s basic fiber — its core identity — proves an impossible match for its newfound mission.

Sometimes a car is too ponderously large for serious muscle car competition (Mercury’s bargelike, Marquis-based Marauder X-100) or too small and basic for well-padded luxury transport (the earliest Chevrolet Cavalier-based Cadillac Cimarron). Like a dumb-as-rocks linebacker donning a tux and attempting to make conversation at a literary society soirée, these vehicles didn’t fool anyone.

Now, what about the lowly, plebian van? (Read More…)

By on May 1, 2020


Much like our recently presented Tempo, today’s Ford is a well-kept oddity that’s already considered a classic due to its age. A ho-hum family van, the Aerostar was the sort of vehicle that got well-used and (usually) rusted by its eighth birthday.

Today’s short-wheelbase beauty, however, made it to 26.

(Read More…)

By on March 10, 2020

Clearly aware of what the minivan segment is all about, Honda has refreshed the Odyssey for 2021 with an obvious focus on the fundamentals. Practicality is the name of the game here, and with the Chrysler Pacifica and Toyota Sienna both receiving updates this annum, Honda didn’t want to be caught napping. But that doesn’t mean the brand has snapped wide awake, either.

Odyssey sales were down last year, with Honda unable to break 100,000 deliveries inside the United States for the first time this millennia. While the 2021 refresh could remedy that, the minivan segment doesn’t enjoy favorable positioning at the present time. Its competitors offer more variety, and Odyssey still doesn’t come with all-wheel drive — presumably because Honda thinks it’s unnecessary.

While that’s technically true (snow tires are more useful when the going gets slushy), there’s a subset of car customers who feel it’s a must-have option that Honda will continue to miss. They’ll be heading into Chrysler showrooms to drool over the handsome Pacifica’s laundry list of options or visiting Toyota to weigh the Sienna’s many practical merits against its curious exterior styling and less-than-lovely interior. Honda’s changes are mostly about leaning into Odyssey’s strengths and nullifying its shortcomings, the latter of which weren’t terribly prevalent to begin with.  (Read More…)

By on February 28, 2020

It’s not unexpected, but it still comes as a blow. The impending loss of the Dodge Grand Caravan stands to sadden lovers of the industry’s longest running, most inflation-resistant minivan, but it’s a truly bitter pill for workers at Fiat Chrysler’s Windsor Assembly Plant.

As reported yesterday by Canada’s Financial Post, the Grand Caravan — darling of Lee Iacocca, chariot to young soccer players for decades — will cease production at the end of May. (Read More…)

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