Tag: Vans

By on February 1, 2019


Mercedes-Benz has already announced its electric EQ range will see an EQC SUV as the first inductee to its automotive stable — followed by the EQS sedan, EQA hatchback, and the compact EQB crossover. It also plans to introduce its EQV Concept in Geneva later this year, a model which draws much of its inspiration from the Mercedes V-Class (known in North America as the Metris).

However, the standard V-Class is going through some changes of its own. Thanks to a mid-cycle refresh in Europe, the model will gain more standard safety tech, new hardware, and added luxury options for 2020. It also goes under the knife for some tasteful plastic surgery, bringing it in line with the rest of the automaker’s lineup.  (Read More…)

By on January 16, 2019

As it prepares to launch a battery electric crossover, likely named Mach E, in 2020, Ford’s product boss told Blue Oval fans — and nervous investors — that the company isn’t in the habit of losing money with its products. As such, the upcoming Mustang-inspired crossover, like Ford’s other planned EVs, won’t be Fiat 500e-like money drain.

That’s one of the company’s promises, and here’s another: an electric F-150 and Transit. (Read More…)

By on December 30, 2018

Mitsubishi announced that it would be bringing a new concept vehicle to next month’s Tokyo Auto Salon and it’s… certainly something. Based on the upscale “Urban Gear” variant of the new Delica D:5, the show car aims to take Japanese van life offroad by bestowing the MPV with protective scaffolding, a roof rack, more lamps, and some red mudflaps.

Though, with three tiers of forward illumination (four if you count the roof) and one of the boxiest designs we’ve seen since the Volvo 240, the Delica looks like something straight out of an 1980s sci-fi film. Our own Steph Willems even went so far as to claim a rather uncanny resemblance to the titular hero from the film Robocop when presented with the above photo.  (Read More…)

By on November 9, 2018

Volkswagen AG and Ford Motor Co. continue to become more chummy with each passing day. They may even be on the cusp of sittin’ in a tree, K-I-S-S-I-N-G.

After signing a Memorandum of Understanding in June, executives are now hinting at widespread collaboration. Ford wants help in Europe and Latin America, areas awash in a sea of red. Volkswagen wants a piece of Ford’s self-driving technology, while the pair would work together on electric vehicles, according to recent reports. It’s worth noting that Ford, which has proven more open in discussing the matter, previously said nothing would be off the table if the two joined forces.

The most recent update concerns VW’s proposed investment in Ford’s self-driving partner, Argo AI. While both companies are dead set on a future of “electro mobility,” both fall short in critical areas.  (Read More…)

By on October 18, 2018

2018 Chrysler Pacifica S Appearance Package, Image: FCA

Of all the automakers embroiled in the Mad Men-era rush to plumb the psyches of American car buyers, Chrysler’s Dodge division stood head and shoulders above the rest in one key marketing element: sex. It sells, apparently, and Chrysler Corp. made sure to instill a little bit of it, overtly or subconsciously, into its print and TV advertising. As the circa ’66-67 “Dodge Rebellion” campaign gave way to 1968-70’s “Dodge Fever” gambit, the impact of the counterculture movement and America’s rapidly liberalizing attitudes soon became apparent in Dodge’s ad copy.

It was this era in Chrysler’s marketing history that spawned what’s arguably the most sexist (and psychosexual) car ad ever printed: Dodge’s 1969 Charger R/T ad, titled “The Eternal Triangle.”

These were sexy times for America, but even sexier times for Dodge, which had clearly grown too hot under the collar. The onset of the 1970s saw the brand put the tie-dyed shirt and address book in storage, trading its hedonistic copy for the far tamer “Dodge Material” campaign, and the rest is history (some of it quite embarrassing). Given this rich marketing heritage, it’s nice to see Chrysler attempt to spice up a family-oriented minivan with sex. (Read More…)

By on August 16, 2018

As the Ford Aerostar and Toyota Previa fade from our collective memory, one could be forgiven for thinking minivans were always a front-drive proposition. As for winter-beating all-wheel drive, a laundry list of crossovers and SUV fill that buying space, poaching sales from the once-hot minivan segment.

Still, one model continues offering four-wheel traction for buyers who aren’t scared of being seen in a traditionally uncool minivan. That model, the Toyota Sienna, enters 2019 with more AWD availability. As an underdog in the segment, it seems Toyota wants to sell its offering as the more family-friendly SUV alternative. (Read More…)

By on August 12, 2018


While the United States seems intent on pushing vans into the work-vehicle category, Europe continues to enjoy them for leisure activities. That’s a shame because there’s a chance some of that interesting van culture would have trickled over the ocean were it not for the chicken tax and unwarranted prejudice.

Volkswagen has several such lifestyle units, with the California being arguably the best in its fleet. Funnily enough, the model isn’t sold in California — nor anywhere else in the U.S. — but a recent update could hint at the direction VW will be taking with the I.D. Buzz. Based on the Transporter and outfitted as a camper van, the California is the true spiritual successor to the microbus. It can certainly trace its linage back to the Type 2 via the Transporter, while its motorhome amenities and optional paint schemes help to finish the job.  (Read More…)

By on July 25, 2018

It was one of those make or break moments. A company teetering on the financial verge which threw a Hail Mary at the right time — and at the right target. The company in question was Chrysler, and the Hail Mary was the K-car platform.

Today we ask you: What was peak K?

(Read More…)

By on July 20, 2018

2018 Honda Odyssey Cape Tryon copy - Image: © Timothy Cain

The wind is gusting above 40 miles per hour on New Brunswick’s Northumberland shore. I’m standing beside an oversized ATV trailer, desperately trying to figure out how one of three ratchet straps holding an ATV snowblower to the trailer tore itself to shreds, launching the blower into the trailer’s front box.

It’s the kind of wind that limits one’s cognitive function. Though often guilty of running multiple trains of thought along one set of tracks, I realize as I stare at the shredded strap that virtually all of my brain activity is presently devoted to maintaining a semi-socially acceptable level of snot spray and, concurrently, keeping my shirt from blowing up neck-high, Marilyn Monroe-style.

In the wee hours of Saturday morning, a whirlwind journey that began by leaving work early with the digital handshake of a deal, ended in my driveway with the blower intact. Hours later, our new 2018 Honda Odyssey EX ATV tow vehicle – a replacement for the 2015 Odyssey EX we victimized for three years – opened its tailgate to reveal a cavernous cargo area and hauled a wide array of 4x4s, 2x4s, and cement blocks home from the lumber yard. “Pickup trucks don’t take this much stuff in one load,” the teenaged attendant said. That afternoon, the Odyssey was back to hustling children across Prince Edward Island, three rows of seating full.

Can a minivan be beaten at life? (Read More…)

By on July 19, 2018

Image: Steph Willems/TTAC

There was an odd bit of PR posted to Ford’s media site this week — something that’s not altogether surprising, given the current socio-economic climate. You know about vans, right? Thought so. While the Econoline van is gone and the Windstar/Freestar a distant memory, Ford still has two boxes on wheels ready for the taking.

How’d you like to live in one? (Read More…)

By on June 27, 2018

Image: FCA

The Ram brand isn’t shy about disclosing its identity to strangers. Many a passer-by has suffered retina damage after a shaft of sunlight caught the massive, seemingly foot-tall “RAM” lettering adorning the tailgate of the truck division’s pickup models.

The brand’s vans are another story. Perhaps feeling insecure due to their Mexican birthplace and Italian architecture, Ram’s ProMaster and ProMaster City felt it sufficient to display the horned Ram logo in the center of their Dodge-like crosshair grille. For 2019, however, the Fiat Ducato and Doblo Ram ProMaster and ProMaster City see a boost in self-esteem. (Read More…)

By on June 27, 2018

Image: GMC Safari GTIn last week’s Crapwagon Garage QOTD, we combined truck and station wagon to create an SUV, picking five winners. In part VII of the series, we’ll combine truck and station wagon a bit differently and end up with a van.

That’s right, it’s time for some #vanlife (ugh). Car-based minivans also apply, so we’re not limited to things like the sweet Safari GT above.

(Read More…)

By on June 26, 2018

2018 Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid front quarter

For those of you voyeurs who enjoy peering at perfectly curated photos of strangers’ lives, do me a favor and click over to Instagram and search the “Vanlife” hashtag. It’s a seemingly endless parade of young folk who have eschewed traditional housing for a thoroughly modified full-size van — typically a Mercedes-Benz Sprinter or Ram ProMaster, kitted with beds, kitchens, and storage for implements of extreme living such as mountain bikes or kayaks.

The thing you’ll notice about nearly all of these vanlifers: no kids. It’s hard to get the little ones to hockey practice when you’re living life to the extreme.

I live a very different kind of vanlife here in suburbia. While certainly there are times when I’m hauling an empty box behind me, more often than not I have two kids and their assorted crap to haul. Other times, my van doubles as a truck, with a few sheets of OSB or 10 bags of mulch. I’ve even hauled a spare Miata engine to a race track for a friend who’d popped one in an early race session.

For those of us who need to get back and forth to the office, rather than to or from a trailhead, a traditional minivan is nearly perfect. The only downside? Fuel economy isn’t great, as you’re pushing a big, heavy box through the air. Chrysler recognized this with the 2018 Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid, offering a good bit more efficiency in a familiar package. Does it make #DadVanLife more palatable?

(Read More…)

By on June 20, 2018

Ford Motor Company and Volkswagen AG seem to be on the verge of a relationship that could yield jointly developed products aimed at the commercial sector. It’s looking a lot like the rumored FCA/VW partnership we reported on last year, only that date ended with cold showers.

Late Tuesday, Ford and VW issued a joint statement announcing the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between the two automakers. This “potential alliance” might lead to the conception of any number of vehicles. (Read More…)

By on April 25, 2018

We’re always surprised with what counts as a van in Europe. For example, Ford just showcased a new one based on the Fiesta at the Birmingham Commercial Vehicle Show — and it’s kind of wonderful. However, we’re unlikely to see it on our roads. A vehicle like this makes almost no sense for the North American market.

In fact, I can only think of a handful of applications for such an automobile: high-volume pizza delivery, flower delivery, amateur plumber, organ transport, and pet grooming for a business that only takes modestly sized animals. But they would all have to take place in an extremely-dense urban environment to rationalize the use of such a small vehicle. Otherwise, business owners are going to splurge on a proper small van like the Transit Connect.  (Read More…)

Recent Comments

  • Dan: A guy at my gym drives one. He put a big bull bar on it. And now I know why.
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  • SCE to AUX: On that Cadillac, the fenders alone are worth $35k.
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  • Timothy Cain, Canada
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