Sunday, December 16, 2007


I own a minivan. Minivans are great.

I found an interesting blog post about the Peyton Manning "so you're bummed about driving a minivan" commercial (go here to view the commercial - select "I drive a minivan" as "what's got you down" - and, note, that should say "what has you down" - not "what has got you down"). You can read it here. (Note: there is a slight amount of foul language on that page, and be careful about reading any of the guy's other posts, as they seem to contain some more language.)

Now, I think this guy is going a little overboard on the whole boycott idea. In fact, I, as a minivan driver, found the commercial funny. I don't think that either Peyton or MasterCard intended to offend anyone.

Why a minivan? Well, why not? They're more practical that most of the alternatives that people often want to drive. For example, the usual alternative is some sort of SUV. But most SUVs are built on truck platforms. Most SUVs have less interior room (both for people and for cargo) than minivans. Most SUVs are less comfortable on the road, don't drive as well, and are less fuel efficient than minivans. And even the loading - both of people and of stuff, is usually easier in a minivan. What advantages do the SUVs offer? Well, towing capacity is usually better with an SUV, and very few minivans are designed for off-roading. That being said, how many families actually do a lot of heavy towing (most minivans are sufficiently capable of light towing), or take their families on off-road adventures that would require the four-wheel-drive capability and ground clearance of truck-based SUVs?

I've had a minivan since about 1996. Three, actually: a 1995 Ford Windstar (bought used; transmission failed at around 67,000 miles), a 1998 Chevy Venture (bought new as an "end of year" clearance vehicle; nice inside, but horrible reliability both mechanically and electrically), and (my current family vehicle) a 1995 Mercury Villager (received used from my parents; my current family vehicle with a few problems, but fairly reliable so far). The Villager is a tad small for a family of six (at least for travel with bags or gifts; for everyday use it's fairly convenient). If you're looking for a new (or recent model used) minivan, check out the Hyundai Entourage (aka Kia Sedona, although the Kia dealers in my area haven't been very nice to me). If I had the money, I'd probably head in that direction myself.

So there you go: I'm a minivan driver. (Well, usually my wife is driving it, but I drive it when we're all together.) And, no, it's not a turbocharged, sport minivan - although the Villager actually handles pretty well for a minivan - and it doesn't have flames or a cool decal on it. Hope that doesn't make you think any less of me.

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