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Mini Vans Are Great. But They Just Aren't Cool.

Brian Champagne

UPR Contributor Brian Champagne borrowed a vehicle to test out and said you’ll probably love all the cool features inside. The only problem is what you might think about the outside.

280 tire-spinning horsepower. Anti-lock brakes and eight airbags if they don’t get the job done in time. It flips a one-point U-Turn on a standard street.


It’s smooth, with the latest radar cruise and safety stuff. You’re going to love the Honda Odyssey if you can get past the fact it’s a minivan. And if you can, you can seat seven and get 28 miles per gallon highway. A DVD player and headphones keep the rear-seat dependents happy, and Honda just added WarnerMedia streaming for more TV shows and movies. If not, rear seat cameras let you see who’s really on who’s side.


But a lot of you can’t get past the minivan part. In 2019 USA Today reported sliding door sales fell from 4 to 2.6% of the market. Maybe we’re too insecure to admit we live in the suburbs and would never take an SUV off-road anyway. And maybe it’s because the American family shrunk from 3.67 to 3.15 people in the last sixty years, and we need .52 people less space now.


The vehicle even has a built-in vacuum that you can use to suck up the nails everyone keeps trying to pound into the minivan’s coffin. 


An analyst quoted in the USA Today article said the decline reminded him of the compact pickup’s, which USA Today said no automakers were selling, ignoring Toyota’s and Nissan’s. Those are now competing against smaller trucks on Chevy and Ford lots, and this week Ford unveiled yet another compact pickup called the Maverick. A name not as fun as Carnival, Kia’s new minivan.


Brian Champagne grew up in the less-famous Central California but left after starting his television news career there. He worked 22 years in news for NBC, ABC, Fox, and CBS affiliates in four markets. He served as chief photographer for KTXL-TV in Sacramento, but worked in front of the camera, too.