He Says/She Says: Minivans

He Says/She Says: Minivan

In the He Says/She Says series, we discuss financial-ish topics where we agree to disagree. But Johnny’s usually right. Don’t tell Joanna I wrote that. Cool, thanks.

The first fight. Every marriage has one. Usually it’s a disagreement about some major fundamental belief: parenting, budgeting, politics. Ours went a little like this:

“I used to love summer road trips as a kid in our minivan.”
“We’ll have to do that when we have kids. Except we won’t have a minivan.”
“Uhhh, we will if we have kids.”
“No. We won’t.”

This back-and-forth continued, oh, another hour. Or two. It had angry moments and funny moments. But mostly, we just stared at each other incredulously. It became so pointed and personal that you would have assumed that my great-grandfather invented the minivan. Or that a rogue minivan had come into Joanna’s house as a child and murdered her family. But one thing was for sure: neither of us were backing down. So we decided to drop it. And then proceeded to sit on opposite ends of the couch in a passive-aggressive duel.

Days Weeks Months later, we promised to let cooler heads prevail as we got to the root of our freaking ridiculous disagreement. My argument was, and is, pretty simple: minivans are designed especially for families. So when we’ve multiple mini-humans, that would be the most practical car to transport our pale-skinned brood. And that’s that.

Joanna’s argument was a little more complex. For starters, she thinks almost every single one is u-g-l-y. And they ain’t got no alibi. She claims they’re unnecessarily big and long and ugly. She recognizes that lots of people like the way vans look. She’s not one of them. Then there’s the sliding doors and windows that don’t roll down and costly price tag. I quote her verbatim, “Why would you buy a car that you never ever ever would have considered prior to having kids?” Touche.

But those reasons were just surface level. You see, in Joanna’s mind, there was a lot more to a minivan than sliding doors and Cheetos-stained carpets. She saw my insistence on owning a van as me cornering her into the role of a 1950’s subservient housewife, which made me the chauvinistic Don Draper. And since I’m a copywriter at an ad agency, that comparison hit a little too close to home. Before you all start wondering in your head if I actually am a “your office is the kitchen” type husband, I assure you, I’m not. Joanna would vouch for this, too. Right, Joanna… right? But to her, the minivan was a symbol of settling for a life as a mom-servant.

I’m happy to report that she no longer feels that minivans enslave women. But she still thinks they’re ugly. And despises them. And insists one will never sit in our driveway. But I’ve never been one to walk away from a challenge. 🙂

Are you down with minivans? Let’s hear your best argument for or against getting one?

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  • Reply Elle March 20, 2013 at 7:53 am

    I’m with Joanna – I have no plans on getting a mini-van. A few of our friends have them and are happy and a few use either a family sedan or a small SUV and are happy too.

    We decided to get a bigger vehicle after we had our little girl and we picked up a Honda Accord. Besides the bigger size, it also has good gas mileage. I know minivans are getting better, but they still lag some sedans like the Camry and Accord.

    • Reply Johnny March 20, 2013 at 3:39 pm

      The gas mileage thing makes me hesitate a bit. But I know that an SUV wouldn’t be much of an improvement. We’ve got a Corolla right now and I hate putting that dumb carseat in. We’ll probably be getting a crossover or something for our next ride, but I still expect a van to be in our future. 🙂

  • Reply Johnny Moneyseed March 20, 2013 at 8:28 am

    Johnny, he’s the compromise: Don’t ever buy a minivan. Whenever you go on roadtrips (with your eventual large family) rent a minivan. This is way cheaper over the long-run, it won’t make Joanna feel like she became a soccer-mom, and you get the pleasure of cruising around with the fam in comfortable style.

    But I agree with you, minivans for some reason feel like you’re driving a spaceship (in a good way!) even though they look ridiculous on the outside.

    • Reply Johnny March 20, 2013 at 3:41 pm

      I dig that compromise. But I still want to park that spaceship in my driveway. I’m already resigned to the fact that I’m not really that cool anymore anyway. So might as well embrace it.

  • Reply Travis @debtchronicles March 20, 2013 at 8:44 am

    I was dead set against a minivan. DEAD SET AGAINST. After kid #1, I viewed not having a mini-van as the last holdout of my manhood. When kid # 2 was weeks away from joining us in the world, my wife and I had a discussion about how much stuff we bring with us when we even go to her mom’s house for a day trip 45 miles away and I agreed to test drive a mini-van overnight. I hated it….hated how it looked sitting in the garage, hated the idea all the way to my core…….until I picked up my son from day care, opened the big sliding door, and buckled him into his seat WITHOUT BENDING OVER. At that moment, I wanted to give that minivan an effing bear hug. We bought that minivan the next day. Two days later we went out of town with the new cruiser. I popped the back seats out and threw everything we were taking with us in the back – without having to play a 45 minute game of tetris with the bouncy seat, exersaucer and suitcases. I love my minivan. Love it. Wouldn’t trade it for anything.

    Oh, that our second car is a red convertible may help my inner manhood just a little.

    • Reply Johnny March 20, 2013 at 3:46 pm

      Haha. That’s awesome, Travis. In a perfect world, I would buy a pick-up truck and throw our kids in the back. I’d probably throw some seat belts back there or something. But I do like that aspect of having the ability to haul stuff in the van when you take out the seats.

      Good choice on the second car. I should probably start planning my manhood supplementation now.

  • Reply Brian March 20, 2013 at 8:46 am

    My mom has a mini-van and loves it (. She is high off the ground like an SUV but gets better MPG. Personally I am not a fan of owning a van, but the fold down seats do add TONS of space and it has come in quite handy when I have needed to move furniture.

    Mini van windows do roll down now, just an FYI and don’t underestimate how nice it is for a door to slide rather than open. It means less chance your kid will bang the crap out of the car next to you leaving you with a moral decision to leave a note or move your car so you won’t get caught…

    • Reply Johnny March 20, 2013 at 3:49 pm

      Now that’s the kind of pragmatic thinking that we could all use a dose of! Thank you for rounding out my ammo for the future argument that Joanna and I will likely rehash in a few years.

  • Reply Mrs. Pop @ Planting Our Pennies March 20, 2013 at 9:09 am

    I’m mixed on this. Growing up, I was jealous of the kids with minivans in their families since they were always shiny and new and worked so much better than the beaters my parents drove. A/C worked all the way to the back row in the mini-van! Whereas in my mom’s 1982 Ford Fairmont (and yes, it was the late 90’s when she had this), you had to be inches from the vent to get even a whiff of cool air.
    So I guess that means I’m for whatever car makes the most people comfortable that need to ride in it on a regular basis =)

    • Reply Johnny March 20, 2013 at 3:53 pm

      Haha. I had to google “Ford Fairmont.” Now that’s a beautiful car. I’d actually be alright with just getting one of those.

      Comfort > appearance. Which is why I’m solidly in camp “get a minivan.”

  • Reply MomofTwoPreciousGirls March 20, 2013 at 9:14 am

    Lol…I have always (except for the hand me down cutlass cierra and the 77 Plymouth volare I had in high school) driven compact vehicles. Namely, Nissan Sentras. I love them…sounds weird. But my sister and mother each had one too! While having the first ultrasound and seeing baby girls heartbeat, my hubby had this perplexed look on his face (I was hospitalized for crazy pains and it turned out I was pregnant…we were NOT trying). When I asked what was wrong he said “I’m trying to figure out how much the plexiglass is going to cost to build you a protective box while you’re carrying my baby”. He was totally serious! Next came the assault on my car. It was absolutely not big enough or safe enough. So we went to Nissan (I refused anything else) the year they released the rogue. I was set on buying one. We totally could not afford it. Then they said well we have some great deals on the murano. We test drove both and hubby chose (yes HE chose MY car) the murano. First, the rogue was very tinny…did not feel safe enough to him. Second the murano was BIGGER. And that meant better to him. So we fleeced the murano (i said we could not afford it). I did love that murano and it worked out well, because within 9 mos I was surprised with ANOTHER pregnancy!

    When the fleece was up and the girls were bigger, and hubby determined there would be no more babies (my jury is still out on this) I went right back to my Sentra!

    I will NEVER own a minivan…totally side with Joanna on this. But I would be fine with a crossover SUV. Size and safety of the big SUV but usually on a car chassis to give the feeling of driving a car. (The murano was built on 350z chassis…drove so sweetly)!

    • Reply Johnny March 20, 2013 at 3:56 pm

      Love that story.

      The funny thing is I’m not even that set on a minivan. But I’m totally open-minded to the thought. And having grown up with them and learning to drive with one, I think I’d like to have one for the fam. But I also really like the crossovers. They certainly look a lot better. I actually really like the Murano, so glad to hear you had good things to say about it.

  • Reply L Bee and the Money Tree March 20, 2013 at 9:19 am

    I don’t know much about your family situation, but if one of you is going to stay at home Ft with the kids, then that person should get to pick the car. After all, they’re probably going to be the one driving it.

    And minivans are ugly. And I will never have one. So, I’m on Joanna’s side.

    • Reply Johnny March 20, 2013 at 4:11 pm

      Based on that system, which I will admit is pretty fair, it sounds like Joanna will have free rein on her choice o’ car. Which means I’ve got a few years to plant seeds of minivan love before that choice is made.

  • Reply Rob March 20, 2013 at 9:20 am

    I too am not in the minivan camp, though mostly for financial cost effective reasons. After buying North American cars in our early married years (and mostly regretting it), we finally lucked out driving a Camry for consistent dependable trouble free safe driving (which has always been our #1 concern). That said, after reading your blog, I decided to turn to Google for some other minivan opinions – Minivans pros and cons. Here’s one link that resulted: http://www.carsdirect.com/car-buying/the-pros-and-cons-of-minivan-ownership

    While Baby Girl is young (and no sibs seen on the horizon for awhile) I would suggest that you might want to postpone the minivan decision for a few more years. Just my opinion.

    That said, however, our son (who is married and has 3 boys, all under age 8) drives a minivan. But then he’s also a hockey coach, scout leader. 🙂 So there ya go…

    • Reply Johnny March 20, 2013 at 4:16 pm

      Good stuff, Rob. And we probably won’t address this issue again until at least Baby #2 or #3, assuming they’re coming. But it’s definitely brewing.

      We’ve got a Corolla now and mostly love it for the same reasons you mentioned. But I love the idea of doing what your son’s doing and packing up tons of stuff (camping gear, beach gear, etc.) for road trips and outings.

  • Reply Roo // NiceGirlNotes March 20, 2013 at 9:24 am

    When my third daughter was born, my eldest was 3.5. THREE AND A HALF, Y’ALL. That means I had three children in carseats. I kicked and screamed about a minivan, but the day I said goodbye to the Honda CRV and said hello to the Honda Odyssey was a magical one.

    I push a button, the doors slide open, and the two bigger girls can climb in on their own. With the CRV? I’m grabbing hands, trying to open doors without smashing the cars next to mine, maneuvering around them, lifting them up in their seats, sweating, trying not to say too many bad words…

    Is it a sexy vehicle? No. But we got it (used) in a non-obnoxious color and snagged the one with the leather interior.

    It LITERALLY changed my life, for the better, and I’m secure enough in my cool-ness to not at all be embarrassed by it, haha.

    • Reply Johnny March 20, 2013 at 4:21 pm

      I still try to do the math with your 3 under 3.5 and I can’t quite make it work in my head. But I guess I’ll believe you.

      All of that luxury in one, litt… big car. Maybe you can take Joanna on a few joy rides and convert her hardened soul. I can arrange it.

  • Reply Chris March 20, 2013 at 9:35 am

    My wife and I just had this conversation recently. We’re both on Joanna’s side. The thought of owning a mini-van is a no go. It’s funny because we both grew up in families where we had a full size conversion van. You’d think a mini-van would be platable.

    Even though we live in the suburbs, we’re dead set against a mini-van…for now or at least until one of caves.


    • Reply Johnny March 20, 2013 at 4:29 pm

      Boooo! Kidding. To each his or her own. I think part of the reason why I remember my minivan days so fondly is that I was the second oldest kid, so naturally, I got one of the highly-coveted bucket seats. Had I been squeezed in the back seat in the middle, I’d probably feel differently.

  • Reply Ali March 20, 2013 at 9:40 am

    I gotta say, for all the reasons mentioned, love the van. It just makes sense. I also had two in cars seats, but even with just one it makes a HUGE difference to have the “magic doors” as they are known in my house, no bending, saves your back and sanity…now they are 5 and three, can hop in safely on their own, get buckled, plenty of space for all your essentials… Love my Odyssey!!

    • Reply Johnny March 20, 2013 at 4:35 pm

      It totally makes sense, right? And they’re built way more awesome now than the clunkers we had as kids. Magic doors?! So cool. Glad to hear there’s some sensibility around here.

  • Reply Miranda March 20, 2013 at 9:49 am

    My husband and I don’t have any kiddos yet, but we are both anti-minivan. My brother and sis-in-law have two kids and they love their Jeep Wrangler. It’s big enough to haul all four people plus the dogs, and still has room for everyone’s stuff. I think Jeeps and a lot of the ‘cross-over’ vehicles that are so popular today are a good match for families because they don’t feel ‘lame’ but they are just as functional.

    • Reply Johnny March 20, 2013 at 4:58 pm

      I really like the idea of crossovers. And I would probably feel a lot more comfortable in a Jeep than a Town & Country. But those vans are ROOMY. I’m not totally dead set on a minivan, but I was surprised when Joanna was so adamant against them. And then I write this blog post and lo and behold, I find out she’s not alone. My plan totally backfired. 🙂

      • Reply Miranda March 21, 2013 at 9:12 am

        Haha! Sorry. =) I totally hear ya about the roominess . Some of the vans out now look like the interior of a first class cabin (not that I would know from personal experience).

  • Reply Carrie March 20, 2013 at 9:52 am

    Oh, the shame. I NEVER wanted a minivan, and to this day do not think any minivan is attractive. Unfortunately, I drive one every day. We have three kids (11, 6 and 4), two of whom have to climb in and out of the car without assistance in the drop off lane at school. I still have to help the youngest buckle up. We previously had an SUV with a third row, and putting a second row seat up and down all the time to let a kid climb into the third row quickly became a gigantic pain in the butt. Our van has two bucket seats in the middle row, so a kid can easily walk/stoop/shuffle their way to the third row. The van also has automatic closing doors and two DVD screens for travel. We also have an Audi A4 as our “grownups” car, and packing three kids in that back row is…tight. Especially with booster seats. But it is a lot cooler to drive. I personally say put off getting the van until you have more than two kids, and it is a toss up for me on the van vs. SUV once the kids are a little older. We could probably go back to a three row SUV now that our girls are older and be okay.

    • Reply Johnny March 20, 2013 at 5:02 pm

      I LOVE the bucket seats. Seriously, those things were the bomb as a kid. All of my friends’ parents had Suburbans and I remember climbing on the second row seats and launching into the back third row. The seats were always filthy. So that’s my beef with three row SUVs.

      We’ll heed your advice and hold off with just a “grownup car” for now, but those automatic doors and DVD screens sound real nice.

  • Reply JMK March 20, 2013 at 10:06 am

    THEY ARE UGLY. And yes, it’s owning one is like having a big blinking sign over your head that says “I have 2.2 kids and a golden retreiver”. My partents briefly owned one when I was in my teens (when they first came out). The also had a sedan. They thought it would be great for my mom (real estate agent) to toss her open house signs in the back, and occasionally my dad could borrow it to easily get his clubs to the golf course. Three days after getting it, my mom was asked for the first time and only time in a now 40 year career, if she sold realestate full time. That was the end of her driving the minivan. Apparently it created the impression that she was a soccer mom primarily and was just playing at the realestate thing. Dad drove the minivan for the rest of the lease and they eventually went back to two sedans. Nothing wrong with being a parent/pet owner, but it does create a certain impression which may matter in some professions.

    We’ve always had two vehicles and they’ve run an assortment of pick up trucks, compact hatchbacks, midsized and fullsized sedans, and large SUVs. We’ve had a camping trailer for over a decade so one vehicle was always chosen for towing capacity. Along with that you generally get lots of cargo space and inefficient fuel consumption. For nearly two decades I’ve quite comfortably carted the kids around in my various Honda Civics (on my 3rd). They take a baby seat just fine, and frankly I’m perplexed by anyone needing massive amounts of cargo space in order to take a child anywhere. What on earth are you packing that requires a vehicle that didn’t exist until ~20 years ago? People travelled with kids before minivans. When they were little we took one extra suitcase/bag a big package of diapers, and perhaps a folding playpen to use as a bed for over night trips. Eventually we found it easier to buy used folding playpens to leave at both grandparents houses – less stuff to haul and certainly better than needing specialty vehicles. If you have several kids and they are all into hockey, cargo space may become an issue. Anyone who’e ever tried to wrangle 3 or 4 bags of hockey gear into a trunk might decide to endure the minivan phase.

    • Reply Johnny March 20, 2013 at 5:10 pm

      You’re right about vans giving off an impression. Which is dumb, because it’s just a car. My dad was a realtor as well, so he always had his “showing property” car for his clients. It was usually a Volvo or something, nothing too fancy, but he needed something that looked respectable.

      I don’t know if our kids will ever be hockey players, but roadtripping is definitely in our future. And that means luggage and camping gear, etc. So a minivan might be nice for those trips. But I’m sure I could make do with a sedan or crossover.

  • Reply Jennifer March 20, 2013 at 10:24 am

    Or you could do what my parents do now, my Dad drives the mini van and my Mom drives the cool car. But at one point both of my parents had vans, its really hard to transport 5 kids around without one.

    • Reply Johnny March 20, 2013 at 5:12 pm

      Ya know, I’m not totally opposed to that idea. My first years of driving were behind the wheel of a Chrysler Town & Country van, so if I could handle looking goofy as a 16-year-old, I’m sure I can handle it now.

  • Reply Kaya Haskin March 20, 2013 at 10:51 am

    I have a friend that was trading her Tahoe and was trying to decide on a GMC crossover or a minivan….
    I told her if she bought a minivan, she wouldn’t be my friend anymore! She got the crossover!

    I myself have a Diesel Excursion. When our son was born almost ten years ago, I wanted the biggest, safest thing i could find! Friends call it the TANK!

    Since they don’t make Excursions anymore, i would say get a Suburban…if you have a kid that needs to pee NOW, but you have to hop curbs, or drive through a little mud, those wimpy little minivan donut tires just aren’t going to cut it!

    And you can’t pull your boat with a damn minivan! Sure, you don’t have to bend down to buckle a seat belt, but you don’t in a TRUCK either! And yeah, milage sucks in trucks, but you can make extra money by pulling minivans out of the mud!

    • Reply Chris March 20, 2013 at 12:15 pm

      Bahahahaha you can’t pull your boat with a minivan! Good point!

    • Reply Johnny March 20, 2013 at 5:14 pm

      The TANK! Haha. Seriously those things used to be beasts. Suburbans aren’t too far off, either.

      Towing boats. Pulling minivans out of mud. Sounds like we need to start hanging out with you to add a little adventure into our lives. 🙂

  • Reply Chris March 20, 2013 at 11:31 am

    Well, while you nurse your bourbon and smoke your lucky strikes I’ll let you know that I’m on your side. We didn’t have a minivan growing up, we had a real van. It was a Chevy Mark III, and I loved it. Three boys and 2 parents fit quite comfortably in a giant van. It also had a TV (equipped with a sweet VCR) which made our frequent 4 hour road trips to grandma’s house much easier for my beloved mother. It wasn’t exactly stylish though. If I ever get a wild hair and decide to go travel across the country, I’m buying a van. So, don’t get a minivan, get a big van. Go big or go home!

    • Reply Johnny March 20, 2013 at 5:17 pm

      Haha. At that point, we might as well start considering RV’s. Which I’ll also gladly say I’m not totally opposed to either. I know the stigma associated with them, but man, roadtripping with one of those things would be freaking awesome.

      And the TV/VCR in car can not be understated with small children. That thing is worth every penny if it means keeping all of them from fighting the whole drive.

  • Reply Joshua Chiu March 20, 2013 at 12:09 pm


    Joanna sounds EXACTLY like my wife. We’ve had the same discussion/argument as you guys, with the same points and counterpoints as well. Lol.

    My whole thing to Rachel is, just wait until we have kids… Then you’ll see my point of view.

    • Reply Johnny March 20, 2013 at 5:22 pm

      We should have our wives hang out together while we go out and buy minivans together.

      Now that we’ve got baby #1, I actually think Joanna’s opinion has softened a itty bitty bit. We’re still a long ways off, but there is hope Josh. There is hope.

      • Reply Joshua Chiu March 20, 2013 at 5:40 pm

        Right now I’m really digging the new Honda Odysseys – way more swagger than the Toyota Siennas for sure.

        We really should hang out! We’ve already established the fact that we’re budget twins, and now this mutual love for minivans. If Johanna shares Rachel’s same distaste for running, and you guys enjoy eclectic dining experiences, then we’d be a couples match made in heaven. Haha.

  • Reply anna March 20, 2013 at 12:27 pm

    Even the Honda Odyssey? I thought vans were pretty ugly, too, but I think that one looks fairly stylish.

    • Reply Johnny March 20, 2013 at 5:24 pm

      I know, right? I think that’s a pretty good lookin’ van myself. Maybe I’ll start planting photos of vans around our house to subliminally train her over the next few months.

  • Reply Diane March 20, 2013 at 12:35 pm

    Sorry, Joanna~ I’m totally with Johnny on this one. I LOVE my mini-van because it just WORKS for a family vehicle. There are some nice looking vans available now. It’s perfect for hauling kids, strollers, pack & plays, pets in crates AND it works for DIY project supplies as well. We’ve hauled soil, mulch, plants, lumber, toilets~ you name it!

    We’ve traveled cross-country with two boys & a dog, plus everything we needed for a week in the mountains of Gatlinburg. We’ve visited grandparents with an infant & all the needed equipment, plus pets. It just works!

    And don’t be dissing Soccer Moms~ If you’re lucky, you’ll be one someday! Some of the best times of my life have been hauling car loads of boys to games & tournaments and listening to their conversations from the front seat of my mini van! Trust me, when they get to middle school age you’d rather have enough space for all of them.

    • Reply Johnny March 21, 2013 at 1:05 pm

      Now we’re TALKING! I hope you don’t mind if I print this comment out, laminate it and place it on her nightstand.

      Thank you, thank you, thank you. Awesome reasons.

  • Reply Holly@ClubThrifty March 20, 2013 at 12:39 pm

    I have a minivan and I love it! I don’t care what it looks like- we’re not in junior high anymore. It’s not about being the cool kids or having the name brand clothes. It’s about function over style. Mine has electric doors that open with the push of a button. It’s badass and I love it. It’s also periwinkle.

    • Reply Johnny March 21, 2013 at 1:10 pm

      I’m a function-over-style kinda guy, but I will admit, style is still important to me (and Joanna). And I don’t think they have to be mutually exclusive. But function will always win whenever the two are at odds with each other.

      I doubt it’s hard to find your periwinkle beaut in parking lots.

  • Reply Karen March 20, 2013 at 12:42 pm

    Stopping over from nicegirlnotes- and I’m with you on the idea of the minivan! YES. What will happen you get two car seats plus all the kid stuff there’s zero room for your stuff?

    Then you have the couple of seatbelt adjustments when they get better and even carry all their own stuff- there’s still zero room for any other person (big or small) to ride with you. Give a friend a ride? Give a play date a ride home? Have two kids with enough personal space to not complain? Nope. If you buy for the long run, think of soccer or ballet practice, coolers/snacks, plus the stroller. Plus your stuff. Plus groceries. Whoa.

    SUVS: Bulky, and high MPGs (even trying with the greener versions)

    And you will never have to yell at your kid to not open their door fast, and ding the car/lamp post/fence/sign/person next to your car. I say this every.single.day to my 7 y/o while I get his little sister out of the sedan and 8/10 times he can’t control the door. Minivan for one kid=so/so. Minivan for plus one kid= superb idea. #justsayin

    • Reply Johnny March 21, 2013 at 1:16 pm

      Awesome stuff. Another fantastic addition to the pro-minivan collection.

      I really like the idea of having a car to grow into, in much the same way you buy a house that’s a little bigger when you know you’re going to be having more little humans in the near future. Not to mention the fact that we’d already have issues trying to ever give someone a ride with our current backseat predicament.

  • Reply My Financial Independence Journey March 20, 2013 at 1:42 pm

    I am for buying the minimum car with the best mileage that meets your needs. If you need to haul around a large family, and a proportionally large amount of gear for after school activities, then a minivan might make sense. If not, you should probably stick with a sedan.

    • Reply Johnny March 21, 2013 at 1:18 pm

      We’re definitely playing by your rules right now. I’m not a fan of having things that are bigger than needed. So while we won’t be in the market for minivans yet, we’ve clearly already hashed out the topic ad nauseam for when it pops up again.

  • Reply Melissa March 20, 2013 at 1:48 pm

    I am on team Joanna. However, I babysat my sister’s 2 kids one weekend and it just made sense to user her pre-car seat installed mini van to trek around town.

    And wow. Hers has the automatic door open/close thing and that is amazing. Carrying a child, diaper bag, my purse, groceries and having to corral a small child was made ridonkulously more simple when I could press a button and the doors would open.

    Cue singing angels man. (although I’m still not sold on ever owning a mini van)

    • Reply Johnny March 21, 2013 at 1:33 pm

      It doesn’t sound like you’re so sure, Melissa. 🙂 Based on what a few other commenters have said, opinions are easily swayed once you actually have kids — which we don’t. A minivan probably wouldn’t make much sense for our baby right now, BUT I’m hoping that baby #2 or 3 or 10 will help Joanna come around.

  • Reply Christy March 20, 2013 at 1:55 pm

    Yeah, I said I never ever ever ever ever ever ever ever ever want a minivan. Ever. After our second baby I decided I needed something bigger than my Honda Accord sedan so I got a Honda Pilot and officially became a soccer mom. I love my Pilot, it’s just the right blend of trendy and not-too-mommy-but-has-enough-room-for-the-kids. And then in January I had my third baby. And that’s when I realized that having a button with a sliding door would be pretty freakin’ awesome for loading the munchkins. Add to that a television in the back to keep the peepers quiet and … yeah. I’m warming up to the mini-van. Methinks though that I will only buy a mini-van when I have enough money to have an alternate car to drive when I don’t have children with me. I’m thinking something with a sunroof or a top that rolls down …

    • Reply Johnny March 21, 2013 at 3:21 pm

      I’m a big Honda Pilot fan. If I could find a used one at a good price, that’d be a pretty awesome ride. But I’m still not sold on the practicality with little rugrats. I think the Pilot or a smaller crossover is probably Joanna’s preference, but I think I can sell Joanna on automatic doors and a backseat babysitter… I mean TV. 🙂

  • Reply Chaney March 20, 2013 at 2:08 pm

    Oh man, I have a strong aversion to minivans. Ugh. And we don’t have kids yet, so I really can’t speak from experience! We never had one growing up (we had a station wagon and then SUVs), and I never had a problem with that, ha!

    I may eat my words once we have a couple of kids, but right now, my feet are planted firmly in the NO MINIVAN camp. Thanks for sharing your thoughts!

    • Reply Johnny March 21, 2013 at 3:28 pm

      We did station wagons, SUVs and minivans, and as a kid, minivans won hands down. Except for the Volvo station wagon that had a fold out rear-facing seat in the trunk-ish thing. We loved sitting back there and making faces at drivers at other drivers. I digress… MINIVANS 4 LIFE!

      • Reply Chaney March 21, 2013 at 3:32 pm

        We had a Volvo station wagon too! Those rear-facing seats were the best. Our favorite thing to do was make signs on road trips that said things like “honk” (we were creative, I know).

        • Reply Johnny March 21, 2013 at 4:25 pm

          Hahaha! We totally did that. Those seats were the best.

  • Reply eemusings March 20, 2013 at 4:35 pm

    They ARE ugly, but I ain’t fussed about looks. I’m more concerned about driving/handling a large vehicle like that! (Kids still a way off though, so plenty of time…)

    • Reply Johnny March 21, 2013 at 3:31 pm

      I did all of my driver’s training and license test in my mom’s minivan and that thing handled like a silky smooth boat. It’s been a while though, so it might be worth renting one on our next vacation to make sure my memory serves me right.

  • Reply Newlyweds on a Budget March 20, 2013 at 5:20 pm

    oh em gee johnny, no!
    I am with Joanna, I will not even listen about talk about a minivan. We will have to get a new car when we have kids (none of ours will fit a car seat) and we’ve talked about the Rav 4. Every now and then my husband makes a joke about the minivan, but I would die. If it means I can’t have three kids because of the car seat issue, then I can’t have three kids. But NO. I am so against them. It just screams “uncool mom”. You might as well tell Joanna to wear sweatpants and gain 50 pounds. Ugh.

    • Reply Johnny March 21, 2013 at 3:51 pm

      Hahaha. Joanna definitely approved of your comment. If I ever fall into a large sum of money, I’m going to send you a minivan. And then you can send me a video of you setting it in flames.

  • Reply Sarah March 20, 2013 at 6:24 pm

    That’s a really good point–I never considered the roots of my deep loathing for minivans, but it’s probably because it feels like such a “mom-servant” symbol! We have a *paid for* Accord, which means we won’t be getting a new vehicle until we HAVE to, even if it gets a little tight for our two kids, but when we do get something larger, I want an SUV, because it would feel a little more “me” and a little less “sweat pants and hair in a pony tail mom.” Even if I am a mom and do wear sweatpants and a pony tail all the time.

    • Reply Johnny March 21, 2013 at 3:52 pm

      “…it would feel a little more “me” and a little less “sweat pants and hair in a pony tail mom.” Even if I am a mom and do wear sweatpants and a pony tail all the time.” Awesome line.

      We, like you, are going to make our one Corolla go as far as possible. But when the time comes to replace or get a second vehicle, you better believe we’ll test drive a minivan.

  • Reply Michelle March 20, 2013 at 8:08 pm

    Minivans are ugly! Can’t you just buy a Jeep Patriot? It will do the job. You will also look cool in your ride. Minivans are such a cliche. And, there are so many car options to choose from. I can’t wait to see who wins in the end!

    • Reply Johnny March 21, 2013 at 3:56 pm

      Jeep’s and other SUVs and crossovers are just fine, but I just don’t think they’re practical with kids. Time will tell, Michelle. But I have a feeling that Joanna might succumb to the temptations of automatic sliding doors and bucket seats.

  • Reply Mrs. 1500 March 20, 2013 at 10:51 pm

    I want a minivan. I would love a minivan. Mr. 1500 has vetoed a minivan for financial reasons. They are so expensive. We bought our Mazda 5 brand new in 2010, because we had 3 massive road trips planned, with a then 7-month-old baby who was a TERRIBLE traveler. Our Mazda 5 has 3 rows of seats, and a facing-backward infant can look at mom (her favorite person) sitting in row three.

    The Mazda was something like $17,000 new, with 0% financing (yippee!) and drives like a dream. It is called a micro-minivan, and takes up less space in our garage than a normal car that only seats 4. It doesn’t look awesome, it doesn’t look awful. It gets us from point A to point B, which is the whole reason to have a car. It is a nice alternative to the giganticness of a minivan, and I believe it is the only micro-minivan or minivan to have the manual transmission option.

    Just my two cents.

    • Reply Johnny March 21, 2013 at 4:00 pm

      Manual transmission?! On a minivan(ish)?! I’m sold. And I’m shocked that you got one for $17,000 brand spanking new. I haven’t done a ton of research outside of the Odyssey and Sienna, so the Mazda 5 is totally foreign to me, but I’ll have to give it a look now. Thanks for the heads up.

      • Reply Angela February 8, 2016 at 10:27 pm

        I love love love my Mazda 5! It’s quite zippy with the manual transmission. 😉 It’s a 2006 so contemplating pilot vs odyssey for an upgrade. Looking for a smidge more luxury!

  • Reply JW_Umbrella Treasury March 21, 2013 at 6:23 am

    We don’t have any little ones yet, but I’m hoping we can get by with something like a RAV 4 or a Volvo station wagon (and I totally recognize that a Volvo wagon is probably the ONLY car that makes the minivan look cool and sleek). I grew up with a minivan and they worked great for our family. But once I learned to drive, I hated how “clunky” the van felt.

    For what it’s worth, my parents are empty nesters and STILL drive a minivan (my brothers and I are 21, 24, and 27, respectively). And it’s not an old car. In fact, they bought the van after all of us had already left for college. Totally unnecessary for two adults to have a minivan. My mom says she needs it to tow grandkids (they are no grandkids yet). I think that’s her not-so-subtle way of dropping hints to me. Sheeesh!

    • Reply Johnny March 21, 2013 at 4:14 pm

      Hahaha. Your mom is awesome.

      I laughed about your Volvo remark, too. I actually commented above that we had an older one when we were kids and we’d always sit in the rear-facing seat. We loved it. But yeah, that wasn’t the best looking ride.

  • Reply Dr. Sheba March 23, 2013 at 8:40 pm

    I have always been against minivans, myself. I have 3 kids and I drive a Acura TL. I drive it because I love the way it looks. I used to drive an SUV, but it just wasn’t cool enough to me and it drank gas like crazy. To me minivans just seems like I taken all the spunk out of my life and have settled in the super grown up life of car pooling and PTA meetings. I’m still not fully FOR the minivan, but my boyfriend (who has two kids himself) has a minivan! I remember when we went on our first date and he picked me up in it and my jaw was on the floor. He doesn’t know my minivan thoughts, but that’s because after using his so often, I have considered getting one myself! How crazy is that? My preconceived notions about minivans have completely gone out he window because, now, I can really see the benefits of owning one. It’s totally worth it.

    • Reply Johnny March 24, 2013 at 10:06 pm

      Haha. Joanna and I were catching up on comments and read this one together. At first, Joanna was pumping her fist thinking she had another person in her camp. But by the end of the comment, I was doing the fist pumping. I think Joanna will come around to minivans like you did. Just a matter of getting her in one with some kiddos. 🙂

  • Reply Shaun Somers March 29, 2013 at 9:33 pm

    There’s no vehicle as useful as a minivan. I have a 2003 Dodge Caravan that I bought last year, which replaced the 1999 Caravan that died just after nearly 250,000 miles.
    What else can carry 7 passengers comfortably, while also having the ability to haul 4’x8′ sheets of drywall? Sure, a Suburban or similar vehicle can do that too, but at like 4x the cost to buy and terrible fuel economy, that’s only an option if you hate money more than you hate driving an ugly car.
    Modern minivans aren’t really ugly anyway, they just aren’t very attractive. There are models with rear windows that roll down, btw. And they really can’t be beat for road trips. Last summer we drove from Ontario to Colorado (about 3,100 miles roundtrip) and having all that space was fantastic – no need for the kids to sit right beside each other and fight like I had to as a kid driving around in the family station wagon.

    • Reply Joanna March 31, 2013 at 11:40 pm

      It seems that a minivan will end up being the logical and obvious choice for us once Johnny and I have more than one kid. Argggh. But until that day comes, I’m going to enjoy every second of being a non-minivan-driving mom! And, who knows, maybe by then minivans will have gone from being not very attractive to being kind of almost a little bit attractive. 🙂

  • Reply Mimi April 1, 2013 at 7:41 pm

    I’m with Joanna – I’m never driving a “soccer mom” van. My sister got a Jeep Liberty because it’s hard to get car seats into smaller cars and I think it looks good. If my future husband insists on a minivan, he’s driving it himself!

    • Reply Johnny April 3, 2013 at 1:43 am

      I like the Jeep Liberty or crossovers. But I also am just fine with a minivan. And if that means me driving that bad boy all over town, you better believe I will. 🙂

  • Reply Minivan | April 13, 2013 at 12:35 am

    […] have always been against minivans, myself. I have 3 kids and I drive an Acura TL. I drive it because I love the way it looks. I used […]

  • Reply Grace May 20, 2013 at 8:17 pm

    My husband is on his way home with our first minivan (the youngest of our three is sick and I have already seen it so he went alone for the final paperwork and such). We had a little Mitsubishi Outlander that I absolutely love and will miss very much(If you are looking for a great small SUV the Outlander is amazing! Great leg room and awesome gas mileage. And we’ve had it for 4.5 years and are getting only $4k less in trade in than what we paid for it) But we have a 1, 2 and 3 year old and 3 car seats barely fit on the back seat.
    I would LOVE a bigger SUV…but the gas mileage is worse, they looked to be running about $10k more than the vans we were looking at and our garage is actually too short to fit a full size SUV inside.
    So today I become a minivan mom. Because it’s practical. Yet I still hate the idea. Though I did make sure to push for the minivan with the features I wanted…may as well enjoy what I can.

    • Reply Johnny May 20, 2013 at 10:24 pm

      Bookmarking this comment for whenever I need to have the “Because it’s practical” conversation with Joanna. And whenever we have three kids. 🙂

      Congrats! It sounds like the perfect fit for what your family (and garage) needs. And thanks for the heads up on the Outlander. We’ll give it a lookie.

  • Reply Monica August 20, 2013 at 5:25 pm

    I’m totally for a minivan. In my opinion, the type of car you drive doesn’t define you. But I didn’t always think this way. During my single days I drove a Mercedes SLK convertible and vowed I’d never ever own a sedan or an American vehicle. The mere mention of the word mini-van would have set me off like vampire trapped in a Catholic church. Well, 10 years and 2 kids later, I’d like to think I’m a bit wiser and a little more practical. SUV’s are definitely more attractive to most people, but they still aren’t as practical as a minivan in my opinion. They guzzle more gas, are more prone to roll-over, rarely have captain’s chairs (a problem if you have 2 car seats and need to get additional passengers in the back row), and don’t usually come with other creature comforts like easy access automatic sliding doors, TV’s, etc. They also tend to be less expensive. My kids love the minivan and that’s all that matters.

    • Reply Johnny August 28, 2013 at 1:57 am

      You are speaking my language, Monica. You’ll never believe it, but Joanna actually uttered some kind things about minivans in the last few weeks, so I think a similar transformation is already taking root with her.

      Thanks for stopping by and sharing!

  • Reply Tarynkay September 29, 2013 at 2:22 pm

    Here is the thing: once you put a carseat in a car, that car becomes a minivan. It doesn’t matter how cool the car is- if you are schlepping kids around in it, it is a minivan. I have a friend who is really into not carrying a diaper bag around. But once you stuff diapers and wipes and a sippy cup and some goldfish in your fancy designer purse, you are carrying a diaper bag. It is best to just accept these things and make your life easier. If you can afford to trade up to a minivan, go for it! Those things have some amazing features.

    We am driving around a 2 door 2001 Golf TDI. It is a lot like a clown car with the rear facing carseat in the back- we call it a mini-minivan.

    • Reply Johnny September 30, 2013 at 2:51 am

      I read the first two sentences to Joanna and she laughed and nodded her head. Spot on analysis. Eight months into this baby stuff and I think Joanna has slowly seen the light that minivans aren’t as vile as she once thought they were.

      And how you get a carseat in and out of your two-door is a superhuman feat. That’s awesome you’ve made it work.

  • Reply no_more_minivan November 16, 2013 at 10:32 am

    Minivans may be well and good if you have only two kids in FF, RF or booster seats, but with three their appeal diminishes because almost all vans come with two captains chairs in the second row, meaning you never get to entirely fold the third row for carrying cargo and must become Quasimodo every time the third child needs to bet buckled in. With three kids in car seats, few minivans will hold more than six passengers. Not as versatile as they claim.

    Fuel economy is almost as bad as a SUV. Minivans are huge and weigh well over 2 tons, just like grandma’s obscene old Cadillac. Don’t kid yourself, they’re pigs at the pump.

    They’re family cars and have great safety ratings, but also have the highest loss frequency of the family car styles (50% higher than SUV, station wagon, large sedan). Good for when you crash it, I suppose, but better still to not crash it in the first place.

    Minivans’ size and weight vastly exceeds practical limitations of a front-wheel drive chassis. Not very good in rain or snow and impossible to pull out of a slide. Really only good for highways and oozing around parking lots.

    Flat tires: everyone now mounts a ridiculous donut beneath the van that’s impossible to remove. And then you have a huge, dirty, flat full size tire you need to stuff into the back. Total nightmare! Plan on calling for a tow and losing the day.

    • Reply Johnny November 18, 2013 at 2:57 am

      It pains me to say this, but there’s some pretty sound logic here. Joanna thanks you.

  • Reply Robert March 2, 2014 at 1:45 am

    To me it’s not about cool, not about image, but being fun to drive. I drive around with the top down in my mustang gt with a 7 and 8 year old in the back. If my wife and I have a third, she’ll probably trade her elantra for a 10 year old Tahoe, or maybe the Nissan crossover(that vq37 engine is nice!).
    Yeah we think minivans are ugly, but a real 4×4 SUV, or a crossover with 350Z bloodlines, would also be a lot more enjoyable to live with. That just my perspective as a car enthusiast.

    • Reply Johnny March 5, 2014 at 12:07 am

      We’re seriously considering a crossover right now. A minivan doesn’t make a ton of sense right now for our small family, but the Corolla is getting a little tight, too. A crossover seems like a pretty solid, fun compromise.

  • Reply genevieve hammer January 15, 2015 at 10:38 pm

    Johnny – i just stumbled across your blog from Facebook and I love it! So refreshing to read a blog that is smart and that is actually really well written. I shall now become a regular reader. Bravo!

    Ps I’m team Joanna all the way on this one.

    • Reply Johnny January 22, 2015 at 11:23 pm

      Hey Genevieve! Thanks for stumbling by and checking it out. It’s weird and random, but it keeps us busy and entertained. Joanna is always thrilled to have another anti-minivanner on her side. Say hi to Nathan and your fam!

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