Ode To The Mini-Van

I spent much of my youth growing up in Detroit – the motor city – and I have always found it strange that although car companies will tell you that women are the final decision makers when buying a vehicle, they still have not figured out how to market to us.  They either try to appeal to our sense of style/color or they try to tell us that it is cheap.  Listen up Detroit! First of all I could care less what color my car is.  Outside of avocado green or neon pink it is really not a deciding factor in buying a car.  Second, although I’m interested in price (obviously) it is not the only thing that interests me.  Marketing anything tech related to women is all about FUNCTION. What is it going to do FOR ME? And will it make my life easier or one more thing I’ve got to wash and feed?  This brings me to my second most important Mommy tech item that I own (my iPhone remains at the #1 spot), my Honda Odyssey.

Now, in the world of mini-vans and soccer Moms the Honda Odyssey is the Cadillac of mini-vans and I must admit that I LOVE MY HONDA ODYSSEY.  I was one of those women who swore up and down that I would never drive a mini-van.  That I would rather have every shred of my cool persona stripped from me than be caught dead in a mini-van.  As a result I drove a Ford Expedition.  I actually drove two Ford Expeditions – one used, one new.  I hated it.  It was a big, huge, mammoth vehicle to drive.  It sat so high off the ground that getting small children in and out was nothing less than a Herculean effort. I felt like my kids were so far away from me in the back seat that I really needed some sort of messaging system in order to talk to them.  It guzzled gas (at one point costing me $75 to fill the tank)  and It was difficult to fit into the driveway.  And then, I herniated my back. The doctor was clear; “you cannot lift or carry your children. EVER.”  That was it. How was I going to get my 18 month old son into his car seat in the Expedition if I couldn’t lift or carry him?  While recovering at my in-laws house David surprised me by purchasing our first mini-van.  I had no choice.

Since that fateful summer I have become a convert. An evangelist for the glory of the mini-van.  My kids can get in and get out without my assistance.  I can open all of the doors with a flick of a button.  The built in mirror lets me keep an eye on them in the backseat. They are close enough to the front that I can reach behind with one hand and give them a juice box and still drive with the other hand. I can quickly dispatch the “look of terror” and espouse threats from the front and enforce order in the back.  The back seats easily fold down to carry large items and when the seats are up the trunk is sunken in to ensure that your groceries don’t go flying all over the trunk (something the Expedition most definitely didn’t have). Honda understands Moms and the Odyssey is proof of that. The gas mileage is reasonable, and the engine has enough “get up and go” that even David isn’t embarrassed to drive it.  It is big enough that it can tow our jetski and small enough that I don’t have to worry about it not fitting in the garage.

Whether I’ve lost my “cool” factor by succumbing to this item I don’t know and I no longer care. What I have discovered is that mini-van owners have an understanding. We look each other in the eye and give a nod that says, “it may not look cool but this is the best damn vehicle I’ve ever owned”.

2 thoughts on “Ode To The Mini-Van”

  1. This is why I never had children. Now, I don’t need to worry about having to loose my “coolness” by having to drive a minivan. Whew!

  2. You know, you can counteract that “lack of coolness” factor pretty well.

    First, look hot while you’re driving. Those big sunglasses you girls like is usually enough to make guys go, “Oh, hot chick.”

    Second, roll down the windows and play some kickin’ tunes, just not anything from the last 15 years. Stick to 80s hair bands.

    Third, never-and I cannot emphasize this enough-never put any of those clings that look like a baseball is stuck in your rear window on your van. They’re not cool, nor are they clever and they’re everywhere (especially minivans).

    If you really want to be cool, I once saw a Geo Metro painted to look like it was an X-Wing fighter from Star Wars, complete with blaster burns and atmospheric entry damage. Everyone knows Geos are pretty lame, but that was enough to make me think it was awesome, even if only for a few fleeting seconds as we whizzed by it at 60 miles an hour in a Ford Festiva.

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