Random thought: mini-van vs. station wagon vs. SUV

Something that popped into my head while walking the dog this morning:

Some friends of the family (I’ll just leave it at that) recently bought a new car, a VW station wagon of some sort. It’s a nice car and all of that, but when asked why they got a station wagon instead of a mini-van, both of these friends expressed strong aversion to the concept.

Now, I too am not a fan of mini-vans, and I drive one. Why, you ask? It’s a long story, but we thought it was a good idea at the time. It’s a Plymouth Voyager, a ’98 or ’96 I think, and it’s a piece of junk. Don’t buy one. Unfortunately, at this stage of things, we’ll probably end up driving this heap into the ground because upon the purchase of our Honda Civic last spring (thumbs way up on that car, btw), the van became an “around the town” car. We’ve put less than 5,000 miles on it in the last year, and I can easily imagine driving it like that for another four or five years.

So I understand the idea of not wanting what I have. But it seems to me that most people who want the features of a mini-van but not the actual mini-van end up buying an SUV. I think that’s kind of dumb because, IMO, SUVs are dangerous, a waste of gasoline, and completely unnecessary unless you live on the side of a mountain or something like that.

At the same time, I don’t get the station wagon thing. I mean, I’m not a hater of the station wagon; in fact, one of my fondest car memories was the piece-o-crap ’79 Chevy Impala station wagon that was abandoned to me by my parents in the late 80s/early 90s. And I clearly understand not wanting an SUV (I think these friends aren’t all that crazy about them either).

But is it possible to think of a station wagon as somehow “cooler” than a mini-van? Didn’t station wagons used to be the equivalent of mini-vans? In fact, didn’t the mini-van come along as a sort of “cool” replacement for the station wagon?

Questions to ponder as my work-day begins….

2 thoughts on “Random thought: mini-van vs. station wagon vs. SUV”

  1. Hello Steve,
    I couldn’t help but notice that you seem to hate every vehicle with cargo space. You’re entitled to your opinions, but Sheryl and i would like to know in what ways your minivan is a piece of junk (and yet you’re not selling it off) after all, lots of people buy them and like them. We’re currenlt shopping for vehicles with cargo space (used, and for under $4000 if possible) therefore minivans exactly like yours pop up, as do toyota 4runners and the odd ford cargo van which is currently leading in popularity for us. Now before you claim that an E150 is a piece of junk too, please do explain why. Thanks for the entertaining blog, feel free to email me, it’s be fun to compare notes.

  2. First off, the minivan was stolen in November 2005. I swear I had nothing to do with it.

    Second, it’s not vehicles with cargo space per se; it’s SUVs for people who don’t need them, and, in this particualr case, it’s Dodge/Plymouth/Chrysler products. I’d never buy one of those again.

    As for cargo space cars/vehicles I like: I’d have to say that I’m partial to station wagon-type vehicles, I like the Honda Element, that Scion box-shaped thing, and the Honda Odyssey minivan. Though right now, with gas what it is, I think I’ll stick with my little car(s).

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