The New York Times recently ran a story about minivans, once mocked as uncool, now rising in popularity as automakers launch marketing campaigns aimed at convincing young parents that it’s cool to drive a minivan. The stigma is gone. You know the stigma I’m talking about. Words that come to mind: boring, uncool, unhip, soccer mom …
The article got my attention, because, well: “My name is Dana and I drive a minivan.” I didn’t want to. I swore up and down that I never would. But then kids happened, and when I was pregnant with our third child, my husband and I realized—much to our horror—that we were in the market for a minivan. The fun, sporty Subaru Outback that we’d bought in our pre-kid days for carrying kayaks and cross-country roadtripping was about to take its last, sputtering breath. Our backs were aching from bending down to lift two kids in and out of their car seats multiple times a day, and we couldn’t quite figure out we could ever live with three car seats wedged together across a single back seat. We had sworn that we would never, ever, not in a million years, ever buy a minivan. But, there we were, talking to a salesman at a Honda dealership, “just to check it out,” and somehow finding ourselves hypnotized by all that cargo space… room for groceries and kids and carseats and the stroller and luggage? No way! Needless to say, we bought the minivan, hook, line and sinker, and two years into my status as a minivan-driving mom, I have to say:
I’m kind of diggin’ it. It kind of rocks. It has what the kids call “magic doors,” and boy, are they ever, when I’m juggling a baby and groceries and backpacks and art projects and the diaper bag. I mean, how did we ever live without it? It’s comfortable. It’s convenient. But, cool? Hmmm ….
Our minivan-driving friends and family tried to convince us that it was cool to drive a minivan. My brother, a very cool guy, called his “a smooth ride.” Another friend told us that all the surfers in Australia drive minivans—you know, so they can stash their boards in the back, and even sleep in them at the beach. And really, what’s cooler than an Australian surfer? “Oh, and by the way,” our friend informed us, “Minivans are nicknamed ‘the passion wagon,’ in Australia,” for reasons that I’ll leave up to your own imaginations (this is a family site, people).
Maybe you’re one of the nearly 8 million people who’ve already viewed the “Swagger Wagon” clip about the Toyota Sienna on YouTube (check it out below)? What do you think? Can driving a minivan ever be cool?