"http://www.w3.org/TR/xhtml1/DTD/xhtml1-transitional.dtd"> urbanMamas

Swagger Wagon: do you have one? want one?

When this video came out, I could not stop watching it.  It was hilarious.  My husband would watch it, show it to our kids, share it with family & friends.  We would all ROTFL (or what is the acronym?  roll on the floor laughing?).

We urbanMamas are bikeymamas, to be sure.  We love our Xtracycles (now, all the foundress urbanMamas have longtails now so we can haul our three kids).  Aside from Sarah/cafemama, we all have mulitiple cars.  When she printed out longtail stickers to put on our bikes, "one less minivan", she gave one to me anyway, even if I did have a minivan.


We inherited a minivan when we left NYC, knowing that we needed some kind of vehicle in our next city, ATL (thanks, mama in law!).   That minivan was awesome.  When we moved from our rental to become first-time homeowners, that minivan transported our queen-sized marital bed, intact, to our new home.  We transported couches, armoires, and countless other bulky furniture items.  Back in NY, before the van was even ours, we rolled deep in that ride, sliding open the doors and piling out to line up for the club.  Then, in PDX, we used the ride for transporting kids to the coast, gorge, mountain and more.  The sliding doors were convenient for when an emergency pee-stop was required.  A boy could merely stand at the door and do his thing.

One of my husband's best friends back in the east was looking for a car, an SUV.  Said of his wife, "she doesn't want a minivan; she doesn't want to be like a 'soccer mom'," even though the kids did, indeed, play soccer and she drove them everywhere she needed to go. 

Of late, I have noticed a few comments on Facebook, friends mentioning they were looking for a new ride, but "not a minivan".  For why?  Are minivans that uncool?  In my book, they are some of the most practical vehicles out there, and can get better gas mileage than the SUVs that seem to be more popular.

When we acquired our newer minivan almost 2 years ago, trading in our old minivan through the Cash for Clunkers program, I was not in support.  For as much as we drive, I always called our minivan our "storage unit", and I was not in support of a new payment for said storage unit.  One child and several road trips later, we have gotten more than enough use out of our storage unit.  At our maximum, we transported 8 bodies, 6 bikes, two bike trailers, two tents, a queen-size pillow-top Aerobed, bags of weekend apparel, food, coolers, and more for a weekend getaway.  All in our minivan.

So, I wonder: do you have a swagger wagon?  Are you in the market for a new ride and doing everything you can to avoid the swagger wagon?  What I really want to know is: why are minivans so uncool?


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I can't wait to read the comments on this one, because yeah, why? We were just in the market for another "must seat seven" vehicle, and I swear I tried to like other things, but minivans are just so... convenient and comfy and don't guzzle as much gas as an SUV not to mention insurance is lower, and the kids can get in and out easily...and it was in our price range. We love to bike where we can, but man, I don't know what I'd do without my swagger wagon, even if it doesn't have a whole lotta swagger.

I guess I'm uncool because I didn't know they were uncool. We're a very low-mileage family and for our last car I was hoping to find a full-size van, but I just didn't like any of them nearly as much as our minivan. So we bought another 10-year-old minivan. We're stuffed to the gills when the 6 of us go camping, but so be it!

I have no idea why they're so uncool. I would love to be able to afford one! As it is, we'll have to tote our kids, dogs, and tent in the ancient Honda Civic. It sucks. We'd love one.

I totally would love to upgrade to a minivan! My Forester is just getting too small. Anyone want to trade? :)

We've been super pleased with our choice to roll the mini-V but a swagger wagon it is not. I am having van-envy after that video fo' sho'. Really I think my longtail and bike situation is needing an upgrade before the motorized ride I roll.

I would love a mini-van and we will go that route when one of our vehicles stops running. To me, they aren't uncool, just ugly. Why can't the companies make them in the style of the old VW? Especially VW? Disappointing. Also, why aren't any of them hybrid, electric, or diesel? These are my issues with the current mini-vans on the market. Hoping by the time we are ready to buy there is something "better". I also have my eye on the Mazda5 - seats 6 and is much smaller than a mini-van.

We are a family of two: mama and middle-schooler. When we do drive, rather than walk or Tri-Met, it's my 10 year-old Nissan sedan that seats 5. Occasionally I've wished for more seating to haul around extra kids or, more frequently, room to haul Home Depot stuff or furniture finds around. But we make do.

I've gotta say, I've got a mini-van-mental-block. When I was married, in what seems like another life, I had the mini-van and the McMansion in a gated community in the Atlanta 'burbs. That was not a happy time for me, to say the least. The mini-van, in my mind, represents a life I'd never, ever go back to.

I'm thinking about nursing my old Nissan along for a few more years, and getting myself a little pick-up truck for my Home Depot runs.

I loved my Honda Odyssey - We named him Homer and called it our living room on wheels. Incredibly comfortable, great for bopping around town and road trips, reasonable gas mileage. I think I have the same prejudices against SUV's, wouldn't be seen dead in one if I could help it. Somehow a minivan seems a little more humble or something? (Silly, I know) I know there are people who think the minivans are terribly uncool, I guess I just don't worry much about what other people think these days. When we made a decision to get out of debt, we went ahead and sold it, (it held it's value beautifully) and bought a Mercedes wagon with insanely high mileage for cash. She works just fine, but I miss my swagger wagon!

we've never had more than 1 car at a time. lots of biking and tri-met, too. bought a used minivan ages ago to use for touring with our band. fast forward to life with our first child and i loved (LOVED) that pile of metal for its supreme usefulness when we needed to drive. even with 1 kid, when family visited from across the country, when we wanted to carpool with anyone who also had a kid, when we moved or helped friends move... it was awesome.

last summer (by then with 2 kids) the minivan was getting daily use and was no longer reliable. bit the bullet and began a new car search. room to carry at least 3 kids was essential because carpooling is a must. i'm not afraid of the minivan, but wanted something smaller if we could swing it. discovered the mazda 5 (6 seatbelts) and the kia rondo (7 seatbelts). bought a kia and love it. better mileage, low to the ground, smaller and easy to park, but we can still easily carry 3 kids in full size carseats and 3 adults. looks like a goofy, rounded stationwagon. or a shoe.

My road block about them has to do with the whole concept of excess. As a general culture I feel like we want everything big and roomy, so we can have more and carry more all the time. I imagine they are very practical for some but that doesn't change my gut response to them.

Hmm, I love mine. There's always room to throw in more of the kid's friends and it holds huge amounts of stuff if going camping or on vacation. Not to mention all the preschool playdates and lunch bunches I was able to host because I could get all the kids safely home.

Also as a gardener, it holds all the straw, potting soil and small trees a person could want.

And why do intelligent people care so much about "coolness"?

I just bought a mini-van last month and still feel very un-cool. It's not like my cars before were cool, but there is such a strong image associated with mini-vans. In my old car, at least I could "pretend" that I wasn't a mom when the kids weren't with me. There's no pretending in a mini-van. I figure it's just another step in becoming a grown-up and letting go of the young, carefree, cool me of my 20s.

And we're going camping today and I'm giddy with how much room we have.

With number 3 on the way we are now looking at trading in the compact for a mini-van. I look forward to the room and the ability to load in friends and family too. I would love to hear what others have had good experiences with keeping in mind that we are not rolling on the money.

I wish they made a hybrid version. Minivans make lots of stops and often don't go fast so it gives the regenerative braking and electric motor a chance to do their things.

And I love sliding doors. One time my 18-month-old got her fingers between the frame and the front (non-sliding) door when I opened it wide to unload stuff. I still don't understand how she didn't get hurt at all. And they're great with smaller kids or in tight spaces where you don't want the kids whacking the cars on either side.

We got a Mazda5 recently and mostly love it, and I don't care if it's uncool. We help ferry our kids' friends around and frequently drive out of town, so we need more space for kids, dogs and stuff. I would love a diesel version or a diesel/electric hybrid, but that doesn't exist yet and I need to get to places, so this is fine for now.
I gave up on being cool a long time ago, and I think it's weird that people place so much value on what a car looks like, but to each their own.
The thing that I don't like about the Mazda5, in case anyone is thinking about getting one, is that it has really low clearance (terrible in snow, and I'm always bumping into the parking curbs), the lights aren't automatic, and it's not AWD like my old Subaru. But it has sliding doors, which is great with the kids, and holds a ton but isn't as big as a regular mini-van or SUV.

I have a friend looking for a new ride also, and she actually said to me, "I'm not a mini-van person". Really?
My definition of a "mini-van" person: Someone who drives a motor vehicle, has more than one child, appreciates decent gas mileage, can push a button to have door slide open, has adequate storage, and it gets to from point A to point B safely. Silly how some people associate the car they drive with how they are perceived... get over yourself, your not that cool to begin with and driving something other than a minivan will not change that :)

As others have said, my main beef with mini vans is that they don't offer any of them in a hybrid. All kinds of other cars are hybrids and I think there would be a decent market for a hybrid mini van. I can't understand how there is not even one. Frustrating.

I can't stand mini vans. They are too big and allow you to bring all your crap wherever you go. I have two kids and once had a false alarm that I might be pregnant again. The first thought I had was, oh no, what if I have to get a mini van? Thank goodness I still have my tiny car that doesn't fit much stuff, but is fine for the four of us. And gets awesome gas mileage so we can minimize our contributions to Arab dictators.

I will NEVER have a mini-van. I am a single mama with one HS-aged child and powdered reproductive eggs. I don't like kids enough to drive carpool anymore, nor does my kid really want me to. Having been a non-driver for 3/4 of my life, I have no guilt for driving my mobile office/changing room/dog limo Hyundai. Cool? Parent? hahahahahahahahahahahahahahahah. Get back at me when their ages end in teen, they have no problem letting you know how NOT COOL you are.

We had the Mazda5 and loved it. The gas milage was not great in the first model year but I think it gets better with newer models. I always made sure I told people it was a microvan or a space wagon, not a minivan:) I thought we would keep it forever then along came #3. A friend was getting rid of her Odyssey and she gave us a really good price. I love it. It has all the super fancy features we would never have purchased for ourselves. We could not have camped last summer without it...it was that or get a hitch and trailer. It is also great to have when my family is in town, every six weeks or so. The one thing I do not like is the gas milage, but it makes me think about every car trip and I chose to walk or bike more. On the looking cool front....I am kinda over it. I am not cool.

Two years ago, the civic was just too cramped for two growing kids and a small dog. So after MUCH deliberation we got an RAV4, we found a used one with a 3rd row. It is a small row, but fine for kids. It is great for going to the mountains but we still use the roof box for trips and skis. Since it sits higher and the back seats fold down, it is handy for larger items. I like the swing out door. I am one of those who just couldn't go the minivan route, so this worked for us.

we were in an accident this summer and got a mini-van as a loaner while our car was in the shop. i'm not super-bikey or super tri-mety, although i hold those ideals in high-esteem and do aspire to be more so. point being, i drive alot, and that minivan was way too honkin' huge for my daily stuff. it was rad when we went on a little vacay and stuffed it to the gills, but maneuvering around parking lots and such was redic. several months later, we were in the market for a new vehicle, and went with a new Highlander (our old vehicle is a Highlander, too). aside from the sliding doors, it is quite minivan-esque as far as capacity and features and whatnot. anyway, i don't hate on anyone with a minivan, but, like tube tops and belly shirts, they just aren't for me.

For those who have not seen this one, it is also completely hilarious:

Um. I'm not sure why I'm opposed to mini-vans, but yes, I kinda am. For the most part, we are practical people. Our choices have tended even more towards practical since having kids. I definitely can see the practicality behind mini-vans and all of my mini-van driving friends love theirs. I also don't claim to be cool or trendy so that does not necessarily have anything to do with how I feel about vans. But I cannot see myself driving one and I don't think it's a practical choice for our family. I like a car with a bit more clearance, I like AWD, we like to camp and visit our home in the mountains in NM (which has a rather treacherous 1mile driveway). We're very interested in a hybrid and as it's been mentioned here, hybrid vans are not available yet. I also like cars with a bit of personality and style, and I'll admit that I don't think vans offer much in that department. I'd like seating for 6-7 so that I can bring kids home from school for playdates and drive my in-laws around when they visit. I also don't want a huge SUV. I drive an SUV now that has a V8 engine and the mileage is terrible, thankfully I don't drive much at all. We're looking at the Toyota Highlander with a Hybrid engine. Seating for 7, with gas mileage of 35-45 MPG. I think it's nice looking, but nothing special. If we were going for impractical, we'd look into some of the European offerings as we have in the past but we're ready for something more affordable.

Word on the street is that Toyota is coming out with the Prius minivan (read: hybrid) here in 2011 or 2012. They've been around in other countries (namely Japan) for a while. YAY!

Got the van the same month the kid was born. No issues with cool or not cool for me, I just still have a hard time parking it due to short front and long back. The bucket seats in the back were great for nursing when stopped, not having to bend and scrunch to put kid in car seat, fitting all the visiting family in one car are great. Just yesterday I took our patio furniture to the powder coat place.

ps - I love ad!

BTW, I was wrong about the mileage on the Highlander Hybrid...my brain doesn't do numbers anymore! It gets about 28 MPG. Still much better than my SUV but I'm not sure how that compares to minivans.

Love our "new" (2000) Toyota Sienna. We are a family of 4, but often have extra kids with us, and have also used it to move ourselves and friends.

I kind of like loving something so "uncool" -- though we did pimp ours with multi-color polka dot magnets from fridgedoor dot com. Makes it fun!

Love minivans. Want a minivan. I wanted one when I had one kid, and I want one doubly now that I have two. I covet a nice, reliable, comfy minivan that was built in the past ten years. Maybe someday...

It's been fun reading the comments. I just got a minivan and love it even though my husband drives it most of the time. The kids love it. The extra space is luxurious compared to cramming 3 kids plus gear and bikes into our Surbaru. The best part is the ease at which it takes to buckle in my two year old. In our Subaru, the kids fight about who gets in first and grumble whenever I ask them to lift their legs so their brother can get it as well. Now when I go on road trips I no longer have to share the front seat with a bag of food and other miscellanous crap at the ready to entertain the kids. Soccer moms drive minivans, but in Portland they also ride Xtracycles.

Maybe the size is unpopular or impractical for some families. You can only fit so much inside a minivan. That left me wondering wondering how yours looked like because you were able to fit a queen sized bed in it! But then the sleek size does miracles on the road; it feels both light and compact to drive around!

There are a lot of upgrades that I imagine my minivan would have. One of them is a complete entertainment system with PS3 and a mini fridge at the side. Tired of getting unsure results, look for Brooklyn Honda dealer.

Of course I want one. But my problem is that I have a bad credit auto loans, which I would be processing this month. I do hope I could still avail after a month.

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