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The Top Three Coolest Minivans

Natalie Josef
October 20, 2010

The first minivans rolled off the assembly line in 1984, when the Baby Boomer generation started having their own babies. Save a few models, their popularity has declined over the years, as they became the much-blighted symbol of soccer moms and suburbia.

But the times, they are a-changin’.

Now that the children of those Baby Boomers, the Millennials, are hitting their prime baby-making years, the minivan just might be making a comeback. The Millennials, numbering 67 million (only second to the 76 million Baby Boomers), seem less concerned with looking “cool” than the Generation Xers that came before them. The Millennials are concerned about technology, being green, and practicality—and the new minivans offer all of that, and more.

While no minivan will ever be as awesome as a sports car, minivans have come a long way since the 1984 Dodge Caravan with the wood paneling. Some minivans these days are … dare I say it … even kind of cool. If you need a family car, but still want to hold onto a little bit of your former stylin’ self, here are three minivans that say you’re responsible … and rad!

Honda Odyssey
2011 base price: $27,800
MPG: 19 city/28 highway


The 244 horsepower 3.5-litre V6 engine 2001 model Sienna is comfortable and modern. Rated very high for safety, the vehicle also boasts in-floor storage, optional eight-seat passenger seating, and a split flat-folding rear bench, which will accommodate nearly an entire soccer team—or get the whole family to a Justin Bieber concert with enough cargo space to camp out overnight to ensure front row seats. The Odyssey also features Song By Voice, which recognizes simple verbal commands and allows you to choose your own soundtrack without ever turning a knob. You can store valuable items in the removable front center console and grab a chilled snack or soda from the cool box, which holds up to six 12-ounce bottles or four 20-ounce bottles. Worried about getting out of a tough parking space? Don’t be. The multi-view rear camera makes reversing a snap!

Toyota Sienna
2011 base price: $24,460
MPG: 19 city/24 highway


The only minivan to offer AWD, the 2011 Sienna also offers an electric power steering system, a six-speed automatic transmission, a driver’s knee airbag, and Toyota’s keyless Smart Key System. The vehicle also comes with Smart Stop Technology, which is designed to “reduce engine power when the brake is firmly applied helping to bring the vehicle to a stop, even if the accelerator pedal is fully depressed.” With fun features like an optional sliding second row with recliners (nicknamed “lounge seating”) and a 16.4-inch split screen Dual View Entertainment Center that can show two programs at once, the Sienna is more like a living room on wheels than a dorky minivan.

Chrysler Town and Country
2011 base price: $26,000
MPG: 17 city/25 highway


The 2011 Town & Country is fitted with Chrysler's new 3.6-liter Pentastar V-6 and a six-speed automatic transmission, which is rated at 283 horsepower and 260 pound-feet of torque. With a seven-seat interior layout, which includes the option of Chrysler’s engaging Swivel ’n Go table-and-chairs arrangement, the Town & Country also features a “restyled instrument panel, new leather and cloth seating choices, and soft touch trim on both armrests and door panels.” Other enhancements include blind-spot detection sensors, a one-touch fold-down feature to access third row seating, and a new center console designed to access iPod/DVD/Sirius TV technology.

Kids or no kids, and all awesomeness aside, I would much rather spend my drive time in a swivel seat, in a spacious interior, watching TV and drinking a Coke than cramming myself into a hip-looking Mini.

Wow, I must be getting old!

 

Natalie Josef

About the Author

Natalie Josef is an automotive expert at RepairPal, the leading online source of auto repair resources and estimates. With many ASE Master certified mechanics on staff who have decades of experience, RepairPal knows all the fine points of car repair.

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