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The "ugly baby" (talking about minivans)

Chrysler Expands U.S. Minivan Market Share From 51% To 57%

And now they have a plug in hybrid minivan.

The Grand Caravan sells well in part because of the large discounts. The Pacifica is a very nice minivan. I drove a hybrid, and I like it a lot. I’d buy it, except for the fire problem. The explanation is that a software error causes raw gas to be pumped into the catalytic converter before the spark plugs start firing, and this disables the catalytic converters. Over time, the converters get very hot, set the gas on fire, and set stuff nearby under the hood on fire. This occurs even after the software is fixed. The software fix was supposed to have be rolled out in September, yet I still see complaints at for these engine fires even in mid-December.

Beauty is in the eyes of the beholder.

I will be looking for a Grand Caravan GT. I looked through the window of one parked at the beach and I thought those front seats in the GT looked pretty cool and comfortable.

I haul lots of people, bicycles, golf clubs, paddle boards, furniture, etcetera. Those “ugly babies” are up to the task and then they aren’t quite so ugly anymore.

To see one with a sporty interior kind of excites me a little, as an (ugly?) baby boomer, that is.

I’ve had our Caravan in our family fleet for 23 years and I wouldn’t be able to function without a van.


That is reminiscent of that old (bad) joke…
Other than that, Mrs. Lincoln, how did you enjoy the play?


Absolutely! Our Chrysler TC just passed 20 years with us and is still going strong.

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Poor analogy, @vdcdriver. I don’t own a Pacifica PHEV, and don’t plan to buy one. Also, it is a known problem and it can be fixed. The people that have the problem are the ones that have a trashed catalytic converter. Since no one has died or been injured by this problem, I can’t see why you would go nuclear on it. A very poor analogy.

I guess that we will have to agree to disagree.

One prediction I’ve read about cars in the future is that households will own fewer cars, and the ones they own will be big. The minivan covers this need for a great many households now and will continue to do so in the future.

If I was a soccer parent I’d buy a mini-van . A version with an power door controlled by the driver that slides open and closed. I can see how that would be really convenient and safe for transporting kids to and from school and soccer practice etc. I’m guessing Mini-van sales probably track the number of households with school age kids. I think I heard the birthrate is going down, so maybe Mini-vans aren’t gonna be as big of a thing in 10 years.

I really never understood why GM and Ford abandoned the minivan market. In my community, I see minivans everywhere. I am on my 5th minivan.
We are retired and there are just the two of us. However, we are always transporting people. The minivan is particularly good for us senior citizens. The power sliding doors are great. Sitting up higher is a real plus. Also, I find a minivan useful for hauling bulky items that wouldn’t fit in a conventional sedan.


I can’t think of any vehicle that delivers as much bang for the buck as a mini-van. Used vans can be had for MUCH less than a pickup, and way less than a comparable SUV. They cost less to insure and maintain as well. Often, fuel economy is better too.

Vans are good for transporting a lot of people, and/or stuff. The sliding door(s) and rear hatch are very convenient for loading and unloading cargo. With the rear seats removed, you basically have a cargo van, suitable for transporting furniture, appliances, etc.


@bcohen2010 I agree with you. A violinist friend was performing a Baroque piece on a recital and wanted to be accompanied by a harpsichord. He wondered if I could haul the harpsichord to his venue in my Sienna minivan. I took out the center seats, folded down the rear seats and the harpsichord went in to the Sienna without a problem.

Not sure I understand the ’ Ugly Baby ’ reference. Minivans are not what I call baby sized. While they don’t have what you would call timeless styling none of them seem ugly.

And it is almost impossible to deny just how practical they are .

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it’s in the article

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Another taboo in the automotive industry is minivans. From their 1984 instant hit with Chrysler-Dodge (FCAU), they have become as talked-about in polite circles as calling your baby ugly. Nobody wants to bring up the minivan subject anymore.

you have a baby. thats good. your baby is ugly. but you still have a baby.
you have new vehicle sales. vs not having sales?
if you devoted the production line to another vehicle would its sales be better than the minivan? if so, than foca would do it in a hearbeat. they are not going to make any sedans. does foca make 1 sedan that people want? uh, cirrus, sebring. and so on?

GM misread the market, at least in the USA. The last generation of minivan was narrower than the other brands. They wanted to build a product that would fit on narrower European streets and be popular in the USA. The narrow van was unpopular here. We had an Olds Silhouette and found it to be large enough for anything or anyone we wanted to haul around. Others looked at the dimensions and decided they would look elsewhere. If the price wasn’t attractive, we may not have bought it either.

We’ve had 2 minivans now, a Town & Country and our current Odyssey. We go camping at least twice a summer, and with our minivan we can load the kids and gear up in one vehicle. The Odyssey gets us decent mileage for it’s size and drives really well. With the T&C I helped a buddy move and between the T&C and someone with a small trailer we were able to save him a few hundred bucks renting a U-Haul. We can take all of the in-laws to dinner in the Odyssey with everyone sitting reasonably comfortably (total of 8 of us, and my children are still in car seats/booster seats). I doubt there is an SUV that can haul that many people or as much stuff as I can with my minivans while still getting low-mid 20s mpg on the highway while fully loaded


The feature I liked about the Chevrolet Uplander was its narrow width. I had to back into an alley off a busy 4 lane street and manuever the minivan between a building and a utility pole. This was so I could access the door to an auditorium stage. I would slide open the stage door and the left sliding door on the Uplander and move the set of timpani into the van. The Uplander was the only van of the five that I have owned that I didn’t have to fold in the mirrors when transporting the timpani.
Fortunately, the building now has a lift from its kitchen which wasn’t there when I owned the Uplander. I now back up to the lift, the service staff loads the timpani onto the lift, lowers it so I can walk the timpani into the rear of the van.
Also, with the narrower width of the Uplander, I had more space to open and close the doors in my garage.

That narrower width for the European market is a real need in some places. In Germany with a host family for our school exchange program, our German hosts took us in their VW minivan for a wonderful weekend in the region near the German-French border. Needing to travel a short distance down a medieval street, our host had to fold in the mirrors to fit through some of the route. I remember thinking fold-in mirrors - what a concept!

They’ve become more common in the two decades since then. Maybe now a safety regulation in the US?