That was the question posited by Tom and Ray, when Grace called in to Car Talk this week. (Ray's personal belief? "Real" men drive jeeps or trucks.)
Grace's hubby, it turns out, happily drive a Dodge minivan. No kidding. And, believe it or not, he considers himself an outdoors guy. Go figure.
So, just what kind of self-respecting man would drive a minivan-- by choice? Someone incredibly self-assured in his masculinity... or someone who, well, just doesn't give a rat's patootie?
Tell us what you think -- we'd love to hear from you!
(You can hear Grace's call to Car Talk right here.)
Didn’t he get it for free? Clearly that leaves more money for amyl nitrate, platform shoes, Judy Garland CD’s and nights at Studio 54. Who turns down a free car? Someone who did something years ago that he’s still conflicted about and has never told anyone.
I drive a minivan by necessity. I play in and manage a small chamber orchestra and am always transporting people and/or musical instruments. You can’t fit a set of tympani along with a string bass in a crossover vehicle or a SUV. I never thought it an affront to my masculinity to drive a minivan. In fact, from the utilitarian point of view, maybe it enhances one’s masculinity.
I remember the period right after WW II where a lot of young couples bought Jeep Station Wagons. Other station wagons had wood bodies and weren’t practical. The Jeep station wagon was a great utility vehicle. I think that the minivan is the successor to the very versatile Jeep station wagon.
What kind of guy drives a minivan?
A guy who’s not driving something else at the moment, that’s who. Cars are not permanent, like a tattoo that says AC/DC on one’s forehead.
We have seven cars, some large, some sports cars, one is a minivan. The van is the only vehicle that makes sense for us when we go on trip. It carries 7, is safe, gets good mpg, is easy to get in and out of, and hauls cargo. I can easily unattach it from my being when the trip ends and off I go in a “cool” car. The minivan is utilitarian.
What kind of man eats hoerderves (horse doovers) and sips champagne from fragile little glasses? I’ll tell you. It’s the same guy that the very next day after the wedding that his wife dragged him to, is pounding down chilidogs or devouring a 28 ounce steak and chasing it with a cold 12-pack! That’s who! Who drives a minivan? The same guy! And . . . he can burp the entire alphabet while stopped at a light!
These things; cars, food choices, etcetera, are not permanent. They’re not “who you are”. They’re what you’re doing at the moment.
Guy at work made a keen observation about his minivan. He said, with the seats removed, he can haul pretty much the same amount of stuff a guy with a truck and a cap on the bed can haul.
Which begs another question; Why buy a pickup truck and put a cap or tonneau cover on the bed? Doesn’t that kinda defeat the purpose of having a truck in the first place?
I am a guy who just loves a darned minivan. A very long time ago I got over what other people think. I figure that if they’re thinking something that isn’t flattering then it must be their problem because I’m just doing what I want. And I’m cofortable with it.
But now I need an AC/DC tattoo on my forehead as it suddenly occurs to me that I don’t know why I haven’t had one all along.
I drove to a Cracker Barrel for lunch today and about half the vehicles in the lot were minivans. We noticed this because we pulled into a place and there were three minivans on one side of our parking place and four on the other. Some of the minivans looked like travelers, while others seemed to be just old geezers like me from the area eating out.
I don’t understand the move by Ford and GM to get out of the minivan business. It seems to me that there is quite a market for minivans. I do have an idea to help minivan sales. We have stock car races that promoted automobiles. I’ve seen truck races on the speed channel on television. Let’s have minivan races. Minivan race drivers should be big, muscular guys. This just might change the minivan image.
If I was a car salesman, I have a pretty good idea of what I’d do to increase minivan sales. If the number of questions we get on here is any indication of what salesmen go through, it’d be a sure fire way.
A couple come in to buy a vehicle and are expecting their 3rd child. They profusely express they don’t want a minivan, but they do want something to accommodate the 3 car seats. For some reason, they didn’t bring, or have, all 3 seats with them. The car salesman says he has an idea and scuttles off.
He drives a minivan out front near the couple and motions for them to come to the van and help him. I’m pretty sure most people would balk, but if he kept saying he wasn’t gonna try to sell them the van, they might do it. He shows them the 3 car seats in the van and asks for them to grab them out of the van so they all can try fitting them in different vehicles. When they are done test fitting and driving, the salesman has them help him put the car seats back in place.
I think once some people try it, they might actually realize how handy those mini vans can be. A sort of subliminal marketing idea where the couple sees how good they can be without the salesman trying to push one on them.
That’s sort of what Lee Iacocca had in mind when he “invented” (Volkswagen and a Corvair model were actually the very first minivans) the modern minivan. Prior to that time we had large, thirsty 3 seat station wagons (Coutry Squire, Colony Park, Greenbriar, etc). The regular size vans were too large, thirsty and unwieldy for the average family.
The minivan basically sold itself, and other manufacturers quickly followed Chrysler. Unfortunately the “soccer mom” image offended “real men”, and they switched to trucks or other less practical transportation.
Most people I know buy whatever they want and enjoy driving. And they buy for their wives whatever makes the most sense.
You must have missed
MInivans do not meet proposed standards. One of my golf buddies has one, we do not laugh, he is happy with it and that is good enough for us.
My brother who is 19 drives a 2000 Toyota Sienna. It used to be my moms until she bought a mini cooper…
He got it for free, so he doesn’t complain even if typically Sienna’s are driven by little chinese ladies.
Personally, I think this “real men don’t drive minivans” idea is nonsense. No, minivans are not glamorous or sexy, but they are practical and useful. Why do you think they sell so many? Any real man drives what he needs and/or wants and doesn’t care what any bunch of idiots tells him is cool. Only teenage boys, or immature adults, worry that much about their image.
I would think that minivans are driven by very rational people. If you look at them from a “space, comfort, driving characteristics and gas mileage for your $$$” perspective they are the best deals around.
That being said I dislike most minivans because of their driving - especially cornering - characteristics. Sienna and Grand Caravan I found horrible, Odyssee acceptable.
So what’s also vastly underestimated is the wagon which gives you lots of the practicality of a minivan with a little less space but usually significantly better driving characteristics.
Anything drives and corners better than a pickup truck or SUV I guess.
The simultaineous birth of our second and third kids kind of dashed my dreams of getting the sporty car of my choice, so we went for a 2001 Odyssey (I’m not sure I spelled it right, but y’all know what I mean). The first time I loaded a child into it with out having to bend over into a back seat to fight with the harnesses I was sold! While it is no Corvette, it is adequately powerful and handles quite well for what it is.
Being married with three kids, I am past the point of trying to impress anyone with what I drive. I just need function and durability.
I love my van - it’s got the most power of my 4 vehicles (pickup for unwieldy items and super bad snow, my car, the van and my motorcycle). Plus, if I want to go out with more than 2 friends, we would have to take 2 cars. This way, we take 1.