Can a Family with Kids Really Live Without a Minivan?

Follow any young couple into the car dealership and see how many come out with the paperwork signed for the formerly dreaded and reviled minivan. It is a surprising number of families who have had at least one minivan in their fleet of cars, many having owned more than a few.

How many young mothers have we heard to say, “I will never drive a minivan” only to find that not long after this statement was issued we learn that the minivan has become the family’s favorite vehicle of all time. This is almost a certainty when families have more than one child especially as they learn that the average minivan hauls more than just the family. There are quite a few advantages of a minivan over a sedan, one example is that they can carry all of your gear and many of the kids plus friends as well. Nowadays kids are more booked than even the parents in terms of commitments and schedules what with soccer and band practice plus all the other school related issues, many moms and dads have pretty much become a taxi service.

Good friends of ours are trading in their minivan and the mom has decided that it is time to go back to a sedan. Unfortunately the sedan has no heated seats, and there are no television monitors on the ceiling for the kids to entertain themselves, which is dreadful since now in the short minute or two ride to and from school they may actually have time to get bored. Hopefully they will all outgrow this short term depression over not having the toys that came with the decked out minivan, but it is doubtful that many will get over it.

I did see a car the other day that made me laugh thinking about our minivan mom driving this type car because it was a retired “Yellow Cab” with an entire family inside leaving the driveway of the local school. I am sure that the family jokes about it, but visually it was perfect as the taxi cab analogy has come full circle. In fact I do not doubt more young parents should look into this option as a cost effective used vehicle for shuttling family around.

Now that my friends have a new sedan that they will be adjusting to, I am hoping to witness first hand during that period where they will have to relearn how to do things that they previously took for granted. With the limited amount of space in a sedan compared to that available in a full sized minivan. Now all they have to consider is how much gear they can still carry per child before hitting the road.

One advantage she already noted is the improved fuel economy as the full size minivan was not that great on fuel mileage. However the new sedan is at least 25 percent better on gas. Granted it is a bit smaller but once they adjust their habits this sedan should be plenty big enough for them. The funny thing about minivans is that once you have driven one for more than a few miles you become accustomed to the idea that you have of all kinds of storage space and they actually do ride really nice.

Moving away from a minivan can be a shocking thing to learn how much stuff you have to fit and how much room there is for all of it. With that being said there are obviously some families that simply must have a larger vehicle like a minivan because of all the kids they have. In fact it surprises me how some get by with six or seven kids in only one minivan, since there is simply not enough room for all those kids plus their friends and all their stuff.

I suspect a lot of times some of the kids either stay home, call for a ride from someone else or they just walk. So my belief is yes families can live without the minivan but it will not be easy at first because of their addiction to having convenience and lots of space.

It is apparent that the minivans we see today are vastly improved over their predecessors so it is easier to see how this transformation has taken place. What many people do not see is the amazing improvement in creature comforts that are being built into the newer minivan models. Some of these are seriously luxurious vehicles that rival the classier models in terms of ride and amenities.

I wonder if Mr. Lee Iacoca drives a minivan today? He can certainly take some credit for the American version of this type vehicle hitting the highways back in 1983, many years after Ford abandoned the project.

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Personal opinion and experience