2005 Minivans -- Comparison Test: Pull a muscle in your back, and you can know real agony for days, weeks, even months. Sometimes people even collapse to the ground in anguish, unable to move without suffering unbearable misery. And with Americans gaining weight at an alarming rate, it’s clear we’re not hitting the gym to blast our extensor, flexor, and oblique muscles on a regular basis, putting us at great risk for chronic, incapacitating pain.
Lifting rear-facing infant carriers and toddlers into sport-utility vehicles doesn’t do our weakened musculature any favors. Especially in parking lots, where clearances between vehicles are tight, we risk debilitating injury every time we swing one of those wide SUV doors open, squeeze into the narrow opening, twist while raising and inserting the child, and struggle to get the seat restraints properly attached to ensure Junior’s safety – all while trying not to ding the bodywork of the car next to ours. And don’t think it’s any easier with a low-slung, entry-luxury sedan, Mom and Dad.
Minivans resolve this problem because of their sliding side doors and ideal height. We know – they’re not cool. Instead of dismissing you as a pathetically vain and insecure person who thinks what you drive is more important than who you are, we’ll provide additional reasoning that shows why, when you’re a new parent or grandparent, a minivan becomes a must-have item in the household – even if it’s just for a little while.
Why Buy a Minivan?
Minivans can save excruciating back pain from loading kids into and out of the car, sure, but generally they’re also the safest modes of transportation on the road. Granted, when it comes to crashworthiness, something heavier like a Chevrolet Suburban or a Hummer H2 might fare better in an accident with another vehicle of similar size and weight, but either of those vehicles is more prone to rolling over in that accident, and if the bambinos aren’t strapped down properly, they could be ejected from the vehicle.
Add to a minivan’s greater stability the benefits of better acceleration, superior steering response, shorter braking distances, and more agile handling, and it’s clear that minivans are not only more fun to drive but make it easier to avoid a wreck in the first place. Plus, if you’re conscious of the welfare of anyone but yourself, a minivan is more compatible with regular passenger cars in a crash, making them safer not only for your family, but also your neighbor’s.
Benefits of minivan ownership go beyond saving back pain and increasing your odds that you’ll prove Darwin’s theory of evolution. Costs associated with minivan ownership are less than what they are for SUV ownership. Minvans are priced lower, they are cheaper to insure, and they get better gas mileage. With fuel rising to almost $3 per gallon in some parts of the country, more miles per tankful can add up over time. And with the savings on purchase price and insurance, think how easy it will be to invest for Junior’s eventually crippling college tuition bills.
Comfort is also a big factor when it comes to minivans. Depending on which model you pick, they can easily seat six people (up to eight if you squeeze in tight) and carry a healthy load of cargo. They’re easy to get into and out of, they’re easy to drive, and they’re relatively easy to park. Plus, when you’re loading strollers and diaper bags and the dog for a family outing, the rear liftover height is low and the cargo space with the third-row seat out of the way is huge. And when out-of-town relatives visit, you won’t have to yank the child seats out of a minivan to get people into the third-row seat.
Minivans might not be cool, but the wisdom, intelligence, self-confidence, and selflessness that minivan ownership projects is sexier than any chrome-dipped Cadillac Escalade.