Buying a minivan was akin to crossing over to the dark side, she (Nancy Austin Sissom, mother of a 4- and 2-year-old) said. She tried to resist it, but the force was just too strong. From across the grocery store parking lot, automatic sliding doors would call to her. …
“There’s nothing like just being able to push a button and having your van door standing open when you’ve got a preschooler by one hand and a squirming toddler and two bags of groceries in the other hand,” said Austin Sissom, whose motorcycle now has a lonely life in storage.
Ah, the minivan. We’ve been planning to buy one as soon as we have baby No. 2 well on the way. Well, we hope a development in that area soon. But we also desire and dread the minivan much like the mom mentioned above in the Boulder Daily Camera story.
And wouldn’t you know it, car makers are betting that they can change your opinion too. Chrysler, General Motors and Honda are all redesigning their minivans with the hope of winning over parents, reports The New York Times.
“No one gets out of bed saying they want a minivan,” Scott Horn, marketing manager for the forthcoming Saturn Relay minivan, told the Times. “People like the styling of the SUV and the functionality of the van, so we decided to blend the two.”
For us, it’s not about the styling. Or the cool factor. Or even gas mileage, though we wish Toyota would come out with a minivan hybrid. No, for us it’s about S-A-F-E-T-Y.
And in that category, minivans are the clear winner. There are only 11.2 deaths for every 100,000 vans, the Times reports. But the number would be even better if oversized vans, which are more prone to rollovers, weren’t lumped in with the figures.
That compares with a 16.42 death rate for sport utility vehicles, a 15.17 death rate for pickups and a 14.85 death rate for passenger cars. The Times’ numbers were derived from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
Here’s why minivans are generally safest:
Design is a major reason minivans are less likely to be involved in a fatal crash than other vehicles. They ride lower to the ground than sport utility vehicles and tend to have a wider base, making them more stable. In recent rollover-risk rankings that the government assigned to vehicles for the 2004 model year, minivans were assessed a rollover risk of 12 percent to 16 percent in single-vehicle accidents, while many sport utility vehicles had a rollover risk of 20 percent or more.
Considering we drive a Toyota Echo and an ancient Acura Integra, the minivan would be a major improvement in terms of space and safety. Now all we need to do is come up with the $20,000-$30,000 needed to buy the Toyota Sienna or Honda Odyssey. Oy.