Are Minivans Like Honda Odyssey and Toyota Sienna Becoming Extinct?
I am sure you have seen the Honda Odyssey, Toyota Sienna, and yes, they are what most would call a practical vehicle. It has all the cool features like automatic sliding doors, DVD players, captain seats, and lots of leg room. But in today’s world, more mothers (and parents in general) have veered from the “soccer mom” stigma of owning a minivan.
Minivan Moms Versus SUV Moms
I asked moms in several online forums what cars they drive and all but 3 women do NOT drive a minivan. I found that only 3 out of every 15 of these moms own or have previously owned a minivan, and about 6 out of 15 of these women are interested in buying a minivan. The majority of moms questioned own crossovers or giant, gas-guzzling SUVs. Why is that?
Minivan sales have been rapidly declining since 2000 and have no signs of increasing anytime soon. According to Seeking Alpha statistics only 122,782 minivans (across all brands) were sold during the first quarter of 2017 in comparison to 153,374 during the first quarter of 2016. That makes sales down by 20% in the first quarter of this year. This makes it clear the minivan industry is hurting badly. Even your “typical mom” with 4 kids is steering clear of the dreaded box on wheels. Let’s take a look as to why this is happening.
The Safety of the 2017 Honda Odyssey Compared to the 2017 Chevy Crossover
The greatest factor moms primarily focus on when buying a new car is the safety of the vehicle. Most first-time moms ditch their old four-door sedan and consider SUVs, crossovers, or minivans. Parents want bigger cars so if an accident ever occurred, their children would be safer. The most common statement I received in asking why these mothers would not drive a minivan was that “minivans are nowhere near as safe as SUVs”. The validity of this statement has yet to be proven completely correct, however, these mothers like the ground clearance SUVs provide. If it makes you feel safer, by all means buy whatever is right for you.
A series of crash tests by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety exposed disturbing results after crash-testing 5 brands of minivans. Out of the 5, the 2017 Honda Odyssey was the only van to receive a “good” safety rating of 9.3. In comparison, one of the safest crossovers, the 2017 Chevy Traverse, received a score of 8.2 for overall safety which is lower than the Odyssey. In comparing the sales of the two vehicles, the Chevy Traverse beats the Honda Odyssey. So again, why would a mom choose to buy a crossover that’s safety ratings aren’t quite as high as the minivan? It’s simple, it’s purely because of appearance and to ditch the “soccer mom” stereotype.
Minivans Declared Aesthetically Unattractive
The biggest reason every mother is against buying a minivan is because they are aesthetically unattractive. Over the years, the minivan went from eliciting comments of practicality, to receiving looks of disgust. While certain models may appeal towards some moms, dads on the other hand won’t be caught dead in a mom-car. Therefore, the chances of a family owning a van compared to a crossover these days are very, very slim. Newer minivan models now have all-wheel drive, are under the $30,000 bracket, have a large storage capacity, third row access, hold around 8 people, and get decent gas mileage. Despite the many great advances to the minivan over the past decade or two, crossovers and SUVs are seeming to prevail.
Also See: Honda Odyssey SE vs Toyota Sienna
One mother I questioned said she won’t ever own a van and kept her old Suburban because of its durability, towing capacity, and because it is “a ¾ ton and they don’t make them anymore”. In opposition, one mother who owns a Kia Sedona traded in her old Jeep with too many recalls and said it “is doing just fine getting my family around.” Additionally, she loves the room of her van but hates the style and soon wishes to get an SUV.
Vans Are Not for Everyone
Most of society seem to associate vans with creepy old men who like to kidnap children, or Stacy’s mom who is the PTA president and team mom of every sport. Whatever the reason, us moms just aren’t buying.
I will have to admit, I am not very open to buying a minivan, and my significant other is definitely not on board with the idea of parking such an eyesore in his mancave of a garage. Perhaps my anti-van reasoning stems from nearly losing my finger in the sliding door of an old Dodge Grand Caravan, or perhaps it was when I rear ended a truck in my mother’s Sienna XLE at age 11 when I was learning to drive (though that was my first attempt at even trying to park a moving vehicle on my own, thanks dad). I’m more of a crossover/truck kind of gal myself, but if the time ever came where my growing family needed an 8-passenger vehicle, this “soccer mom” will just have to take the heat.