Can a minivan ever be cool?

I’ve spent a week with the Chrysler Pacifica because I wanted to see if a minivan could ever be considered remotely cool. Believe it or not, there are ways…
Besides making for a tremendous camera car platform, the minivan represents a stupendous road trip machine. If you consider it not a van but an overweight wagon, then it gets cooler still. That’s because you can fit many things inside of this fat wagon.
You might not agree that a minivan will ever be cool. I don’t blame as it’s hard to find the good… but not as hard as you think. Come along as I tip toe into the minivan waters to find a few ways that might help you rethink how a minivan can be used.
[Disclaimer: Chrysler let us borrow the Pacifica for a week and included a tank of fuel. I did not see keg carrying capacity on the spec sheet, but I’d be happy to find that stat for them… and all other automakers.]

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28 responses to “Can a minivan ever be cool?”

  1. robbydegraff Avatar

    Jeff how can i buy one of those shirts?

    1. Jeff Glucker Avatar
      Jeff Glucker

      Dial 1-800-HAIL-SATAN
      or I could make a few more… stand by

      1. robbydegraff Avatar

        hah! ill buy one though for real, thanks Satan

  2. Maymar Avatar

    Cool might be ambitious, but when you’re up against three-row crossovers, it’s kind of an irrelevant metric. They’re all kind of uncool, so at that point, you might as well get the best tool for the job.
    That said, I love minivans. I don’t necessarily want to drive anything approaching 5000lbs, but a really quick rolling living room is kind of appealing. Again, if you’re getting a land cow, at least get a spacious land cow.

    1. Maymar Avatar
      And, borrowing Jeff’s drift van idea, I assume the crazy, boosted until it explodes AMG 4-cylinder would fit in this (considering it already runs the same engine as the CLA250). Granted, that’s not a ton more power than the almost 300hp V6 conventional minivans are running, but it powers the right wheels at least.

      1. Eric Rucker Avatar

        I mean, if you’re engine swapping, why not go nuts, and put more displacement in there? Especially because it’s longitudinal engine, I’m thinking an M276 (3.0 turbo V6) from a C43 AMG would just go right in there without too much work. Or, the M178 (4.0 turbo V8) from the C63 AMG might fit…

        1. Maymar Avatar

          you’re not wrong, I just wasn’t sure how much space there was.

  3. engineerd Avatar

    Put a Hellcat in the Pacifica and you’re on the right track to a cool minivan. Also, Bisimoto Honda Odyssey.
    As far as the pedestrian minivans currently for sale, they aren’t cool. They aren’t “fat wagons”. They are comfortable on long road trips. They can be very convenient. My coworker loves that he can pull up to his daughters’ school, hit the door open button, let them jump out, close the door with a button, and leave.

    1. Jeff Glucker Avatar
      Jeff Glucker

      I mention the Bisi Honda in the video. That thing is insane.

  4. tonyola Avatar

    If the older Nissan Elgrande was cool enough for the yakuza, it’s cool enought for you.

  5. Mr B Avatar
    Mr B

    No and chances are that if you need a mini van you are beyond worries about bein cool.

  6. Harry Callahan Avatar
    Harry Callahan

    Once my odometer hit 45, I stopped caring about looking cool. It’s one of the best gifts of middle age. Now I drive what I like, not what I think others will think is cool.

    1. Peter Tanshanomi Avatar

      Agreed. My wife dumped her Chrysler 300 for a 1-year-old Sienna this spring, and frankly I’m proud of her choice. The many subtle ways practicality is built into that thing is ingenious. Okay, as a driving experience, its gets a B, at best. As a passenger: a solid A-. As a vehicle to take you and your things where you need, when you need, reliably, efficiently and economically: Achievement Level Infinity.

  7. neight428 Avatar

    If they were it wouldn’t matter, a mere bonus valued by someone other than the person that bought it. I’m getting older and liking them a lot better than I used to.

  8. SlowJoeCrow Avatar

    I don’t think any modern production minivan can be cool since the essential nature of minivans is to be the mom jeans of automotive fashion.
    The only minivan type vehicles I can think of that approach cool are project cars like the Renault Espace V10 and the Mazdaspeed5.

    1. wunno sev Avatar
      wunno sev

      but mom jeans are cool now!

    2. wunno sev Avatar
      wunno sev

      also, I don’t think there was a factory Speed5

      1. SlowJoeCrow Avatar

        like I said, it was a project car , done by Car & Driver using a new Mazda5 and a shipping damaged Mazdaspeed 3 as the powertrain donor

  9. Rover 1 Avatar
    Rover 1

    The Chrysler Minivans used to be sold throughout the world. Now, they’re not.And these new ones seem better in so many ways. I wonder why that is? And these new ones seem better in so many ways. Why not give Jeep dealers another product line?

  10. Fuhrman16 Avatar

    Nice to see that you’re experimenting with your video editing. The Three Jeffs in One Car bit was kind of neat.
    Also, can we really call these behemoths minivans? Apart from height (these are 9 inches shorter), they’re the same size as a full size Ram Van from 20 years ago.

  11. cap'n fast Avatar
    cap’n fast

    agree with the coolness of fat minivans. especially the pacifica. comfy ride going long. that said, and you knew this was coming, everyday is better with a V8. yes, more power. ’88 voyager with a 425 olds toronado power package in the back with the help of chrome molly tube space frames. every thing aft of the sliding door is gutted out to affix the proper power plant. front engine, tranx, half shafts sold off. still heavy but has better brakes. steers like a locomotive off the rails.

  12. cap'n fast Avatar
    cap’n fast

    minivan: euphemism for “room for hookers”, also “room for beer coolers”

  13. cap'n fast Avatar
    cap’n fast

    back to the brewery after two weeks with that load of beer? won’t you get thirsty before then?

  14. Justin Foden Avatar
    Justin Foden

  15. Justin Foden Avatar
    Justin Foden

    Loving my 89 turbo 5 speed voyager.