Hooniverse Asks: What’s the Most Grown Up Car There Is?

If the past few months’ political circus has proven anything it’s that age and maturity do not go hand in hand. In the automotive world there are cars that are designed to be expressions of youthful exuberance, as well as those that imply stately comportment for people who like to consider themselves “grown ups.”
Now, I may have a few years under my belt, but I’m loathe to think of myself as a grown up. I mean, I still appreciate a good fart joke, think every non-cannonball dive into the pool is a missed opportunity, and like my cars with a little noize in them. Of course, not everyone shares my immaturity nor the joy that it brings, and that’s who those grown up cars are for.
What we’d like to know today is your opinion on which are the most grown up of  cars. Not necessarily the most expensive, but those that filter the expression of decorum and distain for indecorous actions to which grown ups aspire. What car do you think is the most grown up whip there is?
Image: Odyssey

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75 responses to “Hooniverse Asks: What’s the Most Grown Up Car There Is?”

    1. Mister Sterling Avatar
      Mister Sterling

      So could the new Genesis be its successor?

    2. kogashiwa Avatar

      Came here to say this although I think the previous generation was even more so. It isn’t so unnecessarily sleek.

  1. smalleyxb122 Avatar

    Chrysler Pacifica (nee Town & Country). Nothing says “I care more about function and versatility than being cool” more than a minivan. Not caring what is “cool” is a strong indication that you are a grown-up.

    1. Alff Avatar

      My wife is the grown up in the family. She insists on bare bones Grand Caravans, which she drives into the ground before replacing.

    2. neight428 Avatar

      It’s pretty hard to overcome the objective measurables of the modern minivan. Costs in-line with sedans, mileage just a tick worse, easy to park and see out of, can carry anything you own (and more people than I want to be around) unless you are way out on the margins, and they accelerate on par with what you thought was fast back in high school.

      1. smalleyxb122 Avatar

        I wanted to work the phrase “growing up is giving up” into my nomination, but couldn’t bring myself to disparage the almighty minivan, even in jest.

    3. Alan Cesar Avatar
      Alan Cesar

      *cough* Honda Odyssey is the industry benchmark. Grown-ups pay more for quality.

      1. Vairship Avatar

        In which case: how long until we see a Bentley minivan?

        1. Alan Cesar Avatar
          Alan Cesar

          Two things:
          1. You’re confusing quality with luxury.
          B. The uber-rich don’t qualify as grown-ups because they don’t have to be sensible.

  2. Maymar Avatar

    Plain Toyota Sienna – ignore the Swagger Wagon commercials (or trims), and acknowledge if you’ve got a brood (because you’re grown up), that’s your sensible choice (admittedly, the Honda Odyssey is right up there).

    1. Peter Tanshanomi Avatar

      My wife just purchased a one-year-old Sienna, but she insisted on getting the XLE package. She claims it’s because the leather seating surfaces would permit her disabled mother to have an easier time with ingress and egress over the grippy cloth seats. A very grown-up reason. The fact that the XLE also happens to come with keyless-everything, power-everything, tri-zone climate control, heated seats, bluetooth and a sunroof didn’t factor into that choice at all.
      Because she’s waaay too mature to kid herself about her true motivations.

      1. Kiefmo Avatar

        Other advantages of the sturdy, vinyl-like leather put in these non-premium-branded cars is its durability and ease of cleaning versus cloth.
        Those two reasons are why we sought out an EX-L or Touring when Pilot shopping. We landed in a Touring, so we got the (already-outdated) NAV and RES (which was a nice update from the headrest-strapped DVD player we used in (and gave to the buyer of) the Odyssey. The 650-watt 10-speaker stereo (HA!) is a nice upgrade from the standard radio.

    2. Kiefmo Avatar

      In my book, the Ody always gets the nod because it’s just a touch more engaging to drive. Otherwise, they’re pretty much on par.

  3. 0A5599 Avatar

    Golf is the official sport of retired people. Mercedes is the official vehicle of the PGA.

    1. outback_ute Avatar

      Only the E or S-class or SUV’s, the C, CLA & A series are a bit too youthful. However the B-class though is very grown up and sensible, and from what I’ve seen is mainly driven by “ladies of a certain age” in upper-class suburbs.

  4. Alff Avatar

    Camry Hybrid. Smalley has a point with the Pacifica but having rented one, I kind of want one. And I’m not very grown up.

    1. Maymar Avatar

      I was frequently the minivan rep when I worked the auto show circuit, and my thought was always “I could play Forza in here, maybe get a mini-fridge hooked up, just like my living room!” Rolling bachelor pad could totally be a growth segment for the van market.

      1. Kiefmo Avatar

        Maybe if they were offered as panel vans with no rear glass, so you could have a sweet fantastical mural airbrushed on the side.

        1. Fuhrman16 Avatar

          You could get the previous Dodge Caravan as a cargo van. It now has been replaced by the Ram Promaster City (Fiat Doblo).

    2. Kiefmo Avatar

      I have two coworker who drive Camrys. One is LDS (NTTAWWT) and drives a 4cyl SE, and the other is my boss, who is a straight shooter with upper mgmt written all over him, and he drives a hybrid.
      At least one of my coworkers drives a FoST, so he appreciates the old Merc. Everyone else is just like “eh…” in reference to my beater W126.

  5. Sjalabais Avatar

    Full financial responsibility, neglecting what others think, taking care of yourself and your loved ones. Kids have left the nest, because the crazy combo of stupid kids, sleep deprivation and a madly busy schedule do not support a rational mind. There’s one obvious choice.
    Of course, it’s the Hyundai Genesis, as suggested above. Don’t know how that picture of an ultracool Volvo S90 Executive found its way here, cough.

    1. Kiefmo Avatar

      This amuses me, as the first car I bought with my own cash (i.e. not a beater bought for me by my folks to get me through school) was a 1996 960 Luxury Edition (complete with that special black-purple paint and purple piping on the upholstery).

      1. Sjalabais Avatar

        Very wise choice. In Europe, these were way too coveted for me to afford one.

        1. Kiefmo Avatar

          Heh — this was in 2005, so the car was 9 y.o. at the time, had 69k on the ticker, and I paid $6k private party. The car had a couple of issues, though. The driver’s seat fore/aft motor didn’t move. Luckily, the seat was set fine for me. The sunroof didn’t open. There was a busted front corner lamp. The big one, which would have been a deal-breaker in a market with emissions testing, was the failed smog pump that caused a perpetual CEL. The shocks were blown. Among these, I replaced the shocks.
          Still, most things did work, and it was a such a sweet ride. It was my first RWD vehicle with any power, and it was a beast on the dirt roads I had loved to drive down as a teenager in my 90hp Mitsubishi pickup.
          Eventually, I missed having a manual trans (the post-facelift 960 was 2.9L/Auto only in the US), so I sold at 103k to a lady whose headgasket had gone at 300k on her nearly-identical ’95 960. She initially just wanted one to drive while she fixed her ’95, but she wound up driving lower-mileage 960 and giving the high mileage one to her son.

          1. Sjalabais Avatar

            Two grownup-passages in one package. You just won this.

  6. neight428 Avatar

    Toyota Avalon. It’s like a Camry that people forget even exists.

    1. P161911 Avatar

      It is Toyota’s Buick Park Avenue.

  7. Jofes2 Avatar

    It’s a classic cliche here in Sweden: “Villa, vovve, Volvo” (something like “suburbia-type house, doggy, Volvo” but catchy). An inevitable stage of life, if you will. Like the final step in giving up youth and admitting adulthood. You can be as rebellious as you want in your 20’s. Just like everyone else, you will scream with contempt: “NEVER a Volvo!” and run about in your Fiat Punto, or bicycle, or whatever you consider imaginative and self-fulfilling at the time, like there is no tomorrow.
    Volvo won’t worry, though. Volvo will be patient. They’ve seen it millions of times over. You’ll come crawling. You’ll have a wagon in an inoffensive colour and with built-in booster seats. Leather upholstery that is easy to wipe off. Roof racks? Yes. They also took the liberty to install heated seats without asking because no one has ever said no.

    View post on imgur.com

    1. Sjalabais Avatar

      Spot on. The only way that license plate could be improved? AXE-240.

    2. crank_case Avatar

      Y’know, my first thought was Volvo too, and it does have a certain Scandinavian egalitarian air about it. but that too is it’s own “pose”, they typical owner was probably a 2CV/VW driving, Guardian (left leaning newspaper) reading, middle class “safe” bohemian type (carefully cultivated nice unthreatening hippyish folky lifestyle listening to Bert Jansch records as opposed to scary living in an anarcho-socialist collective and becoming a member of Throbbing Gristle), and I say this as someone that briefly owned and would love another S80. It does make you feel older when driving it, in a good way. You feel impervious, you don’t give a damn what other people think, you are happy to drive at your own pace and not get worked up about the idiot in an Audi behind you. It is the opposite to a hot hatch like a Peugeot 205 GTi which makes you feel 19 and drive everywhere like your hair is on fire.
      There’s the safety thing of course, but you could also argue that there’s not the yawning gap between a 240 and everything else like in the 70s. The USP of being the most internally spacious cars is also gone, many Volvos now favor (discrete and tasteful) style over utility. Their interior space to road footprint ratio is sort of poor. One box hatchbacks and MPVs have stolen that crown.

    3. mdharrell Avatar

      That means the next time this happens at 2:00 in the morning I can more successfully argue with the tow truck operator that I am, in fact, a grown-up, because my Volvo has a roof rack.

      1. crank_case Avatar

        Not grown up, just old and DAFt.

      2. jeepjeff Avatar

        So… Getting ready for August already?

        1. mdharrell Avatar

          This year I suppose I could go with my more reliable option of the Austin Allegro.

          1. jeepjeff Avatar

            Is it yellow?

          2. mdharrell Avatar

            No it’s blue. I’m slowly learning that lesson in my attempts to reach California.

    1. Batshitbox Avatar

      Definitely a senior advisor to the Frump administration.

    2. Rudy™ Avatar

      ANY Buick. Especially if it is a LeSabre with a handicap placard on the rearview mirror. Can’t get any more “grown up” than “geriatric.” Although on the flip side, when I had to borrow my dad’s LeSabre all those years ago, I felt like a kid again (and I was decades from it 😀 ).

  8. Tiberiuswise Avatar

    Anything with only two seats. Because get your own damned car.

    1. Vairship Avatar

      Does “two seats, because the rear seats are folded up to make room for the four dogs” count? http://www.joanquick.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/04/pt.jpg

  9. P161911 Avatar

    Cadillac XTS. None of that flashy Lincon or Chrysler stuff for you. You don’t really trust too many of them foreign cars. You have money and are old enough to be getting your social security too.

  10. Peter Tanshanomi Avatar

    I was wrestling between the Malibu and the Impala, but then I realized that part of being really, truly attaining grown-up status is being reasonably successful at life.

    1. Maymar Avatar

      See, my dad (my standard for grown up, and a director-level engineer) drives a plain Sonata, just because he wasn’t bothered to spend any more on a depreciating asset. Although he was eyeing CPO Genesii, they just don’t quite fit in his garage.

  11. crank_case Avatar

    Lets separate being “grown up” (i.e. mature) from just being an old fart. You can be old and irrational, and in many respects, cars like the LS, while sedate, still show you car about image, prestige, opulence and speed over fiscal sensibility and practicality. However as you are older, you are likely to be wealthier, so you seek good value rather than simply the cheapest option in the segment. Family has moved out, but you probably still need to ferry adult children or grand children on occasion. You’re a homeowner, so you need something that can take those home decor shopping in the boot. Your joints are probably not the best so you value ease of access, a high hip point, rather than the lower seating position of a saloon. You no longer worry if people think you’re “with it”. Age has tempered you, you are more rational, and cautious instead of impetuous.
    The car that ticks all the boxes is a Honda Fit.
    ..but you still make VTEC kicked in Yo! jokes, because you can laugh at yourself.

  12. mdharrell Avatar

    Being a grown-up means realizing it’s time to switch from an Eshelman Child’s Sport Car in arrest-me red to an Eshelman Adult Sport Car in sensible mustard yellow.

    1. Sjalabais Avatar

      How is it possible they don’t make them anymore?

      1. mdharrell Avatar

        In contrast to the unfortunate “revival” of certain other marques I could name, in this case everyone agreed there was no hope of matching the genius and talent of Cheston L. Eshelman.

  13. Lokki Avatar

    I have an older friend who came home with a Buick SUV (I don’t recall the model). I asked him: Why Buick, and why an SUV?
    His answer- he went shopping with a tape measure and chose a car by the height of passenger seat that his wife liked best. Everything else was more or less irrelevant.

    1. P161911 Avatar

      As my parents age, the biggest factor for them is “How hard is this vehicle to get in and out of?” Especially true of my mother with a bad back and bad knees.

      1. Kiefmo Avatar

        This is the precise reason my mother is considering trading in her Accord for a CR-V. She has to step up out of the Accord, and it usually takes her a couple of “umphs” to get it. The CR-V, it’s a level proposition. No up or down.
        I dread the next visit, when I have to help her up into our Pilot without running boards. It’s a slight step up for me, and I’m 7″ taller.

        1. P161911 Avatar

          Bring a small folding step stool. That is what my mother uses to get in and out of the Jeep Wrangler (it was cheaper than a golf cart) that they keep at their lake place.

        2. Rudy™ Avatar

          That is actually one reason I stuck to a CR-V when I upgraded from a ’97 to an ’09. The ’09 is actually a little taller where I can simply turn sideways and step out, but I fall down into the ’97 CR-V by a couple of inches. (Then again, the ’97 is probably sagging, like me.) Climbing up and out of cars is just getting cumbersome and at times, painful…arthritis in the hips will do that to a person. (I’ve had it since my late 30s.)

      2. Vairship Avatar

        As my dogs age, having the floor of the vehicle level with the sidewalk is the biggest factor. The PT Cruiser shines here. 😉

    2. Windbüchse Avatar

      My wife has suffered with juvenile rheumatoid arthritis (diagnosed at 21 y.o.) for over 35 years. She has gone from a Camaro, XJS, 944, Audi A8, Audi A8L and now to a Buick Enclave. A butt high, heated memory seat with reasonable luxury sold her….

  14. Rust-MyEnemy Avatar

    Blind devotion has me saying this: Rover 825Si Fastback. It’s too big for teenagers to enjoy throwing around, its too ‘A Rover’ to be fashionable, it’s engine is too big for it to be cheaply insured, and it’s too thirsty to be affordable for most youths to run. It’s not a car for kids.
    From Chris Haining, age 35 3/4.

  15. Andrew_theS2kBore Avatar

    Wait! Wait! Hear me out. This is the car for someone who understands balance and compromise.
    It’s a practical sedan that’s characterful and fun to drive.
    It can only be acquired secondhand, meaning it will never be flawless, but the first owner has paid for the depreciation.
    It’s elegant and understated on the outside, comfortable on the inside, and mood-lifting when the exhaust baffles open (a suitable distance from the office).
    It has modern airbags and crumple zones, but won’t drive itself or browse the internet, so you have to pay attention to the world around you, whether you want to or not, while commuting or while roadtripping places previously unseen.
    Sure, you could buy a new Camry for the same price, but… why would you?

    1. Kiefmo Avatar

      The Camry — Because you have given up on anything good ever happening again in your life.
      The Camry — Doesn’t Walt Disney World just sound fantastic.
      The Camry — Applebees or Chili’s will do.
      The Camry — Because you don’t even own a basic socket set, do you?
      The Camry — Because it’s sensible.

    2. Peter Tanshanomi Avatar

      Um, because your choice will be unreliable, age poorly, and cost you a small fortune in depreciation?
      (Just play that back in your mom’s or dad’s voice.)

  16. I_Borgward Avatar

    Grown-up car? Just the facts, Ma’am:
    But really, Galaxie, Fury, Impala, most any big 4-door sedan would do almost as well back the day. When you saw one rolling up the street, you knew: Adults. Dad Car. The Man. Act like you’re not up to anything.

    1. Sjalabais Avatar

      These just look so sharp today.

    2. I_Borgward Avatar

      If it’s sunny in Los Angeles and you’re working homicide, this is the ride you need.

  17. Dutch Avatar

    I just inherited the father in law’s 1999 Buick Park Avenue.
    It’s a nice car, but I don’t want to be that old…

    1. Rover 1 Avatar
      Rover 1

      If you’ve got no lower body you can fit anywhere ? Has to be a photoshop?

      1. Alan Cesar Avatar
        Alan Cesar

        Shriners and their cars are definitely real.

    2. Sjalabais Avatar

      The hats must hold a novel roll over protection airbag?

        1. Sjalabais Avatar


  18. spotarama Avatar

    any hearse – you ain’t going to get any more grown up after that drive

  19. SlowJoeCrow Avatar

    If you are talking head over heart then a minivan takes it. I described my Mazda5 as relentlessly practical for jamming 6 seats into the footprint of a Mazda3, as well as swallowing a surprising volume of stuff.
    In terms of image, I think a Rover P5 is an exemplar of dignified transport and I’m not sure what a modern equivalent might be, perhaps a Toyota Crown.

  20. MacAdam Avatar

    Subaru Outback. It’s reliable, comfortable, practical, roomy, safe, has easy entry-and-exit due to the elevated ride height, and is incredibly slow with the 2.5L 4-cyl. Also, many have said that the last version that was fun to drive was the 4th Gen (2003-09) iteration, so the recent models can also sell themselves as being relatively sedate to drive.
    The Outback is, by all means, a sensible choice. I am saying this as the owner of a 3rd Gen (2001), with a 2.5L 4-cyl and a manual. I bought it because it was, and is, the sensible choice. In the defense of my example, it can be quite a hoot on back roads, so at least the “fun” element still stands.