(a-hem. Takes Soap box out of closet and sits on it to write blog)
At the risk of offending more of my readers (and I know who you are) I am going to share my opinion about vehicles.
I love new vehicles. I love their shiney exterior, their new car smell interior and I just like to spice it up every two or three years. Before we ever had kids I bought a van. A nice but not brand new 2002 Dodge Grand Caravan that I really loved. It had sliding doors on both sides, middle row bucket seats and lots and lots of room. However, I got hassled far too often about why I had a van. I didn't have kids, why would I want a van? I wasn't on the way to soccer practice, why would I need a van? One day I even had a door to door salesman challenge me about whether I had children in my home, he 'knew' I had kids, I drove a mini van.
It wasn't long after that we had the opportunity to trade in our van and get a small S.U.V. Because I love that new car smell and because I couldn't seem to keep a car for more than 3 years we traded up, for a more costly, brand new vehicle. It is a nice S.U.V. but do you know what happened almost immediately? I had buyers remorse. I realized all too late that I loved my van. I loved the room even though I didn't have a bunch or kids or even any.
Two summers ago when we were pregnant with the twins we decided (OK, I nagged) to buy a new vehicle. I had decided in my head that we were going to get a Toyota Sequioa or however they are spelled. So one week later that is what we got. This time I had to sell my soul (I can't have a new car for quite sometime) and we got a 'basic' model with no frills even though it was brand new. I love the Toyota. Other than the rough handling that is felt on poor roads it is a decent ride. But when we found out we were having a third baby in just under three years, what did I do? I once again felt remorse that we no longer owned a van.
I don't need to be trendy (have you seen me, that is OBVIOUS) and I don't think there needs to be such a bad rap on vans. Don't get me wrong, I like my S.U.V. A lot. But I don't see anything wrong whatsoever with a van. I am still mad that I let others persuade my opinion all those years back.
So my sister and her husbad are looking into a new vehicle. Good for them. They both own cars and could use the extra room of an S.U.V. or van. I had heard they were probably going to look into vans. I was happy for them, if not a tad bit jealous. Today they went car shopping. I have no idea how it went other than my sister's facebook status that says something about a Trailblazer. So I asked, quite innocently, I might add, what happened to a van.
*Quick note. I looked into the Trailblazer, it looks really nice. The ONLY thing I don't like about it is that it is a Chevy and I am on a anti-GM kick so other than that Erin and Chris I think it is a sound option quite possibly. Not that you asked.
So anyways. Someone who I won't name and who, to be completely honest, I don't quite give two licks for, commented that this particular S.U.V. is rather nice but that (and I'm paraphrasing) vans are 'just not where its at'.
What? This is a 30 something year old guy saying that vans are just not where its at. Why? Because they aren't 'cool' enough? Because they tend to get better gas mileage than S.U.V.s? Because they tend to be more practical and seat more people than their 'rugged' counterparts?
I own two S.U.V.s so I am not saying that I think they are the devil, but I was often given a hard time about owning a van to which this very day I am still bitter about letting my weak minded self be swayed. I just don't want someone to be swayed either way because they think a vehicle isn't 'where it's at' (and fortunately I doubt the decision will be made on that criteria).
Vans seat more people. They tend to be more accessible for families and older people. They tend to have more cargo space. They tend to get better gas mileage than S.U.V.s that hold the same number of passengers. They tend to have a lower sticker price. They can come with spoilers. Emissions standards are stricter on vans. They tend to tip over less frequently. Apparently, practical is just not where it's at.