By: Patrick Bedard
Photo by: Bill Delaney
Nobody likes minivans anymore except for the customers. And us.
Uh-oh, now the customers appear to be softening. Sales dropped below a million units last year for the first time since 1992, and the midsummer tally for 2007 suggests fewer than 800,000 this year. Ford terminated its Freestar and Monterey for 2008, and GM axed the Relay and the Terraza; the Uplander is on the glide slope. Only George W. Bush has been more abandoned.
Blame it on the sliding rear doors. “Terminally unhip,” according to the Wall Street Journal. But wait! Minivan rear sliders are the only doors in the whole damn parking lot that don’t threaten your sheetmetal when you park alongside.
crossovers—minivan-like wagons without the sliders, such as GM’s Outlook/ Acadia/Enclave—are the shiny new choice right now for family hauling, but even the largest of them give up 25 to 40 percent of cargo space compared with full-size minivans. They’re smaller inside but take up nearly the same parking space.