What came first – kids or minivans? Do you buy a minivan because you’ve got kids or did you get kids because you bought a minivan? When was the last time you looked at a minivan and said: “Wow, that looks pretty good.. I wonder how it handles?” Yeah, me neither – until this past summer when I was parking next to a 2011 Toyota Sienna SE at the Toronto IndyCar race. It caught my eye because it was so big and the rear wing and side skirts actually made it… dare I say it… sporty looking!
The first time I actually got to see the Flex in person was at the 2008 Canadian International Auto Show. Superstar designer Chip Foose was introducing his version of the Flex along with the Foose F-150. My wife decided right then and there that the Ford Flex was going to be her next vehicle. Did Chip (the man who she says puts the “magic” in magic markers .. have you seen this man draw!?) influence her decision or was it the funky look of the Flex? I don’t know, but I’ve never known her to make a decision on a vehicle in anything less than 9 or 10 months of constant point-counterpoint objections!!
The last time I had a couple of minivans we did a head-to-head test between the Dodge Grand Caravan and the Hyundai Entourage. That was way back in the fall of 2006. Since that time, Chrysler has completely re-designed the Town & Country and the Dodge Grand Caravan. Also within that time-frame, Ford have killed off the Windstar and got out of the minivan business altogether, meanwhile General Motors just changed the label from “minivan” to “SUV” while claiming to be abandoning the minivan as well.
You’re probably wondering why on earth there’s a minivan review on PaddockTalk.com “- not just one, but three articles in a row! Well, as explained in my review of the Dodge Grand Caravan, I’m not a van person, but most of my friends/family/neighbours are unfortunate individuals that have families, so they need to have minivans. Falling on the sword, I’ve buckled to their requests – nay demands – for Road Test to featuring minivans. Not only that, but I’ve arranged for a head to head, one-day minivan challenge, and I’ve included some of my friends’ opinions in the results. Check out the Road Test Extra! Section for our first-ever MiniVan comparison test – Not now!! …wait until you’ve read my two minivan reviews first!