Death, Taxes and Hybrid Minivans

Like death and taxes, there seems to be 2 inevitable consumer truths that come with having multiple kids.

  1. You will buy a double stroller
  2. You will covet your friends minivan

I know, I know…you swear up and down that you can get by without either, especially the minivan since it carries a whole whack of baggage with it (both figurative and literal). But in the end, you will succumb to the lure of extra room.

We broke down on point one this week and purchased a double stroller. Not quite what we wanted, but we weren’t prepared to take out a second mortgage, so we settled for a much more modest Schwinn Safari that was on sale for 1/2 price at our local auto centre (go figure they would sell strollers).

My advice to my expecting-a-first-child-with-plans-on-having-two friends is to take the plunge, save yourself some cash and get the double right off the bat. Skip the single stroller completely and jump in with both feet. It’ll save you having to convert your garage into a stroller showroom with a vast collection of singles, doubles, umbrellas, etc..

Now, onto inevitable truth #2. Lately, I have begun coveting my friends minivans – a menagerie of Toyota, Mazda, Ford, and Dodge units in all shapes, sizes and colours.

We have resisted, mostly because our basic 4 door Mazda Protege is paid for full and clear and I’m not hot on going 30k into debt just for a bit more luggage space. However, with camping/beach/outing season coming quickly, I can see where the pull will become stronger.

So, here’s an obvious question to the auto industry. Why no hybrid minivan? I mean, I can get any number of SUV’s in hybrid mode, but can’t find a single minivan on the market using hybrid technology. Certainly ours is not the only family out there that would love to go hybrid, but the options for a family friendly version are not there.

All my research has shown that the earliest we’ll see a hybird minivan on the market is 2008 – a Toyota Sienna. And that is it. No other car manufacturer seems to have a hybrid minivan on the radar.

Are we the only family in North America chomping at the bit for a hybrid minivan? I know the auto industry is downright hostile when it comes to the idea that vehicles can run on energy other than petroleum. But a hybrid minivan seems like such a no-brainer to me that the financial lure would be too strong even for the auto industry.

Looks like our next vehicle will be a Toyota.

8 responses to “Death, Taxes and Hybrid Minivans

  1. “It’ll save you having to convert your garage into a stroller showroom with a vast collection of singles, doubles, umbrellas, etc.” — excellent point. People with only one kid can end up doing this too 🙁

  2. I’m beginning to think we may need some kind of third party intervention in our house to stop the purchase of stollers. Damn you, Craigslist!

  3. Wish I had known about the double stroller, we have one we are looking to get rid of, our kids having both grown past that stage. They can be handy for sure.

    On the minivan front, I swore I would never get one, and like you found myself coveting them as my back began to give out straining to put the kids in the car. They are environmental disasters though, typically 6 cylinder gas guzzlers. One we have been looking at is the Mazda 5 (http://www.canadiandriver.com/overviews/2006/mazda/5.php) – it’s built on a regular car frame and only has a 4 cylinder engine (therefor more gas/emissions friendly) but has a foldable 3rd row and sliding side door. Now we just have to save up for one! (though even that’s not to bad, base model is right around $20k)

  4. We’ve been looking at the Mazda 5 as well. It seems to be a popular choice among the people we know. I like that it is a bit smaller than a regular minivan, yet still has seating for 6 and the sliding door is really nice.

  5. Just make sure it’s not a General Motors minivan, sigh. Per your post at Shaping Youth re: the Imus shock jock fiasco, http://www.shapingyouth.org/blog/?p=385
    you’ll be disheartened to read this new update in Adrants…I think 48 hour pingback turnaround may be a new record. sigh. Clearly advertisers like GM evidently have VERY short memory spans. This disgusts me beyond belief. General Motors will NEVER get my business. Ever.
    *****************************************
    “How soon we forget…but just one week? Yup. Advertiser are already talking about hooking up with Imus just a week after he was fired from CBS for his “nappy headed ho” remark. GM spokeswoman Ryndee Carney said, “We obviously don’t condone his statements, but we have found value advertising on Imus in the past. Up to this point, the good has outweighed the bad. If an opportunity is presented to us, we would assess it just like we do all the other opportunities that come our way.” Ah yes, corporate drooling for eyeballs continues to outweigh taking a stand on an issue. It’s just too alluring to ignore the wallets of those who might still listen to Imus if and when he ever were to reappear.

    Of course, to be clear, most advertisers didn’t want Imus to go away in the first place. They saw a need to distance themselves temporarily from the situation but most realize the man still has a following and that following has money to spend on advertiser’s product. That sentiment always trumps any higher moral ground a marketer might espouse during the short terms.

    And so it goes. An offense occurs. Advertisers claim disgust and bail. Then advertisers see revenue fall and return to the very place they once vehemently shunned. Classic capitalism.”

    ARGH!!! THIS, my friends, is where taking action should kick in…advocacy watchdogs, are you listening??? These GM antics repulse me…sheesh

  6. My god, I could have written your post myself. It is so right in line with where my family is right now. Garage is filled with strollers. Just got my InStep Dual Mall Cruiser a couple months ago. Both cars are paid off but we need to start thinking about replacing the foolish mini-SUV purchase with a minivan. I refuse to continue to spew unnecessary fumes into the air (TerraPass, anyone?) but I really want the room of a minivan to be able to deal with my two girls better on road trips. Just got back from a two-day road trip in the Saturn VUE and it was not fun climbing in the back while spouse drove to help my screaming 11 month old retrieve her sippy cup. I’ve been researching the Sienna for over a year now, waiting, asking Toyota dealers, holding my breath. Doesn’t make sense that they can make them in Japan for years and years but not think they can sell any over here.

  7. I hear you, Aidan. Why can the hybrid minivan exist in other parts of the world yet not here in North America? I am sure there is a demand for it.

    And glad to hear we are not alone in our stroller habit! We actually just sold 2 last week so we now have a bit more room in the garage. WhooHooo!

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