Replacing the 30-year old minivan with something daring, heroic, even lion-hearted is no small task. The minivan gave us soccer moms, enabled the spread of bulk grocery stores and made antique hunting a piece of cake. It’s a tough act to follow.
The minivan provided decent horsepower and quick starts, but it was never more than a big automobile. The suspension lacked responsiveness. Despite its close relation to the VW Micro-bus, minivans successfully deflected the impulse to create man-caves. To the relief of moms everywhere, it did what it was intended to do. The kids in the minivan became the captains of their internal world in those ergonomic seats. Unfortunately, it didn’t maneuver well in rush hour traffic. Here are 14 manly alternatives to replace it:
1. JEEP PATRIOT
At the risk of retracing the minivan inspiration back to the beaches at Normandy, let’s visit some Jeeps. After all, they dubbed one the “wagoneer” decades back. Jeep’s long tradition of family transportation is well documented, but if you want ballsy traction, ground clearance, vigorous maneuverability and stream fording abilities, the Jeep Patriot will bring it.
Moreover, the Patriot does the chores that every minivan is expected to do: The seats hug the kids, LCD monitors entertain them and the toys are ensnared in a cargo space with the power of a Severus Snape spell. With an engaging engine and a five-speed manual transmission, it’s pretty swashbuckling candidate to replace the minivan.
2. GMC YUKON
It’s weird, but some pretty butch females gravitate to this monster. That’s as close as the GMC Yukon will ever get to being unmanly. If automotive dictionaries had an entry for “manly,” this is truck that would be pictured. The massive V-8 engine produces amazing horse power and torque. It will not only carry a load of kids but will take off pretty fast on the other side of the school zone. This truck is about dauntless power. It’s stout-hearted all the way.
With all that manliness, let’s try to remember the little ones we abandoned to the interior. The three rows of bucket seats and a bench seats guarantee the kids will be secure. The Yukon has plenty of room for passengers, big and small. Sure, a kid looks lost in the auditorium-like space, but once buckled down and streaming a favorite Online Disney show, they’re smiling. Except for the lack of lumbar support, this is the most courageous choice to replace the minivan.
Can you imagine explaining to the spouse a Yukon in the driveway? That takes guts.
3. VW TOUAREG
The VW Touareg looks both big enough and nimble enough to replace the minivan. The sticker price may shock rich entrepreneurs, and the mileage figures may be a little shady, but who cares? Look at the sunroof! It’s so big, it’s like they designed the Touareg to tour Jurassic World. Where are the kids? Let’s go!
Despite all the luxury items in the new Touareg, it’s hard to miss the manly fun in this crossover. The powerful V6 engine comes in all trim levels. The alloy wheels turn heads, and when you drive by, people think “performance,” not “family.” It also luxuriously seats five adults. With double wishbone front suspension and independent four-link rear suspension, the nimble handling of the Touareg wins virile guys over pretty quickly.
4. NISSAN CUBE
The Cube is the car no man admits they like. How could such a car replace the minivan? The value is in the fact that kids think it’s a toy. They enjoy riding in it. It seats five and still has cargo space in back. The headroom and leg room surprises and impresses most manly men. The Cube is for real because of its spacious interior and reasonable cost to run. It gets 25 mpg city 30 mpg highway, a number that is a little better than most minivans. What works for families is the very thing that puts people off about it, the square edges. All that squaring in the interior translates into something big and roomy. There’s seating for five and optional cargo space.
The kids’ imaginations will be fired by its shape, your neighbors will admire your guts, and it comes with many features at the base level.
5. CHEVY TRAVERSE
Other Chevrolet models have hauled the family to grandma’s easily, but the eight-year old Chevy Traverse is a winner as a replacement for the minivan because the cool, manly looks trump the boxy appearance of many of Chevy’s vehicles. It seats eight and there’s room for cargo to boot, all in a nimble crossover. This car inspires more than just mini-van lovers. It’s a popular every-person vehicle, and Chevy intuitively filled it with neat goodies. While it’s not the most macho ride, it’s the smoothest. Conspiracy freaks know that of all the SUVs intended to replace this minivan, the Traverse is the best of the bunch. The rear infotainment system is reportedly very family friendly. If you like a reliable vehicle with nifty extras the kids will enjoy, go for the Chevy Traverse.
6. BMW X5 S35I
IF you want everything the minivan offered and great performance too, put down the 50 grand for this bugger. It’s BMW’s first entry in the crossover class, but it’s been around for a while, long enough to get the bugs out. This crossover works as a replacement for a minivan because the six-person seating is reportedly a little tight. Obviously, hauling kids won’t be a problem since they’re not full-size adults. They will fit it like a glove.
The stuff a manly guy wants is the luxurious interior and robust pop in the power and acceleration of the X5. It never strays from the true identity of BMW. The crossover behaves like a high-powered sedan with incredible handling. It’s a magnet for adventurous men. The luxurious interior includes a sunroof and first row LCD screens so the little people can watch TV rather bother the parents. Like any BMW, its cachet is its styling and the brand recognition.
7. KIA SORENTO
While Kia packs its cars with features at the standard level, the Sorento that best replaces the minivan includes optional equipment like a macho V6 engine and the third row seating. That brings the ability to haul kids to six or seven in number, and provides the horse power and torque to feel pretty darn good on the road. Because the ride is excellent, and it’s easy to operate, the V6 Sorento climbs to the top of the list of manly cars to replace the minivan. The third seat definitely works for kids, and the second row is roomy enough for the grandparents.
8. GMC ACADIA DENALI
The Acadia Denali’s up-market uni-body crossover design allows parents to carry seven school kids and look like a Cadillac doing it. It’s such a beautiful vehicle, the spouse might take it away. The really gutsy suspension system is something a real man would never get over. The handling is special. GMC’s safety package is good too. If anybody collides with you, the whole family will look lost inside a box of marshmallows. If the airbags do everything the engineers intended, the kids will laugh.
The wife will be relieved you didn’t buy a GMC Yukon.
9. FORD TRANSIT CONNECT
The real advantage of swapping the minivan in for a Ford Transit Connect is that it’s a fearless and plucky stand-in for a utility van, every man’s dream. It also provides plenty of seating for a family outing or trip to a sports event. The best thing might be the gas mileage you get if you go for this model. There’s a lot less redundancy too. If you haul out the tablet or Smartphone out to entertain the kids, you won’t run into a LCDs already installed. The standard features are fewer than most. If you appreciate basic transportation, the Connect is for you.
10. MAZDA CX5
If you used the minivan for long field trips, consider buying the Mazda CX5. It’s a fascinating vehicle to drive, packs plenty of horsepower and torque and is roomy enough to replace the minivan. It’s also an excellent vehicle for driving around town, taking the kids to school or for grocery shopping. It seats five comfortably. The manly side of the CX5 is its athletic abilities. The 2.5 liter engine comes standard, produces power and good gas mileage. The car is highly maneuverable. The CX5 is easy to parallel park.
11. DODGE JOURNEY
This is a handsome and totally underrated offering from the company that invented the minivan. As a mid-size crossover, it offers as much space as a large crossover. It also seats seven passengers. The Journey also has a 3.6liter V6 with torque and horsepower numbers dangerously close to the Dodge Caravan. It has the power of the minivan, but it maneuvers better. Maybe it’s a stealth vehicle to keep the minivan alive in a manly form? Dodge just knows how to build midsize vehicles that feel big and work well. So go for it. No shame there.
12. TOYOTA LAND CRUISER
The Toyota Land Cruiser is more at home climbing a mountain than traveling to a soccer game. It’s included in this list because it may be the manliest alternatives out there. It has everything you need to replace the minivan and haul the kids to school, but this large, luxurious crossover is a paragon of ruggedness. Its favorite climb angle is 65-degrees. It will totally impress the kids. The only problem for most of us is the darn thing’s sticker price is high.
13. HONDA PILOT
The Honda Pilot seats eight and offers a solid ride, so it’s a good replacement for the minivan. The kids love the novel storage areas in the Honda Pilot, and when it’s all added up, there’s more than enough cargo space to do the job. It’s the vehicle of choice for bulk shoppers at the Coop because there’s plenty of clearance. In the manly quality list, the exterior profile of the Pilot is macho. It spells utility vehicle in every exterior line and shape. In fact, people who don’t like it complain that it’s a truck. That negative perception alone should make every manly man happy.
If you enjoy a good fit in the interior, interesting cargo room and plenty of macho stuff under the hood, this list of replacements for the minivan will work for you. It doesn’t have to be about soccer games and grocery shopping. Get a vehicle that appeals to your manly side. They’re out there.