California Autos Examiner

Monday, October 19, 2009

Honey I shrunk the minivan! Future of mini-minivans in USA

2005 Toyota Wish (courtesy wikipedia user Mytho88)

When it comes to the current crop of American minivans, there is very little that is actually "mini" about them. In the land where the recliner is king, the workhorse people haulers have morphed into front wheel drive versions of the rear wheel drive mastodons they replaced. The 2011 model year will offer a clean slate of new offerings from the Japanese, but with the exception of perhaps the next Nissan Quest, Honda and Toyota vans will likely keep their current stout stature.

View this slideshow for some of the current crop of small people movers and a view towards the future.

Chrysler has abandoned the short wheelbase minivan segment, leaving the Dodge Journey to pickup the slack, but I have a feeling that may change when Fiat announces its future plans for its American offerings. I expect to see a smaller van/people hauler slot below the Chrysler Town and County and Dodge Grand Caravan based off of Fiat underpinnings.

Currently, if you want a smaller people shuttle, you have to look to the Mazda5 and Kia Rondo. That will be changing in the very near feature. Chevrolet will be replacing its HHR with the Orlando and Ford will be offering its Ford Grand C-Max. Honda has continually teased us with its Honda Stream and while Toyota has given no hints, how far off could the Toyota Wish be? General Motors will also be offering a Chevrolet Aveo (Gamma) based people mover as well. In speaking with a Buick designer at a recent event, the designer mentioned that the "Baby Enclave" Gamma-based vehicle is deceiving in that its exterior size is quite small but its interior dimensions are quite large.

Over the next few years, when it comes to people movers, small may be the new big!

For more info: Information for this report comes from Automotive News and previous articles written by this author.
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