Help - Search - Members - Calendar
Full Version: Coolest minivan ever sold in the US?
Dieselstation Car Forums > Parking Lot > Compare & Contrast
Mitlov
Most minivans are tame, boring family haulers. But two exceptions spring to mind. They're far from direct competitors, but each is an attempt to put some excitement into a non-SUV that can transport two adults and four kids.

Toyota Previa:



It doesn't look like much in stock form. But that van is mid-engined (engine is laid flat underneath the front row of seating), rear-wheel-drive, and is available with a 160-horsepower supercharged inline-four and a five-speed manual transmission. It was replaced by the more practical but infinitely more boring Sienna.

Mercedes-Benz R63 AMG:



Hand-built, 6.2 liter V8 making 503-horsepower and 465 ft-lbs. That's about all you can say. It was only available with all-wheel-drive (RWD-based) and a seven-speed automatic. Buyers scorned it just as much as the normal R-Class, because people apparently don't want $90,000 vehicles that look like an ornately-detailed first-generation Odyssey. However, the R is a good vehicle in its own right, offering more useable space and more car-like handling then the latest generation of seven-passenger luxury SUVs.
clarkma5
I remember when Mazda put the 3.0 liter V6 in the MPV they had their press launch at Laguna Seca, and Car and Driver said that it was actually good enough on track to not be a joke. That always makes me want to give points to the MPV.
fiber optic
VW Microbus
Tony Two Shoes
QUOTE(fiber optic @ May 1 2008, 06:56 AM) *
VW Microbus




QUOTE
While there are countless aftermarket engine, transmission, and brake upgrades for the Volkswagen Vanagon, what could be better than a factory conversion... from Porsche? The Porsche-branded B32 van you see above occurred back in the mid-1980's, when the automaker from Stuttgart was racing its awesome Group B 959 in the Paris to Dakar Rally and the factory found itself in need of a support vehicle. Using a Volkswagen Type 2 Transporter (Vanagon) as a platform, the van was modified to accommodate the 3.2-liter flat-6 engine from the Porsche 911 Carrera. The air-cooled powerplant was good for 230 hp and a top speed in excess of 130 mph. It obviously offered significantly more motivation than the largest VW factory engine at the time, a water-cooled inline-5, though testing its limits was likely akin to expressing a death wish. Porsche built up to eleven examples of the "B32" complete with upgraded suspension, brakes, and leather interiors.


http://www.autoblog.com/2008/04/15/did-you...agon-based-b32/

It was never really sold in the US. But you get the point -- I'm sure you could dig one up in the US now.
Mitlov
I suspect that a Microbus, even a Porsche-tuned Microbus, at its top speed handles like an R63...missing a front wheel.
McKhaos
I beg to differ. A Dakar vehicle needs to handle. I suppose this was the first line of assistance (way in front of the trucks) so it needed to keep up with the 959s.
Also, Uwe , or somebody who knows german, a little help please ?
fiber optic
Sorry, first generation only. I don't really acknowledge the existence of any VWs made after '67.

Split windshields
Mitlov
QUOTE(McKhaos @ May 1 2008, 11:50 PM) *
I beg to differ. A Dakar vehicle needs to handle. I suppose this was the first line of assistance (way in front of the trucks) so it needed to keep up with the 959s.
Also, Uwe , or somebody who knows german, a little help please ?


Support vehicles don't travel at nearly the same speed as the racers in the Dakar rally. Otherwise, people would just race the support vehicles, you know? I mean, Mitsubishi uses the Outlander as a support vehicle for its Pajero Evolution racers. Do you really think that an Outlander can keep up with a Pajero Evolution in the brush?

http://www.autobloggreen.com/2008/04/17/mi...esel-engine-wi/

I don't know whether support vehicles get a head start, or take shortcuts, or what, but they're certainly not traveling the same course at the same speed as the racers.

Anyway, it's a moot point for this thread, as the Porsche-tuned VW Vanagon wasn't ever sold in the US.
dukenukem


Fooos
m_weinerich
Damn Straight SUKKA!
McKhaos
I stand corrected.
Benny
2.2L Turbo Caravan with 5 spd. manual ?
clarkma5
Mazda 5? Is my Mazda minivan fetish showing through yet?
Mitlov
QUOTE(clarkma5 @ May 2 2008, 06:34 PM) *
Mazda 5? Is my Mazda minivan fetish showing through yet?


The Mazda5 would have been on the list if it had the 2.3L turbo. I just couldn't see the Mazda5 as competing with a supercharged RWD Previa or an R63 AMG for coolness, but maybe I'm wrong. I also hadn't thought about the Turbo Caravan, and didn't know they made one with a manual.
clarkma5
I don't see why the coolest minivan has to have some sort of performance cred. The R-class is hideously ugly and the Previa is wonky. The 5 looks good, is packaged well, has a european chic to it, and has some performance cred to it all its own, even with such little power. It's available with a 5-speed and I can say after driving one on an autocross course that it is a fun little car.
dukenukem
The 5 didnt have no B.A. Baracus pitying the fools.
clarkma5
Clearly I fayle.
Mitlov
QUOTE(clarkma5 @ May 2 2008, 08:15 PM) *
I don't see why the coolest minivan has to have some sort of performance cred.


Fair enough. That's kind of what I'd been thinking of, particularly given how performance-oriented this forum is, but you're absolutely right. Especially with a vehicle like a minivan, design and features could make it uber-cool in many people's eyes even if it's not a performance car.
infinity
QUOTE(clarkma5 @ May 1 2008, 03:00 AM) *
I remember when Mazda put the 3.0 liter V6 in the MPV they had their press launch at Laguna Seca, and Car and Driver said that it was actually good enough on track to not be a joke. That always makes me want to give points to the MPV.

Since I was a kid my family has owned 3 MPVs. I don't remember the years and we just sold our most recent one (2002, I think) about a year ago now (I'm in college and my sister started this year) so there was no need for it any more. They were all brilliant. Built on the Millenia platform and using the Millenia V6 made them handle more like a car than a truck (that many US minivans are based off) so the drive was much more pleasant than any other minivan I'd ever driven. I've driven quite a few Previas at my old job at an auto shop and although the mid-engined thing was pretty cool, they just felt...wrong. I felt like i was driving one of those work vans where the engine is between the cab and the bed/box of the truck, not to mention having the engine literally beneath you was loud and you could feel the engine vibrations. I've never driven the Merc, its def. cooler looking than the MPV IMO but the MPV is hard to beat. Its often compared to the Odyssey, but having driven both from several gens, the MPV is just much more enjoyable and easy to drive than the Odyssey which just feels too big and lacks feel.
Razor
Sure some may think it's ugly and not like that it's Tiptronic-only, but honestly, which does everyone think is the overall better driving experience?
Mitlov
QUOTE(infinity935 @ May 3 2008, 10:54 AM) *
Built on the Millenia platform and using the Millenia V6 made them handle more like a car than a truck (that many US minivans are based off)


As I use the terms, "minivan" means unibody, car-based platform, and "van" means body-on-frame, truck-based platform. I wouldn't call a GMC Safari or a Ford Econoline a "minivan."
fiber optic
QUOTE(dukenukem @ May 2 2008, 11:54 PM) *
The 5 didnt have no B.A. Baracus pitying the fools.


But his GMC was not a minivan and thus does not qualify.
nismo
Honda Odyssey? XD
Bjorn
QUOTE(infinity935 @ May 3 2008, 12:54 PM) *
Since I was a kid my family has owned 3 MPVs. I don't remember the years and we just sold our most recent one (2002, I think) about a year ago now (I'm in college and my sister started this year) so there was no need for it any more. They were all brilliant. Built on the Millenia platform and using the Millenia V6 made them handle more like a car than a truck (that many US minivans are based off) so the drive was much more pleasant than any other minivan I'd ever driven. I've driven quite a few Previas at my old job at an auto shop and although the mid-engined thing was pretty cool, they just felt...wrong. I felt like i was driving one of those work vans where the engine is between the cab and the bed/box of the truck, not to mention having the engine literally beneath you was loud and you could feel the engine vibrations. I've never driven the Merc, its def. cooler looking than the MPV IMO but the MPV is hard to beat. Its often compared to the Odyssey, but having driven both from several gens, the MPV is just much more enjoyable and easy to drive than the Odyssey which just feels too big and lacks feel.


Just outta curiosity do you live anywhere with snow and hills?

My parents had an MPV back when they were RWD and my mom hated it in the winter...we would get 1/2 way up the hill, loose traction, then start going back down backwards. It was funny for my Brother and I, but scary as hell for my mom. She tried carrying sand in the back, and really good snow tires, but nothing altered the fact that it was RWD with almost no weight over the rear wheels.
Benny
our 92 MPV always had 4 bags of water softener salt in the hatch
dukenukem
QUOTE(fiber optic @ May 4 2008, 08:51 AM) *
But his GMC was not a minivan and thus does not qualify.

Well in that case, minivans are for people who didnt learn to pull out on time and hence is a form of eternal punishment. boston.gif tongue_crossed-eyes.gif
DaGonz
In retrospect.. the words "cool" and "minivan" don't go together at all...
infinity
QUOTE(Bjorn @ May 4 2008, 12:08 PM) *
Just outta curiosity do you live anywhere with snow and hills?

Nope. Neither.
moe
QUOTE(Bjorn @ May 4 2008, 07:08 PM) *
Just outta curiosity do you live anywhere with snow and hills?

My parents had an MPV back when they were RWD and my mom hated it in the winter...we would get 1/2 way up the hill, loose traction, then start going back down backwards. It was funny for my Brother and I, but scary as hell for my mom. She tried carrying sand in the back, and really good snow tires, but nothing altered the fact that it was RWD with almost no weight over the rear wheels.


I believe they had an AWD MPV.

Anyway, I voted for the R-class. Someone in my parents' neighborhood has one, and I don't mind the way it looks. I saw a Brabus version in Dubai, and it was just straight up badass. Not a bad way to go if you want a minivan. I'm not looking for ultimate performance badass-ness in a minivan, I more or less just want a little bit of style. I think the R-class isn't too bad, I like the Pacifica, the Mitsu Grandis, the latest Mazda MPV, and the Ford S-Max.
clarkma5
Yes, there was a 4x4 MPV in the '90s. My friend had one.
Mitlov
QUOTE(moethepaki @ May 7 2008, 11:51 AM) *
I believe they had an AWD MPV.

Anyway, I voted for the R-class. Someone in my parents' neighborhood has one, and I don't mind the way it looks. I saw a Brabus version in Dubai, and it was just straight up badass. Not a bad way to go if you want a minivan. I'm not looking for ultimate performance badass-ness in a minivan, I more or less just want a little bit of style. I think the R-class isn't too bad, I like the Pacifica, the Mitsu Grandis, the latest Mazda MPV, and the Ford S-Max.


Unfortunately, three out of those four aren't available here. Minivans here are painfully lacking in style. Odyssey? Grand Caravan? I'm talking to YOU.
Bjorn
^I agree with you on the style point except I gotta say though, if I found out that the wife was having quadruplets I would go for a Mazda 5, assuming I couldn't line up three buyers for the unwanted ones. It's not a bad looking car.
moe
I think the Mazda 5 is just about the only option for a stylish minivan in NA. I have to admit though, as much as I dislike SUVs, a whole lot of the new ones seem particularly stylish. Among the 7-seaters, the Ford Flex, GM's Acadia/Enclave/Outlook/Traverse, Mazda CX9, BMW X5, and the Dodge Journey. And from what I've read on the Mazda, BMW, and Dodge, they drive pretty decently too.
clarkma5
None of those are considered minivans.
moe
^ But they serve the same purpose really.
mung35
QUOTE(moethepaki @ May 8 2008, 12:49 PM) *
^ But they serve the same purpose really.


But that doesn't make it a minivan...
ScottChu
I did a photochop of an Odyssey awhile back... am I the only one that thinks it's cool? laugh.gif

OHirtenfelder
http://img389.imageshack.us/my.php?image=seite0001fe6pf3.jpg

In response to McKhaos's post on that VW Bus.
Here is a little translation from that article, obviously I won't be directly translating the whole article, but here is some of it:

"The Porsche-Bus will be fitted with a 3.2 litre, 6 cylinder boxer engine, capable of 210 ps(horse power). The 1.5 tonne vehicle will be able to reach an aerodynamically limited 201 km/h. 0-100 km/h is dispatched in 8.0 secs.
Even during relatively light-footed driving, the fuel consumption will hit 16l/100km. If you plan on keeping up with the GTi's and BMW 3-Series, that figure will easily rise to 25l/100km or more. Technical changes to the 200km/h bus won't be limited to the fitment of the Porsche engine, which in itself required substantial changes to the car. The engine bay needed to be enlarged to the front and top, and the air intake system for cooling needed to be modified for the greater perfomance. The brakes have been heavily modified, and make use of ventilated discs all round, complete with ABS. The Porsche developed bus will be fitted with a permanent all-wheel-drive system. If all goes according to plan, the almost 60 000 Mark bus, that is distributed through the Porsche dealer network, will make an appearance at the '85 Geneva Salon"(motor show, I'm guessing).

All in all it seems this is/was a real banger of a minvan/microbus.
Possibly slapping a turbocharger onto that Porsche 3.2 could be quite exciting.

Yay for Porsche!!!
Synesthesia
Haha nice one Scott. I bet if you started posting that around the internet we'd start seeing them on the road. wink.gif
McKhaos
60.000 marks for the Porsche ? That means 30.000 euros. Now that the deal of the fucking millenium.
Mitlov
QUOTE(McKhaos @ May 11 2008, 11:05 PM) *
60.000 marks for the Porsche ? That means 30.000 euros. Now that the deal of the fucking millenium.


But that's 60.000 marks in 1985, not 60.000 marks in today's currency. How much inflation has there been in the last 23 years?
4wheelfreak
I have actually driven an old Toyota Previa. Going into corners at speeds that wouldn't have shaken the Jetta made the van feel like it was on the verge of capsizing.
This is a "lo-fi" version of our main content. To view the full version with more information, formatting and images, please click here.
Invision Power Board © 2001-2017 Invision Power Services, Inc.