Last post on Nov 28, 2003 at 2:29 PM
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Toyota Matrix, Mazda Protege5, Suzuki Aerio, Hatchback
#1 of 8 Microvans: Fad or wave of the future?
Aug 27, 2003 (4:11 pm)
To me the styling of some of today's four-door hatchbacks makes them look like shrunken minivans. Some on the boards have come to call these things "Microvans." I for one never thought the look would catch on, but after seeing photos of the Europe only Civic 5-door and the upcoming Mazda3 it seems that automakers see things differently.
Do you think the microvan has staying power, or is it an experiment doomed for failure?
#2 of 8 What is a microvan?
Aug 28, 2003 (3:36 am)
To me, a microvan would have to have multiple seating arrangements and a flat floor when the rear seats are removed. Where a minivan has three rows of seats, a microvan has two. Where a minivan is usually based on a mid-sized platform, the microvan is compact- or sub-compact-based.
I think the only one currently in the US market which qualifies is the PT Cruiser. Maybe the Honda Element, too. The Matrix/Vibe are kind of borderline: they're more cargo-oriented than, say, the P5, but I don't believe their seats are removable.
You see a lot of these vehicles in other markets: compact- or sub-compact-based cargo carriers. (Think VW Touran: a van based on the Golf/Jetta/Beetle platform. And think of the Odyssey, based on the Accord.) Usually they have one or two rows of seats, or car front-ends and box rear ends. The old UK-market Ford Escort panel vans come to mind, but the modern versions look more like minivans, only with two rows of full-sized seats.
#3 of 8 I vote here to stay.....
Aug 28, 2003 (2:27 pm)
I drive a Suzuki Aerio SX, which would probably fall into the outer reaches of this category. Seats don't come out unless you have a socket set handy, and then the floor is not flat, but I suppose it could look a little like a scaled down minivan, (the new Toyota minivan actually has pretty similar styling). For sheer practicality/usefullness, it's tough to beat though. Really easy to park around town, carries about the same amount of cargo as an Xterra, fun to drive. I think we'll see more and more of this type of vehicle.
Scion xB would also have to be included.
#4 of 8 We'd have to have a significant spike in gas prices...
Sep 14, 2003 (3:21 pm)
...before a "microvan" becomes more popular.
I think that the only reason that these "microvans" are currently popular is because the available makes of affordable mid-size wagons are small. (Well, that's _my_ reason for buying the Aerio.)
I had a famiy friend who once had the Chrysler-badged version of the Mitsu Expo. Loved the vehicle. I'm glad that some manufacturers now are recognizing that not everyone likes driving a truck around to carry stuff.
Oct 27, 2003 (5:27 am)
My wife's parents live in the UK. They have a Renault Senic and a new Ford Focus C-Max Ghia. I have driven both and would buy either one. The seats are individual and flip fold or are removable. Both cars are quick and quiet. The Renault is softer than the Ford. Both cars are Diesels so have great fuel mileage. Gasoline was about 5 buck a gallon the last time we were there. The only car that has a diesel here is the VW golf/Jetta and it is the lowest powered diesel that VW makes. Those cars are nice but lack the back seat room of either a Senic or C-Max. Try to get four adult men in a golf, each over six foot. it wouldn't be pretty. The Senic and the C-Max can carry tall people.
#6 of 8 lavita by Hyundai
Nov 27, 2003 (2:55 am)
This microvan is a huge seller in other parts of the world. Based the Elantra platform, it has the versatility of the PT Cruiser, Toyota Scion Suzuki Aerio and others of that type.Production has been upped on it's introduction in the Phillipines. A great web site for specs and photos can be found at an Australian site.
www.keema.com.au How I wish this unit was imported to the U.S.
#7 of 8 Microvans: Fad or wave of the future?
Nov 28, 2003 (11:35 am)
I guess I don't see these as appreciably different from the hatchbacks which have been around for years. The styling changes with trends but the function is the same.
As much as you can argue that the minivan is a replacement for what used to be a station wagon, you can argue that the microvan is the replacement for the hatchback. Personally, I'm not fond of the box look alot of these cars have but I suppose thats to copy SUV styling that for some reason, folks seem to like. We'll see how they sell.
#8 of 8 I too would like to see...
Nov 28, 2003 (2:29 pm)
the Lavita imported. Of course I'd like to see the Getz over here too. Much more interesting than the Accent.