- When it came time to get a bigger vehicle, a minivan seemed to make sense for Mike LeMoine and his family of six.
- However, they said they had to overcome a stigma that minivans weren’t “cool” enough.
- Here, LeMoine shares his perspective on becoming a minivan convert.
Mike LeMoine and his family resisted getting a minivan for several years, especially after a bad experience with a used one. But, finally, they relented to getting one again – and would never look back.
Below, LeMoine explains how he went from believing in a minivan stigma to letting go of it and embracing owning one as told to Business Insider contributor Natalia Lusinski.
My wife and I are in our late 30s with four kids, aged three to 17. We live in Albuquerque, New Mexico, and resisted getting a minivan for many years. We actually bought a slightly used Buick Enclave in 2014 instead of a minivan. The Buick was a great SUV for the most part.
However, every time we travelled, we ended up with huge space issues: With luggage, computer bags, the family dog, food for the road, and the necessary blankets and pillows the kids just “had to have,” it made for a very tight and uncomfortable fit. Plus, the leg room in the far back seating was not great either.
We’ve also owned many other vehicles, including a Jeep Grand Cherokee, Toyota Camry, Jeep Wrangler, and even a very old beat-up minivan that we’d paid just $US5,000 for. We got that minivan when we needed a vehicle after one broke down, but we didn’t like it. This, too, played into my former feelings about minivans.
The minivan stigma
The stigma of owning a minivan is that we were officially not cool – that we needed an SUV to be cool and keep up with the Joneses.
It seemed to us (more me than my wife) that getting a minivan again was basically like waving a red flag that said, “We are officially moving toward middle age; we can’t afford a nice SUV so we are settling on a minivan.” I felt that if we owned a minivan, I may as well go get tube socks and a fanny pack, too; it is just not something I considered modern for someone who lives in a rural area.
Plus, we own a digital marketing company and felt that a minivan was not high-tech – so we were initially worried about the stigma of potential clients finding out we had a minivan.
Our kids all voted to stay with an SUV – they are big and look great, inside and out. Their previous experience with the horrible used minivan and the “coolness” factor of pulling up in an SUV versus a minivan made it easy for them to vote on the SUV, so we settled on a slightly used Buick Enclave.
How we chose the Kia Sedona
When our Enclave started to give us problems (like losing power, making weird noises, and feeling like it always needed a tune-up to run correctly), we began car shopping again, and the minivan became a reality.
The price of a new SUV was so high, between $US60,000 and $US75,000 for what we wanted, and used SUVs were the same price of a new minivan, around $US40,000 – but without a warranty and with high mileage. In some cases, they had over 100,000 miles. So, we decided to go with a brand new minivan because it would be far safer for the family and had a great warranty.
We chose the 2018 Kia Sedona after comparing many types of minivans (including Honda and Chrysler ones), and the price for what we were getting seemed right: It had an amazing amount of room (much more than the Enclave!); bucket seats in the back that we can fold down; great high-tech packages – for instance, I was blown away when I saw that the Kia Sedona had 360-degree outside cameras, just like a friend of mine with a Mercedes SUV has, and this certainly made me feel better about the vehicle; and it has many safety features, such as tons of airbags and a smart cruise control, which monitors vehicles in front of us and keeps a safe following distance.
Also, the sliding doors are electric, which is very nice for the kids to be able to open and close them. And we now use the minivan to transport items for our business, too, when we are holding seminars at different places in the city. Plus, we were impressed with Kia’s warranty for the vehicle, which was a five-year/60,000 mile basic package and 10- year/100,000 mile powertrain. The final price tag was just under $US40,000.
The vehicle has a lot of space
Space-wise, normally, we can seat seven people, though we’re able to fit in eight if we keep the center console/seat for the middle row (we typically keep that out; we love that it is removable).
We’ve also gone on several road trips with it. We took a long summer trip with it last year, driving 12 hours to Port Aransas, Texas, and it was great: lots of room, safe, and plenty of space for luggage and beach toys. The kids were comfortable the entire trip, and my wife and I were comfortable, too.
We were even able to bring a ton of stuff with us, between the storage in back and the luggage rack; we would never have been able to do that in our Enclave. Plus, the front seats recline and are very comfortable to rest in.
My family and I no longer care about the minivan stigma
Because we have used it so much and it’s much better for our family, we no longer care about the minivan stigma or what other people think.
Friends, family, and coworkers have all said how nice the minivan is – and it really is. We’ve brought them around town with us, and it’s much easier to load everyone into the minivan versus separate cars. They love the room and the amount of people it holds. Probably the biggest surprise is that the clients that have seen it or who know about it have shared that when they had young kids, they loved their minivan and that it provided tons of room. They totally understand why we got it and there is no stigma at all.
We are very happy with our Kia Sedona and actually look forward to taking more road trips with the kids. Ultimately, the stigma we avoided for many years was just a story in our heads and not reality. Unfortunately, that story prevented us from having much more room when going on big family trips. I can’t believe we missed out on many years of comfortable travel just because we “wanted to be cool,” but better late than never.
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