Is There a Cool New Minivan?

The minivan has been left to toil in shame for far too long. What once were proud, sturdy off-roaders like the Chevy Blazer or Jeep Cherokee are now more minivan-esque than anything else. They should be so lucky. As more SUVs go soft, the actual minivans are only getting better. But are minivans cool? This is a tough question, but if an argument could be made for a minivan to be cool, the only modern options are the 2022 Honda Odyssey and the 2022 Toyota Sienna. 

2022 Toyota Sienna Woodland Special Edition
2022 Toyota Sienna Woodland Edition | Toyota

The 2022 Honda Odyssey and 2022 Toyota Sienna are the coolest minivans 

Minivans are objectively the best segment on the road today. Name another segment that can have a vehicle with nearly 300 hp, seat seven people very comfortably, have media screens throughout, and can still get nearly 30 mpg? I’ll wait. 

The world may not think there’s such a thing as a cool minivan, but if you look at the facts, the modern minivan market is impossible to deny. The 2022 Honda Odyssey and the 2022 Toyota Sienna are the models that offer the best of everything the minivan segment has to offer while still being reasonably priced. 

2022 Honda Odyssey price and specs

Silver 2022 Honda Odyssey, the U.S. News best minivan to buy for families in 2022, driving by a forest
2022 Honda Odyssey | Honda

Last year, I spent two weeks and 3,000 miles with the 2021 Honda Odyssey and was fully enamored. The 2022 Honda Odyssey didn’t change from the 2021 model, except it lost one of the coolest minivan features, the HondaVac built-in vacuum. That little snag aside, the 2022 model is the second year after Honda gave the Odyssey a facelift making it more modern and sleek. It also gets Honda Sensing safety tech as standard. It is a truly good-looking vehicle if you can see past your prejudice. 

The 2022 Honda Odyssey comes with the very great 3.5-liter V6 making an astounding 280 hp all paired to a smooth 10-speed automatic transmission. Even with all this weight and power, the Honda Odyssey still gets 28 mpg on the highways and around 20 mpg in town. 

If all of that weren’t enough, somehow Honda made this chunky van feel light and even almost nimble in the corners. Even Gear Patrol agrees. Every moment of driving the ’21 model was a joy, truly. It was smooth, comfortable, fuel-efficient, endlessly spacious, has DVD players, and all of that comes in a vehicle that is legitimately powerful and fun to drive. Now, tell me, what part of that isn’t cool? 

All of this comes at a shockingly reasonable price, too. The fanciest, fully-loaded trim, the Elite, starts at only $47,820. 

2022 Toyota Sienna price and specs

2022 Toyota Sienna minivan
2022 Toyota Sienna in Platinum Predawn Gray Mica | Toyota Motor Sales, U.S.A., Inc.

The Toyota Sienna is too cool. Like the Honda Odyssey, the Toyota Sienna has piles of amenities, features, and trims. However, unlike the Odyssey, the Toyota Sienna has an off-road-focused trim called the Wooland Special Edition.

The Toyota Sienna Woodland Special Edition took a page from the Subaru Forester Wildnerss playbook. Toyota gave the Sienna a suspension lift and all-wheel drive. Even without all the bells and whistles, this trim would make the Sienna the coolest minivan, but the Sienna is still jingling. 

Since the Woodland SE is the coolest possible trim, that’s what we’ll talk about. This trim starts at $45,500. Pretty reasonable, but the price can jump quickly with options. The Woodland package comes with a hybrid 2.5-liter four-cylinder making 243 hp. While this is a bit slower than the Honda Odyssey, it makes up for it by getting 36 mpg combined. Unreal. The Sienna can seat up to eight people, is full of safety and comfort tech, and still manages to get 36 mpg. Not only can it seat more than most SUVs, but it also has a lift, AWD, and gets that fuel economy. 

Are minivans cool? 

I mean, yeah. They are. The objectivity of their utility is just too real to deny. Trying to convince yourself that the minivan isn’t objectively the best vehicle across the board is like convincing yourself that The Beatles weren’t a big deal. People try it all the time, and all the time, people look silly. 

So, are the Toyota Sienna and Honda Odyssey cool? I think they are. Sure, a big boxy 4×4 or motorcycle or a sports car is cooler — no doubt about it. But I maintain that the minivan offers so much practicality that denying its “cool” status feels wrong. And, if trying to be cool is lame, then what does that make minivans?

Don’t take my word for it. As Keith Richards once said, “If you’ve gotta think about being cool, you ain’t cool.” And, I can tell you now that these minivans aren’t thinking about being cool.

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