Wednesday, March 9, 2011

What drives you?

Why does everyone compare themselves to Toyota?  Maybe it’s because Toyota has a lot to offer.  Here are some of the things the Toyota Sienna Swagger Wagon has to offer.

  • The desire to hang a pacifier from the rearview mirror. 
  • An interest in homelessness because of the comfortable seats and DVD players. 
  • A need for white guys to rap Nursery Rhymes. 

Let’s compare this with the Volkswagen Routan.  The tagline for the Routan is “Ladies and gentlemen, start your families” while the Sienna calls itself the “Swagger Wagon.”  The Routan seems to encourage families while the Sienna makes families feel ashamed to require a larger vehicle.  Sienna families can only justify driving a minivan with a coolness factor demonstrated by white families rapping, gangsta gesturing, and beauty shots of desirable features in the van.  The Routan does none of that, giving off the impression that driving it inspires confidence rather than rationalizations. 

Both car companies are foreign.  There is a certain appeal to foreign vehicles.  Like foreign men, foreign cars are sophisticated, dark and handsome.  Foreign equals luxury. 

Toyota seems like a safe choice until one turns on the news and learns of yet another recall involving safety features.  Optional features in vehicles include heated seats, moon roofs, and blinkers.  Non negotiable features include reliable brakes.  Taking a stab in the dark, it seems Volkswagen is a safer choice in this area. 

Volkswagen is German.  Europeans don’t have the space for large vehicles so they don’t have them.  But in America, we have our rolling hills and wide streets and Octomom.  With the car seat laws in this great country Americans had to have somewhere to put their families on the road.  Germany wisely wanted a piece of that pie, hence the Routan.  So Volkswagen commissioned the minivan be made for Americans in Canada.  Toyota is Asian.  Asia does so many things for the American economy.  What else is new? 

The Toyota Sienna looks like every other minivan out there.  Drive down the street and count the number of Toyota Siennas that are the same color as the Honda Odyssey.  They’re a dime a dozen.  Now give yourself a nickel for every time you have to look at the back bumper to read the make and model of the same champagne colored minivan you see traveling in multiples.  How rich are you? 

The Routan may be a Chrysler with Volkswagen lipstick but it definitely has a sportier look to its body.  It also has some kick to it.  Need to feed a little speed to your ride?  The Routan will leave all other minivans, possibly even sedan style sports cars as well, in the dust.  Remember that Volkswagen is German.  Hello!  Autobahn!  There may be no minivans or SUV’s in Europe but the Routan can hold its own on the Autobahn. 

Lastly, the Routan is like a crouton without the C.  Croutons really jazz up a salad and tend to make people hungry.  Sienna is an ugly brown color in a box of Crayola crayons. 

As the result of an unfortunate situation, my family found itself needing to shop for a new vehicle large enough and cool enough to get from point A to point B.  We weighed all our options.  Toyota was out before the race even started.  It didn’t help Toyota’s cause that a few friends and neighbors gave us their painfully honest opinion of their Siennas.  No contest. 

We did sit in a Honda Odyssey.  I decided that I live in America where the slogan is go big or go home.  I’m not one for claustrophobia but I looked at the seats behind me and thought unless I strap my neighbors to the luggage rack I wouldn’t be carpooling to school anymore. 

We found our solution in a Volkswagen Routan named Velma.  Velma Westover.  She rocks. 

What do you drive or what drives you?  Volkswagen: drivers wanted. 

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