A few months ago, my youngest brother invited us to the City of San Antonio for Easter weekend. I hesitated, not because I think that San Antonio is one of the dullest cities in Texas, but because when we roll, we roll deep. Eight deep to be exact; which includes three two-year olds, a teenager, a tweenager, an autistic ten year old, and two slightly immature adults. The stress of that much family in one spot can lead to the kind of resentment that can cause a family rift for years.
That aside, we decided to head up I-10 and visit my brother and his family for a change of pace. We needed a rental though. The minivan (or the Famboghini as I like to call it), as awesome as it is, is the primary vehicle in this family; and as the primary vehicle, it logs some hard miles, with going to work, soccer practice, guitar practice, random recitals, grocery runs, park trips, late night take out runs, etc., you get the picture.
So the only vehicle advertised, that could accommodate eight passengers was an SUV. Obviously, my preference for the minivan had to be set aside, in order to rent a vehicle that would seat all of eight of us safely. Against better judgement, we rented a Yukon Denali to help us with our travels.
Walking up on the vehicle in the rental parking lot, I have to admit, the white color, the newness of it all, kind of had me crushing a little bit. It looked pretty good, and while the minivan lacks any kind of pretense, the SUV has enough style that it might fool the casual onlooker that the driver of that vehicle is not some poor soul driving his tribe of hellions from their weekly ritual of James Coney Island’s Kids Eat Free Wednesdays.
I drove it home and played with all of the dials and switches on the way. I changed the satellite radio stations, turned up the volume, and became infatuated with all of the new technology this monstrosity of a thing offered. I pulled it into the driveway and found myself feeling something…dare I say cool? Upon seeing what we rented, the older two children suggested we trade in the minivan and buy something like to this. The suggestion, I’m embarrassed to admit, crossed my mind.
It was time to load up, but the trunk space, however, left something to be desired. The third row in an SUV takes up prime storage space, and when it came time to load all of our bags, I had to get creative to ensure all of our bags fit, an issue that wouldn’t happen in the minivan. The ingress and egress of passengers was a bit more difficult than the minivan too. You have to fold down part of the second row to let third row passengers in, once the third row passengers are seated, then you allow the second row passengers in so that they can get buckled in. There’s no cool automatic sliding doors, or walking to your seats and buckling in like civilized human beings; in an SUV, you have to climb over seats, hope you don’t lose your balance, and then wage war with assorted seat straps to ensure safety.
We hit I-10 and made our way towards San Antonio. Driving a huge truck or an SUV, is not fun. The acceleration is meh, the handling is bleh, and parking one of these things is just a pain in the ass. Sure, this thing might be fun off road somewhere, but I live in the city, and the only reason I need to drive an eight passenger anything this big, is when I’m tearing through the countryside armed to the teeth heading to a safe zone during the zombie apocalypse.
I’ll give you this, the SUV almost had me with all of its semi-sexy styling, shiny gadgetry and new fangled technology, but in the end, the pragmatism and awesomeness of the minivan conquers all.