STAFF OPINION: The minivan is the best college car

By Andrew Gotshall | November 16, 2023 10:00am

Photo courtesy of Andrew Gotshall.

Mom’s minivan — many of us rode in it at some point growing up. Whether it was your own family’s minivan or that of a school friend, at some point everyone has sat in a minivan on their way to some sort of practice, rehearsal, training, etc. For those lucky few that got to take this vehicle to college, we ended up with probably the best college car in existence.

For the purpose of this opinion, I will be focusing on the 2009 Honda Odyssey. My minivan, simply known as “The Van,” doesn’t have a special nickname. It remains functional and timeless. On the surface, there is little to like about The Van. The paint is a dull gray but, thankfully, the peeling paint on the roof was fixed during my senior year of high school. The interior is also gray and smells like french fries and soccer cleats, but it has a built-in movie player. The minivan also lacks Apple CarPlay but it does have a $15 Bluetooth FM transmitter from Amazon.

People like to dislike the minivan for being unattractive, uncool and underpowered. However, this is all just a product of marketing campaigns preaching “you are what you drive.” Apparently, a fuel efficient, comfortable and utilitarian vehicle is uncool. But all of these points a hater brings up are quickly countered by any logical thinker.

The minivan is “unattractive” due to its optimal shape. The low-centered, long body of an Odyssey means a cavernous interior that can seat eight comfortably while still maintaining a usable cargo space in the trunk. This same interior has removable seats that allow cargo space for up to a queen-size bed in the trunk or that weird armoire that needs to be donated to Habitat For Humanity. Talk about convenience for college students who are constantly moving each year.

Another point that people like to make is that The Van is super uncool. It doesn’t have 4x4, snow mode or a sweet lift, but it will fit all your buddies on the way to the trailhead or bars as the ultimate carpool. Saving money on gas and reducing your carbon footprint is so in.

Lastly, some may say The Van is underpowered or handles poorly. But anyone that has ever driven The Van for themselves knows this isn’t true. A V6 churning out 244 horses gives The Van plenty of zip when needing to merge onto I5 or on the steep roads up to Timberline Lodge. The power steering has a small leak but that doesn’t stop it from having better handling than almost all trucks and most SUV’s.

One more bonus point is that The Van makes an absolutely epic road trip vehicle. Its 22-gallon tank gives it 400 miles of range.  Its reliability also means you never have to worry about being stranded anywhere either.

The minivan is truly a car for the people, and college students especially can benefit from all the utility a minivan has to offer.

Andrew Gotshall is a photographer for The Beacon. He can be reached at

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