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Thursday, November 4, 2010

If 2011 is year of the minivan, what about the mini-minivan?

Personal File: I've been hearing a lot of talk lately about how 2011 may be the year of the minivan thanks to the revamped or all news models from Chrysler/Dodge, Honda, Hyundai, Nissan, and Toyota. I've personally never liked minivans but I cannot argue with their functionality and how much they have improved over the last few years.

And it seems the sub-compact car class is firing up for 2011 as well with Ford throwing down the gauntlet with the Fiesta and Mazda with the Mazda2. This got me thinking about what kinds of minivans exist in the North American market that are smaller than those listed in the first paragraph. The Mazda5 comes to mind immediately and I read recently that Ford is bringing over the C-Max microvan next year.

Not a lot of options but I wondered what Toyota might do in response if this segment would take off. Could they capitalize? They seem to offer vehicles in almost every possible segment. However, with vehicles like the Mazda5 and the (now defunct) Kia Rondo, the nearest competitor Toyota has to offer would be the Matrix 5-door or the Rav4 - not exactly apples to apples comparisons.

So I wanted to take a stab at rendering a mini-minivan that could slot in as a direct or even smaller competitor to the Mazda and the Ford offerings. Based on styling cues from the Sienna, but rolling on a stretched sub-compact platform, I call it the Toyota Previa - a name that should look familiar haha.

What do you think? Would Toyota ever consider something like this? Is there a market for mini-minivans?

All source photos copyright original owners

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