Now Is The Time For A High-Performance Minivan

Illustration for article titled Now Is The Time For A High-Performance Minivan
Image: Matt Brown

It is an automotive crime that there are no high-performance production minivans. There are high-performance SUVs, crossovers, small cars, big cars, expensive cars, compact hatchbacks, even trucks, but no minivans. It’s been talked about, and companies have built one-off racing minivans, but nobody has done it in production yet, and I think now is the time.

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Someone needs to make a 500 horsepower minivan, seating for seven, tons of cargo space, maybe air suspension and a widebody trim. I believe the perfect brand for this is Dodge. They have always had great minivans, and they’re the perfect brand to sell one with 600 horsepower. The easy solution is to shoehorn a Hellcat engine into one and call it the Hell & Country, or perhaps the Grand Hellivan. But, I think there is a better opportunity here.

Dodge needs an EV, and this is a chance for them to explode onto the electric vehicle scene with a 700-HP minivan that has batteries mounted underneath for a crazy low center of gravity. Sure, they could make a sedan EV that nobody will even notice, or they could play second fiddle to the Mach-E with an electric Challenger crossover (barf).

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Minivans have never been a great performance platform because there isn’t a lot of space for a longitudinal, rear-wheel-drive V8 upfront, and they also have higher centers of gravity. But a dual electric motor powertrain with low-mounted batteries solves both of these problems. You can have your power and handling, your practical people mover, and your eco-friendly EV all in one.

People will tell you that a performance minivan wouldn’t sell because minivans are categorically uncool. First off, this is total bullshit; cool is not caring what other people think, and nobody is buying a minivan to impress their neighbor. They are the epitome of cool. Second, this is a chicken/egg problem. Auto companies won’t put any resources into a performance minivan because there are no buyers. There are no buyers because there are no performance minivans. This may come as some surprise, but people actually love minivans. They want to buy them, it’s just that they are sooo boring. A bunch of useless vents and styling tricks isn’t going to change that. Do you know what will? Eight hundred horsepower.

Remember in the early 1970s when everyone was moving to lower emissions and more fuel-efficient vehicles, and Dodge ignored it until the only thing they could do was put single barrel carburetors on their gigantic engines and slide towards bankruptcy? It’s coming again; the world is moving towards electric and the decision-makers in Auburn Hills have their heads planted firmly in the oilfield sand. The best way forward is to gather a group of passionate engineers and designers and launch headfirst into electric vehicles. To create what nobody else has the sense or boldness to do. A 900-HP, all-wheel-drive electric minivan.

Matt Brown is an automotive engineer, writer, and builder of unconventional things. Mostly vehicles.

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DISCUSSION

500hp minivan? Mercedes did that years ago. Nobody bought it.