PORTLAND, Ore. ( TheStreet) -- It's not quite summer yet and the kids aren't out of school, but Memorial Day weekend is when the line of minivans headed toward family vacations starts forming.
It's tough to knock the minivan for being good at its job. It's spacious enough to hold the entire family and its gear, comfortable enough to keep everyone sedate for hours on end and has enough power under the hood to slide through lanes of vacation traffic like a sleeker car half its size.
The downside: It's a minivan. When you've resigned yourself to one, you've dropped the veil of illusion. Families weren't driven to SUVs in the 1990s and 2000s because they were more convenient. They were roped in because they weren't an immediate signal to those around you that you had a family, children in the back, potentially a mortgage payment waiting for you when you get home and nothing more exciting than a trip to the theme park ahead.
The SUVs and all their commercials featuring vehicles climbing rocky terrain and winding their way up coastal cliffs implied an escape that never was. Maybe you were mom or dad inside, but on the outside you were an intrepid explorer ready to pull offroad at any moment and send the prairie dogs ducking for cover.It didn't help that carmakers began abandoning minivans altogether and ceding ground to the SUVs. The broad minivan market of the 1980s became a three-van race between Honda's (HMC) Odyssey, Toyota's (TM) Sienna and Dodge's Caravan. Plenty of families will still proudly trot out those vehicles for their Memorial Day trips, but for those drivers whose fragile little feelings simply won't put up with the implications of practicality, the folks at Edmunds offer 10 vehicles that put up a sporty, urban and not-at-all parental facade:
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