In the daylight I start trying out the other buttons on the dash. Traction control is left on. At a stoplight I turn it off and go full throttle. It doesn't seem to matter on drive pavement. Backing up towards an object, a beeping sound begins. Another button turns that off, but I don't dare. This thing is huge and long after all. The big mirrors are a must.
The headlights turn on and off automatically. An identical knob next to it is for selecting 2 wheel and 4 wheel high and low. Needless to say, conditions don't dictate either one getting turned.
The elders get in and out fairly well, so does the little guy. A sliding door is nice on the minivans, but the two-step fold-forward rear seat allow the youngsters and the youthful to climb into the snug third row seat. It's a loud release and everyone watches their toes, probably unnecessary.
But wait, more buttons. A column of four next to the steering column for information displays and configuration. Pretty cool but for these few days, miles driven is all I really want to know out of curiosity.
Now I'm downtown following a nimble sedan. Well, nimble to my busload anyway. The view is nice but I have to remember my butt hangs out, far. We pull into a parking garage and the low ceiling doesn't hit us. Or is it vice versa? What a relief. The sedan goes up one level via a winding ramp. No need to panic, but I think my cargo of talking heads is paying attention to my driving now. It isn't really driving at this point, it's maneuvering. Slowly. The big rig makes it and we park. Docked! Sure enough, the wiper on the rear window rests against the ceiling. "Was the attendant supposed to let me in here?", I think it for the 3rd of 5 times.
Later, it's just me and my girl. "Woman from Tokyo" starts. Can you jam in this van? You sure can! This thing scoots pretty well but I swear I saw the gas gauge move with my foot.
I toss my sunglasses on the top of the dashboard. The clang and bounce with an unexpected noise. I tap on the surface with my hand and suddenly it's 1982 again. Hard plastic that rattles when tapped on. The doors are made of the same plastic with a narrow, hard ledge for the elbow and forearm. Obviously cost saving measures that makes me realize it's a domestic, not a high-end import. Yet pound for pound and considering utility, it's a bargain. The large windows make for good sightseeing too.
An earlier concern regarding storage capacity turned out to be baseless. It fit carry-on luggage for six people, two bags each. That included 3 females! It fit nine roller bags nearly up to the rear seatback, then the softbags arranged across the top and sides. Not bad at all.
I can't imagine hauling eight around without a cylinder per person. Add the creature comforts and this staple of American people moving has been a very satisfactory experience. More so than a nameless minivan I used years ago. Sure there are nicer SUVS, faster ones, better looking ones, but taking into account the full load, it's tough to beat.
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