The Sleek Toyota Concept That Tried To Make Minivans Cool

The Sleek Toyota Concept That Tried To Make Minivans Cool
Written by Techbot

Minivans have been around in some form since the 1980s, when Chrysler brought forth the modern segment with the 1984 Plymouth Voyager. Culturally, minivans have always gotten the short end of the stick and been the butt of many jokes. Unless they’re toting around children or a lot of cargo, minivans are not typically seen as a daily driver. Despite their seeming unpopularity, minivans have soldiered on for almost 40 years and are incredibly capable vehicles. 

Minivans like the Chrysler Pacifica, Honda Odyssey, Hyundai Staria, and Toyota Sienna are packed with technology and features that make some luxury cars seem lacking. For example, the 2023 Toyota Sienna can be outfitted with all-wheel drive, has 245 horsepower, and still manages to get up to 36 miles per gallon from its hybrid drivetrain. It can do all that while seating seven people. That’s impressive for any vehicle.

In the early 2000s, Toyota was trying its best to shake off the dorky stigma of minivan ownership with a concept that would look right at home next to today’s more stylish SUVs and crossovers: The Toyota F3R Concept.

The least dorky minivan ever conceived

The F3R was first revealed to the public at the 2006 Detroit Auto Show and the design looks advanced for 2030, much less 17 years ago. The front grille is familiar to anyone familiar with the Sienna from the era, but that’s where the similarities generally stop. The F3R looks more like a space shuttle than something that would idle in the parking lot waiting for soccer practice to be over. 

The interior featured what could best be described as “lounge seating” according to Car and Driver. Though pictured like a limousine above, the seating could also be arranged into a more conventional three-row when the vehicle was in motion. In addition to the spacious interior, however, the concept car had six doors and no C-pillar like a conventional minivan would have. That allows for an insane amount of space to get in and out. 

Toyota never released official specifications for the vehicle, but pictures of the concept show large wheels, a Star Wars prequel-esque infotainment system and enough seating for everyone you’ve ever met. Unfortunately, the F3R was never meant to be slated for mass production. But if the vehicle ever did see the light of day, it would likely be not just the coolest minivan ever, but possibly one of the most stylish Toyotas period. 

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