Dodge Viper Replacement, No More “Man Van” and Off Road Minivan? [Ask Nathan]

2015 subaru legacy chicago video debut

In this week’s Ask Nathan:

  • Will there ever be a Dodge Viper Replacement?
  • Don’t like it when you call the Journey a “Man Van!”
  • I need an off road minivan that’s used and cheap?

This first question comes from a fan who is hoping that there were be a Dodge Viper Replacement.

dodge viper hand-built at Conner Avenue assembly plant

Q: Nathan my man, I am so sad that the Dodge Viper is going away. Do you think they will build a replacement?

I will never be rich enough to afford one and I wouldn’t know what to do with one if I ever bought one. But just the thought of not having the Dodge Viper around is sad. I know the Corvette is amazing and all, it’s never been like the mean and nasty Viper.

Let me know if you have heard anything.

Your friend and fellow car lover,



A: Hi Brit!

Yes indeed, I am sad too. I’m not surprised that FCA killed the Viper, but it was sad nonetheless.

There is a glimmer of hope for the future! Last January, Sergio Marchionne, Fiat Chrysler CEO said that he would like to see a Dodge Viper replacement. Our friends at Automobile Report caught a great quote from Marchionne:

“Given the architectural development within the brand, there is a possibility that a new version of the Viper may surface,” Marchionne said. “What isn’t clear is whether a new Viper would be ready in time to immediately replace the current-generation Viper, or if it would appear further down the road.” – Automobile Report

The good news is: if boss-man Marchionne wants something done at FCA, it gets done.

Another way to look at a possible Dodge Viper Replacement (or resurrection) is that FCA has designers/engineers working with them from Ferrari, Alfa Romeo and Maserati. If they opt to build a new one, what a resource they have to fall back on!

The bottom line for me: if this does happen, I hope they keep it a V10 with a manual!


This next question is from a Dodge Journey fan who dislikes it when it’s called a “Man Van.”

Q: Hello. First of all I want to commend your staff for the great work you do. Your reviews have helped many car and truck buyers with there purchase decisions. Keep up the good work!

My minor complaint/disagreement is the labeling of the Dodge Journey as a “man van.” If the Journey is a “man van,” then the Honda Pilot, Toyota Sequoia, Kia Sorento and the Nissan Pathfinder are also “man vans” because each of the above companies also make mini vans and crossovers. For example, Honda’s Pilot is the “man van” SUV of the Odyssey. Toyota’s Sequoia is the “man van” of the Sienna. KIA’s Sorento is the “man van” of the Sedona and the Pathfinder is the “man van” of the Quest.

So in my opinion, calling the Journey a “man van” because FCA makes the Grand Caravan is no different than the others being labeled as “man vans.” You may not like the Journey for many reasons, but it is just as much an SUV as the Pilot, Sequoia, Sorento and Pathfinder. I hope you understand my point. You still do a super job with your reviews and I will continue watching your programs on YouTube. Thanks and have a great day!

Kurt M B
Fontana, Ca.

Dodge Journey

A: Hi Kurt,

I see your point and I understand what you’re saying, but I think you missed our point regarding the marketing/PR behind the newest Dodge Journey. When Roman and Andre called the Dodge Journey a “Man Van” they were using terminology that was used by Dodge/FCA PR folk. They literally coined the phrase “Man Van.” Originally, they used it for the Dodge Caravan R/T a few years back.

It was used again to describe the Dodge Journey, especially after the recent update that made it look… well, more manly.

Still, you make a good point about the term being used for vans rather than a wagon/crossover.

Thanks for the email!



The last question comes from a reader who needs an off-road-worthy, inexpensive, used minivan.

Q: Hi TFL crew! I was wondering, was there ever such a thing as a minivan that could handle light off-roading? I need something like that for my grooming business in Wyoming. Was there ever such a thing?

I am very short and I hate the driving position of Suburbans and Tahoes. But I need the cargo capacity for my gear. The roads I go up have deep ruts and are often covered in snow. I know the Toyota Sienna all wheel drive can’t make it up this one road. I have a Ford Ranger with a bed cap right now and it’s not that bad, but it can’t hold my friends or my dogs very comfortably.

I tried my mom’s 2010 Subaru Outback wagon, but it doesn’t hold enough. Looked at older Dodge Durangos and the Jeep Commander, but they are too expensive and still don’t hold enough.

I know I can get a big SUV and it would take care of most of my issues, but again I hate the driving position.

I’m looking to spend under $5,000.

Thanks guys!

Pat in Wyoming


A: Hi Pat.

Thanks for the email.

While it’s difficult to find vehicles in your price zone, it’s not impossible. Why not look at the pre-1999 Mazda MPVs? They have a great 4WD system, a solid rear axle and a roomy interior. With proper tires, they are mountain goats. I drove a ’98 (the last year for 4WD) on some challenging trails and it proved to be remarkably capable.

You may have a hard time finding one with low miles or in pristine condition, but parts and service are fairly inexpensive, so you may find one in your price range. The only other minivan that comes to mind is the 4WD Volkswagen T-3 Syncro which was built from ’85 to 1992. The problem is: these vans are extremely expensive.

Hope this helps!


Here’s the next video episode of “Ask Nathan!”

Nathan and The Fast Lane Car team are here to answer your (reasonable) questions. Interesting and/or entertaining emails will be posted to this column. If it’s relevant in the automotive universe, there’s a chance we may know something about it. The author’s email address and name will be omitted – leaving your initials or nickname, your preference.

From day one, The Fast Lane Car has made it our policy to answer as many questions and comments as we can. We get thousands of emails and comments and feel that, as part of a tight-knit automotive community, having an open dialogue with you keeps things fresh and exciting.

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