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Charlotte area likes minivans; nation disagrees (access required)

By Caitlin Coakley Kim Smith used to swear she wouldn’t be a “minivan mom” — and then she had kids. When her twin boys were born eight years ago, she began to see the appeal of the sliding doors designed for easy car-seat access. She liked that there were plenty of seats, so it would be possible to separate her sons if necessary. With last week’s purchase of a new Toyota Sienna at Scott Clark’s Toyota City, Smith, a Matthews resident, is now on her third minivan, and she is part of a modest, against-the-grain local love affair with the once-scorned vehicle. “I don’t have any stigma against it anymore,” she said, raving about the Sienna’s little conveniences: electric sliding doors, and holders for a pocketbook and water bottles.

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