There are fewer minivan models to choose from today because the segment seems to be dying more so every year. Reasons may vary on why but the one thing that minivans are not able to avoid is its "soccer mom" image. However, just because the minivan is dying doesn't mean it's dead and there are still consumers choosing to purchase them.
The Honda Odyssey has reigned as the top minivan on MSN Auto's most popular list for the sixth consecutive quarter followed by the Toyota Sienna. DaimlerChrysler's Dodge Caravan and Chrysler Town & Country comes in at third and fourth place, respectively.
Based on the Kia Sedona, Hyundai introduced an all-new minivan for 2007 called the Entourage. Both South Korean minivans make the top ten list with the Entourage in sixth and Sedona in seventh.
The top ten list is almost evenly split between four domestics and six imports, with four from Japan and two from South Korea. Also of the top ten, three has been has discontinued.
The list of the ten most popular minivans on MSN Autos is based on visits to the site's vehicle research pages during between months April through June of 2007.
1. Honda Odyssey
The Honda Odyssey is not a bargain-priced minivan with a starting price of more than $25,000 but that hasn't stopped consumers from buying it. It was the first minivan to add a fold-away center console tray between the front seats and third-row seats that flip and fold down into the floor. Shoppers upgrading for the Touring package or EX will get Honda's Variable Cylinder Management system that deactivates three of the six cylinders during cruising to maximize fuel economy. The Odyssey was named Consumer Guide's "2006 Best Buy," Money magazine's "2006 Best Minivan" and Kelley Blue Book's "2006 Best Resale Value."
2. Toyota Sienna
Redesigned with more aerodynamic styling, the second-generation Sienna is available in four trims: CE, LE, XLE and Limited. Only one powertrain is available in the 3.5-liter 266-horsepower V6 but consumers can choose between front- or all-wheel drive. The Sienna edged out the Odyssey in Consumer Reports Top Pick of 2007 and was named one of CR's best used cars. For 2007 the Sienna receives new aluminum alloy wheels on the AWD and a standard tire-pressure-monitoring system.
3. Dodge Caravan
Despite strong competition from Japanese rivals, the Caravan has continued to hold its ground. Most notably known for its "Stow 'n Go" fold-flat seats, the Caravan comes in regular and extended-length (Grand Caravan) versions. Minivans aren't usually known for handling but the Caravan has quick steering and is easy to maneuver in traffic. Parallel parking is fairly easy and stopping power is decent. The Dodge minivan starts at under $20,000 for the SE and just under $24,000 for the Grand Caravan SE.
4. Chrysler Town & Country
Also known as the upscale version of the Dodge Caravan, the Town & Country is Chrysler's premium minivan. Available only in front-wheel drive, the Town & Country comes in Base, LX, Touring and Limited trims. Its long list of features include the Stow 'n Go seating and storage system, power sliding rear doors, power tailgate and a DVD system. The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration gives the minivan five stars in the frontal crash test and side crash test (Long Wheelbase version).
5. Nissan Quest
Nissan made a significant mid-cycle update to the Quest for 2007 with a total makeover to the exterior and interior. Consumers seem to have given that change a big thumbs up as it was named a winner in the Total Quality Index by automotive consulting firm Strategic Vision. The survey is based on responses from more than 27,000 buyers who bought 2007 models in September, October and November of 2006. A number of comfort and convenience feature enhancements have been added while the steering feel and ride quality have also been recalibrated for a more comfortable ride.
6. Hyundai Entourage
With a number of minivans being discontinued, one must wonder why any automaker would want to join in the segment. But the Entourage is based on the already existing Kia Sedona, which was revamped for 2006. Hyundai and Kia are owned by the same South Korean car company. Like many Hyundai vehicles, the Entourage is equipped with a number of standard features that would be extras on other minivans. The 250-horsepower 3.8-liter V6 delivers good power for a fairly heavy vehicle.
7. Kia Sedona
Redesigned for the 2006 model year, the second-generation Sedona has grown nearly 8 inches in length and more than 3 inches in wheelbase. The V6 now packs a lot more punch than the previous engine at 244 horsepower and fuel economy is not too bad either at 17 mpg in the city and 25 on the highway. With so much standard equipment, not too many options exist but a Luxury package is available that includes a rear-obstacle detection system, leather upholstery, heated front seats, power-adjustable pedals and a power sunroof. Prices start at just under $21,000 for a 2007 Sedona.
8. Chevrolet Uplander
The Uplander only lasted three model years before General Motors decided to do away with minivans. But Chevrolet actually referred to the Uplander as a crossover sport van in the mid-van segment rather than a minivan. With attributes of an SUV and the smooth ride of a passenger car, the Uplander has seating for seven passengers with a cargo van version available. For 2007 sport van receives a standard 3.9-liter V6 with variable valve timing, new 17-inch wheels and a FlexFuel version that can run on E85 fuel.
9. Ford Freestar
It may be a chore to remember the names of Ford's minivans because its name keeps changing. Turning the clocks back to 1985, it was called the Aerostar. Then it got changed to Windstar in 1994 and finally Freestar in 2004. But the front-wheel-drive minivan won't make it past the 2007 model year because Ford has decided to ends its production. The minivan is still an ideal choice for family-minded buyers with its versatile seating and cargo room but there is no option for all-wheel drive.
10. Mazda MPV
Also known as the Multi-Purpose Vehicle, the MPV is Mazda's minivan that can now only be purchased as used because it had been discontinued after the 2006 model year. The minivan took bits and pieces in its design and powertrain from other automakers over the years such as the Honda Odyssey and Ford while maintaining its car-like stature. Like many minivans, the MPV has a V6 engine, power doors and a fold-away third-row seat. The seven-passenger minivan last received a redesign for the 2004 model year.
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