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Minivan vs SUV: Moms Know Best

Let’s say you’ve decided you really need a family car with three rows of seating. The good news is, your choices are limited and you’re well on your way to finding that one car that will really work for you. The next big question is, “Minivan or SUV?”

We Ask Moms

We’re certain there is a lot of data and engineering speak from track testing a Honda minivan, but we have a better idea. To get to the bottom of the minivan vs SUV debate, we’re going to skip the tech talk and ask moms which they prefer and why.

Both Are Appealing

There’s no way around this, but minivans are custom-built for trucking families and stuff around day after day. The minivan’s box-on-wheels recipe holds more stuff and has kid-in-parking-lot-friendly sliding side doors.

The appeal of the SUV is obvious: It looks big. But most drive like cars. You still get a ton of space inside, and the long hood means you can still look kinda cool even in the pickup lane at your daughter’s preschool.

Our Favorite Minivan

To make it a fair minivan vs SUV fight, we opted for the coolest versions of each vehicle we could find. Our minivan was a 2013 Honda Odyssey Touring Elite — the Cadillac of minivans.

If you like to drive, you’ll like the Odyssey. It handles like a sedan, has a powerful V6 and remains luxury-car quiet even on the open highway. If someone stuck an Acura logo on the Odyssey’s steering wheel, most buyers wouldn’t notice — the Odyssey is that good. Thoughtful interior features such as power sliding side doors and a backup camera with three angles are just a few of the reasons the Odyssey is our favorite minivan.

A Cool SUV

On the SUV side of the debate we opted for something equally competent, a 2013 Ford Explorer Sport. To give the Explorer a little more of an edge, we went with the Sport model. The Sport model comes with a more powerful turbocharged V6 engine, better brakes and a reworked all-wheel-drive system that helps the big SUV handle better than the nonsport Explorer.

The Explorer Sport definitely keeps the “sport” in Sport Utility Vehicle. We also like the Explorer Sport’s tough look and roomy back seat.

Check out the video to see what our moms have to say about minivans and SUVs.


Our editors are here to make car buying easier. We’ve driven, reviewed and compared thousands of cars. We’ve bought and sold more than our fair share, too. And as part of the sprawling Cox Automotive group of companies, we have exclusive access to a range of valuable data and insights. Whether you’re looking for the best car, the best deal or the best buying advice, you can trust... Read More about Autotrader

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  1. One thing always absent is the discussion of SUV vs Minivan is  traction in snowy weather. Most people run for the AWD of an SUV. In reality, a set of snow tires for the winter will do far more for your traction than an AWD vehicle running year-round on all-season tires.

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