Vans and Minivans

At the end of the day, there's simply no better vehicle for comfortable family hauling than a minivan. With conveniences like sliding doors, cavernous interiors and third-row seating you can actually use, minivans offer a lot of perks for families of all sizes. With relatively affordable prices and respectable fuel economy, modern minivans present an attractive value to families with a priority on practicality.


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Van and Minivan Pros and Cons

With minivans declining in popularity over the years in favor of SUVs, there are only a few left on the market today. The whole segment in 2019 consists of the Chrysler Pacifica, the Honda Odyssey, the Toyota Sienna and the Kia Sedona. There may not be many left, but every minivan on the market today has a lot to offer in terms of comfort, convenience, technology and, yes, even styling.

There are a few things that every minivan on the market today has in common. They're all roughly the same size and have unibody construction with standard front-wheel drive giving them a comfortable, car-like driving behavior. One outlier is the Toyota Sienna, which is the only minivan available with AWD. Another unique minivan is the Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid, which is the only plug-in hybrid minivan on the market.

Minivans aren't your only option if you want sliding doors and a lot of seats. Some vans that you might think are more for commercial use can be used by families, too like the passenger van variants Ford Transit and the Transit Connect and the Ram ProMaster and the ProMaster City. They might be a little off-beat for a family car, but they're affordable and practical.

Pros: The pros of minivans are fairly obvious. They're shaped like a loaf of bread for a reason space efficiency. Minivans have some of the roomiest interiors around and they're notable for being able to comfortably seat up to eight adults with cargo room to spare. A lot of crossover SUVs today have three rows of seats, but the third row of those crossovers is often cramped and only suitable for children. Also, the third row in a minivan is almost always easier to access than it is in a three-row SUV.

All of that space also means minivans have real utilitarian perks as well. If you remove or fold down all of the back seats, like you can with the Stow 'n Go system in the Chrysler Pacifica, your minivan suddenly turns into a cargo van that can be used for hauling large items with ease. Many minivans are also available with tow packages making them suitable for light to moderate towing responsibilities.

Cons: Unfortunately for fans of practicality, minivans do still carry a stigma with some drivers for being boring soccer mom cars. However, minivans in 2019 are more stylish than they've ever been meaning you don't have to be embarrassed to drive a minivan.

The limited number of minivans on the market might simplify the shopping process, but it would be nice if there was more competition from more automakers giving shoppers more options for minivans. That said, the few options on the market right now are all quite good.
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