Minivans are practical vehicles that are perfect for large families and those who like to travel. Today, a number of automakers include minivans in their vehicle lineup, giving you lots of choices. Minivans may be a better choice for you than a crossover since the vehicle model may have more space for passengers and cargo. Along with this, minivans often get better gas mileage than many of the SUVs on the market.

The interiors of most minivans are surprisingly flexible, and the vehicles come with a lot of great amenities. Most minivans feature three rows of seats that are comfortable for adults and spacious for children. Few vehicles on the market offer the practicality of a minivan.

In 1983, Chrysler launched the first minivans to hit the market; these were the Plymouth Voyager and the Dodge Caravan. The company was close to bankruptcy when it brought out the minivan. Fortunately for Chrysler, the vehicle was a hit. It wasn’t that great to look at, but Road and Track referred to it as “a straightforward, honest vehicle.” Today’s minivans continue to embody this statement.

There aren’t as many minivans available on the market today as there were a few years ago, but the new ones that are coming out deliver car-like handling, feature the latest technology and include the best safety features.

Affordable Minivans

Sliding doors, roomy cabins and comfortable ride quality are just a few of the reasons why minivans are the best vehicle choice for families. With more and more automakers designing high-end vehicles, it’s getting tougher to find affordable minivans, but they do exist. Here are a few to consider.

Dodge Grand Caravan SE: The Dodge Grand Caravan is a high-value minivan option. Starting at $28,285, Dodge’s minivan is one of the most affordable choices. The base SE trim features a smaller second-row seat and easy access to the third row. If you opt for the base model, you’ll enjoy features like a 6.5-inch infotainment system as well as power windows in the back.

Kia Sedona L: The Kia Sedona L is one of the least expensive minivan models available today. Kia priced the Sedona starting at $28,245, undercutting the Caravan by a smidge. If you purchase a base Sedona, then you won’t enjoy a ton of amenities, but you will have a vehicle that offers a comfortable ride. The Sedona features supportive seating and a high safety rating.

Chrysler Voyager: While Chrysler is technically considered a luxury brand, the automaker is selling the 2020 Voyager at a starting price of $27,000. The minivan comes in a 7-passenger configuration. The vehicle’s upholstery is cloth, and it is available in black or toffee. Chrysler is offering the minivan with a 7-inch touch screen that lets you control the interior temperatures and audio functions.

Fuel-Efficient Minivans

While you will find more fuel-efficient vehicles on the market than minivans, few allow you to transport as many people as a minivan will. Hybrids achieve the best gas mileage, but models with traditional combustion engines come with good gas mileage numbers as well. Here are a few minivans that offer decent fuel economy.

• Chrysler Pacifia Hybrid: Chrysler introduced the hybrid in 2017, so this model is part of that same generation. The fuel economy in this hybrid is significantly higher than gasoline-only minivans. This model can go about 33 miles on electricity alone. For some people, that’s far enough to avoid visiting the gas station for weeks. When it does run out of its electric charge, the minivan achieves about 32 miles per gallon combined highway and city, which is about 10 miles per gallon higher than other models.

Toyota Sienna: The Toyota Sienna is equipped with a 3.5-liter V-6 engine that produces 296 horsepower and 263 pound-feet of torque. If you buy a front-wheel drive Sienna, then the vehicle will get 19 miles per gallon in the city and 26 miles per gallon on the highway. The all-wheel drive model achieves 18 miles per gallon in the city and 24 miles per gallon on the highway.

Chrysler Pacifica: The Chrysler Pacifica comes with a 3.6-liter V-6 engine, one that generates 287 horsepower and 262 pound-feet of torque. For fuel economy, the Pacifica gets 19 miles per gallon in the city and 28 miles per gallon on the highway. If you go with the base model, then you won’t have the vehicle’s signature Stow ‘n Go seating, so you might want to upgrade to a higher trim level if you want that feature. The base model does offer an upscale interior and a comfortable ride.

All-Wheel Drive Minivans

In the minivan category, all-wheel drive was once a common feature. Today, there is only one minivan model that offers it, which is the Toyota Sienna.

• Toyota Sienna: The Toyota Sienna is a comfortable, safe and stable vehicle to drive. If you live in a part of the country that experiences adverse weather and need the passenger space that a minivan provides, you might want to take a closer look at the Sienna. Toyota offers mobility assistance features with its minivan. You can get it with a factory-installed, power-operated Auto Access Seat; this amenity makes the second row easier to access. You can also purchase a wheelchair ramp for the vehicle.

The Most Reliable Minivans

When you take a look at vehicle categories, the minivan group is a reliable one. According to statistics, the category ranks ninth out of 19 different vehicle types. The segment’s reliability rating is 3.5 out of 5.0. For minivans, the average yearly repair cost is $647. The minivan reliability consideration also includes an average of 0.4 annual repair shop visits with a 12% chance of a minivan repair being a major one.

The most reliable minivans include the following:

• Kia Sedona: The average annual repair cost for the Kia Sedona is $495. Kia is equipping the Sedona with safety gear like a blind-spot detection system, automatic emergency braking and plenty of air bags. When the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA) tested the vehicle for safety, it awarded the Sedona five out of five stars overall. In fact, the vehicle received five stars nearly across the board.

Honda Odyssey: The average annual repair bill for the Honda Odyssey is $547. If you go with a Honda Odyssey, then you’ll have access to safety equipment like lane-keeping assist, collision mitigation braking and HondaLink. The car company is including its HondaLink package in the Odyssey, which consists of roadside assistance and an automatic collision notification system.

• Toyota Sienna: The average yearly repair cost for the Toyota Sienna is $554. Toyota gave the Sienna a pre-collision system. It comes with brake assistance along with audio and visual alerts. If you purchase a Sienna, then you’ll have lane departure alert and automatic high beams. The NHTSA awarded the Sienna with a five-star rating.

Luxury Minivans

Automakers are increasing the value of minivans by giving them luxury features. These days, you can purchase a minivan with luxury amenities like leather seating, all the high-tech gear you could want, and heated and cooled seats. Here are a few of the most luxurious minivans on the market.

• Chrysler Pacifica Limited: The Chrysler Pacifica Limited comes with plenty of bells and whistles. For instance, it has premium Nappa leather and an elegant console. Along with this, the front seats are heated and cooled. The model features handy Stow ‘n Go seats and a panoramic sunroof.

• Honda Odyssey Touring Elite: Honda went all out when it designed the Touring Elite model. The minivan comes with an 11-speaker audio system along with ventilated front seats and a wireless phone charger. If you select this model, you’ll get leather seats and the HondaVac cleaning system.

• Toyota Sienna Limited Premium: Toyota equipped the Sienna with premium leather seats, wood-look accents and dual moonroofs. The Premium model includes a heated steering wheel and power-operated third-row seating.

Dive headlong into parenthood by finding the right minivan

Most Powerful Minivans

The most powerful minivans are unlikely to get the best gas mileage, but they will give you a bit of zip when you take them out on the highway. Here are the minivans with the highest horsepower.

• Kia Sedona L: The standard equipment of the Sedona L includes a 3.3-liter V-6 engine that generates 276 horsepower. This minivan also comes with 17-inch aluminum wheels, electronic stability and traction control.

• Honda Odyssey LX: Honda is including a 3.5-liter V-6 engine in the Odyssey LX, one that produces 280 horsepower. It comes with a nine-speed automatic transmission that includes overdrive. The Odyssey LX features four-wheel anti-lock brakes, cruise control and VSA electronic stability.

• Dodge Grand Caravan SE: If you select the Grand Caravan, you’ll be driving around in a vehicle that has a Pentastar 3.6-liter V-6 engine and gets 283 horsepower and 260 pound-feet of torque. The vehicle comes with driveline traction control, ABS and electronic stability.

Minivan shopping has its challenges, especially since there are so many options on the market. Focus on your needs, budget and vehicle preferences during your test drives.

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