5 Best Minivans for Friends and Family
Minivan is still one of the best ways to transport a lot of people, things, and all together. They mix comfortable seating, third-row space, and family-friendly box. Many of them today have some of the best technology features to offer. If it’s passenger capacity, cargo space, or something for a big family, minivans are worth a look.
Here’s our roundup of the top 5 picks on sale today.
1.Chrysler Pacifica – Best Rated Minivan
The Pacifica ($27,235) started its mission as an SUV from 2004 to 2008 and was introduced for 2017 as the Chrysler Pacifica. Equipped with a plethora of practical features, the second-row seats disappear almost entirely thanks to Chrysler’s unique Stow ‘n Go system.
It comes in 4 main trim levels: Touring, Touring L, Touring L Plus, and Limited. As expected, the more expensive the trim level, the more standard features you get.
Every model gets the same engine: a 3.6-liter V6 with 287 horsepower 262 lb-ft of torque that transfers power to the front wheels through a 9-speed automatic transmission. 7-passenger seating is standard across the board, and 8-passenger seating is optional on all models.
Pacifica gets it up to 60 mph in a quick 7.7 seconds, while the brakes bring it to a stop from that speed in only 119 feet. Handling is also fantastic, with good-managed body roll and stability over mid-corner bumps. Mpg is up to 19 city/28 highway.
There’s a lot of support in the Pacifica, but it can depend on passenger size and which seat you choose. Second-row seats are big enough for adults, but the third row is better suited for smaller occupants. Sad to say, but neither of these rows reclines or slides, and all seats have overly hard padding.
Controls are easy to use, with big buttons within arm’s reach for the driver. Sliding rear passenger doors give a bountiful opening to get in/out or load child seats, and there’s a big gap between the second-row seats and the third row.
From the front seats, the vehicle seems broad, with generous headroom and hiproom available. Legroom in the second/third rows, however, is average. Rivals, including the Kia Sedona and Honda Odyssey, beat it by a few inches. Huge windows, large mirrors, and clear lines of sight provide virtually zero blind spots. A rearview camera is standard, while a 360-degree surround-view camera is optional.
Android Auto and Apple CarPlay are standard. Even without them, Chrysler’s Uconnect system is one of the easiest to operate. The controls are straightforward, and the device interface runs smoothly. Pacifica includes an advantageous menu on the lower portion of the screen for main commands.
Cargo & Utility
This fellow might not be the biggest in the segment, with 32.3 cubic feet behind the third-row and 140 cubic feet when the rear rows are folded. It only falls behind the Honda Odyssey by a few cubic feet. Stow ‘n Go seating is a unique feature, and when the seats aren’t stowed, there’s great storage underneath the floor.
Center console storage is suitable for large water bottles and a few snacks. There’s plenty of small pockets throughout the cabin. The maximum towing capacity is 3,600 pounds, which is somehow better than its rivals.
Lane departure warning, adaptive cruise control, and intervention, as well as a 360-degree camera, are optional. The adaptive cruise is overly sensitive sometimes, leaving a large following distance and braking hard when a minor slowing occurs in front of your vehicle.
Note – The Pacifica is the only minivan available with an electrified powertrain. The Pacifica Hybrid has an electric motor, along with a floor-mounted lithium-ion battery pack. Fully charged, this hybrid can cruise for up to 33 miles on electric power alone. The 3.6-liter V6 in non-hybrid models also offers a healthy 287 horsepower, so the Pacifica is quicker than its proportions suggest.
2. Kia Sedona – Best Minivan for the Money
The Sedona’s cool base price ($27,400) undercuts its Honda and Toyota siblings, and almost matches the Chrysler Pacifica, which commences around the same price but becomes expensive promptly with options. That’s why the Sedona is the best value minivan on the road.
This seven- or eight-passenger hauler is sold in four trim levels: L, LX, EX, and SX. All trims are kicked by a 3.3-liter V6 engine (276 horsepower and 248 pound-feet of torque) that moves power to the front wheels via an 8-speed automatic transmission.
Sedona accelerates from 0-60 mph for about 8 seconds. That would make it slightly slower than competitors. Handling isn’t as composed as in the segment-leader Honda Odyssey, but the Sedona provides decent experience for average drivers. Mpg is up to 18 city/24 highway – the best gas mileage minivan in the USA.
The front seats are quite soft and deliver enough support to keep you comfy during multi-hour rides behind the wheel. The second-row recliners have a generous amount of legroom, and third-row comfort is similar to what other players on this list offer.
Soft suspension capabilities and tuning will attract those looking for a quiet driving experience. At higher revs, the ride quality can get a little lower over rough pavement. Bigger bumps can be intrusive too.
The dashboard includes large, easy-to-read buttons horizontally lined. The standard second-row seats have a collapse function that assists with third-row access. Power-sliding doors are standard on the LX level and higher.
Its third row will accommodate adults, though they won’t be so comfortable on long trips. The legroom with the reclining second-row seats is far better than in the Toyota Sienna, but overall space is slightly less than the competition.
Outward visibility is fantastic due to massive windows and relatively thin windshield pillars. A backup camera is standard on all trims.
U.S. families will appreciate its comprehensive set of tech features, sweeping from standard Android and Apple smartphone integration to wireless phone charging, along with a USB port for the third-row. Premium audio system and navigation are available only on the EX trim.
Cargo & Utility
The maximum cargo space is 142 cubic feet, marginally less than the competition features. The lack of removable second-row seats at any trim level further decreases usability. The fixed center console may be appealing, but it doesn’t provide the storage room found in the competition. Other bins and pockets are on the small side too.
Uvo eServices notifies emergency services with your location in the event of a crash in which the airbags deploy. Blind-spot detection system lets you know if there’s a car in your blind spot as well as if there’s a vehicle approaching when you’re backing up. Autonomous emergency braking detects if a head-on crash is imminent and applies the brakes to mitigate or avoid the collision.
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3. Toyota Sienna – Best Family Minivan
Toyota Sienna ($31,565) is a spacious, comfy, and high-quality transporter for you and up to seven of your buddies. Toyota, the only mini van with available AWD drive, even offers the Sienna in sporty SE suite, which offers a mad-looking front-end design, dark-finish wheels, and a body kit.
This luxury minivan comes in 5 main trim levels: L, LE, SE, XLE, and Limited. The SE, the XLE, and the Limited are also available in Premium sub-trims. The base L comes well-packed with the features, while the LE, SE, and XLE trims add more premium functionalities.
It keeps pace with the fastest models on the road. There’s enough power for the standard driving situations, and the 3.5-liter V6 engine feels quite peppy at full throttle.
It can run a 0-60 mph sprint of 7.8 seconds, which is respectably quick for a family mover. Still, the motor tends to “hiccup” when it’s cold out, and the gear can be reluctant to downshift on uphill grades. Mpg is up to 19 city/26 highway.
The seats are comfortable and supportive, but long stints reveal pressure points. Second-row occupants will enjoy kicking back and using the available integrated leg rests. The ride is pleasant and can only be disturbed when driving over sharp mid-corner bumps.
The vehicle offers great visibility and excellent points of entry/exit for all seats. But, third-row passengers may need help sliding the large second-row seat forward for access. There’s a lack of headroom in the second and third rows thanks to its tapered roofline. Still, otherwise, legroom and shoulder room are excellent, even for adults.
The user interface is easy to use, although the touchscreen is rather unappealing due to its low-resolution graphics. Recent device integration upgrades, like Apple CarPlay, have brought the Sienna up to par with competitors. However, Android Auto is still not offered.
Cargo & Utility
Excellent cargo capability sets the Sienna apart from the crowd, and its low cargo liftover height and flat load floor make it one of the easiest to use, as well.
It has 150 cubic feet behind the front row, 87.1 cubic feet behind the second row, and 39.1 cubic feet of space behind the third-row. The third-row seats can fold into the floor, and a power liftgate is available.
Due to the second row’s sliding ability, child seats don’t need to be removed for access to the third row. Still, you’ll have to dig into the upholstery to access the lower car seat anchors, and the upper tether is hidden at the base of the seatback.
Along with adaptive cruise control, Toyota Safety Sense also adds a lane-keeping assist, automatic high beams, and pedestrian detection. Remember, the Sienna’s adaptive cruise control doesn’t feature stop-and-go capability and will shut off once the vehicle drops below 25 mph.
4. Honda Odyssey – Best Minivan for Camping
Quiet like Garry Cooper, comfortable, flexible, and armed with loads of modern technology, the Honda Odyssey ($30,690) brings a respectable family-friendly unit. Plus, the Odyssey can tell occupants in the back seats exactly how much longer they have to wait before arriving at their destination.
The Odyssey comes in 5 trim levels: LX, EX, EX-L, Touring, and Elite. But in typical Honda manner, there aren’t any trims or factory-installed options offered aside from navigation and rear-seat entertainment upgrade for the EX-L.
A powerful 3.5 L V6 gives you tons of power for passing, while its precise steering and stable handling infuse confidence.
There’s a lot of parity in this class, but the Odyssey’s V6 stands out with the smoothness and readiness to rev. Even with passengers aboard, the engine makes quick work of accelerating up to motorway speeds or passing traffic, needing only 7.6 seconds to get up to 60 mph. Mpg is up to 19 city/28 highway.
Whether you’ve got a minivan full of kids on a soccer tour or you’re driving your family out to dinner, the Odyssey will keep everyone happy.
The front seats are supportive and comfortable, so they’re ideal for logging a lot of miles. The second row’s outboard seats are quite comfy with thin folding armrests and soft padding. The third row is suitable for adults on shorter rides, though the foot-room is limited.
Sliding rear doors beat a crossover’s standard doors for ease of use, and slipping into the front seats is a child’s play. The sliding/reclining second-row seat has excellent access to the third row too. Both the driver’s seat and the steering column provide a wide range of adjustment, and finding a natural driving position is an easy task.
An 8” display, big icons, and a quick response make the Odyssey’s infotainment system easy to use (standard on the EX and upper trims). When you don’t want to touch the screen, summon voice commands to control navigation, front-row entertainment, and calling features, or use iPhone or Android voice assistants via the Android Auto and Apple CarPlay connections.
Cargo & Utility
The Odyssey features an above-average amount of cargo space, almost 156 cubic feet at maximum capacity. Deep storage behind the third row is useful for loose items and grocery bags. There’s also plenty of room in the deep bins and door pockets all around the cabin for personal things.
Honda Odyssey isn’t so generous with the driver aids. Lane-keeping assist and adaptive cruise control aren’t so refined, but blind-spot warnings and lane departure work well.
5. Dodge Grand Caravan – Best Looking Minivan
The Dodge Grand Caravan ($27,000) is the dinosaur in the class, but still the best selling minivan. It hasn’t been fully redesigned for a long time. As such, the base trim level is missing basic things, including a USB port and Bluetooth phone connectivity.
The seven-passenger Dodge Grand Caravan is sold in 4 trim levels: SE, SE Plus, SXT, and GT. All Grand Caravans have a 3.6-liter V6 (283 horsepower, 260 pound-feet of torque) matched to a six-speed automatic transmission.
The Grand Caravan kicks 60 in 8.0 seconds, which is slower than other leading minivans. It offers manual gear selection. Still, the shifter’s location next to the instrument panel makes it a little awkward to use.
The Grand Caravan’s stopping distance from 60 mph is also average for the class. Still, the significant amount of nosedive and increasingly soft brake pedals aren’t. Fortunately, this issue doesn’t occur in normal driving. Mpg is up to 20 city/26 highway.
Caravan’s interior flexibility is its biggest advantage. Once you step into the cabin, you’ll see there’s more than enough passenger space throughout. The main controls, except the dash-mounted shifter, are all easy to reach and use.
The first and second rows have average ease of entry. Third-row access is excellent due to second-row seats that fold, tumble, and slide inward. Also, from front-seat headroom to third-row legroom, there’s ample room everywhere.
The base technology in the van is far below class standards. And even on the top trim levels, this vehicle is missing much of the high-tech equipment you expect from minivans these days. Out-of-date and poor.
Cargo & Utility
The Grand Caravan has space for seven, plus storage behind the third-row seat. It includes 31.1 cubic feet of space behind the third-row, 78.9 cubic feet behind the second row, as well as 140.3 cubic feet behind the front row.
The Chrysler Stow ‘n Go second-row seats are class-leading in terms of versatility. The manual operation of the third row is a little tricky but works fine. And there’s massive storage in the second-row floor if you don’t have to stow the seats.
ParkSense rear park assist sounds an alert as the vehicle approaches an object behind the bumper. Blind-spot monitoring alerts you if there is a vehicle in the Grand Caravan’s blind spot. It also detects cross-traffic while reversing. Plus, its ParkView rear back up camera displays an image of the area right behind the minivan in the central touchscreen.
Although these haulers are the nucleus of a lot of soccer mom jokes, they clearly have a lot to offer when it comes to space, versatility, and convenience. Minivans have sustained the test of time and have continued to progress with even that stereotype they fell into.