Much has been made on how the minivan is dying in the U.S. SUVs are seen as the way to go, better in everything from style to performance to being the better family car. Minivans have the stigma of being used by “soccer moms” and unable to shine well on their own. It’s sad, but too many customers are choosing SUVs, and the minivan is slowly dying out. Which is a shame as they have a lot to offer a family, even better than an SUV.
Perhaps most minivans don’t have the speed or power of the typical SUV model. But they have always boasted much better storage capacity, which is a must for family road trips. They also have such excellent options as being great for animals, some terrific built-in features, and of course, those convenient sliding doors. There are also issues from better costs in insurance and gas to the technology to help them stand out.
Here are 15 reasons why a minivan is a better pick than an SUV despite their rough reputation.
15 They’re Perfect Uber Cars
Lately, many folks are supplementing their income by becoming rideshare drivers. In which case, a minivan can be a great vehicle to use. If someone needs an Uber or Lyft to an airport, a minivan is just the ride they’d want to be able to load and unload their bags quickly.
It’s also helpful for someone doing a quick grocery store run in the city. It strikes the perfect balance between a quick ride and a practical one to be a popular rideshare for those needing extra cash.
14 Heavy Towing Without Heavy Lifting
Now it’s true that most minivans are behind many SUVs in terms of sheer towing power. Yet it’s the ease with which storage works that give them the advantage. While an SUV frame can be shifted by too much weight, every minivan (regardless of manufacturer) is a wide-open hatchback with better suspension.
This means one doesn’t have to do as much heavy lifting, and it can handle a massive haul without worries about hurting the car too much.
13 Better Seat Versatility
Some SUV models do have decent choices in arranging seats but pale next to the options many minivans can offer. It’s not just “Captain’s seats” that offer much more room getting in and out.
The Toyota Sienna can have a second row with pop up footrests. The Odyssey can move the second row quickly to handle kids. And the Pacifica and Town & Country can have the middle part transformed into a table with swivel seats. Minivans offer much better turns on a regular car ride.
12 You Don’t Have To Keep It Forever
Too many families have bought what they intended to be a “first car” and then have it be theirs for decades. Minivans are meant for families and helpful for a family only needing one car. Eventually, the kids will grow up and move on, and thanks to how relatively inexpensive a used minivan is, unloading it isn’t too hard.
An SUV still has the feeling of how you’re stuck to it for regular rides, while a minivan is a vehicle that’s easy to give up once it’s no longer needed.
11 They’re Much Better For Pet Lovers
Quite often, families are going to want to bring the dog or cat with them on a long road trip. In which case, a minivan offers far better comfort than an SUV would. Thanks to the flat floors and ample cargo space, it’s easy to fit a large cage in the rear for the animal to be in during the ride and still be comfortable.
While some SUVs can be roomy, minivans allow plenty of space for the pet to fit in with the rest of the luggage and be much easier to clean up after them. If you’re a pet lover, a minivan is the better option for the animal to ride in.
10 Modern Ones Are Packed With Tech
As both minivans and SUVs are aimed at families, having tech inside is helpful. Before SUVs, minivans had entertainment options like TV screens and DVD/Blu-Ray players to entertain on long trips. Minivans are also boosting more built-in options of charging stations/USB ports at every station and streaming video options and even hooking in an Xbox or Playstation.
There’s also the nifty option of being able to speak directly to folks in the back seat via microphones rather than yelling out. That alone gives a minivan an edge over an SUV in a long ride.
9 Cheaper To Insure
Here’s a funny thing about the auto world: If a car seems low-key, the insurance rates for it are much better. While they can vary depending on area, coverage, and company, most minivans are generally 12%-20% cheaper to insure than an SUV.
A key reason is that women go for minivans more, and men tend to be insured higher. Also, SUVs tend to roll over and cause more third party damage in an accident. If an owner wants to keep insurance costs down, a minivan is a safer bet.
8 They Have Much Better Mileage
SUVs are getting a push with hybrid engines yet still are known as gas guzzlers. Most minivans are powered by a V6 engine, so can make between 20 and 30 mpg on the EPA scale (the Pacifica is higher with 76 MPGe).
That’s much better than most non-hybrid SUV models, some of which can’t even get 20 MPGe. If you want fewer stops at the pump, the minivan is the way to go.
7 The Sliding Doors Are Far More Convenient
Every car owner has had that annoyance of opening the door a bit too wide and “dinging” the car next to you (or having it done to you). It’s trickier when one is trying to load in a large amount of bags of groceries.
Minivans offer the excellent convenience of the sliding doors to allow easy access without getting in the way of other cars. The fact many can be opened with just a key button makes it more accessible. This alone makes them a better choice than most SUVs.
6 They’re Even Better For Adult Passengers
If there’s a complaint about SUVs, it’s that they’re being marketed too much for families. The driver’s seats are great, but the passenger areas can be small for those above the age of 15. Minivans offer much better seating for adult passengers which can be conformed for kids.
Unless you’re paying for a luxury SUV, a minivan is much better for a pack of teens or adults on a trip. While minivans are generally for families, they can be a better ride for adults than an SUV.
5 The Vacuum Systems Can Handle Messes
A key reason folks buy minivans is for families, and kids cause messes. With an SUV, that requires a lot of hassle needing to clean things up. Minivans, however, have been making mini-vacuums a standard feature.
The Odyssey and the Pacifica both boast robust built-in vacuum systems that are easy to handle and can be used at a moment’s notice. It’s much better than trying to haul a vacuum to the garage to make the car cleaner all the time.
4 They’re Cheaper To Maintain
It’s true some minivans have a terrible reputation for reliability. There’s also how they tend to be more expensive on the market. However, when put against most SUVs, minivans are much cheaper to maintain. The Honda Odyssey ranks best there at just over $400 a year in routine maintenance.
That’s cheaper than the Nissan Pathfinder, which is one of the more affordable SUVs to maintain. So while an initial minivan cost may be higher, it pays off with less need to get to a repair shop.
3 They Are Amazingly Durable
The best thing minivans have going for them is how durable they are. While some SUVs can be low on the strength of their frames, most minivans are designed to take a nasty hit but handle it well. They’re not all perfect, of course, but the Odyssey regularly ranks high on crash test surveys.
The Caravan may be tricky, yet minivans overall offer much better protection for their passengers than all but the newest SUV models on the market.
2 The Speeds Are Terrific
Sure, some SUVs can get some good power and speed. Yet a lot of minivans boast terrific power. The Kia Sedona is considered the “least” of these engines but gets 276-hp and 248 lb of torque. The Toyota Sienna can get nearly 300 hp, and the NV3500 HD SL has 375 hp.
Thus, several minivans can get zero to 60 in less than six seconds, impressive given their size. They may not be sports cars (or even sedans), but they are speedier than they look.
1 The Storage Space Is Top-Notch
SUVs love to brag about having the best cargo space available. But minivans still put them to shame. The low floors and deep cargo beds allow them to fit in everything from groceries to strollers to sports gear to hardware.
Almost no modern minivan has less than 31 feet of cargo space, and in some cases (such as the Sienna and Pacific), there’s nearly 90 feet. Most SUVs have barely 20 feet of space behind the back row, making minivans much better for storage.
Sources: forbes.com, motor1.com, jalopnik.com, caranddriver.com
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Barbecue Pitmaster International Consultant.
I am an Italian chef turned Texas BBQ expert. My journey started at Franklin BBQ in Austin, TX where I ate my first ever brisket. This experience would later change my whole life and cooking style.
I began cooking barbecue at Kerlin BBQ, where Pitmaster Bill Kerlin (nominated for Best BBQ in the U.S.) taught me everything I needed to know about smoking meats. After intense two years living in a trailer next to a pit, I began collaborations in Italy and the U.S. with different barbecue venues.
Later on, while working at LORO Asian Smokehouse in Austin, I met Aaron Franklin, experience which led me to be hired as a Cutter and Pitmaster at Franklin BBQ.
In early 2019, I was elected #1 Pitmaster at Brisket King NYC™ annual event.