When it comes to buying a bigger car for your budding family, it might be hard to choose what type of vehicle to get: a minivan or an SUV. Of course, about 90 percent of families would choose the latter option even though they don’t need the utility that an SUV is built for, but why? The “cool factor” is most likely the most prevalent reason as most wouldn’t want to be caught dead in a minivan, however, there could be a lot of oversight in such a hasty decision.
This is why minivans were invented and still exist today. You might only have the Honda Odyssey, Toyota Sienna, Dodge Grand Caravan, Chrysler Pacifica, and Kia Sedona to choose from, but they are all practical choices. In case you’re not impressed, here are five reasons buying a minivan is better than an SUV.
More passenger space
Passenger space is arguably the number one reason that families choose SUVs, however, they most likely don’t know that minivans are actually more spacious. In a Car and Driver comparison, they noted that “minivans have low floors and deep cargo wells behind the third row, meaning that even with a full load of passengers, there’s still room in the way back for strollers, groceries, suitcases, or gear.” They’re not wrong.
There is definitely a lot to be said about the overall practicality of any minivan on the market as they can even double as cargo vans when needed since the seats can be taken out. Try doing that with an SUV.
Sliding rear doors
This could very well be an oversight among many SUV shoppers as the stigma of owning a minivan can easily be a blindfold. However, we can’t stress enough how useful sliding rear doors are when it comes to loading in babies, car seats, cargo, and other passengers. Is the minivan parked on a driveway or a hill? No problem! All of the minivans today come with power sliding doors that close with the touch of a button.
An SUV, on the other hand, has big heavy doors that can be cumbersome, and even dangerous, on an incline. Unfortunately, gravity is not your friend when trying to load a child in a car seat with an SUV parked on a hill, but with a minivan, it’s a non-issue.
Sure, almost any three-row SUV can tow more than a minivan, but there are still some options. The Toyota Sienna does have the option of all-wheel drive and every minivan on the market can tow 3,500 pounds, which is enough for a small trailer. However, if you’re looking to tow off-road or need more power, then an SUV could be a better option. Otherwise, don’t count a minivan out if you don’t need to tow much.
While you can’t really expect amazing fuel economy numbers from a minivan, they do get the same mileage or better than most SUVs. For example, the Honda Odyssey and Toyota Sienna are rated at 19 city/28 highway and 19/26, respectively, while the Honda Pilot and Hyundai Palisade are rated at 19/26 and 19/24, respectively. Considering you get more practicality with a minivan, and the same or better fuel efficiency, we would say that a minivan is a better choice.
All of the minivans currently on the market come with the usual driver-assist and safety features (except the nearly-dead Dodge Grand Caravan) like adaptive cruise control, lane assist, and frontal collision warning. But some of them come with other practical features like the HondaVac in the Honda Odyssey and the second-row, pop-up ottoman seats in the Toyota Sienna. Try finding features like that in an SUV. No, wait, you can’t.
Choose to be practical
We know that there is a “soccer mom” stigma that heavily persists around minivans, no matter how “cool” they get. Even Toyota’s “swagger wagon” ad couldn’t sway most people. However, we do hope that minivans stick around longer and that consumers will eventually see the practical value in them. While these five reasons might not be enough to completely get you to buy a minivan, they might at least get you to see one as an option.