What the Difference Between a Multi-Purpose Vehicle and a Minivan?

A multi-purpose vehicle or MPV is a type of vehicle designed to carry several passengers. They are becoming popular worldwide due to their convenience of having more people and cargo capacity. MPVs are usually confused with minivans since they share close characteristics and use. However, there are significant differences between MPVs and minivans, which you should know before purchasing any of these vehicles. 

Definition and characteristics of a minivan 

Minivans have been around for a while and typically appear as small traditional van. In an illustrative explanation, it’s an American car classification with a rear seating configuration of two to three rows that serves between 6 to 8 passengers. Some of the classic features that define a minivan include:

  • They may lack a bonnet, have a half-bonnet modification, or have a fully-fledged bonnet. 
  • Minivans usually have three seat rows, with the cabin large enough to accommodate a maximum of nine passengers, including the driver. 
  • Have a higher body than a saloon car but is not high enough to stand 
  • Have rear sliding or hinged door to allow quick access 

Minivans have different classifications depending on their manufacturers. Some companies classify them according to their builds, such as one-volume or hood-less, one-and-a-volume or half-modified, or two-volumes or full-hood. Others categorize them according to sizes, ranging from micro, compact, medium, and full-size. 

What is an MPV

A silver 2022 Kia Carnival, a multi-purpose vehicle.
2022 Kia Carnival | Getty Images

Multi-purpose vehicles or MPVs don’t refer to specific vehicles. They can represent various vehicles, including RVs, SUVs, vans, campers, minibusses, and vans. Car Tinting Laws define an MPV as a motor vehicle designed to carry 10 or fewer people built on a truck chassis or has special features for off-road operations. 

CarMax described an MPV as a vehicle that can carry passengers or cargo and guarantee practicality. When you need to carry some load, you can fold some of the seats, and you will have enough space. People also use them for family vacations. 

Minivans typically fit this description. According to Medium, SUVs and Crossovers may be classified as MPVs but have performance and better off-road capabilities. 

The difference between an MPV and a minivan 

MPVs and minivans don’t differ too much in their definitions and characteristics. They both have a three people row configuration and are practically multi-functional.  

The only notable difference between these two vehicles is the luxury they provide. MPVs prioritize better looks and techs, while minivans are more family-centric with more features to accommodate children. MPVs are also a bit larger and mimic most features of an SUV, while minivans are more like budget crossovers. 

2022 Kia Carnival: The first MPV in the car market  

The Multi-purpose vehicle or MPV tagline is a flagship of the 2022 Kia Carnival. Kia used this tagline to market the 2022 Kia Carnival after changing its name from Sedona. It features modern luxury minivans that fit this unique profile and has 7-8 person seating with three rows. 

Its most unique feature is the two rows of heated and ventilated seats, Slide-Flex seating, and VIP lounging seats with a relaxation mode. Other luxury interior features include: 

  • 145.1 cu-ft as total cargo space 
  • USB charging outlets for the second and third rows 
  • Sliding, removable, and folding seats on the second row 
  • Rear seat entertainment 
  • Tri-zone automatic temperature control 

2022 Kia Carnival styling and interior set it apart from rivals like Toyota SiennaHonda Odyssey, and Chrysler Pacifica. However, there’s no electric version and an all-wheel drive option compared with the Sienna and Chrysler Pacifica. Its drive may also not be as good as Odyssey, but its driver assistance technologies are more advanced. 

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