Cars

Minivans Are Surprisingly the Most-Driven Vehicle Type

Americans are known for driving a lot. While current buying trends are toward SUVs, a study by iSeeCars.com found that minivans are the vehicle body-type that is driven the most miles each year. The study found that the average 10-year-old vehicle is driven 11,987 miles per year. Minivans come in 10.4 percent higher, with 13,235 average miles per year. SUVs come in second with 12,531 average miles per year. 

More models of SUVs are driven many miles

The result may seem surprising since a look at the individual most-driven vehicles from the same study showed that SUVs make up ten of the top 13 most-driven vehicles. The Chevrolet Suburban is the most-driven vehicle, with an average of 14,862 miles driven each year. However, the Honda Odyssey and Toyota Sienna minivans are also on this list. The Honda Odyssey was ranked fourth, averaging 14,120 miles per year (17.8% above average). The Toyota Sienna was twelfth on the list, averaging 13,442 miles per year (12.1% above average). 

Minivans were popular ten years ago

While fewer minivan models are available for sale now than years ago and sales continue to decline, the study looked at ten-year-old minivans sold between 2015 and 2018. Minivan sales in the early 2000s, when these minivans were manufactured, were still strong, accounting for 6% of all U.S. sales in 2005. 

While small vans and large cars had already been available in Europe and Asia for years, Chrysler manufactured the first minivan in 1983. It was an immediate hit, launching a new trend in family vehicles. However, minivans soon developed a negative reputation as vehicles for “soccer moms.” By the 1990s, families began buying SUVs, which had a more “macho image” than minivans. Minivan sales began to decline after the 2008 recession, and more than 13 minivan models have been discontinued since 2005, leaving only five still being manufactured today.

Minivans are a strong choice for getting the job done

It’s clear that minivans as a vehicle segment are bought as a workhorse vehicle. Minivans are a good option for many families, especially those needing more cargo space, making them the go-to choice for daily driving and long trips. In addition, some minivans, like the Dodge Grand Caravan, continue to be big sellers to fleets.

While some buyers may need to overcome a stigma attached to the minivan, MotorBiscuit points out in a review of the Toyota Sienna that they have a quick V6 engine, can move a lot of people, can store everything, can haul everything, and don’t attract a lot of attention on the road. In addition, minivans get good fuel economy.

How to have a high-mileage vehicle

Of course, being able to put a lot of miles on a minivan year after year does require the purchase of a good vehicle and some maintenance effort from the owner.  The Honda Odyssey and the Toyota Sienna are both on the iSeeCars.com list of longest-lasting passenger cars. It is recommended that owners also follow the maintenance schedule with a reputable mechanic. At home, you can periodically inspect your minivan to make sure you don’t see any problems with leaks or lights. Also, be aware of any funny smells or sounds, try to avoid short drives, and wash your minivan to avoid corrosion. 

And, if you wondered, sports cars, especially convertibles, are driven the least number of miles each year.

iSeeCars.com is a car search engine that provides resources for shoppers. For this study of most-driven vehicles, iSeeCars.com looked at the annual mileage of 2.3 million ten-year-old cars that were sold between 2015 and 2018.