Since the introduction of the Dodge Caravan and Plymouth Voyager in 1984, more than 500,000 minivans have been sold each year in the U.S. The increasing popularity of SUVs has put a small dent in the sale of minivans, but they are still a solid choice for a family that's on the go.
Deep Cargo SpaceSeveral minivans, including the Kia Sedona, Honda Odyssey, Toyota Sienna, and Chrysler Pacifica, offer a deep rear cargo space. Besides adding additional storage space, this is actually a safety feature. Groceries and other items won't be able to roll under the van seats to the front of the van. The cargo space is also large enough that you can lay your golf clubs down in it.
Innovative OfferingsThe decrease in minivan sales has led manufacturers to become more innovative in the additional options they offer. For instance, the Honda Odyssey comes with an onboard vacuum, a baby monitor and an intercom so that the front of the van can communicate with the back. If you need all-wheel drive, you can have that as well with the Toyota Sienna. Entertainment centers abound in minivans and most come with other tech offerings, such as GPS and blind-spot monitors.
Seating OptionsAnother aspect of the minivan is flexible seating. Several models offer eight seats now, instead of the standard seven. Among the seating options are benches that can fold in two and seats that can be stored with Stow N Go. Speaking of Stow N Go, if you have a Chrysler or Dodge with this capability, it can increase your storage space by 140 cubic feet when the seats are stowed. When you need to use the seats, you have an extra 12 cubic feet of storage space.
Safety FeaturesIn an effort to boost sales, Chrysler created the Voyage as a low-budget option based on the Pacifica. In order to keep the costs down, however, the Voyage does not offer all of the key safety features, such as a lane departure warning and adaptive cruise control. Also missing from this model is a forward collision warning and automatic emergency braking.
MileageThe 2019 Honda Odyssey can get 30 miles to the gallon. However, older models may only get 15-17 mpg. Hybrid models may give you a boost to your mileage but still won't be as high as a smaller car.
Removable SeatsIf the minivan you are looking at does not offer Stow N Go, the seats may be very heavy to remove. The 2019 Honda Odyssey is very roomy, but the seats weigh 68 pounds each, so you may need help to remove them. You also need somewhere that's out of inclement weather to store them when not in use.