Check out these big family-haulin’ beauties.
The minivan is the symbol of all that is domesticated and tame. Nobody willingly chooses an Odyssey when they can drive a Mustang instead. At some point, however, life becomes a numbers game. If you have x number of kids, a car will no longer suffice. If you have more than x, even your SUV starts to get cramped. Eventually, the minivan becomes the smartest, most economical, decision a dad a can make ⏤ assuming he can muster the confidence to climb behind the wheel.
If so, there’s some good news for minivan buyers these days: The kid-haulers have secretly become excellent cars. Long gone are the Ford Aerostar and Chevy Astro, today’s minivans offer more value-per-square-foot of human- and stuff-hauling space than any other vehicle on the market. In fact, there’s not a single SUV out there that’s anywhere near as affordable or roomy as even the average-sized minivan. They come loaded with all the latest safety tech, get comparable gas mileage, and handle surprisingly well. Even better, unlike SUVs, they they ride low ⏤ which means loading and unloading, anything from a grocery bag to double stroller ⏤ is that much easier.
But which minivan out there is right for your growing family? And which will get you the most bang for your buck? We took a look at the current offerings, both new and used (three-year-old, off-lease), and picked our top six based on varying needs.
Best For Going Green: 2019 Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid
We already love the standard Pacifica and rank it tops for passenger roominess, especially for front-seat riders. It’s also crammed with safety features, including blind-spot and cross-traffic warnings, front-collision warning, adaptive cruise control, lane-departure warning, etc. And while the $39,995 hybrid version may sound like an expensive up-sell (running $2,100 more than a swanky Pacifica Limited), don’t forget the $7,500 tax credit you can get for buying a hybrid, or the fact that you’ll get 33mpg combined ⏤ versus 22mpg combined for the gas-only model. Or the fact that the Pacifica Hybrid can roll 32 miles on EV juice without gas, too, meaning that a lot of around-town drivers will rarely have to fill up at all. The only catch: the Hybrid doesn’t have the same storage space as the standard Pacifica, though, as Chrysler had to nix the in-floor seat stowage system to accommodate the battery pack. So, if you frequently find yourself in need of extra cargo space, consider the standard model.
Best Affordable AWD: 2016 Toyota Sienna LE
A 2019 Toyota Sienna LE with AWD costs a whopping $42,000. But shop for a Certified Pre-owned or off-lease 2016 Sienna LE with all-wheel drive and you can easily find one in the low $20k range. And the Sienna is a darn good minivan. It’s not quite as quick ⏤ or as quick on its toes ⏤ as the Honda Odyssey, but it handles well enough and is quiet ⏤ especially when it comes to road- or wind-roar on the highway. It also boasts dual-sided sliding doors, a third row that folds into the floor (offering 40 cubic…