The popularity of the minivan shifted the auto market. But, even though the minivan was easily accessible, fuel efficient and the perfect companion for a growing family, it wasn’t exactly considered a sexy vehicle. In fact, most consumers would describe the minivan as dull and drab compared to the modern-day SUV. However, it was the minivan that helped the SUV evolve, not the other way around.
The original sport-utility vehicles were too large and inefficient to be considered a good option for everyday use. In the 80s, the SUV was able to go fast, but it was heavy and cumbersome. This changed after the advent of the minivan. Today’s SUV is more of a hybrid between both the original minivan and original SUV. They made the large clunky vehicles lower to the ground for more accessibility, created a cargo hatch for easy hauling, and over time became more fuel efficient as technology and fuel economy standards evolved. While the SUV may be the consumers’ choice today, it would have never been an option without Chrysler’s minivan arriving on the scene in 1983. But today, now that both have evolved into trusted family-haulers, it’s a battle between Team Minivan v. Team SUV. Which one is right for you and your family?
An Argument for the Minivan
Compared to its rival, the minivan leads in price. You can get all the great features of an SUV at a much more affordable price point, especially when comparing higher-end vehicles. While both are safe options, the minivan has more car-like dynamics and sits lower to the ground. This creates a lower center of gravity for a more stable ride, without the top-heavy faults that an SUV can have. The low center of gravity and ample interior space make it the choice to haul cargo as well. Minivans also win when it comes to easy access. Their rear sliding doors make it easy to access all three rows of passenger seating. The sliding doors are also a great feature if you have to fit into tight parking spaces and worry about hitting someone else’s car when getting in and out of the vehicle. Also, if your passengers tend to be small children or the elderly, minivans are much easier to get in and out of than an SUV. Almost all minivans are outfitted to fit eight passengers, while only a few SUVs can. So if hauling multiple humans is your goal, minivans are the clear vehicle of choice.
An Argument for the SUV
While minivans sit lower to the ground like a sedan, SUVs ride higher. Their performance and handling are better, and SUVs have more horsepower. Most SUVs top the power produced by a minivan because they come with a V8-powered engine vs. a V6. This makes it the vehicle of choice if you are going to face off-road driving or inclement weather. Additionally, almost all SUVs are outfitted with all-wheel or four-wheel drive. Only one minivan comes with all-wheel drive as an option, the 2018 Toyota Sienna. While minivans may be the better option when it comes to hauling passengers, the SUV wins hands down at towing! Plus, if you’re trying to still look “cool” after having kids, SUV is the way to go.
So which vehicle is right for your family? It depends on your needs. They both feature similar fuel economy and amenities. The minivan is perfect for hauling passengers, while the SUV is great for off-road use, towing and inclement weather. Determine the needs of your family, weigh your options, and make the decision that’s right for you!