Minivan vs. SUV: Which Is Best for Your Family?
Should you get a minivan or an SUV? It’s a difficult answer for some families because they’re so different, which can make it hard to choose between them. By weighing the pros and cons, your answer may be easier to make, and we’re here to outline everything for you.
Minivans: An Overview
Many people choose to purchase a minivan because it can hold several passengers and often come with features that are ideal for long road trips. Not only will passengers have plenty of room, but the seats of a minivan can also be put down for extra cargo space. If you’re considering between a minivan and an SUV, the first question you should ask yourself is how much cargo and passenger space do you really need?
Pros of Purchasing a Minivan
- Sliding Doors
Sliding doors are one of the most convenient features you can find in a minivan. Thankfully, it comes with nearly all minivans, and some even feature power sliding doors that require little strength. This means even children can get into the vehicle without any assistance.
- Convenient Features
Minivans are designed to help entertain children during long traveling times. Many minivans offer features like drop-down screens for entertainment or a vacuum for easy cleanup.
- Better Fuel Economy
Even though minivans are larger, they’re more carlike, which results in better fuel economy when compared to mid-size or larger SUVs. SUVs also often have larger engines, which can use a lot of gas.
Cons of Purchasing a Minivan
- Few All-Wheel Drive
If you live in inclement weather situations, a minivan can be difficult to maneuver. The market offers very few all-wheel drive minivans, which means you’re more-than-likely end up with a front-wheel drive.
- Very Large Size
Most teenagers learn to drive using their parent’s vehicle. Owning a minivan can make it much harder for a child to learn to drive due to the size.
Minivans and SUVs can be close in price, but minivans are almost always more expensive – especially if you want the convenient features listed above. For example, the Honda Odyssey has a starting MSRP of $37,490 while the Honda CR-V costs $28,410.
SUVs: An Overview
SUVs are incredibly versatile and have a variety of uses. They’re a great passenger vehicle but can also go off-road. The rear seats often have the ability to fold-down, which offers space for smaller objects in the back. SUVs may feature racks on the top to bring bikes or other sporting equipment with you.
Pros of Purchasing an SUV
- Four-Wheel Drive
Nearly all SUVs offer a four-wheel drive option if it doesn’t come standard with the base trim. This drivetrain makes easy work of slippery or snow-covered roads.
- Off-Road Capabilities
SUVs have the unique ability to go off-road and maintain control and safety. This makes camping trips in the woods much easier when you don’t have to stay on the paved path.
- Increased Clearance
With heightened ground clearance, you can drive an SUV through slight flooding or over snowy roads without getting stuck.
Cons of Purchasing an SUV
- Flipping Danger
The danger of flipping is a major risk of increased ground clearance. When making sharp turns, there’s a larger chance of you flipping an SUV when compared to a minivan.
- Worse Gas Mileage
Most SUVs are equipped with larger engines and are less car-like, which means they may use more gas. Compact SUVs have better gas mileage than minivans, but midsize and larger will have worse fuel economy.
- Less Space
Large families may find that the SUV doesn’t have enough cargo or passenger space. SUVs can fit five to six people, but this cannot compare to the seven or eight passengers that fit in a minivan.
For a list of the best and worst minivans of 2023, check out our buyer’s guide.