SUV or Minivan: Which Ought to You Select?


2022 Kia Carnival

Fast Details About SUV vs. Minivan

  • SUVs and minivans are each family-friendly autos. 
  • Minivans are usually extra reasonably priced, with more room for passengers, cargo, and additional storage. 
  • SUVs can be found in a wider vary of kinds and choices with a sportier, sleeker look. 

It’s an age-old query that almost all dad and mom will face sooner or later: SUV or minivan? Which car works greatest for my rising household?

Begin this convo throughout mothers’ evening out, and it will possibly get fairly polarizing! As a mother working within the automotive business, I’ve had this dialog with fellow dad and mom so many instances, and for good motive. Dad and mom want explicit issues in terms of toting their households round. 

And even when you already know completely nothing about automobiles, it’s fairly obvious that sport utility autos (SUVs) and minivans stay two of probably the most environment friendly varieties of autos for hauling individuals and cargo. (One take a look at an elementary college carpool line will give that away.) 

Nonetheless, once you dig a bit of deeper, you shortly understand that these two choices differ in value, type, options, and functionality. In different phrases, selecting between an SUV and a minivan actually is determined by your price range, calls for, and life-style. 

Understanding the variations is crucial earlier than selecting one of the best car for your loved ones, so proceed studying to study extra that will help you resolve between minivans and SUVs.

Similarities Between SUVs and Minivans

At first look, you might not suppose SUVs and minivans have a lot in frequent, however that couldn’t be farther from the reality. 

Inside Know-how

To begin, each have wonderful inside expertise: Most present fashions have all the most recent must-haves, like rear-seat leisure programs, Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, and surround-view cameras, which is my favourite mother automotive characteristic of all time (sport changer for parking in a good preschool car parking zone!). And in right now’s related local weather, most SUVs and minivans additionally include a couple of rear USB port, which suggests extra entry for dad and mom and passengers to recharge cell gadgets.  

Security Know-how

Since carmakers designed SUVs and minivans to be family-friendly autos, they usually have probably the most up-to-date security expertise. Options like lane-departure warning, blind-spot monitoring, and collision avoidance programs assist give dad and mom the peace of thoughts they want when hauling round their most treasured cargo. 

Each varieties of autos additionally are inclined to have first rate driving efficiency and dealing with, they usually usually have related gasoline financial system and different prices. 

So, if SUVs and minivans are that related, how on earth does a mother resolve between them? Learn on to know the variations and nuances of every car kind. 


2023 Chrysler Pacifica PHEV Pinnacle on a gravel road.

A minivan is a smaller model of a standard passenger van. It’s much less boxy however nonetheless designed to move passengers within the rear. Minivans aren’t usually recognized for his or her modern and horny designs.

Let’s simply deal with the elephant within the room and get it out of the best way: Minivans don’t look modern or horny.

A significant stigma nonetheless exists round minivans, and I do know this as a result of I speak to mothers weekly about it. It’s common for me to listen to a mother say, “You couldn’t pay me to drive a minivan,” which I believe has to do with the cool issue (or lack thereof) that comes with driving a perceived mom-mobile. My response is at all times the identical: “I completely get it, however belief me after I inform you that in the future behind the wheel of a minivan will COMPLETELY change your thoughts.”

Minivan Professionals

  • Value. On common, minivans price lower than 3-row SUVs (in fact, this doesn’t embody higher-end fashions), a particular test within the minivan column.
  • Area — and more room. Minivans usually provide more room than the typical three-row SUV, with about 5 extra inches of legroom on common within the third row. That’s a giant deal you probably have a big household, older teenagers, or usually drive round with a number of generations (you don’t need grandma cramped within the again). Plus, no less than one Kelley Blue Ebook editor boasts of placing down the seats in his Chrysler Pacifica and hauling full sheets of plywood and drywall.
  • Accessibility. Now, let’s speak concerning the primary characteristic that makes a minivan so wonderful: sliding rear doorways. Any mother with little children is aware of the wrestle of an unbiased toddler insisting on stepping into the automotive all by himself — 10 minutes plus a couple of grey hairs later, and most mothers would do absolutely anything to make that course of faster and simpler. Enter the sliding door with a decrease step-in top than most SUVs, providing you with (and your tiny dictator) quick access to enter and exit the car. That’s useful for grandparents or different members of the family with mobility challenges, too. And tight parking areas are a breeze with that sliding door. Truthfully, it’s an enormous plus that always will get neglected.
  • Person-friendly tech. One other plus for minivans is that inside expertise tends to be extra family- and passenger-oriented. For instance, the Toyota Sienna provides a whopping seven USB ports. And the Pacifica trim ranges present twin rear-seat leisure touchscreens with a Blu-ray participant, wi-fi headphones, tons of cool apps, and academic video games (my 3-year-old realized learn how to play solitaire within the Pacifica — no judging, please), all of which make highway journeys 1,000,000 instances extra palatable.

Minivan Cons

Minivans are sounding fairly good proper about now. So why wouldn’t you get one? We’ll inform you concerning the cons — learn on.

  • Floor clearance. Initially, they don’t provide a complete lot of floor clearance in comparison with SUVs. They’re additionally not nice in excessive climate or off-road situations, so you might want to take into account your typical driving setting and terrain.
  • Towing capability. One other issue to think about is that the best most towing capability of any minivan is 3,600 kilos. So, if your loved ones car is required to tow a ship or a trailer, an SUV may be a greater guess for you.
  • Measurement. Minivans are large autos with a big exterior footprint. I keep in mind getting behind the wheel of 1 for the primary time and feeling like I used to be driving a ship (that feeling doesn’t final, FYI).
  • Gas effectivity (with an asterisk). Most minivans usually are not significantly fuel-efficient, although there are two completely different hybrid minivan choices available on the market right now (the Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid and the Toyota Sienna).

TIP: Nearly each minivan available on the market goes by way of adjustments over the following couple of years. When a brand new mannequin comes out, that’s a good time to have a look at the earlier era, as sellers are usually extra keen to low cost older fashions.

However bear in mind: Minivans are the hottest-selling autos in America, so discovering accessible stock may very well be a problem. Have endurance, and begin trying lengthy earlier than you really want that new automotive.


Front view of the 2024 Chevrolet Traverse Z71 in gray

SUV stands for sport utility car. This automotive time period usually refers to a car with a taller experience top, off-road options, further inside house, and 4-wheel (4WD) or all-wheel drive (AWD). In case you have a smaller household (possibly only one or two kiddos), you may not want all that further minivan sq. footage. A compact or midsize SUV may very well be the proper match for these households. 

Alternatively, if you happen to haul an enormous crew, a number of full-size SUVs may provide up much more house than a minivan. And if the aesthetics are nonnegotiable for you, you’ll possible gravitate towards an SUV’s general sportier, sleeker look. Regardless of minivans’ second within the highlight, extra SUVs get purchased on this nation than automobiles and vans mixed. Mothers are answerable for a big portion of these SUV gross sales. 

SUV Professionals

  • Extra choices. There are such a lot of extra SUV choices available on the market than minivans, giving dad and mom seemingly limitless (albeit barely overwhelming) choices for all budgets and life.
  • Hybrid and electrical choices. SUVs embody many hybrid and electrical choices if that’s necessary to you.
  • Higher visibility. SUVs additionally have a tendency to supply the next floor clearance, taller experience top than minivans, and stellar visibility, which will help mothers really feel extra assured on the wheel.
  • Elevated security options. You’ll discover that SUVs usually provide barely elevated security options past the standard crash avoidance programs. For instance, the Toyota Highlander provides a gauge cluster seatbelt indicator telling you who buckled up and who didn’t. This characteristic is useful, so that you don’t need to depend on your testy tweens to inform you whether or not they buckled or not. Needed? No. However definitely good to have.
  • Tech facilities. SUVs have a tendency to supply inside facilities targeted on the general cabin expertise. Heated steering wheels, heated and cooled seats, massaging seats, and even length-adjustable seats are frequent options present in SUVs. That’s to not say you may’t discover them in minivans, however you might have to look a bit of more durable, particularly if you happen to’re shopping for a used mannequin.
  • Dealing with. One other professional for SUVs is that they’re accessible with both AWD or 4WD, so that they’ll have a lot better dealing with when on tough terrain or in stormy climate.
  • Towing capability. If towing is a should for your loved ones, some giant SUVs surpass the towing capability of even one of the best compact pickup vans and may tow over 9,000 kilos, which suggests you may pull a a lot bigger trailer or a big boat with ease.

SUV Cons

  • Much less house. If house is prime in your listing of priorities, minivans maintain greater than 15 inches of further house than the typical 3-row midsize SUV. There’s usually much less general cargo house with the third row in use in comparison with a minivan.
  • Gas effectivity. And SUVs usually are not very fuel-efficient until you go together with an environmentally pleasant EV or hybrid mannequin.
  • Larger environmental footprint. As well as, SUVs require extra sources to fabricate than smaller autos. Because of this SUV manufacturing contributes to local weather change and environmental degradation on a bigger scale than different car decisions (until you go together with an electrical SUV possibility, in fact).
  • No captain’s seats. Or no less than fewer fashions with captain’s chairs. For those who’re shopping for used, you’re much less prone to discover an SUV with captain’s seats than a minivan outfitted that method. Some newer fashions have the bench commonplace and provide optionally available captain’s seats within the center row. It is a vital issue for folks with a couple of little one in a convertible automotive seat (rear- and forward-facing). Captain’s seats are a should on this state of affairs for entry to the third row.

TIP: My primary piece of automotive buying recommendation to folks with two or extra babies in automotive seats is to keep away from the second-row bench in any respect prices! Wait till no less than one little one is in a booster seat to go for the bench.

Total, SUVs provide a wider scope of adjustments than minivans over the following couple of years. Meaning there might be many extra older fashions with higher offers to select from. And SUVs are inclined to see technological developments before minivans, so if having the most recent and biggest tech is necessary to you, or you probably have off-road or towing wants, a 3-row SUV might be your greatest guess.

What SUV is most like a minivan?

Minivans differ from SUVs with their decrease experience top, sliding rear doorways, and additional cargo house. No SUV will provide these precise options, however there are many SUV choices that function nice family-friendly minivan options. We particularly just like the Hyundai Palisade, with its exceptionally roomy inside; the Kia Telluride, with its luxurious cabin and broad cargo opening; and the Chevrolet Tahoe, with its many seating configuration choices and class-leading cargo house. 

SUV vs. Minivan: The Outcomes

The underside line? As a father or mother, you actually can’t go flawed with both a minivan or an SUV. You’ll have loads of house for teenagers and cargo, to not point out limitless cup holders for mommy’s each day caffeine repair. All of it comes all the way down to price range, life-style, aesthetic preferences, and priorities. As you slender down your decisions, I extremely advocate asking for an prolonged take a look at drive to see how the automotive in query works on your each day life.

Set up your automotive seats, park it in your storage, and let your children soar out and in. See the way it feels to stay with the automotive for a couple of hours, and also you’ll shortly study whether or not or not it’s proper for your loved ones. 

Are SUVs or minivans safer?

Present SUV and minivan fashions are equally outfitted with the most recent security expertise. Backup cameras, airbags, and anti-lock brakes with digital stability management are commonplace, and plenty of fashions embody options like lane-departure warning, blind-spot monitoring, and collision avoidance programs, amongst different security tech. We advocate checking the NHTSA security rankings on any car you’re contemplating. 

What to Take into account When Deciding Between a Minivan or SUV

Finally, selecting between a minivan and an SUV ought to align along with your priorities. Rigorously weigh these elements to make a extra knowledgeable resolution on your wants and life-style. 

  • Worth. Minivans are normally extra reasonably priced than SUVs of the identical dimension. SUVs can have a wider value vary resulting from being accessible in numerous sizes and with luxurious options. 
  • Passengers. Minivans are designed to accommodate extra passengers, usually with three rows of seats. The scale of SUVs varies and may provide seating for as few as 5 or as many as eight passengers. 
  • Cargo house. Minivans are the clear winner by way of cargo house. They’re superb for households with numerous journey gear, groceries, or sports activities gear to move frequently. SUVs have various cargo capacities. 
  • Gas effectivity. Minivans are usually extra fuel-efficient than bigger SUVs. SUV gasoline effectivity will fluctuate relying on its dimension and engine kind. 
  • Towing. SUVs usually have larger towing capabilities, making them a more sensible choice for towing issues like trailers, boats, or campers. Minivans are designed for each day commutes and household journeys, as they’ve a restricted towing capability. 
  • Driving concerns. Many SUVs are available in AWD or 4WD varieties. This makes them a chief decide for off-road adventures and excessive climate. In contrast, minivans are sometimes FWD and should not carry out as nicely in difficult highway situations. 
  • Security options. Each choices can provide a wide selection of security options. Evaluate fashions and trim ranges for particular security choices. 
  • Resale worth: Since SUVs are extra fashionable, they usually have higher resale worth than minivans. Minivans might depreciate extra shortly relying on how a lot put on and tear the driving force places on the car.


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