Whether you are a parent, carpooler, business owner or yard-sale junkie, nothing serves your needs better than the oft-maligned minivan or full-size van if you regularly move a lot of people or a lot of stuff (or a lot a people and stuff). The minivan's sliding rear doors and low step-in height afford easy access for passengers, while its assortment of storage spaces and reconfigurable seating arrangement deftly solve transportation problems you didn't even know you had. If cargo-hauling tops your list of requirements, both minivans and full-size vans have you covered. And from a fuel economy standpoint, minivans generally achieve better gas mileage than most full-size SUVs, while also proving being easier to maneuver and being good at carrying people and stuff at the same time.
If you are considering a minivan, you can't go wrong with either the Honda Odyssey or the Toyota Sienna , both of which were redesigned for the 2011 model year and top our short list of excellent choices. The decision between them really comes down to personal preference. We feel that the Odyssey is the better handler and the more well-rounded package. If you prefer a quieter ride or need all-wheel drive, the Sienna is your minivan. Both can be equipped to seat either seven or eight passengers.
Third on our list of recommended minivans is the Nissan Quest , which is limited to seven passengers maximum and has less cargo space than competitors, but delivers a higher level of driver engagement and stand-out styling. And if your minivan needs are even more compact, we suggest taking a look at the mini-minivan, the fully redesigned Mazda 5 is a great option. It seats up to six passengers.