Minivans may not be as cool as SUVs, but when it comes to utility and practicality, there is nothing on four wheels that can beat them. Whether you've got a big family, a big car pool or a big addiction to antiques, a minivan will accommodate more stuff and more people (and in more comfort) than any SUV. But there's more to a minivan than interior space. Sliding doors, a low step-in height and an abundance of innovative features make these vehicles exceptionally family-friendly. They also tend to get better fuel economy than full-size SUVs, so there are many reasons to give these people haulers a serious look.
Why Edmunds Recommends the 2017 Chrysler Pacifica: There was a time when Chrysler ruled the minivan segment, and while its recently discontinued offerings (Chrysler Town & Country and Dodge Grand Caravan) had fallen far behind the times, the new Pacifica has brought Chrysler right back to the top of the class. Smooth and handsome on the outside, cool and contemporary on the inside, the Pacifica has a comfortable, quiet demeanor perfect for soothing the frazzled nerves of busy parents. The options list includes plenty of active safety and driver assistance features, a comprehensive rear-seat entertainment system, and even a vacuum to help keep the van clean. One of our favorite optional innovations is the plug-in hybrid model, which has an electric-only range of 30 miles — enough for many families to make their daily rounds without using a drop of gasoline.
Why Edmunds Recommends the 2017 Honda Odyssey: The Honda Odyssey has long been the segment leader, and even though it's getting a redesign in the 2018 model year, it's still a strong contender. It offers seating for eight, a powerful V6 and solid handling that makes it feel smaller from behind the wheel. It also has a very quiet interior with optional features such as a wide-screen video monitor and a built-in vacuum. Solid fuel mileage numbers and a straightforward interior design are two more reasons why this is still a top minivan in the class.
Why Edmunds Recommends the 2017 Kia Sedona: The other manufacturers with vans on this list have been stalwarts in the minivan segment for decades, but the Kia Sedona is a relative upstart, and one that's well worth checking out. The Sedona is styled to look more like an SUV than a minivan, and that theme continues on the inside with a full-length center console that runs between the driver and front passenger. This may not sound like a big deal, but it really makes a significant difference in terms of perception, and it's just one of many elements that make the Sedona the least minivanlike minivan on this list. Other highlights include a spacious third-row seat and optional "lounge-style," reclining second-row seats that make the Sedona feel like a road-going corporate jet. The Sedona is a bit short on cargo space compared to the other vans on this list, but it still holds plenty of luggage.
Why Edmunds Recommends the 2017 Toyota Sienna: The Toyota Sienna is one of the older vans in the segment, and while the new Honda Odyssey and Chrysler Pacifica are strong challengers, the Toyota is still at the top of its game. We love the way the Sienna covers the basics, with seating for up to eight, a sensible control layout, easy third-row access, solid build quality and high-quality interior materials. In fact, the higher trim levels approach luxury-car levels of quality and feel. One big selling point for the Sienna is the availability of all-wheel drive, a segment exclusive. Like the Sedona, the Sienna also offers reclining second-row seats that big kids are bound to love. The sport-themed SE model is a surprisingly good handler.