This is a sponsored post. All opinions are 100% my own.
When it is time to buy a new family vehicle, it’s so difficult to decide between a minivan and an SUV. So between the two, which is best?
I’ll share my opinions, and I want to hear yours! I’ve owned both an Acura MDX and a Honda Odyssey. All my opinions are going to come from those 2 vehicles, and my experience driving other vehicles like the JEEP Grand Cherokee and Toyota Sienna.
I will look at the following criteria and make my decision at the end of the article:
- Ease of Boarding
- Cool Factor
- Riding Comfort
- Severe Weather
- Family Vehicle Safety
Minivan vs SUV Family Car Debate
Ease of Boarding
This depends on which SUV you purchase. If you buy a crossover, it is as easy as loading into a car. However, if you are looking for a third-row or full-size SUV it will be higher off the ground and more difficult to jump into the back seat.
Nothing beats the simplicity of those sliding doors. Almost every newer minivan even has automatic doors and middle-row seats that fold completely forward. Adults and children of all ages fit comfortably in the minivan.
Maybe this is why it has the reputation for a soccer mom car.
I would choose a minivan because of the speed and convenience with getting people in and out of the vehicle.
SUV’s are truck-based. This tends to make them heavier, which leads to lower gas mileage. With advances in fuel economy, the MPG can approach that of minivans, however. The 2017 GMC Acadia has a city MPG of 21, for example.
Minivans are car based and their mpg are often similar to mid-sized cars. The 2017 Chevy City Express has a city MPG of 25.
This is another close race, but the minivan is still a better choice in most cases. Hybrid models can provide excellent gas mileage.
According to this article, a base model 2016 Toyota Highlander is $30,490. This is slightly higher than the base price of a similar size Toyota van. Options and features will make the cost go up significantly.
A 2016 Toyota Sienna starts at a base price of $28,850. This is slightly lower than a comparable SUV. However, features and options tend to be less expensive with minivans.
The starting price point for many SUV’s tends to be a bit higher than for minivans. With optional features and equipment, a huge price difference is apparent. A fully equipped minivan will top out around $50,000, while some fully equipped SUV’s will top $100,000. I would choose a minivan because it is often the most cost-effective choice.
This is all my opinion and wht I’ve heard from my friends across the country. For some reason, minivans just have a “less cool” image. That whole soccer mom thing has really stuck with them. A few years ago, Toyota tried to play on this image with their “swagger wagon” advertising campaign.
But it never really disappeared.
Many SUV’s provide a very comfortable ride experience. However, they ride higher than a minivan which means a less comfortable road feel. SUV’s also tend to be a bit smaller in the overall room which can lead to a less comfortable experience, especially on longer rides.
A minivan sits closer to the ground which provides better road feel and a more comfortable ride experience. Minivans have more room to stretch and just sit comfortably. They were designed to transport many people after all.
I would choose a minivan based on riding comfort. The very high-end SUV’s can provide a very comfortable ride experience. However, a high-end minivan would be just as comfortable.
This is the one area that SUV’s shine. All SUV’s have available 4 wheel drive or all wheel drive and have a higher ground clearance. An SUV was designed to go through whatever weather comes along.
A minivan will provide about the same weather performance as a car. All-wheel drive models do exist and options such a traction control will provide better weather performance.
While this decision will depend on the weather where you live, I would say SUV’s win. However, if you live in an area with limited or no snow and good road crews, a minivan can still be an excellent choice. In my area, a minivan would be just fine.
Family Vehicle Safety
No matter which car you choose, make sure you are buckled up and never ever use your phone in the car. If you have a baby, find a local car seat check and verify the seat is installed correctly.
An SUV tends to sit higher because they are truck-based. This creates seating that tends to be higher which can offer a better view of the surroundings while driving. The flip side of this is they are prone to roll over in certain situations which can be a risk.
A van is car based which means it is closer to the ground and less likely to roll over. This also makes handling and control a bit better at times.
I would call this metric a tie. In this case, the winner is safety is often based on the vehicle model. Some minivans, as well as some SUV’s, have extremely high on safety marks. In addition, many drivers assist options that relate to safety, such as blind spot warning, are available on both.
Our Pick for Best Family Vehicle is…
After driving both around, I don’t care about the “soccer mom” stigma, I am a proud minivan driver. It is just easier to load and unload multiple passengers, is comfier for everyone, and has the best family-focused accessories (like a built-in vacuum, seriously).
What do you think? Which do you like best?