By on February 21, 2015

Minivan fuel economy chart 2015“America’s minivan segment generated only 3.4% of the U.S. auto industry’s new vehicle volume in 2014, down from 5.2% in 2007.”

So said I earlier this week in my review of the updated 2015 Toyota Sienna, the only remaining all-wheel-drive minivan.

The Sienna was America’s top-selling minivan in each of the last three months. And although the accompanying chart displays its official EPA mileage ratings at 16/23 mpg on the city and highway, front-wheel-drive Siennas are rated at 18/25. Forget the 14.4 mpg we saw during our test. Temperatures were brutal, the vehicle spent much of its time idling as we attempted to clear it (along with every other car on the street) of multiple inches of ice, the city streets on which the Sienna spent most of its stay were mostly snow-covered, and the van was fresh off the assembly line.

But could we have reasonably expected more than 16 mpg in city driving? Not according to the EPA.

A 2005 all-wheel-drive Sienna was also rated at 16 miles per gallon in the city, and it was marked down on the highway by just one mpg compared with our 2015 version. But at that time, the most efficient 4WD Ford F-150 was rated at 13 mpg in the city.

Pickup trucks have made massive progress. Ford’s 2.7L EcoBoost V6 is rated at 18 mpg in 4WD trim today.

Minivans are impressive vehicles. But are we surprised that in a relatively em-pee-gee-conscious society, a dearth of progress will be rewarded when other vehicle categories are leaping forward?

Timothy Cain is the founder of GoodCarBadCar.net, which obsesses over the free and frequent publication of U.S. and Canadian auto sales figures.

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112 Comments on “Chart Of The Day: Is Minivan Fuel Mileage A Big Part Of The Problem?...”


  • avatar

    Minivans are UGLY, effeminate – and since most are FWD instead of AWD, more people would prefer a 4×4 CUV or SUV. The only thing keeping minivans afloat is the necessity for leg space, shoulder/ hip width and ceiling height on long road trips…

    …and Dry Cleaner owners.

    Is anyone really still paying attention to their MPG if the van itself serves their needs?

    • 0 avatar
      mike978

      I agree most are not paying attention to fuel economy if they truly need the space if the minivan. But there are lots of two kid families who have a van when an SUV would work (third row not really used) and they nay pay more attention to mpg since they have more choices.

      • 0 avatar
        duffman13

        I resemble this remark. We have a 3 row SUV but don’t need the third row yet at this point. It’s like those wagons back in the early 90s – the seating is there if I need it, but they stay folded down and I have a massive trunk the other 90% of the time.

        • 0 avatar
          highdesertcat

          This was also the case for both my daughter and daughter-in-law when they purchased their minivans, a 2013 Odyssey and a 2014 Sienna AWD.

          Fuel mileage was not even on the list of considerations. They needed the space, the room, the people-hauling capacity.

    • 0 avatar
      87 Morgan

      I’m not sure that I agree with the premise of your statement. The min an market serves two major needs that the CUV and 4×4 market just can’t.

      I have some anecdotal experience with both, here goes,

      1. The suburban mom with multiple kids. It is far easier to have sliding doors in the grocery store parking lot that open with a push of a button and you can climb in to strap junior into the car seat versus wrenching your back to lean in and do it. You can then unload your grocery cart. Not a great idea to let a new to walking toddler out and about in the parking lot unattended for even a second. Please name the CUV or 4×4 that has remote doors for all….

      2. The senior market. Again power sliding doors with stow and go. One click and the door slides open and the dads wheel chair can be ‘easily’ loaded into the right rear passenger spot while dad slides into the shot gun chair. Grand ma who has arthritis can also push the button to open the rear hatch as turning her hand over and squeezing is quite difficult.

      So, yes for these two market segments that I believe are broader than one might expect, fuel economy is a second or maybe even fifth or sixth consideration.

      • 0 avatar
        Mandalorian

        Definitely. People don’t buy them because of the “Gas Millage” they buy them because they want the sliding doors.

        In real world MPG, the difference between a van and a Suburban is minimal. It’s equal with something like a Traverse.

      • 0 avatar
        highdesertcat

        Yup, a lot of seniors buy a minivan for ease of entry and exit and the voluminous area each offers.

        In my area, the Odyssey and Sienna appear to be the minivans of choice with the elderly, although most of them also a own a sedan or 4×4 CUV, plus a truck of some sort.

      • 0 avatar
        Willyam

        Bullzeye (Toy Story pun intentional here) on all counts, sir. The Odyssey fits in the same relative garage space, yet holds much more (there was no cargo room in the SUV with the third seat up), the third seat is actually usable, it doesn’t handle too badly, and it’s really comfy to eat highway miles in. The power doors were a huge factor, as trying to get a child into a lofty SUV second row seat was really tough when in tight parking lots, and it rendered one of the rear pass-throughs unusable.

        Gas mileage was second to utility, but the darned thing is getting 25 on trips, which something this large really has no right to do without a diesel plant. I’m quite happy with that bonus.

        • 0 avatar
          dtremit

          Given the same weight and powertrain, a minivan should always get better highway mileage than an SUV — the ground clearance being the key. The higher ride of an SUV gives a lot more wind resistance under the car.

    • 0 avatar
      JimC2

      “Minivans are … effeminate”

      Depends on your definitions of effeminate and masculine. Practical transportation the brood that you spawned seems pretty masculine. Big shiny bro trucks that never go off road seem compensatory by comparison. (Just counter-trolling!)

      • 0 avatar
        wsn

        I completely agree with you.

        Males are associated with qualities such as logical, practical, etc.
        Females are associated with emotional buying, style etc.

        So, minivan are the most masculine segment IMO, simply because no one buys them for the image. SUVs, especially ones driven by females and never off the pavement, are the most effeminate.

        • 0 avatar
          Big Al from Oz

          @wsn,
          I agree with you.

          Even in Australia, look at many households with a 4×4 pickup, SUV, people mover (minivan) the wife tends to drive them and the husband drive the sh!tter.

          When I met my ex I had a mid spec D20 4×4 diesel twin cab, she drove it and I ended up driving her Corolla.

          It was a harder vehicle to drive than the Corolla.

        • 0 avatar
          Mandalorian

          To me a logical, practical “Masculine” car is something like a Suburban. It can handle any situation and doesn’t play fancy with styling. It looks like a brick because it’s spacious as heck. Function over form.

          A Feminine vehicle is an Audi A5, BMW 4-Series, Infiniti G-Coupe or anything else that sacrifices space/capability for “Style”. Not a genuine sports car, but a 2-door sedan derivative. Form over function.

          • 0 avatar
            dtremit

            “A Feminine vehicle is an Audi A5, BMW 4-Series, Infiniti G-Coupe or anything else that sacrifices space/capability for ‘Style’.”

            Odd, considering I almost never see women driving any of those.

          • 0 avatar
            wsn

            You are mixing up the two terms “practical” and “capable”. Suburban is “capable”, but not “practical” for 80% of the owner population.

            For a household of two, with no one in the trades, an Infiniti G-Coupe is way more practical than a Suburban.

          • 0 avatar
            wstarvingteacher

            And the really practical ones were those that came with diesels. I don’t think Ford or Mopar had an equivalent. Sadly, that is history.

        • 0 avatar
          mr breeze

          When our three children were small our Honda Odyssey was the perfect vehicle, both my wife and I were equally fine driving around in that vehicle. But it seems that women have moved on to embrace the SUV instead. So I predict that the bigger SUVs will become more minivan like the new Kia Sedona, Highlander, etc.

          • 0 avatar
            Willyam

            At least here in Truck headquarters (aka the lower midwest) you’re exactly right. The “soccer mom” contingent is split about 60/40 between Yukon/Tahoe/Escalade and the minivans. Strangely, few Fords, no Durangos. There are some Sequoias and Armadas and such, but the Tahoe seems to be the aspirational kid mover ’round these parts.
            Watching them spin rear tires trying to get out of Wallys this weekend drove home the point that they are the epitome of style over substance (ice is not friendly to this configuration of vehicle). They are also thought of as highly “masculine”: huge V8, all-terrain tires, chrome everywhere, intimidating bumpers, tinted windows, receiver hitch. Yet, primarily driven by women, at least under casual observation.

      • 0 avatar
        MBella

        I really liked Principal Dan’s story in the comments of the Raptor article.

        ” One of my faves is a gentleman who bought one and promptly asked to borrow his brother in laws early 90s F150 for a truck requiring job. The BIL asked why?

        The reply – “I don’t want to scratch my truck.”

  • avatar
    mike978

    Great point and there has been a lack of progress on the fuel economy front.
    Just one point to remember though. EPA fuel data changed in 2008 and 16mpg now is a little better than 16mpg pre 2008. But your overall point compared to trucks is correct. The same could be said for SUVs like the Durango or Traverse which have minivan matching economy.

    • 0 avatar
      Hummer

      16/23 is the same as the Tahoe gets(granted 2WD to AWD), and the Traverse for example does 1/1 better, much less than you’d expect going from a fullsize truck platform to a midsize car platform.

      • 0 avatar
        salguod

        I had a 2010 Saturn Outlook, a near mechanical twin to the current Traverse and rated at the same 17/24 mpg. In the 2.5 years I owned it I think I had 1 or 2 tanks that broke 20 mpg. 24 was possible (a few forum members got it or better), but only if you drove like a hypermiler.

        As a contrast, my 99 Odyssey that it replaced regularly saw 23-25 highway and occasionally more.

    • 0 avatar
      Timothy Cain

      EPA has made adjustments so figures can be compared historically. Sienna’s 2007 AWD rating in 2007 was 18/23.

  • avatar
    Richard Chen

    Station wagons didn’t have terrible mileage, either. They went out of style (and profit), and were replaced by minivans, SUVs, then CUVs. Small minivans then mostly disappeared, morphing into cargo vehicles: Nissan NV200, Ram Promaster City, Ford Transit Connect – the latter not especially small with a 3rd row.

    LWB V6 minivans have never been fashionable. Despite a shrinking presence, it’s still a competitive sector, as Nissan found out the hard way with the 2004 Quest. Stumble, and the retail market has no mercy.

    • 0 avatar
      gearhead77

      Look at the EPA ratings for the station wagons around at the minivan’s inception. Anything close to comparable in hauling capability to a minivan was a 14 mpg Country Squire or Caprice. The Euro wagons weren’t much better.

      Even further along, look at the fuel economy for a Taurus wagon towards the end of its run. Nearly the same was the Windstar or Freestar minivan they sold in the same showroom.

      The station wagon has morphed into the CUV in all its forms.

      My Dad didn’t want a minivan. So we wound up with a 351 powered Econoline with a mild conversion. It got around 11mpg and it probably weighed as much in 1984 as our Odyssey does now.

  • avatar
    redliner

    I still believe that the first manufacturer to make a plesant hybrid minivan will win win win. We know Chrysler is planning a plug-in.

    • 0 avatar
      AKADriver

      The Highlander Hybrid powertrain would pretty much plug right into the Sienna – I believe Toyota even offers a van with the Camry Hybrid’s powertrain in other countries. Toyota seems to be leaving a huge opportunity on the table, granted it’s a small segment.

      • 0 avatar
        wagonsonly

        I think they might be leaving a small opportunity on the table. Toyota is the only game in town for an AWD minivan and they’re not exactly selling like gangbusters. Hybridize the AWD powertrain and the mileage rating probably wouldn’t be much better than the FWD models. Hybridize the FWD model and you won’t be able to sell it to the liberal greenies in the Northeast and Pacific Northwest; they’ll still get the AWD model for ski trips. Do the hybrid in both vans and cannibalize your own van – and pay for certifying four powertrain combinations to boot. The market is there, but the costs of access are far too high, especially with EPA certification. I suspect that the added cost, weight, and space constraints of adding battery packs would also work against the combination, especially for the AWD model (where are you going to fit the seats, the batteries, the driveshaft and the rear differential, remembering that the existing drivetrain idea precludes electric hub motors on the rear wheels)?

        • 0 avatar
          HerrKaLeun

          they could save space by removing AWD and use E-motors for the rear wheels. I think for AWD needs, hybrid would be a perfect fit.

          when driving on E-motor only, it is a RWD vehicle. When using ICE it becomes FWD/AWD as needed.

          That AWD setup adds a lot of weight, cost and space while making the van less efficient. Use hybrid instead at some more cost, but get much better efficiency.

        • 0 avatar
          mr.cranky

          I’m shocked at the amount of outdated stereotypes in this comment section.

          I mean, seriously? You still think that there are feminine and masculine cars/trucks? And that “liberal greenies” comment?

          Is this how conservatives talk about cars? Yech.

    • 0 avatar
      danio3834

      Win at what? PHEV options have never been particularly popular or profitable. While I believe they will probably sell a reasonable amount of them in a minivan package, they’re not doing it for anything more than CAFE and emissions reasons.

    • 0 avatar
      Richard Chen

      If Toyota had figured how to make a profit on Sienna hybrids, they would have been on sale already. The JDM Estima Hybrid minivan is on its second generation, and the Highlander/RX V6 hybrid on its third.

      Instead, Toyota is content to sell Highlander Hybrids loaded at almost $50k, moving a few thousand annually.

    • 0 avatar
      SpinnyD

      Toyota sells at least 5 hybrid minvans back in the mother country. not sure why they haven’t imported one here yet. I know I saw a Hybrid Estima back in 2003 when I went there.

      http://toyota.jp/

  • avatar
    an innocent man

    If I got 16, I might reconsider. But I get 20 in mixed, and can hit 22 on a trip. But the thing is, every once in awhile I can hit the mid-40’s in MPG. If someone can leave their car at home and ride with us because we have the space, then that effectively raises the MPG between us. If one set of inlaws goes along on a trip where they would have had to drive separately, that doubles the average between us. Going to the same movie, or pool in the summer as your neighbor? Leave one car home, double up. The fairly frequent convenience of that is why some of us will put up with the lower mileage most of the time.

  • avatar
    Dave M.

    I’m surprised there’s been no hybrid version either. The coming Chrysler plug in will be interesting; better yet a smaller chassis old Quest/Villager/MPV sized AWD hybrid would probably sell quite well.

    Subaru?

  • avatar
    Joss

    Minivan diesel. Moms will have to get a waft of Sprinter diesel from the sliding door and diesel glove in the laundry basket.

    • 0 avatar
      an innocent man

      >Minivan diesel.<

      Just, no. I wonder how many engines we'd go through before my wife remembered to use the hose with the green handle.

    • 0 avatar
      WheelMcCoy

      “Minivan diesel.”

      And more men might drive a vehicle classified as “mini vin-diesel.” And it would no doubt make an appearance in the next Fast & Furious.

    • 0 avatar
      Big Al from Oz

      @Joss,
      A Sprinter? Nope.

      A Viano Grande. Does 125mph and can carry 8 people on board and pull over 30 mpg (US gallon).

      Not bad for a diesel. In imperial measure it would be in the high 8s for a 0-60 time. Being a diesel it will be less affected by a load in performance and FE.

      It costs the same as a Grande Voyager in Australia, which is lots ($56k converted into USD).

      In the US I would expect it to be around $45k.

      The only place in Australia that has “smelly” and leaky diesel bowsers are truck stops, not normal servo’s (Aussie slang for gas station).

      http://www.sunshinecoastdaily.com.au/news/2014-mercedes-benz-grand-edition-viano-road-test/2267628/

  • avatar
    Carilloskis

    I don’t see why people buy minivans as just about all of them are seven passenger only, when a comparably equipped 2015 f150 crew xlt Fx4 2.7l cost 3k more than a compatible senna before rebates witch we know trucks have a lot of. The F150 gets better fuel economy, more cargo room , more power a real 4×4 system , with an off road pkg, heated seats, and can fit 6 do you really need a minivan? Get the much nicer optioned more capable and more efficient pickup and be done with it.

    • 0 avatar
      AKADriver

      I own a van because it’s a seven passenger vehicle. Four adults and two kids in my household. Three-row CUVs and SUVs don’t have the comfort with adults in the back; having to clamber over second row seats past swinging rear doors to the third row is not something I want to subject my 60-year-old parents to.

      “Real 4×4” is useless to the majority of people who never leave pavement. Modern full-time AWD is more adept at typical northeastern winter driving conditions, and here in Virginia FWD does just fine (with an economy and cost benefit).

      With all the seats folded any modern minivan will hold 4×8 sheets, the gold standard of homeowner cargo capacity. When I go to Costco on a rainy day my 96-pack of toilet paper doesn’t get wet like it would in a pickup bed.

      • 0 avatar
        Carilloskis

        I grew up in a family with 6 kids 4 of us where within 2 years of age( me then triplets) We had a 95 then a 99 suburban 4×4 in the western US if you do out door activities like camping skiing etc 4×4 comes in really handy. With my self and 3 brothers all over 6 ft tall we don’t fit in the third row of a minivan and the stow and go middle row the seats are comically small, Toilet paper is wrapped in plastic, and bed covers for a pick up bed do a pretty good job of sealing out water, and they are not that expensive. Plus where are your storing 96 rolls of TP. My parents have also fit 4×8 in the suburbans and I have fit large items such as couches large bbq grills etc. in the 05 example I had while in college.

    • 0 avatar
      Syke

      I’ve got a long wheelbase minivan (Kia Sedona) even though I don’t have kids. Or rear seats in it, for that matter. I use it as my RV. The middle seats have been stored in the attic since the day I brought it home. I camp in it at race tracks, use it to haul all my equipment to historic re-enactments, and can still use it to do the every two week run to the recycling center with the household trash.

      In fact, the only things it can’t do that my Ranger will is haul dirty loads, and occasionally haul a motorcycle. Next week, I get the hitch installed, and with a light 5×8 utility trailer, the latter problem is solved. The former? I’ll rent a pickup for the once a year that a load of mulch, etc. needs to hauled. Or I’ll pay for delivery. And the Sendona is a lot more comfortable on long trips than the Ranger. Final nail in the coffin.

      The week after next, the Ranger goes on the market. At this point, its superfluous.

    • 0 avatar
      Maymar

      I’m pretty average sized, and I still have to haul myself up into modern pickups. My 5″ tall mom even finds compact crossovers too high. Minivans are much closer to a comfortable height for plenty of people. So why take the extra ground clearance if you don’t need it?

    • 0 avatar
      formula m

      When it’s snowy/icy for 4 months straight part time four wheel drive is pointless for most drivers here in Canada. By the time you turn on your real 4×4 in your pos Ford the truck is already in ditch. If your wife drives it is she supposed to drive around in 4 wheel HI for months on end? It will damage the system driving on dry roads

    • 0 avatar
      baggins

      you obviously dont have children

    • 0 avatar
      gearhead77

      Pretty sure that real world economy on a 4×4 truck is still going to suffer. Lots of griping that the EcoBoost isn’t exactly living up to its window sticker.

      I don’t need 4WD. I don’t camp or tow. Sliding doors and kids are great, especially power sliding doors. In the rare instance I need a bed, I rent a truck.

      I’ve found that snow tires and FWD is fine for 90% of the winter driving we do. That other 10% is stuff you don’t need to be out in.

  • avatar
    jim brewer

    The only thing “mini” about them is the name.

    I got 25+ mpg highway on the motor pool caravan the other day. Pre pentastar. These are not small vehicles. Probably the same weight as a standard cab pickup.

    • 0 avatar
      PrincipalDan

      If we compare the current crop of minivans to the full size vans of yore they look good in the fuel economy department. Most of them weigh the same as the V8 short wheelbase beasts.

      • 0 avatar
        gearhead77

        A bit of a rehash from above, but my folks had a 1984 Econoline 150 with a mild conversion. It was a 351 with a 3 spd auto

        It probably weighed as much as our ’14 Oddy, without 1/4 of the safety or comfort items and it got 11mpg. City or highway. My Dad always said that, I thought it was a lie. Then I looked at the EPA website 1984. 11/12 is the rating. The 5.0 with the 4 spd auto is 12/15. A similarly powered Crown Vic was 14/20

  • avatar
    an innocent man

    I just checked. The 2015 Ody is rated 28 highway. My ’04 TSX gets about 32 on a mostly Interstate commute. 28 doesn’t strike me as terrible, as the Highlander is rated 25. I do agree a Hybrid would be a welcome addition to the segment.

  • avatar
    an innocent man

    Also, can we let PeteZeiss back yet? This thread is just asking for some good kid-hate, and no one did it better than Pete.

  • avatar
    bossross24

    These are just the MGP ratings. The actual mileage will vary… Some will be lower, some will be higher. For example. I sell Dodge Grand Caravan and Chrysler Town & Country and I’ve talked to a lot of customers that can get 30-31-32 MPG on the highway with the new 3.6L Pentastar V6. I wish they would take that into consideration more as the information is definitely out there. And due to the pure functionality of minivans, they will never disappear. If anything they will adapt to a different, “non-soccer mom-ish” look. I know Chrysler has something in the works now.

  • avatar
    jim brewer

    I guess I should point out that they have an application for large men with long commutes with 25 mpg highway.

  • avatar
    salguod

    I’d love to see real world comparisons here. My experience (noted above) is that my 2010 Saturn Outlook was always 15-20 percent off its highway rating while my 99 Odyssey was usually pretty close. I don’t know if that’s a comment on Honda ratings and performance vs GM or minivan vs SUV.

    • 0 avatar
      FormerFF

      We had a 2006 Odyssey, got right around 16 in town, all short trips, lots of traffic lights, some busy traffic. We also got about 24 highway, with the cruise control set at 75 mph.

      It has since been replaced with a 2014 Explorer, which gets 17 in town but a little less, say 23 mpg, on the highway, which is not surprising since it is taller.

      In terms of carrying capacity, the van has a good bit more of that. We carried four adults, two older children, a dog, bags for all six, enough food for a low country boil for 10, and a couple of cases of libations, in the Odyssey. I suspect you’d need a long wheelbase Suburban to get all that stuff in an SUV type vehicle

  • avatar
    Car Ramrod

    I think fuel economy matters, but it’s not a big reason why or why not to choose a van. Probably just that crossovers are almost as good as vans now.

    My family is probably in the minority, as we cross-shopped vans and crossovers. We cover 18000 miles per year– the Odyssey won out over, say, an MDX because of regular gas and a 3mpg difference in the city.

    • 0 avatar
      Carilloskis

      Your smart in that you see them as the same vehicles. A lot of the new cross overs are just mini vans with conventional doors and the ability to accommodate 20″ rims

  • avatar
    nickoo

    I’m a huge fan of the minivan form factor and the mopar features such as stow and go. If I needed a family/utility vehicle, I would buy one in a second. Supposedly, the next generation of chrysler minivans are going hybrid, and it can’t happen soon enough, hybrid + cvt will go a long ways in the city. There isn’t a lot that can be done for the highway milage, mostly determined by aerodynamic drag, because the box shape with the huge flat back is super unaerodynamic. They could boat-tail the back to promote clean air separation, but it would be at the expense of cargo room and then you might as well just get a less useful CUV.

  • avatar
    NullSkull

    If mileage was the only concern, then yes, buying a minivan makes no sense. However, if you need to fit three car seats in one row, still have need for cargo space and aren’t particularly image conscious (which seems to be most people’s problem), then there is no alternative.

    Really, it comes down to the car seats. Your average baby pod runs 17+ inches in width. And it is surprisingly difficult to get three in row in just about any vehicle. In most SUVs you’d need a third row, which means permanently sacrificing cargo space AND having to fold a seat back just to strap your munchkin in. No thanks. And I might add that buckling said munchkins into car seats is a lot easier with sliding doors.

  • avatar
    DenverMike

    At what point do we admit minivans need V8s? Not tuned/geared for towing a pontoon or setting the 1/4 mile on fire, but just to move a heavy A$$ vehicle efficiently/effectively with little stress on the drivetrain. Minivans are known for eating head gaskets and transmissions, besides poor fuel economy for a reason.

    • 0 avatar
      highdesertcat

      This V8 premise is probably why so many people who own full-size vans are holding on to them for dear life.

      Since there is virtually no rust in my area, old V8 full-size vans are kept running long past their expiration date, often with replacement parts scrapped from junk yards.

      Several years ago I helped a friend swap out a ChevyVan 305 V8 and replace it with a Chevy 350 V8 and THM350 matched set from a wrecked pickup truck.

    • 0 avatar
      FormerFF

      We had an Odyssey, it was more than fast enough, and had no drivetrain issues in 95,000 miles. If you went to a V8, you’d need rear drive, and then you’d need a considerably bigger vehicle to make up for the space lost to the driveshaft tunnel, the differential housing, and the driveshafts. At that point you’d be hard pressed to get it into a lot of people’s garages.

      The V6 drivetrain is fine, unless you’re towing something bigger than a smallish popup trailer. Most of these vans won’t realistically tow anything more than a Class I load.

      • 0 avatar
        highdesertcat

        My daughter had a 2006 Odyssey with ~150K trouble-free miles on it. When she divorced her husband in LA and left him, she drove that Odyssey to El Paso, TX, with a fully loaded 5X8 U-Haul trailer behind it.

        As!de from wind-induced sway issues on I-10, she experienced no problems. When she got to El Paso and I checked out the Odyssey for her, she was low one quart of oil.

        This was probably caused by the high rpm of the engine in lower gears necessary to climb up into the mountains as she traversed I-10 from CA into AZ and up toward the continental divide. She said she saw a huge cloud of light-blue smoke in her rear-view mirror every time the Odyssey down-shifted into a lower gear, climbing up the long grades.

        She since has traded that Odyssey for a 2013 EX-L and continues to love it.

      • 0 avatar
        DenverMike

        I’m not talking acceleration. But with vehicles that do the work of trucks, with passenger car drivetrains, something’s gotta give. And usually does. If you were lucky for the 1st 100K miles, that’s not usually the case for the next 100K.

        Fwd V8s aren’t anything new. We have the technology. Since there are no V8 minivans, I’d get a Tahoe if I needed seating for 7, without taking up much more of a parking space or garage. Minivans aren’t so “mini” anymore.

        • 0 avatar
          highdesertcat

          “Fwd V8s aren’t anything new.”

          I owned a brand spanking new 1977 Olds Toronado with the humongous 455.

          Ahhhhhhhhhhhhh, fwd at its best. Nosedive happy but what a ride!!!

        • 0 avatar
          FormerFF

          The current Odyssey is 203 inches long, almost exactly the same as the Tahoe, but with much more interior space, and at a MUCH lower cost. How much overall length would have to be added to get a longitudinal V8 in the vehicle? Would that vehicle then fit in most garages? Mine is 218 inches in length.

          V8 engines are on their way out for mainstream passenger vehicles. Besides, the problems have been with the transaxles, not the engines.

          • 0 avatar
            Lorenzo

            Finally, a comment on the grenading transaxles, especially on Chrysler minivans. Nothing turns off customers like a new transmission right after the warranty runs out.

          • 0 avatar
            gearhead77

            And Honda’s “Glass Transmission”. I don’t like the way the 6spd in our 14 Oddy does much of anything. It feels like it’s just overwhelmed by the V6 and the bulk of the Oddy. I’ll keep leasing Honda’s, not buying them, for that reason.

      • 0 avatar
        TrailerTrash

        I wonder what the weight difference is between the 99 Dodge Caravan and today’s. My 99 had the 3.8 and seemed pretty quick. I never noticed the lack of power, anyway. And we traveled fully loaded and over mountains.
        It did have terrible trans issues all the time…but seemed plenty quick.
        And back in 99 we never worried or thought about MPGs, so I have no idea what she did.

    • 0 avatar
      Maymar

      In regards to weak minivan transmissions, I don’t think adding even more power, or requiring even tighter packaging is the answer.

      • 0 avatar
        TrailerTrash

        I don’t feel the trans of the vans are inherently poor.
        Yes, my 99 was a mess, but so was the so called good trans of my 2002 Trailblazer. That thing had a major breakdown early, then a total rebuild at 104 K!!!!

  • avatar
    PrincipalDan

    If mpg mattered that much wouldn’t it be hurting CUVs as well? The real world fuel economy is the same.

    The real disappointment to me up there is the nearly equal fuel economy between the 3rd generation (current) Highlander and 2nd generation Highlander. They added a gear to the transmission (6 gears) and lamed the AWD system (FWD slip and grip – then the rear kicks in) compared to the old system which was 50/50 full time torque split.

    I guess the thing we should still be amazed by is that the three row CUVs of today (AWD and 300hp) get the same fuel economy as the full size 8 passenger BOF 8 cyl RWD 150-ish HP wagons of yore.

  • avatar
    duffman13

    I’m not going to say that mileage even came into our discussion, but my wife and I just bought ourselves a 3 row vehicle for our growing family. As may have said, as utilitarian as they are minivans are ugly and never entered the conversation. However, I’d like to note we’re seeing ~24mpg highway and about 19 combined on a 3-row AWD Santa Fe, which is just as good if not better than most minivans in the same price category, and I’d argue that the style/utility tradeoff makes it roughly a wash as far as price is concerned.

    • 0 avatar
      danio3834

      >minivans are ugly and never entered the conversation.
      >AWD Santa Fe

      XD

      • 0 avatar
        Car Ramrod

        Korean SUV styling baffles me. then again I’ve never forgiven Hyundai for the outright craptacularness of the 1st Santa Fe. My in-laws had one with the smaller V6. Terrible in every way, but I’m sure the new ones are decent.

    • 0 avatar
      Syke

      Your loss.

      I seriously question the logical disconnect between a growing family being the main motivation for a vehicle purchase, and the complete unwillingness to consider the best people hauler available.

      Ego must be an incredible motivation on purchases.

    • 0 avatar
      TrailerTrash

      They really have gotten bad. I remember my 99 Caravan and the cool jellybean look. It had a wonderful looking front end and that back wasn’t just the huge square of today’s large boxes.
      In fact, I think they LEFT the boxed look during that design and are now really back to the box.

      They should spend a little money on design.
      I feel they are just afterthoughts these days…all the design is going towards the SUV

  • avatar
    Petra

    I speculate that profit margins for minivans must be pretty thin. Ford could justify the investment in converting the F-150 to aluminum, because they know that they will sell them by the millions, and at high profit margins at that.

    Minivans don’t sell in huge numbers anymore. And a minivan is a pretty complex vehicle when you think about it: flat-folding seats, multi-zone climate control, motorized sliding doors, vacuum cleaners- all these are features that minivan buyers demand, and they cost money to engineer and manufacture. Toyota probably blew their meager engineering budget on the Sienna figuring out how to cram in all of those features AND make AWD work; by the time they sorted it out, there was no money/time left to look at fuel economy.

    The few people who still buy new minivans are a demanding group of buyers. Maybe the most demanding demographic in the whole market.

  • avatar
    daver277

    In europe we rented Renault Kangoos and Peugeut Partner which are like a 3/4 scale fwd suburban. Very practical people and cargo haulers with sweetheart deisels and 3 pedals. Both got the same mpg – 41 miles per us gallon combined.
    After 30 seconds warmup the only clue that it was not gas was piles of torque and no high revs.

  • avatar
    mjal

    All the hate hear on minivans. I owned a Odyssey and it was a great vehicle for 3 growing kids. I now own a Buick Enclave because my wife wanted to try something different any my kids are older. While not pretty, minivans are still the most practical and comfortable people movers, in my opinion. The current CUVs cannot match the best minivans for 3rd seat room, comfort, or access. If fact, if you want to talk total cargo area, the current Sienna blows away even a Suburban. So, unless you want to argue styling, need towing capacity, or have 2 or less kids, you’re not convincing me that a CUV is a more logical choice to a minivan. Further, don’t tell me a that minivans gets worse mileage than a Suburban. I’m not buying it, especially for city driving. Check TrueDelta.

  • avatar
    Pch101

    All of the mainstream brand gas guzzlers took a hit as a result of the oil bubble. (I’m sure that I’ve provided some data about that on other threads.)

    But that doesn’t explain all of it. The minivan segment seems to also be falling out of favor; crossovers are draws for both traditional SUV and minivan buyers.

    The research on minivan buyers showed that they liked to project the image of being family people, while SUV buyers wanted to avoid that image. Crossovers seem to be able to attract both groups.

  • avatar
    Speed3

    I would like a Honda Odyssey Si with the Acura NSX’s 400hp V6/hybrid set up. It would be the ultimate man van.

    Alternatively if Dodge were cool it would offer a Caravan SRT and drop the Hemi in it.

    Am I alone here? Can you imagine how bad ass it would be peeling out of Costco loaded up with enough paper towel to last a year?

    One can only dream…

  • avatar
    2drsedanman

    I love my 2006 Sienna. Mileage over 122,000 is 18 city and 25 highway. I plan on getting something else in the next 2 years but I’m not sure what I would like as well. Easy to get in and out of for everyone, rides good,easy to see out of, sits higher than a car, plenty of room, and great in snow. A crew cab truck is a valid argument, but I find the height of new pickup beds too high to be practical. Plus they are harder to get in and out of and they are quiet a bit bigger than my van. Seems like the logical transition would be to a Rav4 or Highlander. Maybe people transitioning out of vans is fueling the CUV boom in sales. If you can get past the image, a van is still hard to beat.

  • avatar
    Boxofrain

    I haven’t been pricing or shopping for minivans, but I have been for SUVs such as the RAV4, CX5, CR-V etc. I know the Honda and Toyota minivans aren’t cheap, but I believe Dodge offers some pretty good deals on the Caravan, like around $20,000 or less here in Canada. Not sure what you get for that but I’m sure it includes the Pentastar V6. Now, do a build and price here in Canada on an SUV. You start at around $26,000, for FWD, 4 cylinder engine and not much else. You want AWD, better show up with a minimum of $28,000 but $30,000 is more like it,and none of them offer a 283 HP V6 at any price. None of them offer the passenger or cargo space either. Most don’t a have third row seat as an option, and if they do, you have no storage room. For people with a large or medium size family and stuff to haul, a mini van beats an SUV. The larger SUVs are more expensive again and aren’t that fuel efficient.

  • avatar
    Big Al from Oz

    Like any large and heavy gasoline powered vehicle it will cost to accelerate mass. More mass equates to more energy, hence city driving in a heavy vehicle will suck fuel.

    This isn’t just regarding people movers, but all heavy vehicles like pickups for instance.

    All EPA FE figures should be take with a grain of salt. They might indicate that a certain vehicle will use more fuel than another vehicle, that’s as far as I trust the EPA figures, even here in Australia.

    Look at the EPA quoted mpg figures as “units” call them EPA units of distance, as it’s apparent they aren’t miles, maybe it’s easier to convert EPA miles per gallon into kilometres and convert back to mpg’s using kilometres as your unit of measure.

    So, a Pentastar powered Ram might be quoted at whatever, but in reality it’s returning 15-17mpg.

    Here’s a cut and paste;

    “Unfortunately, our observed fuel economy is only slightly better than V-8 pickups at 15 mpg. The optional 3.55:1 final-drive ratio (versus the standard 3.21:1) on the truck we tested no doubt had a part in both outcomes.”

    http://www.caranddriver.com/reviews/2013-ram-1500-slt-v6-8at-test-review-were-all-afraid-to-admit-what-we-want-page-3

    A minivan is not different. That’s why the EcoBoost is an EcoFarce, it’s worse than the Pentastar in real life.

    The only form of traction that comes close to EPA figures are the diesels. Actually there is differences in the testing of FE between diesel’s and gasoline vehicles in the US. Who would of thought a bias towards gasoline power in the US.

    That’s why many nations use diesels to power larger and heavier vehicles. They pay for themselves in real life, not using EPA kilometres per gallon. And they emit less particulates and CO2 than a gasoline engine.

  • avatar
    cimarron typeR

    We own a 2012 AWD Limited. In suburban cycle we avg 18 over the life of this vehicle. In this cold spell on winterized fuel blend it gets 16ish. Similar idling patterns as article above referenced on test vehicle over this past month with temps in 20-30s.Our Enclave would get 14 in this same weather.
    Overall quite pleased with this car, I’m glad we traded our Enclave in on it. I’m OK w/ gas mileage as you can’t really compare it to midsize SUV, as it’s much more spacious. We’re in the part of the country (KS) that doesn’t get enough snow to budget for a legitimate snow crew, so our roads are pretty uncleared for some time, so AWD is very helpful.
    My only complaint is interior noise, which I think has been addressed on 2015 MY.The price for a loaded version is up there, but looking at features not available on say, a 2015 Highlander -HIDs,power folding mirrors- both must have options for us, its right in line. Because there is no Lexus minivan Toyota felt it right to offer everything in this vehicle.
    Wow, can’t believe first post on this site is about our Sienna.

  • avatar
    See 7 up

    Are US demographics changing – as in # of young families?
    America is aging right? Perhaps lower sales are due to smaller families and less family formation.

  • avatar
    APaGttH

    When minivans emerged as a category, SUVs were largely BOF and powered by truck drivelines. One of the big value props of a minivan over a fullsize child molster van or the BOF SUVs you could buy was fuel economy.

    The decades have gone by, BOF has been replaced mostly by CUVs that are unibody, the drivelines no longer bow at the altar of torque and the size of the CUV has exploded to 7 and 8 passenger monsters – with fuel economy that is equal to or better than the modern minivan.

    When you look at MPG for minivan compared to cars and CUVs/SUVs there just hasn’t been great strides. My 10 year old Saturn Relay with the GM “high value” 3.5 under the hood and 4-speed automatic gets 18/23 – 18/24 pretty darn consistently. If I spend hours in stop-and-go the city MPG can dwindle to 16-1/2, but that’s the exception.

    The needle just hasn’t moved as much for minivan MPG – there hasn’t been a lot of motivation.

    Dodge is getting out of the business, so in another year or two your choices are Kia, Chrysler (and no cheaped out version), Honda and Toyota.

    Mazda (who wasn’t much of a player) and VW (rebranded Chrysler) have both said, “we give up.”

    It’s a dying category of sorts.

    • 0 avatar
      gearhead77

      Not sure if it’s dying or just changing. BMW still sells a 3 series wagon and Mercedes the E-class. Jetta (Golf) wagon. Some people (myself included) just don’t like the packaging of most SUVs and CUV’s. I remember looking at the GLK when it first came out. It had the same cargo space as my 04 Jetta Wagon, just with a different wrapper.

      We’ll probably have a minivan of some kind for another 10 years, when my twins will be 14. I can’t imagine what the automotive landscape will look like, but I’d like to have just a wagon if they still exist.

  • avatar
    thx_zetec

    Awd usually waste of money

    Our odyssey gets 29 mpg highway and good accelerate

    Most 3-row suv or crossovers must worse third row comfort

    • 0 avatar

      Seriously. Out of all the mainstream large crossovers on the market, I’ve found only the Pathfinder and the GM Lambdas to actually be adequate for people who aren’t children…

    • 0 avatar
      TrailerTrash

      It might be a waste of money as designed today. But AWD should be the perfect drive. Having all wheels as part of the drive is ideal.
      Good OR bad weather.
      The tech is what is holding it back.
      I personally would feel great knowing my AWD was very quick and instantly all my wheels would be available to aid in any trouble happening.
      My Ford system is so slow I can go and get a sandwich before it is working.

      • 0 avatar
        heavy handle

        AWD would be a great answer if driven-wheel traction was a problem. It’s not, even in the worse weather.

        Drove around all day yesterday in a snow storm: around 6-8 inches. Half the cars on the roads were AWD/4WD, and half the cars in the ditch were AWD/4WD. In other words, AWD gets you nothing, even in some of the worse conditions you would normally encounter.

        I understand why people need AWD, either because they occasionally drive off road, or because they enjoy it (I’ve got a friend who probably spent the day in his 4Runner yesterday having a blast on country roads). For the average person who stays home when the weathergirl calls for a foot of snow, AWD is the answer to a question nobody asked. It won’t make you safer, it won’t keep you on the road, it costs more up front, and running costs are higher.

  • avatar

    There are some tricks—most of them involving aerodynamic improvements or weight savings—that could boost fuel economy on these unfashionable people-carriers…but I think the best thing is going to be for automakers to improve upon the efficiency of their respective corporate V6/transmission combos (for example, Toyota’s ubiquitous 3.5-liter V6) or develop four-cylinder engines that can be comfortably used in a variety of larger vehicles. That way, the costs of those fuel-economy gains will be amortized over several of their models, and not just the slow-selling minivans…

  • avatar
    toxicroach

    Success in the car industry is all about selling people station wagons that they don’t realize are station wagons.

    Minivans are the station wagons that were popular when the generation raising kids now were kids, so you have to dress them up as CUVs or SUVs to trick them into buying the station wagon. I imagine them having the fuel economy of a full size truck is one of a dozens reasons they don’t sell very well, as well as smaller family sizes. But it’s an image thing really. Buying a mini-van is a symbol of middle aged and being boring.

  • avatar
    gearhead77

    Our 14 Odyssey gets around 14-17 city depending on weather, traffic,fuel blend,etc. That’s about 2 mpg below the 19 city EPA and that 2 mpg difference is about what I’ve gotten with every car I’ve owned. The hills and roads of Pittsburgh are not kind to fuel economy.

    Our 08 Mazda 5 is around 16-18 mpg, well below the 22mpg city EPA. The 2.3 has to work fairly hard all the time. So in getting the Odyssey, we gained a ton of space, refinement and capability for not a lot less real world fuel economy.

    Sliding doors are awesome with kids, as is the power hatch. The kids love to push the button to close their own door. The folding rear seat and low liftover soundly trumps any SUV/CUV I’ve experienced.

    We don’t tow or go off-road. I buy snow tires and they suffice for 90% of winter driving that happens. AWD to me is a waste, we had an 03 Legacy and the 4 times in four years the AWD really proved itself wasn’t worth the MPG penalty.

    I for one would welcome a diesel minivan, but it probably will not happen in the US. Real world 22mpg city or better, with all the twist I need for the hills? Sign me up.

    Even a hybrid would work, but my experience with Toyota’s system is you need to drive like a roadblock to get the economy they rate them at. I just drove a rental Prius C all highway as close to consistent 80 mph as I could ( no cruise on this one) and it returned 35 mpg, well below its 46 mpg rating. I’m sure my brothers Jetta Sportwagen TDi has trumped that, driven in the same manner, and been a much better driving car all the way around.

    Diesel electric hybrid minivan?

    • 0 avatar
      HotPotato

      EPA highway MPG isn’t measured at 80 MPH, more like 60. You won’t get EPA numbers when you’re blasting along in the highway patrol’s “must issue ticket” zone.

      Hybrids get amazing city MPG but the advantage diminishes the faster you go on the highway. 80 MPH is too fast for you to ever drop into electric-only mode, unless you’re driving one of the latest Ford hybrids, which I believe can run electric-only up to 85mph…but wind resistance being what it is at that speed, I doubt you’ll see it happen unless blessed by a downhill stretch or a tailwind.

      • 0 avatar
        gearhead77

        I’m fully aware that EPA testing isn’t done at 80mph. But my point is I’ve seen just as many Prius and other hybrids doing well over the speed limit as crawling along under it. My other point is that trying to keep pace with traffic isn’t going to yield that EPA mileage either.

        For most of my driving experience, very few people obey the speed limit to the letter. Not only on highways, but local roads too. It seems that to most people:4 lanes=highway speeds. A main road near me, four lanes but a narrow four lanes, is marked for 35. Anything under 40, you’re getting flattened and 50 is common. We all have anecdotal stories for this.

        (I realize speed limits can be set too low and you can’t control how people drive, but that’s a different thread)

        80 mph is 10 over on the Ohio turnpike. A fairly straight, flat, mostly 6 lane road (3 lanes east and west at times). My Altima returned 30mpg driven the same way on the same route (with cruise), 3 mpg under its rating. My Mazda 5 returned 25 mpg fully loaded with the A/C on. 2 mpg under its rating on the same route.

        In my mind, 80 in a Prius C ( which should have cruise, which I think the ’15 does) should have yielded 40 mpg, not 35. Cruise might have given me another 1-2 mpg. If it had been warmer, maybe another mile per gallon, maybe more. So 40mpg might have been possible, at the same speed, just not that night. But still a large drop compared to what most people would expect. The Prius C still drove like a Prius, which to me, is awful. But I wanted to try it out.

        I did drive the Prius briefly in full EV mode. It said it achieved 70mpg equivalent. But to get that, I had to slowly accelerate, much more slowly than I feel is safe. Also, when I had to slow down for weather and a lower speed limit, the mileage didn’t improve, but I was in the hills of western PA by then too. My initial brief drive to the highway was 45mpg avg in 25 degree F.

        I’d be a fan of hybrid minivan. Around town, where our van spends 90% of its miles, I feel it would benefit. On the highway, not so much, but that would be an acceptable trade-off.

  • avatar
    BrunoT

    Not nearly as big a part as awkward looks, sloshy handling, and zero sex appeal. When people spend a lot of money on something it’d be nice to like how it looks and feel a little cool in it.

    • 0 avatar
      Willyam

      While that’s true, the third kiddo pretty much non-surgically removes all sex appeal anyway (unless you’re Brad and Angelina, of course).

      I have had to vacuum the cheerios out of the back of a rental Mustang, so yes, the itch is still there every now and then.

  • avatar
    JEFFSHADOW

    I now own my third minivan and my “children” have four legs each. They like entry and exiting because of the ease offered by the minivan design. The first van was a 2000 Oldsmobile Silhouette GL, then a 2004 Silhouette GLS and now a 2005 Buick Terazza CXL.
    While driving the 2004 Oldsmobile we had a head-on collision with an HDLL (High Desert Low Life) who was speeding 90 mph and met us at the crest of one hill out of 24 on the southern leg of Highway 395 in southern California. My Silhouette was totaled but the ABS and my reactive swerving saved our lives (and the dog and cat!).
    The LowLife was out looking for a place to buy more beer as the meth, cocaine and marijuana was not enough for him. That driver escaped, running across the midnight desert and was caught at 3 AM waiting for a liquor store to open at 6 AM.
    The 2000 and up GM minivans were extensively restructured to pass the offset collision tests. The long hood design of the 2005 versions made them even safer in a collision.
    Plus the Buick minivan is the best style to apply Amtrak Phase III paint and stripes to emulate the SDP40F locomotive #622 from 1983!

  • avatar
    fellswoop

    Rare, rare species here: Late model Odyssey owner by choice, V1 on dashboard, no kids, two-human 1 vehicle family, where the van is the do-everything mobile.

    Kid of the 70’s-early 80’s, loved the A-Team van and the Mystery Machine, my first car was a 3-on-the-tree 81 Econoline E-150 that served as a comfy mobile hangout for privacy seeking teens, AND went insanely quickly down tiny back country roads once you learned its quirks. All hail Sabine Schmitz.

    I have a steep driveway and a sh!__y commute, and it has not been a problem. Any FWD deficit to AWD for confident driving in *record-breaking* NE snow is more than made up for with de-activatible traction control, ESC, ABS and a set of very good winter tires (braking/handling FTW), replaced with stickier summer shoes on different rims for summer.

    FWD allows for consistent, no BS 20mpg in 50/50 rapid highway/very dense urban commute, driven in a manner that does not involve frequently being passed or beaten from a light by other motorists. For road trips, for which this vehicle has few peers, MPGs are in the very high 20’s with cruise control at realistic traffic velocities, mid-low-20’s when someone in a much more noticeable vehicle is running rabbit at higher speeds over long distances.

    When I bought it, the general reaction of co-workers, etc (outside of close friends who’d been hearing about the virtues of vans for years) was shock and confusion (what? you’re not starting a family?) mixed with “who farted” faces, and some pity. If I had bought a fancy SUV rather than a minivan, it would have fit better into the new-car-advancing-career narrative everybody’s comfortable with. I was prepared for this reaction, and actually kind of enjoyed it; contrarian pleasure aside, I was generally too busy being psyched about my rapid lockable funroom, screening “Style Wars” or (even better for late night ass-hauling) “Fantastic Planet” to my passengers on the foldaway TV as we rushed into the city for fun, to care.

    In several years of happy ownership, I’d sum up the effect as similar to when you’re the guy with the pickup truck in your circle of friends (except lets face it, vans are way more practical (weather proof lockable box) for moving anything besides dung or rocks) AND the guy with the best road trip vehicle, with dignified and comfortable seating for adults in all 3 rows. It’s regularly used for carpooling with 2-4, occasionally up to 6 friends to events on weekends (works great for me as I prefer driving myself). It has effortlessly carried mulch, slate paving stones, wood, large furniture, 29er MTB and recumbent bicycles, snowblowers, rental equipment, skis, small kayaks, and building supplies, frequently with passengers at the same time.

    Camping/sleeping in it with room for 2 full size adults and their stuff is practical and easy. Sneaky power nap during lunch break? No prob. Things like large dogs and christmas trees are a piece of cake. Nice space between f&r roof racks means 2 big kayaks or a sunfish can be transported securely. Sliding doors are fantastically handy for loading cargo and people and not dinging doors in tight parking situations. Plus it has 3 huge doors you can open with a button = handier than you’d think + cool.

    This vehicle is consistently rated in the top 5-10 in the US market *overall* for crash safety from every direction, so my chances in the event of an incident with a texting/somnambulant fellow motorist in a corolla are as about good I can make them.

    The V6 has plenty of torque, makes cool sounds when asked, has plenty of at-speed passing power as well as a mid 7 second 0-60 time. One major benefit of the nearly universal scorn and shaming of this type of vehicle is what that common attitude does for it’s “q-ship quotient”. The effect of herds of 6-second capable family sedans in traffic over the past decade has been overwhelmed by a tide of nobody paying attention like never before–due to in car gadgetry, being on the phone, and texting. It’s no Lotus, but I question the skills of anyone that can’t drive rapidly and efficiently with something that handles as well as this van does.

    Please search TTAC for Jack B’s reviews of spending time with the Chrysler T&C and Dodge Caravan to see what I’m talking about: in a nutshell, a comfy modern v6 sedan with tons of extra space when you need it.

    If your adventures realistically don’t require going far off road (which is likely true for many) and you don’t need your vehicle to burnish your image, look no further. Minivans are a great choice for many people seeking a genuine “sport utility” vehicle, as long as you don’t give a s__t what everybody else thinks of you, on the internet or in real life.

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