By on January 25, 2016

2015_Toyota_Sienna_SE-1

Minivan sales in America fell 8 percent to only 513,000 units in 2015, less than half the number of MPVs sold in the United States a decade ago. Yet the number of sales produced by the three biggest players, across four nameplates, are more than healthy enough to suggest Fiat Chrysler Automobiles is wise to reinvest in their Windsor, Ontario, plant and the all-new Pacifica van.

Of course, the degree of wisdom employed by FCA as the automaker goes about reinventing its van is up for debate. Switching from Town & Country to Pacifica? Leaving the Dodge Grand Caravan to lumber along in previous-gen form? Neglecting all-wheel-drive in a gaga-for-SUVs market? There are upsides and downsides to each of these decisions.

But FCA’s decision to stick with a segment from which Ford, General Motors, Hyundai and Mazda fled is a wise one. The minivan market is much, much smaller than it was a decade ago. But if half a million people in America want to buy a minivan every year, the automakers which historically controlled the sector will want to own as large a chunk of that market as possible.

2017 Chrysler Pacifica

It’s certainly a strategy that’s working for Toyota, which generated more Sienna sales in America in 2015 than at any point in the previous seven years. It’s a strategy that’s working for Honda: over the last five years, Honda sold 10,000 more Odysseys than Pilots.

The worst perspective on minivans comes from a look at the category’s market share over the last decade. Not since 2004, when minivan market share increased from 6.4 percent the year before to 6.6 percent, has the segment’s share of the industry’s total volume increased.

Just three years later, in 2007, minivan market share was down to 5.2 percent. Three years after that, in 2010, minivan market share was down to 4.1 percent. In 2015? Minivans contributed just 2.9 percent of the industry’s record-setting volume, as total volume slipped to a four-year low.

However, 2015 was in some regards an exception. FCA’s Windsor plant shutdown early in the year caused a severe slump in Grand Caravan/Town & Country sales. Through the first seven months of the year, sales of the FCA minivan duo were down 45 percent, a loss of 73,000 sales.

Yet even without the FCA tandem’s decline, it’s unlikely the minivan segment would have picked up market share. Had Grand Caravan/Town & Country sales held level in 2015 rather than falling 30 percent over the course of the year, minivan market share would have totalled 3.4 percent, equal with 2013 and 2014, if not better.

Instead, seven minivan nameplates generated only 513,000 sales while 10 three-row crossovers (Enclave, Traverse, Durango, Explorer, Flex, Acadia, Pilot, CX-9, Pathfinder, Highlander) collectively topped the 1 million-unit mark.

For the minivan category as a whole, that sounds like a huge problem. For individual nameplates, however, it’s far less troublesome.

The competition long ago disappeared and took with them their potential sales. Thus, while Toyota owned less than 15 percent of the minivan market in 2005, that figure climbed to 27 percent in 2015. Sienna volume is 15 percent lower now than it was then, but Sienna sales are steadily rising, climbing in six consecutive years and growing far faster than the industry average in 2015.

2016 Honda Odyssey

Honda owned 16 percent of the minivan market in 2005; 25 percent in 2015. Again, Odyssey sales are lower now than they were then, but Honda has held Odyssey volume steady over the last four years at more than 126,000 annual sales despite alleged decreasing interest in the category and pressure from value-priced Grand Caravans.

Even Chrysler, which produced the two best-selling vans in the segment a decade ago, owned “just” 37 percent of the minivan market in 2005. In 2014? 49 percent. Yet again, sales are much lower now than they were then, but prior to the turmoil of 2015, sales of the Town & Country hit a seven-year high in 2014, enough to make the Pre-Pacifica America’s third-best-selling three-row vehicle.

2016 Dodge Grand Caravan SXT Plus

The minivan market has cratered over the last decade, and sales of the top models have fallen, too. But amidst discussion of a segment that’s lost more than half its volume in a decade, it’s important to take note of the fact that combined sales of the Odyssey, Kia Sedona, Nissan Quest, and Sienna rose 15 percent in 2015, year-over-year, as the industry produced 6 percent growth. Indeed, the two top-selling models in 2015 weren’t down 54 percent since 2005, as the segment was, but just 21 percent.

A 21 percent loss clearly wouldn’t be an ideal number if the trendline was pointing in the wrong direction. But for the manufacturers who stuck with the category, the trend suggests there should consistently be at least half a million sales over which to fight.

If there were still 14 nameplates fighting over half the number of sales in 2015, Chrysler wouldn’t likely be singing the new Pacifica’s tune. But in late 2016, we’ll be in a world of Pacificas, Grand Caravans, Odysseys, Sedonas, Quests, and Siennas.

Six vans. At least half a million sales. There are still plenty of buyers to go around.

Timothy Cain is the founder of GoodCarBadCar.net, which obsesses over the free and frequent publication of U.S. and Canadian auto sales figures. Follow on Twitter @goodcarbadcar and on Facebook.

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59 Comments on “Minivan Sales Down By Half Over Last Decade, But All Is Well?...”


  • avatar
    CoreyDL

    I don’t think we’re missing much from losing out on the last Ford/GM/Mazda and H/K vans. The most promising/good of those was the H/K option! The Fords were rusty and dangerous and not great, the U-body was an awful rattle trap with no room, and the little Mazda lived beyond its expiry date by about 5 years.

    • 0 avatar
      JimZ

      I’ve not seen a U-body van in the past several years which had correctly-functioning taillights.

      • 0 avatar
        sportyaccordy

        Well at least now we know why GM loves those “1 bulb for all tail light functions” designs. Only way they can guarantee the tail lights will continue to work!

    • 0 avatar
      dolorean

      Disagree with you on the Mazda 5. That was hands down, one of the best cars I ever owned and with a roof rack Thule box was perfect for hauling around my wife, three kids and a dog. We had a MY08 Grand Caravan that was so riddled with electronic problems, full replacement of all brake rotors and pads at 25K miles, and shock-worthy 16.8 mpg from the 4.0L V6 not to mention the huge monthlies that I was paying that I couldn’t wait to get rid of that floaty-boat, regardless of the funky disco lighting and dual DVDs.

      Before the third full replacement of the brake system was due, I drove the pig down to the nearest Mazda dealer in town and purchased a beautiful off-lease MY12 Mazda 5 GT with every option checked on the list. Simply loved this car. Near bullet proof drive train, 26 mpg, but best was the amazing fun hauling down a back road on an early Sunday morning. It even took a rear end from a Chevy Dually doing 60 which plowed her into a Land Cruiser at a red light and both my wife and youngest daughter who were in the car, made it out with no injuries. Cannot say how much I’ll miss this option.

      • 0 avatar
        JimZ

        Has Mazda figured out rust prevention yet?

      • 0 avatar
        CoreyDL

        The only reason there weren’t injuries is because you didn’t use the very back seat, which is up against the rear window. Any van besides a Chrysler would suit you just fine.

        • 0 avatar
          gtemnykh

          I miss the pre “zoom-zoom” Mazda days where stiff suspensions took a back seat to durable, no nonsense engineering. When the MPV transitioned to a transverse FWD platform in 2000, they lost a distinct niche segment (4wd 7 seater roomy non-fullsize truck vehicle) which has now the blown up 3 row crossover, hottest segment to be in, arguably.

          You can keep the ground effects and smiley grille styling and bone rattling suspension, my family’s MK1 MPVs were and are fantastic, both the ’89 and ’98 are still on the road to this day in the salted North. Roomier, better third row seating than a traditional BOF fullsizer, more durable than a minivan with a solid rear axle and 4wd hardware from a Mazda pickup (locking center diff too), better driving than a BOF SUV with rack and pinion steering rack and MacPherson strut front suspension adapted from a 929.

          Toyota’s Previa comes closest but has worse ground clearance/approach/departure, Chevy Astros and Ford Aerostars can’t touch the handling or refinement of the MPV. All the Mazda really needed was the 929’s hotter DOHC motor, the SOHC 3.0L 18 valve V6 had a wheezy 155hp that made highway grades a chore when fully loaded or towing even a light motorcycle trailer.

          • 0 avatar
            CoreyDL

            I spent many a drive as a child in the back of the Safari my grandparents owned. Man oh man did it get hot behind all that untinted glass! I liked the curved speedo – my favorite thing about that van.

            I recall it was very bumpy and loud inside, and the engine roared. They replaced it with a new 95 Chevy Gladiator conversion (white), which was awesomely superior! It had a dang VCR! That thing was lux.

          • 0 avatar
            NoID

            I drive a Mazda5 right now (Sorry again, Sergio…approve a competitior and we’ll talk, but in my defense I purchased it before you signed my paychecks) and that bone-rattling suspension is one of the reason’s why I love it, but it’s also one of the reasons why some of my friends hate taking it on road trips. My two experiences with Mazda have also shown me that their hard suspensions eat up stabilizer bar links and rear suspension bushings. So my Zoom-Zoom is generally accompanied by Clunk-Clunk, which somewhat dulls the experience.

            As I stated below, I see a Pacifica PHEV in my future. I’ll sacrifice sportiness on the altar of practicality, and let my high-performance itch get scratched at work. I win, Sergio wins, the segment wins, the planet wins, America wins. You’re welcome, Donald Trump.

            Pacifica: Make America Great Again.

          • 0 avatar
            gtemnykh

            Corey I spent many an hour in the back rows of both the ’89 with plain jane bench seats in the second two rows (no headrests, but very nice Japan-spec velour upholstery) and later the luxo-trim “ES” ’98 Allsport with second row captain’s chairs trimmed in leather. The ’98 had rear AC which worked fantastic on our yearly Spring Break trips down to the Florida Keys from Central NY. The ’98 in particular was super smooth, reasonably quiet, and just fantastically comfortable. I’m sure a modern Sienna XLE would be even better of course.

            @NoID Your suspension wear woes are exactly what I’m talking about. Our ’98 had air suspension in the back with the inevitable leaks but the repair with non-OEM parts was actually very cheap. No other issues with the rear end, it’s a solid rear axle, nothing really goes wrong there as far as wear. Oh the stabilizer link mount on the body got rusty and let go 2 years ago, a new one was $26 and bolted on easily enough. The front got new shocks and a lower balljoint after I hit a brutal pothole once (at 160k miles). What’s more amazing is my brother’s 89 with 230k miles, which has seen unheard of abuse offroad and overloading when he went mountain biking with his friends all through college and grad school. This thing has been driven through creeks, taken up snowy mountain jeep trails with tire chains on, etc. Aside from cheap rear shocks that he replaced 2 or 3 times, the suspension is just mind blowing in its longevity. The front end has all original bushings and balljoints with no real slop to necessitate replacement. The front struts lasted and still had damping well into 200k+ territory, the spring perches were finally getting questionably rusty so the struts got replaced. Okay the tie rod ends were replaced somewhere at 220k miles as well. Old Mazdas are every bit of Toyota’s equals back in the early 90s as far as longevity and durability is concerned IMO. That shifted in a big way as they changed priorities in their design and engineering philosophy.

          • 0 avatar
            thrashette

            My uncle drives a Mazda5 and loves it. It’s getting near 200,000 miles and he hasn’t had to replace any suspension components. Granted, it’s a city driver and doesn’t see a lot of rough conditions. But it’s a great minivan for the city with its great visibility and ease of parking due to small size. It’s a work van for him, so he’s pleased with the amount of stuff he can cram in there. I don’t know if there’s really anything on the market quite like it. If you’re trying to drive a minivan in a crowded city, it’s a great choice.

  • avatar

    Funny that this came full circle. Vans are an incredibly space efficient vehicle, and when Chrysler combined the utility on the unibody of a car, they became very popular. This popularity was overwhelmed by the “go anywhere” fantasy offered by the body-on-frame SUV. Now we have vehicles which are essentially minivans, all butched up to look like trucks and offering less room than a minivan.

  • avatar
    Lou_BC

    Minivans have been cursed with the “I’ve given up on life/fun” image. Mid sized SUV’s have taken over from them especially with image conscious buyers. The majority of Wrangler Unlimited I see are driven by women and/or young families. I had 2 neighbours with them. Most look like the only “off-road” work they have seen is to shortcut down the alley to get to Starbucks.
    With that being said, there isn’t much ot there that can carry 7-8 people as comfortably with the same degree of versatility. AWD for all intents and purposes puts them on par with any SUV.

    edgett – bang on comment.

    • 0 avatar

      FWIW: Here is NYC, the religious sects of Judaism – Hasid, Lubbavitch, etc. — often have MANY kids.

      When I was young, their car of choice was usually either a Panther (Crown Vic/Grand Marquis) or GM B-body wagon to carry it all. Today what I see overwhelmingly in Manhattan’s Diamond District, Brooklyn’s Williamsburg & Crown Heights, LI’s Five Towns etc. is the Toyota Sienna.

      I’ve done business with some. In conversation, my curiousity led me to ask about their choice of minivan. They gave up on FCA because of unreliability, Honda isn’t as nice a ride, they probably don’t trust Kia yet, and the Suburban/Expedition are too expensive, thirsty and space-inefficient for their needs.

  • avatar
    RideHeight

    There is still a contingent of smart, successful people who make multiple babies. They buy Honda and Toyota vans because nothing else hauls kids and sundries so well.

    I just don’t see where Chrysler expects to fit in on their price turf with its tainted reputation.

    • 0 avatar
      CoreyDL

      I think they will have to compete by being lower priced. The wealthy and/or elderly around here who van choose the Odyssey Touring or Elite. This is especially true for Indian people who van.

      • 0 avatar
        VoGo

        I think FCA gets this, which is why they focused on 3 things for their new minivan:
        1. re-branding as Pacific to escape the Value Package America image
        2. attractive, upscale styling, and
        3. hybrid, to get the attention of upper middle income buyers

        We’ll see if FCA’s execution can match their strategy.

        • 0 avatar
          RideHeight

          Consciously giving it a Honda face was smart, too.

          Now just dump the winged emblem for an understated *metal* Pentastar badge.

        • 0 avatar
          Lou_BC

          VoGo – I wonder if FCA’s strategy of “upscaling” their minivan will really work. It still is a POS underneath the facelift and trim.

          CoreyDL – agreed. Lower price is all they got going for them. We went with a Sienna even though the FCA van was considerably cheaper with discounts. we went that route once and those initial price savings got eaten by lost time in the shop, then off warranty repairs. The final kick in the nuts was abysmal residual value.
          We got $1300 dollars for it after 7 years. The same year I sold a 15 year old F250 with a rustly body and an almost dead motor for the same price.

          • 0 avatar

            I don’t know anyone who’s had a Chrysler minivan beyond a 3-year lease that didn’t feel like they’d been passed through a prison gang.

          • 0 avatar
            hudson

            My folks and countless other people I know ran Chrysler derivative vans since they first came out. There’s nothing atrocious about the older ones. Change the transmission fluid. You’re done. Even if you had to replace a transmission, it’s cheap and easy. Trucks keep relatively high resale, because truck.

            A friend once told me there’s nothing more disgusting than shopping for a used minivan.

          • 0 avatar
            VoGo

            Older Chrysler minivans certainly do require maintenance, and they aren’t terribly nice inside. But when you have 3+ young kids, they fill a need.

            A $40K Odyssey Touring and a $20K Caravan VPA are functionally identical when covered in months old vomit.

          • 0 avatar
            dolorean

            “VoGo – I wonder if FCA’s strategy of “upscaling” their minivan will really work. It still is a POS underneath the facelift and trim.”

            Chili Palmer: What is that?

            Rental Car Attendant: It’s an Oldsmobile Silhouette.

            Chili Palmer: I ordered a Cadillac.

            Rental Car Attendant: Oh, well, you got the Cadillac of minivans.

    • 0 avatar
      dividebytube

      The upscale neighborhood near my house is rife with Honda Odyssey mini-vans. If you drive by the local school, you would think the Odyssey is the number car in America.

    • 0 avatar

      The FCA vans have mixed history some people never have issues with them others have tons. There are lots of repeat FCA minivan buyers (mostly in high trims). The owner of the company I work for has bought close to a dozen for himself family and the company over the last 12 years all fully loaded versions. I do understand the sentiment of the Sienna, If I were buying new I would go with the Sienna but the FCA are really good deal used with reliability just a tick under the odyssey but well under the Sienna.
      I will give you the wealthy suburbs are full of Odysseys.

  • avatar
    Arthur Dailey

    Don’t forget that in Canada FCA sold about 50,000 Caravans alone in 2015.

    Having recently decided to sell our 3rd vehicle and get a new one. The Caravan is the only one that ticks all our ‘must have’ boxes, while fitting within our budget.

    • 0 avatar
      RideHeight

      But how much money did they make on those 50,000. Even being a Dodge, the Value Package vans are a tremendous amount of vehicle for the coin. That can’t be good for the manufacturer.

      I strongly feel that Chrysler and then FCA have been subsidizing the humbler van buyers.

      • 0 avatar
        hudson

        I think low margin vehicles become good through accidents. There has to be a formula to reasonably accurately predict how many bumper covers you’re going to sell in a region based on units on the road.

      • 0 avatar
        dash riprock

        I agree 100%. The V6 caravan is a screaming buy with a discount of over $7,000. Not sure of the accounting a manufacturer does with an platform to determine profitability, but at best the value package must be their thinnest profit margin.

        GM seems to have made the right decision in giving up the minivan market and switching to the traverse, Acadia, enclave. have to believe if there were still trying to sell minivans they would be in the same price point as FCA

        • 0 avatar

          You are right.

          Putting aside reliability, the fact is that for most buyers it’s all about product design. And for nearly half of the 32 years of the minivan, Chrysler has had the best product design even if they’ve often been crap to live with.

          More recently Honda and Toyota caught and surpassed them. Ford Windstar came close for a couple of years in the Nineties.

          But GM? They were never anywhere near the ballpark. I’m sure the profit margin on every Traverse/Acadia/Enclave offsets some of their passenger car weaknesses.

  • avatar
    sportyaccordy

    I would LOVE LOVE LOVE to see a graph of minivan market share vs 3 row crossover market share.

    Tim have you considered running Tableau Server on GCBC? You have a real treasure trove of data there and I feel like views on GCBC would skyrocket with a good data pivoting platform.

  • avatar
    Lorenzo

    The problem with minivans is they’re not mini anymore. The original Caravan/Voyager was 175 inches long with a 112 inch wheelbase. Today’s monsters are two feet longer with an extra eight inches of wheelbase and four-5 inches wider.

    The original could fit five people with luggage, or seven without luggage, or two adults and 4-5 or 6-8 unbelted kids, depending on age and willingness to lay on the floor. The earliest 15 inch longer Grand Caravan was still ten inches shorter than today and had full 3-row capacity within the same length and wheelbase of today’s midsize SUV.

    The early Japanese answer to the early minivan was the tall wagons of the ’80s and ’90s, and they were made more popular with AWD. If somebody offers the equivalent of the 175 inch and 190 inch minivan and adds AWD and some truck-like styling touches, It would be real competition for the 3-row SUVs.

    • 0 avatar
      Drzhivago138

      You can’t compare apples to oranges, nor can you count unbelted passengers. Calling new minivans “monsters” carries negative connotations and is indicative of bias.

      1987 Grand Caravan (first LWB minivan):
      OAL: 190.5″
      WB: 119.1″
      H: 65″
      W: 72″
      Seats: 8 with optional bench seat (dropped due to low demand)

      2016 Grand Caravan:
      OAL: 202.5"
      WB: 121.5"
      H: 69"
      W: 77"
      Seats: 7

      “Today’s midsize SUVs” have a wheelbase of around 110-112″. 110<119.

      The growth of minivans can be directly linked to the growth of child seats and the prevalance of strollers.

      But aside from us Internet commentors, do real-world buyers actually complain about the size more than they appreciate the increased interior space?

      http://www.allpar.com/photos/minivans/1984-to-2002.jpg

      • 0 avatar
        RideHeight

        I’ve learned to not mess with Doctor Z on historical vehicle sizes.

        • 0 avatar
          Drzhivago138

          All I do is put numbers up there and let them speak for themselves. You’ll notice that the new GC is definitely wider, longer and taller than the ’86–this is detrimental to my “argument” that there was no appreciable increase in size, but it would be disingenuous to try and present the numbers otherwise.

    • 0 avatar
      VoGo

      I’ve read this lament many times from car guys. But never have I heard a family with 3+ kids ever say, “Gee I wish this minivan was smaller.”

      Maybe kids are spoiled today. Maybe we parent are lazy. But in my book, the more space between the kids, the less “Ouch; quit it” between the seats.

      Mazda and Kia both offered small minivans within the last decade. How did they do?

    • 0 avatar
      Richard Chen

      The US market long ago decided against smaller minivans. Shall we list the deceased?

      1st & 2nd gen Nissan Quest/Mercury Villager
      1st gen Mazda MPV – this actually did get AWD and pseudo-SUV cladding as you suggested
      1st gen Honda Odyssey
      2nd gen Mazda MPV
      2nd gen Kia Sedona SWB
      4th gen Dodge/Chrysler SWB, replaced by the Dodge Journey
      Mazda 5 – at 180″ long, 108″ wheelbase it’s very close in size to the original C/V. And the complaint?: Too small, too underpowered, and lousy sales to match.
      Ford Grand C-Max – aborted before US launch, but not before Michael Karesh got a review up here

      As Dr. Z pointed out: car seats give you a minimum width to work with. Our Sienna once carried 4 adults and 4 kids in LATCHed car seats, fortunately we’re almost out of boosters.

      • 0 avatar
        Drzhivago138

        I’d include the GM U-body in there as well. It was normal-sized in 1990 as the Lumina APV (except for the stupid-short WB), but it actually got narrower as the Venture and Uplander.

        And don’t forget the Isuzu Oasis, aka Honda Odyssey.

    • 0 avatar
      dolorean

      “The early Japanese answer to the early minivan was the tall wagons of the ’80s and ’90s, and they were made more popular with AWD.”

      Clearly Sir, you forget that egg shaped, mechanics nightmare of the Toyota Previa. Mid-engine mounting gave it near perfect weight, but had to be nearly taken out just to service the spark plugs.

  • avatar
    APaGttH

    I’m lamenting the continuing decline of the minivan and the complete lack of a market for station wagons in the United States.

    The commuter van that could, aka the Saturn Relay GM B-Body is at 163K miles and close to 12 years old. It is reaching the point that full fluid flushes, tires, and brakes are going to cost as much as the vehicle is worth. On the other hand said service would likely keep the vehicle going for another 45K miles (brakes would be done roughly after that).

    I just don’t see much in a viable, non-SUV replacement. I don’t want to spend Honda/Toyota Cheddar for a use me and abuse me cargo hauler/commuter – as we use our minivan more for schlepping stuff than people – BUT – we do seat a minimum of 3 constantly and 5 frequently. The 3 rows makes that more comfortable.

    I’m guessing the next replacement is a crewcab pickup truck, either a Taco, Colorado, or Canyon with a camper top – given our bias to carrying cargo over stuff. But then I fall right back into you can’t find one inexpensive problem that isn’t dogged out.

    My days of dropping 40 large on a new set of wheels are over. It isn’t the lack of money, it is the painful depreciation hit you take. I just don’t see a whole lot of choice in another 2 years (when the minivan that could will be closer to 190K miles) for an under $10K replacement that isn’t dogged out, or has a ticking time bomb for a transmission.

    • 0 avatar
      VoGo

      You like Saturns. How about a used Outlook? Ones with 100K miles go for ~$8-9K…

      • 0 avatar
        APaGttH

        I live value/bargain.

        The Saturns were on fire sale in 2010 and represented strong value. $7K for a fully optioned minivan with under 100K miles represented high value for me in early 2010. In another year my amortized purchase comes out to $1K a year – not too shabby.

        Will be hard to recreate – and the GM 3.6 under the hood in the Outlook is problematic. The GM 3.5L V6 may be coarse, rough, gas sucking boat anchor of an engine, but it bows at the altar of torque, and is reliable as the sunrise – same goes for the 4-speed auto it is attached to.

        There is much to loathe about the last gen GM B-Bodies, but general mechanical reliability once they got rid of the 3.4L V6 is not one of them.

  • avatar
    VoGo

    Nice job on the graph, Tim!

  • avatar
    wstarvingteacher

    No mention of the Astro/Safari. I always thought the wore well and were pretty functional. SIL had one with the 4.3 and it was pretty much the same as my S10. In the Houston area I sure don’t deal with the weather that makes fwd/awd/4wd much of an advantage. I think now I would prefer a sienna but that’s just because recent experience tells me that Toyota=Dependability.

  • avatar
    johnny ringo

    I currently drive a 2008 Odyssey and I really like it. I have Newfoundland dogs I show in obedience trials and working events, for hauling my dog and the associated gear they are perfect. Go to a dog show sometime, you’ll see minivans all over the place.

  • avatar
    baggins

    My wife drives a ’14 Oddy Ex. Drives our 1st and 6th grader all over town in it,along with kids friends, parents of kids friends, teammates, grandparents,etc.

    In day to day use, each kid has a row, plus a space next to them for books, small toys, sweatshirts, snacks etc.

    EX trim has two powered sliding doors, 3 zone climate control (quite useful after winter outdoor swim practice-heat in the rear on full blast) power driver seat, rear camera, Lane Watch (really nice feature), cloth interior (pretty ugly). No moonroof (cuts head room), no power tailgate (its pretty easy to close),

    Bought it new for 28.9K. Lot of space, comfort, convenience and safety for the money.

    And its not too big, if anything I wish it were about 4-5 inches longer so you could have more leg room in the second and third rows concurrently.

  • avatar
    NoID

    As an FCA employee who also has a large family, I’m in a continual struggle between size/seating capacity and fuel mileage for my 75-mile round trip commute. The new Pacifica promises to satisfy all of my needs, too bad I’m paying on my current ride until 2019. But hey, trees jump out in front of unwanted cars all the time, right? Ive got gap coverage…

    Of course who knows what could happen in a few years. Maybe by then my child count will be such that worrying about occasionally squeezing the entire family into our secondary vehicle (our primary family hauler is a Ford E350, sorry Sergio) will be a pipe dream and I’ll buy a Fiat Spider instead.

  • avatar
    28-Cars-Later

    KIA reentered the minivan market after some lackluster performance and it seems they and their sister brand have already reclaimed some nice marketshare. I might expect Nissan to withdraw the Quest which would leave us with four major mfgs as Mazda5 was discontinued in the USDM for MY16.

  • avatar
    gearhead77

    Minivan driver here. I’ve got an 08 Mazda 5 Grand Touring and a 14 Odyssey EX-L. We’ve decided we are leasers of minivans, as buying a used van just isn’t appealing for many reasons. The FCA vans don’t seem to age well and the Honda/Toyota vans carry price premium I don’t believe is justified, especially for Honda and it’s “glass transmission”. I don’t like the way the 6spd auto works in the Honda either, so we won’t be buying one used when the lease is up.

    The Mazda does a decent job, but it’s a people OR stuff conundrum for anything longer than a day trip with two kids. Plus, the Mazda is noisy and very stiff riding compared to the Honda (especially the Toyota or FCA vans) and there’s not a ton of power. 300hp minivans aren’t really needed, but 170 in the Mazda would have been nice, 200 even better. Skyactiv diesel torque would have been great, but…

    Our twins are 5, we’ve got at least another 3 vans in our leasing future. My plan right now is to try the Toyota or Chrysler when the current Odyssey lease is up. Perhaps the Kia, but not the Quest, as we don’t like the CVT or styling. I was in a Nissan lease before the Odyssey, so I could have gotten as decent deal on the Quest. But besides the well-done interior, it didn’t offer much else.

    To me, the minivan is the best tool for family movement or the multi-tasking that comes with family. The third row is usable and accessible mostly to young ones right now, but once the car seats are out, the kids can go back there, leaving the second row for adults. The rear seats fold into the floor, allowing plenty of room for stuff if needed, without using a roofbox. We don’t do outdoors or off-road, so an SUV is a waste to me. 4 wheel winter tires work out well where I live. And it got a solid 23 mpg at 80+ on a long highway trip recently, nearly 26 on the trip out at more sedate speeds while following the in-laws.

    We are practical people, not trendy. The minivan works for us. And if Ford came out with a redone Aerostar, I’d probably buy one. I had a 93 shorty I used for work and it was great at putting on the miles. The inherent smoothness and balance of a RWD platform cannot be ignored, basic Ranger underpinnings notwithstanding.


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