By on July 1, 2017

2018 Honda Odyssey - Image: HondaMinivans. They’re the ultimate family haulers: unpretentious, utilitarian, and usually ugly.

Minivans haven’t been slow in some time. A decade ago, the Honda Odyssey produced 244 horsepower and required fewer than nine seconds to accelerate from nought to 60 miles per hour, hardly the behavior of a contemporaneous Chevrolet Aveo.

But the rate at which minivans have been packing on the ponies and adding gear ratios has evolved quickly over the last year. The Chrysler Pacifica came first, producing horsepower similar to its Pentastar twin from Dodge but adding a handful of gears. 0-60 times dropped to 7.3 seconds.

That was nothing to sneeze at. At least until Toyota made the 2017 Sienna the most powerful van in the segment and linked its 3.5-liter V6 to an eight-speed automatic; at least until Honda launched the 2018 Honda Odyssey with 10 speeds and 280 horsepower. Now the numbers are staggering.

2017 Chrysler Pacifica Touring-L Plus - Image: ChryslerLet’s be honest: 0-60 times aren’t everything. Indeed, they’re not even half of everything. You don’t take your seat at the local pub, slap your keys down on the table, and begin reciting the specs of your minivan purchase (up to and including its Nürburgring lap time).

Besides, the rolling start times conducted by Car and Driver, from 5 to 60 miles per hour, will likely give you a better comparative sense of what vehicles actually feel like when accelerating.

But in relative terms, when comparing the minivans of today both with one another and with their predecessors, it’s not difficult to ascertain that these eight-seat, front-wheel-drive people carriers possess the kind of power that’ll embarrass many a previously quick car.

Car and Driver says the 2017 Sienna Limited, with 296 horsepower, rockets out of the gate and hits 60 mph in 6.9 seconds — a tick quicker than the equivalent all-wheel-drive model.2015 Toyota Sienna SE - Image: ToyotaThe new Honda Odyssey Elite, with 18 fewer horses than the Sienna but with a 10-speed automatic that’s reserved for higher Odyssey trims, is even quicker. 60 mph comes up in 6.6 seconds. Meanwhile, higher speed acceleration — from 50-70 mph — works even more obviously in the Odyssey’s favor, as the Honda’s overtaking prowess reveals a 4.1-second time. That’s more than a second quicker than every van aside from the Kia Sedona SXL, which does the deed in 5.0 seconds.

To the casual observer, these times are meaningless. Indeed, the times themselves lack real meaning. Few people are performing off-the-line stunts on the way to drop the kids off at gymnastics practice. But those of us who enjoy our minivans, particularly those of us who live on rural roads choked by tourists all summer long, take a measure of solace in speed.

Of course this level of accelerative ability is entirely unnecessary. But unnecessary power needn’t be reserved only for unnecessary cars.

[Images: Honda, FCA, Toyota]

Timothy Cain is a contributing analyst at The Truth About Cars and Autofocus.ca and the founder and former editor of GoodCarBadCar.net. Follow on Twitter @timcaincars.

Get the latest TTAC e-Newsletter!

Recommended

67 Comments on “Minivans Are Becoming Properly Quick; Thank Modest Power Increases and Major Transmission Changes...”


  • avatar
    JimC2

    The engines are getting ahead of the weight. Twenty five years ago the Dodge Caravans had above average acceleration in their day with the 160~ish hp V6 options and a 3,300 pound curb weight. Some of these porkers nowadays tip the scales well, well north of 4,000 lbs before their plus-sized drivers and their plus-sized children climb aboard and stuff even more stuff into a 50 gallon tough box in a bustle rack dangling on the trailer hitch. Small wonder that 200-250hp is standard, just to keep up with their parents’ minivans. It’s nice to see some barn burners with 250-300hp optional engines and transmissions with a bazillion gears, but I can’t help but realize the automakers are not only turning a profit on this lifestyle, they are enablers who are actively nurturing it.

    • 0 avatar
      quaquaqua

      Uh, ok, your comment took quite a detour. But your basic premise is pointless. The Caravan of 20-25 years ago, and I know, I owned two, weighed 3300 lbs as a featureless, bare-bones model (power locks? ooh that’ll cost ya) and had 3 abysmal V6 engines which all puttered to 60 in 11 seconds if you were lucky. These new minivans are absolutely heavier, but they’re also all 2 feet longer than a Caravan was, not to mention wider. Heck, they even have four doors standard now!

  • avatar
    punkybrewstershubby aka Troy D.

    It is a shame that the Nissan Quest won’t be back after 2017. Our ’11 currently has 173k of kid-toting miles and we will be seeking a new 2016 Quest very soon as there are still quite a few out there.

    The 3rd row headroom in the Odyssey is a deal breaker for us and I just don’t like Toyota interiors.

    And the Pacifica. No. No FCA product in our driveway. Plus they just scream Chrysler 200 design cues and low-cost bidder exterior components (tail lights, etc look cheap).

    • 0 avatar
      jalop1991

      I wanted a Quest a few months ago, but then my wife and I realized that the hatch opening is TEN INCHES shorter than the hatch opening of our old Odyssey.

      That’s due to the rear seat design, and the Nissan’s not folding down into the floor.

      I have since paid attention to what we can stuff–and have stuffed–into the Odyssey, and there’s absolutely no way I’d accept a ten inch shorter hatch opening. Not a chance in the world.

      • 0 avatar
        punkybrewstershubby aka Troy D.

        I’d rather not hear my tall kids complain about rubbing their skulls on the rear roof all the time as opposed to an occasional squeeze in the rear hatch. YMMV.

    • 0 avatar
      walker42

      I’m also bummed you can’t get a 2017 Quest and will be looking for a loaded, leftover 2016 if there are any left. The one we drove had smooth and powerful acceleration from the CVT + 3.5L combo. If the point of the article is that minivans have really great passing power these days the Quest always had that. Plenty of headroom in back compared to the Odyssey plus you don’t have to empty the cargo hold to fold the rear seat just push a button. In terms of design the Quest was the cool family bus VW never built.

  • avatar
    punkybrewstershubby aka Troy D.

    Oh, according to C&D, the Quest pulls a 0-60 at 7.9 with that wonderful VQ35 and a CVT. It pulls through East Coast mountains with a full-load with very rarely going over 2800-3000 rpm.

    • 0 avatar
      gtemnykh

      Keep a close eye on the CVT. My brother’s wife’s ’10 Rogue had 186k of faultless service from the CVT and then poof, stranded by the side of the road with a total internal failure of the pulley/belt drive.

  • avatar
    bullnuke

    It’s nice that there is more power available for not-so minivans these days. I managed to make 2.0 liters and 74 hp work more than adequately in my ’81 Vanagon driving the I-5 and I-405 daily with weekend trips over the mountains on the I-8 to the desert while loaded down full with all of my spawn aboard. And it made no difference whether loaded, driving in a headwind, or unloaded – always a dependable 20mpg. And from new to 123k miles always a dependable van with no trips to the stealership after it was initially delivered.

  • avatar
    NeilM

    JimC2 writes: “Twenty five years ago the Dodge Caravans had above average acceleration in their day with the 160~ish hp V6 options and a 3,300 pound curb weight. Some of these porkers nowadays tip the scales well, well north of 4,000 lbs”

    However you and your kids are a whole lot less likely to be killed or maimed in today’s minivan if you crash. Airbags, rollover protection and crumple zones, as well as size increases and comfort equipment combine to add weight. Most compact cars now weigh well over the 3300 lbs you cite.

    Thanks, but I’d take the extra weight.

    • 0 avatar
      Mandalorian

      This. Those older Chrysler vans had abysmal safety ratings when they were new, let alone now.

      • 0 avatar
        JimC2

        Second generation Dodge Caravan got bragging rights as the first minivan to meet the 1998 federal standards (granted, that was MY94) with airbags, crumple zones… how is that “abysmal??” I’m not trying to claim that yesteryear’s family barges are equally safe to today’s, but gimme a break.

        sarcastic head scratching emoji goes here <<

        The 600 watt sound system, dual DVD players, and other kid-tranquilization-devices add weight too. Not sure if those things are better or worse in the long run than valium for mom and dad.

        • 0 avatar
          sportyaccordy

          In your perpetual scramble to remain the B&B’s most cantakerous, miserable, sarcastic teenager, you failed to realize that crash standards have changed significantly, and cars in general are growing. Here’s a crash test of a 20 year old car vs a new one:

          Notice any difference in how they fared?

          A stereo and DVD player are not going to add hundreds of lbs to a car’s curb weight, and in any case such packages are not standard across the board. Every post you make is whiny and insufferable

          • 0 avatar
            JimC2

            “Here’s a crash test of a 20 year old car vs a new one:

            Notice any difference in how they fared?”

            Um, nope, I don’t notice any difference. Where’s this crash test of which you speak??

            My point is that by the mid-1990s, their safety was hardly “abysmal.” 1998 was hardly the dark ages of automotive safety standards, not for cars anyway. A lot of SUVs that did family barge duty by getting through the “light truck” loophole, absolutely yes.

            As for me and my arguments, precisely where in my posts do you draw the conclusion that I “failed to realize that crash standards have changed significantly,” as you put it. Where did I state that crash standards have either changed very little, not changed at all, or not changed significantly? Exact quote now… if not then enjoy your virtual “jump to conclusions” mat.

            Sorry that my cynicism about current market trends so offended your sensibilities on this holiday weekend.

            -Miserably yours

          • 0 avatar
            sportyaccordy

            I posted a link and TTAC deleted it- look up “20 year old Corolla crash test” on Youtube.

            And you claimed that since the 2nd gen Caravan met 20 year old crash standards it’s “decent” WRT safety. Again, look up old crash test videos and compare the results to those of modern vehicles. It’s not even close. A 40 MPH offset crash is putting the steering wheel through your sternum and crushing your lower extremities to pulp. The fact that you capped your post off by claiming a couple of speakers and a DVD player added hundreds of lbs to modern minivans put the nail in the coffin to your credibility in this discussion.

            Minivans are heavier because they are bigger and signficantly safer. Your moral judgments of option packages most people aren’t even buying and general ignorance of the trajectory of car design are unwarranted and of no value.

          • 0 avatar
            JimC2

            Oh, Sporty, you avoided my question about how I supposedly “failed to realize” how standards have significantly changed.

            Your video of a very specific type of crash test proves… that twenty years of development and increasingly stringent standards has produced safer vehicles.

            A few more reasons that minivans are heavier are to accommodate bulkier child car seats, a variety of more stringent safety standards, yes (of which I’m well aware including side impact and rollover), and ahem “huskier” adults. The 40mph offset crash test is a single piece of the puzzle.

            But none of that “proves” that all of the older vehicles are “abysmally” unsafe.

            You’re the one posting exaggerated, sarcastic, personal insults because you don’t like my own sarcastic exaggeration. Would you like me to say something random such as you “think that a Toyota Corolla is a minivan?” Sticks and stones, but I would rather keep this a little more civilized than that.

            I think a certain late 1990s minivans’ overall safety was not that bad. You think all of them had abysmal safety. Fine, we can agree to disagree.

        • 0 avatar
          gearhead77

          There’s no optional engine in any of these vans. They all have 250-296hp standard depending on which one it is. How is a 300 hp minivan any worse than a 300hp crossover or a 300 hp sedan?

          Some of us enjoy our minivans and our families with them. I don’t tow, off-road or camp. I don’t need to be driving a crossover or SUV that’s much less capable vehicle when it comes time to put people, stuff or both in it. It snows where I live and there’s hills, but snow tires get us through the winter.

          A crossover is nothing more than a minivan without sliding doors and much less capability, but 300hp minivans are the Devils work?

          My kids enjoy the single BluRay player going on long trips and still manage to look out the window. I enjoy the sound system when the kids aren’t in it. Did you change your name from BobinPgh with all this anti-family rhetoric? And we don’t use Valium either…

          • 0 avatar
            JimC2

            “How is a 300 hp minivan any worse than a 300hp crossover or a 300 hp sedan?”

            Umm, I don’t have a problem with that:

            “It’s nice to see some barn burners with 250-300hp optional engines and transmissions with a bazillion gears”
            ^^^ I wrote that. Nice means good… opposite of bad and worse.

            I’m glad that you and your family all enjoy your vehicle- I mean that sincerely. I’m not anti-family or anti-big-family. Sheesh!

            A little perspective here–when you see a super sized minivan or SUV with the tough box on the trailer hitch–doesn’t it strike you as funny, even a little bit, when people bring so much of their stuff that it won’t fit inside an already enormous vehicle? It’s why “first world problems” is a punchline.

          • 0 avatar
            gearhead77

            Your OP just seemed a bit too anti-family or anti-family vehicle, Jim, in my opinion. I get your point about using more power to move more weight which didn’t use to be their, but it’s where we are. In today’s world of completely head up the arse, buried in a mobile device driving, I’ll take a bit more weight or more power to drive defensively.

            Now, as far the the Roughneck on a trailer platform with a roof box on our massive vehicles? Yeah, I agree, if you need that, you have too much stuff.

            If it doesn’t fit inside, it doesn’t go (bikes excepted). I will not have things on my roof, but that’s me.

  • avatar
    SCE to AUX

    My 09 Sedona is the quickest car I’ve ever owned (lame, I know), and its 0-60 is supposedly 8.0 seconds.

    One nice thing about all that power is the ability to tow, provided the transmission is up to the task.

  • avatar
    ajla

    The best thing about the minivans is they all come with naturally-aspirated V6s, so they don’t lag from a roll like many low-displacement turbos.

    Compare the Odyssey to a BMW 330i.

    caranddriver.com/reviews/2018-honda-odyssey-10-speed-automatic-test-review

    caranddriver.com/reviews/2017-bmw-330i-automatic-tested-review

    The BMW with 4-cylinder turbo is way faster from 0-60. However, from 5-60, 30-50 and 50-70 the minivan holds a slight edge.

    Similar situation with times on the CTS or S90 T6

    caranddriver.com/reviews/2016-cadillac-cts-test-review

    caranddriver.com/reviews/2017-volvo-s90-awd-tested-review

    • 0 avatar
      WheelMcCoy

      Maybe this is the key to selling more mini-vans. Give them moar power! So much that no one will feel embarrassed driving one.

      • 0 avatar
        threeer

        Wheel…nah, folks will still run to SUVs/CUVs because “soccer mom” image and all regarding the vans. When I get back from my deployment, I’m seriously considering one (van, that is). My adopted daughter has taken to dog shows and when we go, it’s quite the packing ordeal. I usually wind up borrowing my sister’s 2011 Explorer (especially if the wife goes with). However, with most minivans that I’ve seen, with just the rear seats stowed down (or removed) we could easily fit all of the stuff that goes along. Take down one of the middle seats and it becomes a slam dunk. Sure, they aren’t sexy (although I am mildly fascinated by an all-black Sienna..Darth Vader style), but for day-long drives with a wife, a kid, a dog (soon to be two dogs), all of our luggage, kennels, tables, etc…a van is hard to beat. Sure, I guess I’ll toss my man-card to the wind, but as the music wafts over the stereo and my kid enjoys a movie while all of my gear is safely stored without me having to pack to the roof line, I’ll probably be good with that. And if it has decent pick-up and can *maybe* do some towing, even better.

        • 0 avatar
          Luke42

          As for the man card, I got mine when I started taking care of the family.

          A minivan is a tool to help take care of the family.

          Machismo has nothing to do with manliness.

          • 0 avatar
            jalop1991

            “As for the man card, I got mine when I started taking care of the family.

            A minivan is a tool to help take care of the family.

            Machismo has nothing to do with manliness.”

            This absolutely bears repeating.

            But remember, you’re saying it to people who have no idea about what being a real man is all about.

          • 0 avatar
            JimC2

            “But remember, you’re saying it to people who have no idea about what being a real man is all about.”

            Eeeeasy there, don’t be too hard on the peanut gallery. I’d bet more here agree than not. Remember the “rolling coal” article comments? I think it was pretty well unanimous here that that rawrrr macho activity was about as far as you can get from being a mature, responsible man.

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            How many roads must a man walk down, before you call him a man?

          • 0 avatar
            JimC2

            “How many roads must a man walk down, before you call him a man?”

            Jennnayyyy!

            (Sorry, I couldn’t help myself.)

        • 0 avatar
          WheelMcCoy

          Agree with the value of a van, having owned a 1997 Honda Odyssey (first gen, no sliding doors, no vtec). It got the job done.

          I was hoping more HP would just increase the overall appeal of vans — I know some are sensitive to the “soccer mom” image.

          Me, not so much. I hope a Miata ND is in my future.

        • 0 avatar
          shane_the_ee

          “I guess I’ll toss my man-card to the wind” – shortly after purchasing our ’15 Odyssey, someone pointed out to me that the minivan is a very loud vehicular display of a man’s virility.

        • 0 avatar
          30-mile fetch

          “Wheel…nah, folks will still run to SUVs/CUVs because “soccer mom” image and all regarding the vans”

          Yes. I just saw an example of this at play with the inlaws recently. One SIL has five kids and the 15-yo Sienna is getting hammered and they are considering a replacement. One of the other more image-conscious relatives suggested a 3-row SUV.

          For 5 kids and gear.

          I later told her to ignore that advice, that SUVs are poorly packaged and cramped compared to vans, that the new minivans are roomier than her 7/8s size old Sienna. She’s practical, I don’t think she’ll drink the CUV kool-aid.

  • avatar
    Big Al from Oz

    I had a Sienna when I was in Washington State earlier this year. I drove it a fair bit.

    It was quite fast in a straight line. I didn’t like the way it handled. It didn’t turn very well at speed into curves or corners.

    From a FE perspective it was averaging around 17-18mpg. Which is not good by Aussie standards.

    I also drove a new Nissan Quest (what a piece of sh!t to drive!) and a Kia Sedona. I didn’t mind the Sedona, it didn’t have the power of the Sienna, but I preferred it as a vehicle for a longer drive.

    The passengers preferred the Sedona first, a close second for the Sienna and a distant third for the Quest.

    These vehicles are not about straight line acceleration. A small diesel would be the best engine to fit into these. They are not what I would call a decent or enjoyable drive.

    • 0 avatar
      gtemnykh

      “From a FE perspective it was averaging around 17-18mpg. Which is not good by Aussie standards.”

      Must be some very heavily city-biased driving. I got one of the older platform Grand Caravans with the 3.6/6A to return 24mpg with a mix of 75-77mph cruising and urban driving, with lots of AC use the whole time.

      • 0 avatar
        Big Al from Oz

        gtemnykh,
        I once had the vehicle computer showing a bit over 22mpg, but that was on the highway sitting between 65 and 75. But real life FE was always between 17-18mpg. I have a company credit card and I had to write down miles every time it was filled.

        I would buy a Grand Caravan if it was as good as you state. I know our diesel vans are pushing around 30mpg on the highway.

        • 0 avatar
          JimC2

          Those vehicle computers seem to vary. I had one that was basically dead on and another that was always “optimistic” by over 10 percent.

          Individual people’s results can vary too- if a lot of your driving is with dense but smooth, fast moving traffic then you’ll burn less gas than cruising at the same speed on the open road. If you’re the guy who puts a little more air pressure in your tires, if… little things can add up to a couple more mpg. Not claiming any of that is good/bad/safe/dangerous, it just “is.”

  • avatar
    jalop1991

    Hondas are crap. They don’t even deserve a mention.

    Honda can’t build a V6 car to save their lives. An engineering company? BS.

    If the transmissions aren’t grenading, the engines are self-destructing (thanks to VCM–look it up).

    It all started with the MY 1998 cars. We’re coming up on 20 years of Honda’s failure to engineer a V6/auto trans vehicle that’s worth the price of the paper the sales order is written on.

    Honda’s crown jewel is the 4 cylinder, manual transmission car. Always was, and apparently always will be. It sure looks like they can’t manage to production engineer their way out of a paper bag.

  • avatar
    FormerFF

    I had a Ford Aerostar with the Vulcan V6, used it as a daily driver and also to tow my race car. I also used it to carry ATBs when a friend and I went riding. One day we stayed a little longer than we should have,as my friend had a date and needed to get back, so I double timed it back to his house, While we were getting back, he asked me why I didn’t drive that way all the time. I answered, “This is a minivan, I have a reputation to uphold.”

    • 0 avatar
      James2

      My first job out of college involved driving an Aerostar cargo van with the Vulcan. By my seat-of-the-pants meter the thing was pretty quick.

      • 0 avatar
        gearhead77

        I had a ’93 SWB Aerostar for a while. I loved that van and was really sad when the transmission died. I had it rebuilt, but it was never the same again. But I did run it harder than it had ever been run before (bought in 2005 with only 55k and I put 10k on it in 6 months).

        The Vulcan was strong down low and didn’t do bad at 70-75mph. If Ford (or VW) built something like Aerostar again, I’d really consider it. Always something about RWD that’s so much better to drive.

        I wanted to consider a Metris prior to our Toyota purchase, but it’s too much airport shuttle versus minivan. It wouldn’t fit in our short garage and the wife deemed it too boxy.

      • 0 avatar
        JimC2

        One of my high school friends’ parents had one of the first Topazes with the Vulcan V6. Compared to the malaise hardware most of the rest of our parents drove, we thought that car was a lot of fun whenever it was his turn to drive anywhere.

    • 0 avatar
      Luke42

      Pretty much everyone on the road underestimates minivan performance.

      I drive like a responsible dad in the thing, not because of the vehicle, but because the passengers will yell at me if I apply acceleration sufficient to remind them that they are not actually in a living room.

      But I do occasionally let it rip. My van can usually beat anything a teenager is allowed to drive (even a teenager with a tuning kit) off the line — on those rare occasions when I allow myself to do it.

  • avatar
    JEFFSHADOW

    We just took delivery of our leased 2017 Pacifica Touring L Plus last evening. It is the Velvet Red color and is the coolest minivan on the road, period. This one also had the 27W package which saves the buyer $2,635. Similar Pacificas like our $35,810 version are priced well over $37,000 now.
    We also saved $527 by not paying for the second year of commercial plates registration on our 2016 Ram Big Horn and now get ten more miles per gallon.
    Most importantly: My Dog Loves It!!!

  • avatar
    Joss

    Properly quick to the next red. In Quest of Rogue sales.

  • avatar
    carguy

    It’s much the same for full size trucks. It seems that 0-60 in 6.5 – 7.5 seconds is the new normal.

  • avatar
    gearhead77

    Our ’17 Sienna SE is also, sadly, the quickest and most powerful vehicle I’ve ever owned in light of these numbers. No, 0-60 times aren’t important really, but it shows the power is there if you need to use it. The passing times even more so. It has a little bit of a growl to it as well and the eight speed works way better than the 6 speed in the Honda. It’ll never be the surprisingly agile and fun little box our Mazda 5 is, but it’s a much more capable carrier of stuff. With the premium package, we want for nothing. And for the naysayers, how is this any worse than a 300hp Traverse, Pilot, etc.?

    There’s some creature comforts our ’14 Odyssey EX-L did better, Honda’s seats being much better to deal with for one, but I find the Toyota better to drive in SE form (in other trims, I’d still give the nod to Honda). The new Odyssey is impressive and I kind of wish we’d waited another month before leasing the Toyota. But no one could give us a straight answer on when the Odyssey was showing up. The Toyota is fine, it’s just now a much older platform with a new engine compared to the mostly new Odyssey.

    Our Odyssey was a fine vehicle, but all of Honda’s V6/automatic issues don’t give me the warm and fuzzies about a first year anything new from them either. Toyota

    • 0 avatar
      joeaverage

      Tell me about he current V6/automatic transmission issues.

      • 0 avatar
        gearhead77

        Look, I know that a majority of the problem with Honda’s V6/automatics are in the past. But I never cared for the way the V6 6 speed in my Odyssey did its job. My brother had two ’07 V6 Accords and as the miles went on and with regular fluid changes, their shift quality went down. Even our Odyssey, after the recommended fluid change at 20k, shifted like it was new again, but it wasn’t that great when new. My folks had an ’12 Acura MDX briefly and that transmission seemed overworked.

        And someone mentioned having VCM issues, which I never did, but it did cause the vehicle some strange hesitation once in a while.

        I just don’t love Hondas with V6’s and automatics. My 88 Legend with a 5 speed though, was one of my favorite cars ever, even though I was the 6th owner!

      • 0 avatar
        jalop1991

        The current V6 issues are around their VCM technology.

        Look it up.

        They’ve transferred those engineers off of the transmissions and over to the engines. You know, those engineers who apparently can’t do anything right.

        It’s coming up on 20 straight years of Honda failing at making any sort of a reliable V6/auto trans vehicle.

  • avatar
    CaseyLE82

    I have a 1991 Toyota Previa minivan. I once tried to time it from 0-60. I got to 21 seconds and then just gave up. I still love it tho! But I HAVE been keeping my eye on those new Sienna’s. That sure would make one hell of an upgrade.

  • avatar
    EX35

    so you have to spend $45K+ for the Touring model to avoid the god awful 9-speed? WTF? A decent transmission is now a luxury item it seems.

  • avatar
    Dan

    I would have thought that this segment would have been one of the first to be ruined with boosted 4 cylinders, instead it’s become the last holdout of the naturally aspirated six.

    I suspect that these are just big enough to keep the ubiquitous 2.0 four in ri h boost even on the near-coasting EPA tests, and without that paper compliance advantage there’s no reason to pay for the expensive turbo plumbing.

    Whatever it takes.

  • avatar
    2012JKU

    My wife has a 16 Kia Sedona LX+. 276hp, it moves pretty well. Chose it over a Grand Caravan as it was better equipped for the same money and had a much better safety rating. Pacifica wasnt considered as it is much more expensive in Canada and was scared of the 9 speed. I am not anti Chrysler either….my own car is a 15 300C.

  • avatar
    Spartan

    If I could have a minivan with a NA V6, sub 60 second 0-60 time and a real luxury interior, we would have bought one years ago. But apparently there isn’t a large enough market for such a van.

    Someday, some car company is gonna build one and I’ll happily give them my money.

  • avatar
    Lou_BC

    Coming to an FCA dealer near you: Pacifica HellCat.

    • 0 avatar
      28-Cars-Later

      Shut up and take my money!

    • 0 avatar
      rudiger

      I don’t know if there’s enough room to jam a V8 into the Pacifica’s engine bay.

      But if there was enough room and FCA did it, it would be quite interesting to see how well it sold. Frankly, when FCA finally pulls the plug on the Grand Caravan, if they rebadged the standard V6 Pacifica as a Dodge and went with only hybrid and V8 drivetrains for the upmarket Pacfica, they might have a winning minivan line-up, enough to reclaim the throne from Toyota and Honda.

  • avatar
    Lorenzo

    The horsepower and performance are nice, but they’re selling to the men, and it’s their wives who don’t want to drive them and deter their husbands from buying them. Minivans are pretty luxurious, especially compared to the original econobox models, so that’s not working.

    Minivan sales will rebound when they incorporate something attractive to women, and the only thing missing is status. I suggest they advertise exclusivity and double the MSRP.

    They can keep sales up with extra cash on the hood. Nothing works better than selling an $85,000 vehicle for a $32,000 price – people will think they’re getting a deal!

  • avatar
    packardhell1

    “Of course this level of accelerative ability is entirely unnecessary. But unnecessary power needn’t be reserved only for unnecessary cars.”

    While I agree that minivans weigh more today than in years past, it is really nice having the additional power. My minivan history is a 1998 Grand Caravan (180hp 3.8L + 4sp auto, sold), 2004 Odyssey (240hp 3.5L + 5sp auto, sold), and now a 2012 Grand Caravan (283hp 3.6L + 6sp auto).

    The ’98 Caravan had ok acceleration. It was a dog off the line but did ok when underway. It easily cruised at 80-85 and returned 21-22 mpg average. I sold it due to a cracked flex plate.

    The 2004 Odyssey struck the best balance between handling and power. It handled pretty well for a box and the engine/tranny combo were a great match for the weight. It’s a shame Honda didn’t engineer the tranny to be as durable as the engine or I’d still be driving it. The tranny started slipping the week of Christmas 2016. Grrr…

    The 2012 GC handles a bit better than the Odyssey, but you can tell it is much heavier. The power from the Pentastar may be “unnecessary”, but it is nice merging onto interstates and be faster than the folks who didn’t bother to change lanes to let you over.

    So, even if the power is unnecessary, I’ll take it and be happy with it. I can cruise at 80 mph at 1,900 RPM with 4 adults/2 kids/luggage and still get 24 mpg.

Read all comments

Back to TopLeave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.

Recent Comments

  • sgeffe: Or the aftermarket will come up with a way, in the form of a doohickey which plugs into the OBD II port, as...
  • sgeffe: The Malibu is about the worst, with the Equinox second. When I’m walking to/from my work lot to my office,...
  • HotPotato: Having solar on your roof makes you MORE resilient if the power goes off (if you’re smart enough to...
  • HotPotato: Translation: California is paying me a fat union retirement pension, and I’m saying thank you by...
  • AthensSlim: When I renewed last summer (‘19) there was no option to renew without also ordering a new plate for my...

New Car Research

Get a Free Dealer Quote

Who We Are

  • Matthew Guy
  • Timothy Cain
  • Adam Tonge
  • Bozi Tatarevic
  • Chris Tonn
  • Corey Lewis
  • Mark Baruth
  • Ronnie Schreiber