Though as a species they’ve become notably rarer on the market, in good part due to the exploding popularity of crossovers and SUVs as well as the return to prominence of wagons, modern minivans still represent excellent choices for many families.
The Canadian market, for example, offers the Chrysler Pacifica (chosen North American Utility Vehicle of the Year for 2017), the freshly redesigned Honda Odyssey, the venerable Toyota Sienna and the highly affordable Kia Sedona and Dodge Grand Caravan.
Why buy one of these minivans and not another vehicle? The long-recognized advantages – interior space and adaptability – they bestow on their owners still apply, of course, but we’ve got five other compelling reasons why a minivan might be right for you:
- 1. Utilitarian capabilities: Many forget that the Toyota Sienna, for example, still offers all-wheel drive as an option, which ensures better road grip. And when it comes to towing, these minivans can pull up to maximums ranging from 3,000 to 3,600 lbs – about the weight of a large trailer.
- 2. Spills, messes and stains, begone: The Odyssey and Pacifica both offer in their higher trims an integrated vacuum system located in the trunk and equipped with a hose that reaches into all corners of the cabin. Say goodbye to the dust, sand and crumbs you being home from your road trip!
- 3. Easy to park: Each of the minivan models cited features a wide-angle backup camera. The Pacifica goes even further, giving the driver a 360-degree view thanks to the four cameras. And that’s not all: it also comes with a perpendicular and parallel park assist system. All you have to do is worry about the pedals, while the vehicle takes care of steering.
- 4. New systems like CabinTalk (Odyssey) and EasySpeak (Sienna) allow the driver to communicate with rear passengers by using the microphone of the audio system to amplify their voice through the rear speakers. Honda’s minivan also features a system called CabinWatch, which allows you to keep an eye on the kids via the central screen display so you don’t have to turn around.
- 5. Those hallowed road trip questions now have easy answers: The How Much Farther? (Odyssey) and Are We There Yet? (Pacifica) applications are fantastic for children, who now can follow the trip itinerary interactively via the rear entertainment touchscreens. At all times they can check the distance still to travel and the time of arrival.
Bonus reason! – Unlike the majority of minivans, the Pacifica is offered as well in a plug-hybrid version. While still maintaining an output of 260 hp, it consumes only 2.6Le/100 km (gasoline equivalent) when city driving, and has a range in all-electric mode of 53 km.