Minivan – The Most Flexible Family Hauler on the Road


Despite crossover SUVs eating into minivan sales, the versatile vehicles are still the most practical for family duties. Use RelayCars’ immersive tools and vehicle data to compare models and find the minivan that’s right for your family.


The non-hybrid Pacifica offers all-wheel drive, which improves traction in inclement weather and enhances stability on unpaved roads. It also comes with the most advanced safety features of any van in its class.

Sliding Doors

The sliding doors that separate minivans from SUVs are a big selling point for families. They help them get kids and cargo in and out of the vehicle more easily, and they allow vans to fit into narrow parking spots. Sliding doors also offer more interior room than regular hinged doors.

But sliding doors have one huge drawback: They require a lot more weight and engineering than hinged doors, so they add to the cost of a van. The extra material also makes the door heavier, which impacts handling and acceleration.

That’s why so few passenger vehicles have them anymore. Most car manufacturers only make a single model with sliding doors, and they usually only have them on vans. The exception is the Kia Carnival, which has sliding doors front and back.

Besides sliding doors, the Carnival has plenty of other family-friendly features like a hands-free liftgate, a rear-occupant alert that honks and turns on the four-way if it senses a child or pet inside, and two rear-seat entertainment screens that wirelessly play Apple or Android devices. There are also nine USB ports to keep everyone’s devices charged. The Carnival is also available with a turbocharged engine and all-wheel drive, which improves fuel efficiency. If you want a more sporty ride, the Rifter is an alternative that has sliding doors all around and a range of economical engines.

Second Row Captain’s Chairs

While many minivans come standard with bench 방문운전연수 seats, there are also a number of SUVs with second-row captain’s chairs. These specialized seating arrangements provide passengers with a more premium, individual-seat feel that often includes superior lumbar support than bench seats. Captains’ chairs can also offer more seating adjustment options, and some even recline — a welcome feature for long road trips.

Some parents prefer captains’ seats because they make it easier to install child car seats in the second row. Unlike a bench seat, which requires someone to climb over the seatback, captains’ seats can slide forward, leaving an open walkway for kids to get to the back row without climbing over a passenger.

Additionally, captains’ chairs allow parents to keep a kid in a forward-facing car seat in the center of the second row. This can be especially helpful for kids who get motion sickness, as they are less likely to feel sick if they face forward.

The only downside of captains’ chairs is that they remove a seat in the middle of the second row, which can reduce cargo space. However, some SUVs allow you to add a second-row center console to replace this lost space. These consoles can include nifty storage bins, additional cup holders, and a flat surface for books or games. This feature is also available in the Volvo XC90, which is one of our favorite luxury SUVs.

Third Row Stow-N-Go Seating

The defining trait of most minivans is their seating flexibility to carry people and cargo in multiple configurations. While hulking SUVs have taken over many segments of the market, the minivan remains the most flexible family hauler on the road. Automakers go to great lengths to make the folding, stowing, and reconfiguring of third-row seats as easy as possible. They also include features like Chrysler’s FamCam, which allows parents in the front row to monitor second- and third-row rug rats.

The most coveted feature among minivan shoppers is Stow-N-Go seating. This system allows the second-row captain’s chairs to fold into the floor of the van, transforming into an unobstructed flat cargo area. This makes loading large items and long-tail furniture a snap. Moreover, it improves seat comfort by eliminating the gap between the seats and cargo floor. Other seating systems are available in some minivans, but few are as easy to use as Chrysler’s patented Stow-N-Go.

Stow-N-Go seating is exclusively featured in FCA-branded minivans, including the Dodge Caravan and Chrysler Pacifica. The latter offers a maximum cargo capacity of 140.5 cubic feet when all three rows of seats are stowed. For comparison, the Toyota Sienna offers 158 cubic feet when all of its third-row seats are folded. Most models offer a pull lever or strap to help drivers fold the seats down, but some do not require any manual effort at all.

Full-Length Coverage

A Minivan is a type of passenger vehicle that is smaller in length and height than a full-size van. This gives it more cargo space and a lower center of gravity than sedans, which makes them easier to handle on the road and less susceptible to rollover accidents. Some examples include the Honda Odyssey, Toyota Sienna, and Chrysler Pacifica. Minivans are also popular for commercial passenger operations like taxis and shuttles, as well as deliveries by the postal service and courier companies. In the UK, white van men are often seen working for small businesses with these vehicles. Other types of vans include step vans, with higher rooftops and more boxy bodies to facilitate stepping in and out of them.