Ah, the Minivan. Today, there’s nothing mini about them. They’re big, roomy and powerful. Though the Minivan segment is under a full-fledged blitz from rival SUVs, Crossovers and Wagons, there are still a few of them on the market.
In years past, minivans typically had either base-model 4-cylinder engines or beefy, fuel-thirsty truck-based V6 engines to give shoppers a choice. Heading into the 2014 model year, the top minivans on the market all feature V6 engines that approach the magical, machismo 300-horsepower mark. This influx of V6 engines and two scoops of added luxury result in the majority of minivans carrying base price tags North of the $25,000 mark.
With so many variables going into selecting the perfect minivan for you and your family, this decision process can be rather difficult. To help make this decision a little easier, we have put together a top 5 list which outlines the best minivans for 2014.
So you love the Honda Accord, but you need room for seven people; well, the Odyssey is a great choice for you. Sure, its 3.5-liter SOHC V6 engine it a relative dinosaur, but it still holds strong with its 248 horsepower and 250 pound-feet of torque. Regardless of its aging powerplant, the Odyssey is arguably one of the best-looking minivans on the market on the inside and outside, thanks to more refined lines and higher-quality materials. The rear fold-down seats make realizing the Odyssey’s 148.5 cubic feet of maximum cargo space an easy task. If there is a glaring flaw in the Odyssey, it is the fact that its base model comes in at over $28K.
EPA-rated fuel economy: 19 City / 28 Highway
Though Toyota had some early stinkers in the minivan realm – the Toyota Van and Previa – the Sienna has managed to wash our minds clean of these mistakes and become a perennial leader in the class. With its optional eight-person seating capacity, smooth 3.5- liter V6 engine that pumps out 266 horsepower and 245 pound-feet of torque and slew of trim options, there is no wondering why it is always a top choice of soccer moms and dads. Add in a base model that comes in with a price near the mid-20s and you can see why it is so often a top choice. If there is one complaint about the Sienna, it’s the fact that the interior is still loaded with tons of cheap- looking plastics.
EPA-rated fuel economy: 17 City / 24 Highway
With incentives dropping it under the $30,000 mark, the Town & Country is more affordable than ever and it features top- end base features, like alloy wheels, a power tailgate, Stow ‘n Go rear seats and a rear-seat entertainment system for the kiddos. Additionally, its 3.6-liter V6 engine with 283 horsepower sets the mark for minivan muscle, but its lower 25 mpg highway may be a deterrent. Even with its convenient seating configuration, the Town & Country still comes up short at 143.8 cubic feet of maximum cargo space. So, if you are looking for a minivan that offers the most bang for your buck, but you’re willing to sacrifice some cargo space, the Chrysler is a good option.
EPA-rated fuel economy: 17 City / 25 Highway
At first glance, the Nissan Quest boxy back end and space-shuttle-like front end make it look like it belongs somewhere in the future, making it a tough sell to traditional buyers. Once you get past the initial look of the Quest, however, you find a worth competitor that features a smooth 3.5-liter V6 engine with 260 horsepower and 240 pound-feet of torque that connects to a continuously variable transmission. This setup nets the Quest an excellent 19 mpg city, but it comes up short at only 25 mpg on the highway. On the inside, the cabin is plenty roomy for passengers, but its 108.4 cubic feet of cargo space puts it well below its competitors. However, with a low base price and excellent seasonal incentives that can drop it under the $20,000 mark, the Quest is an excellent option.
EPA-rated fuel economy: 19 City / 25 Highway
The Dodge Grand Caravan is little more than the Chrysler Town & Country stripped of its base luxury features. This vacating of standard features, which leaves only items like steel wheels, power windows and mirrors, and a four-speaker audio system, drops the base price to under $20,000. This means it is the most affordable minivan on the market today. Like tis Town & Country brethren, the Grand Caravan leads the class with its 283-horsepower, 3.6-liter V6, but comes up short at just 17 mpg city and 25 mpg highway.
EPA-rated fuel economy: 17 City / 25 Highway