Your family is expanding and you need more room for kids and car seats.
Do you choose the great family minivan or an SUV to suit your growing family’s needs? As you might have guessed, the answer to that question is – it depends. It depends the size of your family, where you live, your lifestyle, and whether or not you are trying desperately to hold on to your life before children.
Are you ready to succumb to the “soccer mom” image and embrace the minivan? Or do you need to keep up the image that you still have some cool left in you as you drive down the road with children throwing crackers all over the floor and debating over which Paw Patrol character is better?
Let’s take a look at all of the items that separate the minivans from the SUVs without regard to any stigmas that might come to mind.
Price Matters When You Have Mouths to Feed–and Trips to Take
The first concern when purchasing a new family car will most likely be price. The less you pay for your car, the more money you have for fun family outings in that car. You can get into a basic 3-row SUV for less than the price of a minivan, but the minivan comes with more premium features for the same price.
For example, the Chrysler Pacifica comes fully loaded and tops out at $50,000, while many loaded SUVs with the same features can surpass that price by $20,000 and some even reach $100,000. Larger SUVs like the GMC Yukon are not available for less than $50,000.
Consider what features fit your lifestyle and needs before you decide. With that list in hand, you’ll be able to research SUVs and minivans to determine which ones fit within your budget.
Safe Travels: Is one better than the other?
SUVs have a higher ground clearance giving them a better view of the road ahead and over smaller cars in front of them. This can help avoid crashes when traffic is coming to a stop or if something is in the road. This higher ground clearance also gives SUVs an advantage over minivans in inclement weather or rough terrain.
Some SUVs, like the Honda Pilot, feature a driver-selected traction management system for different conditions such as snow, mud, or sand. In addition, SUVs and Crossovers tend to be available with all-wheel drive (AWD), while the Toyota Sienna is the only minivan to offer this.
While the higher ground clearance can be an advantage for SUVs, it should be noted that this also leaves it more prone to rollovers. The minivan’s lower ground clearance has an advantage in that it is similar to a car and is less likely to rollover.
The Fun is in the Features
When it comes to features and interior comfort, it’s hard to beat the minivan. With easier access to the third row and more cargo space than SUVs can offer, this is one category that is a selling point for many buyers. Most minivans allow you to fold the seats into the floor, giving you ample room for hauling purchases and equipment. The 2018 Honda Odyssey allows for 158 cubic feet of cargo space behind the first row, whereas the Chevrolet Suburban maxes out at 121.7 cubic feet.
The lower ground clearance of a minivan can be beneficial for saving the backs and shoulders of a mom trying to load a car seat in and out of the car. Many SUVs are too high for the average person to load a car seat without reaching up or climbing in first.
Technologically speaking, minivans and SUVs tend to offer the same features and they can be very advanced depending on the model you buy. Many models now offer a surround-view camera system that used to only be available to pricier luxury cars. This feature uses four cameras all around the vehicle to give you a view from above to assure there will be no curb bumping, parking over the lines, running over bicycles or hitting another car.
Sliding Doors Deserve Their Own Section in the Hall of Fame for Features
The automatic sliding side doors that are only available on minivans are worth discussing all on their own. When your hands are full of children and their gear, it is difficult to open each door and strap kids into car seats. SUV doors tend to be difficult for small children to open on their own. When that child is able to open the door, they tend to fling it open and hit that beautiful (expensive) little sports car parked next to you. Hooray for the sliding doors!
How and Where Do You Plan to Use Your Car?
If you live in the city, an SUV might be a better option for getting around as many are somewhat smaller than minivans. If you are a country dweller and need to drive over different terrain, an SUV is also a good option due to the higher ground clearance.
If you don’t have to deal with extreme weather conditions or rough terrain, a minivan will suit all of your needs and more. Both offer helpful features for any family’s needs.
The debate continues, but the decision lies with you and what your family will find the most useful to fit your lifestyle. Happy shopping!