These 7 Hot Features Make Minivans Cool Again
The best minivans don’t just have automatic doors and lots of cup holders. With top of the line technology, safety enhancements, and some of the most ingenious minivan features that are –YES!!!– designed by moms, some of the best minivans ever are now on the market.
Everyone knows the exterior of a minivan and can understand the value of the sliding doors and roomy interior (especially moms of several wiggly, giggly kids). However, it is the details of these new vans that will impress you. You might even think they’re sexy! Check out the top minivan features in the best minivans of 2018.
1. Honda Odyssey: CabinWatch & Cabin Talk
One of the most inventive minivan features in the 2018 models is the ‘spy cam’ and PA system called CabinWatch and Cabin Talk. This ingenious system involved Honda mounting a camera above the second row that allows parents to spy on kids in the third row. The live image displays on the front infotainment screen, you can pinch-to-zoom just like you can on your phone, you can see kids in rear-facing car seats and the infrared camera lets you see those little angels clearly at night. Cabin Talk is a microphone-and-speaker system in front and back that lets front seat passengers talk to rear-seat passengers; the system even interrupts the audio feed on the wireless headsets and any plugged into the headphone jacks.
Just think…no more breaking your neck to turn around and see the little kids who always end up in the third row, or straining to hear what they are saying. You can even see what they are reading (or pretending to read) or who hit who first. Just be sure to keep your eyes on the road when you’re driving.
2. Honda Odyssey and Chrysler Pacifica: How much farther? feature
Understanding how awful it is to answer the question, ‘are we there yet’ a million times on every road trip, both Honda and Chrysler added this feature so you’ll never have to answer it again. It lets kids have access to the route destination maps on the rear-view entertainment system. Kids can keep tabs on your travels the way most airplanes do presented in a kid-friendly way so the kids will actually want to watch it.
3. Chrysler Pacifica: Uconnect infotainment system
The Chrysler Pacifica offers optional 5-inch rear-seat touch screens with their Uconnect infotainment system. If you have kids you know this is not really an option though. It’s a necessity. These screens can play DVDs and Blu-ray discs, as well as any of your HDMI-equipped devices, video games included. Yes, technically the kids could play X-Box in the car. That might be a slippery slope though so enter at your own risk. If you don’t have any new DVD’s or devices to connect, no problem. These touch screens have built-in video games which include Checkers and The License Plate Game. Kids can play against the computer or link up the screens and play the person next to them. I was tempted to ride in the back just so I could play a game!
4. Chrysler Pacifica: Stow ‘n Go
I was impressed with the Stow ‘n Go feature of the Chrysler Pacifica. This allows users to fold the seats completely into the floor for a ton of extra space. But that’s not the coolest part. The underfloor compartments that the seats fold into can be used as large hidden storage compartments. You store all those extras moms always need in the car and keep your trunk clear. As a super cool bonus, you can even order liners for them, fill them with ice, and use them as coolers on a road trip or perhaps just for a tailgate!
5. Toyota Sienna: Toyota Safety Sense
One of the reasons the Toyota Sienna has remained one of the best minivans for families is the strong safety offerings. In 2018, that will get even better. Starting in the 2018 Toyota Sienna model, the Safety Sense P package will come standard on ALL models. This package will include Pre-Collision System with Pedestrian Detection, Full-Speed Range Dynamic Radar Cruise Control, Lane Departure Alert with Steering Assist, and Automatic High Beams.
6. Honda Odyssey’s Cabin Control App with Social Playlist
I love minivan features that help quell arguments before they start and let passengers take care of little things themselves. Honda gets that too. The Cabin Control app turns smartphones into a remote control for the infotainment system, lets back seat passengers control the climate and allows passengers to join the Social PlayList: up to eight people can tag songs from their devices and hear them played on the car’s sound system. This is like a reincarnation of an old school jukebox!
7. Kia Carnival and Honda Odyssey: Next Level Seats
While it seems like a little thing, being able to sit comfortably in the seat of the car and not feel like melting is huge to me. When driving in hot climates (or during the summer in other places), you now can use the three Ventilated Front Seat options to get cooled down fast in the Kia Carnival, which replaced the much-loved Sedona. No more back sweat! The Kia Carnival also offers heated front seats with three heating levels to warm you up, with an option to have heated second-row seats as well. Kia also ups the “cool factor” with this minivan option, which perhaps is the most important of all minivan features.
The 2018 Honda Odyssey also offers Magic Slide seats which let seats move sideways, instead of just the traditional back and forth. Kids fighting or need to get to the third row easier? Slide their seats apart. Want to make the kids learn to share? Pull the lever and slide the seats back together. This is a game-changer for parents of multiple kids!
The best minivans mean that you don’t just HAVE to drive a minivan when you’re ferrying around a big family….you GET to drive a minivan. These top minivan features in 2018 models can help add some swagger back into your soccer mom lifestyle.