I need a new car. I want a DVD system for my son and also seating for more than five people, also. Should I look at a minivan or an SUV, and which one is best? Which do you drive?
Thanks, Mary H., Brooklyn, NY
I drive an SUV with a third row and I chose if for many of the reasons you might choose a minivan. My advice is to consider the similarities and differences between the two and then decide which is right for you.
Chrysler Town & Country might give you the most for your money, though the Kia Sedona, which was newly redesigned for 2015 and has a great warranty, packs in a lot of value, too. Chrysler has wifi capability (data plan required) which is great. Toyota Sienna is the most popular, has maybe the best combination of features and is available with all wheel drive (it’s the only minivan that has it) and reclining seats with foot rests. My husband loves the Nissan Quest, but it’s the biggest one of all—feels more like a van than a mini van.
If you’re going to be driving in the country a lot, especially in winter, AWD should be a requirement. You don’t want to slide off the road or get stuck in an icy driveway. You might want to think about an SUV with a third row: Dodge Journey (maybe the best value in the category), Chevy Tahoe (pricey but awesome), Toyota Highlander or Nissan Pathfinder. All have a third row and have pretty good storage. Tahoe lets you choose AWD, 2WD or 4WD, which increases your fuel economy but gives you the capability when you need it. SUV fuel economy is about the same as a mini van, so don’t focus too much on that (though the Highlander hybrid gets about 27MPG pretty reliably)
While minivan third rows are larger, if you don’t need the third row all the time I’d think about looking at a crossover or SUV with AWD. The smaller ones—Toyota Highlander, Nissan Pathfinder, or even the Nissan Rogue, which has a third row, will be easier to park in Brooklyn.
Hope this helps you to decide the best option for your family,