At 11 years old and 86k miles in our beloved minivan, time to start thinking about a new vehicle for our family. Having one child, two parents and a dog, we did not necessarily need a large capacity vehicle when we bought our Minivan. With my previous vehicle, an SUV, I sat up higher than sedans and got spoiled by all the space. Back then most SUV’s – well in my price range, I didn’t like the way they drove. I wanted to feel like I was in a sedan again – but with tons of space. Both minivans and SUV offer so much whether looking for room for people, stuff, comfort or ability to tow. So here I am back at that same decision. Is the Minivan versus SUV debate on for your next car purchase? A new vehicle is a big investment, consider the Pros and Cons of each when shopping around.
WHY A MINIVAN OR SUV?
If you need seating and/or lots of cargo space, both more than suffice. Families with two or more little ones, need room for car seats. Third row SUV’s and minivans offer the space for more people, carseats and luggage. Larger vehicles give a higher vantage point to view road and surroundings, I like that personally. Our family road trips have included our daughter, grandma often times and sometimes the our dog. When family or friends visit or we go out, it is nice to squeeze everyone in one vehicle. If you are dealing with carseats you got space in both. With the seats higher off the ground than a sedan, MUCH easier on the back when getting little kids in and out.
- SUV has more options in All Wheel Drive or 4 Wheel Drive. Only the Toyota Siena offers All Wheel Drive (AWD) of the minivans. Need to drive in a variety of terrain or like to drive off road? Do you drive inclement weather or to the ski slopes? Live in the mountains? SUV with 4WD or AWD better suits your needs in performance.
- SUV’s offer more power and choices in towing capacity. Need to haul a boat, camper or a trailer? Make sure you check towing capacity to find one to fit your needs.
- SUV’s can be customized with DVD Players to keep little ones occupied on long road trips.
- SUV’s have a sportier image where minivans can scream soccer mom or swim taxi. No stigma with SUVs like linked to minivans.
- The third row is typically smaller than minivan and potentially harder to get to. AWD can impact the headroom and legroom in an SUV. If you need the third row on a regular basis, make sure it is easy for your needs to get in and out of.
- Being higher off the ground, can be harder for little ones to get in and out of.
- The interior is spacious. Headroom on all rows, and plenty of cargo space behind third row that goes deeper than SUV.
- The sliding doors at the touch of a button make it easy to load the kids and groceries. LOVE LOVE LOVE the doors. So happy not worrying about my daughter dinging the car next to us or our door on a pole or fence or wall.
- Lower the ground and easier for kids to get in and out of.
- Seats often flip down and store under floor, which is fabulous when you need cargo space.
- Minivans were made for families and the options to support carting around your family, scout troop or carpool are incredibly flexible. Many come standard.
- The elephant in the room, the stigma of the minivan owner. I don’t personally get that, but it is out there. Truth be told no one every came up to me and said “Poor Julie, you have given up on excitement with your practical ride.”
So how do you decide?
When shopping thinking about all the ways you will use your vehicle. Do Captain chairs make more sense to keep kids separated on long car trips or ease of getting to the third row? Will you be using your vehicle for cargo and need to easily change seat configuration. Will you be towing anything? Do you need to utilize 4WD? What features can you not live without. Most minivans and SUV get gas mileage around 18 -22mph, however there are some options coming to the market that offer better fuel efficiency.
Budget dictates what to purchase so shop around. An easy way to shop around without driving all over town whether looking at new or used, go to cars.com and compare models for features and local prices. Want to get the most out of your new vehicle? has info how to keep your car in great running shape and as safe as possible.
While I enjoyed my SUV, I love how when driving my minivan I don’t feel like I am driving a box full of kids or a truck. Oh things have changed in 11 years from my SUV days I am sure. I am spoiled by the space, the nice turn radius and the ability to haul stuff in a jiff with easy seat changes in my current ride. We are heavily in discussions of Minivan versus SUV again. Do we NEED a minivan…probably not with a family of 3 and driving in the South primarily, but SUV’s have come a long way. We do talk about getting a camper, so definitely looking into again. After all, a vehicle is a huge purchase and we hold on to them for a while. You can’t go wrong, just shop around and figure out what is right for your family.
So which are you – Minivan or SUV? (Its OK really either way!)
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