Are SUVs The New Minivan?

March 3, 2014

fleet of carsSince the mid-1980s, the minivan has led the pack as the workhorse of taxiing sleepy kids to 7 a.m. hockey practices and navigating the superstore parking lot post-grocery run.

While the minivan has all necessities for the family lifestyle – inboard entertainment, bench-style seating and lots of wiggle room for groceries, hockey bags or picking up the kids – in recent years the SUV has become a major contender for the role of family workhorse.

Since each family’s needs are unique, it’s important to weigh your options before choosing one over the other.

Price – Minivans Vs SUVs

Like the vast majority of vehicles, the price will depend on what options and features you add to the base model, but in general:

  • Minivans can cost anywhere from $19,000 for basic features to $45,000 for one decked out like a luxury car.
  • Compact SUVs start around $20,000 to $40,000, and luxury SUVs range anywhere from $32,000 to more than $100,000.

Safety - Minivans Vs SUVs

If the Insurance Institute For Highway Safety’s annual Top Safety Picks are any indication, than SUVs come out on top over minivans. This year’s winners (for 2014 models) includes just one minivan, the Honda Odyssey. But look to the SUVs and you’ve got nine models to choose from.

Last year’s Top Safety Picks, for 2013 models, fair a little better for minivans where four minivans earned the IIHS honour; the Chrysler Town & Country, Dodge Grand Caravan, Honda Odyssey and the Toyota Sienna. But look to the SUVs again, and you’ve got around 40 to pick from.

Fuel Efficiency - Minivans Vs SUVs

Although there are a few 4-cyclinder minivans out there, V6 power seems to be the status quo and you can typically expect to get about 8.5 litres per kilometre (20 miles per gallon.)

Although SUVs have a reputation for being gas-guzzlers it varies from model to model – starting around 8.5 L/km (20 mpg) for a compact SUV and hitting a low of 5 L/km (12 mpg) for bigger models.

Space - Minivans Vs SUVs

Minivans can usually seat seven to eight comfortably and are specifically designed with space for parents to move about. Some offer options like bucket seats in the middle row that swivel and allow parents to keep an eye on young children.

When it comes to having teenaged children, SUVs seem to be more comfortable. With a step up bar and bench like seating, SUVs have a tendency to give your growing kids the right amount of room. Many SUVs are designed to carry at least five passengers, while compacts can seat four adults comfortably. Larger SUVs often offer a third row seat, which is aptly suited for kids.

Both minivans and SUVs have different configurations that make switching between carrying a load of kids and a batch of groceries convenient.

The Look - Minivans Vs SUVs

Minivans seem to carry a stigma, which could contribute to the growth in popularity of the SUVs. The minivans one-size-fits-all model is a common detraction, and the minivan’s overall look has evolved at a glacial pace. Plainly put, SUVs offer more versatility when it comes to switching between a family and a more professional look; minivans on the other hand only have one look – family.

Nowadays, both have a tendency to offer onboard entertainment packages – TV screens to entertain the kids and iPod hookups.

Ultimately, both offer adequate features and space for growing families. If you’ve got teenagers in the family you’re probably more better suited for the SUV, younger families might want to go with a minivan. In the end, it’s the little features and add-ons that make all the difference.

Minivan or SUV: whichever you buy, compare auto insurance quotes

Whatever the driving force is behind your decision to buy a minivan or SUV, compare more than the price, room, fuel consumption and safety ratings; compare auto insurance quotes too. Just like the vehicles themselves, auto insurance rates will vary and paying too much for insurance doesn’t fit into anyone’s family lifestyle.