Minivans used to be one of the most popular cars in the U.S. If you had a big family, it was almost a necessity to purchase a van. If your kids had lots of friends, it was even more valuable to use a minivan to chaperone the little tykes around the neighborhood.
Somewhere along the way, the minivan went out of style. There are less than 10 models of minivans sold in the U.S. now, as this type of vehicle has been overtaken by the SUV. We’ll talk about all of the reasons the minivan has dropped in popularity, from the lack of safety features to the inability to drive in off-road environments.
We’ll also talk about the best van insurance for personal use and whether you can still get your minivan insured at a cheaper price than an SUV or a sedan. What other ways do minivans affect your finances? Let’s discuss.
Minivans are typically considered safe vehicles. The lack of minivan options compared to SUVs gives customers a greater variety of safe vehicles when shopping for the latter, though.
This is very important to vehicle owners who want to keep their children safe when driving their family around and is a possible reason why SUVs have overtaken minivans in popularity.
The only top safety plus picks by the IIHS for minivans are the Honda Odyssey, the Toyota Sienna, and the Chrysler Pacifica. Meanwhile, there are eight midsize SUVs with safety plus rating by the IIHS. This means that you can focus on other parts of the vehicle besides just safety when shopping for SUVs.
Seatbelt reminders are not excellent on either SUVs or minivans, and headlights are also an issue with both types of vehicles. This means that families should also try especially hard to drive safely at night in either one of these vehicles.
SUVs and minivans both have tons of safety features like smart technology and lane departure assist plus added features like GPS tracker for added security. If you are worried about which type of vehicle has more of these features, it’s pretty even.
If you are looking to see the world on a road trip with your family, SUVs have become a much better option than minivans. They usually are equipped with four-wheel drive, they can make it through the snow and off-road conditions better than other vehicles, and they look a lot sleeker than minivans.
At the same time, minivans usually have a little more space than the average midsize SUV. This means that passengers can ride more comfortably and you can fit more people in a minivan most of the time. If you buy a large SUV this isn’t a problem.
Fuel efficiency is typically better in minivans than SUVs, too. Most minivans will give you an average of five more miles to the gallon for gasoline. The Toyota Sienna minivan can give you over 30 miles to the gallon, the best of any vehicle that size on the market, minivan or SUV.
It is also more eco-friendly than most SUVs on the market, even winning the Family Green Car of the Year award. These things all show that if you really want a minivan, the Sienna is still a great option instead of an SUV. The issue is that the lack of variety in the minivan market is going to turn most people off to the idea of buying a minivan.
SUVs are so much more varied in 2022. Oftentimes people who don’t even have big families want to own an SUV for their multi-purpose use and the ways you can change their interior depends on the situation.
SUVs are much better at hauling luggage than minivans. SUVs are estimated to be able to carry more than 5,000 pounds more than minivans. For families who want to go boating or hook something else to their vehicle, this is something to consider when planning your next trip.
One thing that families will still enjoy about minivans over SUVs is their cheaper price. It is nearly impossible to find a new SUV for less than $30,000, but there are minivans in this price range. This makes it even more curious why minivans have fallen out of style with so many families.
The insurance on a minivan is also cheaper than on larger SUVs. The average price to insure a minivan is $142 monthly. SUV insurance rates are all over the map depending on the size of the vehicle. If you get a smaller SUV, the insurance rates can be cheaper than most sedans.
This means you need to do your research on the insurance prices for these vehicles before you buy one. There are so many different types of SUVs that it’s hard to put an average price on the insurance costs.
The way you drive your minivan or SUV can also impact the insurance rates. You need to keep a clean driving record in both vehicles. Drive under the speed limit, don’t run red lights, and wear your seatbelt so that you are safe and don’t get a ticket. All of these things can impact your insurance.
It can be hard to learn how to drive both a minivan and an SUV compared to a sedan. If you are a new owner of a bigger vehicle, you should think about going to a defensive driving school and learning how to operate these larger vehicles. It takes a while to get adjusted to being up higher, the decrease in handling compared to a sedan, etc.
The Verdict on Minivans
Even though sales are down and the variety of minivans is lower than 20 years ago, you should still consider buying one for your family if you need to travel with a lot of passengers. Minivans like the Toyota Sienna are still very safe, and they are incredibly economical.
If you are planning on using your vehicle to go off-roading or you need to haul things, minivans have certainly gone out of style. Trucks and SUVs would be better for these activities now.
What you choose to buy is simply dependent on your lifestyle. If you just recently learned how to drive, you can choose classic cars for first-time buyers. Minivans are still appropriate for families who need them, even though SUVs now sell much more frequently.
Shawn Laib writes and researches for the auto insurance comparison site, AutoInsurance.org. He wants to help people figure out what vehicle is right for their families.