Thursday, December 24, 2015

Best Boxes: Every Minivan Ranked from Worst to Best

It's kind of a running joke in the Car and Driver offices that, were logic to sole factor in vehicle purchases, manufacturers would only need to offer maybe four or five types of vehicles, say, a compact hatchback, a pickup truck, a mid-size station wagon, a large SUV, and, yes, a minivan. These cars would suit the needs of the vast majority of the population in terms of frugality or hauling people and/or cargo most of the time, and all the ego-driven sporty vehicles and supercars would be cast aside. ---Yet there's some truth there, especially regarding the minivan. Where many drivers see the purchase of a minivan as a sign of giving up, of sacrificing fun on the altar of practicality, there's still plenty of goodness to be found in the segment. While none are truly fun to drive in the mold of a sports sedan, some offer decent dynamics to go with the incredibly clever features for which the species is now known, including bins galore, built-in vacuum cleaners, and much more. Read on to see how we rate these versatile boxes.Settling for a minivan doesn’t mean surrendering to boring design; the Quest is a prime example of this thesis. With a floating roof, full-surround glass, and boomerang taillights, the Quest stands out from the minivan herd.Inside is a wide, flowing dash, and flat-folding second and third rows. An optional entertainment system with an 11-inch screen preserves family harmony. The Quest’s V-6 mates surprisingly well with its standard CVT; ride and handling are a cut above typical minivan fare. But its lack of dynamic harmony and whiffs of cheapness keep it from rising above last place on our list. REVIEWS, PRICING, MORE ››Although the Grand Caravan gets credit for starting the whole minivan craze, it now is trailing the competition in terms of refinement and nifty features—such as those onboard vacuum cleaners. The sole powertrain is a 283-hp 3.6-liter V-6 with front-wheel drive and a six-speed automatic.Yet its clever interior can perform many tricks, with disappearing second-row seats and a rear seat that folds back for tailgate parties. An all-new minivan model from Chrysler is expected to go on sale sometime in 2016. REVIEWS, PRICING, MORE ››Whether it’s shuttling the kids, hauling bulky items or providing comfort and space to spread out on road trips, the Town & Country faithfully performs its duties. The 283-hp 3.6-liter V-6 and six-speed automatic provide adequate power and fuel economy.An available dual-screen Blu-Ray player, video game hook-ups and tons of storage for toys and snacks help appease the kids while the sturdy structure and well-weighted steering deliver a surprising level of agility to entertain mom and dad. REVIEWS, PRICING, MORE ››Snazzy, sporty, and striking aren’t words you associate with minivans—but the ambitious folks at Kia have managed to bake a little bit of each quality into the Sedona. With room for eight, storage for family necessities, and a long list of standard and optional safety features, the Sedona is a compelling choice for value-minded shoppers.Powered by a 276-hp V-6 with a six-speed transmission and boasting a smooth ride, the Sedona also injects a little fun into daily kid-ferrying duties. REVIEWS, PRICING, MORE ››The Odyssey has charmed our staff for years with its unrivaled road manners, smooth powertrain, and accommodating interior. With room for up to eight passengers to sit comfortably, the Odyssey is also fuel-efficient, thanks to the cylinder-deactivation feature on its 248-hp 3.5-liter V-6.Perhaps most exciting is the built-in vacuum in the cargo area. Exclusive to the SE and Touring Elite trim levels, it’s so obvious in its usefulness you’ll wonder how you ever lived without it. Cheerios everywhere, beware! REVIEWS, PRICING, MORE ››It’s the Camry of minivans: The Sienna appeals to a wide range of families looking for roomy, comfortable, and high-quality transport—and it succeeds. A 266-hp 3.5-liter V-6 paired to a six-speed automatic drives the front or—in a segment exclusive—all four wheels, a bonus when the weather turns nasty.An intercom allows front-seat occupants to address the third row, and Blu-Ray entertainment keeps the kids in line. Unfortunately, amusement isn’t on the menu for those who like to drive. REVIEWS, PRICING, MORE ››

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