Top Picks From U.S. News' Best Minivan for Families Awards
No other segment exemplifies the perfect family car more than the minivan. These roomy, flexible, and easy to live with vehicles are nimble enough for daily errands and versatile enough for weekend adventures. New features and luxurious interiors are bringing buyers to minivans who never would have considered one before.
When U.S. News & World Report selects its Best Cars for Families, it looks for vehicles with top-notch safety ratings, great reviews from professional automotive journalists, plenty of cargo room for all of the stuff families need, and the latest in tech gear.
Check out the following slides to find the minivan that will best fit your needs. We’ve listed the contenders for our Best Minivan for Families award in the order that they finished in our scoring.
6) 2017 Nissan Quest
MSRP: $26,580 (Details Below)
The 2017 Nissan Quest is comfortable, roomy, and reliable. However, it’s aging, polarizing design and low safety scores relegate it to a position near the bottom of our rankings of minivans. The Quest has only received minor updates since it was last redesigned in 2011.
Pricing for the 2017 Nissan Quest starts at $26,580, which makes it the least expensive vehicle in the segment, other than the even more outdated 2017 Dodge Grand Caravan. It features three full sets of LATCH hardware, though the anchors are not easy to access.
2017 Nissan Quest
The 2017 Nissan Quest can only seat up to seven, while most others in the segment can be configured to seat eight. Passenger space for the first and third rows is excellent – on par with or better than the Toyota Sienna or Chrysler Pacifica.
Unlike most rivals, where the rear seat flips back into a well when not in use and the second row has to be removed to open up cargo space, both rows quickly and easily flip forward to create a flat (although high) load floor. While the well behind the rear seat can provide covered storage, which is a rarity in minivans, the overall cargo-carrying arrangement reduces overall capacity.
5) 2017 Toyota Sienna
MSRP: $29,750 (Details Below)
The Toyota Sienna was the top-selling minivan in America for 2016, and it’s still the only minivan available with all-wheel drive. Its continued sales performance is impressive, given that it is getting late in its current product cycle. A refreshed Sienna is due for 2018.
It seats up to eight and has the largest cargo space behind the third row of anyone in the class. So even when you fill all the seats, there’s still enough room in the van for all of their stuff. In terms of safety, however, the Sienna is a bit behind the times, with the Honda Odyssey, Chrysler Pacifica, and Kia Sedona all receiving higher safety ratings.
2017 Toyota Sienna
The 2017 Toyota Sienna has a higher starting price than most rivals, but it holds its value well, so you’ll get more money at trade-in time. Prices start at $29,750, but for that price you get some features that are optional on rivals, such as tri-zone automatic temperature control.
Toyota is the only minivan maker to offer a sporty version of their minivan, the Sienna SE. It has a stiffer suspension than the rest of the lineup, plus some aerodynamic additions to the exterior.
At the top end of the Sienna lineup is the Limited Premium. It carries a price tag of $46,170 with front-wheel drive, or $47,310 with all-wheel drive. If you want the most advanced safety tech available on the van, including a pre-collision system and adaptive cruise control, you’ll have to add another $1,800 to the Limited Premium’s price.
4) 2017 Kia Sedona
MSRP: $26,900 (Details Below)
The 2017 Kia Sedona has one of the lowest starting prices in the minivan segment, but it’s also one of the safest, with a comfortable interior lined with quality finishes. Prices start at $26,900 for a Sedona L and climb to $41,900 for a top-trim SXL.
There’s a host of advanced driver assistance features and advanced safety aids, including adaptive cruise control, forward collision warning, blind spot monitoring, lane departure warning, and rear cross traffic alert as optional features. You’ll have to go to the top trim-level SXL to get them standard. They are available as option packages on the midrange LX, EX, and SX trims. Automatic emergency braking is only available on two top-trim models.
2017 Kia Sedona
Predicted reliability for the 2017 Kia Sedona is average for the class, but Kia provides a 10-year/100,000-mile powertrain warranty on the minivan, so you know that you are protected in case of any major issues if you keep the van for the long haul.
Where the Sedona can’t compare to competitors, however, is cargo space. The van is smaller than most peers, and the size difference is reflected in how much cargo room is available. Not that anyone will drive a minivan like a sports car, but the Sedona’s ride and handling is a bit more sedated than the Odyssey or Pacifica.
3) 2017 Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid
MSRP: $41,995 // Finalist: 2017 Best Minivan for Families (Details Below)
Chrysler is shaking up the minivan segment for the second time in a year. The inventors of the minivan first rolled out the impressive 2017 Pacifica, and then followed it up with the groundbreaking Pacifica Hybrid. It was a finalist for our 2017 Best Minivan for Families award.
The plug-in hybrid has an electric-only range of 33 miles, which can cover the weekday needs of some families. When the rechargeable battery pack is exhausted, the van seamlessly transitions to a traditional hybrid vehicle, with an EPA-estimated combined city and highway rating of 32 mpg. Taking the electric range into account, the EPA has given the Pacifica Hybrid an 84 mile per gallon equivalent (MPGe) rating.
2017 Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid
Finalist: 2017 Best Minivan for Families (Details Below)
There’s far more to the Pacifica Hybrid than just its class-leading efficiency. Its $41,995 base price is the highest in the class, but it is eligible for a federal income tax credit, and it comes with a host of standard equipment, including leather upholstery and Chrysler’s excellent UConnect infotainment system.
You do, however, have to give up some things to get the super-efficient powertrain. There’s only seating for seven available, as opposed to eight in the gasoline-only Pacifica. The battery pack fits under the floor, so second-row Stow ‘n Go seating that folds into the floor is not available. Finally, while you can tow a trailer with the Pacifica, the Pacifica Hybrid is not rated to tow anything.
2) 2017 Chrysler Pacifica
MSRP: $28,595 // Finalist: 2017 Best Minivan for Families (Details Below)
The Chrysler Corporation invented the modern minivan for the U.S. market. With the 2017 Chrysler Pacifica, they aimed to reinvigorate the segment with a van that takes minivan luxury to a new level. The Pacifica also has some of the highest safety ratings in the class.
It earns a Top Safety Pick+ rating from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety and a five-star overall rating from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Both are the top ratings available. A suite of advanced safety and driver assistance features is offered on the Touring L Plus and Limited trim levels.
There are four full sets of LATCH hardware in the Pacifica, including two sets in the middle row and two more in the third row. However, the LATCH anchors can be hard to access, so if you’re moving seats in and out of the car you will constantly be battling to find them. Even with car seats installed, the second-row seats can move out of the way for easy access to the van's third row.
Pricing for the 2017 Pacifica starts at $28,595. Top trim Pacifica Limited models are priced from $42,495.
2017 Chrysler Pacifica
Finalist: 2017 Best Minivan for Families (Details Below)
Ever get tired of hearing “are we there yet?” The Pacifica’s available dual-screen rear entertainment system ties into the UConnect infotainment system, and there's a navigation app that can show your kids just where you are, and when you will arrive at your destination.
All Pacificas come with a 287-horsepower V6 engine and a nine-speed automatic transmission. Standard on the base LX models is push-button start, a power driver’s seat, Bluetooth telephone connectivity, and a 5-inch UConnect infotainment screen with voice command recognition.
Fortunately, they kept some tried and true features from the outgoing Town & Country, including the second-row Stow ‘n Go seats that fold quickly and easily into the floor, so you don’t have to haul the heavy seats out to convert the van from a people mover to a cargo hauler.
1) 2017 Honda Odyssey
MSRP: $29,850 // Winner: 2017 Best Minivan for Families (Details Below)
The 2017 Honda Odyssey currently holds the top spot in our rankings of minivans and is our 2017 Best Minivan for Families award winner. It’s the Odyssey’s seventh-straight victory. In addition to a plethora of family friendly features and great interior room, the Odyssey is a pleasure to drive.
Safety scores for the Odyssey are excellent, although they are slightly lower than the Pacifica and Sedona. Advanced safety features such as automatic emergency braking are not yet available on the Odyssey, but forward collision warning and lane departure warning are included in the EX-L, Touring, and Touring Elite models.
There’s a redesigned 2018 Odyssey due late this spring, so now would be an excellent time to visit the dealer and get a great deal on the current model.
2017 Honda Odyssey
Winner: 2017 Best Minivan for Families (Details Below)
2017 Honda Odyssey prices start at $29,850, which makes it one of the most expensive vans in the segment. Unlike other manufacturers, Honda doesn't offer option packages; you simply have to step up to higher trim levels to gain additional features.
If you need to install child seats, the Odyssey has five sets of LATCH systems – three in the second row, and two more in the third-row outboard seating positions. The center of the second row can slide forward, allowing front seat passengers to reach a child in a safety seat.
Passengers in the 2017 Honda Odyssey will find comfortable seating in all three rows. The van can seat up to eight, and the third row fits neatly into the floor when not needed. In order to open up the Odyssey’s full cargo space, the second row of seats must be removed from the van. In the Pacifica, you simply can fold them into the floor.
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