Minivan Buying Guide

Some families start off with a subcompact car or even a sedan, but what happens when your family outgrows your car? Of course, you’ll need to get something a little bigger, and minivans are an excellent option. From the outside, maybe all minivans look alike, boxy. This shape makes for greater interior space, and being low to the ground, makes entry and exit easier. Sliding doors make for easy loading of baby seats and toddler booster seats, as well as all the frills that go with family, such as the weekend at Grandmother’s and the weekly trip to the market. Of course, just as you cannot judge a book by its cover, none of a field of seemingly similar minivans is created equal, so how do you choose? What kind of things do you need to keep in mind if you are shopping for a minivan? Here are some tips that will help you get the most out of your minivan dollar, rand, or franc, depending from where you hale.

Used Toyota Noah

What’s Your Budget?

Of course, before you start, you need to determine how much you can afford. The perfect minivan that you can’t buy is not the perfect minivan, is it? Taking a look at the prices of minivans, you’ll find they range from the affordable to the obscene, depending on how well they are equipped. The basic minivans start out with the typical four wheels and an engine, perhaps one manual-sliding door and a lift-gate, seven seats and a radio. If you say “Yes” to every option, you can build a minivan that rivals luxury cars for price, comfort, and convenience options. These luxury family movers come with leather interior, home theater quality sound, widescreen rear seat movies and video gaming, satellite navigation, power windows and sliding doors, and the list goes on.

What Do You Need?

Speaking of a list of features, what do you need in a minivan? If you only need enough room for six passengers, then an eight- or nine-passenger minivan is going to be overkill. On the other hand, if you need more flexibility, perhaps a minivan with removable seats and a roof rack will be a better choice. If you regularly travel over bad roads, perhaps a minivan with all-wheel drive and a more-powerful motor will be a better choice than a fuel-sipping front-wheel drive model. Still, if you will be making regular long trips, that V6 engine is going to cost you a lot more in fuel than an i4. Long trips with the family might necessitate a rear-seat entertainment system, but perhaps an aftermarket option will be cheaper than the manufacturer option.

Honda Odyssey

Check The Reviews!

As with shopping around for anything, from the latest television to your next minivan, check out what reviewers are saying about minivans in your area. You can find this information from the manufacturers themselves, such as in comparison brochures or even online, or from independent reviewers. Perhaps the best source of information might be those in your own neighborhood. Do any of your neighbors drive a minivan? Ask them what they think about it. Are they happy with it? Are they plagued by excessive repair costs? Does their minivan live up to their expectations? If your neighbor is a good friend, ask if you can drive it for a day. Personal experience is worth more than any review could ever be, especially if you are considering importing a used minivan before having seen it.


The most-versatile minivans also become the most popular. They have the space and flexibility that makes them the go-to vehicle for the multifaceted families of today. One day, a minivan may be loaded with kids going to the park and, the next day, the same minivan might be loaded with supplies for Mom and Dad’s job. For example, if you are stuck considering between a minivan and an SUV, keep in mind that the minivan tends to be a lot more versatile, because it was built with family in mind. An SUV will have less passenger and cargo space. Additionally, a minivan is cheaper to fuel, insure, and repair than a comparable SUV.