Is a minivan or an SUV a better choice for you and your family?
Have you ever made an emotional buying decision? Let’s face it; we all have! Buying a vehicle is a big deal. You want to make sure that your emotions are balanced with rational influences so that you make the right decision for you and your growing family.
The shopping experience entails a range of emotions: excitement, confusion, and pressure. Add to the mix the emotions that come with becoming a new parent or the parent of an ever-growing family, and you could be off to quite an emotional ride. The good news is that you can still make a balanced decision when you have the information you need. Our goal here is to give you the tools you need to make the better choice for you and your family when wrestling with the decision of buying a minivan or an SUV.
Separating Facts from Opinions
Some analysts in the field have expressed strong opinions about minivans being the better choice over SUVs for a growing family. Don’t let that sway your decision. There are always trade-offs, as both minivans and SUV have advantages and disadvantages.
Modern-Day Family Vehicles
Both minivans and SUVs are able to meet the needs of growing families. Both offer safety, versatility, amenities, and comfort. There really is no wrong decision here. It comes down to what your priorities are above and beyond what both options offer. We have ruled out sedan cars for growing families because, according to Kelley Blue Book, “this year’s list of Best Family Cars is our first without a single sedan”. Imagine that! Now, let’s explore the cost, practical use, and drivability of both vehicles.
When it comes to the cost of a vehicle, you need to consider purchasing cost, maintenance and repair costs and insurance cost.
As with any purchasing experience, a sensible starting point is with setting a budget. The idea that an SUV costs more to buy than a minivan is a myth. In comparing a standard minivan to a standard SUV, or a luxury minivan to a luxury SUV, you will learn that some minivans have a higher price tag than their counterpart SUVs. Compare prices and know where your favourite minivan or SUV fits in terms of the price scale and how it compares to other options.
Also, keep in mind that there are different financing options that you can consider, including in-house financing with your dealership. You can crunch some numbers and figure out where your comfort zone lies.
Maintenance and Repair Costs
Here’s where minivans come on top. Minivans cost less in maintenance and repair than SUVs do. They offer more gas mileage due to their car-like engine, although we might argue that SUVs have become more fuel efficient over the years. The 4-Wheel Drive feature in SUVs ensures a higher level of safety in rough road conditions than minivans do. This feature, however, is more complicated and as a result more things that could go wrong, which would lead to higher repair cost. The sophisticated transmissions and the extra axle in SUVs also increase the risk of things going wrong over their car-like chassis counterpart.
If you’re used to paying car insurance premiums and plan to switch to a minivan or SUV, be prepared to pay higher insurance rates. At a minimum, a minivan premium will run at the same rate as the large car running cost. This implies that SUVs cost even more to insure.
Pro-minivan critics argue that the appeal of minivans is with the practical features like the sliding doors for easy access and the cavernous interior for passengers and cargo space. The low-riding nature of a minivan give children a better window view than their counterparts, which may give you a more peaceful ride. Your little ones also find it easier to get in and out of the minivan and if you’re having to carry an infant in and out, your back will thank you.
When test driving an SUV, you would undoubtedly feel the higher centre of gravity that it offers. You will also notice that most SUVs now have a superior cargo space and plenty of versatility, all of which make them just as functional for a growing family as a minivan is.
We suggest that you bring your children with you and have them get in and out of the vehicle, and if you have an infant, why not bring the car seat too. Test out the ease of access so that you can make an informed decision.
According to The Globe and Mail, the number of minivans sold today has dropped by 30% since year 2000, as buyers are increasingly drawn to SUVs. Some argue that minivans are not as engaging to drive but if you enjoy a slower pace of driving, then a minivan is the better choice for you.
More and more drivers today are demanding better drivability of their vehicles without any compromise of fuel economy and vehicle features. And the industry is listening and responding to the market needs so that you do less compromising and more driving.
Your decision ultimately depends on your needs and priorities and those of your family. The gap of how safe, versatile, feature-rich, and comfortable one ride is over another is getting smaller. The tradeoffs you need to make today are less significant than in the past. There’s no wrong decision because, in the end, both vehicles accommodate the needs of a growing family. The choice is yours.