SUV vs. Minivan Showdown: Which Should You Get for Your Family?

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Is your family looking for a new car? Can’t decide between a minivan and an SUV? While the minivan has a stigma to it – and maybe you are hesitant to give in and get one – it actually might be a better fit for your family. Car manufacturers are trying to update and refresh the minivan to make it more appealing. However, there are some times that simply call for the SUV.

So which is better? That’s going to depend on the needs of your family. Check out our showdown below to find out which car is your family’s match.


Round 1: Style

A “soccer mom” stigma unfortunately puts the minivan at a disadvantage to start with. People just don’t think it’s “hip.” Especially teenagers. On the other hand, you have the rugged SUV that practically screams fun and adventure. Despite the fact that car manufacturers are attempting to jazz up minivans and make them a little more appealing, this round has to go to the SUV.


Round 2: Handling

The minivan makes a comeback in this round, with smooth handling and better maneuverability. The SUV puts up a fight, though, with off-roading capabilities. Bad weather? The SUV says, “No problem.” In an SUV, you can handle hills and potholes.


Round 3: Space

The minivan dominates this round with seating for 7 or 8 people and cargo space to spare. While some SUVs do have a third row – like the Honda Pilot, for example – for the most part, you’ll get more space in a minivan. Minivans also allow you to take out the back seat if you need even more space in the back. Sliding doors make it easy for your entourage to pile in.


Round 4: Fuel Efficiency

With better gas mileage, this is another round for the minivan. Large SUVs in particular have a reputation for being gas-guzzlers.

Round 5: Capabilities

With 4×4 capability and towing, the SUV is a great multipurpose vehicle. While the minivan can also haul, SUVs generally get better tow ratings than minivans.


Overall, they seem to come out even. Looking for good handling and space? The minivan’s got your back. But if you need something a little sportier, that can handle off-roading or harsh weather conditions, you might find a better friend in the SUV. If you have a lot of kids, or are planning on heading up the local carpool, a minivan might be better. If you live in a harsh climate, the SUV might be better. Ultimately, determine what your family needs, and make your decision based on that.

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How to Find the Best Car for Your Family

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How to Find the Best Car for Your Family

Looking for the best fit for your family, but don’t know where to start?  Finding the car that pleases everyone – especially if you have a large family – can be challenging.  Here are some points to consider when searching for that perfect car.


Space and Storage

With kids, you’ll need a large cargo area to store everything – whether you need to pack up strollers and diaper bags for your baby or sports equipment for your teen.  When you’re shopping, open the trunk and see how much space you’ll have.  Also check out the interior and make sure there’s enough space for your family to sit comfortable.  Can you fit your child safety seats comfortably in the second row?  Are the latches secure?  As one final quick check, also look for any storage spaces and cup holders in the seating area that your children will be able to reach.


Built in Entertainment

Kids can be distracting if they’re fighting.  They also get bored on long car trips.  When you’re looking at vehicles, check to see if they have any built in entertainment to keep your children occupied and give them something to do.


Assistance Features

Small features can add up to be a huge help when you’re an on-the-go mom or dad.  Automatic sliding doors help you save time if you’re carrying a large load.  A built-in GPS is easier to start up than having to attach your GPS to the windshield, plug it in, etc.  If you’re in a rush and not paying attention, a reverse-sensing system can save the day and prevent crashes or accidents.  A conversation mirror – a convex mirror that allows you to see the entire cabin – can also help you keep an eye on your kids without having to turn around.


Ultimately, determine what you really need, versus what you think you need or want.  Evaluate the needs of your family, and find a car that matches that.  With a family, you’ll need to save as much as you can, so don’t go crazy about extra features you won’t end up using.  Look up the safety ratings from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration to find the safest vehicles.


If you have any questions, one of our helpful staff members at Penske Automotive would be happy to assist you and find the perfect fit for your family.




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