According to AutoPacific’s Fuel Price Impact Survey, which measures future vehicle purchase intentions and attitudes toward driving, drivers are paying around $3.84 per gallon, on average, for a gallon of regular gasoline. With gas prices continuing to rise, consumers need to consider fuel efficiency when shopping for a car. Despite what many may believe, most minivans get 21 mpg, which isn’t too shabby considering their size.
There are exceptions, of course. For example, the Mazda5 ($19,625) mini-minivan is rated to deliver 24 mpg in combined driving, making it the best MPG minivan of 2012. Next in line is the Honda Odyssey in expensive Touring ($41,330) and Touring Elite ($43,825) trim, at 22 mpg thanks to a standard six-speed automatic transmission.
The Mazda5 is too small for you? The top-trim Odysseys are too expensive? Well, every other van on the market except for the Chrysler Town & Country ($29,995), Dodge Grand Caravan ($20,995), and Volkswagen Routan ($27,020) – all variations on the same set of components and rated to get 20 mpg – is expected to return 21 mpg in combined driving.
Given this utter lack of variation, we’ve elected to rank order the best MPG minivans of 2012 with the diminutive Mazda at the top, followed by a presentation of the remaining models in the “21 Club” in descending order of our preference, based on test drives and crash-test performance.