A side-effect of minivans having largely been replaced by crossovers as the family ride of choice is the push to move these three-row haulers up-market. Finding the best minivan for the money has consequently become more of a challenge in recent years, as options packages and trims levels have blossomed in an effort to pack as much luxury gear as possible under their flat roofs. Still, there are some enticing deals out there if you perform your due diligence - or, say, have us do it for you.
Let's take a quick look at 7 of the best minivans for the money available in 2015.
The 2015 Honda Odyssey is one of the most lauded minivans on the market, but it also happens to be one of the more expensive seven-to-eight passenger options in its class. If you stay away from the upper trim levels, however, you can get a decent deal on a version of the Honda Odyssey that offers all of the equipment you need without lumping in extraneous gear you are less likely to appreciate.
The Odyssey EX provides you with useful features such as power sliding side doors, three zones of automatic climate control, keyless entry and ignition, an adjustable second row seat, 17-inch rims instead of steelies, Bluetooth connectivity, power windows and door locks, and the company's new LaneWatch blind spot monitoring system. Under the hood, the Honda Odyssey EX features a 248 horsepower, 3.5-liter V-6 that is good for fuel mileage of 19-mpg city and 28-mpg on the highway.
The 2015 Toyota Sienna is another popular minivan choice, and one that provides a varied spectrum of equipment depending on how much money you are willing to spend tricking out your daily driver. Our recommendation is to focus on the Toyota Sienna LE, a vehicle which sits one step above the base model and one step below the rough-riding SE 'sport edition.' The Sienna LE is outfitted with power sliding doors (like the Odyssey LX), a power driver's seat, nicer cloth upholstery as compared to the entry-level Sienna L, a touchscreen infotainment system, tinted windows, Bluetooth connectivity, a rearview camera, three zones of climate control, heated side mirrors, sunshades for rear passengers, and 17-inch rims.
The Toyota Sienna SE is motivated by a 3.5-liter V-6 that delivers 266 horsepower, and fuel mileage for this motor is listed at 18-mpg around town and 25-mpg on the highway. The Sienna is notable for being the only minivan to offer the option of all-wheel drive, a choice that adds not just extra traction to the equation but also 18-inch wheels in place of the stock 17-inch units.
Photo by Toyota Media
The 2015 Dodge Grand Caravan is usually marketed as a value-focused model, and indeed, its entry-level pricing speaks to the bargain-hunting driver that Dodge is seeking with the vehicle. The best minivan for the money, however, is actually to be found near the middle of the Dodge Grand Caravan's trim ladder: the SXT. The Grand Caravan SXT carries over all of the gear that is offered by the two editions of the van that sit below it, including three zones of climate control, the Stow 'n Go fold-flat seating feature, a six-speaker stereo system, tinted windows, power windows and door locks, and a center console. The SXT bonus? Power sliding side doors and a power liftgate, as well as power rear windows and a 17-inch rims.
Throw in the Uconnect Handsfree group (an options package that bundles in the industry-leading Uconnect touchscreen and voice command interface) and you've got an affordable, yet still intriguingly-equipped minivan - one that also delivers 17-mpg city and 25-mpg highway from a 283 horsepower, 3.6-liter V-6.
The 2015 Kia Sedona is an all-new minivan effort for the current model year, and the sweet spot of the Sedona's lineup is the EX edition. The Kia Sedona EX pairs the wallet-friendly pricing of the more modest members of the van's family tree with features that are typically found only on higher end models such as LED running lights up front, heated mirrors, power sliding side doors and a power tailgate, keyless entry and ignition, the rare inclusion of leather seats (for its price point), three zones of automatic climate control, an Infinity audio system, Bluetooth connectivity, a refrigerated glove box, a rearview camera, power adjustments for the driver's throne, and tinted windows. All versions of the Kia Sedona come with a 276 horsepower V-6 engine that displaces 3.3 liters, and fuel mileage for the newcomer checks in at 18-mpg in stop and go driving and 25-mpg on the highway.
The 2015 Nissan Quest injects a little style into the family hauler marketplace, and when found in SV trim it's also one of the best minivans for the money. The Nissan Quest SV introduces niceties such as a rearview camera, three zones of automatic climate control, a leather-wrapped steering wheel, power sliding side doors, 16-inch rims, Bluetooth connectivity, power windows and door locks, an upgraded sound system with an LCD display, and foglights.
Mechanically, the Nissan Quest SV is outfitted in the same vein as all other members of the minivan stable, which means a 260 horsepower, 3.5-liter V-6 engine driving the front wheels. Fuel efficiency for the minivan is advertised as 19-mpg in city driving and 25-mpg during highway cruising.
The 2015 Mazda MAZDA5 is the smallest vehicle on our list of the best minivans for the money, but it's still capable of seating six passengers across three rows. Its diminutive footprint also makes it a popular option amongst those who live in urban areas where parking is tight and traffic is relentless. Sportier to drive than many other minivan choices, the Mazda Mazda5 Touring sits in the middle of the vehicle's three-trim lineup. Stepping up to the Touring means the addition of a leather-wrapped steering wheel, Bluetooth connectivity, a rear spoiler, 17-inch rims, and parking assistance, on top of standard fare such as power windows and door locks, automatic climate control, and a CD player attached to a six-speaker stereo system.
157 horsepower are on tap from the Mazda Mazda5 Touring's 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine, and while last year's unique six-speed manual gearbox is no longer available with the Mazda5, you do get a five-speed automatic in its place that renders fuel efficiency figures of 21-mpg around town and 28-mpg on the highway.
The 2015 Chrysler Town & Country is the platform-twin of the Dodge Grand Caravan (including shared Stow 'n Go seating), but in terms of equipment the two models demonstrate significant differences - especially when it comes to interior trim and materials use, with the Chrysler delivering a more premium experience. The Chrysler Town & Country Touring model is one step above the base, but it avoids the 'performance' leanings of the next-in-line Town & Country S in favor of a more comfort and utility-focused package.
This means that the minivan delivers power windows and door locks, a leather-wrapped steering wheel, power sliding side doors, a power tailgate, three zones of automatic climate control, 17-inch rims, foglights, keyless entry, Bluetooth connectivity, a touchscreen interface for interacting with the vehicle's infotainment system, power adjustments for the front seats, and a rear seat entertainment system. The Town & Country Touring's standard 3.6-liter V-6 produces 283 horsepower and returns fuel mileage of 17-mpg city and 25-mpg highway.