2016 Honda Odyssey ・ Photo by Honda
Shopping for the best minivan for the money can be a complicated task, as each automaker seems to offer a long list of trim levels and options packages that can be added to each of the most popular people movers on the market. Deciding which is the best minivan for the money can be boiled down to getting a vehicle that offers you the features you can truly use without making you pay for luxuries that might be nice to have, but aren't really necessities. Let's take a quick look at 7 of the best minivans for the money and what makes them stand out in their respective model lineups.
It’s really about time the Chrysler Town & Country got replaced, and Chrysler took a few extra steps with the all-new Pacifica. It brings the best of the T&C (Stow ’n Go second-row seating) yet is otherwise fresh and modern. A 3.6-liter V6 engine, mated to a 9-speed automatic transmission, supplies 287 horsepower and competitive fuel economy of 18 MPG city, 28 MPG highway. The Pacifica accelerates smoothly and handles well, and offers an extensive list of features. The Pacifica Hybrid will also arrive at some point in 2016, which will forever up the ante for efficient minivans.
Photo by Chrysler
As one of the older models in the segment, the 2016 Nissan Quest is often overlooked, but it comes loaded with features, including push-button start, keyless entry, power windows and door locks, and a trip computer. Plenty more features, including advanced safety equipment, become available by moving up a trim level or two. The Quest is motivated by a 3.5-liter V6 engine that generates 260 horsepower and 240 lb-ft of torque, and a continuously variable automatic transmission is on hand to help the vehicle deliver fuel mileage of 20 MPG city and 27 MPG highway. The 7-passenger Quest can also haul up to 108 cubic feet of cargo.
Photo by Nissan
The lower trim levels of the 2016 Toyota Sienna hit the sweet spot, before a slew of premium trim levels inflate the van's price past the point where it could be considered a bargain. The Toyota Sienna is available for seven or eight passengers, and can haul up to 150 cubic feet of cargo. Standard equipment includes three zones of automatic climate control, a rearview camera, and Bluetooth connectivity. Toyota offers plenty more options, but the upper Sienna trim levels get pricey quickly. The Toyota Sienna comes exclusively with a 266-horsepower, 3.5-liter V6 engine. Also capable of putting out 245 lb-ft of torque, the 6-cylinder mill is matched with a 6-speed automatic transmission. Fuel mileage for the base Sienna is listed at 18 MPG in stop and go driving and 25 MPG during highway cruising; the optional all-wheel drive saps a couple MPGs in each measure.
Photo by Carrie Kim
The Chrysler Town & Country is on its way out (and more expensive than its aforementioned successor, the 2017 Pacifica) but this minivan shouldn’t automatically be ruled out of the running. It’s packed with useful features that compare well against the competition. Power sliding doors, a rearview camera, an infotainment system, and Bluetooth wireless integration all come standard. Since the Town & Country is being replaced, there may be an opportunity to negotiate and score some extra equipment with a higher trim level — and trust us, in terms of high-end upgrades, this Chrysler offers plenty. Folding the vehicle's standard Stow 'n Go second and third row seats flat into the floor opens up 143.8 cubic feet of total cargo space. The 2016 Chrysler Town & Country is outfitted with a 3.6-liter V6 engine that has been tuned to produce 283 horsepower. The front-wheel drive minivan is shifted via a 6-speed automatic transmission, and fuel mileage for the Pentastar motor checks in at 17 MPG in city driving and 25 MPG on the highway.
Photo by Fiat Chrysler Automobiles
The 2016 Honda Odyssey is yet another bargain of a minivan as long as the higher trim levels are avoided. For a reasonable asking price, the Honda Odyssey offers Bluetooth wireless integration, power front seats, a rearview camera, and an infotainment system with an 8-inch display. The vehicle can be loaded up with eight passengers, or instead filled with 148 cubic feet of luggage with its rear rows out of the picture. The 2016 Honda Odyssey holds its own on the road thanks to the inclusion of a 248-horsepower, 3.5-liter V6 engine that also generates a healthy 250 lb-ft of torque. A 6-speed automatic transmission is also standard with the Odyssey, and the minivan's fuel mileage is rated at 19 MPG around town and 28 MPG on the highway.
Photo by Honda
Though we’re citing the base MSRPs here, we have to note that the value-focused Kia Sedona offers higher trim levels that are still competitive with other manufacturers’ base prices. Standard equipment includes an infotainment system, Bluetooth, and satellite radio, with a rearview camera being added this year. The 7- or 8-passenger Kia Sedona features a 3.5-liter V6 making 276 horsepower and 248 lb-ft of torque, which helps the miles pass by quickly and with authority. The Sedona offers a six-speed automatic transmission along with fuel economy of 18 MPG in stop-and-go driving and 24 MPG on the highway.
Photo by Kia
The 2016 Dodge Grand Caravan is one of the least-expensive minivans available; great if you need to haul seven passengers, but a little frustrating if you want more than the most basic of equipment. The Grand Caravan is the only vehicle in this segment, for example, that does not provide a rearview camera with the base equipment list. What it does offer, though, is a 283-horsepower 3.6-liter V6 engine that provides plenty of acceleration, along with a 6-speed automatic transmission and 260 lb-ft of torque. Fuel mileage shows as 17 MPG in city driving and 25 MPG on the highway. Second-row Stow ’n Go seating is standard, and is a very useful feature, making the most of the van’s 143.8 cubic feet of total interior storage space. Otherwise, the cabin is quite spartan. If you need a cheap van, the Grand Caravan is it, and whether or not that’s a “value” is up to your specific needs.
Photo by Dodge