Compact cars are great for the fuel efficiency. However, when it comes to real-world applications, minivans certainly have their place on the road. While they may not be the most fuel-friendly vehicles, this year's crop of 2012 minivans delivers better gas mileage than ever before. Keep reading to review the top five most fuel-efficient minivans for the 2012 model year.
While the Kia Sedona is due for a redesign, the vehicle's low price and good level of comfort help is remain relevant to some minivan shoppers. The EPA lists fuel efficiency at 18 mpg in the city and 25 mpg on the highway. These numbers come courtesy of a 271-hp 3.5-liter V-6 engine. The base price of $24,900 is tough to beat when compared to the competition. Despite the low price, the 2012 Kia Sedona comes with a healthy number of standard features. These include 16-inch wheels, full power accessories, keyless entry, front and rear air conditioning, cruise control, Bluetooth, six-speaker stereo and more. Maximum cargo capacity is listed at 142 cubic feet.
At $25,060, the base MSRP of the Toyota Sienna comes close to matching that of the Kia Sedona. However, base Toyota models come with a 187-hp 2.7-liter inline-four that some shoppers may find a bit sluggish. Still, the 19 mpg in the city and 24 mpg on the highway might make the mediocre performance worthwhile. If not, Toyota also offers a 3.5-liter V-6 that delivers 266 horsepower. Standard features for the Sienna include 17-inch wheels, sliding rear doors, full power accessories, triple-zone air-conditioning, cruise control, four-speaker stereo, CD player and auxiliary input. Maximum seating capacity is listed at eight, and total cargo capacity comes in at 150 cubic feet.
The Nissan Quest brings a shot of stylish avant-garde design to the minivan vehicle class. If you like the unconventional looks of the Quest, then you'll be happy to learn the vehicle delivers a competitive 19 mpg in the city and 24 mpg on the highway. Unlike the Sienna, these numbers are achieved with a V-6 engine (260 horsepower). Initial asking price comes in at $27,750. For that price, you'll get 16-inch wheels, keyless entry, full power accessories, cruise control, trip computer, ambient lighting, four-speaker stereo, six-CD changer and auxiliary input. Cargo capacity is listed at a below-average 108 cubic feet.
Honda edges out the majority of the competition with a 3.5-liter V-6 engine that manages up to 19 mpg in the city and 28 mpg on the highway. Even with this stellar efficiency, reviewers tend to agree that the Honda Odyssey is one of the more athletic minivans on the market. Base models start at $28,255, and come equipped with 17-inch wheels, keyless entry, automatic headlights, full power accessories, cruise control, power driver's seat, air conditioning, five-speaker stereo, CD player and auxiliary input. Fold down the rear seats, and you'll gain access to a maximum of 148 cubic feet.
With total storage clocking in at 44.4 cubic feet, it wouldn't be erroneous to label the MAZDA5 a mini-minivan. Still, if you're okay with a maximum capacity of six passengers, then the benefits afforded by the Mazda's smaller frame may outweigh the downsides. Chief among these benefits is the best fuel efficiency in the minivan class. Both automatic and manual models offer 21 mpg in the city and 28 mpg on the highway. The vehicle also delivers a drive that is much sportier than the competition. A base MSRP of $19,625 proves to be another advantage. Base models come standard with 16-inch wheels, keyless entry, full power accessories, cruise control, height-adjustable driver's seat, automatic climate control, six-speaker stereo, CD player and auxiliary input.