Cars.com's Ultimate Minivan Shootout

Minivans
A team of five experts — all parents themselves — and a family of five tested six all-new or significantly redesigned minivans in our latest Shootout. They put the Chrysler Town & Country, Dodge Grand Caravan, Honda Odyssey, Nissan Quest, Toyota Sienna and Volkswagen Routan through their paces on the road, with car seats and kids, to see which one was truly the ultimate minivan.

Find out which van won, what you get for your money and how each performed in our mileage challenge.

Cars.com Ultimate Minivan Shootout

Comments 

Skankzilla

Oh geez... Odyssey in first place? The crazies are about to come out!

It's a shame Kia wouldn't give you anything. (You got THREE Chrysler vans!) The Sedona is certainly nothing fancy -- it feels very much like a last-gen Sienna with better handling -- but it's so much less expensive than these other vans. Gas mileage is now very impressive with the new 3.5-liter engine.

There's no way it would have won, but with it's value for the money I don't think it would have landed in last either.

Tony

Kia... man, don't kid yourself. Sedona is like 10 years old design and rightfully has nothing to do in the competition of modern minivan.

I've driven every minivan on the market, Sedona included. Have you?

Didn't think so.

Joe6pack

Good comparison and some good info.

However your biases are pretty evident. I listened to the podcast where the host gripes about spending $40K "on a Chrysler".

Do you think your own personal perceived brand name cachet is an objective measure in a comparison test?

One other feature I wish was mentioned was the keyless ignition, which we've found a huge benefit in everyday living. The Honda doesn't even offer it as an option.

Derrick G

Tony's predictable anti-HKAG rantings aside (the current Sedona in its sixth model year, for the record, though 2012 models are rolling into dealers now), the Sedona still manages to sell twice what the VW and even the all-new Nissan sell. Kia should have provided one to test.

We would have included the Kia had the company provided one to test.

Sheth

Considering the source chrysler has to be thrilled with 2nd place. The votes of the family injected some objectivity into the process and if their comments counted for more the t and c would've won. The excuse making about the hondas styling and high price are predictable. The honda was going to win regardless so it was all about the rankings of the others. The bashing of the gc makes no sense because aside from cosmetics its the same as the chrysler. It doesn't have cheaper materials and its not less refined. The bargain price should've counted for a lot more. Most familes cannot afford a 45k honda minivan.

Mike

I don' think the Quest is any weirder than the weird Odyssey.

Sheth,
The family scored the Odyssey a 92 and the T&C at 86, so they too preferred the Odyssey. There wasn't any bias. When you get so many people involved and the margins are so severe most biases wash out.

Tony

Guys, I don't need to drive it. One of my co-workers drives me to lunch in Sedona and another in Sienna. Both are couple years old. Sorry, but Kia doesn't feel good even vs. old Sienna.
5 yars ago drove all minivans and would pick Sienna back then. But decided to keep the Villager, which, while it had ancient suspension, provided the best comfortable seats and fully reclining second row seats.
Back to the point. Sedona may be not 10 year old but it is designed in the traditions that were around 10 years ago. And the reason why Kia wouldn't put one against the rest is because they know that Tomcat has no chance against Eagle even if you equip it with modern electronics. The platform is outdated.

Sedona sells on the price point. If you want inexpensive, functional minivan - get Sedona. It is not reliable, not fuel efficient, doesn't have special features like Chryslers, doesn't have resale value. And if you don't mind to go for the warranty work few times per year - then get one!

Sheth

Dt:

I doubt you can honestly say you ever doubted the honda as best. As for the family, they said they were honda owners in the past so I guess that explains a lot, including their affinity for the horrible styling of the odyssey. The honda costs the most and yet doesn't have the most features and its odd looking. Then again, price is rarely an important factor in media comparisons. I think you guys forget how much these new vehicles cost. If you remembered, there is no way the dodge would've been next to last place. I'm not sure how the honda got a higher score when the husband/father said he might actually like the t & c better.

Like I said, second place is impressive for the chrysler because it really wasn't going to win. With a lower price, more features, better looks, more power and a nicer interior I'm not sure what it could've done to win. As for handling, car and driver actually said the chrysler handles the best.

Bob

Maybe Cars.com could run an "Affordable Minivan Shootout" with the price capped at $30,000 or so. The Cars.com Vehicle Recommender lists several minivans with starting prices under $30,000. Kristen Varela's comment about the $34,000 Dodge being "for minivan drivers on a budget" seems out of touch with a recession-saddled America.

Matt C

@ Sheth,

I've gotta know why you bother reading and commenting on these blog posts? Do you have dangerously low blood pressure and need to raise it by getting into a senseless argument?

DT and crew laid out their criteria for how things were scored and gave their objective and subjective reasons for their scores. What more could you ask for? Kicking Tires does a really good job presenting us with information about the vehicles they come across.

Matt C

@ Bob,

I second your suggestion. Let's see how things look with base models and little upgrades if their is room under the $30K cap. Maybe Kia would be willing to throw their hat in the ring.

J

Dave,

Why is Sheth still here talking garbage when none of us wanted him to stay anymore?

George

I'd like to see if the Sienna with the 2.7 I4 can get better mileage than the Honda Odyssey.

The Sienna in this test gets the worst mileage of any Sienna, due to 'AWD' and run-flat tires.

Derrick G

That's nice, Tony. But this article was titled Cars.com's Ultimate Minivan Shootout, not Tony's Minivan Opinions. I'm sure your opinions are quite important to you. The rest of us would've much more appreciated Kia's allowing the entire market to have been reviewed.

sheth

MAtt:

There is no argument. I stated my opinion and contrary to what you said little information was provided about how the vehicles were scored. That's fine because the reality is the Odyssey was going to win from the start. The Odyssey has sort of entered the rarified air of vehicles like the 3 series in that its almost immune from criticism. I stated more than once that the second place finish for the T&C has to be considered a victory for Chrysler considering how poorly their products typically rate on this site.

Matt C

Sheth:

Did you not see the score cards attached to the rankings? Seemed pretty clear to me. Ms. Newman was particularly harsh on the Odyssey compared to her cohorts. The Weatherby family clearly liked it.

These guys did a great job with the comparison. Can't wait to see the next one.

Tony,

The Sedona has a new engine and transmission for 2011. Better mileage than the Sienna or the Chryslers. And even the least reliable new cars don't need warranty work two to three times a year, and the Sedona is hardly rated as one of the least reliable new cars. (Unlike the unknown brand-new competitors, Kia has had since 2006 to sort out the bugs.)

You clearly demonstrate writing it off because of unfamiliarity rather than for any of its own faults. It certainly has faults, but it's nowhere near the dreadful thing you make it out to be.

You say "If you want inexpensive, functional minivan - get Sedona" -- you make that sound like a bad thing!

Dan

Haha! You guys are arguing over which is the best minivan!

Your manhood just sent a postcard. It said, "Wish you were here."

Chris Goldman

I've owned two Chrysler T&C's and one Honda Ody. I'd gladly pay $8K more for the Ody every single time. Bottom line is you can either afford the best or you can't.

Tony

George,

I doubt 2.7L Sienna will have better mileage then Oddy. My experience is with Highlander, which has this engine/transmission. It looks like Oddy did with 6 cyl what Sienna did with 4.

The concept of the shootout was the "ULTIMATE MINIVAN" because the segment is getting more feature focused and selling at MUCH higher prices than ever before. The fact that both Honda and Toyota had $40K Minivans with widescreen LCDs in the back was the whole reason we came up with the concept. Clearly Chrysler is competing at that price as is Nissan.

This is the first shootout we've conducted without a price cap that would have greatly limited any of the contenders and that was thoroughly explained to the automakers beforehand. Some brought lesser equipped models perhaps to show value statements, however that wasn't the aim of the shootout. But as you can see VW did well because of the surprising price and feature set.

Our next shootout is squarely focused on price, value and mileage so we set a very tight cap in terms of price. But believe it or not minivans are selling well right now, and the transaction prices are quite high. We're trying to accurately capture the market.

We really appreciate all the positive comments and understand some folks will disagree.

H

Why rank to begin with? Why not just provide the pros and cons of each and then people can decide for themselves which is "best". "Best" is in the eye of the beholder.

H,
That's exactly what we do on our research pages. However, there is a place for a full comparison like this one too.

H

Let me rephrase. The comparison is fine but what would be more useful to buyers is hearing more of the perspectives of the panel of reviewers and not a ranking or a score. Kind of like what you do in other segments like the thing with the Lawrences and She said, She said. I want to hear the pros and cons of each car with respect to each reviewer. What did they like, what did they not like.

Matt C

H,
I'm one who likes to see the rankings. I want to know who likes what better and why. For those of us who can waffle on a subject indefinitely, having the ranking can help give a standard to compare too. But adding more commentary from each panel member would be good, too.

George

Apples to apples: Honda Odyssey with 5 speed automatic against Toyota Sienna 2.7 I4.
The Odyssey is faster, but not that much. I think the Sienna should return better mileage than the 5 speed Odyssey.

When will Honda make the 6 speed automatic standard?

Minivans also typically have wide rear openings and lower floors than SUVs, which make loading easier. They usually have maximum weight loads of 1,100 pounds or more, which is more than most SUVs.

I just came across your blog about and wanted to drop you a note telling you how impressed I was with the information you have posted here. Keep up the great work, you are providing a great resource on the Internet here!

Reginald B

Even though I don't have a car now but I will say this the chrysler t&c, dodge grand caravan and the volkswagon routan are a better choice. who will I pick the T&C because it has better features along with the grand caravan and routan compare to those other guys. #2 The chrysler town and country would beat the honda odyssey and toyota sienna and nissan quest hands down. #3 The chrysler town and country is better than all of then and no the sedona does not have the best milege as the town and country 9 time out of 10 the town and country will destroy all the minivan in the race hands down. HA!HA!HA!

Joe

Hey Dan,
This man is the father of six happy children and one happy wife and he takes care of all of them. And he loves it. That's a man, not some pitiful playboy who can't commit to one woman and take responsibility of a family and, instead runs from one brothel to the next spreading his demon seed like a gigolo. By the way, why are you reading a mini van shootout? Some of your 'seed' track you down and note you gotta 'pay the piper'?

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