SUV vs Minivan: The Battle of The Big Family Cars

Which is the best option, a minivan, or an SUV? This is the question a lot of people have to answer to themselves when shopping around for a big car.

It looks like an easy decision to make but it’s not like these two types of vehicles have a lot to offer but also have a few disadvantages.

Obviously, the easiest answer is the question “How are you going to use your car?”.

This lens is not going to give a definitive answer but I will try o simply highlight the strong and weak points of both SUVs and Minivan and compare them.

Hopefully, this might help people make better decisions based on their needs.

1. Kid-Friendly

Minivan Kid-Friendly
source: GoodCarBadCar

The target market for big vehicles like Minivans and SUVs are mostly families. So an important consideration should be how “kid-friendly” is the vehicle. Minivan in my opinion is the winner in this “challenge” for quite a few reasons.

First of all, they are more accessible to young children because they have a lower step-up height compared to SUVs.

Additionally, they generally offer more room which is also an advantage since young kids like to carry with them a lot of things like toys and books or bags for their after-school activities.

Don’t get me wrong, SUVs also offer plenty of space but usually, third-row seats in them tend to be a bit more cramped.

2. Teen Friendly

Suv Teen Friendly
Source: CarBuzz

Children don’t stay children forever.

The needs of families with teenagers might be quite a bit different compared to the needs of families with young children.

One major factor is entertainment, however, most SUVs and minivan feature similar entertainment packages so this is not a decision-making factor.

A factor that really matters for most teens is their “image”.

So the winner in this “challenge” is the SUV because let’s face it a Minivan is not a “cool car”.

3. City Driving

minivan City Driving

Minivan is a clear winner in this challenge, unlike SUVs they were created for city driving.

They are easier and most comfortable to ride in the city and additionally they are much easier to park especially when compared to some of the bigger SUVs.

However, it should be mentioned that nowadays car companies produce more and more SUV models that offer car-like driving and are smaller in size.

These are usually referred to as Crossover vehicles.

4. Off-Road Driving

SUV Off-Road Driving

SUVs or Sport Utility Vehicles (hint hint) win this one because there is simply no competition.

Most minivans have absolutely zero off-road capabilities and all-wheel drive is not the most common feature.

On the other hand, SUVs are great for driving through tough terrain, harsh weather, mud, or snow.

5. Towing

SUV towing
source: Cars- LoveToKnow

This is important for families and people that either has a boat or use a trailer.

SUVs win this one hand down since the towing capabilities of the two types of vehicles are not even comparable.

6. Economy

Minivans Economy
source: Digital Trends

When we are talking about the economy we are talking about the price you have to pay to buy a vehicle as well as the fuel and maintenance costs.

Minivans are generally better in all respects. They are cheaper to by, they generally have better gas mileage and lower maintenance costs.

So if expenses are a concern (and unfortunately in the current financial environment they are for most people) buying a minivan is a better choice.

7. Passenger/Cargo Space

suvs Passenger and Cargo Space

This is a tough one.

Especially since SUVs come in a variety of sizes (compact, mid-sized, full-sized) and with a variety of seating options.

Generally, when we compare vehicles of approximately the same size or same price, minivans offer more space both for passengers and for cargo.

If you are especially interested in a vehicle that can carry a lot of people you can check out my blog at 7 passenger vehicles, where I write exclusively for cars that can seat seven or more passengers.

8. Safety

minivan Safety

Minivans are considered to be safer.

Most vehicles today have all the basic safety features like airbags, antilock breaks, traction control, etc.

The reason that they are considered safer is that SUVs are believed to be more likely to rollover.

Nevertheless, it is always advisable to check the safety ratings of any car you are considering buying at

I will give this one a tie but make sure you do your research.

9. Design/Style


Minivans win this one hand down. Ok maybe not. Ok, I am kidding.

Unfortunately for them, there are many people that wouldn’t be caught dead driving a minivan.

On the other hand, SUVs are the “cool kid” that everyone wants to be friends with.

However, it should be noted that some designs of the latest minivan models like the new Honda are a bit more stylish compared to older more traditional boxy minivan designs.

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