For the image conscious, the minivan spells family doom. It lacks the cool factor and rugged sex appeal of a burly SUV. There are no pretensions of off-roading ability or active, outdoorsy lifestyle in a minivan. Even though the boxy family hauler with the sliding doors doesn’t get any respect, it provides more versatility and practical family transportation than any similarly priced and sized crossover.
It’s time for another showdown in this Midweek Mashup. In one corner we have a toaster-shaped minivan, and in the other corner… we have a slightly less toaster-shaped minivan. We decided to put these two people movers through the ringer via a five-category competition:
- 0-60 mph
- interior utility
- fuel economy
- lap times
- drag race
One of these minivans has a design feature that was purportedly inspired by a lightning bolt. Can you find it? Get the answer and watch Geoff, TFL’s giant teddy bear, drag race Roman in the video below.
For those who recognize the virtues of the minivan and aren’t bothered by its suburban image, the Honda Odyssey and Toyota Sienna get parked in more driveways than any other competing minivans.
The Honda Odyssey is the undisputed champ it its class. It gets high praise for its refined ride and handling, sturdy interior build quality, and versatile and functional cabin features. Powering the Odyssey is a 248 horsepower 3.5-liter V6 engine that delivers ample power and strong acceleration. EPA-estimated fuel economy is 19 mpg in the city and up to 28 mpg when cruising at highway speeds.
When compared with a crossover SUV, the Odyssey’s low step-in height, space efficient passenger compartment and fuel efficient V6 are tough to beat.
The Toyota Sienna is ranked number 2 behind the Odyssey. With available all-wheel drive, the Sienna may be the family-hauler to own if you appreciate volumetric efficiency and all-weather capability. Refreshed for 2015 model year, the Sienna comes nicely equipped in the low forties, with a list of creature comforts that include adaptive cruise control, reclining “lounge seats” with fold-up leg rests, and enough tech and USB ports to keep everyone happy.
The Sienna powertrain is a 266 horsepower 3.5-liter V6 paired with a 6-speed automatic that can drive either the front wheels or all four wheels. The FWD model gets an EPA-estimated 18 mpg for city driving and 25 mpg on the highway. The AWD model can only muster 16 mpg in the city and 23 mpg on the highway.
If you think minivans measure up to your macho image, read our list of Best Manly Minivans.