What is the Most Fuel Efficient Minivan?

What is the Most Fuel Efficient Minivan?
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Dodge Grand Caravan/Chrysler Town & Country - Up to 20 MPG Combined

Wonder Van powers, activate! The Pentastar brand essentially invented the modern minivan segment back in the 1980s with its efficient, right-sized, front-wheel offerings. They ignited something of a craze and numerous competitors scrambled to compete with their game-changing miniature vans.

For the sake of brevity we’ve lumped two vehicles into one section here as the Dodge Grand Caravan and Chrysler Town & Country are essentially identical. They both feature a 3.6-liter V6 engine that delivers a smooth 283 HP with 260 LB-FT of torque; that’s enough beans and franks to blow your stick-figure family right off the back glass. The engine is matched exclusively to a six-speed automatic transmission.

One area these vans distance themselves from the competition is with their flex-fuel capability. They can both run on corrosive, ethanol-rich E85, though with a significant drop in overall efficiency as shown below.

2014 Dodge Grand Caravan, 3.6-Liter – 17 City, 25 Highway, 20 Combined

2014 Dodge Grand Caravan, 3.6-Liter E85 – 12 City, 18 Highway, 14 Combined

2014 Chrysler Town & Country, 3.6-Liter – 17 City, 25 Highway, 20 Combined

2014 Chrysler Town & Country, 3.6-Liter E85 – 12 City, 18 Highway, 14 Combined

  • MistyGreen

    Mazda can’t put a Skyactiv powertrain in that soon enough. The humongous Odyssey is getting the same highway mileage. That’s a little scary. It’s impressive that the Honda could do that well on the highway, but the 5 should do a lot better.

  • Honest Abe

    It is pretty sad. It’s also a strong indication Mazda doesn’t really care about the 5 at all.

  • MistyGreen

    I know. My wife and I love it, because it will be exactly what we expect to need/want in a couple years, but I worry that its replacement won’t be a new 5. We’ll see when it comes up for a remodel in a few years.

  • JustAThought

    I own a recent Mazda5 and a recent Odyssey. Driving both under the same conditions the Odyssey does not hold a candle for the Mazda5 at all, the difference is dismal (Mazda5 > Odyssey). I give it a thumbs-up at the Odyssey on the highway numbers, but is not thaaat different as the estimates make you believe. Also, it is scary that they are both compared as if they are in an equal segment, it is not really the case, the Odyssey is much much bigger, heavier, etc,

  • Kinetis

    The impressive highway mileage of the Honda is from the cylinder deactivation. In the perfect EPA world, with no hills, no passing required, and cruising at the limit, it’s basically running on 3 cylinders (less cylinders and displacement than the Mazda 5). It’s a slightly different story in the real world. The numbers don’t show Mazda falling behind, it’s Honda leaping ahead of the pack.

  • willied1029

    The Toyota and Nissan tie for the title of Ugliest Minivan. Even though the Kia may be considered bland, I think it actually looks decent for a minivan.

  • 5Fan

    I’ve been driving a Mazda5 Sport 6-speed for two years now. It is my first family car (also have a 90 Miata autox toy and a TT). It is the closest I’ve come to fun driving in a minivan / SUV. It carries my family of three, two 26″ adult mountain bikes (front wheels removed, bikes upside down facing the rear) , a 16″ kids bike (standing up across the back cargo area) and a days worth of food/gear. Yet many times people still mistake it for a Honda Fit or the like. It’s simply awesome, and cost me 18500 out the door. If Mazda gives it their new design style facelift and a stronger motor (with manual), I’ll be at their doorstep once again.

  • hihi

    this guy is so stupid

  • willied1029

    Yeah, this guy is stupid. ^^

  • Tricks

    You guys are crazy. The Kia is terrible. There’s just no design at all. I applaud Nissan and Toyota for taking risks with their designs.

  • willied1029

    I guess I see it from a different point of view. I don’t think vans should look crazy. The Caravan, Sedona, and Odyssey appeal to me most in the looks department. Different strokes for different folks, though.

  • HotRod

    Can these writers come up with anything more original than the old “if you’re so uncool that you have own a minivan, which one is best quality/value/economy” schtick? “Soccer Mom” vehicles are clearly SUVs now – how many 5′ tall women have you seen driving Suburbans with nobody else in the vehicle? SUVs are the new un-cool.