2021 Minivans

The minivan has changed a tremendous amount since the vehicle was introduced back in the early-1980s. Introduced by Chrysler, the first minivans were designed to offer as much passenger space as possible in a vehicle that was easier to handle for the daily drive. After the early success of the Chrysler minivans, the other automakers moved to introduce their own minivans and the segment boomed. All of the earliest minivans focused on a low price and big interior space, but over time, they gained a reputation as uninteresting appliances that were short on fun and features. The negative reputation led to the demise of some models, but those which soldiered on gained features while also offering improved driving dynamics.

Today’s minivans can be ordered to offer loads of passenger space with a low price point, but there are also plenty of models that rival modern luxury vehicles. With many drivers spending long days in their vehicles, modern minivans feature many premium technologies, ranging from plush seating to state-of-the-art infotainment systems. No longer does driving a minivan require you to suffer in an empty metal box with no power and no creature comforts, as today’s family haulers often standard and optional features comparable to high-priced luxury machines.

Pros and Cons of Minivans

Pros: 

  • Sliding side doors for easy access
  • Large rear door for cargo loading
  • Loads of interior space for passengers and cargo
  • Wide range of price and standard features leads to more options for more buyers
  • Premium luxury technology on high end trim levels
  • Better fuel economy than large vans or SUVs

 

Cons: 

  • Lesser fuel economy than sedans
  • Fewer brand options in the segment
  • The negative minivan stigma

All-Wheel-Drive Minivans

If you live in an area that gets heavy snowfall, you may need an all-wheel-drive vehicle in the winter. If you want an all-wheel-drive minivan, there are only two options on the modern market; the Toyota Sienna and the Chrysler Pacifica. All-wheel-drive is available on all trim levels of the Sienna and all Toyota minivans come standard with a 2.5-liter hybrid drivetrain.

The least expensive AWD minivan from Toyota starts under $37,000 while the top-of-the-line Platinum model starts just over $50,000. All-wheel-drive is also available on all trim levels of the Chrysler Pacifica, but only on the traditional gas-powered drivetrain and not with the hybrid system. The Pacifica comes more well-appointed than the Toyota, with many features that cannot be added to the Sienna, but that leads to a slightly higher price point. The least expensive all-wheel-drive Pacifica starts just under $39,000 while the top-of-the-line Pinnacle package starts over $54,000.


What's New in Minivans for 2022

Kia Carnival

The biggest news for 2022 is the addition of the all-new Kia Carnival minivan, even if the brand doesn't like to refer to it as a minivan. It is a much more modern appearing vehicle than the Sedona in which it replaces. Kia has tried hard to make it look un-minivan like and we feel they have mostly succeeded. Like the Honda Odyssey, it is only available with a v6 engine and front-wheel drive. The Carnival is capable of seating seven or eight passengers depending on trim level. 

SEE ALSO: 2022 Kia Carnival Review: Minivan Makeover

Inside, it matches the segment leaders when it comes to offering a technology-laden, premium feeling cabin which has become very important in this segment. We compared the new Carnival to the Toyota Sienna and Chrysler Pacifica, coming away impressed by the value Kia has packed into this new multi-person vehicle. Oh, and that second row of seats may be the best in the segment. 

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Chrysler Pacifica

After receiving a thorough update last year, the changes continue for the Chrysler Pacifica. A new color has been added to the lineup called Silver Mist. There is also now a rear seat reminder that alerts the driver to check the rear seats for passengers when turning off the vehicle. As well, a better filtration system was added to the minivan to make air inside as clean as possible. The Hybrid now has a Max Regeneration visual message to alert the driver when optimal battery recharging is being achieved while driving. 

SEE ALSO: 2021 Chrysler Pacifica AWD Review: First Drive

The Touring L trim now includes the Safety Sphere Group as standard equipment, while the Limited trim adds the Premium and Safety Sphere Groups as standard equipment. Chrysler has also added content to the top-of-the-line Pacifica Pinnacle, which gains the Trailer Tow Group for gas powered models. And for the technically inclined, Amazon Fire TV is now available in the vehicle. 
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Toyota Sienna

The Toyota Sienna was another minivan that was all-new last year, and for 2022 it gains a new trim level, called the Woodland Edition. Think of this a link between minivans and crossovers as the Woodlands comes standard with all-wheel drive and a more rugged outdoor-adventure look. It has enhanced ground clearance, a 1,500 watt inverter, and standard roof rail crossbars making it ready to take the family on a camping adventure. 

SEE ALSO: 2021 Toyota Sienna Review: First Drive

Other changes to the Sienna for the 2022 model year include the XLE trim getting an optional 18-inch wheel design, while second-row ottomans are now available for the Limited and Platinum trim levels that include all-wheel drive. The new Windchill Pearl exterior color replaces Blizzard Pearl and the Woodland Edition gets its own exclusive Cement exterior color, while the only other color the Woodland can come in is Midnight Black Metallic.

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Other Highlights from the World of Minivans

Honda Odyssey

2021 Honda Odyssey

The Honda Odyssey was refreshed for 2021, starting on the outside. A new grille, front fascia and lighting signature provided a fresh look for the exterior while the cabin benefitted from new folding second-row seats. For 2022, not much has changed, and all Odyssey minivans continue to be powered by a 3.5-liter V6 that delivers 280 horsepower and 262 lb-ft of torque, sending power to the front wheels through a 10-speed automatic transmission. 

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Ford Transit Connect Wagon

During the height of the minivan era, Ford offered a traditional competitor to the other consumer models, but today, the Ford minivan is a bit different. The Ford Transit Connect is engineered with commercial use in mind, so it is more popular with drivers who need a small vehicle with loads of cargo space. However, the Motor Company does offer their “passenger wagon” packages that come with full interior layouts with seating for seven. The Transit Connect is a bit smaller and doesn’t come with the same level of luxury as the traditional minivans, but it also costs considerably less than the competitors.

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2021 Ram ProMaster City Wagon
2021 Ram ProMaster City Wagon
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$26,130 - $27,730 21/28 mpg
2021 Chrysler Voyager
2021 Chrysler Voyager
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$27,235 - $30,045 19/28 mpg
2021 Ford Transit Connect Wagon
2021 Ford Transit Connect Wagon
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$27,400 - $31,600 24/29 mpg
2021 Kia Sedona
2021 Kia Sedona
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$30,400 - $41,500 18/24 mpg
2021 Honda Odyssey
2021 Honda Odyssey
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$31,790 - $47,820 19/28 mpg
2021 Chrysler Pacifica
2021 Chrysler Pacifica
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$35,045 - $53,390 19/28 mpg
2021 Chevrolet Express Passenger
2021 Chevrolet Express Passenger
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$36,400 - $38,400 N/A
2021 GMC Savana Passenger
2021 GMC Savana Passenger
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$36,400 - $38,400 N/A
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