Buying Guides

Best Minivans of 2017

Minivans aren't what they used to be. They're way better.

Wade Thiel, Senior Staff Writer

The minivan is the most maligned vehicle type out there, unrightfully so. Minivans will never be fun to drive, they'll never be especially sexy machines, but they're useful. For that reason the vehicle type is important. If you have a large family and have owned a minivan, then you know just how much easier one can make your life. If you've never owned one and have a large family, we're sure someone has told you that you need to own one. As uncool and uninspiring as a minivan is, the bottom line is that they're fantastic vehicles to own if your lifestyle calls for it. That being said, some are better than others. We've rounded up a list of the very best minivans of 2017. If you're in the market, don't buy something else.

2017 Toyota Sienna

  • PROS: Available AWD, seats easily stow away, huge cargo area, all-new and strong V6 engine, modern looks.
  • CONS: Loud engine noise, harsher ride than some other minivans, the competition’s tech looks and feels newer.

The Toyota Sienna’s ($29,750 base MSRP) claim to fame is that it’s the only minivan offered with all-wheel drive. Also, it has a massive cargo area that boasts over 150 cubic feet of storage space with the seats folded. Even with all the seats up, you get a cavernous 39 cubic feet of space, which is enough space to cram in about 11 carry-on-sized bags.

The 3.5-liter V6 engine is the only choice, but with 296 hp and 263 lb-ft of torque, it has plenty of power. It is not super fuel efficient, especially if you drive the van with a lead foot, but 19 mpg in the city and 27 mpg on the highway is on par for the segment. The cabin is well-laid out and comfortable, and the Sienna seats up to eight people. There are plenty of features, too, including a 7-inch Entune infotainment system with navigation, power-sliding doors, available 10-speaker JBL audio system, Bluetooth connectivity, and a 16.4-inch rear-seat entertainment screen. Also, the Sienna has all the safety tech and equipment needed to get it a five-star NHTSA rating, though it came up a little short in IIHS testing.

2017 Chrysler Pacifica


for the hybrid seeker

  • PROS: Plug-in hybrid model available, actually nice to look at, cabin is modern and good-looking, very comfortable and spacious, good infotainment system and features, excellent safety ratings.
  • CONS: Less cargo space than some rivals, third-row seating could use more cushioning, plug-in hybrid loses fold-away second-row seats, and it can get really expensive.

Chrysler is back to what it does best: making a darn good minivan. The Town and Country was excellent for years, but to recharge its brand in the minivan market, Chrysler brought back the Pacifica name on a seriously good vehicle. The new Pacifica ($28,995 base MSRP) uses a 3.6-liter V6 engine that produces 287 hp and 262 lb-ft of torque. That power goes to the front wheels and the vehicle handles it well while still managing 18 mpg city and 28 mpg highway. The plug-in hybrid version of the minivan offers up to 33 miles of electric-only driving range before the gasoline engine kicks in.

Its cargo space isn’t quite as good as the competition at 32.3 cubic feet with seats up and 140.5 cubic feet with the seats folded, but it’s still a spacious vehicle. The fold-away second-row seating makes moving the seats out of the way easy, and the infotainment system is top notch. Overall, the Chrysler Pacifica is one of the best minivans in recent memory. It can be equipped with all kind of amenities, including power-sliding doors, available 20-speaker Harman Kardon audio system, a dual-screen rear-seat entertainment system, Bluetooth connectivity, and enough safety technology for the IIHS to award it Top Safety Pick+ status.

2017 Honda Odyssey

  • PROS: Lots of features and space, top-notch driving characteristics for a minivan, good track record for reliability, top safety ratings.
  • CONS: Less power than rivals, somewhat dated design and tech, 2018 model is out and is better.

The Honda Odyssey ($29,850 base MSRP) has been the go-to minivan choice for many families for decades. Customers have put this minivan to the test time and time again, and it is well-loved by its owners. Honda has a new Odyssey out for 2018 that has more features and a new, more modern look. However, that doesn’t keep the 2017 model from being a fantastic minivan. It’s powered by a 3.5-liter V6 that makes 248 hp and 250 lb-ft of torque and gets about the same gas mileage as its more-modern rivals at 19 mpg city and 27 mpg highway.

The Odyssey offers tons of features, including the well-known vacuum in the rear of the vehicle, an 8-inch color touchscreen infotainment system, power sliding doors, available 12-speaker audio system, navigation, Bluetooth connectivity, and enough safety tech and equipment to earn the vehicle a five-star rating from the NHTSA. Its cargo space sits right in the middle in terms of volume when compared with the competition. It has 38.4 cubic feet of space with all the seats up and 148.5 cubic feet with all the seats folded.

2017 Kia Sedona


for the penny pincher

  • PROS: Arguably one of the best-looking minivans, low starting price, feature-packed even in the lower trim levels, spacious and comfy.
  • CONS: Poor fuel economy, rivals offer newer features and tech, cargo capacity is on the smaller size for the segment.

The Kia Sedona ($26,900 base MSRP) is the best value of the minivan segment. It’s spacious and comfortable with a powerful 3.3-liter V6 engine that makes 276 hp and 248 lb-ft of torque. It presents an attractive exterior to the world, and it has a nice interior for its low starting price. The Sedona isn’t perfect, though. It’s rather thirsty managing 18 mpg city and only 24 mpg highway. Also, its cargo space isn’t top of the class, offering 33.9 cubic feet of space with the seats up and 142 cubic feet without the seats. Still, it does better than the Pacifica in that regard.

All that being said, the Sedona offers a lot of equipment standard and even more as optional. Even the base trim comes well equipped with Bluetooth connectivity, steering wheel audio controls, USB and auxiliary connections, and a 5-inch touchscreen. Jump up to other trim levels and you can have everything from an Infinity 8-speaker audio system to a 7-inch UVO infotainment system with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. It’s also a safe vehicle. The IIHS awarded the Sedona Top Safety Pick status for 2017. If you’re looking to get the most for your money, take a serious look at the Sedona.

What Makes a Good Minivan?

  • Ample cargo room and a variety of storage options.
  • Easy folding and stowing seats.
  • Unencumbered ngress and egress for third row occupants.
  • Optional rear entertainment to keep the troops in check.
  • Sufficient power to transport people and gear.

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