Having one of the longest minivans in your garage is a big plus if you have a family size of 6 or more. North America classified cars designed to transport people as minivans in the rear sitting rows.
These vehicles, sometimes called vans, have reconfigurable seats in the second or third row.
Europe refers to minivans as Multi-purpose Vehicles (MPV) or people carriers/movers. Your country might have a different name for it, and please drop the name in the comments.
The common characteristics of minivans include a high roof, flat floor, sliding rear door, and high H-point seating.
Minivans are based on a passenger car platform, unlike full-size vans that tend towards carriage goods and products. The typical garage height influences the design of minivans.
Earlier versions like the Ford Aerostar and Chevrolet Astro used a compact pickup truck platform.
The longest minivans, or the largest ones sometimes referred to as large MPV, became famous in 1984 following the debut of the Dodge Caravan.
The Renault Escape added to this popularity. The two vehicles became popular, built from D-segment passenger cars or compact pickup trucks.
Minor MVP or Mini MPV have also grown in popularity since the 1990s. We understand that the term minivan usually refers to the most oversized Multi-purpose vehicles.
Let us look at some of the body styles common among the longest minivans.
Longest Minivans body styles
Minivans come with a front-engine layout with either a one-box or one-box body design. The more recently adopted one-box design has higher hood lines that ensure pedestrian safety.
The passenger cabin consists of two bucket seats in the front and one or two rows behind.
Many minivans come with the typical configuration, 2+2+3, and they use multiple design configurations for the side and rear doors. The longest minivans have sliding doors, while others offer forward-hinged doors like standard passenger vehicles.
Sliding drivers’ doors, a feature introduced by Nissan Prairie in 1982, became popular with Chrysler minivans in 1996. By 2002, minivans sold had doors on both sides of the body. Many minivans come with a rear liftgate, and only a few of them have panel-style rear doors.
Minivans have reconfigurable interior designs configured to carry passengers or goods as multi-purpose vehicles. More companies began using removable rear seats that could be detached from the floor and removed for extra storage.
This design was poor as it received complaints from users. The seats were too heavy and difficult to remove.
Other minivan manufacturers adopted the fold-flat rear seat configuration of the Honda Odyssey, and Chrysler later introduced the fold-flat second-row seats in 2005. This design has become popular among Sports utility vehicles.
Advantages of Minivans
The longest minivans have one of the best practicalities in the passenger car industry. They may not be the fastest or even the prettiest-looking vehicle, but they are perfect for everyday travels and shopping.
When taking a large group of people on a trip, you won’t find a better option than minivans. You can still buy a bus, but that will look awkward, and Minivans have enough space for eight passengers to sit comfortably for extended periods.
They also come with a generous amount of storage space for all your goods and luggage. Going shopping won’t be a problem as there is enough space to store your groceries and products. Even the equipment for a camping trip won’t be hard to fit into a minivan.
Folding the back-row seats of minivans can double the cargo capacity. In simple terms, you can fit many things into them without a hitch. In general, the longest minivans have five more inches of legroom and 15 more inches of interior space than SUVs with third rows.
Excellent Value for the Money
It is easy to get a good deal on purchasing a minivan, and this is because the demand for them is low nowadays. They usually cost $6,300 to $8,000 less than their three-row SUV counterparts, a good alternative.
Minivans have one of the lowest running costs in the industry, and they are cheaper to maintain and generally have higher fuel efficiency in the class. When the miles begin to add up, you will discover that you spend less on maintenance and servicing.
Minivans have low crash records, and the insurance coverage is usually cheap. These low numbers include the longest minivans as well.
The low profile of minivans makes it easy for small kids to climb into. Even the elderly and the disabled can quickly gain access to them. Some come with powered sliding doors that bring hands-free operations, preventing injury due to accidental closure.
You don’t have to worry about how you will open the doors to your minivan if you just came out of the grocery store. The powered sliding doors offer ample convenience even in tight parking spaces. By the press of a button, the doors slide open for you.
The ease and accessibility offered by minivans are one the best in the industry. Even the longest ones are designed with comfort in mind, with the front and back doors all having ease of use at the core of their design.
The Longest Minivans are Perfect for long trips
The longest minivans come with ample space to ensure no cramping of passengers while seated next to each other, unlike some three-row SUVs. The adequate seating height and ample legroom ensure that passengers do not experience posture pain.
Seating for hours brings no problem in minivans. The longest minivans have more than enough room for the luggage, hence freeing up space for the passengers. People rarely complain of tight space in these vehicles.
The timid urban design might fool you into thinking that they can’t handle extra utilities. With its all-wheel-drive system, the Toyota Sienna can tow up to 3,500 Ibs of load.
Other options such as Nissan NV and Mercedes-Benz Metris have towing capabilities that rival SUVs.
Minivans have superb utility. The design is not for off-road driving, but they can still drive through less rocky roads such as dirt roads and gravel trails. They might sit lower than SUVs, but they have more clearance than sedans.
Minivans’ much lower center of gravity gives them more road stability than SUVs, Crossovers, and other vehicle types. Their profile, designed to reduce impact during collisions, and the contact between minivans and other cars during collision does not extend beyond the crumble zones.
Minivans offer a wide range of advanced safety and driver assistance features. Even the longest minivans have these standard features, including adaptive cruise control, rearview camera, lane change assist, and emergency brake assist.
Let me shock you a little. The performance of minivans has improved over the years, and currently, they are on par with many sport utility vehicles. Despite the lack of power, minivans have better handling and steering than SUVs.
The improved handling and steering come from their passenger car-centered design, while SUVs have truck-centered designs. SUVs have unrivaled off-road capabilities, but minivans thrive in the urban environment.
The Top 5 Longest Minivans
Now, let’s look at the five longest minivans. These vans also come with some luxury packages to rival their SUV counterparts.
There are different reasons to choose a minivan over an SUV, and read on as we explore the following.
1. Kia Carnival Minivan
The Kia Carnival’s introduction was in 1998. Kia manufactured the Carnival and sold it globally under different nameplates. One of its nameplates, Kia Sedona, saw discontinuity in favor of the Kia Carnival nameplate.
First introduced in September 1998, the CarnivalCarnival has grown to four generations. The initial offering was a single, short-wheelbase version, and Second-generation models came from 2006 to 2014. Both short and long-wheelbase versions are available.
The Hyundai Entourage, a rebadged second-generation model, was sold in North America between 2007 and 2009. The second generation had updated equipment, including Kia’s corporate Tiger Nose front grille.
Peter Schreyer, the new design chief, introduced the new grille design. The third generation CarnivalCarnival, raised in 2014, was solely in the long-wheelbase version. When introducing the fourth generation in 2020, Kia adopted the Carnival nameplate worldwide.
Fourth Generation Carnival
June 2020 brought the introduction of the fourth generation CarnivalCarnival. Using Hyundai-Kia’s new mid-size platform, the vehicle increased by 1.6 inches in length and 1.2 inches in wheelbase. The sales began in South Korea in September 2020.
As one the longest minivans, the 2022 Kia Carnival has the largest cargo space. With 40.2 cubic feet of space behind the third-row seats and 89.9 cubic feet behind the second row, it has few rivals.
An extra 145.1 cubic feet of space is obtained if the second-row seats are removed and the third-row is folded into the floor.
The Kia Carnival has an upscale design and offers a quiet ride. It comes packed with many features for the money with superior cargo-hauling capability. It is an affordable family minivan with a $32,000 price tag and $40,000 for the high-end options.
The top-tier SX prestige model has reduced cargo space, and the second-row seats are non-removable. Nevertheless, the CarnivalCarnival is an excellent vehicle for a large family and camping trips.
Specs of the Kia Carnival
Besides being one of the longest minivans, the Kia Carnival has respectable specs. With a towing capacity of 3500 Ibs, it comes equipped with a 3.5-liter V6 engine that generates 290 horsepower.
17-inch alloy wheels and LED headlights to come standard in this vehicle. The Carnival has seven passengers’ seating capacity and offers rear passenger air-conditioning. With sliding doors, the second-row seats are fully removable.
Other features include an 8-inch touchscreen display with a rearview camera, rear park distance warning – reverse sensors, and 7 USB ports for charging and media. A series of driver assistant technologies can also be found.
They include Kia drive-wise assist technology, rear occupant alert with ultrasonic sensors, blind-spot detection technology, lane-keeping, the following technology, and safe exit assist.
2. Toyota Sienna Minivan
Toyota manufactured and marketed the Toyota Sienna primarily for North America and selected East Asian markets. This vehicle bears its name after the Italian city of Sienna in the region of Tuscany. It became the replacement for the first-generation Previa van in 1997.
The Sienna shares a heavily revised platform with a front-wheel-drive layout with the Camry. The 2004 model, redesigned with increased dimensions, matched the size of other competitors and improved the competition with other minivans.
The only minivan offered with All-wheel drive in North America until 2021 was the Sienna until when the Chrysler Pacifica was introduced. Before Sienna, GM’s minivans provided all-wheel-drive systems.
The third generation of the Sienna, introduced in 2010, saw a significant redesign from the previous generation. After going on sale in the United States, it became the first model to receive the Top Safety Pick award from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.
The Sienna, one of the longest minivans available, was redesigned as a hybrid vehicle for its fourth generation in 2020. It is also the first model to be produced outside the United States, and Toyota only exported previous models to other countries and markets.
An electronic unveiling happened in May 202 for the fourth-generation Sienna model, intended to be revealed at the 2020 Ney York International Auto Show in April. This was because of the COVID-19 pandemic that led to travel restrictions.
After its unveiling, the vehicle was released on 27 October 2020, and showrooms and dealerships began displaying them in November. The New generation Sienna is built on a GA-K platform with a hybrid powertrain available for all grades.
Fourth Generation Sienna
Toyota claims that the all-new Sienna can tow 3,500 Ibs of weight, the same as the previous generation. That is impressive for a hybrid powertrain. Several trims such as the LE XLE and Limited are available for this vehicle.
Sort-oriented XSE and the top-of-the-line Platinum trim are also available. There is a built-in vacuum cleaner to cater to your cleaning needs, which is thoughtful of Toyota. Toyota discontinued a refrigerated compartment due to supply constraints.
The Platinum trim also has a heads-up display and a 360° camera view. Extra power can be obtained by equipping a third electric motor to power the rear wheels. The Sienna strives to become a leader in safety features.
This vehicle’s standard and optional family-oriented features include 18 cup holders, seven USB ports, four-zone climate control, and onboard Wi-Fi. Your kids will be comfortable with a rear entertainment system and power sliding doors to ease movement.
The liftgate of the Sienna is also powered, and there is a voice amplification system for the driver to communicate effectively with the back-seated passengers. Driver assistance features included in this vehicle are adaptive cruise control, blind-spot monitoring, automated emergency braking, and lane-keeping assist.
3. Honda Odyssey Minivan
One of the longest minivans is the Honda Odyssey, manufactured by Honda’s Japanese carmaker. The vehicle has been in production since 1994, and it is sold in almost every part of the world.
The Odyssey was originally a compact MPV well received in the Japanese car market, and however, it had low sales in North America. The compact dimensions were due to constraints imposed on the vehicle’s size by the government during the economic crisis of 1990.
The sanctions dictated the manufacture of the minivan in an existing facility with minimal modifications. Honda sold the first-generation Odyssey in Europe as Honda Shuttle.
With the construction of a new plant in Lincoln, Alabama, Honda manufactured larger and more diversified models. Honda markets the larger (large MPV-class) Odyssey in America while keeping the smaller one for Japan and other global markets.
Between 1999 and 2004, Japan enthusiasts were able to get the larger American Odyssey as the Honda LaGreat. In September 2013, Honda teased the fifth-generation Odyssey, and in November 2013, they began selling it in Japan.
The fifth-generation Odyssey came with power sliding doors like most other minivans from Japanese automakers. It is bigger than its predecessors and offers premium cradle second-row seats with ottomans for the seven-seater variants.
The new RC1 with 2-wheel drive configuration and the RC2 with 4-wheel drive configuration is available as either seven or eight seaters. The fifth-generation derives its power from Honda’s newly developed 2.4-liter i-VTEC Earth Dreams engine.
The engine generates 173 horsepower and 225 N.m of torque. The Absolute, the range-topping variant, has a direct-injection system that increases the power to 187 horsepower, and the torque is also increased to 237 N.m.
The Odyssey Hybrid RC4
Despite the 2.4-liter Earth Dreams’ impressive mileage of 40 miles per gallon, Honda launched the Hybrid RC4 in Japan on 4 February 2016. The RC1 and RC2 models replaced the Elysion and competed directly with Toyota Alphard and Nissan Elgrand in the luxury MPV category.
The RC4 has a 2-liter petrol hybrid engine. Honda calls the new hybrid system the Sport Hybrid i-MMD. Unfortunately, Honda will not stop these funny names. The size reduction and weight are critical improvements in the new hybrid system.
Key components such as the battery and power control unit weigh less than their equivalent used in the two-motor hybrid system of the Accord Hybrid and the Accord Plug-in Hybrid. The power control unit is 23% smaller and 27% lighter in weight.
The United Stated Odyssey uses a larger platform than the Japanese variants.
4. Chrysler Pacifica Minivan
The Chrysler Pacifica does not have a long history compared to the other longest minivans on this list, and Stellantis produce it through its Chrysler division. This vehicle replaced the Chrysler Town and Country for the 2017 model year.
Chrysler markets the Pacifica as a high-end minivan ahead of Dodge Grand Caravan and the Chrysler Voyager. It comes with two powertrains, a 3.6-liter internal combustion engine, and a plug-in hybrid.
With a 16-kWh lithium-ion battery, the plug-in hybrid can move on electric power alone up to 53 km. Chrysler began selling the gasoline-only version in mid-2016, while the plug-in hybrid became available in 2017.
At the 2020 Chicago Auto Show in Chicago, Illinois, Chrysler introduced the restyled 2021 Pacifica. They redesigned the exterior powertrain and included the sought-after all-wheel drive and the front-wheel drive.
The hybrid models will only come in front-wheel drive configurations. The new model retains the Stow’ n’ Go seating, ditched by previous all-wheel-drive Chrysler vans. It features the new Uconnect 5 infotainment system that is android based.
The infotainment system comes standard with a 10.1-inch high-resolution touchscreen bundled with Apple CarPlay and android auto for smartphone integration. The vehicle boasts of Amazon Alexa and SiriusXM satellite radio and high-speed data connectivity.
USB-C high-speed data and charging ports come standard on all trims, including the TomTom-based GPS navigation. Included also is the FamCam that can display an image of the rear passengers to replace the conversation mirror.
Specs of the Chrysler Pacifica
Chrysler introduced The Pinnacle trim level with the ‘Pinnacle” badging placed on the front doors. It also comes with unique leather seat trim, quilted leather pillows for the second-row seats, and exterior styling.
The all-wheel-drive options became available in June 2020 for the 2020 Touring-L models equipped with the AWD Launch Edition package. The Pacifica remains the only minivan in North America to maintain the traditional all-wheel-drive system.
The fourth-generation Toyota Sienna uses the E-four system, where the rear wheels are driven with electric motors. To power one of the longest minivans is a 3.6-liter Pentastar V6 engine, and it comes as a pure gasoline engine or a plug-in hybrid.
Chrysler sells the plug-in hybrid version as the Pacifica Hybrid. It uses a 16-kWh lithium-ion battery with an all-electric range of 53 km. Due to the absence of all-wheel drive, eight-passenger seating, and stow ‘n’ go, the battery is located under the floor of the second-row seats.
It takes two hours to entirely charge the battery using a 240-volt plug-in system. The plug-in hybrid Pacifica went on sale in 2017, a year after the gasoline-only version. The plug-in hybrid achieved a fuel economy of 84 miles per gallon, equivalent to the hybrid system.
5. Dodge Grand Caravan Minivan
The Dodge Grand Caravan and its siblings are minivans manufactured by Chrysler with models from 1984 to 2020. The unique thing about this vehicle is that it was marketed as a passenger and cargo van.
The long-wheelbase version, the Grand Caravan, introduced in 1987, eventually became the sole model of the Caravan lineup from 2008. It has five generations introduced within 36 years, and it is second to the Dodge Charger as the longest-lived vehicle with the Dodge nameplate.
The Dodge Caravan, initially sold as the Dodge version of the Plymouth Voyager, was later placed between the Voyager and the Chrysler Town and Country. It eventually became the lowest-priced Chrysler minivan below the Chrysler Pacifica.
Despite being sold under the Dodge name in the United States and Canada, Chrysler sold the brand in Europe and other global markets. Chrysler referred to it as either the Chrysler Voyager or the Chrysler Caravan.
Volkswagen rebranded the Caravan and sold it in North America as the Volkswagen Routan, and ram sold the Cargo-only version as the Ram C/V Tradesman. After the 2020 model year, the Dodge Grand Caravan has discontinued production, ending in August 2020.
However, Chrysler has continued sales of the Caravan in the Canadian market as the Chrysler Pacifica. Chrysler Voyager became the name of the Caravan that was sold in the United States. Chrysler manufactured the Caravan lineup from 1987 to 2007, the Caravan lineup at Chrysler’s Saint Louis Assembly plant.
Since its introduction in late 1983, 14.6 million units of its minivans have been sold.
The grocery shopping would be easier if you had a vehicle to contain all those groceries. Your children do not need to cramp themselves in a small car as you take them to school. That camping trip would be so fun if you had space to pack all that equipment.
Minivans offer more space than sedans and SUVs. They might not have the power of the SUVs, but they have better handling and steering. The low height means your kids can easily climb in and out of the vehicle.
Despite the soft-closing doors introduced in SUVs and sedans today, the power-sliding doors of minivans offer unparallel hands-free operation. The longest minivans come with extra space for luggage and passengers.
Minivans are in a class of their own.