With the upcoming holiday season upon us, more and more families will find themselves making trips to visit their loved ones. That upcoming travel can bring a sense of dread – long road trips, angry kids, and plenty of “stuff” to take with you….and not enough space for all of it! If that sounds like you, you may be (or soon to be!) looking for the best minivan to make life much easier for you and your family.
Minivans of today are not what they used to be. With continual improvements to exterior design, new interior features to keep the kids busy, and high safety ratings, minivans are again becoming a safe and reliable choice for many families. There are even new hybrid options out now, which is good news, considering more states are improving access to electric (and hybrid) vehicles.
Are minivans sounding more intriguing? You’re not alone. Minivan sales were up 14% in 2021, according to Car Sales Base. The 2023 lineup of minivans has a wide range of features and options without breaking your bank. The new class of minivans is highlighted with options that will surely get you the best “bang for your buck” and also improved gas mileage.
Getting a great value on a new minivan, or paying less in gas this holiday season might actually bring a little more Christmas joy to your household, as many households are planning to cut back on Christmas gifts due to rising costs.
Looking to make the jump to a new minivan? Don’t look further. We visited 10 of the leading expert websites to see which minivans were the very best of their class for 2023.
The List: The Top 4 2023 Minivans, According to the Experts
1. Honda Odyssey
Topping the charts for minivans is the new and improved Honda Odyssey. One of the top selling minivans year after year, the Odyssey continues to impress with their 2023 model. Noted for its range of options, performance while driving, interior comfort, high safety ratings, and ability to handle any task thrown it’s way, the Odyssey was the top choice by experts.
The Odyssey scored a five-star rating from the National High Traffic Safety Administration, and TrueCar highlighted the safety of the Odyssey, noting that the Odyssey has the “highest safety ratings and (features) Honda’s reputation for reliability.”
Those looking for comfort while driving, while not sacrificing functionality should have no fears with the Odyssey. Kelley Blue Book raved about the Odyssey, stating that the Odyssey is “Spacious, well built, well thought out, refined, and reliable.”
Whether taking the kids to practice, a vacation with the family, or to run errands, the Odyssey was the minivan of choice. Flexibility and comfortability were also consistently mentioned, Edmunds was a fan, saying that the Odyssey featured “tons of versatility, a car-like driving experience and a list of available features the length of your arm, the Odyssey is an easy top pick.
2. Chrysler Pacifica
The Chrysler Pacifica also was a consistent top choice by auto experts. The 2023 Pacifica actually has two options – a traditional engine or plug-in hybrid option. The Pacifica is the only minivan on the market today that is available as a plug-in hybrid.
The 2023 Pacifica was noted for its maneuverability, functionality, and “fanciness.” That’s right, fanciness! Gear Patrol gave glowing marks for the interior and exterior look of the Pacficia, noting that the Pacifica now features a “more SUV-like appearance and a new super-lux Pinnacle trim,” noting that the Pinnacle trim “brings the minivan to full-on luxury territory.”
The Pacifica was also highly rated for the power it packs, while not sacrificing on gas mileage. The 3.6L V6 engine on the Pacifica “is a strong, smooth engine when it needs to be, but also returns pretty good fuel economy at cruising speeds,” Traction Life writes.
Lastly, flexibility was a major advantage of the Pacifica. The wealth of features and options on the Pacifica, including Stow ‘N Go seats, allow the Pacifica to be “proficient at shuttling around eight passengers as it is capable of moving a dorm room’s worth of stuff,” says US News.
3. Kia Carnival
Coming up next on the list of top minivans was the Kia Carnival. For those looking for a minivan that doesn’t feel like a minivan, the Kia Carnival might be your choice. We’re not alone in that line of thinking: “The 2023 Kia Carnival could be the ideal minivan for people who would rather not buy a minivan,” explains Kelley Blue Book.
Though the Carnival still features much of the “traditional” features of a minivan – like power-sliding doors, three row seating, and plenty of space, it feels different (in a good way).
True Car agrees, making a point of mentioning that the Carnival’s “exterior design — which features a flatter nose and more upright styling than other minivans — makes it look more like a large SUV.
But don’t let the new look fool you – it still boasts power and functionality needed from families, notes Gear Patrol: “The Kia Carnival “delivers a poised, well-balanced ride — more than a bit reminiscent of the Telluride — with a robust V6 engine and a legitimate drive mode selector that includes a Sport mode.”
4. Toyota Sienna
Rounding out the list of top minivans according to studies is the Toyota Sienna. The Sienna was praised for its top of the class fuel economy, quiet rides and sleek look. However, the Sienna received some low grades for performance.
For families who travel a lot, the Sienna might be the minivan of choice with 36mpg in combined driving. With rising gas prices, that alone is a huge separator, as Gearpatrol highlights:
“But the Toyota Sienna provides something most of the competition — minivan or three-row SUV — does not: outstanding fuel economy and all-wheel drive in the same vehicle. That’s the sort of game-changer that can bring buyers into the minivan fold.”
For those looking to take long trips, this might be the choice for you. The Sienna also received high grades for comfort, with Forbes remarking that “every seat in the Sienna is spacious and comfortable.”
Though the Sienna received high grades for comfort and fuel efficiency, it did receive low marks for performance and the brakes. As Edmunds notes within their review, the Sienna features “slow acceleration, especially with a full load of people and cargo aboard,” while also noting that the “brakes feel uneven, making it hard to come to a smooth stop.”
- Kelley Bluebook
- US News
- Auto Review Hub
- True Car
- Gear Patrol
- The Car Connection
Note: This article was not paid for nor sponsored. StudyFinds is not connected to nor partnered with any of the brands mentioned and receives no compensation for its recommendations.