Minivan vs SUV

Minivan vs SUV: What is right for you?

Family unpacking the trunk of a minivan or SUV

A growing family usually calls for a bigger vehicle. In addition to needing room to carry the children, you’ll need room for such things as toys, diaper bags and strollers – and, later, for sporting gear and the kids’ friends.

Today’s vehicles offer several options for growing families, and two of the most popular choices are sports utility vehicles (SUVs) and minivans. Deciding between a minivan and SUV is a matter of weighing your current and future needs and knowing what to expect from each.

Inside the SUV

One of the main advantages of both SUVs and minivans is additional seating. SUVs, though, have the benefits of as many as three rows of seating – which is perfect if you also carpool for work. Depending on the size of the SUV, it handles much like a car or a truck.

Most SUVs come equipped with all-wheel drive, or at least have it available as an optional feature, which gives it some advantages if you live in a state where snow is common in the winter. Because SUVs are so popular, you have a greater choice in terms of style, size, price and design features. Virtually all manufacturers – including luxury brands – have at least one SUV in their lineups.

Since SUVs now come fueled by diesel, gasoline or hybrid, you have more choice in terms of fuel as well.

Looking at the minivan

Few, if any, other vehicles can claim the kind of custom-made-for-moms (or dads) appeal of the minivan. The oversized sliding side doors and rear hatch access make it the easiest way to load and unload kids, equipment and groceries. Minivans are also built low to the ground, which makes it easier for young children (and older adults) to get in and out of.

Safety and tech features added in recent years have made the minivan even easier for users. Features including power sliding doors, backup cameras and lane departure warnings can help offset the size of the minivan, which may sometimes appear oversized, particularly if you’re upgrading from a small or midsize sedan.

Inside, they have many advantages for young passengers, such as tri-climate controls and rear-seat entertainment systems that either aren’t available or are considered extras on most SUVs. These not only make day-to-day travel more comfortable, but they can make those family vacations a lot more enjoyable for everyone.

SUV vs minivan side by side

Both minivans and SUVs have benefits for families as well as tradeoffs; it comes down to your individual needs and preferences. As the name implies, SUVs typically have a sportier appeal, but minivans may be a more practical choice for families with small kids and growing space needs.

Comparing minivans vs SUVs on paper as well as on the road is a good way to put both vehicles to the test and see which one is right for you – not just today, but for the next few years down the road.

Next steps

After you have decided whether you want a minivan or SUV, the next step is to make sure you have the right auto loan. Dealerships often advertise low or no-interest loans, but those are generally reserved for shorter loans, such as 36-month payoffs. If you are looking at a five or six-year loan, you might be better off looking into other financing options.

Be aware that the longer your loan is, the more you are paying in interest charges, so even small differences in the interest rates can add up over time. Having financing pre-approved before you start to shop is always advisable, as you will know exactly how much you can pay, will have a secured interest rate and will also help eliminate the need for financing negotiation at the dealership.  So, you are in control.

Look at your loan options as carefully as you review your vehicle options to make sure you’re getting not only the vehicle you want, but the price you are happy with. Nationwide can help you find a product that best addresses your needs.

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