SUV’s might be more popular, but minivans are still the real champions of cargo space and kid hauling. In the name of practicality, we tracked down the best deals on minivans under $15,000.
American consumers hate to compromise. We want it all: cargo and passenger room, comfort, tech, hauling and towing capacity, and we don’t want to spend “too much” to get it. In recent history, we’ve been given the SUV/crossover as the answer to our demands for the do-it-all vehicle. But not so many years ago, there was another vehicle, more capable, roomier, and better equipped for the money. That vehicle was, and remains, the minivan. In an effort to find you, dear readers, the best family vehicle for your hard-earned dollar we run down the top five minivans under $15,000.
2016 Chrysler Town & Country – media.fcanorthamerica.com | Shop Chrysler Town & Country on Carsforsale.com
An OG of the minivan segment (dating all the way back to 1990), the Chrysler Town & Country remains a strong offering, including the 2016 model. It comes with a 3.6L V6 making 283hp, the most of any minivan on our list. That extra horsepower translates to great pull out on the highway and a towing capacity of 3,500lbs. and a fuel economy of 17 city/25 highway mpg.
The most notable of the Town & Country’s features is its Stow-n-Go seating. Both the third and second rows fold down into the floor for a flat cargo bed without having the hassle of removing seats. This give the Town & Country a cargo capacity of 33 cu. ft. behind the third row and a 143.8 cu. ft. of maximum.
Notable features include the plentiful USB ports and 12-volt outlets in the 2nd and 3rd rows as well as power sliding doors and a power liftgate. Though blind spot monitoring and rear cross traffic alerts are options, other safety tech, like lane departure warning and forward collision avoidance are not.
2015 Toyota Sienna – pressroom.toyota.com | Shop Toyota Sienna on Carsforsale.com
Not only is the Toyota Sienna possibly the best-looking minivan on our list, it’s also the only one with optional all-wheel drive. Power for the Sienna comes from a 3.5L V6 good for 266hp. Fuel economy for the front-wheel drive version is 18 city/ 25 highway, and down slightly in the all-wheel drive version with 16 city and 23 highway mpg. Towing is a segment standard 3,500lbs.
Aside from the drivetrain, the Sienna also delivers when it comes to comfort, with a smooth and quiet ride bordering on luxury level. We also liked the mid-generation cosmetic refresh that updated the interior.
Among our favorite features are the removable 3rd seat for the 2nd row, enabling you to toggle between a 7 and 8 passenger configuration with ease. With that 2nd row removed and the 3rd row folded down (level with the cargo floor) the Sienna has a max cargo area of 150 cu. ft. (tops on our list). Additional options include a JBL sound system, dual-screen Blu-ray player, moonroof, and Toyota’s EZ speaker system, basically a one-way intercom to the far back seats.
2016 Dodge Grand Caravan – carsforsale.com | Shop Dodge Grand Caravan on Carsforsale.com
The Town & Country’s FCA cousin, the Dodge Grand Caravan gets the same 3.6L V6 producing 283hp but getting a slightly higher, and class leading, 3,600lbs of towing capacity. Fuel economy is slightly lower than average at 17 city and 25 highway mpg. Unfortunately, the Grand Caravan lags behind rivals when it comes to cargo capacity at just 31.1 cu. ft. behind the 3rd row and a maximum of 140.3 cu. ft.
Grand Caravan had the lowest original MSRP of any minivan on this list and remains the best bag-for-your-buck option. This means at the ceiling of $15,000 you’re able to climb the trim ladder for desirable options like the SE’s Stow-n-Go seats (as seen in the Town & Country) or the SXT trim’s power sliding doors, power lift gate, a load leveling suspension, and safety features like blind spot monitoring and parking sensors.
2016 Kia Sedona – kiamedia.com | Shop Kia Sedona on Carsforsale.com
We know you don’t want to spoil your kids, but at the risk of doing so, check out the Kia Sedona and its uber-comfy 2nd row seating. These seats can be adjusted laterally (right and left) and fully reclined, including a leg rest for extended trips. These seats also slide forward easy to quickly achieve the Sedona’s max cargo capacity. Unfortunately, these seats are not removable, so the Sedona’s max of 142 cu. ft. ends up slightly behind the competition.
The Sedona gets its power from a 3.3L V6 making 276hp. It too offers a maximum towing capacity of 3,500lbs and a fairly average 18 city/ 24 highway mpg. A big plus for the Sedona is its safety scores, which were excellent from the IIHS and NHTSA, and its available safety features which include lane departure and forward collision warnings, blind spot monitoring, adaptive cruise control, rear cross-traffic alerts, and front and rear parking sensors.
Available options include keyless entry, leather upholstery, rear sunshades, and the all-important power sliding rear doors.
2015 Honda Odyssey – hondanews.com | Shop Honda Odyssey on Carsforsale.com
Other minivans may have their gimmicks and desirable features, but perhaps the best all-around option is the Honda Odyssey. The combination of quality, reliability, and safety make it a strong choice for anyone willing to come to their senses and ditch their SUV. The Odyssey has a 3.5L V6 making 248hp and offering a segment best 19 city/ 28 highway mpg. Towing hits that segment average of 3,500lbs.
Among the Odyssey’s strongest points are its stellar safety ratings, roomy and comfortable 3rd row (try to say that of a 3rd-row SUV!), and great cargo capacity. While the Sienna has bragging rights for the most total cubic feet, the Odyssey gets its own distinction as the most spacious behind the 3rd row with 38.4 cu. ft. There’s also Honda’s Magic Seats in the 3rd row, which split 60/40 and fold into the floor.
Our recommendation would be to find the mid-trim level EX that comes with power sliding rear doors and Honda Lane Watch blind spot camera system. There’s also an option for a built-in vacuum for dust-busting all those crumbs the kiddos left in back.