3 Reasons Why Minivans are so Expensive

Minivans are expensive when compared to SUVs. The average price of a minivan is around $40,000 in the US. While SUVs are rated at around $30,000. Even in the used car market, minivans cost more than the average SUV. So what makes them so expensive? 

Well, here are the 3 reasons why minivans are so expensive. 

Why are Minivans so Expensive?

Minivans are so expensive because they are designed for the family. They’re big and practical with many advanced technological features to keep the family safe. In addition, most minivans come with powerful engines.

1. Minivans are Bigger and More Practical

Minivans are vans but a little smaller, which makes them as big or maybe bigger than a full-size SUV. On average, a minivan measures between 61.5-66 inches in length. And their massive body needs a lot of materials to make. 

Most minivans are made of steel and aluminum alloys as they need to have a sturdy body that is also lightweight. These are also vehicles designed to handle heavyweight and different terrains to serve all kinds of individual and professional purposes, so they need to be robust as well. All these requirements add to their extra price. 

But what makes them pricier is the level of practicality they can offer. Unlike a car, hatchback, or SUVs which are made for families and fun, minivans are made practical and versatile enough to handle all kinds of runs. 

Even a family minivan can be used for daily driving, long trips, individual adventures, carry loads, etc. These vans are big enough to fit people of all sizes while small enough to get into most streets or normal garages. Their massive boot space with foldable seats and sliding doors make them incredibly accessible and practical. The level of functionality offered by a minivan gives it more value than even an SUV, which is one of the reasons they cost more. 

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2. Minivans are Dedicated Family Cars

Minivans are cars designed particularly to fulfill family needs. Even standard, they are loaded with a bunch of features to make the experience as comfortable as possible. Unlike SUVs, where the third rows are narrow, or sedan or hatchbacks with the congested second row, minivans have a very open and spacious cabin design.

It not only has a great amount of space for the first two, but the third row is as spacious (if available). The availability of the middle door also enables easier access to the middle and back row. And thanks to the classic box rectangular design, they also don’t suffer in terms of head or legroom. 

You also get a massive boot to fill all your trip gears and an even bigger door to access them all. Since most minivans come with foldable seats, cargo space is never a problem. But while space is one of its aspects, comfort is another. 

Since minivans are dedicated family vehicles, they are loaded with comfort and convenience features. Take the 2022 Honda Odyssey, for example. Despite being one of the most affordable minivans in the market, it is loaded when it comes to interior standard features. 

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From modern infotainment systems including Apple CarPlay, android auto, Bluetooth connectivity to the multi-functional steering wheel, power window, power lock, adjustable seats, dual-zone climate control, and perimeter alarm and engine immobilizer. You get it all as standard.  

Not to mention Honda’s advanced safety features like VSA, ESC, ABS, CBMS, Lane keep assisting, lane departure warning, collision warning, etc., which are also standard in the base model. 

To be able to offer the best comfort and convenience features with the most advanced safety system as standard, the price must be slightly higher. 

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3. Minivans are Powerful and Efficient

The third major aspect that affects the price is the performance numbers of these vehicles. Yes, minivans aren’t any 10-sec car, nor are they fast or fun enough to compare with the modern-day SUVs or sedans. But they are powerful and efficient. 

A Minivan is designed to do pretty much the same as any SUV. No, they can’t do off-roading, but they can handle up and downhill. They may not be torquey, but they have a decent towing capacity, and while minivans aren’t fast or agile, they are linear and extremely fuel-efficient.    

Generally powered by a 4-cylinder or 6-cylinder engine, most minivans are rated between 180 hp -300 hp with an average towing capacity of 3500-3600 pounds. You get an avg of 22 mpg of mileage while hybrids boost up to 35 mpg combined. Since modern minivans are FWD, they have a steady power output, and automatic transmission improves the driving experience. 

All in all, the bigger engines, simple driving mechanism, combined with comfortable interiors, and extremely practical design give the minivan more value than other alternatives. 

Minivans vs. SUVs vs. Sedans. What’s the Most Expensive Option?

While we have established that minivans are generally expensive, they are not as expensive as modern-day SUVs or sedans. Because you can get a family SUV or a sedan within $30K, but so can you under $300K as well. Whereas the costliest minivans on the market hardly hit the $60,000 mark. 

With that respect, SUVs and sedans are actually costlier. Especially if you look for an SUV as functional as a modern-day minivan. The average cost price of a full-size SUV is $45,000, and considering the additional packages, $50,000 for a full-size SUV is a standard price in the USA. 

As for sedans, they can’t compare to the space and practicality of a minivan in the first place. Even then, if you buy a sedan, a family sedan to fulfill your comfort needs, a $40,000 price tag is expected. 

So, in conclusion, a standard mid-size sedan or SUV is generally cheaper than a minivan. But when it comes to offering the same value as a minivan, sedans and SUVs are more costly. 

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How Much Do You Need to Pay for an Average Minivan in 5 Years?

The cost of ownership of a minivan is actually on the affordable side. Since minivans are built to last, they don’t need repairs very often. On average, you spend around $600 on maintenance, including both scheduled and unscheduled ones. 

They are also fuel-efficient, so they won’t cost more than $1800-$1900 at 13,500 miles a year. Meaning that overall, the average cost of ownership of a minivan for 5 years, including the depreciation rate at 40%, would be around $25,000-$30,000. And around $50,000-$70,000 before you decide to scrap it (10-12 years).   

What are the Most and Least Affordable Minivans? 

Minivans generally start at around $28,000 and end as high as $50,000 for expensive variants. If you also include the options, a luxurious minivan can cost upwards of $70,000. 

Currently, the most expensive minivan that you can buy in the US is the 2021 Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid. Priced at $44,920. The Pacifica costs as much as $53,000 for its top model, whereas the gas variant costs around $35,820 for the base variant. 

Another expensive luxury minivan is the Toyota Sienna at around $34,460 for 2021, while the 2022 model is expected at $36,000 for the base variant. Similarly, specced Honda Odyssey is also on the expensive side with $32,290 for the base LX, while the Honda Odyssey Elite costs around $48,000. 

As for the cheapest, you have the 2021 Chrysler Voyager. Priced at $27,860, it is the least expensive minivan on the market with a 2021 model. For the same price, you also get the chunky-looking Ford Transit Passenger Wagon. Or you can go a bit higher and get the 2021 Kia Sedona which is another affordable minivan at only $31,000.  

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Is it Better to Buy a Used or New Minivan?

Used minivans or new minivans are meant to do the same. The only difference is one is modern with the latest tech while another is outdated and used. But it also means that they would be cheaper to buy and provide more value. 

Most used minivans today are available under $30,000 for the 3-4 year models. This also includes the 2017 Honda Odyssey, Toyota Sienna, which are some decent choices. As for new ones, a budget of $35,000 is a great price point to start with. 

If you are confused between a used and new minivan, then consider this. If you are fine with a slightly driven minivan with a few outdated features, buy a used one. The best thing is that you will get a good condition minivan under $30,000 with under 50,000 miles. It will also have a slower depreciation rate, and you would get more returns after reselling.

But if you have a comfortable budget of $35,000+ and plan to use it for at least 3-4 years, buying a new minivan would save you tons in fuel efficiency and repair prices. It would also have the best-in-class comfort and safety features.