If you are a family with children or about to have them, you may be looking for a car with more space and resources. Minivans will surely be on your list, since this type of vehicle is better suited to the family. Here are some key points for choosing the minivan which is best suited to your needs.
Do you need a minivan?
The minivan is designed to be the most practical type of car for the family, because it has easy access to the interior, space for people, seat modularity and space for baggage.
But minivans do have disadvantages compared with equivalent conventional sedans. Minivans are more voluminous, they use more gasoline, they are usually more expensive and less maneuverable on the highway and in traffic, so you really need to think whether you really need one.
Buy a minivan if...
You will enjoy the virtues of a minivan more when there are 4 or more members in the family When there are two or more children the disadvantages of size, weight, consumption and price are more acceptable, so as to make access more comfortable for fitting child seats, as well as traveling all together in greater comfort.
Buy a family sedan if...
If you only have one child and are not expecting any more, you should realize that with a family sedan - also called a station wagon - you will have enough room inside, with a large trunk and a car that is easier to handle. You'll have to bend down a bit to put the child into the car, but if you only have one it won't be a problem.
A car that is easier to handle is more important if you live in a highly populated urban area, with daily problems for parking, or if you often drive alone, to work for example.
You can also rule out a minivan even if you have two children when these are no longer small and stop using child seats. They can get in and out by themselves more comfortably in a conventional car and they will fasten their seat belts. You'll also see that as they grow up they need less baggage.
Choosing the right size
If you decide on a minivan remember to choose the right size. For a young family of four living in an area with dense traffic, an interesting choice is a compact C-segment minivan.
Vehicles like the Ford C-Max, Citroen C4 Picasso, Renault Scenic, Volkswagen Golf Sportsvan and the Mercedes B Class and Premium models, are compact in size, with a high interior roof, a dominant posture overlooking the road and handling similar to a normal sedan.
"Grand" SUV compacts
The "Grand" versions of these compact minivans are more interesting where you have no problems parking, They are longer and have seven seats, with even more spacious trunks. We are referring to vehicles like the Citroen Grand C4 Picasso, Ford Grand C-Max, Renault Grand Scenic, Volkswagen Tourán, Opel Zafira Tourer and even the BMW 2 Series Grand Tourer as a premium alternative.
If you decide on one of these and the third row of seats is optional, think calmly how often you'll be using the sixth and seventh seat. If you don't fir them as an option you'll save money and gasoline consumption as the weight of the car is reduced by about 80 kg.
When minivans first appeared in the 90s they were very large vehicles. Nowadays, compact minivans have improved so much that fewer and fewer large minivans are chosen. They are very voluminous, they usually have high gasoline consumption for day-to-day use and when reasonably equipped they will be expensive.
The most interesting are the Seat Alhambra, Ford S-Max or Galaxy, SsangYong Rodius and Lancia Voyager.
The sensible thing to do is to choose a compact minivan unless you really need a large one. You'll also need to set a high budget for purchase, insurance and gasoline, if you're thinking of a large, new minivan.
In its favor the seven-seater has single seats with great modularity. They usually have ISOFIX on the three seats in the second row making them more versatile. You don't lose all your trunk space when the seven seats are in use and it is a pleasure for all passengers to be able to travel comfortably.
An alternative to the large minivan for very large families is the family version of the commercial van. They are often more affordable and have more space, although you lose a little comfort. All the major manufacturers offer this type of vehicle in their commercial range. For example, the Citroen Jumpy Multispace, Peugeot Expert Tepee, Renault Trafic Passenger and Ford Tourneo Custom.
Gasoline or diesel
Choosing between a gasoline and a diesel engine is easier than you thought. Choose gasoline for compact minivans if you're not going to drive many kilometers per year (< 15,000 km). with two conditions: the gasoline engine must be modern and turbocharged, and as long as there is an interesting price difference with the diesel version.
Choose diesel for large minivans to compensate for the weight and consumption. For a compact minivan where there is intensive daily use over more than 25,000 km per year.
Don't go mad on accessories. The more you put, the more expensive the vehicle will be and the greater the depreciation when you want to sell it. What you really shouldn't miss out on is the Bluetooth connection and the automatic air-conditioning. An interesting detail is tinted rear windows in order to reduce the effect of the sun on the rear seats.
As for the setting up of the vehicle, always remember that soft, comfortable suspension causes more rolling, and may lead to road sickness in children. Sufficiently firm suspension reduces this effect. Ford and the Volkswagen Group produce minivans which offer a great balance between comfort and agility.
But whichever car you choose, remember that for a car to be 100 percent safe, we should not lose sight of certain things.