Whether you’ve always dreamed of driving a minivan, or were one of those folks who swore you’d never trade in your “cool card,” the decision to buy a minivan shouldn’t be taken lightly. You have a lot to weigh, and you wouldn’t want to make a poor choice.
What to Look for in Your Minivan
Minivans have come a long way in the last 15 years. Chances are, when you were younger you wouldn’t have wanted to be seen anywhere near a minivan, but advanced features and sleeker body designs make current models a far more attractive option for families today.
The challenge now is that there are so many options. Instead of just a few choices, five or six major brands offer dozens of models and trim levels, which makes your choice of ideal minivan quite the challenge.
If you’re overwhelmed by the options and unsure about where to start, check out CarMax’s Top 10 Minivan list. Then compare options based on the following five essential factors.
Most people don’t want to think about the financial aspect until much later in the process, but you can do yourself a favor by calculating how much you’re willing and able to spend before you start looking. There’s a huge difference between having $15,000 and $45,000 in your budget.
There are good options in either category, but knowing what you have in the bank (or qualify for) will bring considerable clarity to the picture.
One of the primary reasons people buy minivans is so they’ll have room for the entire family to travel in comfort. Any minivan is going to be preferable to a sedan, obviously, but not all minivans are created equal.
Look around and compare the amount of room for all passengers, as well as cargo space for luggage and storage. In terms of seating, almost every contemporary minivan is going to feature a pair capital-style seats in the second row and a three-seat bench in the third.
The biggest difference is that some third-row benches can be folded up so they’ll rest flush with the floor, which offers the option of more storage or luggage transport.
Keeping the kids happy on road trips and long drives is worth the cost of a new minivan. As you compare models, consider the entertainment features.
The latest vehicles include gorgeous headrest screens with Bluetooth integration and wireless Internet. Older models still have the screens, but they may not offer the convenience features of the newer options.
If that’s important to you and the family, read up on the various options and weight this facet accordingly.
Face it, you aren’t going to own this minivan for the next 30 years. In fact, chances are you’ll have it for only three to five years at the most.
Since that’s the case, you’d be smart to think about potential resale value and the return on investment you might get down the road. Some brands hold their resale value more than others, so that’s something you might want to take into consideration.
Keeping the kids happy with entertainment systems and legroom is one thing, but what about you, the driver? Having certain features built into the vehicle can make your experience a lot more enjoyable too.
Items to look for include: rear backup camera, blind spot detection, SiriusXM radio, Bluetooth connectivity, keyless start and entry, and navigation.
Don’t Make a Rash Decision
Whether you’re buying a cheaper, used minivan or a brand-new 2018 model, make sure you start by doing sufficient research. The last thing you want to do is make a rash decision and end up regretting it for years.
Patience and adequate study will yield positive results.