Is your family starting to get a bit cramped up like a pack of sardines in that old sedan? Are members of the neighborhood carpool starting to look suspiciously at your old beat-up station wagon? It might be the best time to move up to a bigger vehicle and retire that old family car.


Many times, the choice for a more roomy family vehicle is a toss-up between a minivan and a sport utility vehicle (SUV). Both offer flexible cargo and passenger areas, comfortable seating for five to eight passengers, and rear-seat entertainment systems.

So, which one earns the right to be parked in your family’s garage? To come up with the right choice, you need to do a side-by-side comparison of fuel economy, passenger and cargo space, styling, towing capacity, and safety features best suited for your family’s needs and lifestyle.


A vehicle’s styling is a matter of personal preference, as opposed to a matter of necessity. The SUV usually prevails over the minivan when it comes down to aesthetics. With their sporty and rugged styling, SUVs radiate urban chic, unlike the minivan, which is stereotypically associated with suburban neighborhood carpools and soccer moms.

Most men would cringe at the idea of driving a minivan, so if you are sharing the same vehicle, with your husband, you might have to do some negotiations. Similarly, most adolescents would not be caught dead stepping out of a minivan. So, if you would be using the vehicle primarily to drop off and pick up your teenagers from school, their preference needs to be taken into consideration as well.

Fuel economy

SUVs have a reputation for being gas guzzlers, while minivans offer better mileage. Therefore, minivans would be a more economical choice If you want to squeeze more miles out of the gasoline tank. SUVs tend to carry higher ownership expenses like insurance and maintenance and insurance, compared to minivans. So if you do not want to dish out the extra expense, the practical minivan is the way to go.

Passenger and cargo space

Although minivans and sport utility vehicles have equivalent passenger and cargo space, the generous interiors of a minivan can be a thrill for children. Unlike SUVs, minivans are easier for kids to climb into because of their low step-in height. Minivans’ larger windows make it easier for younger passengers to have a better view of the passing scenery, therefore providing your impatient young ones some amusement for a good duration of the ride.

Towing capacity

If you own a camper and like to take the whole family on weekend retreats, then an SUV would make a suitable choice. SUVs have superior towing capacities, enabling them to haul practically anything between a small boat and a trailer. Whereas, if you’re only loading groceries and your child’s soccer team, there is no reason to overlook the minivan.


Both come equipped with similar safety features, like anti-lock brake systems and airbags, SUVs have a slightly higher rollover rate when compared to minivans. Some SUVs owners counter this by pointing out that rollovers account for only three percent of all traffic accidents and claiming that SUVs offer excellent passenger protection in two-car collisions.

It remains to be seen whether this supposed collision safety factor outweighs the risk of rollovers. Henceforth, a minivan could give you a little peace of mind if the threat of rollover accidents keeps you awake at night.