Minivans used to be the vehicle of choice for large families. With the advent of crossover SUVs, however, vehicles that ride and handle like cars but have the flexibility and capability of SUVs began to attract buyers looking for minivan alternatives. What consumers needed were three rows of seating, possibly comfortable captain’s chairs, easy-slide second-row seats, and safety technology and entertainment options. Here’s a look at 10 used vehicles that are alternatives to a minivan.
2015 – Although the 2016 model is an all-new design, consumers with a need for an alternative to a minivan to transport family members, business associates, or for lifestyle needs should check out the 2015 Kia Sorento midsize crossover SUV. While the Sorento isn’t as small as a compact crossover, it’s not as large as a midsize one either. Rather, it falls somewhere in-between – and that’s just fine if you want a minivan alternative that can fill other needs as well. A third row is available, but it’s small. Key attributes include a quiet and comfortable ride, superior tech interface, lots of standard and optional features, and one of the best warranties in the industry. The standard four-cylinder engine, however, provides only mediocre performance in terms of acceleration and fuel economy. You’re better served by opting for the V6.
2015 – Boxy by design – and that’s part of the appeal – the 2015 Ford Flex in Limited trim shines for its ability to comfortably carry seven and provide great cargo space. The Flex can also tow up to 4,500 pounds, should that be a consideration for families. Standard equipment includes blind spot monitoring system, a rearview camera, power liftgate, power-adjustable pedals with memory, and a 12-speaker Sony audio system with MP3 player interface. Optional safety technology includes an automated parking system, and collision warning system. Power comes from a 287-hp 3.5-liter EcoBoost V6 engine mated with six-speed automatic transmission.
2015 – A great choice for a seven-passenger SUV that’s got a ton of personality is the 2015 Dodge Durango. For those looking for a midsize SUV with plenty of power, opt for the Durango R/T. Seven-person seating is standard, while that gets reduced to six when you select optional second-row captain’s chairs. What sets the Durango R/T apart, aside from its 360-hp 5.7-liter V8 engine, are its 20-inch black alloy wheels, sport-tuned suspension, xenon headlights, power liftgate, Beats by Dr. Dre audio system, Rallye-style body-color exterior trim and sport front fascia and more. A rearview camera and parking sensors are standard on all Durango trims.
2015 – This large crossover SUV slots between the less-expensive (but equally impressive) and the slightly more upscale . With seating for up to eight, a smooth ride and massive cargo area, the 2015 GMC Acadia is definitely worth a look as an alternative to a minivan. Acadia SLE-2 features standard remote start and power liftgate, blind spot monitoring and cross-traffic alert, almost must-haves for busy families. Move up to Acadia Denali and get standard forward collision warning and lane departure warning, among other luxury features and technology. Since the Acadia is a large SUV, rear visibility can prove an issue – but here’s where the standard rearview camera in even the base model is more than up to the task.
2015 Buick Enclave – If you’re looking for a spacious three-row crossover with luxury touches and the ability to transport up to eight passengers (with bench seats) and seven with standard second-row captain’s chairs, the 2015 Buick Enclave (stable-mate to the GMC Acadia and Chevrolet Traverse) has a lot going for it. Cargo room is generous, the cabin is luxurious, the ride is smooth and quiet, and the Enclave boasts top safety scores as well. If towing a boat is on your must-have list, the Enclave, properly equipped, can tow up to 4,500 pounds. For all the bells and whistles, go for the Premium group, which includes blind spot warning, rear cross-traffic alert, adaptive headlights, and forward collision alert, lane departure warning system, heated and ventilated front seats, and a 10-speaker Bose audio system. The Enclave shines in government crash tests, boasting a perfect five-star rating from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).
2015 Chevrolet Traverse – Consumers who want or need to seat up to eight (including the driver) in comfort should check out the 2015 Chevrolet Traverse three-row crossover SUV. Not only does the Traverse appeal to families for its passenger-carrying capability, it’s also easy to get in and out with the second-row Smart Slide seat and the third row actually is big enough for adults. Power comes from a 288-hp 3.6-liter V6 engine. Standard features include three-zone climate control, Bluetooth connectivity, a 10-speaker Bose audio system, smartphone integration and full power accessories.
2015 – Generous head and legroom in the 2015 Hyundai Santa Fe three-row crossover that seats up to seven are good reasons to take a road test in this well-made, strikingly designed and powerful family alternative to a minivan. Easy to use controls, the latest in technology, entertainment and safety features are other compelling reasons to get behind the wheel of the Santa Fe. Go for the Limited trim if you want captain’s chairs in the second row, although seating will be reduced to six. Santa Fe Limited also includes keyless entry and ignition, hands-free power liftgate, blind spot detection with lane change assist, leather seats and more. The Ultimate package adds rear parking sensors, a panoramic sunroof, cooled front seats, heated second-row seats, xenon headlights, LED taillights and a 12-speaker Infinity surround-sound system.
2015 – Redesigned for the 2014 model year, the 2015 Toyota Highlander is a top choice for a three-row family crossover – instead of going for a traditional minivan. Highlights include room for up to eight, a quiet and comfortable ride, performance and fuel economy that rates as good, optional rear-seat entertainment system, and the ability to tow up to 5,000 pounds. A three-across bench seat or captain’s chairs in the second row (standard on Limited and Limited Platinum) make the Highlander versatile enough for most buyers. With the captain’s chairs there’s even a side table. A rearview camera is standard across the board. Safety technology standard in the Limited includes a blind-spot monitoring system with rear cross-traffic alert, while Limited Platinum adds frontal collision warning and mitigation system with automatic braking, lane departure warning, and Toyota’s Safety Connect telematics system.
2015 – Redesigned for 2015, the Cadillac Escalade is a full-size luxury SUV that seats up to eight in elegance and style. The Escalade boasts plenty of power with its 420-hp 6.2-liter V8 engine mated with an eight-speed automatic transmission (in models built after October 2014). Rear-wheel drive comes standard, but four-wheel drive is available. A rearview camera is standard. On the Luxury trim, you get high-beam control, a forward collision alert system, blind-spot monitoring system, lane-departure warning system, rear cross-traffic alert system. Meanwhile, top-of-the-line Premium and Platinum models also get forward and reverse collision mitigation with automatic braking.
2015 Infiniti QX60 – Also on the luxury front as an alternative to minivans is the 2015 Infiniti QX60 seven-passenger, three-row luxury SUV. Second-row seats easily slide 5.5 inches fore and aft and recline to accommodate family members and friends. The third row has enough headroom for six-foot passengers. A super-quiet interior, top-notch materials and user-friendly technology are other standouts of the QX50. Standard features include a sunroof, keyless entry, power liftgate, rearview camera, leather seating, heated front seats, tri-zone automatic climate control and more. The excellent electronics interface, optional Bose sound systems and 360-degree camera system are other stellar attributes.