Minivans are the perfect companions for family outings, tours and camping but they come with a hefty price tag, which forces most of us to seek a used one. To buy the best used minivan, we must search a vehicle that fulfills the true purpose of a minivan i.e. carry passengers and cargo over long distances with comfort, reliability and safety besides being light on the pocket. The good news is that there are a lot of amazing options available in the pre-owned car market. Let’s check out 21 top used minivans that money can buy today.
1. Honda Odyssey
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Any list of minivans would be incomplete without the Odyssey, which blends comfort, styling, ease of use, fuel efficiency and style into an affordable package. The third generation of this popular minivan was launched in 2005 and has built a serious reputation for its quality and reliability as reflected in its high resale value. One can get a 2007 or 2008 version for somewhere around $10,000 making it the highest rated used minivan to grab.
As if being the most comfortable, fuel efficient and reliable minivan was not enough, the fourth generation Odyssey was packed with innumerable clever options alongside a major facelift and interior update out of which our favorite is the built in vacuum cleaner “HondaVAC” in the cargo area! Do you still need to see any other car in this list?
2. Ford Flex
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Who said a passenger family vehicle can’t look stunning! Although not a true minivan in stricter terms, it is more than capable to seat up to seven passengers rather comfortably coupled with a plethora of amenities for the multi-media and tech-savvy modern family. This “crossover SUV” brings best of both the SUV and Minivan worlds in one package and is a true blend of functionality and style. It was ranked Ford’s most reliable vehicle by consumer reports. When looking at a Ford Flex, one easily reminisces of the classic American station-wagons of the 1960’s.
3. Chevrolet Tahoe
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Tahoe blends superfluous interior space, comfortable seats, decent fuel economy and high safety standards into a single package. It has three rows of seats and is powerful enough to tow heavy loads too. Most people like to go for the 2010 model, but if you feel low on the pocket and still want a reliable and comfortable family vehicle, go for the 2007 version which has a lot similarities with it.
4. Toyota Siena
Image Credit: Toyota
If any car comes closer to the champion Odyssey, then it is the other Japanese on this list – Toyota Sienna. Both have been fierce competitors, and Sienna has the edge over Odyssey in terms of mechanical superiority making it the most reliable used minivan money can buy. If driving in snowy climate is a requisite, Sienna is a clear choice as it is the only minivan in the market with an option of AWD in most models. Other optional features include Xenon headlamps, cruise control, JBL audio system, DVD entertainment system and voice-controlled GPS navigation.
5. VW Routan
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Well, “Volkswagen” literally translates to the “people’s car” in German, and that is exactly what Routan is. Don’t expect fancy tech or any best-in-class features, Routan offers just the decent levels of the needed space, comfort, driving fun and fuel-efficiency. This 7-seater comes with a DVD-system and Bluetooth compatibility but lacks certain safety features like parking sensors which decrease its appeal to most buyers. A 2011 SE model with around 90,000 miles can be bought for less than $10,000.
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6. Dodge Grand Caravan
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This iconic car can simply be considered the best minivan ever in the American market. In 2008, the fifth generation of the Grand Caravan series brought some well-deserved necessities like improved power-trains, contemporary upscale interiors and some class-exclusive perks like satellite TV. Other features like backup camera and rear parking sensors are available as options too. The Grand Caravan has decent safety features including side-curtain airbags and anti-lock brakes (ABS) which bagged it a five-star rating by NHTSA. The 2008 version is one of the best used minivans to buy in the $10,000 range, but if your budget is around $15,000, consider the 2011 refreshed version. The Stow ‘n’ Go seating and cruise control available in the American Value Package (AVP) make it a top used minivan to buy in the luxurious yet affordable range.
7. BMW 3 Series Sports Wagon
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A large spacious family car with the athletic handling and powerful braking of a sedan neatly summarizes the experience of those who have driven the 3 series sports wagon. Over the years it was rolled out with different engine specifications, averaging around 250 HP. Best thing is that a 2006 model can be purchased for approximately $10,000 only.
8. Chrysler Town And Country
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While the Grand Caravan is for the economically conscious customer, it’s Chrysler sibling is targeted towards the luxury-seeking one. It efficiently carries families and cargo, hence fulfilling the basic purpose of a minivan, while the upscale and comfortable interiors add icing on the cake. This sophisticated minivan is the perfect choice if your budget is slightly on the north and credentials like leather seating, power-sliding doors and Blu-ray disc player are essential. The 2011 version is simply the best used minivan under $10000. The 2016 model was the last that this series saw and is replaced by the 2017 model Chrysler Pacifica minivan which seems like a rightful heir to it.
9. Nissan Quest
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Nissan’s quirky minivan has been a rival to the likes of Honda Odyssey and Toyota Sienna since forever, although it never seemed to win the competition. The third generation Quest was the last to be seen in the US market and was discontinued in 2010, despite being fairly popular in its own little fan-base. Pros include comfort, parking sensors, and power sliding doors at a relatively affordable price as compared to its peers. On the other hand, safety issues and mileage raise some concern in the minds of the buyer and might even break the deal for many.
10. Toyota Sequoia
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With 120 cubic feet of cargo space, this large-SUV puts many minivans and station wagons to shame. Its powerful 4.6-liter V8 engine is capable of towing upto 10,000 pounds but results in a lower than average fuel economy of 14 mpg in city and 19 mpg on the highway. It is still a good choice for American families thanks to its comfortable interior, superb construction and excellent driving dynamics.
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11. Kia Sedona
Image Credit: Kia
Another close competitor to Odyssey and Sienna is the Korean Kia Sedona. Over the years it has made a niche of its own in the market by offering the most bang for the buck. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) awarded this car “Gold Top Safety Pick”, which establishes Sedona as the safest minivan ever tested. In fact, it is quite similar to Odyssey in its specifications, engine power and fuel efficiency but can be easily bought for around $1,000 less than Odyssey’s price! Excellent safety and pocket-friendly price makes Sedona one of the best used minivans to consider.
12. Chevrolet Uplander
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When Chevrolet launched the Uplander to replace the discontinued Ventura as its only minivan segment offering in 2006, it was expected to be something outstanding. Instead it was just a lukewarm package of modest offerings which couldn’t help it rise above the tough competition provided by Odyssey, Sedona and the likes. Few thoughtful and desirable features that still make it a good buy are XM SatelliteRadio, tire pressure monitoring system, Sit-n-lift mobility seat and StabiliTrak control system. 2007 model boasts of a 3.9 L V-6 base engine with a flex-fuel version too.
13. Mazda 5
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This minivan is ‘mini’ in the true sense as it is quite small compared to its peers. But who said bigger is always better? Mazda is closer in look and feel to a SUV, making it the best driven minivan which you’ll enjoy taking around. It has a 4-cylinder engine which is nowhere near the most powerful in its class but a fuel economy of 21 mpg in city and 28 mpg on the highway puts it back into the competition. Consider this small delight of a car if you’ll be driving in the city at most times. You can easily find a used Mazda 2012/13 for $10,000 with as low as 70,000 miles.
14. Mercedes-Benz R-Class
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If luxury is what you desire and budget can be accommodated to climb up north, Mercedes Benz R-class is what you should aim for. It was the first full-size multi-purpose vehicle offered by the German manufacturer and is a comfortable ride for upto 6 passengers with cargo. Besides luxury, it does include the standard features common to other entries on this list of best used minivans to buy.
15. Ford Transit Connect Wagon
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Ford was an important player in the minivan segment since 1986 with its Aerostar and then the Freestar model, until it quit the market in 2007. With the imported Transit Connect Wagon (“wagon” refers to the non-commercial version) Ford made a comeback in 2014. Engine configurations offered are Inline 4-cylinder with either 2.5-liter capacity or 1.6-liter with EcoBoost turbocharger, while transmission is 6-speed automatic. There is also an option to convert the 2.5-liter engine to CNG/LPG/Propane instead of gasoline.
16. Ford Freestar Passenger
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While the Freestar is not a treat to look at, it does what a minivan is supposed to do – transport large number of people or cargo. And it does it while being reliable and safe. In fact, it is one of the most reliable minivans to buy without making a big dent in your pocket and has a strong resale value too. This spacious minivan can be fitted with a multitude of optional equipment that a typical family needs and has the option of an extended body making it even more versatile.
17. Pontiac Montana SV6
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The second generation Pontiac Montana improved significantly on its safety features and received the highest rating by Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) in the frontal offset crash test. Although it was discontinued in the US after the 2006 model, it remains a popular choice among those who need a balance of decent looks and performance and an overall value for money. You can grab the keys to one for just over $5000.
18. Audi A6 Avant
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Buyers looking for a family car must definitely consider the wagon version of Audi A6 launched in 2010 called the A6 Avant. It has a supercharged V6 engine and an automatic transmission with an all-wheel drive, which translates to a refined driving experience. With 33.9 cubic feet of ample cargo space and a high safety score would make it perfect for families.
19. Subaru Outback Wagon
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Outback won the Best Wagon for Families and Best Wagon for the Money awards for its 2012 model. With a standard all-wheel drive, this rugged vehicle is ideal for family adventures. The passenger seats are roomy and accommodating while a cargo space of 71.3 cu ft is among the best-in-class. If possible, go for the six-cylinder five speed automatic transmission version.
20. Acura TSX Sport Wagon
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Acura’s TSX wagon has high-quality interior technology features like navigation screen, Bluetooth, premium audio system, Voice Control and solar-sensing climate control on the 2011 version. Ample room for passengers and cargo coupled with amazing infotainment system is the reason families love this car. A mileage of 30 mpg on the highway ranks high in the class too alongside its safety score.
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21. Hyundai Entourage
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Entourage is Kia Carnival’s American cousin, and one of the highest rated minivans in terms of safety. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) gave it their highest rating in front, side and rear impacts. Entourage is light on the pocket yet packed with all the necessities of a minivan topped up by an upscale beige interior. And don’t forget the hideaway third row seat that folds in the rear cargo well making it perfect for family outings.
So, these are the best used minivans available in the US market based on their utility, comfort, efficiency and performance. Though some might not be available in the showrooms, they can be definitely grabbed from the used car market that is continuously witnessing a growth at a decent pace.