Minivan or SUV (m)



Minivan or SUV (m)

Need ideas about which one to get. We are buying used and want to spend about $10,000-15,000. We currently have 2 in carseats with a 3rd that I watch 2 days a week. We are also not probably done having children. What do you all suggest?


Here's my response if you didn't see it at PP

SUV Pros:
+Can do serious towing

+Can do serious off-roading

SUV Cons:

-Much higher rollover risk

-Worse handling

-Worse braking

-Often get the latest safety features later than minivans (LATCH, advanced airbags, etc).

-Stiff frames very dangerous to smaller cars

-Stiff frames don't crush as well, and give less ride down time in crashes with other big SUVs, trucks, and stationary walls, poles, etc.

-Worse fuel economy and emissions

-Smaller rear doors and less convenient access to 3rd row make loading and unloading a bit harder

-May not have the flexible seating like many minivans


There are some more links on SUVs here:

Good luck!


Re: Minivan or SUV (m)

Another item to keep in mind since your buying used, Make sure the SUV/Van at the very least have lap and shoulder belts in the outboard positions. With a van you have three rolls of seats. If you keep the vehicle for awhile your children will eventually be in Belt Positioning Boosters in which you will need lap and shoulder belts. With lap and shoulder belts in the outboard positions will be able to fit four children when they hit the BPB booster stage.


Re: Here's my response if you didn't see it at PP

Had and accident with my suv rolled it over on side and skidded 100 feet me and my two children were unharmed one is 2 and the other is 10 weeks suv was totaled but it looked goo compared to other two cars.


not minivans, certainly not SUVs

If you compute an aggressivity metric, you will find that SUVs are significantly more fatal to the struck vehicle and consequently SUVs are highly dangerous vehicles to own. If you're concerned about your own safety, then a simple analysis using FARS data will tell you that SUVs are highly hazardous to your own safety as well.

I'm not an advocate of minivans either. Minivans, while safer than SUVs, are hazardous as well. If you weight fatality data to adjust for demographic and driver characteristics, you will find that minivans offer no significant advantage over mid-size cars. We need to move people to using cars with curb weights of 3,000 lbs or less, if we're to save lives. We also need to stop enforcing seat belt laws and stop promoting safety features in vehicles, while quietly making vehicles safer at the same time. Mandatory seat belt laws and advertising safety aspects leads to what economists term as moral hazard and people start driving more aggressively and taking more risks, which increases the accident rate.

If you want safety, then people should drive mid-size cars that handle well; not minivans and certainly not SUVs.


Hi, and Welcome!

I would be very interested to see your aggressivity metric, or the results of such an analysis using the FARS data. I've seen other published studies on this topic, but I'm always interested in new data.

I would also be extremely interested to see your methodology in adjusting fatality data for demographic and driver characteristics. This sounds like the making for a great paper. Can you please provide a link or the specific details?

Finally, I would also like to see your data showing an increased 'accident' or fatality rate with increased seat belt enforcement. The statistics over the last couple decades have shown significant improvements in seatbelt use, and declines in fatality rates. Similarly, recent Click-It or Ticket campaigns have shown similar strong correlations. They also show that primary belt laws and the enforcement phase of these campaigns is by far the most effective at increasing belt use.

I also think it is a bit of a contradiction to stop promoting vehicle safety features, and at the same time expect to quietly make vehicles safer. Without marketing and public awareness, automakers will generally do what is in their best interest (to cut costs). Crash testing and safety feature marketing force them to add these costly features as it then becomes a competitive advantage and positive sales tool.

I do agree that everyone would be safer with smaller, lighter unibody vehicles. Less mass on the road means less energy in crashes. Unibody designs tend to absorb more crash energy and give passengers more time to ride down the crash. Improved handling and braking will mean better crash avoidance. Combined, all this means a much lower rate of injuries and fatalities than if everyone is driving larger trucks and truck-based SUVs.

Unfortunately, the reality is that people are swayed to buy large trucks and SUVs, even if they don't really need them. I believe those categories now account for over half of all new vehicle sales. I find that top minivans allow for a nice compromise. You get unibody construction and better compatibility with passenger cars. Models like Windstar, Odyssey and Sienna receive top crash test scores across the board with relatively low rollover risk. Handling and braking may not be quite as good as a typical sedan, but usually better than most large SUVs and trucks. Mass is important in a crash, and at 4000+ pounds you will have less change in momentum and therefore more ride down time in a crash if you are hit a larger truck or SUV.

Plus, while we may not really NEED a minivan, I do greatly appreciate the large sliding doors and slightly higher seating height. It makes loading young kids far easier than in my previous compact sedan. Plus, even with two children in carseats we can now drive friends, relatives and especially our [elderly] grandparents . We also have plenty of room for relatives and cargo on trips. With the large cargo area with the seats removed, we have no need for a pickup truck to haul most typical home improvement supplies.

It's not a compromise everyone needs, but in our case a minivan and a wagon were much better choices for us than an SUV, truck or sedan would have been.

Thanks again for the post. I'd be very interested to see more of your opinions and data on this forum!



Re: Minivan or SUV (m)

I can't imagine having 3 kids in boosters/ car seats in a regular car. My parents haev a large four door and there is not enough room whatsoever for 3 car seats.

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