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Best Minivans of 2014

In today’s Thursday Throwdown, we’re looking at minivans, a favorite choice of families looking to maximize interior room, seating arrangements, and versatility for the dollar. The minivan market is hotly contested among seven rivals, though sales figures overall are dropping in favor of some of the new midsize and full-sized crossovers and sport utilities now being offered with competitive fuel economy ratings.

Our top picks are chosen for their cost-effectiveness, efficiency, and safety. These 2014 models are beginning to become available on the used car market and as dealer demonstration vehicles now, so be sure to check the CARFAX vehicle history report for one you might purchase used and our Used Car Listings to find one for yourself.

Side-by-Side Comparison Chart of Top Picks

2014 Minivans New $ MPG (city/hwy) Safety Score (of 10)
Chrysler Town & Country $36,400 17/25 8
Honda Odyssey $36,600 19/28 10
Mazda Mazda5 $21,600 21/28 6
Nissan Quest $33,600 19/25 9

2014 Top Minivan Picks

Lowest Entry Price: Mazda Mazda5
Best Fuel Economy: Honda Odyssey, Nissan Quest
Quietest Ride: Chrysler Town & Country, Mazda Mazda5
Most Refined Overall: Nissan Quest
Most Refined Interior: Chrysler Town & Country, Nissan Quest
Most Fun To Drive: Honda Odyssey, Mazda Mazda5

2014 Chrysler Town & Country

Town-n-Country

The Town & Country is our pick for quietest ride and most refined interior, two things which often go hand-in-hand. This minivan is most well known for its Stow ‘n Go seating and is a favorite among families who need a lot of versatility inside their minivan and don’t want to have to remove seats or spend a lot of time folding them out of the way. On the other hand, the Town & Country is one of the most expensive vans on our list and has only average fuel economy.

2014 Chrysler Town & Country
Average price paid new: $36,400
EPA MPG (city/highway): 17/25
Crash Test Rating: IIHS – Good, NHTSA – 4-Stars

2014 Dodge Grand Caravan

2014Caravan

The Grand Caravan was not on any of our Top Pick lists, but it is the second-lowest priced minivan on the market. It’s versatile and has slightly below-average fuel economy, but suffers from interior refinement issues and a lackluster transmission. It achieves good crash test ratings and has strong brakes as well as good visibility.

2014 Dodge Grand Caravan
Average price paid new: $25,400
EPA MPG (city/highway): 17/25
Crash Test Rating: IIHS – Good, NHTSA – 4-Stars

2014 Honda Odyssey

HondaOdyssey

One of only two minivans in our Throwdown to have achieved top safety scores, the Odyssey also wins out for its excellent fuel economy and fun driving nature. It handles very well and is often an editor’s choice among publications for its family-oriented ergonomics and large list of optional features.

2014 Honda Odyssey
Average price paid new: $36,600
EPA MPG (city/highway): 19/28
Crash Test Rating: IIHS – Good, NHTSA – 5-Stars

2014 Kia Sedona

image-1-1481996

Although not in our Top Picks on this roundup, the Kia Sedona may be the most well-rounded minivan on the market. With a relatively low entry price, excellent safety rating, and good refinement for the money, it’s often a favorite of automotive journalists. The interior is getting dated, however, and features are sparse in comparison to others on our list as well. Still, the Sedona is one of the best-sellers in this segment.

2014 Kia Sedona
Average price paid new: $28,400
EPA MPG (city/highway): 17/24
Crash Test Rating: IIHS – Good, NHTSA – 5-Stars+

2014 Mazda Mazda5

2013 Mazda5

By far the lowest-priced minivan on our list, the Mazda5 is also one of the more fun to drive. Its fuel economy is very high, but it suffers from the lowest crash test scores in our roundup. The Mazda5 is also the smallest of the minivans, which can be a selling point given the large size most of the segment has ballooned to.

2014 Mazda Mazda5
Average price paid new: $21,600
EPA MPG (city/highway): 21/28
Crash Test Rating: IIHS – Acceptible, NHTSA – N/A

2014 Nissan Quest

2013NissanQuest-rightside-AOA

The Quest is a good minivan for refinement and it handles well with good engine power and a smooth transmission. It is pricey for the accoutrement, however, and is generally behind the curve on standard features with each trim level in comparison to contemporaries. The interior is one of the best on the market, however, with upscale fittings and a lot of versatility.

2014 Nissan Quest
Average price paid new: $33,600
EPA MPG (city/highway): 19/25
Crash Test Rating: IIHS – Good, NHTSA – N/A

2014 Toyota Sienna

2014 Toyota Sienna 6 - AOA1200px

Although it did not make our Top Picks list, the Sienna is a well-rounded, refined minivan that hits all of the marks well, but that isn’t particularly excellent at any one thing. The powerfule engine and class-exclusive all-wheel drive option are definite selling points. With good crash test results and a segment-average price point, the Sienna is often a favorite.

2014 Toyota Sienna
Average price paid new: $33,200
EPA MPG (city/highway): 18/25
Crash Test Rating: IIHS – Good, NHTSA – 5-Stars

About the Safety Ratings

Safety ratings from the government’s tests are given for each vehicle on our list. Insurance tests are given below that.

NHTSA

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) is tasked with crash testing vehicles for the federal government; it rates vehicles with up to five stars in each of three categories. We list them as follows: Overall Rating – Frontal Crash/Side Crash/Rollover. You can find out more about the NHTSA’s testing procedures here.

IIHS
The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) is a not-for-profit cooperative among automotive insurers that tests vehicles aimed at guiding insurance rates and risks for vehicles and to give consumers a better understanding of the safety of the vehicles they purchase.

The IIHS scores on five separate tests which measure crash worthiness and crash avoidance. Scores are rated as Good, Acceptable, Marginal or Poor. We present these as G, A, M, P or N (not tested) in the IIHS presentation standard in order of testing:

  • Moderate Overlap Front
  • Small Overlap Front
  • Side Impact
  • Rear Crash Protection
  • Roof Strength

You can find out more about the IIHS’s testing here.

In the CARFAX Thursday Throwdown, we compare vehicles in a particular class on important merits including safety, performance, and look and feel. Our goal is to highlight not only the excellence that automakers bring to the table in various categories, but also how these vehicles compare and how they appeal to different buyers within their markets. 

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