What are the pros and cons of buying and owning a minivan?
A minivan or a......
Minivans have pretty much become the replacement for the family station wagons of the sixties and seventies. The can be fairly versatile, carrying as many as 9 or 10 people and some cargo to boot. Many vans have easily removed seats so that they can be converted to cargo carrying duty with a minimum of fuss.
One of the drawback of a minivan is that they sit high and are prone to being buffeted by high winds and pushed sideways by bow wave of wind from tractor trailers on the highways, also, on very windy days they are discouraged from some of the bridges around here.
The height can be a plus as well, as you have good visibility and can see far enough ahead that you might not get caught in a panic braking situation, because you can usually see several cars ahead if they start braking.
Because they are high they may be easier on your back to get small children in and out of their car seats, as opposed to a subcompact, on the other hand, it may be a challenge if you have to pick up Grandma to take her to an event, the event might be just getting her into the car....
In very general terms, I think mini vans get better mileage than SUVs, the other people carriers that killed the station wagon. I think this is in part because no minivan is ever expected to go off road, while that theory, and the low gearing associated with it, goes hand in hand with the SUV market.
I had a mid eighties Toyota minivan that was given to me with 150 thousand miles on it and I drove it another 100 thousand. It was a tough serviceable and high mileage vehicle, but I always felt leery on the highway.
If you need to carry a lot of stuff, the minivan is probably the way to go. As for which one, if you are buying new, test drive them all before you sign on the dotted line. If you are buying a used one talk to your mechanic about his or her recommendations cause they see the ones that don't work well.
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