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SUV vs. Minivan - Which is better

SUV vs. Minivan - Which is better

To buy a large family vehicle, you have to consider more factors than if you were getting a 5-seater passenger car. Practicality, safety, and comfort take precedence over everything else.
Minivans and SUVs are the only viable options in this segment, so letís take a look at the differences between them and help you make a decision.


Seating Capacity

Minivans and SUVs have the same seating capacity of seven or eight passengers. The front row seats two, the second row is fitted either with a 3-seat bench or two captainís chairs, and the third row is made of a bench or two foldable seats.

Some minivans have four rows of seats, with the second and third row consisting of two-thirds of a bench to provide extra room to board and leave the cabin.

The SUV might provide slightly more legroom in the second row, but the real difference can be found in the third row. Minivans are designed from the ground up to transport three rows of passengers, with full-sized seats and adequate legroom in the rear. In contrast, a large number of SUVs can only seat children in the third row.

Cargo Capacity

With so many passengers in the cabin, itís reasonable to expect a large volume of cargo, whether youíre going on a vacation or to the supermarket.

The cargo area in SUVs is always shared with third-row seating, meaning you have to compromise between seating and luggage space. With the floor compartment and ample room behind the rear seats, minivans offer much more room for suitcases and bags.

Capabilities & Fuel Consumption

Crossover SUVs get comparable gas mileage to minivans, but as soon as you move towards the proper body-on-frame SUVs, the differences are significant. The extra weight of the frame, four-wheel drive, and the larger engine contribute to higher fuel consumption.

Minivans are designed for city and highway use and provide nothing more than a serviceable drive, but SUVs have a wide range of sporty and off-road variants that make the ride much more exciting.


The advances in active and passive safety systems have made all vehicles much safer. SUVs are no longer as prone to rollover as they used to, and the full sets of side airbags increase the safety of all the passengers in SUVs and minivans alike.

The higher seating position in the SUV gives the driver a better overview of the road, and the higher ground clearance makes the points of impact safer. These are the main reasons why weíre giving SUVs an edge in terms of safety.


The design of the minivan has been improved over the years, but it doesnít come close to the appearance of a proper SUV. Minivan is not going to attract any attention while itís hard not to notice a full-size SUV passing by. This point has nothing to do with the practical side of either vehicle, but as youíre investing a large sum of money, itís important that you feel satisfied with your purchase.


As always, the choice between an SUV and a minivan depends entirely on your requirements.

Minivans are the better vehicle for large families. The access to the cabin is easier, which youíll appreciate when you have to fasten the seatbelts on your children and get them to school every day. They get better gas mileage, are more practical, and are generally cheaper to purchase.

SUVs may not be as suitable for 7 or 8 person families, but for anything less, theyíll offer enough cargo room and space for everyone to travel comfortably. Design is one of the obvious advantages of an SUV, but also its performance and off-road capabilities. If youíre willing to compromise on practicality and price to get a more exciting vehicle, SUV is the way to go.

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