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What to know before buying a minibus

Is it time for a minibus?

This is a journey that begins with a little self-reflection. Ask yourself questions like:

  • How many people do I drive (or will I drive) regularly?
  • Will any of these passengers bring extra luggage? (We're looking at you, strollers and soccer bags.)
  • Do I have enough storage space in my current vehicle? If I do not, how much more would I want?
  • How often do I (or have my partner) have to borrow a larger vehicle to transport large items such as furniture, leisure equipment or equipment for my child's small league team?
  • Do they feel uncomfortable or "squeezed in" when passengers ride in my current vehicle?

In short: If you feel cramped in space and want groups and gear comfortable … it may be time for a minibus.

What are the pros and cons of owning a minibus?


  • Sliding doors: For many models, you can also use your key fob to open and close them. as tailgate, hands-free. This means less juggling of children and bags every time you need to open a door. You also save other vehicles from doorways when your children climb in and out of the van in cramped parking lots.
  • Space: If you need more space, minibuses are a clear choice. They are a good alternative when it comes to transporting daily things like food, sports equipment and (of course) people. But they are also a smart choice if you are transporting things like tools or building materials that you want to protect from the elements.
  • Accessibility: Minibuses have low floors, making it easier for people ̵
    1; and all companions – to get in and out. It also makes it easier to charge.
  • Versatility: With options for stowing or removing seats, you can configure the inside of your minibus to suit the load you are carrying. So if you have any children with you and you need to pick up the new sink and toilet you ordered for your bathroom renovation, there is room for everyone.
  • Style: No – not a spelling mistake. Features such as leather seats, full-car entertainment systems and a sleeker design are far from the boxy models you probably cycled around as a child. , expect to pay more at the pump with a minibus. While progress has been made in recent years to improve the mileage for gas they will still not get as many MPGs as a smaller vehicle or a hybrid SUV (more on that later).
  • Choice: [19659012] Unlike the flood of available SUVs, the minibus market has a much narrower offering. (There are currently six minibuses from the 2021 model year). But with fewer choices to wade through, it can make it easier for you to choose. And remember that buying used is always an option. (See also: Is it better to buy a new or used car? )
  • Size: The extra space and storage is a feature of these vehicles. But they are definitely bigger than a sedan or even a small or medium SUV. Navigating through cramped spaces such as parking garages or narrow streets with even smaller parking spaces can be difficult.

SUV vs Minivan: Which one should I buy?

When sports cars (SUVs) and crossovers (CUVs) exploded on the market, their popularity soon disappeared from the reliable minibus. Given the large number of options, it is easy to imagine why. But how do the two really compare ? It depends on your unique needs and preferences.

Journal of Car and Driver and U.S. News & World Report both took a look at how minibuses stack up against their three-row SUV counterparts. Here's what they found:

  • Cargo space: Not only can the seats in minibuses be removed or stored on the floor, but behind the third row there is a deep well to store your cargo. So you can easily have a vehicle full of people and still have more than 30 cubic meters of storage space. While there are a number of large SUVs, such as the Chevrolet Suburban, which offers ample storage space, minibuses take the lead once the seats have been folded down or removed. Winner: Minivan
  • Passenger seat: While the seats in minibuses and three rows of SUVs are similar (two bucket seats in the front, a three-seater bench seat in the middle and another three-seater bench seat in the back) , minibuses also have an edge here. They have lower floors (sacrificing ground clearance in the process) and more legroom than their SUV counterparts, giving more than 15 inches of extra space. Some minibuses also come with bucket seats in the second row. While this may sacrifice space for another passenger, it offers more room to stretch. But if the extra seat is important for your needs, you need to weigh the options. Winner: Minivan
  • Towing: SUVs definitely end up first in this category. The maximum towing capacity for all minibuses is 3600 pounds – and for many makes and models it is even smaller. So if you are planning to transport something significant like a caravan or a boat, especially if it is over a large distance, an SUV would be your choice of vehicle. (If you plan to tow and tow heavy loads regularly, a pickup is another option. Check out 7 things to keep in mind when buying a pickup. ) Winner: SUV
  • Four-wheel drive: Although only one or two minibuses offer this feature, most makes and models of SUVs can be equipped with four-wheel drive, whether it comes as standard or at an additional cost. So if you often drive on a rough road or through bad weather, this is something to keep in mind, as an SUV is likely to have better handling. You definitely do not want to do any off-road driving in a minibus. However, adding snow tires can make a huge difference when it comes to winter driving. Winner: SUV
  • Visibility: While both SUVs and minibuses can be equipped with features such as lane departure warning technology and blind spot detectors, SUVs drive higher off the road than minibuses and provide better visibility. Winner: SUV
  • Fuel costs and economy: Minibuses tend to have better fuel economy ratings than SUVs. ( Learn what "good gas mileage" means in this related post. ) But there are more fuel efficient hybrid SUVs to consider, and there is only one hybrid minibus currently on the market. However, hybrid vehicles usually cost more than their gasoline-powered contemporaries, so do your research to see if you will break even or get ahead with the money you save on the pump. Winner: Tie
  • Clocks and whistles: Navigation system. Video screens that fall from the ceiling or sit in a backrest. USB ports. Surround cameras. Wireless technology. Satellite and HD radio. All these features – and much, much more – can be equipped in both minibuses and SUVs depending on the trim package. Winner: Tie
  • Prize. Minibuses usually enter at a lower MSRP than three-row SUVs. And that gap increases when you compare the cost difference for available trim packages. Winner: Minivan

What is the best Minivan?

The "best" minivan for you depends on what best suits your (and your family's) priorities from the list above.

Cost tends to be a consistent factor when buying a vehicle. If the purchase price of a new minibus does not fit your budget, you may want to consider buying used ones.

Consumer Reports says that a well-maintained "modern" minibus can be driven up to 200,000 miles – or maybe even more. The company recommends that you do your homework to find a brand that has a documented history of reliability.

Whether you are looking at new or used, make sure you consider safety. Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) recently named the Honda Odyssey 2021 the 2020 TOP SAFETY PICK + . Toyota Sienna, Honda Odyssey, Chrysler Pacifica and Voyager and Kia Sedona also topped Kelley Blue Book & # 39 ;s list of best safety value car / minibuses from 2021 .

IIHS also suggests that you locate your potential minibus on the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) website to ensure that it has no outstanding recalls. Learn what to do if your vehicle is recalled .

Why is it called a minivan?

A "minivan" is simply a small passenger car. The term was first coined in 1959, although (strangely enough) minibuses as we know them today did not leave the market until 1983. The term helps to distinguish these family-oriented vans from the full-size versions 12 and 15 passengers. which are still on the market today.

Is the car insurance rate higher or lower for minibuses?

When it comes to calculation of car insurance premiums each vehicle is rated individually – regardless of brand or body style. These prices reflect the vehicle's unique features and safety features as well as maintenance and repair costs. So while there is no general rule that minibuses cost more or less to insure, safer vehicles often come with lower insurance premiums. This applies to all vehicle types with high-tech safety features such as camera systems, anti-theft devices, collision warning systems and lane departure warning systems.

Insurance for new minibuses

It's true: Your new vehicle will lose some of its value as soon as you drive it from the site. But that does not mean that your insurance coverage should either.

For just a few extra dollars a month, this car insurance supplement can protect your new trip ]. If your new car 1 becomes total, ERIE will pay the cost of replacing it with the latest comparable model year (minus your deductible). (And if you have had your car for more than two years, ERIE will pay the cost of replacing it with a comparable model that is up to two years newer and up to 30,000 fewer miles than the car's current mileage, minus the deductible.) ] Read more about car insurance from ERIE or get a quote from a local agent to see the ERIE difference yourself.

1 The vehicle is considered new when it is less than two years old. Qualified vehicles must have both comprehensive and collision coverage and the replacement value will be based on a comparable model. The endorsement is sold by car, not under insurance, and contains the specific details of coverage, terms, conditions and exceptions. Please note that new vehicle compensation and better vehicle compensation do not apply to rented vehicles; only Auto Lease / Loan Security Protection applies to rented vehicles. When payment is made during a new vehicle change or better vehicle change, car rental / loan coverage does not apply. Coverage does not include items such as late payments and transfer balances from previous leases / loans, etc. Coverage is not available in all states. Insurance products are subject to conditions and exceptions not described here. Ask your ERIE agent for more information.

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