Hot Minivans for 2006 and 2007

With fewer than 20 models on sale in the U.S., the minivan and van category ranks as one of the smallest market segments in terms of total model count.

For 2006, only two new models debut: Kia's redesigned Sedona and Mazda's all-new Mazda5. Meanwhile, two early 2007s — Hyundai's new Entourage and Nissan's redesigned Quest — hit dealerships this spring. Continue reading for details on these models, or see which minivans we recommend on the Best Bets page.

Hot Minivans for 2006 and 2007
All minivans are listed in alphabetical order.

Hyundai adds a minivan to its U.S. lineup with the new 2007 Entourage. Related to Kia's recently redesigned Sedona, which is covered below, the Entourage can seat up to seven people in three rows, and the third-row seat can fold flat into the floor when more cargo room is needed. Standard safety features include all-disc antilock brakes, an electronic stability system, active front head restraints, side-impact airbags for the front seats and side curtain-type airbags for all three rows of seats. A 242-horsepower, 3.8-liter V-6 engine drives a five-speed-automatic transmission that includes a clutchless-manual mode. Hyundai says the Entourage achieves an EPA-estimated 18 mpg in the city and 25 mpg on the highway, which puts it midpack among its competitors. Options include power-adjustable pedals, a six-CD changer, a powered liftgate and leather seats.
$22,995 - $25,595
With its 2006 redesign, Kia's Sedona has grown in size, gained a larger and more powerful engine, and now features a 60/40-split third-row seat that can fold flat into the floor. The Sedona can seat up to seven people in three rows of seats, and rear seat passengers can watch movies on the optional DVD entertainment system, which includes wireless headphones and a remote control. The Sedona's long list of standard safety features includes antilock brakes, an electronic stability system, side-impact airbags for the front seats, side curtain-type airbags for all rows of seats, and active front head restraints. With a curb weight of 4,387 pounds, the redesigned Sedona weighs about 400 pounds less than its predecessor but features a 244-hp, 3.8-liter V-6 engine that produces 49 hp more than the 3.5-liter V-6 in the 2005 Sedona. Even with its more powerful engine, the Sedona manages to achieve better EPA-estimated gas mileage than its predecessor: 18 mpg in city driving and 25 mpg on the highway.
$17,435 - $18,950
When viewed in profile, Mazda's new Mazda5 minivan may call to mind a small wagon, but because it's equipped with sliding side doors — a minivan mainstay — it's classified as such. Smaller than Mazda's MPV minivan, which itself is smaller than much of the competition, the Mazda5 can seat up to six occupants in three rows of seats. The front-wheel-drive Mazda5 can have a five-speed-manual transmission instead of an automatic, an uncommon feature in this segment. Both the manual transmission and the optional four-speed automatic drive a 157-hp, 2.3-liter four-cylinder engine. Sport and Touring versions are available, and both versions feature standard side-impact airbags for the front seats and three-row side curtain-type airbags.

The big news for the 2007 Quest is its redesigned interior. The minivan's center-mounted gauge cluster has been ditched in favor of a more conventional instrument panel positioned in front of the driver. The glove box has been enlarged, and buyers can opt for a DVD-based navigation system that features a 7-inch screen. The overhead console can have up to two 8-inch screens for viewing movies on the Quest's optional DVD entertainment system. Up to seven people can fit in the Quest, and Nissan says the third-row seat can be folded into the floor with one hand. Subtle exterior changes include a new grille and front bumper, new wheel designs, and revised taillamps. As before, the Quest comes standard with a 240-hp, 3.5-liter V-6 engine and three-row side curtain-type airbags.
Posted on 4/5/06