Ultimate Minivan Shootout: Overview

It's not often you see an entire segment of the auto industry redone at the same time, but 2011 is a renaissance for minivans. All the major players in the group had some level of redesign, from new interiors to whole new vehicles debuting.

Cars.com, USA Today and "MotorWeek" put six of these new minivans to the test in Atlanta over three days, including one day with a suburban Atlanta family. The six minivans we tested were (in alphabetical order):

  • 2011 Chrysler Town & Country
  • 2011 Dodge Grand Caravan
  • 2011 Honda Odyssey
  • 2011 Nissan Quest
  • 2011 Toyota Sienna
  • 2011 Volkswagen Routan

We also sent two inquiries to Kia to try to include the Sedona in our tests, but the automaker did not respond to either request. We left out smaller, less-well-equipped vehicles, including the Mazda5 because the price points were different. Since this is the Ultimate Minivan Shootout, we capped the price at $45,000, not including destination charges.

Our reviewers were:

  • David Thomas, Cars.com senior editor
  • Kristin Varela, Cars.com senior editor
  • Jennifer Newman, Cars.com editor
  • James Healey, USA Today reviewer
  • Brian Robinson, "MotorWeek" producer and reviewer
  • The Weatherby family: Travis, Heather and their three kids.

We put the minivans through three days of tests:

  • One-day mileage drive, which put the vans through roughly 175 miles of highway travel
  • One day of round-robin expert driving, where each expert or team of experts drove the six vans over the same course for an hour
  • One day of family testing and driving, where the Weatherby family compared the features and cargo space of each van, and then Travis drove each van over the same drive route to test for ride and handling, acceleration, braking and more

Read through our coverage to see which van won over our experts and our family. The experts' opinions fueled 65 percent of the final score; the Weatherby family, 25 percent. Fuel economy made up the final 10 percent of the score.

Cars.com editor Joe Bruzek contributed to this report.

© Cars.com 05/20/2011