NEWS

Which Minivan Gets the Best Mileage?

Minivan_Mileage_Lead.jpg Ultimate Minivan Challenge; | Cars.com photo by Evan Sears

CARS.COM — The minivan is a popular choice for families in the market for a new car, and there are many reasons why this type of vehicle is still a favorite for drivers. With their third-row seating, ample standard features and innovative safety amenities, minivans are family-hauling stars — but where these cars don’t shine as brightly is in fuel efficiency. Large, heavy and V-6-powered, the minivan class gets an average combined EPA fuel-economy rating of 20 mpg. While we weren’t expecting minivans to deliver hybrid-level mpg results, how does that translate to real-world driving through quiet suburbs or on busy highways? 

The Ultimate Minivan Challenge
Results | Mileage Test

During the Ultimate Minivan Challenge, five family-friendly minivans including the Honda Odyssey, Chrysler Town & Country, Kia Sedona, Dodge Grand Caravan and Toyota Sienna were put to the test on a 135-mile road trip from the rolling rural roads and highways of southeastern Wisconsin to the city streets and suburban boulevards in and around Milwaukee. Our fuel-economy route was split into five legs and at the end of each, drivers swapped models to account for varying weights and driving styles. 

Challenge_minivan_mileage.jpg Cars.com photo by Evan Sears; graphic by Paul Dolan

Which models turned out to be the most fuel-efficient minivans and which were gas guzzlers? Overall, each minivan achieved similar average mpg figures. Our gas mileage results were a bit different than the EPA fuel-economy ratings for the cars tested: In first place, the Dodge Grand Caravan was best-in-class as far as mpg ratings. The vehicle returned an observed 23.9 mpg using our fuel pump fill-up calculations. Despite the fact that its Chrysler sibling uses the same 3.6-liter V-6, the model fell short of the gas mileage achieved by the Dodge Grand Caravan. The Chrysler Town & Country tied for third place with the Honda Odyssey and came in just behind the all-wheel-drive Toyota Sienna with an average of 23.7 miles per gallon.

The Challenge’s winner didn’t get a lot of help from its mpg score. The Kia Sedona’s persuasive blend of comfort, features and utility earned the car high marks, but this vehicle’s mileage was less than impressive: Its average of 23.3 mpg landed the family car in last place in terms of gas mileage.

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