Which Minivan Gets the Best Mileage?

Minivan_Mileage_Lead.jpg Ultimate Minivan Challenge; | 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 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.’s Editorial department is your source for automotive news and reviews. In line with’s long-standing ethics policy, editors and reviewers don’t accept gifts or free trips from automakers. The Editorial department is independent of’s advertising, sales and sponsored content departments.

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