To Minivan Or Not To Minivan: What Are Your Car Options For A Family?

smiling mother choosing new car in car salon

Once you start having kids, it is pretty much impossible to avoid buying a minivan. Though they have a certain aesthetic that is hard to get used to, they have just about everything you need for a growing family. Plenty of cabin space, lots of cargo space and they are easy to get in and out of when you have your hands full. 

The reality is that some people are just dead set against getting a minivan. Luckily, there are other types of cars that are also suitable for families. It all comes down to your lifestyle and size of family as to what is going to be the best bet for you and your growing family. 

In this article, we will go over what some of your options are when it comes to shopping for the perfect family vehicle so you can go to a car dealer in Waxahachie TX or wherever it is that you live armed with all the information you need. 

The minivan

Though much maligned, it is true that a minivan is a great option for many families. They may not look as cool as you’d like them to, but they are really functional and can help you avoid a lot of problems that some other cars present when you are dealing with small children. 

For starters, the sliding door is a huge benefit. It is so easy to put a sleeping child into their car set when you are not trying to contort yourself into a sedan. You can almost step all the way into the car without barely having to bend over. This also helps for kids getting into the car themselves. Not to mention how there is no more dinging other cars in the parking lot when your kid opens the door too hard. 

There is also a lot more seating room in a minivan. There is far more seating in one than you find in most SUVs. You can easily fit more than five adults in one so imagine how spacious it is when three of the passengers are children.

Lastly, cargo space is very generous. This allows the car to grow with your family. Early on you will want the space to be able to handle diaper bags along with a double stroller without needing to squeeze stuff into the seating area. Later on, it will be enough to handle the kids hockey duffel bags or baseball gear. 

And once the kids are out of the house, you can still take advantage of having a minivan for your outdoors adventures. There is plenty of space for your camping equipment or bicycle gear, for example. 


In terms of cargo space and seating room, most SUVs lag far behind their minivan counterpoints. However, that isn’t to say that they can’t be roomy. 

Larger SUVs have a lot of cargo space that can handle your strollers and then some and then also grow as your family does to accommodate other gear. Usually, the cargo area has the height that you need to pack things in. 

So, you aren’t losing much in terms of space when you go with an SUV over a minivan. For many people, there is more than enough space. The benefit of less space, however, is maneuverability. An SUV is easy to park and often fits well into a parking space. Some extra large ones might stick out a bit, but many are fine in any spot. 

When you have a family that thrives in the outdoors and is very active, then an SUV is indispensable. Many have four wheel drive so you can get to the camping pitch without getting stuck. You’ll have far more access to natural areas than you would with a minivan. And, with a V6 or V8 engine, going off-road is a breeze.

Though gas mileage varies across the different models, engine size and much more, there are many that are reasonably efficient. 

The station wagon

Long before minivans and SUVs were a thing, the station wagon was what parents turned to when they started having a family. The reasons were obvious. The only other options at the time were sedans so having extra cargo room without sacrificing seating was going to win out. 

The same holds true today. A station wagon is a fantastic choice for a family because it gives you just about everything. You get the cargo space so you have plenty of room to put strollers and luggage or even a full camping set. In fact, many station wagons have more cargo space than a regular size SUV. 

Inside, you get plenty of leg room and can easily fit five people without any issues. On top of that, they are very maneuverable and easy to drive. Some people don’t like sitting so high in a minivan or SUV so you get the same driving experience as a regular car with the added benefit of it being more family friendly. 

Then there is the issue of gas mileage. In just about every case, you will get much better fuel efficiency with a station wagon than you do with any SUV or minivan. Plus, many of them also have all wheel or four wheel drive so you can still get some robust performance if you head out to the country or need to drive in the snow. 


Safety is on the top of every parent’s list when it comes to the right car for a family. None of these types of vehicles are inherently unsafe so each is a good choice as far as that goes. 

However, you do have to make some head to head comparisons when it comes to safety ratings for the make and model you are looking at. Crash test ratings are a great indication. Some are safer than others so do your due diligence no matter what type of vehicle you decide on. 

You may also like

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.