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Cheapest Minivan: Frugal Family


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We’re going to keep beating this drum: the best family vehicle remains the humble minivan.

There are practical reasons, of course, like space and convenience. But how about sliding doors eliminating the chances of the little ones accidentally bonking the car beside you at the grocery store? How about how the lower ride height makes them drive more like cars than high-riding SUVs?

Forget all of that. Those family trips to Disneyland aren’t going to pay for themselves, right? Well then it’s good that minivans are more affordable than the image-conscious SUVs out there. In pure vehicle-for-dollars amount, nothing comes close to the minivan. This short list highlights the picks of the pack, the people-movers that don’t shift extra cash out of your wallet.

SEE ALSO: Kia Carnival vs Chrysler Pacifica vs Toyota Sienna Comparison

Kia Carnival: Most Affordable Minivan Overall


SEE ALSO: 2022 Kia Carnival Review: Minivan Makeover

The Kia Carnival might have adopted a new name—so long, Sedona—but it has maintained the title as the most affordable minivan. Starting at just $33,555 ($36,695 CAD), including destination, the Carnival offers up enough interior space to host mobile concerts. The base model includes seating for seven, with the same number of USB ports, ensuring everybody can charge their device of choice. Dual power-sliding doors are standard, as is a full suite of driver assists like automated emergency braking and rear cross-traffic alert. Under that bluff hood sits a 3.5-liter V6 engine. With 290 horsepower, it’ll ensure you’re never late for soccer practice.

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Toyota Sienna: Most Affordable AWD Minivan


SEE ALSO: 2021 Toyota Sienna Review: First Drive

Maybe you live somewhere a little chillier for a good portion of the year. If all-wheel drive is a must-have, then your most affordable option is the Toyota Sienna. Toyota’s eight-seater people mover starts a little higher than the Carnival, and requires an extra two grand or so to send power to the rear axle. A $38,000 ($44,780 CAD) sticker price is still well below the average new car transaction price in January 2022, and that’s netting you tons of space, tri-zone climate control, seven USB ports, second-row sunshades, and up to 18 cup and bottle holders. The Sienna also features a unique powertrain, which brings us to our next entry…

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Toyota Sienna: Most Affordable Hybrid Minivan


SEE ALSO: Honda Odyssey vs Toyota Sienna Comparison: Minivan Mix-n-Match

Yes, that’s right: we’re listing the Sienna twice. For the first time in decades, shoppers can opt for a four-cylinder minivan. Madness, right? This one is paired up with no less than three electric motors (when AWD), however, which results in 240 horsepower. That puts the Sienna slightly down on everything else in the segment, but it’s only particularly noticeable at highway speeds. Besides, the result is a stunning 36 mpg across the board for front-drive models; AWD Siennas post 35 mpg in the city and combined. (Canadian figures are 6.5 L cmobined for FWD and 6.7 L combined for AWD.)

Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid: Most Affordable PHEV Minivan


SEE ALSO: Kia Carnival vs Chrysler Pacifica vs Toyota Sienna Comparison

The Chrysler Pacifica is also available as a hybrid for fuel-conscious families. However, this one adopts a plug, for the unique distinction as the only plug-in hybrid in the segment. It’s not cheap, at $50,595 ($57,190 CAD) including destination. The benefit here is that you could conceivably achieve better fuel economy than any of the other options, depending on how much electric-only driving your daily schedule allows for. The Pacifica Hybrid comes well-equipped with standard heated front seats, tri-zone climate control, and Uconnect 5—otherwise known as the best mainstream touchscreen interface in the business.

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