Vans vs. SUVs: Which One Should I Choose?

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If you’ve got kids, a big dog, or you just appreciate a third row of seating, you’ve probably considered whether you should drive a van or an SUV. SUVs are trendier and offer up more variety and sleeker looks. Minivans might not be the hippest vehicle on the block, but SUVs can’t beat them for practicality.
Vans and SUVs both have their pros and cons—and you will want to think about what type of qualities suit your lifestyle.
That’s why the car insurance shopping and broker app Jerry has put together a handy comparison of vans vs SUVs so that you can find the type of car that meets your needs.
When it comes to buying a new vehicle, cargo space isn’t the only thing you need to consider. You’ll also need to think about your insurance rates as well.
An intelligent AI-based tool like Jerry is the easiest and most effective way to find a car insurance policy that is customized for you.
After providing you with the best policies from up to 40 top providers, Jerry will handle the phone calls, paperwork, and renewals for your top pick so that you don’t have to. So why do all that extra work when Jerry can do it better?
  • Factors to consider
  • Finding cheap insurance rates
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Factors to consider when choosing between a van and an SUV

There is no right or wrong answer when choosing between a van or an SUV. It all depends on what type of driving experience suits your lifestyle.
Here are some things to consider before making a decision:

Cargo space

If cargo space is what you are after, a minivan is probably your best bet.
Vans have low floors that offer up ample floor-to-ceiling space that makes them ideal for transporting cargo. All of the new minivans on the market today offer at least 31 cubic feet of cargo space behind the third row. You can get up to 88 cubic feet of space with both rows of seats stowed away.
By comparison, the average mid-size SUV offers only 20 cubic feet of storage with the seats up. To find anything that competes with a minivan, you will have to opt for a full-size model.
The Chevrolet Suburban is a large three-row SUV that will give you a whopping 40 cubic feet of storage space even in a packed car. With both seats stowed, the storage space increases to 77 cubic feet of storage.
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Passenger space

Ample passenger space can be a must if you tend to roll with a whole carload of people. Generally speaking, minivans also take the cake in terms of passenger space, even compared to three-row SUV models.
Today, all new minivan models available on the market come complete with at least 150 cubic feet of passenger space across three rows of seats.
Vans usually offer up more floor-to-ceiling space than SUVs, meaning that they will offer more breathing room, especially for taller passengers. Passengers seated in the third row will almost always have more knee room in a minivan.
That being said, some large-size SUVs will let you transport up to nine passengers while vans can usually only seat eight.
It’s also worth mentioning that there are a few notable differences between the seating configurations in vans and SUVs.
The standard layout includes bucket seats in the front, bench seating or captain chairs in the second row, and a bench in the third row. However, some large SUVs like the Chevrolet Tahoe or Suburban come with the option to add a bench seat in the front row.
Key Takeaway Minivans usually offer more passenger seating than SUVs.

Power and towing capacity

If you plan on towing or navigating rugged terrain, SUVs are the best choice.
After all, SUV stands for sport utility vehicle—they are designed with sporting excursions in mind. You can upgrade almost every crossover SUV available on the market to include all-wheel drive. You will probably have to upgrade your trim level, though. By comparison, the Toyota Sienna is the only minivan on the market today that comes with an all-wheel-drive upgrade option.
SUVs also win out over vans in terms of towing capacity. Most minivans on the market aren’t even rated to tow. If they are, the towing capacity won’t compare to what most SUVs have to offer.
If you drive on unpaved roads or have any kind of trailer you want to tow, a minivan probably won’t cut it.
Key Takeaway If you want all-wheel drive, you should opt for an SUV.

Fuel economy

Neither vans nor large-sized SUVs offer excellent fuel economy, but minivans usually win this category. You can always opt for a smaller SUV or hybrid model to help you save.
Minivans usually offer slightly better fuel economy than similarly spacious SUVs. Generally, minivans on the market today are powered by a V6 engine that lands their fuel economy levels around 24 mpg in the city and 30 mpg on the highway.
There is a plug-in hybrid version of the Chrysler Pacifica that can land 76 mpg on the road—but it only has a 20-mile range.
Most mid or large-size SUVs have fuel-hungry V8 engines under their hood. They might offer up a more powerful ride, but it comes at a cost. On the other hand, there are plenty of smaller 4 cylinder engine SUV or hybrid SUV models to choose from.
They usually offer better fuel economy than vans, but you will have to sacrifice passenger and cargo space to get it.
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Model varieties

Having overtaken cars as the most in-demand vehicle on the market, SUVs are the clear winner in this category.
There are dozens of makes and models of new SUVs to choose from. One of the main perks of owning an SUV is their versatility.
Whether you are looking for a sporty beast or a sleek urban ride, SUVs can do it all. They come in a delightful variety of shapes and sizes, and you can choose between a range of luxury and budget-friendly options alike.
By contrast, there is only a small handful of minivans to choose from in the US today—and they all offer up a similar driving experience. Minivans enjoyed the peak of their popularity back in the 90s and have been falling out of favor ever since.
Key Takeaway If you’re looking for variety and style, choosing an SUV is the way to go.

Insurance rates

In most cases, it will be cheaper to insure a minivan than it will be to insure an SUV.
SUVs are usually heavier and higher than minivans—meaning that they have the potential to cause more damage in an accident. Insurance providers take this into account when determining your insurance rates.
Not all SUVs are expensive to insure, though. Choosing a model from the top 10 cheapest SUVs to insure can help you save big money in the long term

How to find the best insurance rates for vans and SUVs

No matter what type of van or SUV you have your eye on, using Jerry can help you save time and money on your car insurance.
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