Looking to Buy a New Minivan? Here Are Our Top Choices for 2021

Although still plagued by the ‘soccer mom vehicle’ stigma, minivans deserve more respect because they are surprisingly capable, offering supreme practicality, increased safety, and all the features you would expect from a vehicle. Potential buyers have lots of options, but we narrowed them down to the Honda Odyssey, Toyota Sienna, Chrysler Pacifica, and the low-budget Voyager.
2021 Chrysler Pacifica 17 photos
Photo: Stellantis N.V.
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There’s a good reason why SUVs are so popular, but if you want a vehicle that provides more practicality and increased safety for your family while still being (somewhat) fun to drive, a minivan is a perfect choice.

Buyers and thus carmakers haven’t given up on them yet, and some of them offer at least one capable model as part of their 2021 lineup. Each comes in a variety of trims with many available upgrades that cover all budgets.

Honda Odyssey

2021 Honda Odyssey
Photo: Honda Motor Co., Ltd.
Arguably the best handling minivan out there, the Odyssey is available from $33,265 (starting MSRP including destination charge) and comes in five different trims.

It comes with a single powertrain option comprised of a 280-hp V6 and a 10-speed automatic that many owners have praised for its refinement and efficiency. For a minivan, it handles well and has an EPA rating of 19 mpg (12 liters per 100 km) in the city and 28 mpg (8.4 liters per 100 km) on the highway.

Don’t expect to be swept away by the interior design or quality of the materials used, though the Odyssey’s cabin more than makes up for what it lacks in terms of luxury.

2021 Honda Odyssey
Photo: Honda Motor Co., Ltd.
It offers plenty of second and third-row room, along with a high level of comfort, quietness, and many ingenious features, including the innovative second-row Magic Slide seats, which are standard on all trims except the entry-level LX.

The LX and EX come with a standard 7.0-inch touchscreen system with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility, while the top SX model increases it to 8.0 inches and adds navigation with real-time traffic and weather updates.

In terms of safety, the Odyssey earned a five-star crash-test rating from the NTHSA but was not named a Top Safety Pick by the IIHS.

Toyota Sienna

2021 Toyota Sienna
Photo: Toyota Motor Co

Receiving a complete refresh for the 2021 model year, the Sienna is one of the most efficient and well-rounded options. It delivers an excellent entry-level LE trim that starts from an MRSP (including destination charge) of $36,060, along with four other choices that will cover the needs of a wide range of customers.

Unlike the previous two minivans, the fourth generation Sienna is exclusively available with a standard FWD 243-hp hybrid powertrain that includes a 2.5-liter straight-four and two electric motors mounted on the front axle. It will deliver an EPA-rated 36 mpg (6.5 liters per 100 km) in the city as well as on the highway. All-wheel-drive is available on all trims for about $2,000, making it the only AWD hybrid minivan on the market.

2021 Toyota Sienna
Photo: Toyota Motor Co
Inside, the fresh interior complements the stylish bodywork, and higher-level trims offer serious luxury for a minivan. All five models come with a 9.0-inch touchscreen display with standard connectivity features like Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, and Amazon Alexa.

In terms of practicality, although the third row can be stowed to increase cargo room, the Sienna’s second-row seats are not removable and only slide forward, limiting its hauling potential.

The minivan has not been rated yet by either the IIHS or NHTSA, but considering it comes standard with blind-spot monitoring and Toyota’s Safety Sense 2.0 suite of advanced driver assistance systems, we expect it to earn high marks.

Chrysler Pacifica

2021 Chrysler Pacifica
Photo: Stellantis N.V.

Like the Sienna, it also received a makeover for 2021 that makes it arguably the most beautiful minivan out there. It’s also one of the most expensive, with a starting MRSP of $36,540 for the gas-only model and $41,490  for the plug-in hybrid (both prices including destination charges).

It’s currently available in four trims that use a 287-hp 3.6-liter V6 or a PHEV powertrain with the same ICE backed up by two electric motors with a combined output of 260 hp. While it makes less power, the hybrid model promises a little over 30 miles (48 km) of pure electric driving range as well as an EPA-rated 84 MPGe (2.8 liters per 100km) combined.

The gas-only version has an EPA rating of 19 mpg (12 liters per 100 km) city and 28 mpg (8.4 liters per 100km) highway for FWD models while those equipped with AWD deliver 17 mpg (14 liters per 100 km) city and 25 mpg (9.4 liters per 100 km) highway.

2021 Chrysler Pacifica
Photo: Stellantis N.V.
Just like the exterior, the Pacifica’s cabin has been modernized and it now looks fantastic. It’s ergonomic, it comes with loads of storage compartments, a big 10.1-inch display with Uconnect 5, Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, and Amazon Alexa integration as standard. The top-level Pinnacle trim offers a brilliant quilted-leather upholstery.

The minivan’s standard Stow 'n Go seats might not be comfortable as those found on competing models, but at least they fold and fit inside the floor bins on gas-only models, maximizing the already ample cargo space. The top trim comes with second-row captain's chairs equipped with lumbar pillows, something that you usually get in ultra-luxurious sedans.

When it comes to safety, the Pacifica delivers one of the most comprehensive suites of features and driver assists as standard, something that we covered in a previous article.

Chrysler Voyager

2021 Chrysler Voyager
Photo: Stellantis N.V.

For 2021, the carmaker took the ‘Voyager’ nameplate and assigned it to the low-end L and LX trims of the Pacifica, making it the cheapest minivan available in the U.S., with a starting MSRP of $28,730 and $31,540 (including destination charges)

The only available engine option is a 287-hp 3.6-liter V6 shared with the mechanically identical Pacifica. The interior features the same design, albeit without any trace of leather, automatic climate control, or power-sliding doors; the Stow 'n Go feature is only available for the third row.

It does have a 7.0-inch infotainment system with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto integration and a decent six-speaker audio system with active noise cancellation.

2021 Chrysler Voyager
Photo: Stellantis N.V.
Like the Pacifica, it earned a five-star rating from the NHTSA, but it doesn’t feature the same comprehensive collection of safety features or advanced driver-assistance systems as its sibling.

Overall, if you’re looking for an eye-catching minivan that offers the most complete package and you’re willing to pay for it, a Pacifica in either gas-only or PHEV form is what we recommend. It’s by far the best-looking out of the four models (though beauty is in the eye of the beholder), offers the most standard safety features, and comes with a well-designed and spacious interior packed with all the latest tech. Also, the Pinnacle trim is the most luxurious and hi-tech minivan on the market.

If you’re searching for the best combination of value, practicality, comfort, and features, then the Sienna deserves your attention. It’s also fuel-efficient, has plenty of standard safety features, and the refreshed design makes it an appealing choice.

The Honda Odyssey might be the minivan for you if safety, practicality, and value are more important than the exterior design or the latest technological advancements. Like I mentioned before, it’s arguably the best-handling minivan, comes with a solid engine, has a flexible and roomy interior, and earned top safety ratings.

Finally, if you’re on a tight budget, the Voyager is a no-brainer. Although it’s a stripped-down version of the Pacifica, it comes with enough features to satisfy your basic needs and maintains the beautiful design of its sibling.
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About the author: Vlad Radu
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Vlad's first car was custom coach built: an exotic he made out of wood, cardboard and a borrowed steering wheel at the age of five. Combining his previous experience in writing and car dealership years, his articles focus in depth on special cars of past and present times.
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