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Best MPG Minivans: Top Hybrid Minivan and Fuel-Efficient Minivan Options

A minivan may not be the first vehicle you think of when searching for a fuel-efficient vehicle, but many have the same — or better — mileage rates as SUVs that can seat a similar number of passengers. Even so, they’re becoming harder to find.

This makes the Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid such a marvel: a plug-in hybrid minivan with a 35th anniversary edition rolling into showrooms this summer. The Chrysler Corporation (now Fiat Chrysler Automotive) introduced the first minivan, the Dodge Caravan, in 1984. Back then, it got 18 miles per gallon in the city, 22 on the highway, with a 4-cylinder 2.2 liter engine with automatic three-speed transmission. Today’s more powerful Grand Caravan has improved that by a smidge — 25 MPG on the highway — but the star is the Pacifica Hybrid, which can travel up to 32 miles on an electric charge.

The Pacifica, naturally, leads our list of best MPG minivans, but you might be surprised by the capability of others in this category, including the Toyota Sienna with available all-wheel drive. And of course the minivan continues to reign in family-friendly features — we challenge you to name an SUV with a built-in vacuum. We also considered ratings from Kelley Blue Book (KBB) experts, consumers on Edmunds, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) when coming up with our top picks.

Best minivans, by mileage

  • 2019 Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid
  • 2019 Honda Odyssey
  • 2019 Chrysler Pacifica
  • 2019 Toyota Sienna
  • 2019 Kia Sedona
  • 2019 Dodge Grand Caravan

Best minivans, by mileage

2019 Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid

$39,995 MSRP
82 MPGe; 30 combined city/highway MPG
4.5 out of 5 by KBB experts; 5.0 out of 5 by consumers on Edmunds (5 reviews)

As the only hybrid minivan available, the plug-in Pacifica takes the crown for most efficient. But there is a less expensive, non-hybrid version of the Pacifica, which holds a couple of advantages in addition to price ($26,985): it can seat eight people starting on the LX trim, and it has seats which can fold flat into the floor, opening up a flat cargo space. The seven-seater hybrid lacks the built-in vacuum found on the standard Pacifica Limited and the Stow ‘n Go seats in the second and third row, because the battery sits where the second-row seats would be stashed. But it’s because of that battery that the hybrid Pacifica gets 82 miles per gallon equivalent (MPGe) when combining electric and gasoline power, for a total driving range of 566 miles. It can be charged in about two hours; the battery also self-charges using the Pacifica’s regenerative braking system.

The plug-in hybrid offers many features in three trims — Touring Plus, Touring L ($42,195) and Limited ($45,545). All three run on a 3.6L V6 eHybrid Engine, and come with power sliding doors, supplemental side-curtain airbags in all three rows and a blind spot monitoring system. Some safety features are only options on the Limited, and unavailable otherwise, including lane departure warning plus, 360-degree camera, and parallel and perpendicular park assist. The hybrid hasn’t been rated by the NHTSA or IIHS in 2018 or 2019, though the traditional version received high marks from both agencies. KBB experts did not specifically review the 2019 hybrid model, though consumers on Edmunds did. The 2018 Pacifica hybrid is eligible for $7,500 in federal tax credits; to find out if the 2019 model is eligible, consult a tax professional.

2019 Honda Odyssey

$30,190 MSRP
19 MPG city / 28 MPG highway / 22 MPG combined
4.6 out of 5 by KBB experts; 3.8 out of 5 by consumers on Edmunds (32 reviews)
5 stars NHTSA; IIHS Top Safety Pick

The Odyssey has five trims, up to Elite ($47,070), but even the bare-bones, seven-seat LX comes with a nine-speed automatic transmission, push-button start, multi-angle rearview camera, 18-inch alloy wheels and power front seats, along with one-motion 60/40 Split “Magic Seat” for the third row. However, buyers will need to look to the EX and above for most of the driver assist technology, including lane assist, adaptive cruise control and blind spot warning systems, along with seating for eight. On all trims, Eco Assist monitors your driving style and provides feedback on fuel efficiency for the standard 3.5-liter V-6 engine. Starting at the Touring trim level ($44,760), families can enjoy a hands-free access power tailgate, entertainment system for the third-row passengers, hotspot capability, LED headlights, the beloved HondaVAC (another built-in vacuum system) and CabinWatch, a backseat camera with night vision.

2019 Chrysler Pacifica

$26,985 MSRP
19 MPG city / 28 MPG highway / 22 MPG combined
4.5 out of 5 by KBB experts; 4.5 out of 5 by consumers on Edmunds (4 reviews)
5 stars NHTSA; IIHS Top Safety Pick

Though its plug-in hybrid version gets a lot of the attention, the standard version holds its own in mileage when compared with rivals such as the Honda Odyssey, above. We earlier mentioned a few of the traditional Pacifica’s advantages, like available seating for eight and a built-in vacuum, plus the standard Stow ‘n Go seats, but it also is capable of towing up to 3,600 pounds. It also has a wider range of trims: six, with the base starting at a significantly lower price than any other minivan on this list with the exception of its FCA sibling, the Dodge Grand Caravan, below. The Pacifica’s price tops out with the Limited trim starting at $44,095. There’s also an available S-Appearance package, Stow ‘n Place roof rack system, and a tri-pane panoramic sunroof. Fun interior extras include storage ready for families on the go, such as storage bins and sliding drawers.

2019 Toyota Sienna

$31,115 MSRP
19 MPG city / 27 MPG highway / 22 MPG combined
4.4 out of 5 by KBB experts; 4.5 out of 5 by consumers on Edmunds (4 reviews)
5 stars NHTSA

Toyota calls this minivan the “swagger wagon.” Though it has a standard V6 like others on this list, it’s the only minivan with available all-wheel drive, an option at every trim level but the base L. However, AWD appears to drag on highway fuel economy — for example, the LE with front-wheel drive gets 19 MPG in the city, 27 MPG highway, while the LE with AWD clocks in at 18 MPG city and 24 on the highway. There are a total of seven Toyota Sienna trims and dozens of options. Optional extras at higher trim levels include a power liftgate and Driver Easy Speak, an overhead mic parents may use to address third-row shenanigans. And speaking of seating, 7-passenger seating is already standard, but buyers can still pick up 8-passenger seating at higher trim levels. The Auto Access Seat is a smart extra, which increases accessibility for wheelchair users. Add-on packages give extras like blind-spot monitoring and rear parking assist, but Toyota Safety Sense is standard on all trims.

2019 Kia Sedona

$27,200 MSRP
18 MPG city / 24 MPG highway / 21 MPG combined
4.3 out of 5 by KBB experts; consumer reviews unavailable on Edmunds
5 stars NHTSA

The 3.3 liter, V6 engine is now paired with an eight-speed transmission, new this year. With a towing capacity of 3,500 pounds, the vehicle’s mileage is undoubtedly helped by the Active Eco System, which Kia says optimizes fuel economy by automatically managing the engine and transmission and air conditioning. The Sedona offers four primary trim levels: L, LX, EX and SX. L comes in a rather straightforward three colors; six colors are available to higher-trim owners. With the EX ($33,300) and SX ($41,100), owners can get a tilt/sliding sunroof for extra ventilation. Most of the advanced safety features are only available for EX and SX trims, including lane departure, driver attention, forward collision and blind spot collision warnings. As well, these trim levels offer tri-zone climate control and passenger-row window sunshades. To fit 8 inside, you’ll need to select an LX trim level and above, to benefit from the 3-passenger 2nd row seating; otherwise the Sedona only fits 7. And it’s spacious, with a total 142 cubic feet of space.

In addition to receiving 5 stars from NHTSA, the Sedona received mostly good ratings from IIHS, though there were concerns about its headlights.

2019 Dodge Grand Caravan

$26,650 MSRP
17 MPG city / 25 MPG highway / 20 MPG combined
3.6 out of 5 by KBB experts; 4.1 out of 5 by consumers on Edmunds (7 reviews)
4 stars NHTSA

The grandfather of minivans which started the movement in 1984, today’s Dodge Grand Caravan gets up to 25 MPG on the highway — not the highest on this list, but not the lowest either. The Caravan has room for seven, with plenty of thoughtful extra storage options, including clever in-floor bins, the ability to store second- or third-row seats in the flooring (depending upon trim) with Stow ‘n Go storage, and an overhead bin for small items. The standard “observation mirror” gives you super-sight to the third row. Varied climate complaints may be alleviated by the three-zone temp system, or the available sunshades. There are available power sliding doors and liftgate, and when all three seating rows are stowed in the floor like the Pacifica, you have access to 140 cubic feet. Three levels for the 2019 Grand Caravan include SE, SE Plus and SXT. The SE Plus and SXT includes a remote-start system and a security alarm, among other features. Though the Grand Caravan has the lowest KBB rating on this list, Edmunds consumers still give it high marks.

Ways to finance the best mileage minivans

When minivans are decked out at their highest trims, they can rival luxury car prices, so you most likely will need to finance your new family car. Research your financing options at brick-and-mortar banks and credit unions or online lenders. One way to apply and compare auto loan rates efficiently is to use LendingTree’s online form where you may receive up to five potential auto loan offers from lenders at once. When going into the dealership, know that dealers don’t just profit off the car, but may profit off the car loans they offer. Avoid this issue by applying for and receiving a preapproved auto loan before you shop; if the dealership can beat the APR you have in hand, great, you’ll know you’re getting the best auto loan rates.

Methodology

These vehicles are all 2019 releases that scored at least 3.6 from KBB experts and consumers on Edmunds, when available, and have at least a 4 star safety rating from NHTSA, if yet rated. The MSRP is for the base trim of each vehicle. MSRPs listed in this article are accurate as of the date of publishing.

 

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