Recently we placed our vote for the 2011 Ford Explorer as the Best 2011 Mid Size SUV, which got us thinking back to our prior post: Should I Buy a Minivan Or An SUV? The 2011 Explorer and the 2011 Toyota Sienna are comparably priced and have similar features.
In comparing the Explorer to the Sienna, below are the top 5 reasons to buy a minivan over an SUV:
1. Minivans have more passenger room than SUVs. For example, the Sienna has shoulder room, hip room and legroom than the Sienna. In the third row seating, the Sienna has 36.3” of legroom compared to 33.2” for the Explorer, a more than three-inch advantage.
Minivans also allow you more options in seating configurations. The 2011 Sienna second row slides as much as a total of 23” forward and back. Both models seat seven passengers and have comparable headroom, but the Sienna clearly provides more overall passenger room. As your family or cargo needs grow, your minivan can handle more capacity.
2. Minivans have significantly more cargo room than SUVs. The Sienna has an impressive 150 cubic feet of cargo room behind the front seats. This is nearly twice as much as the Explorer which has 80.7 cubic feet. The Sienna has 87.1 cubic feet of cargo room behind the second row of seats and 39.1 cubic feet behind the third row of seats. This compares to 43.8 cubic feet and 21 cubic feet, respectively for the Explorer. Minivans leave more room for bikes, strollers, toys, sports equipment and other gear, while still having plenty of passenger space.
3. Minivans are easier to get into and out of. Minivans have a lower step in height and electronic sliding doors, providing a bigger entry point. Children can walk to their seat and have room to play.
4. Minivans are a little quicker than SUVs. This is a bit of a surprise. According to Edmunds.com, the Sienna has a 0-60 time of 7.9 seconds, while the Explorer has a 0-60 time of 8.3 seconds. It also beats it in the quarter mile with a time of 15.8 seconds, compared to 16.3 seconds for the Explorer.
This is likely due to the Sienna being several hundreds pounds lighter than the Explorer. Both models have a 3.5-liter V-6 engine, but the Explorer does have 24 more horsepower, 290 vs. 266 in the Sienna.
5. Minivans handle better than SUVs. Minivans are closer to the ground and lighter than SUVs. While models and steering and suspension systems vary, minivans can provide better handling than many SUVs.
A 2011 Ford Explorer Base with all-wheel drive (AWD) and a 2011 Toyota Sienna LE are comparably prices. The manufacturers’ suggested retail prices are $30,190 and $31,330, respectively. However, both models can top out near $40,000 with added options. The Sienna is unique among new minivans in that it has an AWD option. Fuel economy is also comparable between the two models with the Explorer AWD rated at 17-mpg city/23-mpg highway and the Sienna AWD rated at 16/22.
Above are the top 5 reasons to buy a minivan over an SUV. SUVs do have their advantages such as more towing capacity, a higher ride height, and better off-road ability. Each model is different and before purchasing a new vehicle that costs more than $30,000, you should carefully evaluate your needs and preferences and decide which type is right for you and your family.