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Best Minivans of 2014

While most shoppers prefer the style and elevated driving position of crossovers and SUVs, there’s plenty to be said for minivans when it comes to transporting people and their gear. No SUV can match a minivan’s blend of room, family-friendly convenience features, and fuel economy. A low step-in height and wide sliding side doors make getting in and out of a minivan simple for all ages. Strapping in an infant or booster seat is child’s play. Available rear DVD and other infotainment systems occupy kids on road trips. And, yes, minivans do have a taller seating position than cars, and even some crossover SUVs. Here are the best of them. (Note that base prices in CarPreview’s Best Minivans of 2014 do not include options but do include manufacturer destination fees, which average about $900.)

2014 Chrysler Town & Country/2014 Dodge Grand Caravan

Base price range: $31,760-$42,760 (Town & Country); $21,390-$30,990 (Grand Caravan)
Fuel-economy rating: 20 mpg city/highway combined

Town & Country and Grand Caravan are mechanical siblings. The former has more upscale styling cues and features and thus costs more than the latter. Model-year 2014 marks the Caravan’s 30th anniversary, and Fiat-owned Chrysler is celebrating by offering both vehicles with a commemorative option package that includes unique interior trim and exterior badging (this despite the fact that the Town & Country debuted six years after the Caravan). All Town & Country and Grand Caravan models have a standard 283-horsepower 3.6-liter V-6 engine paired with a six-speed automatic transmission. The available Stow ‘n Go seats remain a unique feature in the segment. They allow both the second- and third-rows to fold into wells in the cargo floor, creating a completely flat loading deck without the hassle of needing to remove the seats entirely. With an eye toward luxury, Town & Country comes standard with leather upholstery and rear DVD entertainment. Despite being an entry-level model, the Dodge Grand Caravan American Value Package includes power windows/locks/mirrors, dual-zone climate control, and remote keyless entry. The top-line Grand Caravan R/T includes a performance suspension and sport-themed interior and exterior trim. Both vans drive well, and a wide variety of packaged and standalone options means you can tailor one to your exact specifications. On the downside, there’s a bit more engine and road noise than we would like. Fuel economy ratings are on the low end of the scale for minivans, but are still acceptable given these vehicles’ exceptional versatility. Note that 2014 could very well be the Grand Caravan’s final year, as Dodge will likely replace it with a seven-passenger crossover SUV. Town & Country should stick around and receive a redesign for 2015.

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About Chuck Giametta

This nationally recognized, award-winning writer brings to Carpreview.com two decades of automotive testing and reporting for newspapers, books, magazines, and the Internet. The former Executive Auto Editor of Consumer Guide, Chuck has covered cars for HowStuffWorks.com, Collectible Automobile magazine, and the Publications International Ltd. automotive book series. This ex-newspaper reporter has also appeared as an automotive expert on network television and radio. He’s a charter member of the Midwest Automotive Media Association, the president of the Rocky Mountain Automotive Media association, and a juror for the annual Active Lifestyle Vehicle of the Year awards. Chuck writes from Colorado Springs, Colo. If you have a question for Chuck, write to him at [email protected]