Is trying to find a balance between a work van and a family transporter driving you round the bend? Getting the right mix of durable, functional fittings for a workhorse but with enough comfort to transport family, friends, or customers can be hard with so many models on the market.
Luckily, many of the major car manufacturers are having a go at blending both, with surprising results.
If you travel in a pack and are looking for the best vans, then look no further. Read on as we discuss 8 models you have to try out before making a decision.
1. Best Vans Choice Chrysler Pacifica
One of the best minivans of 2020, and a frequent front runner in best-of lists, is the Chrysler Pacifica. It is the perfect blend of minivan functionality, with the amenities of a modern family car. Add a dash of style and good looks, and you have the perfect vehicle.
The inside cabin is created to a very high specification, with good quality molded parts and features. You can upgrade trims, and these have a marked effect on the interior feel of the van. In some of them, you are reaching the levels of a luxury car.
Some of the features are genius, such as the optional built-in vacuum cleaner (excellent for cab drivers). It has a 4G connection that can provide Wi-Fi for up to 8 devices at once. The stowaway seats are cleverly designed, as they can pack into the floor to turn the whole space into a large, 165 cubic feet of empty cargo space ideal for swapping between passenger and cargo.
Entertainment features include a five-inch touchscreen with Bluetooth connectivity. For the rest of your needs, a 6 speaker sound system pumps out crystal clear audio. It also comes with a rearview camera and adaptive cruise control.
The van is available in a hybrid model and is one of the few vans available with an electric powertrain. When the lithium-ion battery pack is charged, the van can travel for up to 33 MPH purely on electric, making huge savings on fuel. The non-hybrid model has 287 horsepower in a 3.6-liter V6 engine.
2. Honda Odyssey
While it may not look as sleek as some of the others on the list, the cabin space and technological features alone push the Odyssey up the list. It is ideal for families who are planning long journeys, with a host of features to keep children entertained. It has seats for 8 passengers, housing even the largest of families.
You can keep the passengers in check with a built-in PA system and rear-seat video feed. The rear also features an infotainment system, linked up to an 8-inch central touchscreen in the front. A great feature for anyone using the van commercially is that the system in the back can even tell the passengers how much longer it will be until they arrive at their destination.
Another great feature for long journeys is the social playlist. This allows all passengers to upload tracks via the 4G Wi-Fi connection, creating a soundtrack to your journey the whole family will love.
Mechanically, it does not have some of the power that other vans have but is a smooth and agile ride. A 3.5-liter engine provides 280hp with a 9-speed automatic transmission.
3. Kia Sedona
Possibly the best family van on the list, the Kia Sedona offers a range of great features and a smooth ride on a budget. It undercuts its competitors in price and keeps the cost low even when adding additional features. It also comes with a 10-year warranty.
Despite its low cost, it is still packed with innovative features. It has a surround-view camera so you can see the environment around your vehicle. The exterior is also enhanced with heated side mirrors and automatic headlights.
You can stay cool inside with tri-zone automatic climate control, and a refrigerated glove box to keep your drinks cold. A cluster ionizer can even purify the interior air quality for you.
You will be guaranteed a comfortable ride with the addition of optional Nappa leather seating. All this sits alongside Bluetooth, USB inputs, satellite radio, and a five-inch touchscreen with a four-speaker system.
It is only available in a 3.3-liter V6 engine model, providing 276 hp. The transmission is an 8 speed automatic, and upgrade on the previous 6-speed version.
4. Toyota Sienna
With a chassis that is styled like your average road car and optional all-wheel drive, the Sienna has functionality at its heart. It is economic on fuel, averaging 29 MPG with 27 on the all-wheel-drive model. Its 296 horsepower V-6 engine gives you more than enough power, remaining agile and nippy even with a full cargo.
The interior does not boast some of the higher-end entertainment features its competitors do. However, it does have a three-inch touchscreen with an Entune sound system as standard.
Some of the new features added include blind-spot monitoring along with adaptive cruise control. These are added to the pre-existing rearview camera, three-zone automatic climate control, power side mirrors, and cloth seating.
Where the Sienna really comes into its own is with the addition of the upgraded options. The Sienna SE trim gives it a sporty finish with a body kit, smoked lights, and sports seating. This also upgrades it to an 8 seater capacity.
The advanced trims and upgrades also offer some technical enhancements. Advanced wheel drive is available for LE trims and higher.
5. Mercedes Benz Vito
The Vito is the workhorse of the Mercedes catalog. While the name is synonymous with high-end trims and luxury, the Vito focuses on labor and getting the job done with the minimum of fuss. Because of this, it is one of the best cargo vans in its class, outstripping the Ford Transit and VW Transporter.
To keep prices competitive, Mercedes have offered a smaller engine model to lower the starting price. This 1.6-liter diesel engine has a 6-speed manual shift, with a 7-speed automatic fitted in more powerful models. You can choose from three lengths; compact, long, and extra long.
Inside, the fittings are essentially hardened versions of the V Class passenger car. The seating is firm and supportive, and you can also have an optional adjustable steering column. While it does have standard storage in the cabin area, you may find it lacking as some of the compartments are a little thin.
Sliding side doors come as standard, with the option of hatch or twin opening doors at the rear. For anyone wanting a sleeker chassis look, check out these Mercedes Vito Sport guys.
6. Ford Transit Connect
The Transit Connect has a very unique look, partway between a van and minibus. It is a smaller-sized passenger van, that can hold up to 7 people. The interior also features air conditioning and a four-speaker audio system.
It is powered by a 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine. A reverse sensing system and cruise control are also included as essential driver features. A range of infotainment features is available on request.
While the interior is far from luxury, it is practical and durable. Depending on the model, you can get around 104.2 cubic feet of space in the cargo hold.
7. Dodge Grand Caravan
One of the best camper vans around, the Dodge Grand Caravan is for everything from camping to haulage. Fold-down, stow and go seating allows you to quickly change it from a family vehicle to a workhorse. With a split-folding third row, you can get an awful lot of room measuring 140.3 cubic feet with all the chairs down.
Controls for the cruise and audio controls are cleverly mounted in the steering wheel. The car has power windows and door locks along with dual-zone climate control. The whole thing drives on a 283 horsepower 3.6-liter V6 engine with a six-speed automatic transmission.
The 2020 model comes in three trim choices; SE, SE Plus, and the SXT. At the top end SXT, you can add features such as power sliding doors and gates, leather upholstery, roof rails, and fog lights. Even the SE Plus trim is a huge step up in terms of comfort with a plusher upholstery set and an 8-way movable driver seat.
8. Nissan Quest
The Nissan Quest comes in a range of trims, yet the standard S Trim is packed with features. Its inside look’s extremely luxurious with classic wood paneling. It has power windows, door locks, and a push-button start. The driving experience is enhanced with cruise control as standard.
The entertainment system in older models can seem a little dated with its rear-seat DVD entertainment system and an AM/FM/CD audio system. However, the 2020 model boasts a new updated infotainment system for those long car journeys with the family.
For the driver, it also has a rearview multi-angle camera to help avoid collisions. Powered by a 3.5-liter V6 engine, it can generate 253 horsepower. A CVT gearbox is equipped with every model.
The Quest is bundled with a host of safety features. These include parking sensors, traction control, blind-spot monitoring, and a rearview camera.
Comfort Without Compromise
As you can see from our list, you no longer have to compromise comfort for durability with so many of the best vans on the market at affordable prices.
If you enjoyed our guide, then check out our other articles. We have a number of motoring stories to help you stay abreast of all the automotive industry news.