Trucks and minivans may seem like apples and oranges, but they both can make great family vehicles. They offer answers to some of the challenges of a busy life, including room for hauling both passengers and cargo safely. So which one will work best for you?
Truck: A Rugged, Adaptable Family Vehicle
You may not have considered a truck to be a legitimate family vehicle, but it’s true-a truck can make family life much easier because of its ability to tackle multiple problems. Most truck models have four door options, making a truck a perfectly safe, comfortable way for five passengers to ride. Though there’s no third row option to invite friends along for the ride, there is plenty of room for cargo. An open truck bed is an adaptable option that can handle anything from muddy soccer shoes to a wet kayak to a pile of branches and leaves without any problems. Boy Scout camping trip? You’re ready! Not to mention all of those times you or a friend need help moving something big and heavy. Wait, is that an up-side or a down-side to owning a truck? Smaller cargo may need to be contained in a truck box or cargo net, but a most truck owners find that a stash of bungee cords can restrain smaller items from rolling around the bed. For the most part, the capacity of a truck bed to handle anything from small grocery runs to major purchases like a washer and a dryer can ease any family’s mind. You never realize how often you “need” a truck until you’ve had one, then you have to go without.
As a family vehicle, a truck does have some potential drawbacks. For one, it’s really high off of the ground for little kids to climb in and out. You can purchase stepboards which helps, but it’s still a reach for young kids. That height is also a challenge for the “aging” crowd. Another drawback with a truck is vulnerability to weather. Unexpected rain and snow can be really inconvenient when you didn’t cover the bed before your road trip.
A truck is an underappreciated family vehicle, and can be a great option in the right circumstances. If you love the outdoors, kayaking, camping, or atv’s; if you have horses and rodeo every other weekend; if you just like the idea of being completely self sufficient and never having to ask for help, then a truck might be the family vehicle for you.
Minivan: A Busy, Practical Family Vehicle
A minivan, like a truck, isn’t known for the wide variety of styles. Minivans pretty much look the same no matter the make and model, with small variations. What a minivan does is offer the most bang for your buck in terms of space and fuel economy. The interior space of a minivan can far exceed the interior space of large SUVs, which makes them a fantastic option if you’re looking for a combination of passenger comfort and cargo options. Minivans offer three rows of comfortable seating, either with two rows of benches or, as is more common, a row of captain’s chairs and a 60/40 split bench seat. This combination makes for very easy accessibility-it’s easy for passengers to get in and out and, for families, it’s easy for parents to get to kids regardless of where they are seated, especially because of the automatic sliding doors. Without having to worry about the clearance of an open door, cargo and passengers can be loaded easily even in tight spaces. When one row is collapsed, the cargo space is impressive.
Minivans are great on the go, but they do have some drawbacks. They drive like a car and don’t have the power to tow, so any toys you might have will need to be towed by another vehicle. The same is true of all-wheel or four-wheel drive-minivans simply aren’t constructed with these options. While there’s plenty of cargo space in the interior of a minivan, most of that comes when seats are collapsed and stored or removed, which makes it challenging to travel with family and cargo at the same time. Minivans aren’t sexy-they don’t have the rugged appeal of a truck or the style of an SUV. They are practical to the core, addressing many of the needs of a busy family on the go, but a carpeted interior means that messy and heavy loads are likely a no-go.
A minivan is the ultimate family vehicle, handling the needs of passengers and basic cargo with a budget-friendly price, but may not be the best option if lots of heavy, messy, or otherwise unwieldy cargo is a part of your daily life.