The Safest Minivans With Good Gas Mileageby Dennis Hartman
Despite the many SUVs, hatchbacks and crossover utility vehicles unveiled in the past decade, minivans continue to be a good choice for many drivers, especially those with families. But while most major automakers produce a minivan, some models stand out when it comes to safety and gas mileage.
The Kia Sedona is generally considered among the safest minivans on the road today. It has scored well on tests by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, including "good" ratings for front, rear and side impact tests. The Sedona also earns a 9.9 (out of 10) safety rating from "U.S. News and World Report." Despite the Sedona's relatively large, 3.8-liter V6 engine, it achieves an overall fuel economy of around 20 miles per gallon.
The Hyundai Entourage was a strong, direct competitor to the Kia Sedona when it was sold in the North American market. Today, used models offer the same combination of safety and fuel economy. The Entourage is also powered by a 3.8-liter V6 engine, though it produces slightly more horsepower than the Sedona at around the same 20 miles per gallon. Also like the Sedona, the Entourage is scored at 9.9 in terms of overall safety by "U.S. News."
Chrysler Town & Country
The Chrysler Town & Country is the direct descendant of Chrysler's original minivans that opened up the market segment in the early 1990s. Today's Town & Country is among the safer minivans available from an American automaker, having scored an 8.7 for safety from "U.S. News" and an impressive 8.3 overall (the highest of any minivan on this list). While fuel economy under city conditions is average, the Town & Country can achieve up to 25 miles per gallon on the highway and is also capable of using E85 ethanol fuel.
German automaker Volkswagen is a small-time player in the minivan market, but its Routan model is a strong contender. Rated at 8.7 for safety by "U.S. News," the Routan scored "good" on the majority of Insurance Institute for Highway Safety crash tests and includes such safety equipment as side-curtain airbags for all three rows. Like the Chrysler Town & Country, the Routan is more suited for long-distance cruising than in-town drives, making up to 25 miles per gallon on the highway.
Dodge Grand Caravan
The Dodge Grand Caravan shares its frame with the Chrysler Town & Country. It also shares much of what makes it a safe vehicle, including its 8.7 safety rating. The Grand Caravan can also use E85 ethanol fuel and makes up to 25 miles per gallon on the highway or overall fuel economy in the low-20s range. Even in its base "SE" trim level, the Grand Caravan comes with three rows of side curtain airbags and anti-lock brakes.
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