These Are The Best Minivans For Camping
There’s a reason minivans are so popular: They offer maximum options when it comes to heading out for a camping excursion with the fam or for a solo expedition. Now, while summer is not yet upon us, it’s still never too early to plan for the warmer months ahead.
In addition to room for up to eight passengers, minivans often offer expansive cargo space and can come with extras such as roof racks, integrated intercom systems, and built-in vacuums. Another plus: decent fuel economy that means fewer gas station stops, which means “roughing it” will be less rough on your wallet.
Read on to learn more about five minivans that could meet all of your camping needs, whether you’re looking to head out of the city for a few days, seek solitude in the wilderness, or just find a quiet place for a weekend retreat.
2017-2021 Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid | Fuel economy: 82 MPGe
Camping may come with its own set of worries: Will it rain? Will you remember how to start a campfire? Are there bears around? One thing you won’t need to think about is where to find the nearest gas station because the Pacifica Hybrid is the best choice among minivans when it comes to gas mileage. It pairs a gas V6 engine with hybrid power with plug-in capability to deliver an EPA-estimated 82 MPG-equivalent. The all-electric range is 32 miles, and when the electric range is exhausted, the Pacifica Hybrid returns a combined 30 mpg.
In addition, the Pacifica Hybrid offers a comfortable, refined ride that’s great for long road trips. Loaded with the latest technology, this minivan features Chrysler’s new Uconnect 5 infotainment system, including a large 10.1-inch touchscreen, wireless Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, and Amazon Alexa. Standard features include three-zone automatic climate control, remote start, and HD Radio.
2021 Chrysler Voyager | Priced from: $27,235
The Chrysler Voyager is great on space but lacks some of the extras, such as leather seating, that other minivans offer. But it can hold up well to rough-and-tumble kids, dirty hiking boots, and gear that’s frequently tossed in and pulled out.
In addition to seating for up to seven passengers, the Voyager comes standard with Chrysler’s Stow ’n Go third-row bench, and provides up to 140 cubic feet of cargo space. Because the Voyager doesn’t come with a Stow ’n Go second row like the Chrysler Pacifica, drivers need to remove the second-row bench to make the most of the cargo space. The Voyager is not available with a hands-free or even a power rear liftgate.
Features such as pedestrian detection, forward-collision warning, automatic emergency braking, rear parking sensors, rear cross-traffic alert, and blind-spot monitoring are all optional.
2021 Honda Odyssey | Max. Cargo Volume: 158 Cubic Feet
Considered one of the top minivans, the Honda Odyssey comes standard with a 280-horsepower V6 engine, routes power to the front wheels through a 10-speed automatic transmission, and is rated at 19 mpg city, 28 highway, 22 combined.
Honda Sensing driver-assistance features include lane-departure warning, automatic emergency braking, traffic sign recognition, lane departure warning, automatic high-beam headlights, and pedestrian detection. Rear-cross traffic alert, rain-sensing wipers, blind-spot monitoring, and front and rear parking sensors are optional. One downside: Where a simple column shifter would suffice, the Odyssey leverages Honda’s proprietary shifter design, which is somewhat complicated and requires a learning curve.
2022 Kia Carnival | Horsepower: 290
With the Carnival, you’ll enjoy room for up to eight passengers plus a Flex seating feature that includes a second-row bench with fold-down middle seat. It converts the bench into two individual outboard seats with a center console, and available second-row captain’s chairs fully recline.
In addition to standard Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, the Carnival offers nine USB chargers and is available with wireless device charging. There’s also a rear-seat entertainment system with dual 12-inch screens, plus an intercom system between the driver and rear passengers. And if you’re hands are full of camping gear and other provisions, you’ll appreciate the Carnival’s hands-free smart power rear liftgate and hands-free power sliding doors.
2021 Toyota Sienna | Max. Cargo Volume: 101 Cubic Feet
Great design and a bunch of standard safety features might make up for the fact that the Sienna’s rear seats aren’t removable, which severely limits cargo space. But this minivan does offer a range of standard features that are sure to come in handy, including power-sliding side doors and power rear liftgate, tri-zone climate control, an eight-way power-adjustable driver’s seat, and push-button start.
Powered by a four-cylinder hybrid drivetrain, the Sienna combines a 2.5-liter gas engine with a pair of electric motors to produce a combined 245 horsepower. While sufficient for getting around town, this hybrid doesn’t perform as well on the highway. The four-cylinder engine drones loudly under hard acceleration, or when climbing a steep road when the van is fully loaded. The front-wheel-drive Sienna returns fuel economy of 36 mpg city/highway/combined; the AWD Sienna returns fuel economy of 35 mpg city, 36 highway, 35 combined.