Society may tell you that vans are frumpy, but those in the know will agree that today's minivans offer more practicality than SUVs, and some full-size vans offer towing and hauling capabilities that rival those of pickup trucks. There's no other body style on the market that is as flexible as a modern minivan. When it comes to getting down and dirty, commercial cargo and work vans have exactly what's needed to get the job done. The vans in the list below are built to serve both fleets and families.
Practical, comfortable, graceful, and undeniably handsome, the 2022 Chrysler Pacifica has family transportation down pat. It's offered with either a regular V-6 or a plug-in hybrid powertrain, and can be equipped with optional all-wheel drive. Its refined road manners make the Pacifica a pleasure to drive, whether you're logging interstate road-trip miles or simply shuttling kids to the high school football game, making it worthy of an Editors' Choice award. Cargo capacity is vast, especially with the second and third rows folded flat into their built-in alcoves in the Pacifica's floor. Its base price is loftier than rivals such as the Kia Carnival and the Honda Odyssey, but that's because the Pacifica's entry-level trims are marked under the Chrysler Voyager name, a van we review separately. While the rest of America continues to crave SUVs and crossovers, we'll be over here beating the drum for the more practical minivan—the Pacifica, in particular.
When production finally stopped on the old Dodge Caravan, that left a gap in the market for a cheap minivan: Enter the 2022 Chrysler Voyager. Based on the ritzier Chrysler Pacifica, the Voyager wears last year's fashion—its styling is a rip-off of the pre-facelift Pacifica—and it's been stripped of niceties such as leather upholstery and high-tech driver-assists to hit its budget-friendly price. A V-6 engine provides ample power, and there's room for seven riders across three rows of seats. While some options are offered to help upgrade the Voyager to modern standards, the van's value-oriented positioning makes it a tough sell against better-equipped rivals such as the Honda Odyssey, the Kia Carnival, and the Toyota Sienna.
From road trips to in-town grocery runs, the 2022 Honda Odyssey is an ideal companion for any family and that's why we put it on our Editors' Choice list. Its cabin is spacious and offers plenty of flexibility, whether you need it to haul a soccer team or a load of home improvement supplies. For times when long-haul driving is on the menu, its smooth and efficient V-6 engine is unobtrusive when cruising and powerful enough for passing. Technological features are plentiful and all models come with a host of driver-assistance features aimed at putting another layer of safety between the Odyssey's precious cargo and whatever mayhem might be brewing in a nearby lane. These are solid traits for any family vehicle, but the Odyssey isn't alone in offering them—rivals such as the Chrysler Pacifica and the Toyota Sienna are nipping at its heels and deserve a look.
The makeover of Kia's minivan is such a dramatic one that it even includes an all-new name: Carnival. The 2022 Carnival replaces the aging Sedona in Kia's lineup and its boxy SUV-like styling is no accident, as the Korean automaker aims to capitalize on the success of its critically-acclaimed and hot-selling Telluride SUV. Large wheels, crossover-like proportions, and signature daytime running lights that flow into the grille give the van an upscale-SUV vibe that reminds us of a Range Rover. All Carnival models are powered by a 290-hp 3.5-liter V-6 engine with front-wheel drive and an eight-speed automatic transmission. A host of driver-assistance features are offered as standard including automated emergency braking. Infotainment tech gets an upgrade as well with an optional dual-display setup with digital gauges and a navigation-equipped center touchscreen. The Carnival is a far more compelling minivan than the model it replaces, and it earned a coveted spot on our Editors' Choice list this year.
If you think that the 2022 Sienna looks more like an SUV than a minivan, that was Toyota's intent. Although the sliding side doors are a giveaway, the van's muscular body sides, roof rack, and flat hood help it blend in with the brand's other SUVs such as the mid-size Highlander and the full-size Sequoia. What you won't find here that you do in those SUVs is a V-6 or V-8 engine. Instead, the Sienna is offered exclusively as a hybrid; front-wheel drive is standard and all-wheel drive is optional. As a result, fuel economy is above average for the minivan class but, unfortunately, the Sienna's acceleration falls behind its non-hybrid rivals. While most buyers won't miss the extra pep of the Honda Odyssey's V-6 engine, some may find the Sienna's interior less practical than the Chrysler Pacifica's.
The 2022 Ford Transit Connect's maneuverability and versatility make it a great city van, but its unrefined nature and unremarkable engines leave a lot to be desired. However, for the various tradespeople who will find it most useful, those demerits should be easier to stomach. Available as a hollowed-out cargo van or one that'll hold up to seven passengers, the Transit Connect can be configured for a multitude of jobs. There's also a choice of short or long wheelbases and a rear liftgate or symmetrical rear doors. Ford even offers popular features such as Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, as well as driver assists such as adaptive cruise control and blind-spot monitoring. As long as highway slogs are limited, and regularly driven roads aren't too rough, the 2022 Transit Connect is easy to get around in, and its go-kart-like handling is endearing.
Vans are innately versatile, and both the cargo and passenger versions of the 2022 Mercedes-Benz Metris are no exception. The hollowed-out cargo van is perfect for tradespeople or anyone who wants a blank canvas from which to create a custom camper. Mercedes also offers the Metris-based Weekender camper model for those with considerable cash and fewer DIY skills. The Metris passenger van can carry up to eight with its configurable seating arrangements. Under the hood is a peppy 208-hp turbo four that feeds the rear wheels; all-wheel drive isn't available. The Metris’s German engineering heritage shows in its smooth ride and refined driving behavior. While the smaller Ford Transit Connect and Ram ProMaster City are less expensive city vans, the 2022 Metris has a higher max tow rating, which is among the reasons we named it to our Editors' Choice list.
When it comes to full-size vans, the 2022 Ford Transit possesses the most desirable skill set. As with the Ford's main competition—namely the Mercedes-Benz Sprinter and Ram ProMaster—it's highly configurable and very capable. Along with different roof heights and multiple wheelbases to choose from, the Transit is available in cargo, crew, and passenger variations. Power comes from either a 275-hp V-6 or a 310-hp twin-turbo V-6. Both pair with a 10-speed automatic and rear-wheel drive, but the turbocharged engine alone is compatible with all-wheel drive. Need to pull a trailer? The 2022 Transit can lug up to 7500 pounds, and every model comes with a bevy of standard driver assists. Arguably its best traits are how well the big van handles and how quiet its cabin is, and it's for these reasons we put it on our Editors' Choice list.
Backed by Mercedes-Benz's luxury pedigree, the 2022 Sprinter is a full-size van that boasts refined powertrains and countless configurations. However, it's also more expensive than similarly versatile rivals such as the Ford Transit and Ram ProMaster. Along with a standard turbo-four engine, the Sprinter offers two different diesel options and rear- or all-wheel drive. It can also tow up to 7500 pounds, but that's 1900 pounds less the Nissan NV, another Sprinter rival, can handle. The Merc can be had with a dual-rear-wheel axle, multiple roof heights, and three distinct variations: cargo, crew, and passenger. The trio can be equipped with tech such as a 10.3-inch touchscreen and various driver assists. With so much interior space and seemingly infinite ways to outfit it, the 2022 Mercedes-Benz Sprinter is a seriously useful tool for folks in the skilled trades.