Passenger Vans vs. Minivans: What’s the Difference?

If you usually travel with a big group, you require a lot of room. And anytime you plan to take a trip somewhere, and you know you’ll need extra space, you’ll need a vehicle that can accommodate you.

There are typically two types of vehicles that can accomplish this. But both come with advantages and disadvantages. Passenger vans and minivans may seem similar, but there are distinctions. So, the question remains. Passenger vans vs. minivans: What’s the difference?

What Is a Passenger Van?

A passenger van is a motor vehicle designed to transport 15 or fewer passengers, including the driver. This type of vehicle can function as a school bus, ambulance, or wheelchair transportation service, and it can even shuttle hotel and airport guests. The seating designs transport large groups quickly and efficiently, and you can remove the rear seats to accommodate more cargo or fewer people. Passenger van rentals in Baltimore come equipped to fit large groups.

In a passenger van, you have two types of removable rear seats: quick-release and bolted to the floor. The latter creates much more work for removing and installing seats. If you plan to remove the seats often, purchase the quick release option.

Full-size passenger vans models have a center aisle that makes entering and exiting the vehicle accessible without disturbing other passengers. You can also select the type of seating you want in your van.

Passenger vans may have bench seating, meaning long seats across that can accommodate about three people per bench, or individually contoured seats, or a combination of both.

What Is a Minivan?

A minivan transports passengers in the rear seating rows, reconfigurable in two or three rows. Minivans often have a one-box or two-box body configuration, a high H-point seating, a higher roof, a flat floor, and sliding doors for rear passengers.

Most minivans are based on a passenger car platform and have a lower body compared to full-size vans. Unlike other passenger vehicles, with a minivan, the body shape design of the minivan maximizes interior space for both the passengers and cargo.

The larger rear door openings also increase passengers’ comfort, and the oversized windows are a boon for sightseers, giving a more airy, expansive feel to the cabin. The optimized headspace allows passengers to enter and exit the vehicle quickly. The cabin has three rows of seats, which can easily fit about eight or nine people.

The minivan comes in different sizes, from micro, compact, and medium to a full-sized minivan.

  • Manufacturers classify Micro MPV (multipurpose vehicles) as the smallest-sized minivan. This vehicle sits below the compact MPV size, and its shape models B-segment hatchback platforms.
  • Compact MPV class size sits between the mini MPV and minivan size classes.

In addition to the different sizes, minivans also come with varying builds within the vehicle classification. The build ranges include one-volume (without a hood), one-and-half volume (with half a hood), and two-volume (with a whole food).

What Are the Differences?

You can note the main differences between passenger vans and minivans based on their size and functions—manufacturers design minivans with a more car-like feel, road behavior, and exterior dimensions.

Passenger vans are larger and more of a work van built on the same platform as cargo vans, so they drive more like trucks. Apart from these two distinctions, passenger vans and minivans have seven more critical differences.

  1. Minivans are easier to park and drive because of their platforms. Manufacturers design them smaller and more compact than passenger vans, making them easier to maneuver around tight spaces.
  2. Passenger vans can hold more people comfortably because they are more comprehensive than minivans. They can safely transport up to 15 people.
  3. Minivans are more fuel-efficient because they come equipped with less powerful engines. Their smaller size also adds to their fuel-efficiency.
  4. Passengers make for better work vehicles. Businesses use passenger vans for shuttle services and rental purposes.
  5. Minivans make for great family-friendly cars. The spacious interior and storage capacity make the lives of families easier. It’s the perfect vehicle for family travel.
  6. Passenger vans can tow heavier items. The size, powerful engine, and robust design allow the van to carry heavy objects up to 3,500 lb.
  7. Minivans are simpler to enter and exit. Because the minivan sits lower, passengers can get in and out of the van more easily than in a passenger van.

Minivan Features

Minivans offer attractive amenities and tech gadgets. Some of these features are worth mentioning.

  • Some feature air-cooled seats, perfect for those warm summer days.
  • They have a 360-degree-view parking assistance.
  • Some have an integrated vacuum cleaner installed when the kids make a mess.
  • They can come equipped with a device that locates gas stations.
  • They have adaptive radar cruise control.
  • The final row of seating acts as a lounge area or as extra storage.
  • They have integrated rear window sunshades.
  • Many boast automated side doors that open with a foot swipe or close with the push of a button. Motion sensors are handy to avoid any accidents too.

Passenger Van Features

Passenger vans have a few tricks and trinkets worth mentioning too.

  • The vans come equipped with an in-vehicle Wi-Fi hotspot.
  • They have a multimedia system with a touchscreen.
  • The vans provide you with blind-spot assist mirrors—an excellent feature to help promote safer driving.
  • An active lane-keeping assist warns the driver when they unintentionally leave their lane. You can use one-sided braking intervention to help maneuver back into your lane.
  • An active distance-assisted cruise control system maintains a preset speed and aids in keeping you a safe distance from the vehicles ahead of you.
  • They feature a forward-collision warning system.
  • Pre-collision capability assists with automatic emergency braking.

Pros and Cons

Both vehicles come with their set of pros and cons. Minivans are more family-friendly vehicles and less expensive than full-size vans. But they are inadequate when you need to transport large groups.

Passenger vans have better towing capacity than minivans and can better accommodate the needs of disabled passengers. But they are difficult to park in tight spaces.

From the looks of it, both vehicles have advantages and disadvantages. Here at Landbird, we focus on the positives, so you see only benefits when you know the difference between passenger vans and minivans. For more information, visit our website.

Passenger Vans vs. Minivans: What's the Difference?