What is a Van or Minivan?
Another name for the van or minivan is the space wagon, offering more space in the vehicle. Manufacturers designed the van or minivan as a true passenger vehicle with three rows of seats. It is capable of housing seven or eight persons, including the driver. So, it is suitable for a group of persons to travel together in a single-vehicle. The van or minivan generally doesn’t offer sports or performance-oriented versions. However, manufacturers offer some luxury features and more functionality in these vans to make them more appealing to the buyers. Nowadays, manufacturers offer different variants such as passengers, crew, cargo, and cab chassis/cutaway models.
Furthermore, a standard van offers a seating capacity from12 to 15 seats, while the minivan can house from 8 to 10 passengers. In many countries, one can drive a van with a seating capacity of 12, including the driver with a standard car driving license. However, you may need a Light Rigid license for a vehicle with a seating capacity of more than 12 adults, including the driver. Some vans are used purely for cargo applications such as postal delivery, various maintenance services, and mobile food trucks. Some of them are even used as ambulances because of their vast space. They are also ideal for transporting school kids.
Minivans consist of three main compartments:
- The front of the vehicle with a bonnet or hood and the engine compartment.
- Driver compartment
- The passenger/cargo compartment with doors, three rows of seats, and a tailgate.
However, the vans or minivans have an extended passenger area. The body styling resembles closely to a station wagon. The extended area separates them from SUVs and wagons, which is used mainly for more passengers, while in the SUVs and estates, it is used for cargo. This is the main difference between the two and could be why vans or minivans also got the name - space wagon. The primary objective of the older generation vans was to transport more passengers than cargo. Generally, minivans don't have much space specifically for cargo. Unlike the station wagons, the seats in the van or minivan are fixed type, and you can’t fold them.
Generally, vans and minivans have a boxy design with the conventional opening of the doors for the second row of seats. However, some modern-day vans and minivans have a sleek design with sliding doors. You can pull forward and fold down the second row of seats in the minivan, just like the coupes. So, persons entering the third/last row of seats need to pull and fold down the second row of seats to enter the last row. Thus, it is a bit inconvenient for some people to get in and out of a minivan. So, generally, persons going far and long distances are seated in the third/last row.
Advantages of Minivan:
But vans are great to travel together as a group. Vans bring a true sense of togetherness amongst its co-passengers. It was the most popular vehicle in the hippie culture of the 1980s. At times, the third/last row of seats can also fold forwards to make space for cargo if the seats are not in use. Earlier, manufacturers didn’t offer a four-wheel-drive option to vans or minivans, but nowadays, they do. However, they also have a higher ground clearance than sedans and other cars. So, with these options, you can take a van almost anywhere – on or off-road. This makes it more versatile among all vehicles.