No vehicle can do it like vans can. They’re spacious, comfortable, versatile, and might just be the best family cars. True, they have something of an image problem, which has helped give rise to the plethora of 8-seat crossovers and three-row SUVs available today. Subsequently, sadly, minivans are a breed approaching extinction. But drivers with discerning taste can look past the stereotypes and appreciate minivans for their style, practicality, and low-key coolness. There aren’t many left to choose from, but these are the best 8-passenger minivans on sale in 2020.
Is the Kia Sedona the most stylish 8-seat van out there? One of our favorite minivans on the market, the Sedona won a five-way minivan comparison test, and we kept one in our long-term test fleet for a year. Its 3.3-liter V-6 engine makes 276 hp 248 lb-ft of torque, and it’s a smooth, quiet cruiser on the highway and around town. Front seat occupants will appreciate the infotainment system’s intuitive ease of use, as well as optional heated and cooled seats. The reconfigurable seats in the second and third row can be quickly folded away, opening up to 142 cubic feet of cargo space. With looks and features like these, the Sedona isn’t just for busy parents—it’s a crossover alternative for any driver seeking a combo of space and style.
This generation of Toyota Sienna has been sold since 2010. Back then, it was a comparison test winner, but today it feels its age despite a recent refresh. Still, some features keep it a compelling option among 8-passenger vans. It’s pretty powerful; its 3.5-liter V-6 makes a tire-spinning 296 hp and 263 lb-ft of torque. The Sienna is also the only 2020 minivan available with all-wheel drive, and good braking performance improves confidence. Interior volume is ample; most adults will fit comfortably in any row. Large windows add to the impression of space, which, with the available dual moonroof setup, helps passengers not feel squeezed in. Its impressive drivetrain and capacity keep the Sienna an 8-passenger van worth consideration, but technology upgrades—smartphone integration, full-speed adaptive cruise control, and a larger infotainment screen—would make it more competitive.
Honda knows things can get rowdy in a van full of kids, so it’s packed the Odyssey with features to help everyone aboard stay sane and safe. Drivers can keep an eye on back-seat shenanigans with the interior camera, and project their voice through the rear speakers or connected wireless headphones. There’s an optional 10.2-inch rear-seat display for watching movies, plus an app that shows the trip ahead to answer the question “are we there yet?” A stroke of van genius was realized in the built-in vacuum cleaner, perfect for sucking up spilled snacks. The Odyssey’s 3.5-liter V-6 and 10-speed automatic transmission provide solid performance and fuel economy, and ride quality melds stability and agility. Reconfigurable middle-row seats allow for a 7-seat setup with captain’s chairs, or a bench that lets 8 people ride along. However, they don’t easily fold away for loading cargo. Those and somewhat busy styling aside, the 2020 Honda Odyssey is a great 8-passenger minivan.
We extolled the virtues of vanning over the year we spent with the Chrysler Pacifica. The available stowable middle-row seats are a boon to practicality, helping to open up 140.5 cubic feet of cargo capacity. The Pacifica is comfortable and easy to get in and out of thanks to the wide-opening sliding rear doors. It features Chrysler‘s slick and responsive Uconnect infotainment system, and 8 USB ports to keep everyone’s devices juiced up. Though it’s no sport sedan substitute, the Pacifica has enjoyably car-like handling, with confident cornering and a well-controlled chassis. What’s more, for 2020 it’s the only plug-in hybrid minivan, allowing up to 33 miles of all-electric driving or 566 miles between gasoline refills. Among vans that can hold 8 passengers, the Pacifica brims with near-luxury appointments. It’s a nice vehicle no matter what it’s compared to.
Essentially an entry-level Pacifica, the Chrysler Voyager gives 2020 8-seat minivan shoppers a value-oriented option that’s light on luxury. Seats are cloth with manual adjustments, there’s less chrome trim, steel wheels are standard, headlights lose their LEDs, and the interior has fewer premium appointments. It’s not bare-bones, though. The infotainment system features smartphone integration, and there’s a host of driver safety aids like blind spot monitors and rear parking assistance available. As a van with 8 seats, the Voyager has it where it counts, featuring tons of storage space and versatile seating arrangements.
While the Metris is a Mercedes minivan, it’s not exactly the Mercedes of minivans. Originally designed for commercial duty, the Metris offers ample room for 8 passengers—but not a ton else. Luxuries are few; leather trim and power-operated side doors are optional. The cabin is loud and boomy, seats are upright and have limited adjustability, and the outdated infotainment system runs on a tiny display. That said, safety tech like forward collision warning, lane keeping assist, and automated parking assist is available. The Metris is rear-wheel-drive and its 208-hp 2.0-liter turbocharged I-4 is relatively smooth, but nowhere near as powerful as competitors’ V-6 engines. Built for work first and foremost, the Metris offers a mix of capability and capacity at the expense of upscale comfort.