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Choosing a Car for a Family: Vans for Sale in Indianapolis

buy a used family van in Indianapolis

A minivan is the most versatile, comfortable, and spacious vehicle to cover any lifestyle duties of a big family. At the Indianapolis pre-owned auto dealership Indy Auto Man, you will find used family vans from popular brands, including Chrysler, Toyota, Dodge, and Kia, in good condition.

What Is a Family Van Called?

what is a family van called?

If someone kept statistics on how often people confuse cars of different types, then the minivan, often referred to as a family van or simply van, would be among the champions. On the one hand, they are easily recognizable by their characteristics and appearance. On the other hand, few people distinguish a minivan from a minibus. Calling a passenger Mercedes-Benz Sprinter a minivan or classifying Chrysler Voyager as a minibus is common. 

The essence of a minivan can be expressed in three characteristic features:

  • Semi-hooded or cab type of body, sometimes a wagon layout;
  • Nine seats (with driver) in three rows, the rear row folds;
  • One rear door of a sliding or hinged type or two ordinary ones;
  • The engine is squeezed into a small compartment directly under the front of the cabin, most often located between the driver and the front passenger. And so the hood is very short and steep, merging with the windshield.

Such a body structure allows you to get the maximum usable volume for a given size. Therefore, minivans appeared at the dawn of the automotive industry at the beginning of the 20th century, when cars were extremely expensive. People wanted more capacity and convenience for their money despite mediocre technical and dynamic characteristics and a controversial appearance.

Why Minivans Are Good for a Family

Every year, hundreds of thousands of minivans are sold in the US, and the demand is stable - because the need for them is not a fashion trend but practicality. Family vans have many undeniable advantages:

  • good cabin capacity with relatively small dimensions;
  • low fuel consumption due to the aerodynamic body;
  • drives like a large passenger car, not like a truck;
  • you can fold two rows of seats and get a large amount of cargo;
  • a lot of space for tall people, often even in the back seats;
  • easy to pick up and drop off small children, elderly or disabled passengers.

By the mid-80s in the United States, family minivans had become a real hit in the automotive market. They found the greatest demand, of course, among family people. Indeed, in such a vehicle, you can comfortably seat the whole family with children and grandparents and go out of town or even to the seashore. It is very convenient to go shopping in a family van when you can load a bunch of packages and boxes and even a washing machine into the car. Since then, the minivan has become strongly associated with the family car. As we see with our buyers, a family van often becomes an additional car, not the main one. 

"This van is gonna be the third car in our family: I drive a BMW 7 Series, and my wife prefers a small electric Chevy Bolt for daily commutes, but with two teens and a baby, it's always a big problem to go shopping or on a trip. And since neither of us is ready to part with our cars, we decided that financing a used minivan is a great option. In addition, my father will also be able to drive it to take the children to school."

James D., Chrysler Pacifica owner

buy used chrysler pacifica in indianapolis

However, there are also connoisseurs among young people - a family van can be used for recreation, parties, and tourist outings. The decisive factor here is the ability to re-equip the interior. In the US, the minivan has become part of the party bus phenomenon - a more mobile and cheaper option.

Sometimes family vans are also used for commercial purposes - minibusses for transporting passengers. However, a minivan is still not a minibus, so it is unprofitable to transport people in an intensive mode like a fixed-route taxi. It is a luxury transport for individual trips. Therefore, minivans often become corporate vehicles of reputable companies transporting guests and delegations from the airport to the hotel, or the transport for individual sightseeing tours in Indiana. 

Not So Universal: Cons of a Family Van

cons of a van for a family

A family van is a compromise between a station wagon—a passenger car with a large trunk, and a minibus—a full-fledged passenger transport. Along with the advantages of such a synthesis, there are also disadvantages:

  • driving a minivan is harder than a station wagon, especially in crosswinds;
  • the cabin is not as spacious as in a full-size van;
  • slow acceleration and relatively low maximum speed;
  • a voluminous interior warms up slower especially its rear part;
  • an empty minivan reacts quite unpleasantly to bumps in the road.

Of course, for the constant transportation of passengers, it is better to use a full-size with 8-15 seats, like Mercedes-Benz Sprinter. As well as for commercial transportation of goods.

Is It Worth Buying a Minivan as a Family Car?

Buy a used minivan for your family

A minivan is still a passenger car, squeezed into the restrictions of dimensions and weight. It is poorly suited for the role of the everyday car but a perfect choice for a big family. It consumes more fuel than a sedan or coupe, so it is better to opt for a hybrid version. 

The best scenario for using a minivan is an additional car for periodic outings to a shopping center or nature with the whole family or a company of friends. Buy your quality family van at Indy Auto Man - we will help you find your ideal option that will last for many years.