If you have a large family, you know full well just how difficult the daily grind can be. One person has to be one place while someone else needs to go halfway across town at almost the same time. If you are lucky, the required destinations will magically line up so you can be most efficient. Unfortunately, one challenge remains even in the best of circumstances. How will you transport everyone? Large families face a major logistical issue when it comes to buying a new vehicle. Beyond the usual requirements related to performance, fuel efficiency, safety, and interior comfort, they have to be concerned with the size and space of the vehicle. The right choice can mean the difference between a stress-free commute and a nightmare scenario where no one has the space to relax. This is why so many people look at vans and large SUVs like the 2018 Chevy Suburban as the best ride to get them and everyone else around. With larger vehicles, you get more passenger and cargo space you can put to use almost anyway that you want. The real challenge is knowing which one to choose.
Choosing between a van and a full-size SUV comes down to a unique set of requirements large families have. It is this requirement list that takes anything smaller off of the table. Forget the crossover SUVs and family sedans. To avoid buying two or three new cars to get the job done, you need something that can handle the large load of people you need to drive around.
Large families must deal with more than just sheer numbers. Yes, the number of family members will largely dictate which options are on or off the table. Unless you are wanting to just cram people in with little thought or concern to their comfort and wellbeing, however, you need to factor more than just size into the equation. The right choice depends on how the vehicle makes you feel safe and comfortable.
Safety should be a no-brainer when it comes to finding that right type of vehicle. A van or SUV that does not give you the protection your family deserves is not a good option at all. In fact, it is best to narrow down your list of choices based on safety ratings from the very start.
Comfort is a little more difficult to gauge since both types of vehicles can give you a palace on wheels depending on the make and model. Convenience features, legroom, headroom, and the general interior atmosphere will all play a role in influencing how a specific model looks and feels to every member of the family. Unfortunately, this means you need to take a test drive before choosing the right vehicle.
Still, there are a few things you can figure out when choosing between a van and an SUV.
The Perks Of A Van
For decades, long before SUVs became mainstream and popular, vans were the main form of family transportation when you needed to maximize passenger space. Boxy, spacious vans had the premium features and feel that served large families well for short commutes and long trips alike. They also offered a unique driving experience that provided some extra weight through the steering wheel.
While the popularity of family vans has declined over the years, they still remain a great option when you need the most amount of passenger and cargo room. Unlike vans of old, options these days come with better safety and convenience features like folding interior seats, infotainment systems, and side airbags.
The exteriors of many vans have also evolved over the years. Coming from a history of boxy angles that offered little to no help in the area of fuel efficiency, most modern vans sport curvy lines that create aerodynamic surfaces to gently push air out of the way as the vehicle cruises down the road.
They remain one of the best options for the most amount of interior space all around. Depending on the make and model, you can find a large van that rivals a small bus in terms of utility and functionality. Ultimately, if you need the maximum amount of interior space, a van is a safe choice for a family vehicle.
It is hard to go wrong with most large vans. If you want something a step down in terms of size without sacrificing most of the interior space and convenience, however, an SUV may be a better choice.
The Advantages Of An SUV
SUVs became popular back in the 1990s for their balance between car-like features and the van-like size. While they are not as large as some vans, full-size SUVs tend to offer plenty of room for passengers and cargo. In fact, most full-size SUVs are built off of truck frames, combining the cabin and bed space into one interior that can fit up to eight or nine people depending on the model.
Unlike large vans, an SUV retains some of the handling characteristics of a truck or even a large car. They are a good option when you want to strike the balance of handling, so you do not have to completely relearn how to drive the vehicle if you are purchasing a full-size SUV for the first time. Some full-size SUVs even offer better turning than trucks of the same size.
The real treat for large families in SUVs is the interior comfort and functionality. This is where both SUVs and vans have a lot in common. Coming with two or three rows, along with options like bench or captain seating, the inside of an SUV can handle a large amount of people without feeling too cramped. Many model interiors also feature folding seats so you can have cargo space that rivals many smaller trucks at the same time.
An SUV is all about balance between the vehicular extremes. If you find yourself needing more room but wanting a familiar feel and driving experience, this may be the best route to go when looking for a new vehicle.