A grey 2020 Dodge Journey from a Dodge Journey dealer is driving on a city street.

The Rise of the SUV as a Family Vehicle

Maybe you have a baby on the way, or perhaps you already have children, and you are in need of something more practical for a family to drive instead of your sedan. After all, a growing family needs room in the family vehicle just as they need room in the home. If this were the 1990s or earlier, your first instinct would be to head to the dealership and take a look at which minivans they had to offer. But this isn’t 1990, and minivans have quickly become replaced with the more desirable SUV, with models like the Dodge Journey taking precedence over the regular minivan. When you’re thinking of getting a new family vehicle, skip the minivan and head to your local Dodge Journey dealer for a versatile SUV that your family will love.

One primary factor that has been hurting the sales of the minivan is the aesthetic appeal that SUVs have. This isn’t just a blip on the sales screen; sales of minivans over the last decade have dropped significantly, as much as 35 percent. Another reason for the spike in SUV sales is the smaller size of families. Most families are only having one or two children, and a large minivan is simply more space than most people need. Take, for example, the Dodge Journey, a mid-size crossover SUV that can seat up to seven, has a respectable towing capacity, and offers several comfort and convenience features. SUVs are filling a market need for something that looks appealing, offers enough space, and is easy to maneuver.

The Demise of the Minivan or the Rise of the SUV

Minivans do one thing, and they do one thing very well; hauling families from point A to point B. They are basically a one-trick pony, while the SUV wears several hats. You don’t have to dig very deep to come up with compelling reasons why SUVs make better family vehicles than minivans, or sedans, for that matter. Sure, many of the reasons are obvious, but there are a few reasons that you might not have thought about.

A woman is loading the trunk of a 2020 Dodge Journey with a yellow bike on the roof on a city street.

Wide and Varied Selection

Not every brand offers a minivan, but almost all brands offer SUVs, several in fact. Dodge offers the Durango and Journey, Ford offers the Explorer, Expedition, and EcoSport, Honda has the Pilot, Toyota has the RAV4, Nissan has the Rogue, and there are even more options available under all of these brands. In fact, we can’t think of a major player who doesn’t offer at least one SUV. However, if you want a minivan, you are going to be facing very limited options.

This is important because we all have our favorite brand. You can be a fan of Dodge models or, perhaps, you prefer Toyota vehicles or Ford. Your favorite brand might not even offer a minivan, so where does that leave you? Having a wide and varied choice of SUVs means not only do you get to pick and choose from several models, trims, packages, features, and options, but you also get to pick your price point. If you are in the market for a minivan, you are limited on the price point in addition to models, trims, and so on.

Performance and Capabilities

You may or may not live in a part of the country where a four-wheel drive or all-wheel drive is almost a necessity, but it is definitely a feature you would like as an option. Most SUVs come with at least the option of all-wheel drive, and some are monsters in snow and in off-road conditions. There are many families who look forward to their weekend adventures and depend on their SUVs to get them to their destinations, especially if they have to take the less-traveled roads to get there.

While a minivan is quite capable of getting your family to the grocery store or hardware store, you might find yourself stuck or stranded driving it in adverse weather. And you can totally forget about driving your minivan to your favorite camping site or fishing hole. Let’s face it; minivans just can’t get you to the places an SUV can.

As far as performance, most SUVs do much better than minivans. While there is nothing wrong with the engine in a minivan, SUVs just tend to offer more. For example, a 2020 Dodge Journey is equipped with a 2.4L I-4 engine that produces 173 horsepower and 166 lb-ft of torque. As such, you will never get bogged down when transporting several passengers, towing a trailer, or weighted down with heavy cargo. There are also SUVs with some serious power; Jeep recently dropped a V8 Hemi in the Wrangler Rubicon 392. You might not need that kind of power, but it is nice to know that should the need for a 470 horsepower SUV arise, Jeep has you covered.

However, one of the largest appeals of a minivan is also one of its largest disadvantages. Minivans offer the potential for a lot of cargo space, which makes them so large and bulky to drive around. However, there are quite a few full-size SUVs that can definitely compete with the max cargo space of a minivan. However, if you don’t need three rows of seating for excessive cargo potential, you can opt for a smaller SUV like the Dodge Journey with its 67.6 cubic feet of potential cargo volume. SUVs are more versatile than minivans in that they come in a variety of sizes, from compact to full-size.

Snowboard gear is in the back of a 2020 Dodge Journey.

Handling, Safety, and Appeal

There was a time when SUVs were big, bulky, and criticized for their lack of handling. But that was some time ago, and things have changed for the better. Modern SUVs have shrunk in size and are now better equipped to handle the road. This is especially true with smaller crossovers, like the Dodge Journey. SUVs will often offer car-like handling that is comfortable for those who have never driven a vehicle bigger than a large sedan before.

Both SUVs and minivans offer safety features that will keep your family safe while on the road. Some brands offer more features than others, but they are usually roughly the same. However, driving an SUV does offer something you won’t get in a minivan, and that is a higher ride height. Most SUVs have a higher ride height than minivans, and it might not seem all that important, but sitting in a higher position gives the driver a better and less-obscured view of not only the road in front of you but a better visual on the sides and in the rear as well.

SUVs Are the Dominant Family Vehicle

When SUVs began utilizing the third row of seats, it was basically lights out for the minivan. If you think about it, buying a new vehicle is the second largest purchase you will make in your lifetime, the first being your house. As it is such a considerable investment, you will naturally gravitate to a vehicle that not only suits your current needs but one that you also will enjoy. Face it; nobody wants to spend a lot of money on something they won’t enjoy driving; this is why SUVs are so appealing because people like them and enjoy driving them.

As you can see, there are plenty of reasons why an SUV is an excellent choice for a family vehicle. There is nothing wrong with choosing a minivan as a family ride, and they are a good choice for many people. However, modern SUVs offer you so much more in an aesthetically pleasing package. It’s not clear if the minivan will disappear much like the station wagon, but if current trends continue, you can expect to see fewer and fewer of them on the road in the future. As for the future of the SUV, things are looking bright for these versatile and fun vehicles.