The Pros and Cons of Driving a Van
It’s fair to say the Canadians produced the first commercially available and car-based minivan with the 1983 Plymouth Voyager or the Dodge Caravan. Still, Toyota’s been making the HiAce in Japan since 1967. The second-generation Toyota HiAce commuter van came in 1977 with either a diesel or gasoline engine, rear-wheel drive, and seating for 15 passengers. Now in its sixth generation, the Toyota HiAce remains a strong contender in the light-commercial vehicle category.
It’s easy to understand the benefits of driving or owning a van. If you have a large family, only a minivan can fit the kids, the in-laws, the yayas, and the family dog with space to spare for your shopping bags. And when the need arises to transport that new refrigerator or washing machine, only a van (or large MPV) will suffice.
But then again, it’s not all peaches and cream. There are drawbacks to consider when driving or owning a van, and most of it has something to do with all that sheet metal.
The Pros and Cons of Vans or Minivans
Here are the pros and cons of driving or owning a van.
- Vans are typically longer than an SUV and have more room to accommodate more people and cargo.
- Vans or minivans are endlessly versatile. You can use a van for work or play with its removable and folding seats, and most vans are configurable to fit the needs of any business.
- Most vans have two sliding doors for easier ingress and egress.
- Minivans in the Philippines will typically come standard with torquey and fuel-sipping diesel engines.
- Commercial vans with extended roofs are high enough for passengers to stand inside. This feature is worth considering if you regularly carry taller passengers or senior citizens.
- Due to their length and height, vans have a more substantial presence on the road, and the higher sitting position is a boon when driving in traffic or maneuvering around the city.
- Vans are typically more fuel-efficient than an SUV, thanks to their lower ride height and sleeker shape.
- Vans have slab-sided body panels to reduce blind spots, but parking may be a problem for inexperienced drivers.
- Also, the taller roofs in most vans may not clear the vertical clearances in Philippine malls and most covered parking spaces.
- Vans in Japan and North America are available with an all-wheel drivetrain (AWD), while most vans sold in the Philippines are rear-wheel drive (RWD) or front-wheel drive (FWD). The Philippines has no winter season, but the lack of AWD may be a problem for people who want all-wheel traction.
- Vans or minivans are not ideal for towing heavy loads. Consider an SUV or pickup truck if you need a vehicle for medium or heavy towing.
- Beauty is in the eyes of the beholder, but vans are considered less stylish than a crossover or SUV.
Is an SUV better than a van?
The answer depends on what you need in a family vehicle. Without question, buyers of larger vehicles nowadays have a penchant for burly SUVs, but vans and MPVs are more practical in the real world. However, SUVs have an edge when it comes to off-roading or when forging the beaten path. The higher ground clearance and available all-wheel drive make this possible, but most large SUVs can only seat a maximum of seven or eight passengers.
Sure, SUVs are more stylish and have a more upscale presence if you like that sort of thing. But in terms of carrying more people and cargo in relative comfort, vans or minivans should be on top of your shopping list. The same is true if you’re looking for a vehicle for business or commercial applications.
Vans or minivans will continue to sell as long as people need a larger vehicle with more seats to carry an entire family tree. Kidding aside, it’s hard to argue with the versatile nature of modern vans, but most people are concerned about cost.
Automart.Ph has an incredible selection of used and repossessed vans with affordable prices and lower mileages. Automart is the number one source of used and high-quality light commercial vehicles in the Philippines like the Nissan Urvan, Toyota HiAce Grandia, Mitsubishi L300, and Hyundai Starex.