Holiday travel is just around the corner, and the car you drive could make the difference between happy campers and some screaming siblings. Although minivans have gotten bad rap of late, they rise to the challenge with plenty of features to keep the peanut gallery at bay.
Let’s check out some of the best.
- If the kids in back are horsing around, you can always threaten to pull over. But with the available Driver Easy Speak feature in the Toyota Sienna, you won’t need to yell. Press a button on the Sienna’s dash, and the microphone up front projects your voice through the rear speakers like some mysterious voice: Luke, I am your father. Stop kicking your brother.
- Nothing helps a road trip better than kids who are just plain asleep. With the Kia Sedona’s optional First-Class Lounge Seating, that shouldn’t be hard. These second-row chairs slide way back. They have pop-up ottomans and airline-style head restraints that curve around your head. Pull up those sun shades, and those kids should be snoozing in no time.
- If they’re wide awake, the Chrysler Pacifica should keep them entertained. Chrysler’s Uconnect Theater system puts two 10-inch touch-screens behind the front seats. The kids can watch movies or hook up gaming systems, but it also offers apps for kids, from a license-plate search to tic-tac-toe, Sudoku and even checkers, where kids can play against each other. There’s even a clever “are we there yet” app that shows in picture form just how far you have left to go.
Minivans have always been the place to find the latest family innovations. With this latest crop, holiday travel should be a snap.