A Look at the Most Important Minivan Features
Minivans are specialized vehicles which focus mostly on maximizing interior volume for passengers. As a result of this, one of the most distinguishing features of a minivan is its two-box, sometimes even one-box configuration. This means that the vehicle is distinguished into two separate areas, one for the engine and the other for passengers and cargo combined, but it is also possible in some cases for all of them to be incorporated in the same area.
From a design standpoint, the dominant feature of most minivans is a boxy look. The front is particularly flat and it keeps the engine mounted as close to the front edge of the van as possible. Minivans are also typically taller than other passenger cars such as sedans or station wagons and provide the passengers with more legroom.
Another dominant trait of minivans is having three rows of seats, each consisting of two or three seats. The 7-passenger layout is the most common one, either displayed in a 2-2-3 or 2-3-2 configuration. Of course, there is a lot of versatility when it comes to the size and layout of minivans and there are plenty of exceptions to the norm: some are eight seaters, others are six and some smaller minivans only have two rows of seats.
In a similar way to station wagons, certain minivans allow the driver to prioritize cargo room over passenger space. This means that the seats or the benches in the back row can be folded under the floor in order to create more room for cargo.
Minivans have one particular feature which distinguishes them from other similar vehicles such as SUVs and vans and that is front-wheel drive. Most minivans prefer to use this drivetrain because it eliminates the need for a driveshaft hump under the body of the car, allowing for a flat inner floor. Despite this preference, four-wheel drive minivans are also quite common.
Another noteworthy feature is the use of a unibody chassis instead of a body-on-frame one. This makes the vehicles lighter and provides a more comfortable ride, but it also means that the damage is more substantial in the event of an accident.
Minivans further set themselves apart from other types of vehicles through the use of sliding doors. Traditionally, minivans use standard swinging doors to access the front row seats and sliding doors for the rear interior.