The 12 Best Minivan Features Every New Parent Needs

Buying a minivan isn’t “uncool” anymore. Share the best minivan features with new and expecting parents to get them excited about their purchase.

As an auto salesperson, you wear many hats depending upon the needs of your customers. Sometimes, you need to be a cheerleader for someone who just got a promotion and is celebrating by trading in her old clunker for a sleek new model. Other times, you’re a financial consultant, trying to help an overzealous customer with poor credit figure out what he can honestly afford. And once in a while? You need to become a therapist for expecting or new parents that have finally realized it’s time to buy a minivan. It’s up to you to know the best minivan features to help sell that vehicle!

Minivans get a bad rap. Some people think they’re the vehicle equivalent of a big neon sign that says, “OFFICIALLY OLD AND UNCOOL!” However, as a salesperson aware of the best minivan features, you know that old stereotype couldn’t be further from the truth. Using that knowledge, you can help new parents not just “settle” for a specific minivan model, but get them exciting about their purchase and this new chapter in their lives.
The best minivan features put safety first

Safety should be of the utmost importance for any driver, but for parents, it’s number one. The best minivan features in the world won’t matter if a vehicle can’t keep children as safe as possible. Consider recommending some of these 2017/2018 makes and models that U.S. News & World Report ranks as the safest minivans on the road:

1. 2017 Chrysler Pacifica

This model replaces Chrysler’s Town & Country model. Its safety score is nearly perfect, and it’s the only minivan named as a Top Safety Pick+ by the International Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS).

2. 2017 Kia Sedona

The Kia Sedona is considered a safe, inexpensive minivan. It was a finalist for U.S. News & World Report’s 2017 Best Minivan for the Money award.

3. 2017 Honda Odyssey

The Odyssey has an overall five-star rating from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and has been the winner of U.S. News & World Report’s Best Minivans for Families award for seven years in a row.

4. 2018 Honda Odyssey

This model of the Odyssey has several new safety features, including pre-collision braking, lane keep assist, lane departure warning, and much more. It hasn’t been crashed-tested by the NHTSA or IIHS yet, but industry insiders expect nothing less than near-perfection.

5. 2017 Toyota Sienna

The Sienna is the only minivan with all-wheel drive, it’s known for its good value, and it has strong safety scores across the board.

The best minivan features to share with your customers

Your buyers can use some of the best minivan features right away as they bring home a newborn, but don’t forget to let them know how other features can be useful as their children grow through various stages.

1. Parabolic mirrors or an overhead interior camera to see what’s going on in the back seats.

The 2018 Honda Odyssey has a technology feature called “CabinWatch” which provides a detailed view of second and third-row seating, including infants in rear-facing car seats. As a bonus, CabinWatch is combined with CabinTalk, which is a microphone/speaker system that lets parents in the front seat talk to kids all the way in the back.

2. Tinted windows

Dark-tinted rear privacy glass or window shades for little ones in the back seats (especially in rear-facing seats) helps keep the sun out of their eyes.

3. Extra cargo room for plenty of storage.

Even a simple trip to the grocery store can fill a normal car’s cargo space, so one of the best minivan features is storage space that new parents crave.

4. Dual power-sliding side doors for easy opening on both sides of the minivan.

Older models only had one manual sliding door that smaller kids had trouble opening and closing. Now, dual power-sliding side doors just require the press of a button and allow access from both sides.

5. Stow ‘n Go seating that folds seats into the floor.

The expecting parents that come into your dealership may remember minivans from their childhoods that made it possible to completely remove middle seats for added space. This was a helpful feature, but getting the seats out and putting them back in was always quite a chore. Now, those seats fold right into the floor in a matter of seconds.

6. Rear seat entertainment to keep the kiddos occupied.

For long drives or siblings who can’t seem to leave each other alone, rear seat screens can be lifesavers for parents.

7. Route destination maps on rear seats to stop answering the question “are we there yet?”

Both Honda and Chrysler have added this feature, which lets kids see the (kid-friendly) map of the route on their rear seat screens so they can keep tabs on the family’s travels.

8. Remote start for climate control.

A remote starter lets parents turn on the vehicle from inside to let the heater or AC work their magic on cold or hot days, preventing their kids from freezing or overheating.

9. Power trunk for full hands.

Parents often find their hands full—with bags, toys, strollers, and even kids themselves. A power trunk that opens with the push of one button can be extremely helpful.

10. Multiple USB ports for when the kids get older.

As a couple adds more children to the family and they start to grow, they will also inevitably find themselves with multiple electronic devices that require charging when away from home. Multiple USB ports, especially in the back seats, can keep every kid happy (at least for a little while).

11. Stow ‘n Go vacuum cleaner.

It doesn’t matter how much parents try to keep their cars clean, kids of all ages love to make messes. Cue the Stow n’ Go vacuum cleaner from Chrysler: the Pacifica now comes with an optional onboard vacuum that stows away in the side of the vehicle’s interior. Best of all, it has a retractable hose so that it can reach anywhere in the entire cabin.

12. Magic slide seats that move sideways.

The 2018 Honda Odyssey has magic slide seats, which can go from side to side if kids are fighting and need to be separated, or someone needs better access to the third row.

Makers of minivans just keep adding more and more extras, so be sure you’re prepared with an understanding of the latest and best minivan features before you set foot into that showroom.

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Patrick H.
Patrick H.