Looking for Traction?
All wheel drive minivans are hard to find.
I enjoy my SUV for a variety of reasons. One of the biggest reasons I like it is that I feel safe when driving it. It's big enough to help protect my family if we ever have the unfortunate event of being in a car accident. Additionally, it has all-wheel drive to help the car retain its traction in any kind of weather.
As my family grows, I've been looking for an affordable vehicle that can offer more seating, but not sacrifice the safety. Because of that, one of the main features I've been looking for is the all-wheel drive feature.
AWD vs 4WD
One thing I should mention is that there are subtle differences between an all-wheel drive vehicle and a four wheel drive one. To begin with, all-wheel drive will always be able to handle highway speeds. Additionally, all-wheel drive vehicles tend to have unequal power distribution between the wheels to help improve the fuel mileage.
Four wheel drive vehicles may not be able to handle highway speeds in some cases. Additionally, the four wheel drive is meant to be engaged and disengaged -- not left on at all times.
Why a Minivan?
As I've researched the vehicle options I've been drawn to minivans for several reasons. Typically minivans are marketed with the family budget in mind which helps make them more affordable. Additionally, I've found that a lot of minivans offer better fuel economies than SUV and crossover vehicles in the same passenger size.
As I searched for minivans, I discovered that very few have been offered in an all-wheel drive option. Most of them made since the late 1990's do have front-wheel drive, which is better than a rear-wheel drive vehicle which is more apt to have slipping issues in inclement weather.
However, as I researched a list after list of AWD minivans it became apparent that only the Toyota Sienna is offered in an AWD model. The other van -- which, incidentally received great reviews -- was the pre-2005 Dodge Caravan which came in an all-wheel drive model.
After 2005, Dodge ceased their AWD model. However, they are discussing bringing it back in the Fall 2013 production model for 2014.
Good Tires Matter
I'm still shopping for a large enough vehicle, but I'm getting the feeling that I may be forced to compromise. However, I am planning on making sure that I have top-quality tires on whatever vehicle I buy. It doesn't matter how many wheels are spinning if you have worn-out tires that can do nothing but spin!