A Helpful List Of AWD Minivans
I am looking to buy an used AWD minivan. For that, I need a list of AWD minivan manufacturers. Apparently, the internet never created that page. Well, here it is.
I am on the hunt for one.
I currently own an All-Wheel-Drive (AWD) Mitsubishi Montero. I love it. It handles snow and rain quite well, and I feel quite safe driving it. Plus, it gives me comfort to know that my wife has a dependable vehicle to drive.
However, with our growing family, we are desperately needing a third row of seats. Plus, we are finding the SUV's appetite for fuel to be a little more than we can handle.
And so, I am in the market for a minivan that has that wonderful AWD feature.
Why AWD Matters
Why it's different from 4 Wheel Drive
Each manufacturer has their own design for drivetrains that they use. Generally speaking, however, All Wheel Drive vehicles always provide power to all of the wheels. As one wheel begins to slip, the vehicle will adjust more power to that wheel to help it regain traction.
Four wheel drive vehicles typically have an "on-off" switch that enables the driver to select whether they want 4-wheel drive for off-roading or slick conditions, or whether they want to stay in a 2-wheel drive mode for better fuel economy.
While the AWD vehicles are not as aggressive as a 4-wheel drive vehicle, they tend to offer a trade-off of better fuel mileage, while still giving higher traction control for on-road handling.
They Don't Make Them Like They Used To
Most Companies Have Discontinued Production of AWD Minivans
One of the reasons there really isn't a list of All-Wheel-Drive minivans is that, well, they don't make them anymore. Apparently in the mid-2000's, the big domestic manufacturers such as Chrysler and GM stopped including an All Wheel Drive option on their minivans, choosing instead to push their SUV and crossover lines.
Dodge - Dodge quit making AWD minivans in 2005, and instead has been pushing their Durango SUV with All-Wheel-Drive and the Journey and Caliber crossovers which also had AWD.
Chevy/GMC - Until about 2005 the Chevy Astro and GMC Safari offered an AWD version of their larger-than-normal minivan. More recently, their AWD focus has been centered on the Chevy Equinox (which also has a high mpg rating), as well as their All Wheel Drive Traverse, Tahoe and Suburban. Since 2009, the GM Acadia has been another AWD option.
Chrysler - In 2004 Chrysler stopped offering an All-Wheel-Drive minivan, instead only offering AWD on its 300 Sedan series. Until 2008, they also offered the Chrysler Pacifica in an All Wheel Drive Model. According to cars.com, Chrysler will reintroduce an All Wheel Drive minivan in 2014.
Ford - Until 1997, Ford offered the Aerostar model with All Wheel Drive. More recently, they've been offering All Wheel Drive on their Flex crossover model, a 4 wheel drive Explorer SUV. In 2007, they introduced the Edge in a AWD model, and it is one of their longest-running AWD models in production (excluding the Explorer which has offered a 4WD option since the 1990's)
Honda - Based on my research, I feel that the Honda Odyssey is one of the best minivans out there, especially if you purchase one of the post-2003 models that also has side-curtain airbags. Unfortunately it does not offer an All Wheel Drive version. However, despite that drawback, it is continually pitched next to the Toyota Sienna as one of the best All Wheel Drive minivans on the market. If you are looking for All Wheel Drive, you are going to have to go with the Honda Pilot, Element, Crosstour or CR-V.
Nissan - I actually have a friend who drives a Nissan quest and loves the fuel mileage it gets. However, if you are looking for an AWD vehicle, you will have to go with something such as their Murano.
Oldsmobile - The Silhouette died with the rest of the brand line in 2004. However, many of them can still be found with Oldsmobile traction control system which for AWD capabilities.
Subaru - Subaru has long positioned themselves as makers of high-quality cars that can go anywhere. I have had more than one friend brag about their Subaru Outback. For more space you could go with the AWD Forester, but Subaru does not offer a minivan.
Toyota - The Sienna is currently one of the top-ranked vans -- right next to the Honda Odyssey. Typically offered at a slightly lower price tag than the Odyssey, and with Toyota-backed quality, it is a great deal. Plus it does have AWD. For a more Crossover vehicle that also has AWD, you can also look at the Toyota Venza.
Volkswagen - The VW recent foray back into van territory has been a poorly-received knock off of the Chrysler minivan. Lacking VW's 4-motion 4WD system, it falls short of making the cut. However the Passat station wagon or the VW Touareg SUV may be a better fit for a family and also has the 4-motion 4WD system.
A Small Disclaimer...
This is simply the information I found while doing my own research on possible AWD vehicles for safely transporting my family. Hopefully it helps fills in the gaps for you as well.
While I would like to think that this information is exhaustive and entirely correct, I realize that I may have made some errors.
If you have other vehicles (post-1990) to add to the list, or see an error that I can correct, please feel free to comment below.
Have you had any experiences with an All Wheel Drive van that you love (or hate)? Please, add that to the comments below as well!