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Is AWD Necessary In A Minivan? (Which Minivans Have It)

Whether something is a must-have or not is really up to the individual person as each minivan owner will use their vehicle for something different. Some people won’t buy a vehicle without all-wheel drive while others see it as an unnecessary expense. 

But is an AWD minivan something that you actually need?

For most people having AWD on their minivan is a luxury but it isn’t really necessary. Even in the locations with the worst winter weather, minivans that are FWD will still get around just fine in almost every situation. 

Many years ago rear-wheel-drive cars and vans were popular which made getting around in the snow difficult. But over time more and more FWD vehicles have been released and now RWD vehicles (specifically cars and minivans) are mostly a thing of the past.

If you live in a location that gets a lot of snowfall then having AWD minivans would be nice as it will give you that extra peace of mind but in almost every case, where an AWD van (or car) can go, a front-wheel drive vehicle can as well. 

The most common issue with minivans when it comes to snow is actually ground clearance which means the drive mode (AWD or FWD) really won’t matter that much. Whether you have a front-wheel drive or all-wheel drive minivan won’t really matter if the van is getting stuck because the snow is so deep.

At that point even adding snow tires to your minivan really won’t do any good.

All wheel drive is among those features which provide better control and handling of any vehicle so it is certainly a nice feature to have, don’t get me wrong. However, it isn’t needed in almost every case and for most people, paying the extra money to get it on their minivan really isn’t worth it. 

Minivans are the automobiles that are mostly preferred for family purposes so it is not that necessary to have All wheel drive in your minivan since most people avoid driving in the worst weather anyway. Minivans are typically used by people who live in the city or on a paved road and since these vehicles are well constructed they don’t generally need AWD on them. 

All wheel drive is really only needed for off-road situations which you will rarely (if ever) take your minivan into. 

Is AWD Necessary In A Minivan? (What Are The Benefits?)

Do All Minivans Come With AWD?

Most of the minivans that are currently on the market don’t come with an AWD system standard and some manufacturers don’t even offer it as an option on their vehicles. 

The reason that AWD isn’t standard or isn’t even offered is that minivans are family-friendly vehicles that are not preferable for rugged or off-road usage. 

Though some of the minivan models will come with all-wheel drive, it is not wise to expect AWD to be on every minivan. However, there have been some models that are equipped with all the features, including AWD in the past. If you want to attain a used minivan equipped with some AWD, you can get that easily but don’t expect to find it on all of them. 

Though some used minivans are equipped with AWD, finding these older vehicles with this feature is a cumbersome process. It is best to opt for newly manufactured minivans with or without AWD. Going for a brand new model of an AWD vehicle is always preferable for getting maximum benefits. 

What AWD Minivans Are There? 

At this time, only two minivans have AWD as an optional feature. These vehicles are quite popular as these minivans are equipped with many other compelling features as well. 

The two vans that currently offer AWD on their new models are:

Toyota Sienna

This is certainly the most expensive minivan with AWD. The Toyota Sienna AWD model is available with a seating capacity of 7 passengers. It also comes with a 296-horsepower, 3.5-liter V6 engine, and an eight-speed automatic transmission. 

With this, you can get the desired feature of AWD as well as tons of other great features. 

Chrysler Pacifica

This is among the most popular minivans on the market and it comes with an optional AWD. If you want to opt for one, this can be the ultimate vehicle that provides all the functionalities that you could possibly want or need. 

It has an optional AWD drive that helps the user to meet all of their driving needs. It is powered by a 287 horsepower 3.6-liter V6 engine that has a nine-speed automatic transmission. With these, you can expect massive functionalities and an efficient driving experience.

Plus the Pacifica is the only minivan that offers stow & go which allows you to fold both the second and third-row seats into the floor giving you tons of extra cargo space.

Do Any Vans Have 4WD?

So you now know which minivans have all-wheel drive as an available option but do any minivans offer four-wheel-drive systems also? 

Currently, there are no minivans that have 4WD and that is unlikely to change in the future. Although having AWD can help a minivan get around in a few situations there are really no situations where 4WD would be needed. 

Since minivans sit so low to the ground, having 4WD wouldn’t do anything to help a minivan get around. Instead, all it would do would add extra weight and cost to the vehicle. 

Now I’m sure you could go to an auto shop’s service center and have them install 4WD onto your minivan if you are wanting to create a custom vehicle for off-roading. But that would likely cost a small fortune (whether done yourself or at the service center) so it isn’t something I would recommend fooling with.

Is AN AWD Minivan Worth It?

Now that you know that you can get either the Toyota Sienna or Chrysler Pacifica with AWD your next question might be whether it is worth the extra cost to get all-wheel drive for your minivan. 

Since getting AWD on these minivans will cost you thousands of dollars more than getting a front-wheel drive model it is important to consider whether it is actually worth it or not. 

Personally, I don’t think that spending a few thousand dollars extra for all-wheel drive on a minivan is worth the cost. It really only helps you accelerate faster in snow and ice and you shouldn’t really be accelerating quickly anyway. 

Although AWD might help you a bit in deep amounts of snow since minivans are pretty low to the ground you can still get hung up in deep snow even with all-wheel drive. 

Now if you are considering getting all-wheel drive for an SUV and you live where there is a lot of snow then I would say that it is worthwhile. Since an SUV is much higher off the ground then having the AWD means you could get around in much deeper snow than you could with rear or front-wheel drive. 

Another thing to consider is how getting an AWD vehicle will affect the fuel economy of your vehicle. Since an AWD system is pretty heavy that will also mean that you won’t get as good of gas mileage as a regular front-wheel drive vehicle.

But with that heavier weight does come an increase in towing capacity. AWD cars have a higher towing capacity than front-wheel drive ones do so if you only need a few extra pounds in towing capacity it might be worth getting it just for that reason.

So when it comes to getting AWD on a minivan… it just really isn’t worth the cost in my opinion.

What Is AWD?

The all-wheel-drive system is the mechanism by which the movement occurs in all of the wheels of a vehicle at the same time as opposed to just the front or rear wheels powering the vehicle’s movement. The mechanism of driving a vehicle depends upon the movement of the axle and the connected wheels. AWD enables all the wheels, whether it is front or rear, to power the vehicle forward or back. 

This in turn allows the vehicle with AWD to have much more control when driving and an AWD vehicle is much less likely to get stuck in snow, mud, etc. 

Benefits Of All Wheel Drive In A Car, Minivan, or SUV

The benefits of AWD are practical and help the user in getting maximum performance and efficiency from their vehicle. If you are trying to decide if AWD is worth it to you for your minivan then you will certainly want to know what the benefits are. 

Following are some of the best advantages you will get if you choose to get an AWD minivan. 

Better acceleration

You can get better acceleration with AWD as compared to a two-wheel drive vehicle. The traction/power is divided equally into the four wheels, which in turn helps in having better acceleration. 

In a minivan, this probably won’t be noticeable unless you typically hammer the gas from a stop but it is a benefit of all-wheel drive. 


If you are using a minivan for commercial purposes, specifically for towing something, AWD can help you extensively. The AWD substantially reduces the chance of getting stuck. It will help you to get maximum power, which helps a lot in saving time and effort.  


With AWD, one can expect a superior level of handling, which makes it quite suitable for those who want to have safety and speed at the same time. If you are opting for AWD, then it will specifically provide enjoyment in driving.


If a vehicle is equipped with AWD, then its value substantially increases. This can be seen when you are going to sell your vehicle. In comparison to two-wheel-drive vehicles, the exposure and popularity of AWD are massive.

However, you will often spend considerably more to purchase an AWD minivan initially so in most cases there is no value added as you will pay more initially but will also be able to sell for more in the future. 

Peace of mind

Many people don’t realize it but having AWD can make you much more peaceful when you are behind the wheel of your vehicle. This is because you won’t have to worry as much about getting stuck in bad weather or when you go someplace where the road conditions are not very good (gravel roads in springtime for example). 

Whether the peace of mind is worth the extra cost or not is up to you. 

These are some of the benefits of having AWD on your minivan. If you are trying to decide if a minivan with all-wheel drive is for you, then these should be considered before you purchase one. 

How Does AWD Help In Driving (Vans, Cars, SUVs)? 

When it comes to driving, control and handling play a significant part in the safety of your minivan. This can be achieved with AWD-enabled vehicles. If you are driving an AWD car, then it will provide many significant advantages while you are driving. 

You can get a substantial advantage in driving through increased control and handling that will help the driver get the most out of the vehicle. It also reduces the chance of sudden accidents. 

From a safety point of view, this can be an extremely useful feature.

Minivans with all wheel drive are typically safer simply because the driver will have better control over the vehicle than having one with just front-wheel drive. But, when driving on pavement or even when braking, AWD won’t make any difference. 

In that case, getting winter tires that have good reviews is likely to help you control your vehicle better than just having an AWD system.

The utility of AWD is region-dependent to a degree however as if you live in Phoenix (like I do) you’ll most likely be just fine without having AWD on your minivan. However, if you live in the North or Midwest then having AWD is a great feature to have in your vehicle.

As with virtually all car advice, whether AWD is useful to you or not will depend on where you live and what the weather is like there. This is true whether looking at all-wheel drive minivans, SUVs, or cars.


With the help of all wheel drive, one can get maximum efficiency in driving a minivan. However, it is not mandatory to go for those minivans that are equipped with all wheel drive. Other variants provide the same features as the all wheel drive ones so unless you are driving in a lot of snow, mud, etc. you probably don’t need AWD on your minivan. 

The above information will help you to narrow it down and decide if you need all wheel drive or not. It is crucial to define the driving needs to select an appropriate automobile. If you are selecting an AWD-enabled vehicle, then the above minivans will work perfectly for you.