Know What Your Van Is Worth

Discover some of the top used minivans for 2021. Learn more about how to buy or sell a van, including getting trade in value and appraisals.

Around 2015, the minivan market started to experience a steep decline, which continued for five years. What hurt the van industry the most was the growing popularity of SUVs. SUVs had many of the same strengths as a van but with much better performance and gas mileage. SUVs also became the number one choice for family vehicles, which used to be a large audience for the minivan. As a result, manufacturers produced less minivans each year. There was a brief resurgence in 2016, but the number of minivans sold significantly dropped in the following three years.

With less demand for vans, the price for used vans started to drop. In 2020, used vans were suddenly in much higher demand. Because of the Covid-19 quarantine, many individuals and families felt trapped in their homes. A popular solution was to travel across the country in a retrofitted van.

Used vs. New

Even with a decrease in price, buying a new van is expensive. Many of the shoppers looking for vans are not looking for a primary vehicle, but something to support a nomadic lifestyle. Part of the fun of buying a van in 2020 is fixing it up and customizing it to go on vacation. Even with a heavy investment in upgrades, it is not uncommon to spend half of what it costs to buy a new van. Many of the features of a new van, like extra security features or sophisticated touch screens, are less appealing because the van is not being treated as a primary vehicle.

Not everyone is buying a van solely to go on adventures. For families on a budget, used vans are significantly cheaper than used SUVs. Whether you are buying or selling, 2021 is turning into a good year for the minivan.

Trading in Your Van

If you currently own a van and want to cash in on the sudden demand for vans, there are several options available. While you can attempt to sell the van yourself, private sales are often a headache to navigate. A much simpler solution is to either sell or trade in your van to a dealership. Both options are similar, with the value of your trade in going to another vehicle sold through the dealership. You often get slightly better deals through a trade in. Dealerships are also more likely to accept a trade in versus outright buying your van. This is because dealerships want to move vehicles, not add additional cars to their lot.

The first step to either buying or selling a used vehicle is to get an appraisal. An appraisal gives you a detailed breakdown of how much a vehicle is worth. This not only lets you know the total value, but additional details you might not know, such as whether a van had a limited run production or has unique features you believed were standard among other types of vans.

Many dealerships provide appraisals as part of the trade in. If you are worried about the legitimacy of a dealership appraisal, there are other options. While professional appraisers are an option, they are normally expensive, especially for how quickly a vehicle appraisal normally goes. Professional appraisers are best used if you have a unique or otherwise specialized vehicle. Otherwise, there are several online websites where you can appraise your vehicle.

One of the most popular online appraisal websites is Kelly Blue Book. The National Automobile Dealers Association (NADA) also offers an appraisal tool. NADA is also an excellent resource for buying used vehicles, allowing you to filter your searches and purchase vehicle history reports. Edmunds and Black Book are also excellent sources for van appraisals.

2015 Honda Odyssey

The 2015 Honda Odyssey is a popular used van for drivers who want the space and comfort of a van, but do not want to give up on modern features. It is one of the most dependable minivans on the market, even compared to some of the newer models on the road. Once the rear seats are folded down, the Odyssey has roughly 150 cubic feet of cargo space, perfect for storing camping equipment. It also has an integrated vacuum system and automatic climate control, as well as lane-departure and forward-collision warning systems.

2015 Chrysler Town & Country

The 2015 Chrysler is a popular minivan for drivers looking to convert the back of their van into sleeping space. It normally comes standard with three rows of seats, but these are easily folded down into hidden floor compartments. It contains multiple charging ports, which is useful even if you are traveling alone, since there are many chargeable camping items. It also contains heated seats, making for more comfortable driving conditions.

2017 Chrysler Pacifica

Even used, the Chrysler Pacifica is a pricier option due to a short production period. It is one of the few hybrid minivans on the market, able to get roughly 33 miles off of an electric charge, with another 530 miles from a full tank of gas. If you want to travel across the United States with minimal breaks to gas up, the Pacifica is an excellent purchase.

2019 Dodge Grand Caravan

Despite being one of the newest minivans on the market, the 2019 Dodge Grand Caravan is one of the least expensive vans. The Caravan was marketed for drivers solely looking for a reliable van with great cargo space. It does not have many of the modern tech features like Bluetooth compatibility or touchscreens. The low price and extra cargo space makes it a popular choice for drivers who want to customize their minivans.