I am at that crossroads that people with big families come to – minivan or SUV?
I want a “real person” vehicle to drive.
The kids are getting older. 90 percent of the time, it's just me or me and one other person in the vehicle.
However, I don't really want to give up passenger space and cargo space.
There are those times when I am a people mover – driving not only my kids, but their friends too.
And what about family vacations?
The other day, I mentioned several models that seat at least seven passengers.
The problem with most of them is that you really sacrifice cargo space.
Any way you dice it up, a minivan will fit more stuff.
Honda Odyssey vs Chevy Traverse
At it's premium Touring level, the Odyssey brings a lot of bells and whistles to the table. A navigation system, a rear entertainment system, touch inputs, back up camera, lane assist, bluetooth integration, and many other high end features all come standard.
Step it up a notch and the Touring Elite adds blind spot assist, a better rear entertainment system, and an integrated vacuum (pretty cool). Step it down a notch and the EX-L still has a lot to offer. You can even add a navigation system to it if the rear entertainment system is not something that you need.
The Odyssey only comes with front wheel drive including traction control. All wheel drive is not an option.
Yesterday I test drove a new Honda Odyssey. But as great as it is, it felt like a minivan. That is what it is.
I also decided to take a Chevy Traverse out for a spin.
The Traverse belongs to a class of vehicle that is now known as a crossover type, meaning that it's a wagon-like SUV. And the cargo space is great with the back seats folded down. Lots of versatility for smaller families.
Shopping for a Traverse is not quite as simple as Honda's offerings. Chevrolet offers various trim levels – the 1LT being the most basic, all the way up to the LTZ which has all the bells and whistles. You also can choose from 2 wheel drive or all wheel drive. And even if you get the LTZ, there are still many add-ons that will add to your price. Things like the navigation and rear entertainment system are not standard.
A bonus with the Traverse (and all GM vehicles) is the availability of OnStar. A trial period for this service is included, but once completed there is a subscription fee. I haven't tried it, but it sounds quite helpful. You can choose from the Safe and Sound package (think emergencies) or the Directions and Connections package which will help you find your way.
After test driving, I was impressed with the ride. And the range of upscale options that are available are pretty good. Navigation, rear entertainment system, back up camera, lane assist, blind spot assist, forward collision alert, and dual sun roof/fixed glass panels.
Surprisingly the dimensions of the Traverse are very similar to the Odyssey, in fact – the 2014 Traverse is a little longer and a little taller, but slightly narrower than the Odyssey. But the Traverse feels more like a car to drive and not a minivan.
My biggest reservation is cargo space. Perhaps a Thule roof top carrier or something similar will make up the difference, especially if you are carrying soft duffels. But if you have large suitcases and a large family – well, I just don't know.
Which One Would You Choose?
Help me out here. Just for a minute, assume that you are well out of the stroller phase of life. Given that, if you had to pick one, which one would you go with – minivan or SUV? The Honda Odyssey or the Chevy Traverse?