The minivan market is shrinking, but it isn't a lost cause.
Chrysler, Toyota, Honda and Kia are doing battle for the remaining consumers still drawn to the segment's practicality even as three-row crossovers eat into the base of would-be minivan buyers. Conquest opportunities may be slim, but brands are working to stand out with bolder styling, hybrid engines and all-wheel-drive capability.
Those still loyal to minivans are seeing auto makers raise the bar as the minivan segment evolves.
Toyota said it deliberately avoided a boxy look with the 2021 Sienna, which will be offered only as a hybrid. Chrysler, on the other hand, believes it can bring in some of the 700,000 people who switched from passenger cars to utility vehicles last year with its sleekly designed Pacifica, which is gaining the option of all-wheel-drive and the next-generation Uconnect system this year.
Meanwhile, Kia gave a preview of the next-generation Sedona when it unveiled the global Carnival, which has the styling of a crossover but the sliding doors of a minivan.