What a difference a year makes. Commercial vans, work vans, and minivans survived last year's gas price spike to live another day. The notion of what a family hauler has evolved. And crossover utility vehicle (CUV) is a more common acronym than ever. Confused? Don't sweat it. We sort it out for you right here, including specs on all the new van models, and our famous tongue-in-cheek star ratings. Let the shopping begin.

Ratings:
Beats Walking *
For Your Neighbors **
Right On The Money ***
Fuel For Your Soul ****
Drive Before You Die *****

2010 Chevrolet Express
2010 Chrysler Town & Country
2010 Dodge Grand Caravan
2010 Dodge Sprinter
2010 Ford E-Series
2010 Ford Transit Connect
2010 GMC Savana
2010 Honda Odyssey
2010 Kia Rondo
2010 Kia Sedona
2010 Mazda5
2010 Mercedes-Benz R-Class
2011 Nissan NV200
2011 Nissan NV2500
2010 Toyota Sienna
2010 Volkswagen Routan

Chevrolet Express

BASE PRICE RANGE: $25,635-$35,535

WHAT'S NEW: Chevy's utilitarian business van maintains its pragmatism in 2010 with a short list of upgrades. The 4.8L, 5.3L, and 6.0L engines are now E85 capable and all utilize variable valve timing. The 2500 and 3500 models receive the 6L90 6A gearbox, as well as revised rear axles for improvements in low-rpm torque, fuel economy, and driveability.

COOL FACT: Compared with truck engines of a decade ago, the Gen IV engine family is approximately 90-percent cleaner.

SUM UP: PRACTICALITY THROUGHOUT.

RATING: ***


Related articles
2010 Chevrolet Express Photo Gallery
2010 Chevrolet Express Van Tech Specs


2010 Chevrolet Express
Base engine 4.3L/195-hp OHV V-6
Optional engines 4.8L/280-hp OHV V-8; 5.3L/310-hp OHV V-8; 6.0L/323-hp OHV V-8; 6.6L/250-hp t-diesel OHV V-8
Drivetrain Front engine, RWD/AWD, 4A/6A
0-60 mph N/A
Seats/foldaway 8-15/none
EPA city/hwy fuel econ 13-15/17-20 mpg (1500)
Basic warranty 3 yrs/36,000 miles
Safety ABS: S; Trac: S; Stab: S; Airbags: 2

Chrysler Town & Country

BASE PRICE RANGE: $27,750-$37,900*

WHAT'S NEW: All trim levels receive driver and front-passenger active head restraints. Rear-obstacle detection display is in the electronic vehicle information center (EVIC is now offered in all T&Cs). The only other news: the axle ratio in the Limited goes from 3.25 to 3.16. Features such as Swivel 'N Go, Stow 'N Go, and a removable table are still available.

COOL FACT: One option is a rear dome light that also serves as a removable flashlight.

SUM UP: STILL INNOVATIVE—STILL COMPETITIVE.

RATING: ***1/2


Related articles
2009 Chrysler Town & Country Photo Gallery


2010 Chysler Town & Country
Base engine 3.3L/175-hp OHV V-6
Optional engines 3.8L/197-hp OHV V-6; 4.0L/251-hp SOHC V-6
Drivetrain Front engine, FWD, 4A/6A
0-60 mph 8.1-10.1 sec
Seats/foldaway 7/2nd, 3rd rows
EPA city/hwy fuel econ 16-17/23-25 mpg
Basic warranty 3 yrs/36,000 miles
Safety ABS: S; Trac: S; Stab: S; Airbags: 4
Estimated *

Dodge Grand Caravan

BASE PRICE RANGE: $23,700-$29,700*

WHAT'S NEW: Grand Caravan SE receives three-zone manual climate control standard, plus rear-obstacle detection display is now located in the electronic vehicle info center. When equipped with the 4.0L six, the SXT's axle ratio is now 3.16 instead of 2009's 3.25 ratio. Options include Sirius Backseat TV, ParkView backup camera, and blind-spot monitoring.

BEST BUY: Parents with small children should consider Swivel 'N Go seating, with in-floor cargo bins, face-to-face seats, and a stowable table.

SUM UP: THE MOST POPULAR MINIVAN GETS BETTER.

RATING: ***1/2


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2009 Dodge Grand Caravan Photo gallery


2010 Dodge Grand Caravan
Base engine 3.3L/175-hp OHV V-6
Optional engines 3.8L/197-hp OHV V-6; 4.0L/251-hp SOHC V-6
Drivetrain Front engine, FWD, 4A/6A
0-60 mph 7.8-10.3 sec
Seats/foldaway 7/2nd, 3rd rows
EPA city/hwy fuel econ 16-17/23-25 mpg*
Basic warranty 3 yrs/36,000 miles
Safety ABS: S; Stab: S; Trac: S; Airbags: 4
Estimated *

Dodge Sprinter

BASE PRICE RANGE: $39,800-$48,300*

WHAT'S NEW: Thanks to the use of a 3.0L common-rail turbodiesel with aftertreatment, the Sprinter meets 2010 federal emissions standards. Engine also provides more power (up 31 to 185) and torque (up 45 to 325) than last year. Other news: trailer-sway control was added to the ESP, hill-start assist is now standard.

COOL FACT: During MT's recent Best Driver's Car event, a Sprinter 2500 served as a generator for the test equipment, running 12 hours each day.

SUM UP: FINEST FULL-SIZE VAN MONEY CAN BUY.

RATING: ****



2010 Dodge Sprinter
Base engine 3.0L/185-hp t-diesel DOHC V-6
Optional engine None
Drivetrain Front engine, RWD, 5A
0-60 mph 12.0 sec*
Seat/foldaway 2-12/none
EPA city/hwy fuel econ Not rated
Basic warranty 3 yrs/36,000 miles
Safety ABS: S; Stab: S; Trac: S; Airbags: 2
Estimated *

Ford E-Series

BASE PRICE RANGE: $26,230-$35,565

WHAT'S NEW: The E-Series returns unchanged for 2010. It's available as a wagon or commercial van, with four engines and two transmissions. It comes with airbags for the driver and front passenger, AdvanceTrac, tire-pressure monitoring, and side-intrusion door beams standard, and options include integrated trailer brake controller and a rearview camera.

COOL FACT: Optional Ford Work Solutions allows you to keep track of tools, access the Internet, and offer diagnostics from the cab.

SUM UP: like grandpa's ax.

RATING: ***


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2010 Ford E-Series Photo Gallery
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2010 Ford E-Series Photo Gallery
2010 Ford E-Series Tech Specs


2010 Ford E-Series
Base engine 4.6L/225-hp SOHC V-8
Optional engines 5.4L/255-hp SOHC V-8; 6.8L/305-hp SOHC V-10; 6.0L/235-hp t-diesel OHV V-8
Drivetrain Front engine, RWD, 4A/5A
0-60 mph 9.0-15.0 sec*
Seats/foldaway 2-15/none
EPA city/hwy fuel econ Not rated
Basic warranty 3 yrs/36,000 miles
Safety ABS: S; Stab: O; Trac: O; Airbags: 2
Estimated *

Ford Transit Connect

BASE PRICE RANGE: $21,475-$23,045

WHAT'S NEW: Ford's van may be new to North America, but it's been a popular seller in Europe for nearly a decade. The Transit Connect is shorter than a midsize sedan, yet is said to provide the cargo capacity of a commercial van (but will fit in a garage), and is aimed squarely at small-business owners. The only powertrain option is a 2.0L four backed by a 4A.

COOL FACT: The Transit Connect's 1600-lb payload is comparable to that of a half-ton pickup.

SUM UP: FINALLY - A LITTLE VAN FOR GUYS.

RATING: ****


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2010 Ford Transit Connect Photo Gallery
2010 Ford Transit Connect Tech Specs


2010 Ford Transit Connect
Base engine 2.0L/136-hp DOHC I-4
Optional engine None
Drivetrain Front engine, FWD, 4A
0-60 mph 12.0 sec*
Seat/foldaway 2-5/none
EPA city/hwy fuel econ 22/25 mpg
Basic warranty 3 yrs/36,000 miles
Safety ABS: S; Stab: O; Trac: O; Airbags: 4
Estimated *

GMC Savana

BASE PRICE RANGE: $25,636-$35,535

WHAT'S NEW: As with its slightly downscale Chevy cousin, the more upscale, yet still practical people and cargo mover receives remote vehicle start and E85 capability for its 4.8L, 5.3L, and 6.0L engines. The Savana 2500 and 3500 models also benefit from a 6A tranny and revised rear axles, which deliver autograde braking.

COOL FACT: A fast-idle option on models powered by the 6.0L V-8, makes it easier to run accessories while the vehicle is idling.

SUM UP: when you need a bigger box.

RATING: ***


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2010 GMC Savana Photo Gallery
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2010 GMC Savana
Base engine 4.3L/195-hp OHV V-6
Optional engines 4.8L/280-hp OHV V-8; 5.3L/310-hp OHV V-8; 6.0L/323-hp OHV V-8; 6.6L/250-hp t-diesel OHV V-8
Drivetrain Front engine, RWD/AWD, 4A/6A
0-60 mph N/A
Seats/foldaway 8-15/none
EPA city/hwy fuel econ 13-14/17-20 mpg (1500)
Basic warranty 3 yrs/36,000 miles
Safety ABS: S; Trac: S; Stab: S; Airbags: 2
Estimated *

Honda Odyssey

BASE PRICE RANGE: $27,515-$41,465

WHAT'S NEW: New color choices. Otherwise, all remains the same—244-hp V-6 with optional cylinder shutoff, 5A, third-row Magic Seat, and a choice of four trim levels. Options include nav, DVD rear entertainment with 9-in. screen, backup camera, power side doors/tailgate, Bluetooth.

COOL FACT: One-touch third row folds flat into the floor; optional second row provides extra storage when in place, creates a walk-through to third row when removed.

SUM UP: TOP-NOTCH PEOPLE-HAULER.

RATING: ****1/2


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2009 Honda Odyssey photo gallery


2010 Honda Odyssey
Base engine 3.5L/244-hp SOHC V-6
Optional engine None
Drivetrain Front engine, FWD, 5A
0-60 mph 8.2 sec
Seats/foldaway 7-8/3rd row
EPA city/hwy fuel econ 16-17/23-25 mpg
Basic warranty 3 yrs/36,000 miles
Safety ABS: S; Stab: S; Trac: S; Airbags: 6

Kia Rondo

BASE PRICE RANGE: $18,300-$23,200*

WHAT'S NEW: Falling somewhere in function between a minivan and a small SUV, the Rondo is still offered with I-4 and V-6 engines, and LX and EX trim levels. The side mirrors now have integrated turn-signal indicators, and there are new wheel designs for 2010. An EcoMinder indicator is standard and a rear backup camera and trip computer are new options.

BEST BUY: Opting for the third row and the V-6 will provide efficient power and the ability to carry seven people at a bargain price.

SUM UP: bargain people-mover.

RATING: ***1/2



2010 Kia Rondo
Base engine 2.4L/167-175-hp DOHC I-4
Optional engine 2.7L/192-hp DOHC V-6
Drivetrain Front engine, FWD, 4A/5A
0-60 mph 8.7-9.7 sec*
Seats/foldaway 5-7/3rd row
EPA city/hwy fuel econ 18-20/26-27 mpg
Basic warranty 5 yrs/60,000 miles
Safety ABS: S; Stab: S; Trac: S; Airbags: 6
Estimated *

Kia Sedona

BASE PRICE RANGE: $22,200-$28,800*

WHAT'S NEW: The Sedona is available as a base-model short wheelbase or as a long-wheelbase minivan in LX or EX trims. The 3.8L V-6 was recalibrated for 2010 for improved refinement. There are new chrome accents inside and out, and the EX gets a new rear spoiler. A rearview backup camera is standard on the EX and optional on the rest of the line.

COOL FACT: One of very few minivans on the market offered in two wheelbase lengths.

SUM UP: BEST VALUE IN ITS CLASS.

RATING: ****



2010 Kia Sedona
Base engine 3.8L/250-hp DOHC V-6
Optional engine None
Drivetrain Front engine, FWD, 5A
0-60 mph 8.0-8.5 sec
Seats/foldaway 7/3rd row
EPA city/hwy fuel econ 16/23 mpg*
Basic warranty 5 yrs/60,000 miles
Safety ABS: S; Stab: S; Trac: S; Airbags: 6
Estimated *

Mazda5

BASE PRICE RANGE: $18,745-$23,755*

WHAT'S NEW: The littlest minivan on the market in North America returns with six-passenger seating, 153-hp I-4 propulsion, and a choice of 5M or sport automatic. Six airbags—including three-row side air curtains—are standard. Climate control, touch-screen nav, Bluetooth, rear-seat DVD, rain sensing windshield wipers, and second-row captain's chairs are available.

COOL FACT: Basically a six-passenger Mazda3 with sliding doors.

SUM UP: AS CLOSE TO A COOL MINIVAN AS YOU CAN GET.

RATING: ****



2010 Mazda5
Base engine 2.3L/153-hp DOHC I-4
Optional engine None
Drivetrain Front engine, FWD, 5A
0-60 mph 8.5 sec
Seats/foldaway 6/2nd, 3rd rows
EPA city/hwy fuel econ 21-22/27-28 mpg
Basic warranty 3 yrs/36,000 miles
Safety ABS: S; Stab: S; Trac: S; Airbags: 6
Estimated *

Mercedes-Benz R-Class

BASE PRICE RANGE: $48,600-$50,100*

WHAT'S NEW: Limited changes. It shouldn't come as a surprise that the R320 BlueTEC is now the R350. Besides a new name, the BlueTEC gains, as standard, chrome trim, blue-tinted glass, and darkened tail lenses. The R350 4Matic gets 19-in. wheels, privacy glass, and the darker tail lenses. As with other M-Bs, all models get a new leather steering wheel.

BEST BUY: While the R350 BlueTEC costs some $1500 more, its better fuel economy and greater low-end grunt make it the perfect team hauler.

SUM UP: FOR THE MINIVAN PHOBIC.

RATING: **1/2



2010 Mercedes-Benz R-Class
Base engine 3.5L/268-hp DOHC V-6
Optional engine 3.0L/210-hp t-diesel DOHC V-6
Drivetrain Front engine, AWD, 7A
0-60 mph 8.0-8.6 sec
Seats/foldaway 6-7/none
EPA city/hwy fuel econ 15-18/19-24 mpg
Basic warranty 4 yrs/50,000 miles
Safety ABS: S; Trac: S; Stab: S; Airbags: 8
Estimated *

Nissan NV200 (2011)

BASE PRICE RANGE: $18,000-$22,000*

WHAT'S NEW: While Nissan would only admit “considering the possibility” of bringing its new NV200 to the U.S., we can confirm that this compact hauler is built on the firm's B-platform, offers seating for up to seven in passenger form, and space/features/flexibility to rival the new Ford Transit Connect. Euro/Japanese versions have 1.6L gas and 1.5L diesel engines.

COOL FACT: NV200 Concept was conceived as a mobile office/work center for marine biologist/underwater photographer Dr. Alex Mustard.

SUM UP: if ford can do it...

RATING: (Not Rated)


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2011 Nissan NV200
Base engine 1.6L/107-hp DOHC I-4*
Optional engine 1.5L/85-hp diesel DOHC I-4*
Drivetrain Front engine, FWD, 5M/CVT*
0-60 mph 9.5-11.0 sec*
Seats/foldaway 2-7/3rd row*
EPA city/hwy fuel econ 24-26/30-32 mpg*
Basic warranty 3 yrs/36,000 miles*
Safety ABS: S; Stab: S; Trac: S; Airbags: 2*
Estimated *

Nissan NV2500 (2011)

BASE PRICE RANGE: $25,000-$36,000*

WHAT'S NEW: While specifics remain TBD, next year Nissan will introduce a production version of the NV2500 to compete with vehicles like the Dodge Sprinter and Chevy Express/GMC Savana. The concept NV2500—dubbed a “rolling idea lab”—is based on a modified Titan chassis and features innovative and flexible approaches to storage, access, and utility.

COOL FACT: The NV2500 will be built in Canton, Mississippi, offer a Nissan-Cummins turbodiesel V-8, and use a new ZF automatic trans.

SUM UP: Rethinks the commercial-van formula. (nOT RATED)

RATING: (Not Rated)


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Nissan Going Commercial: Armada, QX56 SUVs, Quest Minivan to Make Way for New NV-Series Vehicles


2011 Nissan NV2500
Base engine 5.0L/275-hp t-diesel DOHC V-8*
Optional engine 5.6L/317-hp DOHC V-8*
Drivetrain Front engine, RWD/AWD, 5A*
0-60 mph 10.0-12.0 sec*
Seats/foldaway 2-12/none*
EPA city/hwy fuel econ N/A
Basic warranty 3 yrs/36,000 miles*
Safety ABS: S; Stab: S; Trac: S; Airbags: 2*
Estimated *

Toyota Sienna

BASE PRICE RANGE: $25,340-$38,665

WHAT'S NEW: Nothing new for the 2010 Sienna (CE/LE/XLE/XLE Limited)—including its price that also remains in 2009 trim. All versions of Toyota's personable people mover feature a responsive 265-hp V-6, smooth-shifting 5A, and the comprehensive STAR safety system. Three top trims offering category-exclusive optional AWD as well as baseline FWD.

COOL FACT: Sienna AWD models come with larger 225/60 run-flat tires, 17-in. alloys, daytime running lights, and windshield-wiper deicers.

SUM UP: A minivan with maxi comforts.

RATING: ***1/2


Related articles
2009 Toyota Sienna photo gallery


2010 Toyota Sienna
Base engine 3.5L/265-hp DOHC V-6
Optional engine None
Drivetrain Front engine, FWD/AWD, 5A
0-60 mph 8.8-9.5 sec*
Seats/foldaway 7-8/3rd row
EPA city/hwy fuel econ 16-17/21-23 mpg
Basic warranty 3 yrs/36,000 miles
Safety ABS: S; Stab: S; Trac: S; Airbags: 6
Estimated *

Volkswagen Routan

BASE PRICE RANGE: $26,200-34,500* BODY TYPE: Minivan

WHAT'S NEW: The Routan heads into its sophomore year with a complete change up in trim levels. Taking a page from Honda, there are now several trim levels packaged with options (S, SE, SE w/RSE, SE w/Nav+RSE, SEL w/Nav, SEL w/Nav+RSE, and SEL Premium w/Nav+RSE). All the levels improve their offerings, with Bluetooth now standard on all but the S.

COOL FACT: The name Routan is a play on Touran, the name of Volkswagen's small van sold around the world.

SUM UP: a modern microbus. but not as cool.

RATING: ***1/2


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2009 Volkswagen Routan Photo Gallery


2010 Volkswagen Routan
Base engine 3.8L/197-hp OHV V-6
Optional engine 4.0L/253-hp SOHC V-6
Drivetrain Front engine, FWD, 6A
0-60 mph 7.8-10.3 sec
Seats/foldaway 7/3rd row
EPA city/hwy fuel econ 16-17/23-25 mpg
Basic warranty 3 yrs/36,000 miles
Safety ABS: S; Stab: S; Trac: S; Airbags: 4
Estimated *