Whether we’re talking about minivans or the full-size variety, the best vans with remote doors offer a much-needed benefit: the ability to get inside without having to fuss and fumble with a physical key. It’s one less thing to worry about when you’re trying to wrangle the kids into their seats or stow away packages and other cargo.
And speaking of cargo, some of these vehicles even have rear liftgate doors that can be unlocked and opened without a key. Then you can get straight into the storage area in the back. Of course, keyless entry is only one of the modern technologies that’s available on today’s vans. These latest models can make your life easier in quite a few surprising ways.
2020 Chrysler Pacifica
The 2020 Chrysler Pacifica is an excellent choice if you’re interested in the best vans with remote doors. As a starting point, remote keyless entry with a proximity function is standard equipment.
The system automatically detects the keyfob — even when it’s in your pocket or purse — as you approach the vehicle. After that, you simply lift the handle on the driver’s door and all of the other doors unlock at the same time. Chrysler also makes power-sliding side doors and a power liftgate standard on the Pacifica. Optional features include hands-free access for the power side doors and tailgate. The same advantages are available for the Pacifica Hybrid. This model adds a 32-mile all-electric driving range when you’ve charged it up from the grid plus an EPA rating of 30 mpg combined when running on gas.
2020 Chrysler Voyager
No, you’re not seeing double. The 2020 Chrysler Voyager looks a lot like the Chrysler Pacifica because they’re essentially the same vehicle. Last year’s lower Pacifica trim levels are now rebranded as the affordable Voyager — which splits the difference between the inexpensive Dodge Grand Caravan and the premium Pacifica.
The Voyager fills that important sweet spot with standard remote keyless entry and a proximity function only for the driver’s door. All-door unlocking with the proximity technology is optional. Hands-free and power-opening technologies aren’t available for the Voyager, but you save serious coin without them. With an MSRP of $26,985, the Voyager undercuts the Pacifica — and the Honda Odyssey and Toyota Sienna — by thousands of dollars. That’s why we consider the Voyager one of the best vans with remote doors.
2020 Honda Odyssey
The best vans with remote doors also include the 2020 Honda Odyssey. It has almost as many qualifying features as the Chrysler Pacifica. For the Odyssey, regular remote keyless entry is standard. Next, there are a number of Odyssey options that let you operate the van’s doors without touching them. People can leverage proximity entry and power sliding doors for themselves, and they can rely on a hands-free power tailgate for cargo. The one thing missing here is hands-free capability for the side doors.
Yet the Odyssey does have its share of exclusive technologies. One highlight is Honda’s CabinWatch system. This incorporates a small camera into the van’s ceiling so you can keep an eye on rear-seat passengers through the Odyssey’s infotainment screen.
2020 Toyota Sienna
All of the best vans with remote doors offer improved functionality. But only one makes a case for being fun to drive. That’s the 2020 Toyota Sienna SE and its pricier XSE counterpart, which boast both a sport-tuned suspension and steering system. The Sienna SE comes with Toyota’s upgraded remote keyless-entry system, too. As a result, you can control the door locks, the power-sliding side doors, and the power tailgate from the Sienna’s keyfob.
Another option — the smart key — raises the bar with proximity unlocking capability. You don’t have to handle the fob at all with that technology, since it’s paired with push-button start. The Sienna base model starts with keyfob-controlled locking and two-stage unlocking. A first button push unlocks just the driver’s door, a second push unlocks the rest.
2020 Kia Sedona
The 2020 Kia Sedona is the only other minivan being sold as a new model right now — and it’s also one of the best vans with remote doors. Kia begins by outfitting the entry-level trim with remote keyless entry. Optional content includes dual power-sliding doors, so neither you nor your kids have to struggle pulling them open and shut.
Moving up to the top trims expands the Sedona’s functionality with a proximity keyfob and a hands-free liftgate. Kia kicks its rivals to the curb with that last feature. This is because no kicking beneath the bumper is needed for the Sedona’s system to work. The liftgate will automatically open if you stand close it long enough with the keyfob in your purse or pocket.
2020 Mercedes-Benz Sprinter
Compared to the best vans with remote doors that we’ve already mentioned, the 2020 Mercedes-Benz Sprinter does come up a bit short. Indeed, none of the work-friendly vans have hands-free doors, which seem like they’d be a natural fit for the segment. Still, the Sprinter does offer a power-sliding right-hand side door to go with its standard remote keyless access. Many rivals are limited to only the latter.
A full-size heavy-duty van, the Sprinter further stands out with an optional soft-close system for the right-side door. It does the more strenuous work of automatically pulling the door completely shut once it’s engaged. You can also get high-end technologies for the Sprinter such as mobile Wi-Fi, Android Auto, Apple CarPlay, blind-spot monitoring, lane-keeping assistance, and a rear cross-traffic alert.
2019 Mercedes-Benz Metris
Let’s say you like the basic idea of a business-first van backed by Mercedes-Benz. However, you prefer a smaller package. Well, we’ve got you covered. Our list of the best vans with remote doors next welcomes the 2020 Mercedes-Benz Metris.
Roughly the same size as a traditional minivan, the Metris can be ordered with some of the same equipment as its bigger sibling, the Sprinter. For our purposes, that means remote keyless access and a power-sliding side-door package are Metris options. The package actually provides electric sliding doors for both sides. The same benefit is unavailable for the bigger, more expensive Mercedes Sprinter, remember.
2020 Ford Transit Connect
With the 2020 Ford Transit Connect, the Blue Oval is showing how the best vans with remote doors can help pioneer new technology for the marketplace as a whole.
For example, the Transit Connect is available with FordPass Connect. That’s an app that allows you to remotely unlock the doors — and do much more — directly from your smartphone. The app will start the Transit Connect as well, essentially eliminating the need for a conventional keyfob. On the other hand, such a keyfob with remote entry is standard anyway for the Transit Connect passenger wagon.
2020 Ford Transit
At this stage, the best vans with remote doors barely qualify for that honor. Oh, they’re great for their purpose. Full-size heavy-duty vans like the 2020 Ford Transit — and Nissan NV and Ram ProMaster — combine old-school payload and cargo ratings with modern technologies.
The Transit gets the nod here over the Nissan and Ram competition, since it also offers a Sync 3 infotainment system in an option package with voice control, Android Auto, Apple CarPlay, navigation, a lane-departure alert, and a driver-attention monitor. The thing is, the only remote function for the doors is a keyfob controller to unlock and lock them from a distance.