To let owners take full advantage of their massive cargo capacities, the best vans with remote doors provide particularly easy interior access. Folks no longer have to fuss with yanking those big sliding doors around, but can instead press a single key-fob button and allow electric motors to handle the task. The technology is helpful for minivan families with young children, too, since kids can sometimes struggle with opening and closing vehicle doors, and especially sliding-style units. So, with those benefits—and continuing customer demand for convenience features in general—it’s no surprise to find that not only does every current minivan on the market offer automatic sliding rear doors, they’ve recently been introduced into the commercial-Van segment as well.
Chrysler Town & Country
The 2015 Chrysler Town & Country positions itself as a premium pick for minivan buyers, complete with a wide range of standard luxury features, and those naturally include power-sliding side doors—and a whole lot more. Indeed, the starting price of the Town & Country also covers a standard rearview camera system, a power rear liftgate, and leather seating with a “Stow ‘n Go” second row, which quickly, easily folds down and out of the way for added storage versatility. As one of the best vans with automatic doors, the Town & Country further shares a best-in-class horsepower rating—with its corporate cousin from Dodge—and delivers 283 hp, 260 lb.-ft. of torque and fuel-economy grades of 17 mpg city/25 mpg highway/20 mpg combined. Other important and available highlights for Chrysler’s minivan entry include a dual-screen Blu-Ray rear-entertainment center and safety measures such as blind-spot monitoring and rear cross-path detection.
Like many of the best minivans with remote doors, the 2015 Toyota Sienna actually offers multiple opening methods. As a result, the available power-sliding side doors can be activated with a Toyota Smart Key fob, by using interior switches located on the overhead console/center pillar, or even by just tugging on the door handles themselves. Owners then gain access to a highly flexible cabin that can be prioritized for either passengers or cargo. For the former, the Sienna provides room for up to eight occupants, and can be configured with “lounge seating” that boasts second-row captain’s chair with adjustable ottomans and armrests; alternatively, with all seats folded, Toyota’s minivan tops out with 150 cubic feet of cargo capacity. Remember, too, that the Sienna additionally stands out with the segment’s only all-wheel-drive system, along with the exclusive Driver Easy Speak technology, able to broadcast the driver’s voice over the vehicle’s audio speakers.
As part of its family-friendly approach to transportation, the 2015 Honda Odyssey provides power-sliding side doors for all models except the entry-level package. On the other hand, that starter model is fairly well equipped, providing a standard rearview camera, Bluetooth HandsFreeLink technology, LED-enhanced taillights, seven-speaker audio and an “intelligent” multi-function display with a reconfigurable 8-inch screen, all as part of its standard equipment. Oh, and the standard V6 engine for the Odyssey serves up 248 hp and 250 lb.-ft. of torque, but since it also showcases variable cylinder management, drivers can enjoy EPA grades of 19 mpg city/28 mpg highway/22 mpg combined. But what really elevates the Odyssey to its place as one of the best vans with remote doors is its quality. Consider: Honda’s minivan led the segment in Strategic Vision’s 2015 Total Quality Index, a closely watched, driver-based survey analyzing vehicles across 155 different factors.
For the discerning minivan owners, the eye-catching 2015 Nissan Quest is all about quality, not quantity. So, although it doesn’t earn quite as many sales as some of its rivals, it has earned two of the segment’s top third-party recognitions: in both the 2015 J.D. Power Initial Quality Study and the 2015 AutoPacific Vehicle Satisfaction Awards. Needless to say, those kinds of honors require the ability to deliver unique advantages for customers, and the Quest furnishes plenty, including available power-sliding side doors—with a difference. As Nissan notes: “due to the way the Quest’s door-rail system is designed, the sliding-door step-in height is lower than competitive minivans. This is especially helpful for small children or older adults.” It’s also exactly the sort of feature—combined with a robust range of connectivity and safety technologies—that makes the Quest one of the best minivans with automatic side doors.
Dodge Grand Caravan
The 2015 Dodge Grand Caravan is generally thought of as the value player in the segment, backed by the lowest MSRP in the segment: $21,795. Now, that entry model, of course, is without automatic side doors, but the Grand Caravan does supply those features on some editions, and that includes as part of a “Plus Package” value bundle. Thus, in the Grand Caravan SXT Plus, owners welcome power-sliding side doors as part of the SXT’s standard content, then garner premium Plus upgrades, like 17-inch polished aluminum wheels, a bright-chrome roof rack, and automatic headlamps with fog lamps. An aggressive “Blacktop” appearance package, one-touch “Stow ‘n Go” seating, cutting-edge Uconnect technology and a heated steering wheel are on the menu as well, helping transform the Grand Caravan from a popular choice for families into one of the nation’s best vans with remote opening doors.
Completely transformed for the new model year, the 2016 Kia Sedona is now ready to take on the best minivans in the business, as well as the best vans in the country with remote doors. That’s because the new Sedona now boasts not just available power-sliding side doors, but also the Kia brand’s dramatic styling, one of the segment’s most affordable starting prices, and some of the industry’s top infotainment and safety technologies. Among them: UVO telematics, rear- and surround-view monitors, forward-collision warning, smart cruise control, blind-spot detection and rear cross-traffic alert. Nor does the Sedona stint when it comes to premium luxury features. For example, along with chromium-free Nappa leather seating, heated front and second rows, and cooler-style storage, it also offers a hands-free, no-kicking-required rear liftgate. And yes, the Sedona provides all the versatility one expects from a minivan—then raises the bar with available “lounge-style” second row seats.
The 2016 Mercedes-Benz Metris marks a new entry for the United States, bringing the capability of the brand’s full-size Sprinter commercial van to what it calls the midsize segment. Practically speaking, though, the Metris is about the length of the typical minivan, with a 202-inch footprint that slots it between the bigger Sprinter and the smaller, city-sized commercial vans from other automakers. Yet for all its work-friendly focus, the Metris also offers electrically operated, power-sliding side doors for its passenger models, which can hold up to eight occupants. Moreover, by furnishing advanced safety measures like Crosswind Assist, driver-drowsiness alert and lane-keeping assistance, and complementing that content with a powerful, efficient 208-hp gas engine the Metris will go on sale this fall in this country as one of the top vans with remote doors—and it also provides a cargo-van configuration with up to 186 cubic feet of space.