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Thirty-four years after they were first introduced to the North American market in 1983, minivans are still some of the best family vehicles available on the market.

Perfect for family outings, summer road trips and running everyday errands, the minivans rolling out of the factories today are high tech machines that can be tasked with just about anything.

Minivans, often credited for being spacious and affordable, have been making a comeback as of late, with a renewed interest coming from consumers. In fact, Canadian sales of minivans jumped 25 per cent back in March, according to GoodCarBadCar.

And is it really a surprise why minivans are considered the quintessential family vehicle? Easy to fit into any garage at a reasonable budget, minivans today are more stylish than ever before without having to sacrifice utility.

For families with small children, minivans are easier to climb into than hulking SUV’s and the sliding doors make for easy loading and unloading.

In addition, minivans are versatile – another plus for families. Vehicles that can easily transform passenger room into cargo space make good use of interior space and can accommodate for more activities, regardless of whether you need to make room for a stroller, a camping tent or a picnic cooler.

One thing to remember is that not all minivans are created equal. Research different models to find out which vehicle best suits your lifestyle and make sure to test drive several different vans before purchasing and bring the kids along for their feedback.

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) and Highway Loss Data Institute (HLDI) are also good online resources for anyone thinking about purchasing a new car.

The IIHS and HLDI conduct crash tests for all new vehicles and post up-to-date results online so that consumers have an idea of how well these vehicles protect its occupants and how effective their collision avoidance systems are.

In addition to incorporating new collision avoidance technology, auto manufacturers are working to create greener vehicles for environmentally conscientious drivers. The 2017 Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid plug-in minivan, for example, marries the minivan’s versatility with today’s newest green technology. And it qualifies for the CEVforBC™ point-of-sale purchase incentive. The Toyota Highlander also offers a hybrid model and Honda is said to be considering a hybrid minivan or cross-over in the near future.

Automakers have quickly realized that the minivan market can be expanded beyond families.

At the annual Consumer Electronics Show earlier in January, Chrysler took the opportunity to unveil the Chrysler Portal concept – an all-electric and autonomous minivan that Chrysler claims was designed by millennials for millennials.

Earlier this year in January as well, Waymo, Google’s self-driving unit, announced its decision to add another 500 Chrysler Pacifica minivans to its existing fleet of 100 as part of Waymo’s self-driving car launch in Phoenix, inviting locals to sign up for free rides.

Minivans are making a comeback, with many big-name carmakers focusing their efforts on designing the perfect mode of family transportation. And with the first fully autonomous fleet being potentially comprised of minivans, it appears that the minivan is here to stay.

Visit your local new car dealer to see the newest minivans available in the market today and ask their service professionals for a test drive.

Blair Qualey is President and CEO of the New Car Dealers Association of BC. You can email him at [email protected].