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As minivan today are small cars designated as the best possible use of space to a vehicle's surface. Originally, however, the word minivan denoted - as in American parlance even today - a people carrier , of which z. B. the Chrysler Voyager and the Renault Espace , which can be 4.5 to at least 5.0 m long, are the most typical representatives in Europe.


The term minivan is derived from " van ", also from " compact van " and "microvan". One of the special features of a minivan compared to a small car is a higher vehicle roof. Minivans are particularly popular with craft businesses, but increasingly also with large families who love to travel. This is where the joke term "diaper bomber" comes from for this type of vehicle. As usual with the designations of vehicle types, there are also problems here to distinguish them from related vehicle categories, in particular small cars or the compact class , since such terms are largely shaped by the media (especially the advertising industry). Minivans range in size between 3.70 m and 4.10 m. The vehicle roof usually has a height of 1.55 m or more.

Its predecessors were the AutonovaFam design study , which was developed at the Ulm School of Design in the 1960s , and the Microgamma study by Lancia in the late 1970s. The idea did not go into series production until the early 1980s with Japanese manufacturers, e. B. with the Nissan Prairie from 1982.


Less than 4 meters outside length

Up to 4.10 meters outside length

Borderline cases

Models not available in Germany


Microvans are small cars that have a high space utilization over the given vehicle area. This usually results in a relatively high vehicle roof. There is no clear demarcation from the mostly larger minivans. In both cases, the word is borrowed from US English, where " van " originally means "delivery van" in the sense of a pickup truck . Very small vans, known as microvans , are mainly known from Japan .

Web links

Individual evidence

  1. Minivan buying guide on Consumer Reports . Retrieved November 23, 2015.