Since I'm supposed to know something about cars, it happens all the time: friends and relatives ask me advice about what kind of vehicle they should get. Very often, the only type of vehicle that can check every item on their wish list (e.g., hauls lots of people and stuff, gets good fuel economy, has great crash-test ratings, can take four Great Danes camping, and so on) is a modern minivan... and, of course, nobody wants to hear this.

I'm not a minivan person, they will wail, and so they end up with a cramped, fuel-swilling SUV or a not-so-space-efficient minivan-in-disguise CUV. So, is it worth becoming one of those minivan people in order to get the incredible usefulness of these masterpieces of vehicle engineering, or do you hold your head high and drive something that doesn't quite meet your needs?

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