Minivans, or as they are known in Europe, MPVs, represent a vehicle body type that encapsulates utility purpose above dynamic behavior. The basic design of a minivan car presents a flexible interior layout and an elevated roof to maximize space usage on the inside.
MPVs are built starting from the body of a one-box or two-box hatchback which is then laid over a mid-sized platform. The unibody construction is generally displayed alongside front wheel drive or all wheel drive systems. Minivans offer a higher driving position compared to sedans or station wagons.
Furthermore, minivans generally feature two or more commonly three seating rows. The sliding side door provides the benefit of easy and ample access to the cargo and easy passenger entry or exit. Seats are able to recline, fold completely into the floor or even removal to partition cargo and passenger space. The high roof and modular arrangement allow minivans to provide one of the highest cargo capacities for a consumer vehicle.
Minivan cars are targeted mostly toward families with more than one child which require extensive luggage and passenger space, especially for long trips. The sliding door is designed to open towards the sidewalk, thus ensuring a safe exit for children, away from traffic. Minivans are preferred by mothers whom are driving daily runs to and from the school, as well as for groups that travel extensively (music bands, some technicians).
The roots of the minivan can be traced all the way back to the 1936 Stout Scarab, the first car to offer 180-degree rotating seats and a removable table. The first car to come closer to the minivan concept is the DKW Schnellaster, featuring the road walk-side only rear door and high roof. One of the most famous old minivans in America is the Volkswagen Type 2, featuring a sliding side-door and the usual high roof.
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