15 Passenger Van vs Minibus Which is the Better Investment?

Author // NPR Car Talk
Posted in // Church buses for sale, Church vans for sale, Passenger vans for sale

Church bus for sale

When it comes to bus sales in the United States, about 60% of the market is comprised of vehicles that seat 15 and 26 passengers. But in the realm of passenger vehicles, there’s an even more fundamental choice that must be made: 15 passenger vans or minibuses? The short answer is that is depends on what you need the vehicles for. The long answer, as it turns out, involves a lot of weighing different automobile features against each other.

That’s why we’ve compiled this list of the top three match-ups between 15 passenger vans and minibuses. If you’re on the market to purchase one for your church, youth group, jazz band or some other large gathering of people, here’s what you should be looking into.

Match-Up #1: Safety Regulations

The Contest: Two words: rollover accidents. Looking at the numbers, 15 passenger vans are involved in more of these than any other vehicle on the road, including small buses like minibuses. The National Transportation Safety Board reports that a third of all the accidents involving 15 passenger buses from 1994 to 2004 resulted in rollovers. Minibuses, quite oppositely, can boast a much safer track record.

The Winner: Minibuses, by a long shot. The danger with 15 passenger vans lies in their shifting center of gravity, something that gets compounded the more people climb aboard. Minibuses, on the other hand, have traditionally been constructed specifically to transport large groups of people safely and without shifting weight.

Match-Up #2: Functionality and Size

The Contest: As its name suggests, 15 passenger vans are engineered and built to transport 15 people at maximum. Adding any other passengers beyond this recommended limit can significantly up the risk of accidents while on the road. Minibuses can hold about the same, though sometimes fewer passengers. It depends very much on the vehicle, but anywhere from nine to 12 to 15 to even 17 people can likely fit on small buses.

The Winner: Both vehicles can safely transport about the same number of passengers. However, when you begin to add luggage and additional cargo, you’re upping the risk of rollovers when it comes to passenger vans, so proceed with caution.

Match-Up #3: Overall Cost

The Contest: Though the overall cost will depend greatly on which manufacturer you’re opting for, a 15 passenger van will likely be around $40,000, while a minibus that holds the same can cost up to $50,000. These prices are for new vehicles, with the used market being completely dependent on different factors.

The Winner: Again, this is a bit of a toss-up. What you’re looking for in a vehicle plays into how much you’re looking to pay for it, so talk with a new or used dealer to get a better idea of accurate prices for both passenger vans and small buses.

Now you have a good grasp on the important match-ups between 15 passenger vans and minibuses. As always, you should never invest in a vehicle you’re not 100% comfortable with — so take one out on the road before you take it home with you.

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