2024 Best family van comparison guide

Over the years, we’ve seen a notable increase in families renting passenger vans for road trip vacations. It makes perfect sense. For those with school-age children, travel is often limited to summer and holiday breaks, seasons known for crowded airports and overbooked transportation. 

15-passenger van rentals offer an unparalleled advantage to skip the long airport queues and forgo tight train schedules in favor of leisurely, scenic drives to the most captivating corners of the U.S. – the southwest’s breathtaking National Parks, the craggy coasts of New England, and Nashville, the country’s vibrant country music epicenter.

Gone are the days of minivans for soccer moms. Take advantage of the flexibility that comes with renting a passenger van – round up the kids, grandkids, and cousins because once you get through this post, you’ll be itching for a family getaway! 

Family van rentals: a growing trend for vacations and long road trips

According to FlightAware data posted by Forbes, 2023 saw an average of 7,000 to 9,000 delayed flights per day in the U.S. This was enough to redirect families from traveling by air to the open road. 

The benefits were clear. Family van rentals proved more spacious, comfortable, and oftentimes more economical than buying multiple flight tickets. There were the additional perks of a dedicated place for cargo in the back of the van and no extra bag fees. With a 15-passenger van rental, more family members could be invited and more destinations could be added to the itinerary. 

Therefore, more and more people turned to van rentals for their vacations and continue to this day. According to our reviews, it seems that the growing trend is a hit all around:

We rented a 15-passenger van from Greenvans for a family road trip and couldn’t be more pleased with the helpfulness of everyone at Greenvans that we talked to. Top notch customer service. They made everything easy from the quote to the return. I would recommend this company to anyone considering van rental. – Kristen Munichiello 

Get your free van rental quote today!

Photo by Kenny Eliason on Unsplash

Types of vans to rent for your next family road trip

Ready to rent but not sure which is the best van for your family? Our team knows the van rental industry in and out, including which are the best vans to rent for a family road trip. Here are the 5 most-rented vans and the pros and cons of each.

#1 Chevy Express

The Chevy Express is one of the most popular passenger van models out there. Chevy is known for engine innovation and continuous quality in the industry.


  • powerful engines 
  • advanced technology features
  • 15 seats (including the driver) 
  • plenty of cargo space


  • industrial and outdated exterior design 
  • lower fuel efficiency
  • fewer advanced safety features

#2 Low roof transit

Unquestionably the most iconic vehicle in history, Ford is also known for its commitment to green technology. Interiors are made of environmentally-friendly materials and each comes equipped with turbocharged, direct-injection petrol engines designed to enhance fuel efficiency and decrease greenhouse emissions.

The Ford Transit series comes in three designs: low, medium, and high roof. We have rated each separately.


  • EcoBoost turbo engine
  • Maneuverability, specifically in urban areas
  • Customizable features
  • Ample cargo space 


  • Interior roof height max of 53 inches, therefore resulting in limited room for riders while on the road
Medium roof transit vans available with Greenvans.

#3 Medium roof transit

Of all the vans on this list, we find Ford’s medium roof transit van to be the best family van on the market, which is why it’s the van of choice at Greenvans. It offers everything you want in a family van plus aesthetic perks – its modern and chic design will make you feel like royalty on the road – as well as comfortable seats, fuel efficiency, and versatility. Enjoy all of these benefits while also leaving six feet of headroom for riders to stand or stretch out during long drives. 


  • Ecoboost turbo engine
  • Modern entertainment systems like SiriusXM and ApplePlay
  • Space for luggage
  • Comfortable seats
  • Versatility and maneuverability through all kinds of landscapes


  • May be too big for a couple with few suitcases

#4 High roof transit

The third of Ford’s roof series has all the features we love about the low and medium roof transit vans, with an additional nine inches of interior height. This would be useful for drivers hauling furniture, certain sports gear, or construction materials, but perhaps not necessary for family vacations. 


  • Ecoboost turbo engine
  • Extra cargo space
  • Extra standing room for stretching
  • Great for sports teams or construction projects


  • Dimensions make it less maneuverable
  • High roof might deny entry in certain parking garages or tunnels

#5 Sprinter 

A brand known for timeless luxury and solid performance, it’s no wonder that the Mercedes-Benz Sprinter is a top go-to for vehicle rental. Like the Ford Transit, the Sprinter also comes in three roof heights, inclucing low, medium, and high, making it a great choice for family van rentals. However, larger dimensions may make it more difficult to drive and the higher costs that come with a brand like Mercedes often show up in the daily rental rate.


  • Versatile space capacity for riders and luggage
  • Three roof heights to choose from
  • Luxurious driving experience


  • Larger dimensions may make it difficult to drive
  • Higher daily rental rate
  • Inconsistent ratings for reliability

Factors to consider when renting a family van

Renting a family van has its own set of considerations beyond cargo space and seamless booking, though those are important factors too. During the research process, be sure that you fully understand the following factors in relation to both the van and the rental agreement: 

  • Fuel efficiency
  • Safety features
  • Rental costs
  • Space and comfort
  • Booking platform
  • Insurance options
  • Additional drivers 
  • Maneuverability  
Photo by averie woodard on Unsplash

Features of medium roof transit vans that make them ideal for family trips

We fully believe that the Ford medium roof transit van is the best family van on the market. That’s why we invested in a fleet of them! 

Here are a few reasons why we stand behind its quality and compatibility for family road trips.

Spacious Interior: The six-foot-high medium roof in a Ford Transit van offers significantly more headroom than a standard SUV or minivan. In addition, it’s spacious enough to seat up to 15 riders with plenty of legroom between rows. 

For families traveling together, specifically those with children or teens who might get a bit restless on long rides, the size is optimal. Passengers can stand up and stretch comfortably or snuggle into the plush seats for naps.

Cargo Capacity: Our vans are customizable to any number of riders from 1-15. If there are 11 people or less in your group, we can remove the back row of seats (or two!) to open up a generous amount of cargo space. This way, you can transport suitcases, camping gear, or groceries without cramping anyone’s style.

Versatility: The ability to fold or remove seats makes this van versatile for families of all sizes. For longer adventures, like cross-country road trips, we can arrange the seats to accommodate your luggage in the back and travelers in the front. We can even help you set up a sleeping area if you’re traveling to one of the country’s 20 best places to camp.

Drivability: The lower center of gravity in the medium roof Transit van when compared to a high roof Transit van results in two important factors:  

  • Improved handling. The lower roof can make the van more responsive and increase stability on the road. This can be particularly advantageous when driving city streets, highways, and off-road, and is critical in keeping your family comfortable.
  • Increased fuel efficiency. A medium roof van reduces wind resistance and improves aerodynamics, leading to better fuel efficiency. 

Parking Considerations: The dimensions of the Ford transit passenger van with a medium roof makes it easier to park in covered lots. The nine-inch difference between a high roof and a medium roof might be enough to deny you entry to certain garages.

Comfort Features: Transit vans are equipped with features like bucket seating, front and back air conditioning and heat, and entertainment systems like SiriusXM. This results in an enjoyable ride for the whole family. 

8 tips for a successful family van rental experience

Even if you know the best van to rent for a family road trip, you’ll still need to prepare properly to ensure an overall successful family van rental experience. Follow these eight tips for a memorable experience on the road.

1. Book in advance

The last thing you want is to plan an itinerary, take time off, make deposits on lodging, and then find out that there are no rental vans available! Secure your reservation as far in advance as possible to eliminate any last-minute scrambling for your second-choice vehicle. We suggest booking up to 6 months ahead of time during peak travel seasons.

2. Read the rental agreement carefully

Get clear on the expectations your rental company has of you so that there are no surprises while on the road. The rental agreement will outline all fees, insurance requirements, age limitations, and add-ons available should you need them. 

3. Bring your own child safety seats if you have younger children

Rarely do rental companies have child safety seats on hand. Be sure to bring your own, ensuring the utmost safety and comfort of your child.

4. Familiarize yourself with the van upon pick up

Take a few minutes to get to know the vehicle before buzzing off to your first destination. Understand its features, such as the backup camera, entertainment system, and charging ports, as well as the dimensions and mileage limits. Get a feel for the steering wheel and adjust the driver’s seat as needed. You want to be completely comfortable and confident before stepping on the gas.

5. Plan your route with rest stops

This is important for two reasons – bathroom breaks and opportunities to stretch and keep your circulation flowing. This will re-energize the driver and keep the momentum going for the passengers. 

6. Pack entertainment for the kids 

Like all family trips, there will be highs and lows. Having a backup plan for those moments when the kids start to feel antsy will keep everyone content. Check out our guide of 30 road trip essentials to add to your packing list for lots of ideas of ways to entertain the entire family.

7. Pack plenty of snacks and drinks 

In addition to games and reading material, you’ll want to drive off into the sunset prepared for possible hunger attacks. With so much cargo space available, you can easily pack a cooler with drinks and a box of your family’s favorite nibbles to ward off empty stomachs and the crankiness that results. 

8. Take turns driving

To avoid driver fatigue, bring along at least one, if not more, eligible drivers to switch roles every so often. Read more comfort and safety tips in our guide to long road trips.

Frequently asked questions about renting a medium roof Ford transit van for your next family road trip

What is the best van for a family? 

At Greenvans, we believe that the Ford transit medium roof is the best passenger van for a large family or a small one. Its versatility, fuel-efficiency, spaciousness and comfortable seating make it one of the best family vans on the market.

How big is the Transit medium roof?

The Ford 15-Passenger Transit 350 XLT Mid-Roof van’s dimensions are 235.5” L x 81.3” W x 99.2” H with a towing capacity of 4,500 lbs. It is significantly larger than a standard SUV and offers more space for riders and luggage.

What is the interior height of a Ford Transit medium roof van? 

The interior height of a Ford Transit medium roof van is six feet, so riders can stand and stretch, as well as enter and exit the vehicle with ease.

Can you stand up in a medium roof Ford Transit? 

With an interior height of six feet, any rider under six feet can stand up comfortably inside a medium roof Ford Transit van.

What are the disadvantages of a high-roof van? 

A high-roof van presents several disadvantages. First, its internal height of 6.9 feet may be too tall to pass through low-clearance parking garages, tunnels, or tree-lined streets. Second, higher-roof vans are less aerodynamic than low-roof vehicles, which can result in challenging maneuverability and higher fuel consumption. 

Rent your reliable family van with Greenvans. Get your free van rental quote today!


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