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Minivan is a type of automobile similar in shape to a van, designed for personal use. Minivans are typically either two-box or one box designs for maximum interior volume — and are taller than a sedan, hatchback or a station wagon.

Worldwide, minivans are also marketed as multi-purpose vehicles (MPVs), people-carriers, people-movers, or multi-utility vehicles (MUVs).


The term

In Europe and India, "multi-purpose vehicle" (MPV) describes the general vehicle type without reference to its size. These are described with a word before the acronym: a "mini MPV" is derived from a supermini, a "compact MPV" is based on a small family car and a "large MPV" has about the same size as a large family car. In Asia, "multi-utility vehicle" (MUV) has more or less the same meaning as MPV. "People-carrier" and "people mover" describe both large MPVs and minibuses, but not smaller models.

Other terms are used in other English-speaking countries.



MPVs are usually between 1,600–1,800 millimetres (63–71 in) tall, which is around 200 mm (7.9 in) taller than a sedan, hatchback or a station wagon. The engine is mounted very close to the front edge of the car, and its elements are grouped higher than in other car types to minimize front overhang length. The rear overhang may be short as in a hatchback or long like in station wagons, changing the boot vs seat balance – the first option is more common in smaller minivans and the second in large minivans.

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