FYI true AWD or 4WD is not necessarily better on roads in ice and snow. The "slip detection" AWD of the current road-based traction systems isn't true AWD... it detects which wheel has traction and can actually DO SOMETHING. Having all four wheels slipping or 3 slipping and one with traction is actually worse for both control and traction! The truth is that ice is crystalized water... which believe it or not actually DOES have imperfections and is quite drivable... provided you aren't creating friction by spinning tires and thus creating a nice layer of water in which to slip on. While I don't recommend the slip-control AWD in overly deep snow or mud (they are usually road vehicles, not off-road) they work very well and sometimes better than full AWD or 4WD without the slip control in almost all situations on the road. Frankly, I've seen "fake" AWD minvans and suvs go where full 4wd trucks cannot... quite frequently actually... (I live in MN... what Chicago considers "emergency" we consider "expected". We also drive out on frozen lakes for fun...) Its funny... but when it gets nasty here, the number of red oversized 4wd trucks in the ditch outnumbers every other type of car. 4wd (or AWD) != immunity to ice and snow. As for minivan, I've driven one... and no thanks. A girlfriend owns a 2010 Ford Windstar. While it is indeed better for hauling the hockey team, my 2006 Highlander is better in every way for up to 2 adults or 3 kids. Better traction, better ride, better actual gas mileage. Oddly enough, the 2006 Highlander gas mileage is rated lower than the Windstar. The 2006 Higlander gets just a hair under 20MPG overall real-world. Despite being rated at 26MPG, the newer Windstar doesn't even get 18 on the highway. I sometimes think Ford and GM measure MPG downhill with a tailwind.