The best used minivan to buy is actually the Dodge Durango

Before you take the plunge on a used minivan, consider a used Durango.

With the latest Honda Odyssey and Chrysler Pacifica, we've reached minivan perfection. Both vans offer an unparalleled combination of comfort, versatility, and on-board tech. They even look pretty good.

But you can't really say the same thing about older versions of the Honda Odyssey, the Chrysler Town & Country, and the Toyota Sienna. Sure you can find positives with each, but all of them fall short of the perfection that is the modern minivan. Not to mention any used minivan is going to come standard with grape juice spills plus a pound and a half of granola bars ground into the floor mats.

So, what are you to do if you can't afford the price tag of a new minivan and don't want to suffer through the agony of driving a used minivan? Simple, you get a used SUV. Specifically, the Dodge Durango.

Although admittedly not as practical as a minivan, the Durango isn't far off. It has a spacious cabin with three rows of seats and a trunk big enough for all of your gear. Well, at least most of your gear. But that's what roof racks are for. And, since Durangos aren't used exclusively to chauffeur around small children with weak stomachs, you can find used examples that don't have an interior lined with spit-up.

A used Durango also has several other key advantages over a used minivan. I think the Durango looks better, it's available with four-wheel drive, and you can even get a V8. Older versions of the Durango also had pretty good tech — upper-end models had features like blind spot detection with cross-traffic alert, rear parking sensors, and adaptive cruise control.

Some of you are probably thinking that any used three-row SUV, not just the Durango, could serve as a stand-in for a used minivan, and you're not wrong. But you are missing the point.

The Durango is the only full-size SUV from a mainstream automaker that's unibody, available with a V8, and is rear-wheel drive-based. That means it's very nice to drive, which isn't something you can say about a 2011 Toyota Sienna, or pretty much any three-row SUV from the era.

So if you're shopping for a used minivan, the answer is simple — buy a used Durango instead. You can thank me later.

Read more!