Back when we had our 1998 Grand Caravan SE we took a trip to Hawaii and rented a 1999 Oldsmobile Shilouhete minivan and I was very dissapointed in the interior build quality of that car. I almost felt as though it was an embarrasment to GM to have a van with such poor interior quality. The dashboard was plasticly, the seat cloth was cheap, and the power sliding door was broken (granted, this was a rental car). I'm saying all of this while comparing the Oldsmobile to a rather lowly 1998 Grand Caravan SE with the base interior cloth and only several options.
Thus, I can see how someone could say the Honda Odyssey is light years ahead of GM and it's fleet of minivans. While the Honda interior may look better put together and assembled, I think the Chrysler dash is much nicer to look at and doesn't look as dull and boaring. I think that also adds to the "sporty" feel when driving that many reviewers attribute to Chrysler's vans.
Just some observations...
#733 of 7485 Honda Oddessy vs. Dodge Caravan
Dec 16, 2001 (5:55 am)
OK. Here is my opinion. If I can get Chrysler to give me FREE 10 years/100K bumper to bumper warranty, I will choose Chrysler; otherwise I choose Honda. I will even ignore Chrysler's poor to no resale value. Our van at $25K new, is not worth more than $9K ( I will be lucky if I even get that)
we do have a 97 Grand Caravan LE that we bought new. it has 89K miles on it. Its lay out, function, its operation of sliding doors, and solid feel of its door shutting is unmatched.
BUT(and it is a big but)Chrysler reliability is not there.
There's a world of difference between the 97-2000 vans and the 2001+ models from DaimlerChrysler - the assembly quality and materials have improved considerably. The same can be said for the newer LH and JA cars as well - so there may be some hope that Daimler brought some substance to go with the flash and dazzle that Chrysler had been known for in the prior decade.
Now, with it appearing that the large vans from Dodge will be replaced with Freightliner-badged Mercedes vans sold through Dodge dealers, it would appear the integration of the companies is going even further - one has to wonder whether, with most of its own platforms (Neon/JA, LH) about to disapper in the next few years, how Chrysler Group will design its next generation minivans - will they be Mitsubishi or Mercedes platforms?
I hope you won't ask DTKWOK to drop a bomb on my house after you read my message. That would be very similar to what happened to the lady in her 1999 Town & Country when it errupted into flames. I honestly can say that burning up in your own car has to be one of the worst ways to leave this world.
I can also say I'm glad Chrysler is finally going to get themselves together and recall the affected minivans. Although I am troubled as to why it has taken them so long to get all of the replacement fuel parts for these vans. I remember reading something a few months ago that said 2000 model year vans built after a certain date were not effected, and my 2000 Town & Country is one of those vans. Thank god.
No one here ever said Chrysler made the safest cars on the road. So I think I'll brace myself for what the Odyssey fans here will say. No, I do not believe that all Chrysler vans are time-bombs waiting to explode and no one should buy them as a result. The article states that the 2002 models are not effected (and I am asumming 2001 models as well, since my 2000 model is not effected by this).
But nevertheless, the 25 inccidents where fires have been reported isn't good. I'm just glad Chrysler says it is finally going to recall the effected vehicles. I just hope they don't flake out, again...
The sad part about the minivans is that DaimlerChrysler already recalled almost a million first-generation LH cars to fix a similar problem. I know of at least one person who had an Intrepid catch fire because of a fuel-rail leak - fortunately, no one got hurt (though the car was a total loss).
#739 of 7485 My '91 Grand Voyager Fuel Rail Leaked
Dec 16, 2001 (6:18 pm)
This isn't a new problem that started with the '96 model year. The leak on my '91 Grand Voyager fuel rail was EXACTLY as shown in the illustration in the article. At the time (Feb of 99), Chrysler had already recalled the LH cars for this problem, so I called them about getting mine fixed on their dime. I had 87K miles on it. They flatly refused. I had an independent shop fix it to the tune of $890.
Now I see they STILL had the SAME problem at least up into the 2000 model year. That is NINE YEARS! What in the world does it take to get this company to fix defects! Transmissions bad starting in '89 all the way up to '98 at least; fuel rail leaks for nine years; paint peeling on '89 thru '96 at least; rear tailgate strut mounts breaking off and allowing the heavy tailgate to fall; tailgate latches that could not take a hit and stay latched. And these are just the things I see as I look through all my repair reciepts. Other items that happened to my van: piston rings siezed to pistons, causing huge oil consumption and requiring overhaul at 58k; starter failed around 80K; water pump failed at 58K; A/C compressor went at 98K (that one cost me $1200). There's more, of course, but it would be a boring read. I can't believe, now that I have reviewed my van's repair history, that I really seriously considered buying another DC van. Man, they drive good and look good. In my opinion, though, it's a siren's song.
Anybody else with Fuel Rail leaks on any year 3.3L or 3.8L DC van? Let us know if DC paid for the repair or not. I think this thing is much bigger than it might first appear.
I guess the answer to which van is the best is both are nice vans but the problem is they both have had problems in the past and only one seems to fix the problems. Thats Honda. DC has had trans problems for over 10 years before they sound like they finally fixed the problem. Fuel fires for just about as long, and the 01 still had a fuel leak. Is it now fixed. Only time will tell. DC had a tailgate problem that took what about 4 years before they started fixing them on recall and big pressure from Uncle Sam. I'm not saying Honda don't have problems, but their track record on repairs is 100% better than DC's. You can have the pretty dash, I'll take the quality.
#741 of 7485 Here is another review of the Honda Odyssey.