Last post on Mar 31, 2013 at 4:37 PM
You are in the Vans & Minivans
What is this discussion about?
Toyota Sienna, Dodge Caravan, Chevrolet Venture, Mazda MPV, Kia Sedona, Honda Odyssey, Chevrolet Uplander, Nissan Quest, Hyundai Entourage, Van
#843 of 3798 Re: first time mini van buyer - need some guidance [wilson7]
Jun 14, 2005 (6:51 pm)
Basically you'll want to look at 3 minivans:
1) Honda Odyssey
2) Toyota Sienna
3) Dodge Grand Caravan/Chrysler Town & Country (make sure it has Stow N Go)
All the other vans are either not as refined as the Sienna and Odyssey (GM vans) or aren't as flexible as the three vans listed up there. (Sedona, Freestar/Monterey)
The minivan market doesn't have too many models, so it should be easy to shop.
Deals are abundant on th GM vans, so if you don't mind having a 3rd row seat that doesn't really fold flat, you could take a look. Otherwise, stick with the Odyssey, Sienna, and Chrysler vans.
The Nissan Quest, according to CR, has numerous quality problems.
A CPO Odyssey might not be a bad idea either. Look for one built after 2001- it'll have side airbags and some extra horsepower.
#844 of 3798 Re: first time mini van buyer - need some guidance [jchan2]
Jun 15, 2005 (4:38 am)
The first year 2004 Quest had the expected growth curve quality pains. But I understand the 2005 models are significantly improved to warrant a "recommend buy".
The exterior shape is appealling to many, but you have to accept or get accustomed to the unusual center console position which many folks do not like.
NB: The C & D June 2004 minivan comparo had their ratings as 1.) Ody 2.) Sienna 3.) Quest 4.) DGC 5.) Freestar. This was using a 2004 Ody; the 2005 Ody should be better. Bear in mind that the C & D guys are in the driving spectrum end of energertic, spirited driving with great engagement and handling.
Based on the 2005 Maxima we have in our family, I love the same engine(although a bit detuned to 240hp from 265hp) which is very refined and strong. About 2 months ago, I saw an ad for the base Quest at just under $20K with rebates in the Raleigh- Durham area - that was very attractive then!
#845 of 3798 Re: first time mini van buyer - need some guidance [wilson7]
Jun 15, 2005 (6:10 am)
Well, if you are going to buy a 2 year old minivan I would not include the Honda or Toyota due to their high resale value. You would be better off buying a new Honda or Toyota minivan if that is what you liked.
Gas mileage...there is little difference amoung minivans. They're big.
Reliability is open to debate. Toyota being most reliable.
Price: Mazda MPV or Dodge Grand Caravan will give you the most BANG for your buck.Kia Sedona as well...though not as reliable.
I'd do my homework on this before going to dealers lot to test drive. So, some salesman doesn't try to screw you over.Good luck.
#846 of 3798 Re: first time mini van buyer - need some guidance [jipster]
Jun 15, 2005 (6:18 am)
When I was purchasing my new Ody, 2 yr old Odys with about 25K miles were fetching $3K less than the new Ody I bought. Odys command high resale value.
I preferred to pay the extra $3K for a brand-new, virgin Ody!
If if were up to $10K less like used DGCs or Freestars, then it becomes more attractive! But you would have to accept the less satisfactory driving experience from these.
#847 of 3798 Re: first time mini van buyer - need some guidance [jipster]
Jun 15, 2005 (6:37 am)
jipster is right. But I'd pick the Toyota over the Honda. It seems the new Honda has some serious problems in their first year out with their new model. Of course if your going to use your van for more than hauling kids and need the room, Dodge/Chrysler is the way to go. You first have to know how your going to use your van to make a better choice.
#848 of 3798 C&D, first time mini van buyer, and etc
Jun 15, 2005 (8:19 am)
It's a good idea to know what reviewers have to say about the vans you're considering, but just don't rely totally on their opinions. For example, C&D always uses the "fun to drive" criterion to judge cars (and vans, trucks...). It's fine when it comes to Porches, but they always sound irrelevant and foolish in their reviews of things like the Lincoln Towncar. Duh, these shoppers actually LIKE the boat-like ride
Since we've just been through the process of buying our 1st van. Here's my take:
---First of all, forget about the Ford Freestar--too expensive, and for what? The GM vans are small, and lack the flexibility, and they're not cheap either. Both are bad values.
---if style and comfort is important to you, go for the Quest. A base model can be had for ~$20, 200 for ones made before the price increase (early May); and a 3.5 S model with added power door and hatch and parking sonar can be had for ~$1500 more. Side curtain bags are standard on all trims, which was really important to us. You'll love the openness of the cabin and the vast head room. Both 3rd row and 2nd row (almost) seats fold into floor. We paid $21750 for our S model ($650 below invoice).
---if feature and functionality are 1st priority, go for the Grand Caravan SXT, which can be had for about $22-23K. Dual power doors are standard; power hatch and side airbags cost extra. Forgoing the power doors, you can get an SE model with stow-n-go for well under $20K. We particularly liked its 3rd row split seating.
---if money is no pbject, there's no need for further discussion. Get the top of the line Honda or Toyota.
Good luck and keep us posted.
#849 of 3798 Re: C&D, first time mini van buyer, and etc [tamu2002]
Jun 15, 2005 (8:42 am)
It's a good idea to know what reviewers have to say about the vans you're considering, but just don't rely totally on their opinions.
I agree to a point, but reviewers take the vans out and drive them for an hour or two and write up their opinion. They have no idea of how they will hold up. Neither does magazines like C.R. on new models. Your best bet is to check out what people on here are saying about their new vans now they are holding up. They have owned them for awhile and know what problems they are having with them. You can't really go on past models because of changes and improvements made to them.
If you buy used, then CR or other opinions should be heeded.
#850 of 3798 Re: first time mini van buyer - need some guidance [jipster]
Jun 15, 2005 (12:41 pm)
"Price: Mazda MPV or Dodge Grand Caravan will give you the most BANG for your buck.Kia Sedona as well...though not as reliable."
Personally, I would not rank Sedona below the DCX vans in terms of reliability.
#851 of 3798 Re: first time mini van buyer - need some guidance [bluedevils]
Jun 15, 2005 (2:14 pm)
After reading the Sedona problems board, I would never purchase one, except maybe to roast marshmellows with
#852 of 3798 If Price is a Factor...
Jun 15, 2005 (7:30 pm)
I'd say try the Quest (I've heard its finally improved quality wise, and that 3.5VQ engine is wonderful) and the Chrysler vans.
Back when I bought a van, you didn't even have to comparison shop. The Odyssey was the best back then by a landslide. Then again, everybody paid a premium for an Odyssey those first few years. (including me- I only got $500 under sticker back in November 2001)
If money is no object, get a loaded Sienna or Odyssey.
Base Sienna CEs can be had for around $22K though, so you might want to check it out. It won't come with anything fancy, like power doors or a power liftgate, but it offers the basics at a great price and is reliable.