Last post on Oct 23, 2007 at 12:22 PM
You are in the Toyota Sienna
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Toyota Sienna, Dodge Caravan, Chrysler Town and Country, Van
#96 of 140 Toyota Sienna XLE /Dodge Grand Caravan sport 4WD
Nov 05, 2006 (2:19 pm)
We moved to northern Michigan, UP from a much warmer country recently and are looking for minivan. We are a family of seven and have a big dog. We live in a small place and there is no big choice of used cars. Could you help us make a decision between Toyota Sienna XLE (year 2000, 56000 miles, dealer is asking $13000) and Dodge Grand Caravan sport 4WD (year 2001, 72000 miles, dealer is asking $9250). What are the potential problems with both vehicles? Does the 4WD of Dodge outweigh the reliability of Toyota? Does it make sense to buy extended warranty (~$1500 for 4 years) on any of the vehicles?
#97 of 140 Re: Toyota Sienna XLE /Dodge Grand Caravan sport 4WD [anna_r]
Nov 07, 2006 (4:35 pm)
We own a 2006 Toyota Sienna LE after owning a 2002 Chrysler T&C LX ( a fairly well equipped clone of the 2002 Grand Caravan Sport).
My son traded in his FWD 2002 Grand Caravan Sport on a used 2006 Sienna LE a few months ago after replacing the transmission on his 2002 GC Sport.
I liked our 02 T&C LX better than the 06 Sienna LE BUT in your situation, I recommend the 2000 Sienna XLE even though it is much smaller than the GC Sport and costs more.
Too many Grand Caravans and T&C were ABUSED when used as rental or fleet vehicles while there is a very low possiblity the Sienna XLE was used as a rental or fleet vehicle.
If buying NEW, I would buy a GC SXT and not the Sienna XLE (or LE).
#98 of 140 Re: Toyota Sienna XLE /Dodge Grand Caravan sport 4WD [anna_r]
Nov 07, 2006 (5:48 pm)
I would go with the Sienna. However, you should try to get a powertrain warranty. Toyota's V6 had an oil sludge problem up until recently. If you can't be sure that the oil was changed regularly on the vehicle, you could have problems. Also, I would get a set of 4 snow tires and steel rims for the winter driving up in Michigan. Good luck.
#99 of 140 AWD DGC vs. Sienna...
Nov 07, 2006 (5:53 pm)
Given the choice of the two vehicles you're looking at I would pick the DGC hands down. The DGC is both larger and far more capable in the slippery stuff with its AWD system. As a general rule the Generation 3 minivans from DC have proven to be quite reliable. The most significant problem area for the Gen3s was the transmission and by the 2000 model year (the first year that the new ATF+4 transmission fluid was used from the factory) the transmission problems were mostly eradicated. Do some still fail? Yup. If you check around you'll find that virtually every minivan on the market suffers from a higher failure rate than other vehicle types; that goes for Toyota and Honda too (especially Honda).
Heat seems to be the biggest bane of minivan transmissions and so the first thing I would do to any recent minivan purchase would be to put a transmission cooler on it (assuming the original owner didn't order the Trailer Towing option).
Regarding an extended warranty, I wouldn't bother. Put that $1,500 in an interest bearing account and "Self Insure". That way, even if the van suffers a failure beyond the end of the warranty (assuming the warranty company is still in business), you can still use the money.
FWIW, we have a Gen3 DGC with the same basic engine and transmission as the 2000 AWD you are looking at and it is fast approaching 130,000 miles. Ours is a 1998 and the original transmission lasted 109,000 miles and cost me $2,600 to put a factory remanufactured (much better than a typical "rebuild") unit in. Other than that, I've put in a starter, a battery tray and a door switch that controls the interior lights. Said another way, my total cash out of pocket for unscheduled maintenance for 130,000 miles has been less than $3,000. Not too shabby.
Regarding being cautioned about buying a used rental hack, I suspect that few if any AWD equipped T&Cs and DGCs ever saw any rental fleet duty so you can rest easy there. That said, make sure you have an experienced mechanic who is familiar with these vehicles give it a good once over before you buy it.
#100 of 140 Re: AWD DGC vs. Sienna... [shipo]
Nov 11, 2006 (3:54 pm)
DO NOT buy a Chrysler product minivan. My 2001 T&C Limited has been trouble from it's first day. I'm on my 3rd transmission in two years, I've replaced the A/C condenser and what else I don't know (over $1,000), had front engine seals redone due to oil leaks, valve cover gaskets, water soaked carpets on passenger side (dealer had to install some kind of hose extension from the firewall, but I had to pay!! for the design flaw to be fixed). AND the electric sliding doors have never worked in the winter and now rarely work in any weather. In short, I've spent at least $6,000 on this piece of junk in the last two years. It has 117,000 miles on it. My wife drives it a lot, but drives like a grandma so it's not from abuse. We change oil and filters religiously. The product is just JUNK. No two ways about it. Get the Toyota. that's my next purchase.
#101 of 140 Re: GC vs. Sienna... [rsmartin]
Nov 11, 2006 (10:33 pm)
DO NOT BUY A SIENNA. I bought a NEW 2006 Sienna LE and it is NOT as good as my used 2002 T&C LX that cost much less.
It appears that you got your 2001 T&C as a USED vehicle. If so, you have no idea how the first owner drove or maintained it.
NEVER buy a USED Grand Caravan or T&C that was first sold to a fleet or rental agency where it got abused.
#102 of 140 sienna is way better
Nov 12, 2006 (8:23 am)
Sienna is better then the gc/t&c for quite a few reasons.
First of all, the gc/t&c does not have stabilty
control .Plus the gc/t&c has the most crapyyest interior have ever seen ( besides the mazda mpv).
Even though the gc/t&c is cheaper the sienna has all those features that the gc/t&c does not have and more. For example,standert mp3 players on all modles,stabilitycontrol,etc..... .The only good
part for the gc/t&c is the stow and go.And if you do not like the sienna go with the oddesy.And if you do not like the oddesy go with the kia sedona or the entorage.And if you do not like the those go with the gm twins.My werst recomendations are the mazda mpvand the gc/t&c .
#103 of 140 Re: sienna NOT better [caravan2]
Nov 12, 2006 (9:29 am)
The Sienna has a VERY POORLY designed dash with curved shiny surface on the center part which causes glare from the sunshine...unless you live where it is cloudy all the time. Why didn't the jerks who write glowing reports about the Sienna notice this design blunder?
I agree: The GC/T&C interior does NOT look as elegant as the Sienna and the GC /T&C does not have the over-hyped MP3 player connection BUT the GC/T&C do have cassette players in addition to the CD player. The GC/T&C have power liftgate optional in much lower priced vehicles and have both side power sliding doors in more vehicles than the Sienna. The GC / T&C have MORE comfortable seats in every place but the driver's seat and have separately controlled temperature for the driver and front passenger in most models.
BTW, Stability control is NOT standard on most Siennas.
I have owned a 2002 T&C LX and a NEW 2006 Sienna LE. The T&C was by far the most desireable minivan.
#104 of 140 Re: GC vs. Sienna... [hansienna]
Nov 12, 2006 (7:38 pm)
Yes it was used. I bought it from the dealer from whom the original owner bought it new. While I don't know how they drove it, I know it wasn't a rental. My point is, there are definite engineering flaws in the Chrysler, particularly with the transmission. Ours is the Limited model so it is very nice inside and rides smooth and quiet. But I can't put up with all the mechanical nonsense anymore.
#105 of 140 Re: GC vs. Sienna... [rsmartin]
Nov 16, 2006 (4:03 pm)
There are NO engineering flaws in the Chrysler or in the Chrysler transmission.
Chrysler transmission problems have been caused by un-informed people putting the wrong transmission fluid into the Chrysler automatic transmissions. Many Chrysler minivans were ABUSED by the fleet or rental users before being purchased by a private individual although yours was not a rental.
Did you ask the salesman why the first owner got rid of it?
If you are having mechanical problems, trade it off just like I plan to trade off my 2006 Sienna LE since I do NOT like it as well as my 2002 T&C LX.