Last post on Feb 27, 2008 at 7:47 AM
You are in the Vans & Minivans
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Toyota Sienna, Honda Odyssey, Chrysler Town and Country, Dodge Caravan, Hyundai Entourage, Mazda MAZDA5, Kia Sedona, Car Comparisons, Car Buying, Van
#921 of 1261 Consumer Reports Test of the 2008 DGC and T & C
Nov 29, 2007 (2:46 pm)
In the January, 2008 issue of CR, there is a "CR Auto Test Extra" of the 2008 CLLC minivans. I will quote verbatim some of the comments.
"We also tested two of Chrysler's redesigned minivans, the best selling (not so far for 2007-author's note)Dodge Grand Caravan and its twin, the Chrysler Town and Country. Both of these 2008 models proved to be disappointing in our tests.
Although these new models are an improvement over those they replaced, they don't measure up to better competitors such as the Toyota Sienna, Honda Odyssey, Kia Sedona or Nissan Quest."
CR rated the minivans in order of rankings and the CLLC models were 6 and 7 out of 8.
Highs: Access, interior flexibility, interior features.
Lows: Lack of grip and agility, braking, engine noise, fuel economy, complicated optional audio system.
"The redesigned Dodge Grand Caravan and Chrysler Town and Country are better than the models they replace. Despite some notable new features, though, they haven't risen to the level needed to compete against better models from Japan and South Korea. In our tests they score better than only the soon to be discontinued Chevrolet Uplander."
"The top-level and newer 251-horsepower, 4.0 liter V6 in our Chrysler is quieter than the 197-horsepower, 3.8 liter V6 in our Dodge, but both whine noisily under acceleration."
"We were disappointed with handling. The vehicles' vague and imprecise steering requires the driver to make constant small corrections while cornering. Body lean is pronounced even when taking a corner moderately fast, and the tires squeal even in normal driving. In our emergency maneuver, both vehicles felt clumsy and began to lose grip early. Stabilty control kept them on course but their maximum speeds through the course were lower than of the previous Grand Caravan. Stopping distances were long, especially on wet pavement."
There are many more comments, some very good, good and negative so I would suggest reading the entire article.
#922 of 1261 Re: review [maryh3]
Nov 29, 2007 (3:48 pm)
Where's the motive for the professional reviewer to be biased? They review a lot of different vehicles. If they're doing a minivan comparison review, for example, what the motive for them to pick the Odyssey as the winner? Why would they lose their job if they picked the T&C as the winner?
And I'm not talking about 2008, but over the past several years, where many different reviews, surveys, etc., all put the Odyssey & Sienna at the top of the list. Was everyone biased or worried about losing their jobs and if so...why?
And it's the history of the Odyssey & Sienna as being the best that the T&C has to overcome. The same with the quality history. It takes more than a couple of good years for Chrysler and more than a couple of bad ones for Honda & Toyota to make a difference. And you have to look at the whole line offered by a company. The Civic, Accord, Fit, Pilot are all high quality vehicles. The Sebring, Cruiser, Pacifica?
Nov 29, 2007 (6:09 pm)
I suppose, if you had evidence, you could convince me that a single reviewer might be biased. But are we really supposed to believe that EVERY professional reviewer is biased?
Why? That makes no sense? What is their motive?
In the case of some of the big name car mags, the individual who writes the review is quite public---you know their names, even sometimes their pictures. You can track down and read everything they write. Over time, I've read dozens of reviews from certain professional reviewers. Its just not credible to me to suggest these guys are biased with no evidence proving your case. Especially not ALL of them.
Professional reviewers drive thousands of miles in a variety of vehicles. They have a better sense of how vehicles compare to each other because they drive far more of them than the average owner does. They generally put substantial miles on each vehicle they test so its not like they're only driving it once or twice. They spend days with these cars on tracks and learn how they react in certain situations.
Am I saying you should take what a professional says as gospel and ignore your own instincts? Of course not. What I'm saying is that over time, certain trends and characteristics become obvious, and in the case of minivans, the Odyssey, and to a lesser extent, the Sienna have emerged time after time as winners. That does mean something.
#924 of 1261 Re: Exactly [mfletou1]
Nov 29, 2007 (6:44 pm)
Odyssey and Sienna emerge the winner with people who do NOT put their own hard earned money on the line.
I am now stuck with a 2006 Sienna LE that I do NOT like as well as my former, less expensive T&C LX because the Trade-in value of the Sienna has not been good.
DON'T believe the reviews of the "professional" reviewers. I had considered trading it on an Odyssey but since the "professional" reviewers have been so wrong with their praise of the Sienna, I am afraid the Odyssey will not be any better than the Sienna.
#925 of 1261 Re: Exactly [hansienna]
Nov 29, 2007 (7:49 pm)
Well, maybe you should have bought the top ranked Odyssey instead!
The trade in value of the Sienna is better than anything but the Ody in this class. Check out what you're looking at with the Sedona or even the DGC...
Frankly, the professional reviews of the Sienna I've read haven't been all that positive, especially in turns of driving dynamics. I read everything I could get my hands on. To top it off, you've got the old engine in your Sienna, I believe...not the 3.5 which is the most-praised part of the Sienna. And you've got an LE, which lacked auto climate and a bunch of other features.
I probably wouldn't love it either.
#926 of 1261 Re: Exactly [mfletou1]
Nov 29, 2007 (10:00 pm)
I think the Sienna is the best van on the market. We do own a Limited and know having the 3-zone climate control is important to you hansienna, but i still think the Sienna is way better than the Chrysler Town&country. We had an 05 T&C Touring, we didn't like it that much and it gave us some problems, it didn't have much resale value. The Sienna holds it's value well, you should be able to trade it in on a van you actually want.
#927 of 1261 Re: Exactly [mfletou1]
Nov 30, 2007 (9:00 am)
Some background....hansienna had bad timing and bought his van before incentives were in place. He's comparing that relatively high price to wholesale trade-in values.
I'm not sure exactly what package he got, but he paid $29k for an LE in Colorado. Today that money buys you an XLE with a few options.
He complained when his dealer low-balled him on a wholesale trade-in value, yet he could try to sell it on his own and get more money for it.
Of course a dealer will low-ball you, they have to make a profit on used cars!
So really, his was a case of bad timing. He bought it when prices were high, and compares that to resale when rebates exist on the new ones, and of course he's looking only at the low-ball wholesale offer.
This is not representative at all, however.
When I shopped, a new Sienna LE pkg 2 was $24.7k and a 2 year old used one with 30k miles was $21k. Same dealer, apples to apples, retail price comparison. As is obvious, residual values are very strong when you compare today's new prices with today's used prices.
Automotive Lease Guide gives the Sienna 4 stars for residual values:
Sienna and Ody tie for the best among minivans.
Note that the Dodge scored poorly BUT that score is likely to improve with the new models.
If we look at the Ody, back in May, a new 2007 Ody EX was $26.8k. Today the same van sells for $23k new. If you bought the van in May, your residuals just got slammed, too. A 6 month old EX has to cost less than new one does now, so you can expect your residual to drop.
Why? Bad timing. Plain and simple.
If you get a bargain on a 2007 now, your actual residual will be very strong. Much better than it would have been if you had bought the same van back in May.
Timing is everything.
Now, let's say you're shopping for a new T&C. Right when the new ones come out. You want to be the first on the block, so you pay MSRP for the very first one.
Then compare that to the patient person who waits for the incentives to show up, and that person gets the same van for, say, $3000 less.
Again, it's all about the timing.
If you're shopping for a van, follow the pricing market, track the trends.
Back in May, I got a $1250 rebate on the Sienna. That was the best bargain at the time. Ody had no incentives. I timed it right and got the Sienna.
Right now, IMO the Ody is the best bargain. Dealers have a $2000 incentive. You can get a better deal on an 07 Ody, because the 07 Siennas are mostly gone. So if you are timing the market, get a bargain on the Ody today.
I would not buy an 08 Sienna right now because the rebates are small and will likely grow. Bad timing.
For the Dodge and Chrysler, again, it's a new model and rebates right now are small. I bet that a year from now, people will be paying less than you would pay today.
#928 of 1261 Price Tracking
Nov 30, 2007 (9:10 am)
To show you guys what I'm talking about, here is my price tracking for the 2007 Sienna, which I did for about 5 months.
These were the no-haggle prices on the very same model 2007 Sienna LE package 3:
January, right at the launch: $26,698 (no rebate, BAD timing, be patient!)
Feb. 12, $500 rebate appears, prices drops to $26,337.
Feb. 23, price drops again, to $26,137
March 6, price increases to $26,689 (I'm depressed, thinking I missed my chance)
April 5, $25,439, must be a bigger rebate, yes! (I decide to check more often)
April 20, same price
April 30, same price
May 2, no change
May 10, no change
May 14, no change
I bought my van on May 22 for $25,247.
Note my price tracking strategy ended up saving me almost $1500 with simple patience and good timing.
If you did the same price tracking with the 2007 Odyssey, you would have seen that prices didn't drop until later, because Honda introduced the 2008s later in the year. That means the timing is NOW if you are shopping for a 2007.
I'll say it again, timing is everything.
#929 of 1261 Re: Price Tracking [ateixeira]
Nov 30, 2007 (9:19 am)
That means the timing is NOW if you are shopping for a 2007.
Coulda, Woulda, Shoulda.......... Now is not the time to buy a Chrysler, first model year of a new design, no incentives etc... I have the itch bad, but i'm holding off for 6 months to a year. Toyota is due for redesign for 2010 (i was working on module for it recently), Honda?
#930 of 1261 Re: Price Tracking [dennisctc]
Nov 30, 2007 (9:26 am)
I meant 2007 Odyssey.
The 2008 Odyssey is a refresh, new VCM for the engine, minor face-lift. That's probably why the 2007s are a bargain.
However...the changes are really pretty minor. Good timing, IMHO.
The incentives on the Sienna are only about half what they were in May. I predict they will increase, so my advice for Toyota shoppers is to wait. The redesign should come out for 2009, so towards the end of the 2008 run they will be bargains again.
For Dodge, if it were me, I would wait. I agree with you.
Side note: before I was ready to buy, I found a leftover 2006 Dodge Grand Caravan SXT for a whopping $20,600 price. This is without any special employee discount, just a left over they were anxious to unload.
I was very, very tempted. I didn't like it as much, and that particular one didn't have side curtain air bags, but still, that's a bargain! I'll admit, it was tempting.
By the time I was ready to buy, the same van was about $22k and change. Still no SAC for that price. Plus, the deal just wasn't as sweet.