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Dodge Caravan/Chrysler Voyager

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  • Just read your post in the Odyssey vs. T/C board. We have a deposit on an EX Ody w/ Nav as of a couple of weeks ago, due in Nov '00. Out of curiosity, we test drove the 2001 T/C Limited today and were suprised. We really liked it...two family members have '00 Ody's and we've driven them quite a few times (can't take test drives at the dealer). The T/C is smoother, quieter, has more features, has better accelleration, shifts smother, etc...we also loved the 3-zone climate! My wife and I are extremely critical of cars and couldn't believe we liked it so much (we were really just killing a couple of hours today).

    Here's the problem - we've always owned Honda's and have never bought an American car. We've owned more Honda's/Acuras than I can count over the years as well as some Nissans, a Volvo and a Mercedes... We've always been very happy with Honda and I know from experience that if there's ever a problem, Honda stands by their cars. I also know that Chrysler has had their problems. My sister bought an early '96 T/C which was the first year of that body and had a lot of trouble over a four year period. The extent of "weird" problems was unbelievable and Chrysler didn't do much of anything to help her out. I guess we're just leary of reliability. I've heard that the 98-2000's were better though.

    I'm also wondering how much Daimler-Benz has to do with Chrysler these days. I know from experience that Mercedes is very customer service focused. If they've had any influence over the design of the 2001 T/C and/or customer service support for Chrysler vehicles, I'd feel more comfortable with a decision to buy a T/C.

    It sounds like we're now in the same dilema you were in several weeks ago. If Chrysler's reputation for reliability was as good as Honda's, I'd have bought one today.

    Just looking for some thoughts...thanks in advance for any help.
  • ed12ed12 Posts: 100
    asktoknow:

    I do not have any idea how the 2001 T&C van will do as far as reliabilty, but two days ago I spoke to the service manager at a dealership that sells Chrysler and Honda. I asked him if recent Chrysler products are closing the gap with Hondas reliabilty. He said there is now very little difference between quality in the two product lines.

    Good luck with whatever you choose.

    Ed
  • I read somewhere (post?) that Chysler minivan engines tend to run slightly hotter because of cramp engine compartment with poor air flow. This tends to prematurely wear out seals and contributes to Chysler's infamous transmission trouble. Is this Malarkey? Does it make sense to order the car with the HD cooling package? Response from engineering types appreaciated.
  • emaleemale Posts: 1,380
    tugboat,

    it has nothing to do with the engine compartment size. the seals on the 41te were rather poor up until about 96 when a newer type seal went into production. and...it never hurts to have a tranny cooler. consistent high temperatures are the biggest threat to long term tranny durability.
  • Your predisposition to view Hondas favorably and DC's disfavorably will, over the long-term, result in you only being happy with Honda, regardless of the actual performance. So buy what you already like.
  • You had it right. Malarkey with a capital M.
  • carleton1carleton1 Posts: 560
    as not one owner of the many people I know that
    own DC minivans has had any problems. That magazine had often stated vehicles were "Not Recommended" since they were unreliable...yet we had no problems with many of them.
    I agree with indydriver: Buy the vehicle you
    like and trust if you can get one with the features you feel are important.
  • dodgeramdodgeram Posts: 202
    Amychris, I wouldn't be worried to much about the realiablility of the new vans, because they now come with a 5 year powertrain warranty which includes all axles, drivshafts, tranny, and motor. Plus a 5 year roadside assistance is also inculded. I think the new vans are going to be very reliable, I own a 97 gc ES, and it's been perfect and has 60,000 miles on it now.
  • hersbirdhersbird Posts: 323
    So your advice is to pick the van you don't actually perfer after a test drive, because you have had good experience with the company? Pay no attention to that company's ability to make a standout reliabile product in the catagory your are shopping. So if I were to prefer the Odyssey over the Chrysler (I know, far fetched but work with me here...) I should still go with the Chrysler because after the many Chrysler products I have owned (especially minivans) I have been treated well the few times I have needed service? Especially after my brother's experience with a certain Accord and less then helpful Honda dealer.
  • becwarbecwar Posts: 9
    Dodgeram,

    Where do you see the documentation stating that the new Caravans have a 5 year powertrain warranty and 5 year road side assistance? According to the Dodge rep (their 1-800 line), that warranty expired for the 2001 awhile back and it was only for fleet vehicles (or something to that effect). They said it's still a 3 year/36,000 mile warranty for both.

    I just need this clarified. Our 2001 GC ES AWD just arrived on the dealer lot. We haven't taken delivery yet and I'd like to know this warranty info prior to signing the papers...
  • enetheneth Posts: 285
    At least in the U.S., the warranty remains 3 years/36,000 miles. I seem to remember seeing that they may have extended the warranties for Canada, but not in the U.S.
  • emaleemale Posts: 1,380
    becwar, eneth and dodgeram:

    the dc canadian powertrain warranty has just been increased to 5yr/100km(aprox 62k statute miles) on all 01 models and will be retroactive to those who purchased 01 models before the new warranty took affect. however, at least for now, it doesn't appear that dc will offer this particular warranty to the usa customers...why??
  • sac3sac3 Posts: 3
    We are having the same internal debate as you are having. We started early this summer looking at all minivans with an open mind. Had settled on an Odyssey, but held off to look at the 01 T&C. Were very impressed. While we are concerned with Chrysler's checkered history, our contacts with other recent Chrysler owners indicated reliability has improved significantly in the last couple of years. In the end, we are probably going to trade appliance-like Honda reliability for all the creature comforts and luxury of the T&C.

    My only question was whether it was worth waiting until the new 3.5L engine. Posts in this forum were to the contrary, suggesting there wasn't much difference in the engine.

    Anyone have a sense of how pricing is going? Close to invoice?
  • Yes. Here's why. Amychris has owned a string of several Hondas and is a very satisfied Honda owner. If they buy an Ody and the transmission fails like so many others, and Honda takes care of it (as they seem to be doing), they will rationalize it as just an anomalie with an otherwise reliable brand. I.e., they will self-reinforce their buying decision because of their bias in favor of Honda. If they "take a chance" on buying DC, they will constantly be looking for little problems to fulfill their predisposition to view DC as unreliable. Enough problems and they will be able to say, "We knew we should have bought the Honda". Note: I am not picking on Amychris here but using their bias as an example of the human nature to reinforce and rationalize all buying decisions. But even worse, if they buy DC and go through the process above, we'll have to endure a Honda Troll of our own creation! FYI, before I am accused of being an HT, my driveway scorecard reads: Chrysler 3, Honda 0.
  • enetheneth Posts: 285
    emale,

    I suspect (and this is not an attempt to troll) that it may have something to do with the website below. If this author's book is widely available in Canada, it could explain DaimlerChrysler's action:

    http://www.lemonaidcars.com/chrysler.htm
  • hersbirdhersbird Posts: 323
    My point is drive both and pick the one that you like the most in your budget. Reliability of all the mini-van brands are so close to each other, sure one may have abouve average reliability but what is that 1 van in 100 better? 1 in a 1000? What we saw was many former Chrysler van owners go buy Honda expecting better then what they had with Chrysler, most got the same treatment they had before. Comparing corporate Honda's treatment of customers to Chryslers with regard to the Odyssey is unfair as I bet there is not one current generation Oddyssey off of factory warranty. Do you all really think Honda will be there giving free transmissions out at 70,000 miles? This is what customers are expecting Chrysler to do and if Honda will forever keep fixing vans for free out of warranty I'll be the next to go and buy one.

    indydriver- your right about the troll thing, god knows we need another one of them.

    Aminh96- your are just plain exagerating, how could you lose $20000? A fully loaded 2000 T&C limited AWD costs $28000 right now at the dealer brand new. Even if you paid that much for your 97 model the fact you only got $8000 trade in just shows a lack of car buying sense.
  • I also have been trying to trade a Chrysler Town & Country Van 1997 in good condition but with 89000 miles and could only get $12,100 for it, but the new tag was way over 28000, more like 35000. Quite expensive for 3 years. Also the Chrysler dealer would not give me that much. Bummer! will trade for something else.
  • Carleton1

    #1. He is a Chrysler mechanic and one of my wife's patient.

    #2. I bought it on 03/1997 and paid $31K+.

    #3. I traded it in for $11500 at a MB dealer. The dealer showed me three different used car price books which showed the maximum priced I can get is $12K+ if the van is in excellent condition.

    #4. We were looking for an Acura MDX but did not want to pay MSRP and was leery of the fact that this is a first year SUV. We got a MB ML320 with M1 and M2 packages, Bose stereo, heated seats, sun roof, all weather floor mats and running board for $38K+

    #5. I have 3 vehicles.
  • vttomvttom Posts: 3
    Where can I learn about the $500 savings on the Grand Caravan you mentioned a few days ago? Thanks.
  • carleton1carleton1 Posts: 560
    Thanks for the quick, accurate response. The popularity of DC minivans with rental agencies has
    a chilling effect on trade-in for all of us. Too many rental vehicles are abused and trashed while in service as a rental. Most people just do not drive a rental responsibly as they would if they actually owned or leased the vehicle.
    However, the popularity of DC minivans for rentals indicates a lower total expense for the rental firm when purchase price, maintenance, and re-sale value are all considered. If rental firms could buy, rent, and re-sell Odyssey, Sienna, etc with the low overall cost of DC, we would be able to rent them as easily as the more popular DC.
    I will never again buy a used vehicle. I know I get a quality product with a factory warranty when I buy new...Grand Caravan, Odyssey, Sienna or whatever.
  • Karen_CMKaren_CM Posts: 5,032
    ...a few missing posts. They were removed for being off topic and/or confrontational.

    KarenS
    Vans host

    Community Manager If you have any questions or concerns about the Forums, send me an email, karen@edmunds.com, or click on my screen name to send a personal message.

  • temmtemm Posts: 2
    I ordered a 01 T/C last week. When I was looking over the invoice I noticed a $500.00
    advertising charge. Does anyone know if the dealer is really out $500.00?

    I ordered this van on 10/10. Dealership called this morning and said it was going down
    the line. Arrival date should be the end of this month. Hope this is true.

    The dealership offered $10,5 for my 96 T/C I bought in May 96 for $26,5. Including
    interest, that works out to about $330.00 a month. Only thing I had to replace on this van
    was tires and brakes which is normal for any vehicle with 80,000 miles. Of coarse the
    transmission was replaced but under warranty. I am well satisfied.
  • hersbirdhersbird Posts: 323
    I could find a nice low mile 1997 Town and Country LXI for $12,000!

    To give you 3 references (gee, I wonder how the dealer came up with numbers to give themselves a potential $10,000 profit?)

    On a 1997 T&C LXI with standard features and 45K miles:

    Edmunds $14,200 trade in and $17075 retail
    Kelly Blue Buok: 16,330 trade, $21,300 retail
    NADA (june 2000, sorry not current) $16400 wholesale, $18000 trade in, and $20500 retail.

    There are not many more major pricing publications out there and I really find it hard to believe 3 major ones put the trade in on this van $11500 at best.

    In a serarch of www.autotrader.com turned up 499 97 T&C's the least expensive LXI had 100000 miles on it and was priced at $11,000, the least expensive under 50K miles was $15,000, the mean price of all 97 T&C's all models was $17,985. Granted this is what dealers are asking and they do need to make some profit but even it they were willing to take $2000 off the mean price and still poket $2000 profit, they would still be able to pay $14000 on a trade. FYI there were 55 priced over $10,000 more then what you received as a trade in hence the possibility of a $10,000 profit.
  • carleton1carleton1 Posts: 560
    As in January 1999 the trade-in for my 1991 Astro CL in mint condition with 61,601 miles was between $2,000 and $2500 BELOW the trade in stated in NADA and Edmunds. Maybe there is also a secretive "price-fixing" between the used car managers of all dealerships in the area where aminh96 lives as it appears to be here.
  • carleton1carleton1 Posts: 560
    #432 of 433: interesting article on 2001 DC vans (binkybarnes) Thu 19 Oct '00 (04:52 PM)

    http://www.money.com/money/depts/autos/onwheels/index.html
  • Does anybody know if the 2001 town and country LXi is as quiet as the 2001 Limited. Are there different levels of sound insulation put in the various models within the town and country van line-up. Am also considering the dodge grand caravan ES. Can I assume the ES is as quiet as the town and country? Also do the dodge grand caravan and town and country ride as well as each other. Is one a more softer ride than the other?
  • Per the brochure, the limited has added insulation & is quieter than the LXI, we drove 2 identical LXIs, heard a droning noise in both, could not detect if it was the tires, wheels, or the transmission, it was between 45 & 50 mph in one & between 60 & 70 mph in the other, we are waiting to test the limited which is not avaiable in our area as yet.
  • emaleemale Posts: 1,380
    that droning was probably coming from the exhaust...
  • elle5elle5 Posts: 1
    After months of getting used to the fact that my great '91 Toyota Previa AWD van was nearing it's end of service to my family, I quit agonizing! After eliminating Toyota's Sienna (too small) and Honda's Odyssey (not impressed)I started to read about the redesigned T&C. Today I took my husband,9yr twins and little sister to test drive a 2001 LXi AWD T&C. We all loved the quiet ride, the excellent handling, the stereo,the classy interior, tons of space and the power doors and lift gate. I now realize that I didn't want to give up driving an AWD minivan (especially now that winters in the north east are predicted to be colder and wetter: more snow because of no la nina or el nino). After stopping strangers who own T&C's, asking soccer moms who drive them,etc. no one has had any problems with the old design. I know if I start digging I will unearth some past reliability issues....but I think I will go with my gut feeling on this one. As one reviewer stated when beginning his piece on the new 2001 Chrysler T&C: WOW!
  • mechanmechan Posts: 7
    I believe the reason that DC increased the powertrain warranty in Canada to 5 yrs/100k km is to remain competitive with Honda and their Odyssey Canadian powertrain warranty which is also 5 yrs/100k km.
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