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Minivans - Domestic or Foreign

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Comments

  • I understand what you mean about one income. Back in late 2002 my Wife was layed off her job. We went from two incomes to just one. (Man what a challenge that was). My 86 Lincoln Town car needed to be replaced in 2003. (We do have a 98 Sunfire but need two vechicles. We have a family of six). We only had $20,000 to spend and bought a used 2001 DGC EX in Sep. 2003 for just under $16,000 with only 37K. We have over 57K now with no engine or trans. problems. Our van has been pretty reliable compared to some of the things I have been reading here on Edmunds. The only problem that we had, that I felt shouldn't have, was right after purchase, we needed to replace both front window regulators. This was done under warranty. Our van is not as luxurious as the T&C, Ody. or Sienna, but it is beautiful, simple, meets all of our needs and has been very reliable. My advice would be to keep an open mind about all makes and models. Check the problem forms, any recalls and TSB's. This way you know what to avoid and what potential problems you might run into in the future. Remember to never buy the first new year model of any vechicle. (If you do, make sure it is at least two years old. That way most if not all the problems can be worked out before you purchased).
  • marine2marine2 Posts: 1,155
    I am sure many tradesmen buy the Dodge for use taking their equipment around to job sites. On the other hand, I traded in a truck and bought the Dodge. Owning a home, I have found myself buying things to fix it up, buying new furniture and etc. I also haul things to the landfilll. I feel I can still do most of that with the Dodge stow-n-go, without many problems. It's also nice to know if I go to a store or swap meet and see something I like, I can drop all the seats down without having to go back home and pull out the middle seats and then having to drive back. Of course if your second vehicle is a truck, or you only use your van to haul kids or people, any van will do. The only reason I got rid of my 2001 truck was because of stow-n-go. It gives me the best of both worlds.
  • hansiennahansienna Posts: 2,312
    My 2002 T&C LX has MANY nice features that are NOT included in one son's 2001 Ody EX such as separately controlled temperature for driver and front passenger, heating coils in the base of the windshield, lighted controls on the doors, quality stereo, overhead console with outside temp/compass and trip computer, automatic locking doors and it gets better gas mileage than the Ody EX.
    The Ody EX does have the Magic Seat that folds into the floor, power sliding doors, and the more flexible 2nd row seating that are not on my T&C LX.
    The 2002 T&C LX is more refined and quieter on the highway than the 2001 Ody EX.
  • marine2marine2 Posts: 1,155
    "My 2002 T&C LX has MANY nice features that are NOT included in one son's 2001 Ody EX such as separately controlled temperature for driver and front passenger, heating coils in the base of the windshield, lighted controls on the doors, quality stereo, overhead console with outside temp/compass and trip computer, automatic locking doors and it gets better gas mileage than the Ody EX."

    Only problem, Chrysler got rid of most of those features on the 2005 Dodge GC. It still has the overhead console and great stereo and locking doors, but heating coils are gone. So are the lighted controls on the doors, lighted key ring and glove box light are gone too. One light instead of two on vanity mirrors and rear hatch. But they have a top notch radio with both CD and cassette and more sound deadening through out the van. Still I liked those things they did away with.
  • hansiennahansienna Posts: 2,312
    DC also eliminated the "Instant Economy" feature of the trip computer which my 02 T&C LX has.
    Maybe DC minivans are falling behind the competition as suggested in another Town Hall forum.
    How much was the savings to DC when they eliminated the nice features you mentioned? Was it worth the number of customers they will lose to the Odyssey and Sienna and perhaps the new KIA Sedona that will also have many nice features that DC has eliminated?
  • marine2marine2 Posts: 1,155
    I think it was a mistake too. Even if those things cost another $100.00 to put on, the price difference Chrysler is selling their vans for against the Honda and Toyota, would make little difference to a buyer. Most would pay it to get those features.
  • navyairnavyair Posts: 202
    In your situation, I might not go with a used car. Unless you know someone with a dealership you trust or can get a certified used, I'd get something with a warantee...generally that is new or certified used by dealer. Your choice what model, lots of opinions voiced here.

    I had an Aerostar for years and it was a reliable van, unlike the Windstar that followed it. All of my friends who have Chryslers have had 1 or more transmissions, but accept that as a known weakness...I read all the posts, and my boss had a 2002 T&C that he replaced the tranny on last yr. Might be the exception rather than the rule, but he traded it on a Honda Pilot...his 3rd Chrysler van, his 5th tranny.

    I currently own a Kia Sedona van and the warantee cannot be beat. 5yr/60k bumper to bumper and 10 yr/100k powertrain. Have 35k on it and only a noisy a/c compressor repair. It runs great in the snow...minor complaint is that you need to wash your wheels if you get onto salty roads, as they seem to be unsealed alloys, and the salt will pit the magnesium. I solved that by getting separate wheels/snow tires for our extended winter here in Twin Cities, but that would be unreasonable for a quick trip to the mtns for the weekend. Drove up to NJ during a blizzard on the OEM tires (Hankooks) and it handled great.

    You can get into a base model for around $16k, and their fully loaded one for ~19K. Gas mileage is better than EPA estimate, but still not super thrifty, but you can buy a lot of gas for the $ you save, even at $2/gallon.

    Others will have their favorites. We are looking at perhaps adding a stretch Sedona (06 MY)to the stable, but probably not next yr.

    Happy hunting, and good luck finding something that fits your needs!
  • craigmricraigmri Posts: 243
    If Chrysler fixed the transmission problems in the 2001-2005 Model years they certainly didnt in the 2002 PT Cruisers. Both mine and another Engineer I work with both lost two transmissions EACH!! Thats four failed transmissions on two vehicles and our combined milege is 160,000 miles.

    Again, dont believe me....Go ask Aamco!!

    Craig
    '04 Sedona EX
  • allison5allison5 Posts: 130
    This forum is new to me,we are final stages of process of deciding on whether to get 05 Odyessy, Sedona, Pilot or Sequoia. Have ruled out every possible other vehicle we would get. We have 3 kids, and one 80lb dog. SOmeone just told us about Sedona, never really thought about that one before now, does anyone have opinions about this? I have hear many many complaints on back problems with Odyessy so this makes me nervous since I can't deal with seats that are not good. Just wanting to know what people think. I have driven a minivan for almost 10 years and their is a part of me that wants a SUV but most of them are hugh and gas guzzlers. THX in advance
  • on your part of the SUV, i just traded off my 2003 santa fe, reason, i owned a 1999 chrysler minivan before the santa fe, loved the seats in the van, but seats in santa fe were uncomfortable to me, van seats in my 1999 were terrific, i was spoiled, well i traded for a 2005 chrysler town and country lx dealer had for $21,900 after rebates and plus taxes, which was the same price i paid for my santa fe, the seats in the 2005 in my opinion are even better than my 1999 van, i must be in comfort while traveling, as we do a lot, we are retired, we love the stow and go seats, we can sleep in the back while traveling, and hauling large stuff we no longer need from home to our kids homes, and still have seats after we get there, and believe it or not, the van is quieter and rides nicer than the santa fe, not knocking the santa fe, was a good suv, just not good seats nor size for what we though we needed at time or purchase
  • Weird logic. 2 completely different transmissions
  • craigmricraigmri Posts: 243
    Mr Blonde.

    I was mearly replying to a comment Marine2 made:

    "Chrysler transmissions WAS their weakest point. If ones buys a 2001-2005, there should be no problem. Most of the problems before that was with the tranny fluid Chrysler was using in their transmissions. It is no longer a problem, as they changed fuids in their 2001s."

    My point is if Chrysler changed the tranny fluid to fix their problems they didnt fix it in the PT Cruisers. I believe Chrsyler still makes horrible automatic transmissions in the model years Marine2 stated. Sorry you didnt understand where I was coming from.

    Craig
    '04 Sedona EX
  • "My point is if Chrysler changed the tranny fluid to fix their problems they didnt fix it in the PT Cruisers. I believe Chrsyler still makes horrible automatic transmissions in the model years Marine2 stated. Sorry you didnt understand where I was coming from."

    OK, but the title of the thread is "minivan shopping", so saying "Chrysler" in here is the same as saying "Chrysler minivan"

    PT Cruiser issues aren't relevent to the discussion
  • craigmricraigmri Posts: 243
    True but if they still have issues with the PT Cruiser one can deduct that they still have problems and that most likely the minivans are still affected. That is my point.

    Dont get me wrong, I think they do a decent minivan overall. I just wouldnt buy one because of so many bad experiences with a caravan and more recently the '02 Cruiser.

    Craig
    '04 Sedona EX
  • marine2marine2 Posts: 1,155
    Well I have had a 1988 Chrysler till 1993,traded that in on a 1993 Eagle Vision. Traded that in on a 2004 Honda Civic. Bought the daughter a 1996 Dodge Neon which she kept till 2002. Bought a 2001 Dodge Dakota till I just bought this mini van two months ago and never had tranny problems with any of them.
  • The only vehicles from that list worth considering are the Neon and the Dakota as far as comparison purposes. Which I still don't really think are valid comparisons. Are you just trying to establish an overall reputation for Chrysler?

    Not sure what the point of all this is, since it's basically established fact that the trannies are the weakest link in 96+ Chrysler minivan products. jump into some other online discussions to see the headache people have gone through swapping out minivan transmissions, some approx. every 30K miles. Maybe you just got lucky?

    My Plymouth GV Expresso has 120K on it's original transmission but that seems more of the exception than the rule.

    Happy motoring.
  • hansiennahansienna Posts: 2,312
    The KIA Sedona has THE worst fuel economy rating of any minivan now sold in the USA although it has the smallest interior space.
    Buy the Odyssey if you want the most power, the best EPA fuel economy rating, and the highest resale value.
  • lumbarlumbar Posts: 421
    So I -shouldn't- buy a Sienna if I want the highest resale?
  • navyairnavyair Posts: 202
    Hansienna has strong opinions for the Ody and against the Kia, but doesn't own either one. His opinons, and he is well entitled to them, probably formed the same way I did...combo of experience and research. I finally bought a Kia after weighing all options. We are very happy with it and have had few problems. We have a 2003 EX with 35k miles on it. If we had anything else, the warantee would be expiring next month...right now, we still have a couple more years, or 65k miles on the bumper to bumper...reduced maint costs.

    I liked the Ody and shopped for one for almost a year, talking to a couple of employees who owned one, and driving one for a weekend. We did the same with all makes/models. I can't say anything about the new Sienna, though, because I haven't driven one. Have extensive experience with the T&C, the Windstar (not Freestar), the Ody, and the Mazda since relatives have owned/operated them and we talk cars a lot.

    In Northern VA, the Honda dealers were pretty arrogant, and demanded above MSRP. Dealer service departments were also higher cost than other dealers. Looking at the big picture, we decided not to go with Honda. I saved a little over $6k off MSRP, or $7k over best price offered by Honda for the same equipment on a Kia. Honda may be a little more flexible now that there is more competition...I'm starting to see a little more conversation on that on the Honda boards. Honda has had quite a few posts on the electric doors and transmissions, too. Each van model seems to have its own quirks. Generally, those that use automobile transmissions to carry the weight seem to have more problems.

    Weight is both a drawback and a benefit for the Kia Sedona. It handles well, drives well in poor conditions, and has a great crash rating due to the mass. It's gas mileage isn't great, but I get fairly close to Hansienna's posted mileage with mine unless I'm doing all stop/go driving. We average 16-17 city, 25-26 highway...might go up a notch or two if I didn't have a lead foot (a known jet aviator bad habit.

    Good luck with your choices. Right now, if I was fence sitting, I might try to hold out for the 2006 Kia in Sept. It is longer, and has about 100% of what options you can get on a van today. Drive comparably equipped models from all the majors and decide what you want.

    Hansienna is right regarding room. The interior room is smaller in the Kia. Not cramped, but a little more like a Villager inside than an Ody or T&C. We haul 2 teens and 2 dogs in it routinely, but usually take out 1 of the buckets (behind driver)to haul dogfood sacks and potting soil, etc. Still have a 6 pax vehicle that way and room behind the seat and where the other seat was.

    Best Wishes and good luck!
  • steverstever Viva Las CrucesPosts: 40,865
    In Northern VA, the Honda dealers were pretty arrogant

    My sister lives in Northern VA; it's not just Honda dealers that are problematic up there. Her VW dealer has gotten better; I think so many people called VW about them to complain that they cleaned up their act some.

    Steve, Host

    Moderator
    Need help navigating? stever@edmunds.com - or send a private message by clicking on my name.

  • craigmricraigmri Posts: 243
    Hans has made it clear he's a Kia basher. Hans Your statement or attempt at levity suggesting people invest in oil companies if they buy a Sedona is really rediculous. First off, most Oddessy owners are reporting significantly lower MPG than EPA estimates(see the minivan gas mileage thread). So lets assume for a minute they do actually get 28 MPG and the Sedona gets 22(we do better with ours on the highway), Hypothetically you drive 12,500 miles a year at the MPG the sticker states. The Sedona will use only $244 a year more in fuel(based on $2/gal). For the 7 or 8 grand I saved I can buy alot of gas. And in 9 years from now guess what? My vehicle will still have powertrain coverage(assuming I'm below 100,000 miles)...how about the Honda? Toyota? Mazda? Ford? Oh thats right, those vans dont need the warranty right? So why wouldnt they give it(the warranty) away since it wont cost them anything?

    Hey I'll be the first to admit the Kia isnt the best on the market. Its just the best value on the market.

    Craig
    '04 Sedona EX
  • jipsterjipster Posts: 5,345
    Nahhh, I didn't think Hans was being a "Kia basher". Just using a little humor in pointing out the differences between the Kia Sedona and the Ody. I think a lot of minivan owners wish they had better mpg. At least the ones that post on Edmunds do.As long as my mpg is within a reasonable range...I could care less.That's low on my priority list on what I want in a minivan(mpg). Other people though have it high on their list.Some people perfer the peace of mind that comes with the longer warranty Kia offers.Whatever floats your canoe.
  • hansiennahansienna Posts: 2,312
    THANKS for the accurate clarification.
    BTW, when KIA Sedona owners trash Chrysler, I feel it appropriate to counter with another view highlighting the achilles heel of the Sedona.
    Each minivan has advantages and disadvantages. I test drove a 2002 Kia Sedona shortly after it was released and was quite favorable impressed with the overall package although the interior seemed on the small side. The driver and front passenger seating were very comfortable and it had a smooth, quiet ride with satisfactory performance from the 3.5L V6 (and I believe a 5 speed AT).
    It did not have the power or interior space of the 2002 Odyssey EX that I test drove but the price was also thousands less. If initial cost is crucial, the KIA Sedona would be a good choice.
    I felt that the KIA Sedona was comparable in price, performance, and interior volume to the Caravan or Voyager with the 3.3L V6 in 2002 and feel the same would be true for 2005 comparing a KIA Sedona to a Caravan or SWB T&C. However, the DC minivans have a much higher EPA fuel rating at 19 City and 26 Highway. Neither DC nor Sedona retain the high percentage of resale value of the Odyssey or Sienna.
  • craigmricraigmri Posts: 243
    Hans,

    I respect everything you said in that last post. If money was no object for me I too would buy the Honda. They and Toyota are leading the world in quality standards right now. I just cant stomache the prices and the arrogance at the dealerships. I usually shop for value in my purchases and besides.....if the entire world drove the same vehicle things would get pretty darn boring.

    As for my comments about Chrysler I feel strongly about that issue. The last three company cars I chose were Chryslers:
    1995 Dodge Intrepid
    1998 Dodge Caravan
    2002 PT Cruiser
    My company maintains a fleet of 225 company cars for engineers nationwide. Last year they discontinued the Chrysler options due to extensive repair costs. I actually liked all three vehicles but after breaking down countless times you get a bad taste in your mouth. At the same time my Brother in law has a late 90's caravan with 200,000 miles and has not lost a transmission so go figure??

    Craig
    '04 Sedona EX
  • "we are final stages of process of deciding on whether to get 05 Odyessy..."

    I just drove my '05 Odyssey for 2 2-hr trips this week with no back issues. My friend--who can't set foot into a BMW without serious back problems--drove his '05 Odyssey from Philly to Montreal and back and said it was a pleasure. I suggest you find a way to take a very long or overnight test drive; I suspect the "back" issues you refer to are very particular to the driver.

    My wife wanted Pilot (my sister is very happy with hers), but switched to Odyssey at last minute after seeing how much easier access was for our young children (Odyssey closer to ground, more room inside).

    Very happy with my Odyssey.
  • "i am a single mom of three who desparately needs to buy a car."

    If you are willing to take a little more risk as to reliability and maintenance expense over a Honda or Toyota, a used Volvo V70 wagon w/optional rear seat can accomodate 2 kids 50-88 lbs in back rear-facing seat, in addition to 5 regular passenger seats. If you go for it, buy a good extended warranty.
  • macakavamacakava Posts: 775
    "Oh thats right, those vans dont need the warranty right? So why wouldnt they give it(the warranty) away since it wont cost them anything?"

    Product marketing for expected sales is usually based strongly on customer perception of the product. If customers are not confident in the quality/reliability of a product, they will resist buying it unless there are attractive differentials like price and longer warranty - which serve as the carrot/bait for these customer segment.
  • steverstever Viva Las CrucesPosts: 40,865
    "For manufacturers, the fastest way to announce to the world that your brand is better is to lengthen the warranty. If everybody else is giving 90-day or one-year warranties, make yours three years."

    Warranty As A Weapon (Warranty Week)

    Steve, Host

    Moderator
    Need help navigating? stever@edmunds.com - or send a private message by clicking on my name.

  • macakavamacakava Posts: 775
    This the carrot/bait I was referring to.

    If Honda/Toyota/Nissan can attract their intended customers because of their superior product, there is no need to offer the longer warranties of their less-regarded competitors. Hate to say it, there will always be that "el cheapo" customer segment that Honda/Toyota/Nissan would not

    Again it comes down to the customer perception of the product and also the superior product performance.
  • marine2marine2 Posts: 1,155
    "If Honda/Toyota/Nissan can attract their intended customers because of their superior product, there is no need to offer the longer warranties of their less-regarded competitors. Hate to say it, there will always be that "el cheapo" customer segment that Honda/Toyota/Nissan would not

    Again it comes down to the customer perception of the product and also the superior product performance."

    You have to wonder where some people get off making it look like if you don't buy a Honda or Toyota, your either a cheapskate, the van is nothing but a cheapo, or you don't have enough brains to buy the(superior product) put out by the Japanese.

    Well I did like the discount I got buying my Dodge GC. I could have easily bought a Honda Odyssey or the Toyota Sienna and chose not to because of how I want to use my van. The Honda, Toyota did not fit in with how I wanted to use it.

    While the Dodge van has had it share of problems, I can see that so has the Odyssey. Are there more people complaining about Chrysler vans? Sure are. But Chrysler also sells a heck of a lot more vans than Odyssey. As a matter of fact, they have out sold all the Japanese mini vans combined last year. Maybe you should add up all the complaints all the Japanese vans have had and see how that compares.

    Did Honda come out with a better van this year? I think so. But it took a lot of copying from Chrysler before any of them did it. Is it all that much better? I don't think so. Not with all the complaints it's getting on this site.

    Even with it new engine that shuts off three cylinders and five speed transmission, all developed to save gas, it is only rated one mpg city and two mpg highway, better than the Chrysler/Dodge that only has a four speed tranny and all the cylinders fire.

    My van rides smoother and quieter than the Honda and their is no rattles in it. The front seats fit like a glove.

    So don't keep coming out with that so superior talk as if the rest of us non Japanese buyers, are just plain cheap or that not smart enough attitude, to buy the same van you own because it is soooo much better.
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