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Minivans - Domestic or Foreign

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  • hansiennahansienna Posts: 2,312
    Excellent suggestion to take 3 seats and actually see how they fit.

         I do NOT think you could put 3 child seats in the 2nd row of the Odyssey as the middle portion looks too narrow.

         I think you could in the Sienna 8 passenger CE or LE as the Sienna ads show a child seat in the middle portion and the middle portion is slid forward to be close to the front seats.

         I have not tried putting 3 car seats into the 50/50 split third row bench when it was slid forward after removing the 2nd row bucket seats. It looks like it would probably hold 3 child car seats when placed as 2nd row but it definitely would not hold 3 in the rearward position where the space is too narrow.
  • jipsterjipster Posts: 5,345
    While not giving out the exact numbers, an article in todays paper reported Sienna sales have fallen since October of this year.While saying that the Odyssey and Chrysler T&C and Dodge Caravan "saw sharp sales gains for minivans in December" Not surprising about the Ody or Sienna sales numbers...though a bit surprised to see "sharp" sales increases for Chryslers lineup. Good for them....I guess the stow-n-go concept is going well for their sales.
  • I have been shopping for a minivan recently. I traded my 99 DC T&C for a 2005 Subaru Forester last summer and, while the Subie is a great car, we find that a big minivan is still the best for some uses, even though we are in our 60s and have no family to haul around on a regular basis.

     

    But the current offerings by Toyota, Honda and CD have me gnashing my teeth -- I haven't felt this frustrated except at election times in years!

     

    1. Toyota would be my first choice, BUT:

     

    a. Toyota's option packages drive me up the wall! There is no way I can put together a vehicle that will allow me to feel that I have gotten value for money. I owned two Toyota Corolla SR-5s back in the 70s-80s and they were great cars, but Toyota lost me when they brought out the first Camry. I wanted one very much, but one could get a manual tranny only on the cheaper series, which didn't offer a tachometer, while the deluxe series had a tach, but only came with an auto! Inscrutable, these Orientals.

     

    b. Honda has almost as bad a problem as Toyota of sheer bloody-minded thinking regarding option packages. I can't get some features I consider essential without taking a moonroof or other foolish fripperies.

     

    c. Beside, the only Toyota and Honda dealers that are within a reasonable distance from me both leave me with the feeling that they should be selling only cars that run on snake oil.

     

    d. The DC offerings allow me to put together a package that comes closest to my wants and needs, but DC is still saddled with archaic engines and 4-speed trannies. They desperately need a more modern 3.5L engine, a 5 speed tranny, or both.

     

    e. The Kia is too small and 1000 pounds too heavy. The Ford and GM offerings are pathetic in the extreme. The new VW won't arrive till God knows when. Mazda is too costly for its size.

     

    So I reckon I will bite the bullet for now, wait a couple of years and pick up a good used DC minivan with all the options I want, even if it has some I don't need, and let someone else take the heavy hit in depreciation.
  • jipsterjipster Posts: 5,345
    Now hold on a minute veritasusa. I think I can put you in that new minivan you're wanting.No need to age two more years to get the van of your dreams.You don't need that big minivan anymore.You need that too costly for its size Mazda MPV.

      You were correct on most of your points.But, you have been misinformed if you believe Mazda is "too costly for its size". Current rebates on the 2004 models are at $4,000(still many available)and $2,000 with the 05's.Other incentives available...also you should be able to get that rebate off close to what invoice is. Get just the options you want.Probably get that Mazda MPV that lists for $27,000 for around $20,000.
  • macakavamacakava Posts: 775
    Here are the explanations:

     

    1.) The new 2005 Ody was out by October which created lots of interest and excitement in buying it.

     

    2.) Hansienna did a great job of promoting his T & C in these forums.

     

    3.) 1.) and 2.) above spelt trouble for Sienna!

     

    LOL
  • jipsterjipster Posts: 5,345
    You got that right Mac.

    Hans is gonna have a field day with T&C's new sales numbers.Look for Hans number of posts to go up 25% this quarter. ;-)
  • dszkldszkl Posts: 6
    I have this exact same problem right now with my 2002 MPV. I love the vehicle, but I will not put my kids in the 3rd row because of safety and convenience. Anyone have any other ideas? Isnt there an aftermarket seat? If not, I am going to have to blow a big wad of money on a Toyota I dont even want.
  • I, too, just recently went shopping for a minivan--our first. I really agree with most all of what veritasusa found.

     

    1) The Toyota, in addition to being really proud of its vehicles, pricewise, really did have the most confusing options packaging I have ever seen (surpassed only, and barely at that, by the BCS rating system for college bowl games).

     

    2) With Honda, if you want leather, you have to get a sun roof as part of that package, and the only way I, at 6' 4", could drive a full-size Honda "mini" van with a sun roof is with my head leaning over into the sun roof recess.

     

    3) While the DC had the same problem with the sun roof (anyone else notice how similar the various dimensions are between the 2005 Odyssey and the Grand Caravan?), at least the sun roof is a stand alone option. My other problem with the DC is that the only interior colors offered are gray and shades of gray (borrrrrring!!).

     

    4) The Kia still has roll out seats which, as someone else said, doesnt' work for me. I want at least a fold down third seat and I can live without the second row fold down seats if that is what takes away the headroom.

     

    5) All the reviews of the domestic vans (except DC) talk about cheap interior materials, limited innovation, and so-so fit and finish).

     

    6) My preference is still the MPV (styling, headroom, overall size) But the problem is for the approximate same price, or less, of fairly loaded MPV, all of the other vans have things like heated seats, automatic AC, dual power front seats, and some other things my wife and I have come to know and love with our VW Passats.

     

    So, like veritasusa, I'll wait for a couple of years and see what changes Mazda makes in the MPV, and see if VW gets a decent van out in our lifetime.
  • bluedevilsbluedevils Posts: 2,554
    Kia is rolling out a new Sedona for the 2006 model year. They would be idiots NOT to equip it with a foldaway 3rd row seat. Chances are Sedona will be so equipped, possibly with a split foldaway.
  • marine2marine2 Posts: 1,155
    When Dodge came out with the stow n go seats and those nice discounts, it was a no brainer. It is just great how you can work the seating on the DGC, with the split third row seats and the second row seats. It seems like no matter what you want to carry in that van, you can work the seats to do it. With all the seats up, there is gobs of storage in that van. Seems like you can carry just about anything and not have it laying in the floor or on the seats.

     

    I just bought mine last week and have my tools, umbrella, window shade, blanket,pillow, inflatable bed and small 12 inch, three way power television and cooler in the van and they are all under the hidden floor.( I guess you can see my wife and I are going to do some serious traveling in this van.) I can take the cover off behind the third seat storage well and there is plenty of room to stack groceries that won't fall over.

     

    Then Dodge also gives me three electric doors, radio with CD/cassette, with six speakers, with volume and tuning on the steering wheel. Eight way power seat, trip meter, outside temp/ compass, garage door opener and MPG/distance on tank of gas, overhead computer. It not only has dual front air bags, but an air bag that protects the driver's knees. Power/heated outside mirrors, even the far, rear, wing windows are powered.

     

    But the big selling point was the storage space and not having to take the seats out. I don't like leaving things out that can be seen by looking through the windows. I like to keep my vehicles looking neat and clean. The Dodge G.C. lets me do all that. I just love this van.
  • bluedevilsbluedevils Posts: 2,554
    The stow-n-go is a HUGE feature that surely will win plenty of sales for DCX based solely on that. DCX has plenty of good ideas in their minivans, but there are some areas where they still lag the competition - namely, powertrain.
  • marine2marine2 Posts: 1,155
    "but there are some areas where they still lag the competition - namely, powertrain."

     

    Not so sure. Looking at Consumer Reports, most of Chrysler's problem with their mini van's transmissions, ended in 2001. In 2003, they had above average reliability.(2004-05 are to new to report on.) They have had little complaints on their engines and both carry a 7/70,000 mile powertrain warrantee The 2005 Dodge GC and Chrysler TC are both recommended models.
  • hansiennahansienna Posts: 2,312
    Odyssey, Sienna, Sedona (and others) have 5 speed AT while DC still has a 4 speet AT with OHV engines.

         However, DC minivans get mileage as good as the Odyssey and Sienna and much better than the Sedona.

         DC has a longer powertrain warranty than all but the Sedona. Sure, a 5 speed AT will provide quicker off the line acceleration if all other things were equal. However, the "old fashioned" OHV engines develop torque more quickly than OHC which cancels the advantage of the 5 speed AT and higher horsepower ratings of the Odyssey and Sienna.
  • bluedevilsbluedevils Posts: 2,554
    If you folks think powertrains is not a competitive disadvantage in the marketplace for DCX minivans, you're kidding yourselves. First, read any professional review and it almost surely will knock the DCX van for this.

     

    I think it will be a while yet before the general public feels Chrysler has put its transmission issues in the past.

     

    Plus, doesn't the DCX powertrain "pledge" carry a deductible with it? My opinion is that 'no deductible' is a required characteristic of a manufacturer-backed warranty. If there's a deductible, then it's not a warranty. Which I believe is why DCX refers to it as their "7/70 Powertrain Pledge". Or maybe that's just a silly marketing move.

     

    Most folks would rather have the higher-tech combination of DOHC multivalve engine with more-gears-auto-trans. I know *I* would, and our family currently owns vehicles with 1 powertrain I'd call high-tech at the time it was introduced (our 2002 Sedona's 3.5L DOHC 24V V6 w/5-speed auto trans), 1 that's midpack (1998 Trooper, 215hp/230ft-lb 3.5L DOHC 24V V6 w/4-speed auto), and 1 that I'd consider low-tech (2004 Chevy Malibu Maxx 3.5L OHV 6 cyl w/4-speed auto).

     

    Practically speaking, sure the OHV and 4-speed combo gets the job done. Same holds for the OHV 4-speed powertrain in the Chevy Malibu Maxx we own, and that gets really good fuel economy. Still, I would rather have a higher-HP DOHC 24-valve V6 in there with a 5-speed automatic.

     

    I don't know the EPA ratings of DCX minivans off top of my head, but the real-world Sedona fuel economy seems to be legitimately well above the EPA ratings. At least it has been for our family's Sedona.

     

    The DCX vans have lots of great innovations, but the one thing stopping them from being the clear industry leader in terms of the overall vehicle is outdated and questionable-quality powertrain components.

     

    If DCX slapped in a 250-hp 24V DOHC 3.5L V6 with a bulletproof 5-speed auto, they would be right up there with the Joneses of the minivan world. Right now, they aren't.
  • Stever@EdmundsStever@Edmunds YooperlandPosts: 38,982
    When I was shopping vans in '98 I checked out quite a few used ones. Several people didn't even know if their van had a 4 or 6 banger in it much less what speed tranny it had or the cam design.

     

    Edmunds car enthusiasts are special, but most folks don't have a clue about the engines, and don't much care.

     

    Steve, Host
  • Thought this would be of interest to the forum members given all the talk of comparison between the various minivans and the general sentiment that Japanese is always better.

     

    "Minivans With Maxi-problems

    In this year’s Lemon-Aid SUV, Van, and Truck Guide, we have bad news for minivan buyers:

     

    less than a handful of minivans are worth buying and Japanese and American models are becoming less reliable.

     

    Buyers should stay away from bargain-priced new and used minivans that require frequent and costly repairs. Chief among these are Chrysler minivans, Ford Windstars, and the Mercury Villager/Nissan Quest. Chrysler models had engine, drivetrain, electrical and fuel system, AC, brake, and body deficiencies galore. Windstars are noted for engine, automatic transmission, brake, steering, suspension, and fuel system failures. The newest Quests are selling poorly and use many failure-prone Altima/Maxima parts. VW Campers are a good idea poorly executed. These minivans are nicely laid-out, but they aren't reliable and servicing is practically non-existent. Plus, they are costly."

     

    Link is http://www.lemonaidcars.com/update.htm

     

    Rob
  • Can someone explain to me what is the benefit of a more modern DOHC V6 engine trans. combo like the vechicles you specified compared to the DCX OHV V6 engine trans. combo Daimlerchrysler uses. I think the new technology is great, but seeing that DCX has been building vans for over 20 yrs. and I still see some of the earlier versions on the roads today, is a sure sign that they must me doing something right with there engine/trans. combo. I have heard how DCX should have a 5 speed tranny since everybody else has one. Outside of gear ratio, I don't see that big of a difference between the two. As it has been said before, DCX gets about the same EPA as the more modern engine/trans. combo that of the foreign design. DCX reaches the max torque and horsepower with less RPM's. I'm not sure how long the 24V DOHC engines in the minivans have been around, but unless you can give better fact info. why DCX engine/Trans. combo is bad, it's all just opinions. I would like for DCX to update there engine/trans., but the one they have now is fine. Some of use around here like to have the new gadgets and technology. While others like and appreciate the old technology that has been around for decades. Both have there pros and cons.
  • bluedevilsbluedevils Posts: 2,554
    Good point. Still, among enthusiast buyers and among the pros in the automotive community, DCX is lagging behind in the powertrain area.
  • marine2marine2 Posts: 1,155
    Not ever having a radio like the one in the Dodge GC, with both CD and cassette, I also noticed the other day, it not only displays the station it's on, but the song that's playing and the artist that's singing it. I had a 2001 Dodge Dakota and have a 2004 Honda Civic and neither did that. Is this new, or has it been out for awhile and I just had two cheap radios that they didn't have it?
  • Right, but to most people who shop for minivans it is irrelevant as long as it feels powerful and gets decent economy. One big con for the Sienna when I was shopping was that it requires premium. I will never get a family car that needs premuim again.

     

    That said, if the next DCX vans had the 3.5 I would be very happy about it...but I am an enthusiast on the Edmund's toenhall. I suspect I am not the average minivan owner.
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