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Minivans - Domestic or Foreign



  • marine2marine2 Posts: 1,155
    For me, those middle seats folding into the floor is a must. About twice a month, I carry either my Mom's or Sister's electric cart. Some times I have both and I couldn't get them in if they only partially folded. About 90% of the time I keep the one middle, passenger side seat stowed and that is where my dog sets. Plus if I have to load something not to big, loading it from the side is much easier. The only reason I sold my truck and bought this mini van was because of stow n go. My brother has had them for years, but taking those seats out was a pain. This gives me lots of room, comfort, hiding places and versatility I never had with my truck or cars. I can get more in than I could with my truck, as I can stack higher, without worrying something will fall out. I have the best of both worlds.
  • tsu670tsu670 Posts: 293
    Just opened Dec '10 issue of Smart Money magazine. Inside front cover is 2-page spread of new Odyssey minivan.

    I've noticed this in other print ads, as well. They try to hide or otherwise disguise the "lightening bolt" on the rear sides. In this example, they had the page break occur right at that point on the van. Pic looks as if magazine folks made error trying to line up left page with right. In another print ad, the marketing types pictured the van with the sliding door open so the "lightening bolt" was covered.

    It is as if when given the project to advertise the car the marketing firm was saying, "Ok, but it would sure be a lot easier if you changed the design of those side panels!"
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    Just opened Dec '10 issue of Smart Money magazine

    Can you do me a small favor?

    Check if there is an article in there named "Car Tech on the Cheap"?

    I'm quoted in the on-line version, but I'll pick up a print version if the story also appears there.
  • tsu670tsu670 Posts: 293
    A. J., your article is in the January '11 print issue. - Ken
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    Thanks! I'll grab one.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    Autoblog First Drive: t/

    PDF Press Kit for more details:

    My impressions:


    Boxy = space efficient
    Nice interior
    Clever folding 2nd/3rd row seats
    Piping on the seats is pimpin'


    last decade power/torque levels with no mpg edge
    6" shorter wheelbase?
    Cargo length is just 86.5"

    That means it's a good 10 inches (!) shorter than the vans that can carry a sheet of plywood inside. I've done that in a Sienna, so I know it's 96" plus. I think Dodge and Honda can also do that.

    So it's a smaller van, with middling power. I'm a bit disappointed, to be honest.

    Could be just the ticket for people looking for something a bit smaller/nicer.
  • tifightertifighter WAPosts: 1,367
    Could be just the ticket for people looking for something a bit smaller/nicer.

    That's the isn't smaller at all. Its actually longer than the Sienna by about 1/2 an inch, and only a 1/2 inch narrower. Plus it is 2.5 inches taller.

    When I first heard this was based on the Elgrand, I hoped that the JDM platform might give us a slightly more compact and easier to park van. Didn't happen.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    Where'd the 10 inches go?

    Bad packaging by Nissan. Fail.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    Well, see for yourself.


  • gs451gs451 Posts: 19
    Hi everyone,
    I am selling my Nissan Armada to Carmax pretty soon. For now, I need a small minivan/SUV that is not too old/not too high on mileage to be a daily driver and to be used occasionally for long trips. I know that I can't be too rough with it and have very high expectations, but I was wondering what will be the best option for me in terms of overall use on the long term (reliability, fuel efficiency, safety, problems etc.). It seems all the Japanese vans (Sienna, Odyssey, MPV, Quest) all have some type of trnasmission issues. Are american vans just as bad or if not worse? How is the pilot or any other SUV from Suzuki/Mitsubishi. Space isn't a big concern for me as I just need it to haul my 2 kids. I'm a pretty good driver and just want something that is safe to use (ratings, etc.) and won't leave me stranded.

    Considering my price point, it would probably have to be something with horrible depreciaiton. I feel at this price point though, everything has lost all the value it was going to use.

    Your responses are appreciated.

    Thaks and Happy Holidays!
  • sebring95sebring95 Posts: 3,231
    You'll get far more bang for your buck with a minivan over an SUV. Of course the next question you really need a minivan for two kids? You've already said space isnt' an issue...and these "mini" vans are about the same size as a full-size SUV. Our Odyssey is within inches of the Tahoe it replaced but has far more space on the inside though.

    An Odyssey in your price range is too old and high miles. I would look for a nice Caravan (maybe even the shorty version if you don't need a lot of features) or a Chevy Uplander. You can likely get something in the 2005-2006 range if you shop carefully or work the private market.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    edited December 2010
    It seems all the Japanese vans (Sienna, Odyssey, MPV, Quest) all have some type of trnasmission issues

    That's a myth.

    Odys trannys have been fine since about 2004 or so. I doubt you're shopping for something 2003 or older.

    Siennas never had trans problems. In fact Toyota waited to put the 6EAT in the Sienna only after early issues were resolved, so used ones go with the proven 5 speed automatic.

    I think either of those, used, would be fine for you. May be overkill with 2 kids, though. Consider a Mazda5 or Kia Rondo, which are a tad smaller. Ford will bring the C-Max soon, also.
  • tifightertifighter WAPosts: 1,367
    I would keep an eye out for a Kia Rondo; they depreciate quickly and have very good reliability ratings. However, even one of those will be a stretch at this price point....I've seen ex-rentals down to $8500 so that's still high. Maybe a 04-06 Mazda MPV if you can find one?
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    Yup - steep depreciation means the first owner paid it off, you get it dirt cheap.
  • gs451gs451 Posts: 19
    Thanks for the responses guys. I had thought that the First Generation Sienna had some type of issue with sludging and tranny issues. My dad had the 2002 Odyssey and Honda was gracious enough to fix his issues for free as they extended the warranty for him. But I should not look at anything earlier than 2003?

    With regards to two kids, I should have specified, I have two kids but we occasionally go out as a family on long trips (6-7 hours) and need the space then...but that is honestly 10% of the time. Most of the time a sedan does the job for us. How are the Suzuki and Mitsubishi SUV's?

    Anything to watch out for on the Rondo or Mazda MPV? How is the Sedona as well (2005/2006 models)? Any reliability/engine issues?

    I know every car will age, but I just want something reliable for day to day inner city driving. I am in the Orange County, California area and I will look at Public Motor Auctions..would you guys advise not to? Any reputable used car places to go besides CarMax?

    Thanks again for all the help! Merry Christmas!
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    For both Sienna and Ody, a good rule of thumb is 2004 or newer. No sludge (2% were affected per Automotive News, but why risk it?), no trans issues.
  • tsu670tsu670 Posts: 293
    Got around to reading Dec. 6, 2010 issue of newsweek. Inside the back cover is a Honda ad. Three vehicles pictured: CR-V, Pilot and Odyssey. Get this. Lots of room to display each vehicle in it's entirety, but the marketing types chose to position the Pilot such that it's front covered the rear quarter panel (lightening bolt area) of the Odyssey. Hillarious!
  • marine2marine2 Posts: 1,155
    edited December 2010
    Well if your not just looking for a passenger hauler, you can't beat the versatility of the Chrysler mini vans

  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587 /

    I hope that's the vision for their next van.

    They got the powertrain upgraded, but let's face it, their van is sad looking. I test drove one anyway, but this concept looks a thousand times better.

    Note the rear window echoes the grille design, a neat styling cue.
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