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Minivans - Domestic or Foreign

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  • ClairesClaires Chicago areaPosts: 979
    AARP spans a wide range from 55 upwards...


    It's actually 50.

    MODERATOR
    Need help getting around? claires@edmunds.com - or send a private message by clicking on my name.

  • thegraduatethegraduate Posts: 9,731
    Yes, but all I would have to do is create 30 e-mail accounts and make all bad reviews to throw off the scale. CR does more scientific surveys, and has been in the business of doing so for many years.

    Whatever, I know your mind won't change on this issue, and neither will mine.

    Shall we agree to disagree and move on?

    thegrad
  • Look at a fully loaded Sedona EX with all the options and you are paying about $28,000 compared to about $5,000 - $6,000 more for the competition. "

    That's without DVD or NAV, though, correct?

    You can get a T&C Signature series WITH those features for much less than $28K. Like $26K
  • It's was all-new except for body design (which was already good in my opinion). That is the only reason I said that.

    Here is the quote from the story: (I didn't edit anything in it)

    "Uh-oh! The cleverest seat arrangement in minivan history earns a lowly fourth place, after a $400 million investment to produce this supposedly "all-new platform"? What happened?

    Why, then, the fourth place? The top-level 3.8-liter pushrod engine simply can't cut it in this crowd, slowest by far in acceleration and the guzzler of the group at 17 mpg on our test trip (EPA ratings give it a tie with the Odyssey and Quest). It's coarse in its noises and vibrations, too. You feel them in the steering wheel and gas pedal.

    Over-the-road handling was imprecise. The path varies with throttle position on acceleration, a mild but annoying form of torque steer that's really inexcusable given the meager torque. Add to that a general steering vagueness, coupled with a lack of discipline in controlling suspension motions, and you have flabby handling.

    Apparently, the suspension tuners went for ride smoothness in a big way. They scored well on that point—ride quality is close to Toyota supple—but the Grand Caravan is a floaty boat on the interstate, particularly on windy days.

    The floaty ride isn't just Honda-owners criticizing Dodges apparently. Vibration? Coarse Noises? $400 million dollars for this all-new van?

    I think some designers owe Chrysler a refund. "

    Yet Chrysler increased it's market share, after years of decline, as soon as stow and go came out. Last year, they had the #1 AND #2 spots in total sales. They must have done something right...
  • thegraduatethegraduate Posts: 9,731
    Yet Chrysler increased it's market share, after years of decline, as soon as stow and go came out. Last year, they had the #1 AND #2 spots in total sales. They must have done something right

    Here's the only problem I find with that statement. Nearly every american car brand increased its sales last year. General Motors reduced lot time by more than a month on some of its models. It was not due to redesigned vehicles that sales skyrocketed in mid-2005. It was due to the agressive employeee pricing plan. I'd be interested to see month by month sales to see the correlation with Employee Discount pricing and sales increases. Stow and go is great, and a big leap for the minivan arena, but it makes a compromise in its soft ride to get marginal handling; and its engine choices would be great if this was 1999.
  • Here's the only problem I find with that statement. Nearly every american car brand increased its sales last year. General Motors reduced lot time by more than a month on some of its models. It was not due to redesigned vehicles that sales skyrocketed in mid-2005. It was due to the agressive employeee pricing plan. I'd be interested to see month by month sales to see the correlation with Employee Discount pricing and sales increases. Stow and go is great, and a big leap for the minivan arena, but it makes a compromise in its soft ride to get marginal handling; and its engine choices would be great if this was 1999. "

    You have a great theory there. One problem: Stow & Go came out in Feb of 2004 and the sales growth started then.

    And many minivan riders WANT a softer ride because they are driving around little kids
  • thegraduatethegraduate Posts: 9,731
    many minivan riders WANT a softer ride because they are driving around little kids

    Many minivan better handling and VSA to help protect those little kids, too. If the Odyssey could have the smooth ride of the Toyota Sienna AND the handling of the Honda AND the stow and go, I think we'd have one awesome van there. For now, its personal taste. You have yours, I have mine.
  • Many minivan better handling and VSA to help protect those little kids, too. If the Odyssey could have the smooth ride of the Toyota Sienna AND the handling of the Honda AND the stow and go, I think we'd have one awesome van there. For now, its personal taste. You have yours, I have mine. "

    Yes, it's personal taste. I think that car is probably technically impossible, though it would be very cool My point was that the sales success of the DCX vans MIGHT mean that a good portion of minivan drivers prefer a softer ride. As someone that has a great handling car as my commuter car, I drive very differently when I'm in that and when I have the kids in the van. Just my .02
  • hansiennahansienna Posts: 2,312
    A person can NOT create many accounts and post bogus data on Edmunds unless they owned a separate computer for each e-mail account. Each computer has an ID which Edmunds and other organizations can track to detect fraud.

    I read Edmunds reviews and postings in the Town Hall, CR, and many magazines but obtain the MOST reliable, unbiased information by talking directly with people who own a vehicle. People may initially brag about their purchase but if and when problems arise truth is revealed.

    Most owners write about problems with their vehicle in the Town Hall to gather answers to how other owners got the problem fixed.
  • sebring95sebring95 Posts: 3,233
    I would think someone that enjoys a nice performing car would be more likely to buy the better performing car regardless of vehicle class. The Ody was the first minivan I enjoyed driving, the rest just handled so-so and if I'm getting so-so handling I'll just buy an SUV. Granted the vans are better at hauling folks, but I'm also giving up towing which I did with my Tahoe. Now we just have to take the truck when we're towing, but it's not a huge compromise.

    I don't think handling/drive has anything to do with the DCX success. It's a combination of;

    1. Many folks wouldn't even consider anything besides a Caravan/T&C. My mother would never buy anything but a Dodge Caravan. Period. She's on her 4th and probably going to buy another. She's not a bad driver at 75, but I can assure you handling/performance are no where on her map.

    2. They're cheaper.

    3. A large % is fleet sales.

    4. Many folks won't buy a Honda just because they're "foreign".
  • dennisctcdennisctc Posts: 1,168
    I think it's a combination of:

    1) Quieter ride than a Honda

    2) Softer/smoother ride than a Honda

    3) People don't want to spend $30k - $40k on a "Minivan"

    4) Flexible seating with "Stow N Go"....a huge benefit for most Minivan buyers.

    5) You can buy a new vehicle for $20k equipped exactly as you need it....i.e.. powerhatch, power doors, DVD, Nav. where you're limited to a few models with very specific content with a Honda.

    6) DCX van are just as reliable, especially 2005+, if not moreso!
  • thegraduatethegraduate Posts: 9,731
    You can get a Chrysler minivan brand new with power everything, DVD player and NAvigation System for $20,000? All I see on the DCX website is $4,000 off of MSRP. This means that MSRP of a Navi/DVD player equipped van is under $25,000? Wow, if I didn't know better, I'd be impressed.
  • rorrrorr Posts: 3,630
    "4) Flexible seating with "Stow N Go"....a huge benefit for most Minivan buyers."

    Please.

    We've had our minivan for over a year. I've had absolutely NO desire nor reason to EVER remove one of the 2nd row seats.

    I have however slid the 2nd row seat over to the center to ease access to the 3rd row (both 2nd row seats occupied by booster seats).

    The only real flexibility I wanted was the ability to easily fold the 3rd row seats into the storage well. Beyond that, we're fine.
  • badgerfanbadgerfan Posts: 1,565
    Just because YOU have no desire or reason to EVER remove one of the second row seats does not mean that EVERYONE has no need to do this! Your wants and needs are not aligned with everyone.

    The second and third row Stow and Go for active families is an outstanding feature, which is probably one of the main reasons DC has gained back market share in the face of increasing competition ever since they introduced the feature.

    We have had a Dodge Caravan in our family since 1985 (only two of them in that long time period, by the way--they have not proven to be lemons for us!) and we have removed all the seats many times, probably 2-3 times a month for the third row and maybe 4-5 times a year for the second row. True, you can say this is not a lot, especially for the second row. However, lugging those second row seats in and out is indeed a chore, and DC has found a way provide both rows stowable without imposing too serious price increase bite as they have successfully done. It is a great selling feature, whether you use it a lot or not.

    The average suburban family uses their minivan as the ultimate multipurpose vehicle, hauling trash, furniture, lumber, kids, landscape supplies, vacationing, etc. The stow and go DC minivans serve this market very well and can still be affordable if moderately equipped. My coworker with three active kids bought one about a year ago, and raves about the stow and go flexibility over their previous Caravan
  • artgpoartgpo Posts: 483
    I wish some company would survey van owners about the usage of their seats. I would venture a guess that 90% never fold/remove a second row seat.

    I will admit that the stow and go compartment would be a good place for your head to land after it had been decapitated in an accident ESC could have helped you avoid.
  • Or you could avoid the accident by not making the mistakes that ESC corrects.
  • thegraduatethegraduate Posts: 9,731
    By this logic, you say that all accidents or loss of control are caused by the driver. Not true, perhaps you'd like to hear about my getting passed in a no-passing zone and getting run off of the road, losing control, and slamming into a guardrail at 45 mph. With VSC, I likely wouldn't have fishtailed to the point of spinning around twice (which I did before hitting the rail). Likely all that would have happened is my car swerving and braking like I wished it had (I did the best I could to maintain control, but it was either swerve like I did and lose control, or have my Accord eat the side of an F-150. As it turns out, it didn't really matter, I crashed anyway. VSC likely could have prevented that.
  • dennisctcdennisctc Posts: 1,168
    By this logic, you say that all accidents or loss of control are caused by the driver. Not true, perhaps you'd like to hear about my getting passed in a no-passing zone and getting run off of the road, losing control, and slamming into a guardrail at 45 mph. With VSC, I likely wouldn't have fishtailed to the point of spinning around twice (which I did before hitting the rail). Likely all that would have happened is my car swerving and braking like I wished it had (I did the best I could to maintain control, but it was either swerve like I did and lose control, or have my Accord eat the side of an F-150. As it turns out, it didn't really matter, I crashed anyway. VSC likely could have prevented that.

    How a person reacts can cause "loss of control"..i.e...driver's skill/experience. Coulda, Woulda, Shoulda....but it's opinions/feelings that VSC could have prevented your accident.
  • dennisctcdennisctc Posts: 1,168
    I wish some company would survey van owners about the usage of their seats. I would venture a guess that 90% never fold/remove a second row seat.

    I'd venture it's more like 90% do fold/remove second row seats. As long as we're posting opinions.

    I've used my S&G seats over a dozen times in a year now. Once, at lunch with a coworker, in a spur of the moment decision, purchased a patio set for her house. Would have been additional trips for any other minivan.
  • thegraduatethegraduate Posts: 9,731
    VSA would have done nothing but help in such a case, providing the braking to the correct wheels and doing its best to prevent a skid. Would I have fishtailed, we won't know, but under controlled conditions, VSA has been proven to prevent many skids/spins, even those intentionally induced.

    Considering that I was on a bridge at the time of the skid, I'd feel much safer with VSA than not, and likely be much safer should a similar situation arise.

    If you feel that VSA is worthless, so be it, and be happy with your DCX without it, as I don't doubt you truly are. That's good for you, since you saved some money not getting it. For my money though, I'd pay the extra $ to increase my chances of avoiding a potentially deadly car wreck.
  • badgerfanbadgerfan Posts: 1,565
    I have been monitoring and occasionally participating in these minivan discussions for quite a while now, and I find it quite amusing that it used to be that the Ody loving crowd would rag on and on about the inferior DC vans because even the third row couldn't be stowed.

    Now that DC leapfrogged the competition in seat stowing flexibility, the Ody crowd now discounts the great flexibility that the DC two row stowage brings into the picture.

    Maybe a bit of stow and go envy here????? :cry:
  • rorrrorr Posts: 3,630
    "...and I find it quite amusing that it used to be that the Ody loving crowd would rag on and on about the inferior DC vans because even the third row couldn't be stowed."

    Easy explanation: most of us have 2, perhaps 3 kids. The 3rd row is used seldom. Therefore, it would be beneficial to stow the 3rd row.

    Again, most of us have 2, perhaps 3 kids. Therefore, the 2nd row is used ALL THE TIME. Stowing the 2nd row makes little sense if it is being used for......SEATING.

    Why is this so difficult to comprehend? 2nd row used 99% of the time for seating. 3rd row used 10% of the time for seating. Beneficial to fold 3rd row; not beneficial to fold 2nd row.
  • dennisctcdennisctc Posts: 1,168
    If you feel that VSA is worthless, so be it, and be happy with your DCX without it, as I don't doubt you truly are. That's good for you, since you saved some money not getting it. For my money though, I'd pay the extra $ to increase my chances of avoiding a potentially deadly car wreck.

    Please don't put words in my mouth, I didn't say it was worthless. I just believe you can't say for certain what would have happened or wouldn't.....you don't know.
  • thegraduatethegraduate Posts: 9,731
    I didn't say you said it was. IF is a strong word. It'd be the same token as you saying something like:

    If you feel that stow and go is worthless, be happy with the Odyssey etc...you get my point.

    Enough of the he-said she-said...I hope you all have a good weekend, and thanks for the debates. I'm heading out of here pretty soon. See ya, dennis, have a good one!
  • badgerfanbadgerfan Posts: 1,565
    Well, DC has you covered there as well, as you can get a GC SE version where the third row stows and the second does not, and save some more money off the higher level SXT!

    It is not difficult to comprehend that the second row will get stowed rarely. In fact I agree with you that most people stow or remove the second row very few times in any brand minivan. However having the ABILITY to do it quickly and easily and convert from one arrangement to another without having to leave some seats in the garage is the most flexible arrangement to date and is a definite nice to have feature.

    For that matter, how many people put a NAV system in their minivan, when 95% of the time they are using their van to get to places they already have been to before. In my opinion, the value of this $2k or so option is not there, and I would buy a portable one that could go from vehicle to vehicle. But if you want it, fine you can get it. Stow and Go is just another feature that makes your minivan all that more flexible and useful. You don't want Stow and Go? Fine drive your Ody but don't downplay the value of it to many others as a useless feature.
  • jchan2jchan2 Posts: 4,956
    take an unscientific survey amongst the members here:

    How many times a year per year do you remove/fold away your SECOND row seats?

    My answer: I did it 0 times in 2002, 0 times in 2003, 0 times in 2004, 2 times in 2005, and 0 times so far in 2006.
  • thegraduatethegraduate Posts: 9,731
    In five years of ownership (May 2000-Nov 2005), none. Our third row seat was folded down about 75% of the time, providing all the space we needed. We actually put the seat up when grocery shopping so the "well" could hold our goods in place.
  • rorrrorr Posts: 3,630
    "...is the most flexible arrangement to date...

    Yes. Absolutely. Sto'n'go is the most flexible.

    "...and is a definite nice to have feature."

    ONLY IF IT IS USED.

    Hey, I suppose someone could come up with an arrangement which would allow lawn chairs to be snapped into the floor of the van in any of 36 different arrangements (with additional lawn chair sockets on the roof for sporting events) and by golly that would sure be flexible! But not necessarily a nice feature to have.

    Which is why, when shopping, I would look for those features which I would actually USE, and then check the quality of those features. To me (and I repeat, to me) the 2nd row seats in the Ody felt nicer (more comfortable) than those in the DCX. I also felt that there may be times when I would like the two second row seats together allowing a wide aisle down the right side of the van to the 3rd row. 'Caint do it in the DCX vans (hmmm, there's some flexibility the Ody has over the Dodge). So, in my mind, I would be trading off fulltime some degree of seat comfort for the (dubious) thrill of folding the 2nd row seats into the floor on those frequent(?) occassions I was at a garage sale, by myself, and decided I just HAD to have that amoire. Whoppee.

    NAV systems in their minivan - HEY, we have some common ground! ;)
  • dad23dad23 Posts: 430
    We've had our van for two years, with three car seats, one of the captains chairs was removed almost immediately and has sat in the basement ever since and the 3rd row has never been folded down.
  • hansiennahansienna Posts: 2,312
    Odyssey owners never missed a quiet ride. Odyssey owners never missed having separately controlled temperature for the driver and front passenger until the 2005 Ody appeared. Ody owners do not miss having a quality sound system in their minivan. Ody owners do not miss having an overhead console with compass/outside temperature and accurate trip computer...and the list goes on. ;)
    DC minivan owners never missed having the "Magic Seat"...and owners of Stow'N Go never missed having a better version of the magic seat and stowable 2nd row seating until 2005.
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