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Minivans - Domestic or Foreign



  • dennisctcdennisctc Posts: 1,168
    I purchased a drop-in bin for behind the 3rd row on my DCX with "Stow N Go", it has a lid that bring height up to floor level. The lid then turns into a table when I'm camping :)
  • hansiennahansienna Posts: 2,312
    Looks like you "almost" have the "Best of Both Worlds". (I admit that I am not very quick to buy the latest technology and like the middle buckets and 50/50 split folding 3rd row seats of the 2002 T&C/GC).
    How do you like the 2nd row "Stow 'N Go"? Do you often stow the seats or use the storage under the floor in front of the 2nd row seats?
  • sebring95sebring95 Posts: 3,225
    For most purposes, the deep well behind the 3rd row seats is NOT beneficial .

    Add IMHO to that statement. It's the best thing going in my book. If you don't like the deep well, you can just fold the 3rd row down and viola you have the same setup as you currently do. Anyone that doesn't appreciate the much improved cargo capacity of the deep well, probably isn't using the 3rd row for passengers anyway.
  • dennisctcdennisctc Posts: 1,168
    I love the "Stow N Go" concept, I'm sure others right now are trying to implement it on their Minivans.

    I'm afraid I'm going to wear out my 2nd row seats, dropping and raising them all the time. Normally I keep em down and passengers have a mini limo in the back.

    I like the sunken bin behind 3rd row. When I'm at Sam's shopping, nothing rolls around the trunk or floor like before. It's all trapped in hole.
  • hansiennahansienna Posts: 2,312
    Sienna LE just feels more luxurious inside. Odyssey EX is the undisputed power leader. Grand Caravan SXT has the lowest price. It is difficult to make an honest, unbiased statement that one is "THE BEST" since it is impossible to have each of the 3 equipped exactly the same.
  • sc00bssc00bs Posts: 87
    Ok, I think I found were I should be, lol.

    I am pulling my hair out. I have researched until I am blue in the face and have done so to the point of complete and utter disgust. I am very very confused.

    Background: Single mother with two children, my youngest has autism. I am looking for a larger vehicle due to the fact that my son is flipping out if anyone sits near him or around him, I need a vehicle that can actually hold things (current car is a 93, Geo Tracker Convertible), I have a very very fixed income and need something that is under $8,000 and would prefer something with under 70k miles on it. I am 5'9" and have very long legs, I need a mini van that can allow me to stretch out and still leave leg room for the people behind me ( I push my seats in cars all the way back). I have decided after researching many cars that I like the Chevy Impala or some type of minivan.

    My questions about minivans are the following:
    1. How reliable are these vehicles?
    2. How safe are Mini Vans? The thought of driving a bubble scares me, what if this thing rolls over? My friend used to work for the State Patrol and told me NOT to buy any mini van as she saw lots of them ripped in half or totally squished regardless of make or model. Any thoughts?
    3. I simply can't afford a Toyota or a HOnda and from what Ive read their status is WAY over rated. I see lots of Dodge Minivans in my price range with low low miles. I also see Ventures in my price range with about 60k miles. For some reason the Montanas and Olds are the same vans but are priced WAY over what the ventures are. I also looked at a Quest and wow it was tiny, can people actually fit in those?? I also have heard to stay away from MPV's from a lot of people and even dealerships, but haven't figured out why exactly these people are saying these things. Any thoughts?
    4. I have read so many sites on how to buy a used car that my head is spinning. What exactly is the difference between kelley blue book, nada, and edmunds? I have looked up prices in each and they all come out different. I have also noticed that a lot of car dealerships are using Kelley's and then when I present Edmunds or NADA they laugh at me like I am stupid. What are your thoughts??
    5. When dealing with a private party, should how far down from a price is acceptable to ask?? I have run into a lot of them that are asking dealer retail according to KBB but the PPV is way lower. On edmunds its often even lower.
    One website said to ask $1000 over trade-in.... confused.
    6. If a car has been sitting on a lot for a really really long time should I avoid it? There was a minivan that I looked at when it was first traded-in. It sat on the lot with a KBB tag asking 9800. It then went to a clearance sale were it sat again, this time with a price tag of 6750. Then it went back to the dealership lot with the asking price of 9800. This car has been there for almost 6 months. Is that typical for used cars??

  • hansiennahansienna Posts: 2,312
    Welcome to the rest of confused people. One bit of advice: MAKE sure you do not get a vehicle that was underwater in Louisiana, Mississippi, Texas, or Alabama !! My personal opinion is to have your youngest son sit alone in the back and try to save some money if your Tracker is not costing too much in repairs. However, here is my take on your specific questions:
    1. Reliability. You can be lucky and get a good minivan of any brand OR unlucky get a bad one of any brand.
    2. Safe? Any vehicle is only as safe as the driver's driving habits dictate. I think minivans are very safe.
    3. Toyota and Honda have a better reliability history as reflected in pricing. There is more profit in most used vehicles than new ones. Montanas and Olds are priced higher than Ventures because they normally have many more options.
    4. KBB, NADA, Edmunds....I would trust Edmunds the Most but dealers use the one that has pricing that benefits their profit the most.
    5. Private party: Offer about 1/3 between TRADE-IN and retail pricing that is given in Edmunds. Try to find out the REAL reason the private party wants to sell the vehicle.
    6. Dealers get most DC minivans from rental agencies or fleets. Honda and Toyota are more likely to be one owner trade ins. IF a vehicle does not sell within a few weeks or a month, most dealers dump them at auctions. :blush:
  • jipsterjipster Posts: 5,345
    I would probably go with a Venture in your situation. They have pretty good powertrains and you should be able to get one with decent miles for 8k.

    I have an MPV an its been great. I suspect the dealer that told you to stay away from them didn't have them on his lot and wanted to sell you something else. 8k should put you in a 1999 MPV.

    Private party sellers are often emotionally attached to their vehilces and think it is worth much more than what the market indicates.

    Don't worry about making an offer to low (they can always say no or you can increase your offer)

    If you want...go look at a couple vehilces and get all the necessary info, then come back here and post. I'm sure myself and the rest of the gang would be more than willing to give you our 2 cents worth. ;)
  • sebring95sebring95 Posts: 3,225
    I agree, the Venture would not be a bad choice for someone in your position. NO it's not the hum-dinger of minivans but it will provide you with what you need and should be fairly reliable. From my days of corporate fleet buying, we always went with the GM's whenever possible. Over 120k miles, they were by far the cheapest to buy/operate and $8 should put you in a fairly low-mileage unit.
  • hansiennahansienna Posts: 2,312
    GM vehicles have normally had a good powertrain and have higher depreciation than the Odyssey or Sienna...which works to the advantage of a person buying a used vehicle.
    A person almost always spends LESS money by keeping the vehicle they currently own unless it is a lemon. :lemon: IF you need more space than your Tracker has, the short wheel base Venture is probably the least expensive vehicle to buy.
  • fish8fish8 Posts: 2,282
    One thing you all are overlooking with the Venture is it's safety rating. It's HORRENDOUS!!!! It is the most unsafe van on the road today. The new Uplander, which is probably too expensive for sc00bs, is rated much better.
  • jipsterjipster Posts: 5,345
    fish, I don't think you can get a "new" Uplander for $8,000.

    I have never read of the Venture having a "HORRENDOUS!!!" saftey rating. Care to provide a little more info on that please.
  • sebring95sebring95 Posts: 3,225
    The Venture does get a Poor rating from the IIHS, however so does the dodge for the most part in this price range. Generally speaking though, Poor doesn't necessarily mean absolute death. It's certainly a step up from a Geo Tracker as far as safety is concerned, pound for pound.

    The Ford Windstar has a better safety rating and is likely as cheap or cheaper than the Venture. Buyer beware IMHO on the reliability side. Anyone I know that's had one, doesn't anymore because the problems DURING warranty were bad enough.
  • artgpoartgpo Posts: 483
    the former GM minis were the most unsafe as tested by the IIHS. Their frontal offset crash test results were dismal.
  • sc00bssc00bs Posts: 87
    Wow, I see that rating of Poor on everything but the chest area. Just a question, aren't these test crash ratings based on a similar vehicle hitting them? i.e. another mini-van hitting the mini-van? So technically speaking if a Toyota was hit by a larger vehicle the test ratings given would not reflect the probability of an occupants survival or injury outcome??
  • sc00bssc00bs Posts: 87
    I am currently driving a horrible car as far as safety is concerned. Although we did get rear-ended by some nut going 55mph and no one got hurt and my car faired rather well (the car behind me did not). Another valid reason to get rid of my car, its got a bit of a dingy, lol. That was 5 years ago, still runs good. The car has 150,000 miles on it, with only a handfull of repairs. Which is another thing that scares the heck out of me when I read all these forums about any of the newer model cars they all seem to have problems. My car has had the heating switch replaced, the normal maintenance things (belts, fluids, brakes, etc.)

    I am looking at the frontal offset crash results and see that some of the Hondas did not do so hot (95-98) and that in the Rear Crash tests the 05-06 models received a marginal and an acceptable for restraint (there first year, because prior to that they scored either marginal or poor). Frontal driver side 5 star for 99-06 and 4 stars 95-97. Frontal passenger 5 stars 99-06 and 4 stars 95-97. Side front 5 stars 00-06 with a safety concern noted in year 05 that the drivers side door came open during the crash that could increases the likelihood of occupant ejection. Side Rear 5 stars years 00-06. Rollover 4 Stars.

    Toyotas did Good in Offset crash (98-06), but for rear crash they scored a POOR for the 05-06 models. MARGINAL for restraint in the 01-03,05-06, GOOD to ACCEPTABLE in the year 04, and POOR in 1999-98. As far as frontal crash ratings the Sienna got 5 stars for driver yrs 98-04 and 4 stars for driver 05-06, passenger got 5 stars for all years. Side crash frontal got 4 stars for yrs 99-03 and 5 stars for 04-06. Rollover rating was 4 star 01-06.

    The Ventures offset crash for all years is POOR. The restraints are GOOD for 2001-2004, and POOR for years 98-00. Rear crash is only available for the uplander and its results are POOR. As far as frontal crash ratings the venture got 4 stars for driver, 4 stars for passenger (98-00 got 3 stars). Side front got 5 stars, side rear got 5 stars yrs 99-00 and 4 stars 01-05.

    I am seeing similar results on all these models for these tests (dodge, mazda, etc.)

    So basically depending on how you get hit by another mini van (or vehicle of like size and shape) you will get different results in all these vans. Hmm..

    As far as reliability is concerned (J.D. Power)

    Toyotas got good marks for their short term 90 day dependability. The other years either got 3 or 4's for long term dependability. Ok, so overall they have good long term dependability (which I like, because frankly my car rates the same can you beleive that, lol). I have seen posts about sludge problems however, what year does anyone know???

    Honda has some good years and some not so good years. Hmm..

    Chevy... well what can we say about these vehicles. They consistently got 3 out of 5's for all the years listed,lol.

    One big difference I noticed between these vans was that the GM line and Ford line were more plush and frankly more comfortable. The toyota's and honda's were very unplush and really cheap looking (im not sure that is the term I am looking for). I think you get my drift....

    Still thinking.. lol.
  • sebring95sebring95 Posts: 3,225
    Yes, the tests are only comparable between similar sized vehicles. It's an excellent measure of what it's like to off-set crash a concrete barrier at 40mph. Certainly not real-world worthy in other circumstances but it's the stick used to measure by the IIHS. As they put it, it's a test of the structural integrity of the vehicle. Not a guarantee of what will happen in an accident, as the variables would be so many the outcome could be totally different. It's also an excellent way for the manufacturers to design a vehicle to get top-rated scores in this area. I'm sure if someone tried, they could make a really unsafe vehicle pass this test with flying colors. I drive a truck right now that doesn't have the best rating but I haven't lost much sleep over it.
  • sc00bssc00bs Posts: 87
    " I drive a truck right now that doesn't have the best rating but I haven't lost much sleep over it.'

    I think most newer cars would fair better than most older cars, with I am sure a few exceptions. Newer cars typically have more safety features than older cars (gesh, my car doesn't even have air bags, lol). Literally speaking ANYTHING would be safer than my car, lol. Sigh... decisions, decisions.. :)
  • allison5allison5 Posts: 130
    To the person who is looking for a minivan for he 2 kids. I completly believe in a minivan or something that has a third row in it for a child that has Autism. I have 3 kids and I know from "personal experience" that the extra space for that child is a goddsend for everyone. As far as the type of minivan I have done TONS of research on vans and SUV's as well as having both, not trying to sound like an expert because far from it but just an extra opionion. If you are looking for comfort and something that is not as expensive I would definatly go with an American model- I had a Ford Windstar for 6 years and even though my 96 was in the shop constantly after less than 30,000 ,miles it was so comfy. I am looking for a van again after having a SUV -too flippin expensive for gas anyway I am looking at Toyota and Honda vans just because I have had my fill with American cars and all the darn problems. I have had friends that have gone with Dodge and even though they don't have best reputation they can last.... Hope all goes well
  • hansiennahansienna Posts: 2,312
    I have had some bad experience with American brands and foreign brands. Toyota has been consistently a little more reliable than the others I have owned...but it usually costs more for service at a Toyota (or any foreign brand) dealership :cry: .
    Dealer service is more important to me than the label on the vehicle. There are more things to consider than purchase price alone.
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