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Minivans - Domestic or Foreign



  • hansiennahansienna Posts: 2,312
    Zoom-Zoom-Zoom ;) The MPV is very sporty in appearance and owners of the MPV have been very satisfied. The size is JUST right for many people. Why buy a larger vehicle that may not fit in the garage and would be more difficult to park?
  • asafonovasafonov Posts: 373
    Mostly right, hans. I usually try to minimize vehicle ownership costs, subject to safety requirements and a minimum amount of agility. While I think it is the best looking MV now, I drove a friend's MPV quite a bit this year and don't think it has a lot of zoom-zoom factor - but it is minivan. The ability to pick up an MPV on the cheap new or used, coupled with decent crash scores (if I can find one with side airbags) is the deciding factor. The size IS right, and the warranty is better than the competition. My concerns are Mazda's (and dealerships) customer service and attitude, and a fuel economy worse than what can be expected from the compact size.

    Second choice: 2002 Villager (steine's special) with ABS. One advertised for 9k just sold from under me... keeps me out of CCBA :shades:
  • jipsterjipster Posts: 5,345
    Agree with that Hans. The 2006 CR Buying Guide was very confusing in reguards to vehicles recommended and reliability. They seemed to contradict their findings throughout. The 2004 Honda Odyssey(pg 204) and the 2004 Dodge Grand Caravan V-6(pg200)have EXACTLY the same reliabilty scores in the 14 categories rated. Yet, the Ody gets a better than average reliability score and the DGC gets only an average overall reliability score.
  • jchan2jchan2 Posts: 4,956
    CR tends to have a severe bias towards Honda/Toyota and against the Big 3.
  • Hi All,

    My name is Michelle and I'm new here. We are researching minivans in hopes of buying one soon. I have a question: Does anyone know which minivan makes/models have the fold flat seats? I know some have both rows that fold flat and some only the back row. We are looking to buy a used minivan - so any minivans that have those seats from the year 2000 and up. We rented a Dodge 2005 Grand Caravan the other day and loved how the bucket seats folded right into the floor!

    Thanks for your help and information! :)
  • jipsterjipster Posts: 5,345
    I'm big on reliability... being a frugal consumer. :blush: So, if I were buying today there are few minivans I would not put on my list.As I believe most minivans in todays market are fairly reliable. At the top of my list would be Mazda ;) , Toyota, Honda, DCX and the GM minis. At this time I would not put the Ford Freestar,the 2004-2005 Nissan Quest or Kia Sedona on my list.The 2006 models of Sedona and Quest I would look at if reliability continues to improve.

    But, yeah...CR shows little love beyond Honda and Toyota in the minivan category,
  • badgerfanbadgerfan Posts: 1,564
    Nearly all minivans except GM's four versions have fold into the floor third row seats. GM's second and third rows fold to form a fairly flat cargo area, but do not fold into pockets in the floor, so they compromise cargo capacity. Also, their SUV wannabe front end is kind of ugly, in my opinion.

    The long wheel base versions from Dodge and Chrysler brands all have fold into the floor second and third row seats, except on some stripped low end models. Their short wheel base versions do not fold flat, second or third rows either

    Odyssey and Sienna and Ford Freestar have fold into the floor third row only. Second rows must be removed to have a complete flat load floor up to the front seats, though some of them can be tipped and collapsed up against the front row, I believe.

    Nissan's minivan has the second row seats that "semi fold". They drop down part way but not completely flush with the floor, so you do not get a flat cargo surface. Also, you better be aware that Nissan's minivan dash arrangement is bizarre.

    I don't know much about Kia's however.
  • Thanks for the info Badgerfan! The models you are referring to, are these 2005 models - or can this information be applied to models in the past few years?

    Thanks :D
  • badgerfanbadgerfan Posts: 1,564
    For the Dodge/Chrysler vans, it applies to the 2005 models and newer. The 2005's were introduced early in calendar year 2004, if I recall.

    Current Honda Odyssey has had stowable third row in both the current generation introduced in 2005 model year and the previous generation, which was introduced in 1999, I believe. For Sienna, I do not know if it's previous generation had a stowable third row, but the current generation was introduced in 2004 and basically unchanged since then.

    GM's current Minivans were introduced in 2005 model year. Previous generations did not have even the semi-stowable seats they have now in either second or third row.

    Ford Freestar has been on the market about two years and all Fresstars have had the stowable third row. The previous generation Ford was the Windstar, which did not have stowable seats.

    Currently the Dodge/Chrysler twins have the edge in easily stowable seats for both second and third rows. If you see a little "Stow and Go" decal right below the driver's side window near the rear post, it will have the second and third row stow into the floor feature.
  • jchan2jchan2 Posts: 4,956
    For flat folding third row seats, here's somewhat of a guide. These minivans have it:
    1995-2006 Honda Odyssey
    1999(?)-2006 Mazda MPV
    2004-2006 Toyota Sienna
    2004-2006 Nissan Quest (fold flat second row too)
    2004-2006 Ford Freestar/Mercury Monterey
    2005-2006 Dodge Grand Caravan (not sure if the 04's had it, but I think they had an early 05 run starting in Feb 04)

    The current GM vans (2005-present) have fold flat seats, but those are several inches above the floor, so you lose some space. You can take those seats out, but its not a "genuine" fold flat into the floor seat like the ones listed above.

    Good luck. The minivan segment actually doesn't have too many entrants. You've got the Big 3 Americans, (GM, Ford, Chrysler) the Big 3 Japanese (Honda, Toyota, Nissan), Kia, and Mazda.
  • jipsterjipster Posts: 5,345

    The MPV took a one year hiatus in 1999 and returned in 2000 with a total redesign. Much like the Nissan Quest did in 2003.
  • badgerfanbadgerfan Posts: 1,564
    The Nissan Quest second row, strictly speaking does not "fold flat" to the floor, they stick up to some extent. If you are loading a sheet of plywood, it would not rest flat in the Quest.
  • rorrrorr Posts: 3,630
    Nice concise list.

    I would only add that the current '05-'06 Honda Odyssey and '04-'06 Toyota Sienna have a 60/40 SPLIT 3rd row rather than a 1 piece seat (Not sure about the DCM vans). This not only makes for more options in the 3rd row but means the seats are lighter and easier to raise/lower than non-split seats.
  • jchan2jchan2 Posts: 4,956
    The Chrysler vans have the split folding third row in the Stow N Go package.

    The split seat sure aids in flexibility.
  • rorrrorr Posts: 3,630
    Thanks; I wasn't sure if they did or not.

    That's interesting. So if you DON'T have the Stow N Go package, does the 3rd row not split (one piece) or not fold flat into the floor?
  • Wow - thanks for all of the info. You guys are all really "in the know" about this stuff. It makes my minivan hunt much easier :)
  • hansiennahansienna Posts: 2,312
    Without Stow'N Go, the 3rd row does NOT fold into the floor. You can buy the GC SE with Stow 'N Go 3rd row and traditional bench 2nd row seat with or without built in child seats. The GC SE with 2nd row bench seat has the 2 large storage compartments in the floor in front of the 2nd row. You can also get a GC SE with 2nd row bucket seats that fold into the floor.
    All Stow 'N Go have 60/40 split fold into the floor 3rd row and ALL are the longer models.
    The Caravan SE has a bench 2nd row and a one piece 3rd row seat while the Caravan SXT has 2nd row bucket seats with a one piece 3rd row bench standard and optional 50/50 split fold and tumble 3rd row bench seat.
    The SWB T&C has 2nd row bench and one piece 3rd row bench seat standard with 2nd row bucket seats optional or another option with bucket seat 2nd row and 50/50 split fold and tumble 3rd row bench seat. NONE of the shorter DC minivans have a fold into the floor 3rd row seating.
    DC minivans offer a wide variety of seating options. ;)
  • deepandeepan Posts: 342
    is the 3rd row on DCX split 50/50 or 60/40
  • hansiennahansienna Posts: 2,312
    ALL Stow 'N Go 3rd row are 60/40 split while the fold and tumble 3rd row in Caravan and SWB T&C are 50/50 split. ;)
  • jchan2jchan2 Posts: 4,956
    Stow N Go Models are 60/40.
    Regular models (Non Stow N Go) are 50/50 or 100/0.
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