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Minivans - Domestic or Foreign

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  • thegraduatethegraduate Posts: 9,731
    American Honda has posted its 4th record sales month in a row for April. Individual sales records were set for all their light trucks, including Ridgeline Pickup, Pilot and CR-V SUVs, and the Odyssey Minivan.

    Honda's Acura division also posted record car sales for the month, with individual records set for the TL and TSX sedans.

    Honda seems to be faring well lately!

    You can read more about the records here:

    http://www.theautochannel.com/news/2006/05/02/005420.html
  • hansiennahansienna Posts: 2,312
    EXCEPT for the Acura division and the hybrid Accord and hybrid Civic. :sick:
  • thegraduatethegraduate Posts: 9,731
    You'll note I didn't say all individual models hit records, just that the Honda division as well as several light trucks and Acura sedans which hit individual sales records.

    It's no wonder the Accord Hybrid doesn't sell at record levels...when an Accord I-4s are achieving mid and upper 30s on the highway, for about $10k+ less than the hybrid.
  • dc_driverdc_driver Posts: 712
    Totally agree with you (although the hybrid Accord has a lot more power), but $10K is a lot of money and the l-4 is plenty quick enough.

    Just bought my first Honda (Odyssey EX-L) and I have to say it is a great minivan. Being my first minivan (and shamefully, I have to admit that I was a little against buying a minivan but my wife insisted), I cannot stay away from it. Since we bought it, I have only driven my SUV (Mazda Tribute) to work and back and find myself finding excuses to drive the Odyssey. It is a much smoother and luxurious ride than my Tribute (loaded V6 with all the options). I swear the Odyssey is faster and handles much better. It is definitely more quiet and is more comfortable. I love the Odyssey cockpit, all the controls are in the right places and easy to use (intuitive comes to mind). the power sliding doors are wonderful, and it is so much easier handling a car seat (we have a nine month old) in the van vs the Tribute, or our previous sedan (Nissan Altima).

    Anyone on the fence buying a minivan for fear of hurting your image, go drive the Odyssey! (I have to admit though, I also like the exterior of the 06 Sienna very much, especially the front end. It looks Lexus-like)...
  • thegraduatethegraduate Posts: 9,731
    You are right about the Hybrid's power...it would be a good substitute for a TL if you want the TL for its engine, but the styling of the Acura is what most people go for (I love it too!).

    But for me, and many buyers, the 166 hp I-4 is more than enough power, and the low gas bills are just icing on the cake! (not to mention the $$ saved on initial purchase vs. the Hybrid).
  • thegraduatethegraduate Posts: 9,731
    image

    That looks nice, kind of reminds me of the new Sedona (which isn't a bad thing), but it isn't the radical design some claimed was coming. Just a natural evolution of the DCX.
  • mrblonde49mrblonde49 Posts: 626
    That looks nice, kind of reminds me of the new Sedona (which isn't a bad thing), but it isn't the radical design some claimed was coming. Just a natural evolution of the DCX. "

    That does look nice.

    But I thought the radical part was going to be the 300-inspired front grill. Still have to see that...
  • sebring95sebring95 Posts: 3,233
    Well, it's clear the sliding doors have roll-down windows. And the rear windows pop out too. I was surprised the Ody didn't have the rear poppers, but I suppose the FM Antenna being there nixed that. Is it just me, or that a shorty van and not a grand?
  • thegraduatethegraduate Posts: 9,731
    It certainly looks like a SWB model.
  • thegraduatethegraduate Posts: 9,731
    image

    There is no grill or headlights, but you can see part of the design language that is going to be used. Looks most similar to a Pacifica best I can tell.
  • dc_driverdc_driver Posts: 712
    Also reminds me of the styling on the new Jeep Cherokee. Not bad looking, and definitely more distinctive than all the other Caravans/T&Cs on the road. I think I like what I see so far.. Let's just hope they update the interior layout and materials.
  • dennisctcdennisctc Posts: 1,168
    Just heard from a friend yesterday, that Ralph Gilles (300 fame designer) says DCX is significantly increasing spending to upgrade the interiors of all their future vehicles. Here's hoping for the best!
  • dc_driverdc_driver Posts: 712
    We really liked the T&C Touring model we drove when we were shopping, and that was one area (interior fit and finish/layout) that we felt was lacking.

    Wow the future minivan market is looking pretty good for consumer choice. Between the Odyssey, Sienna, new Sedona/Entourage, and future DCX van it will be a tight field. It will be interesting to see what Honda and Toyota do in in the next couple years to counter some of these worthy challengers.

    I wouldn't be surprised to see Honda add more standard equipment at no charge (tire pressure monitoring, backup sensors, power liftgate, better radio get my vote!)
  • dennisctcdennisctc Posts: 1,168
    I'm also hearing of a more comfortable and flexible Stown N Go system, 275hp V6 and 6 spd auto tranny. We'll know more when the 2007 Pacifica arrives in a few months - that platform is to be very similar to next gen Minivans.
  • marine2marine2 Posts: 1,155
    I also heard it will have a six speed tranny and a lot more electronics inside. They are saying that there will be much more of a difference between the Dodge looks and the Chrysler. Hope that's true. My Brother with the 2001 Plymouth minivan was going to buy a 2006 Dodge minivan, but I talked him into waiting until next year when the 2008's are out.
  • badgerfanbadgerfan Posts: 1,565
    Are the new DC minis going to be an early 2007 introduction, or in the fall, or does no one know yet?

    Also, anyone know if the short wheel base version will still exist with the redesign?

    The best for us personally would be a short wheel base version with Stow and Go, though I would guess there isn't enough floor length to do this in a short wheel base version.
  • dc_driverdc_driver Posts: 712
    Wow, throw in more standard safety features (stability control, standard airbags all around, traction control, etc) and it sounds like the DCX vans are going to be the leader on paper.

    I loved the Stow N Go (guarantee more minivans will have this feature in the upcoming years), but both my wife and I felt the seats were uncomfortable for long trips (which we like to take with friends). If DCX addresses this issue with and adds a more powerful engine w/ at least a 5sp tranny, they will have addressed most of my concerns (along with an updated interior with better materials as you have already mentioned). Too bad we could not have waited a few more years to buy (I never like to buy any vehicle in its first model year or after a major refresh).

    My only question is price. Addressing all these areas will not be cheap, I wonder how much it will drive-up the cost of the DCX minivan lineup?

    Kia and Hyundai have proven you can offer a loaded van at a great price but Hyundai (they own Kia) has also seen profitability plunge. If they ever want to be as profitable as Toyota/Honda they are going to have to stop offering massive incentives to get people to buy their vans. I see Chrysler/GM/Ford facing the same issue (although GM/Ford seem to be adopting a model where the MSRP/Invoice prices are lower and they are trying to stop offering massive incentives). I hope DCX adopts this model as well. I was shocked at the MSRP/Invoice prices of the DCX vans we drove compared to what we could pay for them (in some cases it was almost 10K off MSRP).
  • thegraduatethegraduate Posts: 9,731
    They are saying that there will be much more of a difference between the Dodge looks and the Chrysler. Hope that's true

    Hopefully there will be a much larger differentiation between the vans as opposed to the Dodge Durango/Chrysler Aspen twins. These things are nearly identical!
  • dc_driverdc_driver Posts: 712
    Is it just me, or does anybody else hate the "he/she" dialogue and content of this interview team?

    They did raise some good points, but lets be honest, paying MSRP on a Hyundai/Kia is like paying MSRP on a DCX/Ford/GM minivan. You shouldn't.. Kia already offers a combined 3K rebate on the 06 Sedona (2K competition bonus, 1K rebate if you finance through Kia at 3.9%). I am sure folks will be able to pickup an Entourage for 3K+ under invoice in about 6-12 months.

    I did not drive the Entourage, but did drive the 06 Kia Sedona (basically the same van), and found it to be a nice van but not quite on par with Honda/Toyota. My wife preffered the Chrysler T&C to the Kia as well.

    Some of the things I did not like about the Kia (which is probably true on the Hyundai as well):
    - The van had plenty of power, but had some torque steer before traction control kicked in.
    - Like the Tucson that I test drove a few months back, the transmission seems to get lost sometimes and "hunts" for the right gear. This was very noticeable on my test drive when trying to accelerate very quickly while coasting.
    - There was much more roll and body lean in the corners with this van than the others.
    - The second row seats do not slide sideways.
    - The leather in the Kia was not on par with the Honda/Toyota.
    - Consumer Reports rated the 05 Sedona as a "worst bet" minivan with regards to reliability. Hopefully the 06 will resolve some of these issues, but Kia is still not on par with Honda/Toyota IMHO.
    - I did not hate the look of the van, but to me, it reminded me of the previous generation Odyssey in the front.
    - The third row seat sits lower than the Odyssey/Sienna and it just felt more cramp.
    - Questionable resale value.

    All that said, if my budget was to buy the most van for $25K, it would be a very close call between the Kia and the DCX vans when you consider incentives. I would probably lean towards the Chrysler T&C Touring model (I was quoted $24K for a loaded T&C that had power doors and liftgate, leather, etc)...
  • hansiennahansienna Posts: 2,312
    I also hated the He-She dialogue of the review.
    I would also add that people should NOT pay MSRP or even close on a Sienna or Odyssey. I got a nice discount on my 2006 Sienna LE but shortly afterward, Toyota put a $ 750 incentive...which means I paid $ 750 TOO much.
    The 3rd row seats of the 2006 Sedona are NOT comfortable for adults and are LESS comfortable than the 3rd row on DC Stow 'N Go minivans. The Sedona carpet and cloth seat material felt cheaper than DC minivans, Sienna and Odyssey.

    The BEST BUY now for me in a 2006 minivan would be a GC SXT with optional power liftgate for under $ 22,000 (that has an MSRP of $ 28,430)...or about $ 300 LESS than the T&C Touring. ;)
  • dc_driverdc_driver Posts: 712
    True, nobody should pay MSRP on any minivan (including Toyota/Honda). I paid under invoice on my Odyssey, and could easily have paid well under invoice on a Sienna.

    The funny thing, to me, is that there were a lot of folks paying OVER MSRP when the current generation Odyssey van came out. At least here in Northern VA. There were waiting lists, and many people paid $1-2K over MSRP.

    Personally, I never try to buy a new model or generation vehicle for the first year or so. For one, I like to see what issues occur and to let the manufacturers correct mistakes. The second reason is I like to let the hype die down that so many people get caught up in.

    I truly believe in utilizing the Internet to buy a vehicle and have been able to purchase my last five vehicles at or under invoice.

    Agree with you on that GC SXT van. That is a lot of van for 22K... Anyone looking to buy a Hyundai/Kia or entry level Honda/Toyota should really look at the DCX vans.
  • hansiennahansienna Posts: 2,312
    Odyssey LX would be the entry level van with the MOST safety features and power for the lowest price. The Sienna CE would cost slightly less than the Ody LX but would also have slightly less power and fewer safety features.
    The Caravan SE would be much lower priced but would be smaller, have MUCH less power with the 2.4L inline 4 cylinder engine and would lack MANY safety features of the Ody LX or Sienna CE.
  • dennisctcdennisctc Posts: 1,168
    Whenever I see something Minivan owners might be interested in from the Detroit News, I like to post it. I think they're a cute couple with a few good points but also a Pro Detroit slant. It doesn't bug me too much, especially when I look at other publications...

    A year ago my father gave me a subscription to CR. I use to think they were somewhat fair but more and more I see the slant too. For example....look back over the past year of CR and notice how many domestic cars actually make the cover pic or the pics at the beginning of automotive review! I haven't found ANY although I am missing a few issues that were loaned out to friends. Then notice how totally new offerings from the Japanese are rated high, with no track record or feedback from "Consumers", while redesigned domestics or German cars are "unrated"?? I've already told my father not to renew subscription for me.
  • hansiennahansienna Posts: 2,312
    You have posted my exact feelings on why CR is "NOT Recommended for purchase" in my opinion.

    I subscribed to CR for many years but found it to be too biased and unreliable when writing about minivans.

    CR states that DC minivan controls are confusing but I like having a separate control for treble, bass, fade, and balance instead of the Odyssey and Sienna "one knob does all" where I must scroll thru the entire menu to change any one function.

    I do agree with CR that the DC minivan interior looks cheap when compared to the Sienna or Odyssey and have also found that the Sienna and Odyssey engine/transmission are not as noisy going up a relatively steep hill in 3rd gear as the 3.8L V6 GC SXT in 2nd gear.
  • jipsterjipster Posts: 5,345
    I subscribed to CR for many years but found it to be too biased and unreliable when writing about minivans

    Actually I find every car mag rag I've read to be biased in some way. Car and Driver favors cars with the faster 0-60 times...CR favors the vehilces that will hold the most ping pong balls in its trunk. The best thing to do is read them all. Pick out their pros and cons to focus on during a test drive. Sometimes you'll agree with what they have to say about a certain vehilce, sometimes you won't.
  • dc_driverdc_driver Posts: 712
    I agree. It really comes down to personally driving the vehicles and finding the one that fits your needs best (and most likely, your budget best).

    I always find it amusing how so many of these magazines drive all the loaded vans in their tests. I would love to see more tests on the base on mid-level models. Not everyone can afford a $35-40K minivan...

    That said, there is useful information in the reviews especially with regards to safety features, performance, handling, etc. With regards to CR, I usually tend to look more at their reliability ratings than their actual car reviews. It has been my experience (based on both personal knowledge, and knowledge from friends, family, and the Internet) that their reliability ratings are fairly accurate. It is a data point, and nothing more. I have never based my decision to buy a car just because it received an award in Motor Trend, Car and Driver, CR, or even Edmunds (hopefully I will not get banned for saying that :). When my wife insisted a few months ago that we buy a minivan for our growing family, we did not have Honda at the top of the list (I was leaning towards a Toyota, and she liked the DCX vans). We both knew we wanted the Odyssey after the first test drive. It was just the right car for us, with the right features, for the right price...
  • dennisctcdennisctc Posts: 1,168
    Actually I find every car mag rag I've read to be biased in some way. Car and Driver favors cars with the faster 0-60 times...CR favors the vehilces that will hold the most ping pong balls in its trunk. The best thing to do is read them all. Pick out their pros and cons to focus on during a test drive. Sometimes you'll agree with what they have to say about a certain vehilce, sometimes you won't.

    Yeah but I don't believe C&D, Motor Trends and other car rags claim to be unbiased, whereas, right on CR's cover you get "expert", "independent" and "non profit", and "unbiased ratings 311 products".
  • leon111leon111 Posts: 5
    I disagree on the "unfair" slant of CR in favor of Japanese autos. I understand that many feel this way, but I have been buying cars since 1980 and have given up on American makes. I feel CR is "fair and balanced." It is not surprising they feature Japanese make cars a lot since they sell so well, are consistently more reliable, have better built-in quality and, generally, more standard safety features. I also do not find it surprising that CR will rate a new model from Honda or Toyota high based on the consistent track record of the company's products. I used to be a "ford" man and have seen them fall apart regardless of how well I maintain them over 10 years and 100,000+ miles. I have a 1995 Windstar blow the head gaskets ar 88,000 (at least Ford did cover the repair on a "secret" extended warranty) but overall, the van has completely fallen apart after 122,000 miles even though I met or exceed all recommended and even addtional maintenance checks. My 2001 Crown Vic has been fairly mechanically reliable over 166,000 miles but the paint is peeling off the roof line drip lanes and I live in a mild climate in the South East. I had the same experience with a Chrysler Concord (1996) when the engine literally blew at 90,000 miles. So, I am back to Japanese makes although I am considering a Kia (Korean) due to what seems to me to be pretty good price, good standard safety features, above average warranty and decent quality. Kia seems to be where Toyota was around 1980 as far as value and quality goes.
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