Howdy, Stranger!

It looks like you're new here. If you want to get involved, click one of these buttons!





Minivans - Domestic or Foreign

17879818384122

Comments

  • dennisctcdennisctc Posts: 1,168
    It does seem that, with many rag comparos, they will pick out one vehicle to be that articles punching bag. Write about all the negatives and very few positives.

    I find that the auto rags always hype the latest and greatest, heaping awards on it etc.... then 6 months later it's the biggest piece of crap on the road.

    Those that put down "Stow N Go" don't actually own a DCX van or sat in them at the autoshow for 2 minutes or a test drive. It won't be until all the other manufacturers catch up with their own copies before their version of "Stow N Go" is the greatest thing since sliced bread. BTW - totally off topic, but has anyone caught the History channels "History on a Bun"? Look for it!!!
  • dc_driverdc_driver Posts: 712
    "Those that put down "Stow N Go" don't actually own a DCX van or sat in them at the autoshow for 2 minutes or a test drive. It won't be until all the other manufacturers catch up with their own copies before their version of "Stow N Go" is the greatest thing since sliced bread."

    I disagree. I do think that DCX sacrificed seat comfort to achieve Stow N Go. I challenge you to sit in the DCX vans (leather or cloth) then sit in either the Odyssey or Sienna second row seats back to back to back. It is noticeable and that is why it shows up in all the reviews.

    I am not knocking Stow N Go, but in my case, I do not need the extra space. The Odyssey has built in storage in the floor and I have not even used it yet.. The seats fold flat down and I have no problem carrying large items. If I really needed to, I can take the 2nd row seats out pretty easy, but too be honest, I do not see myself needing to do this anytime soon. I am not so sure that other manufacturers will be so quick to go the Stow N Go route if it sacrifices comfort. If Honda would have gone this route and the 2nd row seats were less comfortable, I would have purchased a Toyota or Hyundai.
  • dennisctcdennisctc Posts: 1,168
    disagree. I do think that DCX sacrificed seat comfort to achieve Stow N Go. I challenge you to sit in the DCX vans (leather or cloth) then sit in either the Odyssey or Sienna second row seats back to back to back. It is noticeable and that is why it shows up in all the reviews.

    My parents have traveled in them for over 7 hours and they thought they were fine, with firm cushions that supported them like many german sedans. If you just jump in and out of them, you could think the cushy seats of other vans are superior, just like the many reviews.

    I had a friend stop by the other day to borrow something, he had never seen "Stow N Go" and i showed them to him. His initial reaction was typical "oh yeah they're kinda small". Then he actuall jumped in one and adjusted the headrest, the seatback angle and proclaimed "I could easily sleep in this on a trip".
  • marine2marine2 Posts: 1,155
    Nearly every professional review I have read commented that the second row seating in the DCX vans are not as comfortable as the competition. I found that to be true in my test drive as well.

    I have a 2005 DGC and my Sister has a 2006 Chrysler Minivan, both with stow-n-go seats. She and her husband came out here (Arizona) from Ohio and my brother went back with her for a vacation. He rode all the way back in the second row stow-n-go seats and said they were fine. He did say they were firmer than on his 1999 Plymouth minivan, but said they were comfortable. That is a two and a half day, 2,000 mile ride.

    Now I wouldn't doubt one bit they are not as soft as the middle seats in the Honda, but I bought my minivan because they had stow-n-go seats and couldn't be happier. If you want a people hauler, you can't do better than a Honda. But if you use your van to carry a bunch of other stuff and like to keep stuff hidden, stow-n-go is the neatest thing to hit the market. They are well worth a little more firmness for the convenience of being able to carry anything you can get in a minivan on a minute's notice. Your always ready no matter where you go or what you do. I gave up a two year old truck to get this van because of stow-n-go. I have never regretted it one bit. All depends on what you want to use your van for.
  • marine2marine2 Posts: 1,155
    Outside of stow-n-go seats, the A/C is the next best thing I love about my 2005 DGC. Here in Arizona, the tempature has been right around 105-111 in all of June. That sucker will cool down in just a few minutes, unlike my Dodge Dakota I had before. I never could feel cool in that truck and it didn't have one third the space to cool as this van. If it can keep it cool in Arizona, it should be able to freeze you out in the North and East.
  • dennisctcdennisctc Posts: 1,168
    Outside of stow-n-go seats, the A/C is the next best thing I love about my 2005 DGC. Here in Arizona, the tempature has been right around 105-111 in all of June. That sucker will cool down in just a few minutes, unlike my Dodge Dakota I had before. I never could feel cool in that truck and it didn't have one third the space to cool as this van. If it can keep it cool in Arizona, it should be able to freeze you out in the North and East.

    My favorite trick if the van has been sitting outside in extreme heat.....as I'm approaching the van, I open the power hatch and doors to vent all the hot air instantly...it works great!!! and it cools down even faster.
  • thegraduatethegraduate Posts: 9,731
    I have a 2005 DGC and my Sister has a 2006 Chrysler Minivan, both with stow-n-go seats. She and her husband came out here (Arizona) from Ohio and my brother went back with her for a vacation. He rode all the way back in the second row stow-n-go seats and said they were fine. He did say they were firmer than on his 1999 Plymouth minivan, but said they were comfortable. That is a two and a half day, 2,000 mile ride.

    Now I wouldn't doubt one bit they are not as soft as the middle seats in the Honda, but I bought my minivan because they had stow-n-go seats and couldn't be happier. If you want a people hauler, you can't do better than a Honda. But if you use your van to carry a bunch of other stuff and like to keep stuff hidden, stow-n-go is the neatest thing to hit the market. They are well worth a little more firmness for the convenience of being able to carry anything you can get in a minivan on a minute's notice. Your always ready no matter where you go or what you do. I gave up a two year old truck to get this van because of stow-n-go. I have never regretted it one bit. All depends on what you want to use your van for.


    Exactly. If you need the seating AND cargo convenience of stow-and-go, you can't beat the flexibility of DCX. If you need flexible seating and cargo is a secondary priority the majority of the time, you can't beat Honda (8-passengers in a pinch, 2nd row buckets or bench option, some of the best seats for comfort out of all the competitors).

    A 2000 mile trip certainly sounds like the perfect opportunity to test out comfort!

    Haven't seen you around lately, marine2... you've been missed! ;)
  • mrblonde49mrblonde49 Posts: 626
    I disagree. I do think that DCX sacrificed seat comfort to achieve Stow N Go. I challenge you to sit in the DCX vans (leather or cloth) then sit in either the Odyssey or Sienna second row seats back to back to back. It is noticeable and that is why it shows up in all the reviews.

    I am not knocking Stow N Go, but in my case, I do not need the extra space. The Odyssey has built in storage in the floor and I have not even used it yet.. The seats fold flat down and I have no problem carrying large items. If I really needed to, I can take the 2nd row seats out pretty easy, but too be honest, I do not see myself needing to do this anytime soon. I am not so sure that other manufacturers will be so quick to go the Stow N Go route if it sacrifices comfort. If Honda would have gone this route and the 2nd row seats were less comfortable, I would have purchased a Toyota or Hyundai. "

    I've said it before, and I'll say it again. The percentage of minivan owners who transport adults regularly in the 2nd row is very small. It's a non issue for most. This point is driven home resoundingly by the success of stow and go since it was introduced
  • badgerfanbadgerfan Posts: 1,564
    In my case, the 3.3L V-6 actually saved us money, as my wife and I both agreed that it might be prudent to purchase a Grand Caravan with the 3.3 E85 compatible engine vs the 3.8 due to its ability to burn E85 should that become popular/widely available and cost efficient. We keep our vehicles 9-12 years so hedging our bets on E85 might become important 5-12 years from now.

    Also, the 3.3L V-6 is EPA rated 1 mpg better both city and highway than the 3.8. Not a big deal but every little bit helps. This van is not going to be drag raced anyway, so the 3.3 will be fine power for us.

    The 3.3 is standard on the SE version GC vs the 3.8 standard on the SXT GC. So, we gave up a few bells and whistles, and went with the SE, but did not give up the important ones (the Stow and Go as an option and the three zone AC with an option package), to "gain" the 3.3L V-6. This in turn saved about $1K-2K in purchase price compared to the GC SXT.
  • badgerfanbadgerfan Posts: 1,564
    We just picked up our GC SE with 3.3L V-6. After reading the manual, I found no mention of E85 compatibility with any Caravan. Puzzled, I called Dodge Customer Service and found that only some 3.3L V-6's are Flex Fuel. Mine is not. :cry:

    I am a bit upset, as salesman apparently did not realize this, and I had mentioned we wanted the 3.3 because of its E85 capability several times.

    Apparently the VIN code for 8th character has to be either an E, G or 3 for a Flex fuel version, per website I found promoting E85. Mine is R, as is virtually the inventory of every dealer in my area. Even checked all the dealers in and around Chicago, and found all 3.3L Caravans in stock had R, so no luck.

    Apparently Chrysler does have this flex fuel 3.3L V-6 as an option, but rarely builds them, or dealers rarely order them for stock.

    My recourse? I guess not much unless I want to try to return the vehicle, doubt if we will go thru the hassle of trying. Would then likely have to keep the old one, probably a couple years until more FFV vehicles are available.

    Still, it was a great price, MSRP was $26640, out the door not including sales tax and $65 title/plate transfer was $19555. To put this in perspective, our 1996 short wheel base Caravan SE Sport cost us $21,900 ten years ago!
  • bobw3bobw3 Posts: 2,997
    Of course the owners aren't going to admit the seats aren't comfortable, nor will polite passengers sitting back there, so let's get real. Plus, real passengers sitting in the back aren't jumping in different minivans to compare the differences. I've never sat in the stowNgo seats, but the low but high knee position doesn't look as comfortable to the other's horizontal chair position.
  • cpsdarrencpsdarren Posts: 265
    On the flip side, buyers who were concerned about seat comfort at the time of purchase would presumably rule out those they found unacceptable. That would lead to a group of owners who honestly believe their seats are comfortable, regardless of outside opinions. Everyone has different preferences so it's good not all seats are the same. Sure, some owners may rationalize and passengers may be polite about things like this, but that isn't always the case.
  • dennisctcdennisctc Posts: 1,168
    Of course the owners aren't going to admit the seats aren't comfortable, nor will polite passengers sitting back there, so let's get real.

    My father who owns a Sienna finds my stow n go seats quite comfortable, and would be the last person to be polite with his honest opinion. Of course owners of Minivans without Stown N Go aren't going to admit the seats aren't comfortable, even if they've never sat in them and have only looked at them. I was in my friend's Stow N Go seats many times this week while we were camping and thought they were firm and comfortable, and yes I've sat in my father's Sienna seat many times and also Ody seats (2004).
  • i briefly read the car and driver? july issue comparing 4 minivans and the result was

    1. odyssey
    2. sedona
    3. quest
    4. caravan

    also, it was kinda weird comparison because they used low end sedona(no leather) and no siena.

    anyway, i can't seem to find the online link..
  • 1997montez341997montez34 Posts: 201
    That's because it was a review in Motor Trend.
  • badgerfanbadgerfan Posts: 1,564
    In my garage right now is our 1996 Caravan SE Sport with second row captains seats ("Quad Seating" option) and our new 2006 Grand Caravan SE with Stow and Go.

    Note the 1996 Caravan's second row seats are very similar to all the Caravan second row non stowable captains seats in all model years since, and in our 96 are not worn out or broken down in the least bit.

    I can honestly say that the second row seats in the new GC feel about the same in comfort and would be fine on a long distance drive. Different, yes, a bit firmer but not appreciably less or more comfortable.

    If you are grossly overweight, the Stow and Go second row seats might be less comfortable as they are a bit narrower. Otherwise, very little difference.

    The third row bench is a different story, however. The third row bench in our old van is much more comfortable. However, since we use that very rarely for passengers, it is less critical.

    The ease of use of the stow and go feature in both rows is a real standout selling point. It is the main reason we bought a long wheel base version this time rather than the short wheel base version. And hard to match the price. $19,555 plus tax, title and license transfer, over $7K off MSRP. Price was actually over $2k less than we paid for our 1996 ten years ago. Also the three zone A-C/heater, part of an option package on the van we bought, is also a great feature.
  • hansiennahansienna Posts: 2,312
    Driver seat comfort in my 2002 T&C LX was the primary reason I now drive a 2006 Sienna LE. (Driver's seat in 2006 Sienna and 2006 Odyssey are equally comfortable for me and each is more comfortable than the 2006 DC minivan driver's seat). The 96 Caravan Sport and ALL 2005/06 Caravan, GC, and T&C have more comfortable seats then the "high back" driver and front passenger seat of my 02 T&C.

    I liked the comfort of 2nd row Quad seating and 3rd row 50/50 split fold and tumble 3rd row in my 2002 T&C but the T&C driver seat was NOT as comfortable as the driver's seat in my 2006 Sienna LE or my son's 2001 Ody EX.

    In my opinion, the 1999-2002 Odysseys had THE most comfortable 2nd and 3rd row seats but the 2003 and later Odyssey seats are not quite as comfortable as 1999-2002 models. :cry:
  • hansiennahansienna Posts: 2,312
    I owned a 2002 T&C LX and now own a 2006 Sienna LE and I have written more than once that the 1999-2002 Odysseys had THE MOST comfortable minivan seats in all 3 rows. :shades:

    I will also admit that the 2nd and 3rd row seats of my 2006 Sienna LE are NOT as comfortable as the 2006 Odyssey 2nd and 3rd row seats.

    Although the Sienna driver's seat is much more comfortable than the driver's seat of my 2002 T&C LX, there are many things I like better about the GC and T&C than my Sienna or the 2006 Odyssey.

    Most important, a buyer gets MORE nice items for the actual prices paid with a GC SXT than with either a Sienna or Odyssey. :blush:
  • thegraduatethegraduate Posts: 9,731
    I owned a 2002 T&C LX and now own a 2006 Sienna LE and I have written more than once that the 1999-2002 Odysseys had THE MOST comfortable minivan seats in all 3 rows.

    They HAD to have the best seats to counteract the "sporty" suspension tuning! It does drive like an Accord though!
  • dennisctcdennisctc Posts: 1,168
    Most important, a buyer gets MORE nice items for the actual prices paid with a GC SXT than with either a Sienna or Odyssey.

    My number 1 "nice item" is my power hatch by far!!!! I purchased mine off the lot because it had the tow package in needed. The $400 stand alone power hatch wasn't of any interest to me. Now that I have it, I can't live without it!!
  • jchan2jchan2 Posts: 4,956
    I do have to agree that my 02 Odyssey does drive a lot like an Accord and that it doesn't feel as big as it actually is.
  • thegraduatethegraduate Posts: 9,731
    Yes, and the new 2005+ Odyssey drives even crisper than the 1999-2004 models (the 2005 has less of a numb on-center feel than our 2000 model had).
  • cpsdarrencpsdarren Posts: 265
    I still haven't found much difference in the noise, handling and comfort of our 2006 compared to our 2001. Marginal improvements in those areas, IMO. Granted, the handling and comfort were quite good already.
  • thegraduatethegraduate Posts: 9,731
    The ride was similar IMO, just had the steering tightened up a little in the newer models.
  • k203206k203206 Posts: 20
    First, I think this board is fantastic! I'm in the process of purchasing a new van. I'm will hold onto a vehicle for 10 years. Here's my question.
    The Mazda MPV and Toyota Sienna has the highest consumer ratings on this board, both are (9.1). I can purchase a new MPV LX (rear air) for 16.7K (not including Tax, title, and license). It will have a 48 month or 50K miles bumper to bumper warranty. Or I can purchase a new Toyota for 26K with the same options. The Mazda is smaller but we have a small family. What would you do? Purchase a lower cost vehicle that is not as dependable or can I justify the 10K for the Toyota. Ten years down the line, I may have decided to go with the Toyota?
  • badgerfanbadgerfan Posts: 1,564
    Um, Dodge Grand Caravan has a consumer ratings on Edmunds of 9.2........

    Check them out. If you keep the bells and whistles down to a reasonable level, you can get a DGC SE with Stow and Go and with three zone air in a package for under $20K (MSRP of $26740), or an SXT standard with the above plus with a few more bells and whistles about $1K-2K more, not including tax title and license.

    More storage space than any of the others, though it may be less "refined" than the Sienna.

    Between the two you listed, the MPV is a bargain, though it is soon to become an orphan, as I read somewhere Mazda is to discontinue the MPV.
  • jipsterjipster Posts: 5,345
    What would I do? Well, I was in a similar situation as yourself 2 years ago. We bought the Mazda MPV, over the Sienna, as we preferred the smaller size for our family of four, the sportier and more attractive styling,price, and the car like ride and handling. Our MPV has been extremely reliable in the 2 years we have owned it. (knock on wood). Getting an LX that stickers at 23k for 16.7k though is a real steal. You could keep it 3 or 4 years, then sell it for around 10-12k and be out very little money.

    That said, if you really like the Sienna significantly more than the MPV...I would buy the Sienna. Good Luck.
  • hansiennahansienna Posts: 2,312
    Yes if you consider having one control do everything to adjust bass, treble, fade, and balance where I must scroll thru a menu on my 2006 Sienna LE instead of having a separate control for each of the 4 functions on a GC or T&C. :shades: I do not like this feature on my Sienna as well as the 4 separate controls on my 02 T&C LX.
    The "refined" Sienna LE has no separately controlled temperature for the driver and front passenger that most GC minivans have.
    The 06 Sienna LE has a more attractive interior than the 06 GC SXT but I miss the better stereo controls on the T&C, the separate controls for rear windshield wiper and washer, and the separately controlled temperature for driver and front passenger that the more expensive Sienna LE does NOT have but were contained on my 02 T&C LX.
  • dennisctcdennisctc Posts: 1,168
    First, I think this board is fantastic! I'm in the process of purchasing a new van. I'm will hold onto a vehicle for 10 years. Here's my question.
    The Mazda MPV and Toyota Sienna has the highest consumer ratings on this board, both are (9.1). I can purchase a new MPV LX (rear air) for 16.7K (not including Tax, title, and license). It will have a 48 month or 50K miles bumper to bumper warranty. Or I can purchase a new Toyota for 26K with the same options. The Mazda is smaller but we have a small family. What would you do? Purchase a lower cost vehicle that is not as dependable or can I justify the 10K for the Toyota. Ten years down the line, I may have decided to go with the Toyota?


    The MPV is due to die here shortly, so resale will die with it. After owning or using (company) minivans over the past 8 years, I'd opt for the Larger minivans. You may have a small family but that extra space really comes in handy on vacations and home depot runs :)

    If I were in market, I'd look at all the major players...DCX, Honda, Toyota and Kia. Ford is killing their Freestars next year, and GM is killing off the Buick and Pontiac minivans also. I personally love my DCX GC SXT.....2005 with Stow N Go, 13,000 and never an issue, plus 25 mpg on trips/19 in town. You can probably get a nicely loaded DCX van for $20k
  • badgerfanbadgerfan Posts: 1,564
    Well, I am talking about 2006 models, not 2002. Also, it is difficult to compare nickel and dime features from one brand to the next and from one generation to the next of the same brand. For example, the 2006 GC SE we just bought has the base radio and you do have to scroll through a menu to adjust the treble, base, balance and fade. However that is a minor inconvenience to most, as once it is set it is very rare that most people adjust them much after that.

    Likewise DC has changed the rear wiper/washer controls, so the feature is now only intermittent and with the washer switch built in to the on off switch. The intermittent frequency now increases with vehicle speed, which is a good feature. We rarely used the continuous feature on our 1996 van as the moisture never built up fast enough to need it.

    The heated windshield zone under the wipers is gone, however now our outside rear view mirrors are heated to defrost ice. Which is more useful? Probably the heated mirrors.

    The option package we have on our new GC SE which included the three zone A-C/heater with second row overhead controls on our new GC SE is definitely a significant improvement over past ventilation systems, and the separate temperature control for left and right driver and passenger, even on non-automatic climate control version we have is a nice extra. Of course, Stow and Go is a really big "wow" feature.

    It still amazes me that we just purchased this new 2006 GC SE for about $2K less than we purchased a new 1996 short wheel base Caravan SE Sport. Ten year interval, and significantly less out of pocket.
Sign In or Register to comment.