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Minivans - Domestic or Foreign

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  • Just to play devil's advocate....I was thumbing through the service manual for my 1990 Honda Accord LX and guess what....it recommends 91 octane! In the service manual mind you. This car has almost 200K (it's a baby) and has never seen above 87 octane. Maybe if you want those superbly useless 230HP at 4500RPM or whatever it is you should worry about something other than 87, but I think it's a crock in this case.

     

    Today's cars don't just blindly run the same way regardless of the type of fuel that is put into them. The Sienna will adjust accordingly if you always use 87. Just don't try any drag racing.

     

    Also, if you are using the plainest dirtiest truck stop fuel then no matter what car you are driving is headed to the mechanic with a clogged fuel filter at best. Running 87 is one thing, running crappy questionable gas is another.
  • hansiennahansienna Posts: 2,312
    In the Denver-Salt Lake City-Wyoming area of the Rocky Mountains, 85 octane is regular unleaded instead of the normal 87 octane at lower altitude.

         My 02 T&C LX with 3.3L V6 runs very well with 85 octane all the time. My son uses 85 octane in his 01 Ody EX all the time and the other son used 85 octane in his 02 GC Sport until he moved to Houston where he now uses 87 octane.
  • My mistake, apparently even 85 can be run in certain conditions. Mainly I just wanted to lay to rest the incorrect assumption that Siennas require premium. Thanks for the info though.
  • hansiennahansienna Posts: 2,312
    Agee that premium is NOT necessary for a Sienna but I would add that postings about Sienna requiring premium is another red herring. The Sienna will run perfectly well with 87 octane (or 85 octane in high altitude areas).
  • Hi all,

    Me and my wife are about to buy our fist minivan for our family (3 kids and a dog). Not is't our first minivan but a first car in the States (we just moved from Israel for a few years). We're thinking of buying a used car and after 2-3 years to sale it. Obviously after basic requirements to a car like safty and convenience TOC comes to the top in our case. I mean one of the criterias is to find a car that will lose and cost less. Also it's important which model will be easier to sale. I thought to take a car of 2-3 years since then the temp of depreciation is not so high as in the very beginning but the car is still pretty well.

    We're choosing between TownCountry/Caravan MPV and Sedona. I see in the net prices are in a range of 13-15T for year 2003/2004. To my understanding there is no major favorite in this trio (technically speaking) and the single criteria (except for the taste:-) is getting a good deal. Is my thinking correct or I missed some important point?

     

    Your input is really needed.

    Thanks,

    Roman
  • xvrmxvrm Posts: 10
    Hi Roman --

    I bought my first minivan last May: a new 2004 Sedona LX base model, no options, for under $18K (including title, tax & license -- no trade involved.) I love the vehicle and want to just say to you a couple of things. First, the only easy-to-resell minivans are the Odysseys and Siennas. They're 'pricey' new ... and they're pricey used. Fact of life. Second, new or used -- the best vehicle to buy is the one you really love (sometimes the decision can be truly rational (buy whatever Consumer Reports says to buy) but just as often it comes down to what turns you on when you hop in, turn the key, and motor on down the road.

    I've bought 'rational' vehicles and hated them and myself the next morning. My best experiences have been buying the ones that I just can't get out of my head ... if problems arise later, I can at least say "Well, it may not be perfect, but I sure do love it."

    I wish you well in whatever you decide.

     

    Robert
  • craigmricraigmri Posts: 243
    Roman,

     

    Although I've never driven an MPV, I can comment on the Chrysler Minivans as well as the Sedona. Chrysler's are reknown for lousy transmissions. yes they are the original Minivan makers but the quality is poor in my opinion. I had a '98 caravan that lost its transmission at around 80,000 miles. While at the Aamco transmission shop the owner tells me he gets 6 to 8 Chyrsler minivans per week Vs. zero imports. My '02 PT cruiser is on its third transmission(I swear I'm not a bad driver).

     

    Again, I cannot comment on the Mazda MPV good or bad.

     

    As for the Sedona, we tried a used '02 for 6 months since we found a deal on a loaded one with every option....We figured if it was junk we could sell it for what we paid since we got if for a rediculous price....turned out we really liked it and traded it on a new '04 last year. Our '04 has every option available(except DVD entertainment system) and we got it for $20,000 and thats after they gave us what we paid for our '02. We really like the Sedona. Other than an incompetent dealer service department we are really happy with ours. It drives fantastic, hauls the family and cargo around in comfort and feels like we're driving a vehicle that costs thousands more than we paid. The gas mileage isnt stellar but if you read the minivan MPG forum you'll find it's similar to other minivans.

     

    My advice if your looking for not only a bargain but one that you can resell, would be to shop around for a nice clean '02 Sedona. I bet you can find one for around $10,000 and even after a couple of years it wont lose much from there.

     

    Good luck and welcome to the USA!

     

    Craig
  • dulnevdulnev Posts: 652
    "We're choosing between TownCountry/Caravan MPV and Sedona. I see in the net prices are in a range of 13-15T for year 2003/2004. To my understanding there is no major favorite in this trio (technically speaking) and the single criteria (except for the taste:-) is getting a good deal. Is my thinking correct or I missed some important point? "

     

    The three you're considering are quite different in fact. What they all share is very high rate of depreciation, but that would only affect you positively since you're buying a used one. Of the three you mentioned the MPV is quite a bit more reliable than the other two. It also handles a lot better, more car-like. I just traded in 2002 MPV for a 2005 Odyssey so I know the MPV well. It's a great minivan and you can get great deals on the used ones.
  • hansiennahansienna Posts: 2,312
    BUY the one you like best as each has advantages. Unless you are buying for resale within the first few years, each and ALL 3 will cost you less in the long run than the darlings of CR.

         The MPV is "just the right size" for some while the heavier, less fuel efficient Sedona lacks the convenient seating/cargo flexibility of the TC/Caravan and MPV.

         The SWB T&C and Caravan get the best gas mileage of the 3 but do not have the fold-into-the floor 3rd row seating of MPV.

         CR are very biased toward Honda and Toyota and the written portion often ignores the actual test results of the others.

         Reading in Town Hall will reveal more problems being reported by the actual owners of the Odyssey than are being reported for the Caravan or MPV. (I do not read the Sedona forums as it was not one of my choices).
  • nornenorne Posts: 136
    If you are anywhere close to Chicago than I would check out the new 2006 sedona first before making any purchase.

     

    If you have to have a minivan now, than I would go with the DC full size van. With heavy discounting and incentives, you should be able to get a real good deal on them.

     

    I would stay away from mpv with 3 kids and a dog. Mpv is way way too small for that not to mention the bad transmission in them.
  • Thank you for valuable answers. Next week I'm starting explogin shops. Just another question came to me. Is there any van with sits layout 2-3-2? The point is to have 3 sits in the second row so to be able to drive 5 people and have a big baggage.
  • hansiennahansienna Posts: 2,312
    Ody EX and Sienna CE or LE have 2-3-3 so you can fold 3rd row into floor and still seat 5. Third row is 60/40 split so you can seat 5, 6, or 7 and still have extra cargo space.

        Grand Caravan SE Plus and SXT and LWB Town and Country have very flexible seating where any or all of 2nd and 3rd row seats can quickly fold into the floor.

        All of the above have very large cargo area behind the 3rd row seats while the Sedona cargo area is very small.

        The Mazda MPV also has a fold into the floor 3rd row as does the Freestar which gives at least twice the cargo space behind 3rd row of Sedona.

        Although the Sedona has the least interior space of the minivans, it is the gas guzzler with much lower gas mileage than the rest. With gasoline prices rising as fast as the budget deficit, the cheap Sedona may cost more to own because of voracious appetite for fuel.
  • jipsterjipster Posts: 5,345
    I'd say for a good price and a bigger van for your 3 kids and dog a Grand Caravan would be a good choice. An MPV would be excellet for 2 children. Or, if you have 3 small children it would be a good van to grow into. I'd stay away from the Sedona for a couple more years..getting much better..but quality and reliability not up there with the others yet.
  • do the above cars of year 2002 have these features (seat layout and folding into floor) or only new models have it? next question is what's the difference btw. Caravan and TC? It looks quite the same. Is it like difference in the brands and reputation or any technical parameters stay behind?
  • steverstever YooperlandPosts: 40,176
    A really luxurious minivan that's great to drive?

     

    A BMW Minivan? New MPV Will Share Platform of Next-Generation X5

     

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  • hansiennahansienna Posts: 2,312
    The only 2002 minivans that had fold into the floor were the Mazda MPV and the Honda Odyssey and neither had the split 3rd row.

        I think some 2002 Chevy Venture had a 2-3-2, 2,2,3 or 2-3-3 layout but NOT the nice fold into the floor 3rd row of the MPV or Odyssey which doubled the cargo space behind 3rd row when all seats were in the upright position.

        The Chrysler Voyager was the clone of the Caravan from 2000 until 2005 when it was renamed the SWB T&C. The Town & Country is the clone of the Grand Caravan.

        Prior to mid-2000, the Plymouth Voyager and Grand Voyager were the clones of the Caravan and Grand Caravan while Chrysler T&C were an up-scale clone of the Grand Caravan.
  • Rytrom,

     

    Last November when I was shopping for a used minivan, I went in thinking either Honda, Ford, or Chrysler/Dodge. I found Hondas too expensive, Fords too scarce.

     

    If you are buying used, you can't go wrong looking at the Chrysler T&C or Voyager, or Dodge Caravan/Grand Caravan. I bought one with 24K Miles on it for less than $16,000. This one was loaded. I could have gotten a used 2004 or 2005 with about 20K miles for less than $14,000, but did not want bench seats or built-in child safety seats.

     

    With the Sedona, you will get a smaller vehicle than the Grand Caravan. I don't know how much a used one is, but there are very many Chrysler vehicles on the road and it will be easier to find a place to service it.
  • marine2marine2 Posts: 1,155
    "If you are buying used, you can't go wrong looking at the Chrysler T&C or Voyager, or Dodge Caravan/Grand Caravan. I bought one with 24K Miles on it for less than $16,000. This one was loaded. I could have gotten a used 2004 or 2005 with about 20K miles for less than $14,000, but did not want bench seats or built-in child safety seats."

    True as long as you don't buy one later than a 2001. Earlier models had a lot of problems.
  • craigmricraigmri Posts: 243
    Not trying to be a troll or Chrysler bash(but I will), I encourage anyone to go to their local Aamco transmission shop and ask the manager which minivans they see the most go in and out of their shop.

    I had a '98 Caravan that tossed its tranny at 80,000. My '02 PT cruiser lost its first tranny at 38,000 then again at 75,000. Chrysler repaired the first tranny and Aamco did the second. While picking up my PT cruiser I saw two Chrysler vans(unsure the years but looked reletively newish models) in for you guessed it...TRANSMISSIONS!!!

    Other than the Transmissions I think its a good vehicle.

    Craig
    '04 Sedona EX
  • mvls1mvls1 Posts: 32
    You are correct. Chrysler transmission is their weak point. I am on my third now in a 99 grand caravan. My 91 grand caravan had the same problem.
  • marine2marine2 Posts: 1,155
    Chrysler transmissions WAS their weakest point. If ones buys a 2001-2005, there should be no problem. Most of the problems before that was with the tranny fluid Chrysler was using in their transmissions. It is no longer a problem, as they changed fuids in their 2001s.
  • Chrysler transmissions WAS their weakest point. If ones buys a 2001-2005, there should be no problem. Most of the problems before that was with the tranny fluid Chrysler was using in their transmissions. It is no longer a problem, as they changed fuids in their 2001s.




    Exactly. If you are buying a 2000 or earlier model, then you have to worry about the transmission reliability. If new or only a few years old, you don't
  • hansiennahansienna Posts: 2,312
    Surprise, surprise. The minivan that has outsold the others by a HUGE majority would have more transmission repairs even with same percentage failure rate. There just aren't very many Toyota, Honda, Mitsubishi, MPV, Sedona, etc. that were sold in comparison to Chrysler brands.
    One would expect more minivans with bad transmissions when there were so many more produced.
    Toyota has changed the name of their minivan twice in less time than the Caravan has been in production. Honda and Mazda just started making minivans and Mitsubishi quit. Ford has dropped the Aerostar and Windstar and now call their minivan by yet another name. Chevrolet had the FWD Lumina APV, Venture, and now Uplander. The Astro/Safari are the ONLY minivans in addition to the Caravan, Voyager, and Town & Country that have been in production for many years and they were TRUCKS with heavier duty transmissions.
  • steverstever YooperlandPosts: 40,176
    Maybe you should move the cut off to 2001 - my brother's '00 Caravan transmission died last month. It did have 110,000 miles on it and some of those miles were towing a pop-up.

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  • I think I had it right. I said if you had a 2000 or earlier, you had to worry...
  • steverstever YooperlandPosts: 40,176
    That fits better with my singular point of reference :-).

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  • marine2marine2 Posts: 1,155
    While I think both the Honda and Toyota van's are as nice looking inside as anyone could expect. They are better suited for someone that is hauling mostly people If that's what your going to do, buy one of them. They are really to nice to be hauling much else of anything in them. I couldn't see myself loading either of them up with drywall, lumber, furniture or most anything else. And to get anything more than about four feet long, you would have to take out the middle seats. I can't even see dropping the middle seat backs down and loading anything half way heavy on top of them the way they are built.

    The Dodge/Chrysler mini vans are not as nice looking inside. But if you want to carry anything more than people, this is the van to buy. Stow and go seats, make it extreamly easy to haul anything that will fit in a van. If you keep the seats up, you have gobs of room to store things in the covered wells the seats would normally fit in.

    So it really comes down to what you are going to use the van for and maybe price.
  • ok, i need help. i am a single mom of three who desparately needs to buy a car. however, the qualities in need in a car seem to be impossible to be had. i need enough space to fit my kids and a friend or two, a car that will perform somewhat well enough driving in snow (our best friends live in the sierras and we travel there half a dozen times a year), a good reliability record (trying to survive on one income isn't easy), safety (of course) and i've got about 20 grand maximum to spend.

    i've been researching edwards.com and i have a book written with all the notes i've taken but i still don't know what to do and i'm simply running out of spare time to look (working full-time). i would LOVE some advise from you guys...what would YOU buy?
    thanks a bunch if you reply.
  • marine2marine2 Posts: 1,155
    I think I would buy a late model Toyota mini van if I were a single mom. Your really not going to haul things like I posted above so that leaves Dodge/Chrysler out. Toyota has a superb record for reliability and being front wheel drive, it should do well in the snow.
  • macakavamacakava Posts: 775
    Agreed.

    That's why I see many of the DGCs being used by tradesmen and similar wannabees to take their equipment and materials around to their job sites. For most of us who are not into the "trades" field, the need to remove the second row seats is very rare. In my past 12+ years of minivan ownership, I can only remember about 5 times when I needed to remove the second row seats.

    You can buy the DGCs very cheaply and if one does not care for refinement, great handling and an engaging driving experience, then the DGC is a great choice for these tradesmen.
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