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Chevy Uplander/Pontiac Montana SV6/Saturn Relay/Buick Terraza



  • carguy1234carguy1234 Posts: 233
    I'm specifically interested in the GM vans due to the AWD capability, something neither Honda nor Toyota currently delivers acceptably (well Toyota offers it, but then you are locked into very expensive tires that have very poor traction, ride comfort, and tread life, so that isn't really a competitive option).
  • irgirg Posts: 197
    Well if you've had good experienceswith GM, then I guess it makes sense to stick with them. I tried them for a while, but time to move on. Maybe my next vehicle will be one, but I doubt it. My local GM dealer is also the Toyota dealer, although the Chevy dealership is about 1/5 the size. I'm not sure what surveys you are referring to, but year in and year out when you look at publications like Consumer Reports, and check out their used car recommendations or new car recommendations, there are usually heavily biased towards Honda and Toyota as the best picks. A few domestics sprinkled in but not often. I also subscribe to Autoweek and Car & Driver (and read a few others at the stores) and rarely if ever, do I see GM beat Toyota or Honda (or almost anyone else) in a comparison shootout. I believe GM can and will do better, but they better hurry before it's too late.

    Most horror stories I hear from friends and colleagues are almost always having to do with American made cars. But more importantly when I ask friends if they've been happy with their Honda or Toyota, I have seldom heard anything negative. A parents friend did have trouble with a Corolla they bought now that I think about it - and I guess that surprised me because I hear complaints so seldom. Folks I know, seem rabidly loyal to either Honda or Toyota - the kind of loyalty GM and Ford used to have, but not as much these days.

    My Saturn wasn't really a bad vehicle. It had some trouble early on, that was fixed under warranty. What I didn't like, and that was my own fault, is that the closest dealer was 1 hour away (100 miles roundtrip). And then the tires wore out at 16k miles, and I rotated them too. The reason? They use a "high performance soft compound" that wears faster. Why the hell would GM put a soft compound on a family sedan? My guess is that they were just cheap tires. I've heard that complaint from Honda owners too about their tires. At least my Sienna came with Michelin tires - hopefully they will be better.

    What features besides Onstar does GM offer on their vans that Toyota does not? Navigation system not found on GM, power rear hatch not found, side air bags, 5 speed auto, 3 zone automatic climate, fold flat into floor rear seats...

    Your 2004 was considerably cheaper than the new 2005 model. The rebates then wereastounding - I remember seeing rebates like $4500 around here. Not now. I've heard people complaining that the new GM vans are just as expensive now as the imports. That was my finding, and even today I was over at the Chevy dealer turning in my Saturn (a little sad) and checked out the Uplander again, and yep, a 2wd Uplander for $29,6xx. Subtract the $1k incentive, get close to invoice, and you're still in the $26 ballpark with all of the options you want. I've yet to see a LS model, and no base models at all. The Odyssey LX is a base model, but has pretty good features, especially safety, and is about $22k, a Sienna CE is about the same, an LE model can range from $23 - 30 depending on which of the ten million option packages you choose from. Yes, neither the Sienna or the Odyssey will have short wheelbase models, but I would never consider one, and I don't think many others would either. More for delivery and such. I like the look of the new GM dashes, but the Sienna to me, is a real nice layout, and looks super cool at night. I like that everything is very intuitive, and I've only driven it a couple of times so far. The first comment my wife made when driving it was, "I feel like I'm driving a luxury car. Not a van." Kinda think that's what Toyota was hoping to hear.
  • vanman1vanman1 Posts: 1,397
    I was not talking about the vehicles (if you re-read what I said), I was talking about dealer satisfaction and Toyota and Honda are both behind GM divisions. Check JD Power.

    Horror stories, yes I have heard some.. but they come from all brands, not just GM or "domestics" and yes even Hondas and Toyotas. Perhaps you are caught up in the myth that Japanese cars are trouble free, I am not.

    Features not available on Sienna.. On Star, MP3, Phat Noise hard drive based entertainment system, factory installed remote start (after market sucks), 4-wheel discs on base model, standard 17" tires, regular (short) wheel base model option and over head rail system.

    You can currently get 0% financing on the GM vans, it's about 3-4% on Sienna. No cash back right now up here except on the base Uplander value van where you get $4500. Like I said, the MSRPs are lower so you won't see the cash on the hood we go for our over priced Montana but I suspect you will see better deals at year end.

    If you like your van great. I like mine. In the world that's what makes a market. I just preferred to keep the $5000 for other things. I know the Sienna was a little better but the GM van worked better for us.
  • polo6sppolo6sp Posts: 2
    Living in western NY, the winters give us a lot of lake effect snow. We considered the AWD Buick but found out that stability control(proven to reduce accidents by double digit percentage) is only available in fwd. In the end we couldn't justify the cost or mileage penalty.

    GM may have troubles now but so are others. Consider that Toyota is today recalling 750,000 vehicles.

    Currently dealers in this area are advertising $5500 discounts on GM minivans(same as 4 months ago). Comparing options on similarly priced Toyotas (MSRP minus $1200 no rebate at that time) and the GMs offer ONSTAR, handsfree incar cellphone, leather heated memory seats, second row captains chairs, load leveling air suspension, DVD, remote start, rear park assist and stabilitrak.

    If you never had these options you may not miss them, but consider how important it is,that in the event of an accident, ONSTAR can call 911 when your airbag deploys and emergency personnel will be there much quicker or that rear park assist can tell you if your toddler is walking behind your van as your backing up. The second row captain's chairs are much more comfortable than the competition. We never had DVD before but with a 2 year old, at times its now a necessity.

    Motor Trend May 05 has a comparo between the Sienna, Odyssey and Caravan in which the Honda finished 1st by a wide margin. They wrote:

    "Yet at part throttle the Sienna feels like its stuck on flypaper, waking up only when provoked by stomping on the gas. Steering is Camry mushy. Stopping distance from 60 mph were only 2 ft shorter than the Caravan's dismal showing."

    Also in the article, the Toyota Sienna XLE and Odyssey were $36304 and $35210 respectively. I would expect on this high MSRP, you might get $2000 to $3000 off sticker price due to supply and demand. That makes the highly optioned GM minivan $4000 to $5000 less. Add in my $3000 in GM points and there was no contest.
  • strstr Posts: 64
    All of the SV6's I looked at did not have rear wipers. On one of these forums I read the list of added features for 2006 and a rear wiper was on it. I did not know that SUV's and vans didn't come with rear wipers. If you have seen one on a 2005 SV6 please let me know because I was not very happy with the thought of traveling on the highway in the rain with my rear window basically unusable.
  • strstr Posts: 64
    First of all thank you for your advice.

    I started my own business in 1999 when I was 23 before I started a family or even married. I have a three in one business it is a preschool in the mornings, Child care center in the afternoons and an after school program for children needing tutoring and a safe place to stay until parents get home. We house now nearly 75 children in a given day from open to close and it has become a huge success. I am a Christian based facility as well as preschool. In the mornings we have daily devotional and preschool classes then in the afternoon we keep children while their parents are at work and in the evening until 6:00 p. m. we mentor, tutor and provide activities for the older children of the community. This company started out with approximately 25 to 35 children enrolled and has grown this much! We have a five page waiting list of families hoping to get enrolled in the near future.
    Just three years ago I had to become an LLC with help from a board and brought my sister in as president of the LLC when I started my family because it was just too much for me alone. I love the fact that my children can work with me everyday and that I have been able to incorporate work with motherhood! It has been a blessing!
  • strstr Posts: 64

    Let me give you a little background on my car buying experiences,

    I guess I am not really nervous about buying a foreign car but unsure because I grew up in a family that bought only American and that is all I have ever considered because I know nothing about foreign. My father owns his own business and travels six months out of the year and trades vehicles every year and he is very knowledgeable about cars and he has always traded American because it is important to him. Also, he always picked out my moms cars brought them home and got her approval and had a new one for her every two years (always american never any other consideration) so there was never any discussion or debates about models or makes just yes I like it or no won't do. When I turned 16 (1992) my dad took me to the lot and said pick one out. Of course there was no discussion just pick it out and drive it (picked a white 1993 probe first year for the new body style) next car (1999 Sebring) was the same. Then I married and my husband had a Lincoln Navigator traded it after two years and he picked a durango, drove it one year (hated it) got rid of it and I asked my dad for advice on the next car, he shows up at my business with a new loaded Envoy and that was it, bought it and love it (still have it.)
    This time I said I want the new style vans that are coming out. My husband said pick one out and get it, you'll be driving it so it's all up to you. So, here I am lost about foreign cars and vans as well and trying to make the best decision for my two children's safety as well as for our family. If I ask my father for advice he'll say "Just buy American!" That is why I am a little unsure and lost right now and why I appreciate everyone's advice so much!
  • vanman1vanman1 Posts: 1,397
    I have never seen a van without. Perhaps it's only an option on U.S. models because they all have rear wipers up here, even the C$19,999 (U$15,000) Uplander Value Van.
  • irgirg Posts: 197
    Here we go! I also live in NY (Ithaca) and thought that AWD would be a good option, but I think with decent tires, and/or snow tires, fwd vans should be fine most of the time. I have a 4wd Explorer for those other times. Around here - our roads are plowed quickly and thoroughly. Rarely a snow day here.

    What was the recall for Toyota? Every company has them, no surprise really. GM seems to have them practically every day. A recent spate of recalls on their full size trucks and SUVs. Surprising because these aren't new models at all. You'd think the bugs were worked out by now.

    So dealers are offering $5500 discount now on these vans. I've found these "deals" to be misleading though - and believe me I've checked them out. Usually you get cash incentive or good financing but not both. For example, one dealer near here on the Dodge Grand Caravan SXT sells them for $21,000 - pretty good considering the invoice is about $24k and sticker is $28k or so. But to get that price, you have to finance through them at about 8%, so you lose the incetives (about $3500) and so on. The dealer even said the offer of 0% was better, and that you would be better to lose the incentives, and I tend to agree. Problem was, after I ran the numbers, this van had higher monthly payments than the Sienna. And the same was true for the Uplander. And Odyssey too. My point is that none of these dealers are really going to sell for much under invoice - they can't really. If you have other loyalty incentives (like I was hoping for) than that's different as it doesn't come out of the dealers pocket. All I know is that I got a Sienna XLE for $26k, and with payments of $359 a month with $0 down, I couldn't beat it. And these incentives that GM have been using to lure in customers are really hurting their bottom line. They have to get away from so much of this. Every auto analyst has been saying the same thing for a while now.

    As for features, Onstar is one GM has that no one else has, true. And I stated that before. Sienna has DVD, (the Odyseey uses a 9 or 10" screen now) 8 way dual power seats with power lumbar (standard on XLE) sunroof option (GM doesn't offer this by the way), it DOES offer rear parking assist (options for both GM, Toyota, Honda, Nissan) using the dvd navigation screen for a better visual cue - GM doesn't offer this. The second row seats in Sienna come in two varieties - an 8 seat option on the LE (for those who need it) and the 7 seat option uses very nice seats as well. I didn't find anything great about the captains chairs in the GM van. And I won't be sitting there anyway. The Sienna XLE offers a moveable storage center that can be used in the front or move it to the middle seats (it clamps down in either spot). GM doesn't offer this because the van is too narrow. That was one of the first things I noticed is getting my kids in the third row seat (we'll have 3 soon) isn't the most convenient when an adult has to go back there and buckle them in. Piece of cake on Sienna and Odyseey. No power lifgate even offered on GM, again, standard on XLE.

    Each van has some neat features, the Ody also has a pretty neat lazy susan storage under the floor in the second row, no one else offers this yet. And of coure Dodge has the stow n go seats. Pretty clever, I admit. Stabilitrak - I couldn't find a GM van with that option when they were coming out. If you have a big dealer they might have one, but personally I don't know if it really makes much difference or not. Only on the fwd vans too. I just couldn't find any areas that GM was cleary superior over the Sienna for my needs.

    As for Motor Trend article, I dunno. I have never been able to take them seriously, but I guess some do. The best in the business is C&D though. And they gave the margin to Odyseey (an '04 at that). Consumer Reports had the two very close, with the Odyssey a slight winner. I do like the Odyssey best, the payments for me though, were $440/month vs $359/month for Sienna. As for MT saying the throttle was like fly paper, I can't comment as I wasn't driving their van. My takes off easily. And when I am going 70 or so, just a quick stab and I can fly by anyone. I really don't need more than that from a van, and my wife certainly doesn't either. What I noticed about the GM van was going up hills it was too sluggish for me. Admittedly Ithaca has some serious hills. The 3.9 should cure this though. Also, when in comes to articles, everything can be taken with a grain of salt. I think the CR report on the Saturn Relay seemed overly harsh. When I drove the Uplander and Terraza, I did not think they were filled with sqeaks and rattles as they mentioned. They were really harsh on the GM vans, but maybe they had a bad sample. All I know is that they are a good starting out point, and then I drive them to see how I think they fair.

    As for price, I guess it all depends on where you live, and how good a dealer you have. In that article you quote, the XLE was $36k, but there are many versions of this van. There are like 10 option packages. The one I bought has a sticker of under $30k, and I got it for $26k. Big difference. Same with GM too. Their sticker price is not what you would normally really pay. A lot of people here have been saying the Odyssey sells for sticker, but when I went to my local dealer, they were more than happy to sell well below that - about $500 over invoice. Again, it depends on where you are. With $3k in GM points, you probably really had no other choice, especially with the $1k incentive right now, and getting it close to invoice (my Buick dealer sells for $100 over invoice), but most people looking for a van are not going to get your deal. Comparing apples to apples, the new GM vans at their selling price (example an LT) to a Sienna XLE the difference in price is not that much different right now. Show me a Uplander LT with the convenience package to equal the XLE for much under $26k without using your GM points.
  • irgirg Posts: 197
    I thought that was strange too. I thought it came standard, not even an option. Who ever heard about having a van or suv without a rear wiper? The Pontiac version do seem to have more options available to them than the Chevy or Buick for some strange reason. Maybe it is a base model? I thought in the US that only the Chevy came as a base, and maybe the Saturn too. Is GM offering the short wheel base in the US next year? I don't see many of the shorter Dodge caravans around here, seems like the vast majority of vans they sell are the long wheel base models. Same with the older GM vans. The difference in cost wasn't that much less to justify the loss of cargo are for most people.
  • irgirg Posts: 197
    I know a few families as well that always buy GM, every couple of years or so. Actually buying ANY car every 1-2 years is a pretty bad investment because of depreciation. GM takes more of a hit than most in that first 1-2 years, and not to belabor the point, but Toyota and Honda do hold their value better. After 5 years it evens out somewhat, and once you get past 100k miles, most vehicles depreciate an awful lot. I also have friends who buy a Toyota once every 15 years (so not very often!) and basically drive them til there's nothing left. I can't do this (because I love new cars) but financially this makes the most sense in terms of saving money.

    If your family is totally biased against other foreign brands, it might be wise not to rock the boat! But if your husband doesn't care, I would look at Honda and Toyota too, and also Dodge. My wife didn't care for the Dodge interiors at all, very bland and sort of dismal. The Buick interior was quite nice. But again, the Toyota and Honda are another leap forward. If you test drive the Sienna and/or Odyssey and don't find them superior, then stick with what you know, in this case GM. I think it is fun though, to check out them all out. Although by far the most confusing, the Sienna gives you the most flexibility in terms of both configuring and options available and packages. It is the only 8 seat van (technically Odyseey EX can comes with an extra seat, but it isn't a true seat an adult would want for long), it is one of only 2 awd vans, it can be had for a low of about $22k, or almost $40k. It can come with leather or not, heated seats, power seats, (soon memory for '06)sunroof (not on GM), dvd, rear parking assist, navigation systems (not on GM), dual power doors, power hatch (a great feature that we have found - not on GM), 1 or 6 disc JBL sound system that is quite good, 2 glove compartments, about a million cupholders, and just about everything you can think of. Side curtain airbags are available but not standard, which I prefer in some ways. GM doesn't offer this for '05, Odyssey makes in mandatory on all models. I like choice I guess. Odyssey has all of these features too, except awd. GM has Onstar free for 1 year, no one else has. I liked the idea, but realized where we live, not that crucial. Overall I would rather have it than not, but it wasn't a deal breaker by any means. Generations have lived without Onstar, so can we. We could probably live without power doors too, but the kids think they're cool ;)

    GM took a different approach to their vans, that about 2-3 years ago probably seemed like a good idea. Make a van look like an SUV. I still think it looks like a van. But their marketing ploy might work for some. The problem is the price of gas, and backlash of SUVs, especially the big ones. This morning on the Today show, sales of Suburbans and Tahoes slipped 22% this quarter, and that was in Texas, the king of large SUVs. So now people are starting to realize that mpg does affect their wallets, and looking for more efficient vehicles. Minivans because of their overall size and weight will never be economy vehicles but they are better than SUVs. My Explorer gets about 14 mpg around town, just awful. GM did make these new vans safer, probably with the nose redesign, they strengthened the front end some, but that has also added to their weight. The have not kept pace with the interior size of the Sienna, Odyssey or Grand Varavan, and their luggage and cargo capacity lags behind them too. I wished they had addressed these needs more than trying to make them look like a SUV, but that's just me.

    So my advice would be to try the others and see what you think. I think the Odyssey has won just about every award out there this year, and the Sienna won many the year before. Both are leaders in this segment now. Dodge has some innovative features, but needs some serious updating in interiors and mechanicals. GM has never really been competitive with their vans, no matter what people have been saying. They just haven't. Chrysler led the way for many years, and then Honda went ahead in a big way, and Sienna has finally claimed its own territory. Nissan has missed the mark too, and Mazda is only a fringe player at best. Ford and GM never invested much in their vans, and it still shows. They are better that they used to be for sure, just not what their competition is at now. The ones to watch for in the near future, IMO is Hyundai. They (and/or Kia) are coming out with an '06 van that could in many ways on paper, be the equal if not superior to anything else out there.

    While this may mean bad news for GM or Ford, overall the fierce competition for customers means the market tightens, the profits are less, and the products always improving. Good news for customers overall, no matter what brand you buy.
  • vanman1vanman1 Posts: 1,397
    On some of your points..

    Narrow is good for us, the Sienna would be too wide for our garage which another advantage to many others also. It's not like the GM vans are starved for space or something. Makes downtown parking easier also. Wider is not better in my eyes.

    Nav systems are just expensive toys for most people. I could care less if GM offered them. I have never seen a minivan with a NAV system and all our friends dive them (including Toyotas).

    You are right, GM and Ford didn't invest much in vans. They never have. The market has been shrinking and it's not as profitable as trucks and SUVs. That said, things are changing with gas prices on the rise. GM is suppose to have an all new van in 2-3 years so perhaps it will have a top line van then? Till then, I think for the money, the Uplander and it's cousins offer a lot of value for the buck and are worthy of consideration. If you want a short wheel base, they are one of only 3 choices which gives them a leg up also.
  • irgirg Posts: 197
    I think the minivan market is growing now - like you said since gas prices have gone up so much - and most people believe they aren't going to go back down again, not much anyway. The days of large SUV sales is appearing to be whining down. If you tow, there isn't much else you can do, but for daily driving, vans seems to be a better choice. I'm glad to hear GM is going to be making a new van in 2-3 years. Just in time for my next purchase. What they need to do, is what Toyota and Honda have been doing for quite a while now - redesign each vehicle every 4-5 years. Keep making it better every time, but not necessarily going back to the drawing board. The Odyssey is an example of this - they redesigned the top rated van this year. They redo their civics and accords every 4 years. It makes sense to me. That oldage in business - if you aren't moving forwards, you're going backwards. IMO, this is the main reason why Toyota has gained so much market share, and the Ford and GM keep losing.

    This is happening with pickups too. The newer F-150 was redesigned a lot sooner this past time, than the model before it. It used to be you could go 8-10 years or more without changing much. Not anymore, especially when Nissan comes out with a new truck that in many automotive circles took 1st prize, or Honda's first stab at a new mid-size pickup, and earn's C&D #1 ranking - while the Canyon in last place. It took GM how many years to redesign the Cavalier - like 15. And this new Cobalt is a pretty good little car. I may even consider it in the next year if it turns out not to have too many faults. It shows GM can do it, if and when they get their act together. Cadillac has become a more of a force in the higher end market. But then there's Saab, and GM doesn't seem to know what to do with them. I think I read that Saab has lost money for GM every year since coming into the fold, same with Jaguar and Ford.

    I get your point about size and vans. I like the wider stance of the Sienna, but I would not want it any bigger. I guess I was surprised that since the GM is 5" narrower, it would weigh less, but it is a bit longer. I could actually see a manufacture coming out with vans that are a bit smaller in every dimension, somewhere between what they are now, and the new upcoming Mazda 5 idea (3 rows of seats for 6 on a smaller car platform). WIth the GM and Dodge shorter wheelbase models, the main difference is that they have less cargo room in the back, I believe, otherwise they are the same size inside. I don't know if I would want a smaller van, but it might appeal to some, and offer more preium features. I could see Volvo, Mercedes and B&W do something like this. Different than their SUV offereings. Lighter, so they get better gas mileage and better performance, yet still have some utility.

    As for the NAVS, I use one when I travel for work (Hertz) which is great. I wish I could install that system. Otherwise I haven't invested in a NAV either, and won't until we do more long distance traveling as a family. A few years away from that. But I am glad it is offered, and by not offering it, that is just one more thing that could drive a potential customer away from GM to Honda or whoever.
  • irgirg Posts: 197
    Just read the following at Good news for GM and Toyota for initial quality at least. I had a meeting with a guy at GM a year ago who is the quality control enigneer at their Arlington Texas facility where they make the large SUVs, including the only plant making the Escalades, and they base a lot of what they do to improve their products, on this JD Power survey, so it is an important factor for manufacturers and customers. I also see the Sienna got best minivan in intial quality. Didn't see Odyssey on this list.
  • strstr Posts: 64

    I think my family would be ok with a foreign car but they just think American is the best choice. Who really knows? I have read about bad experiences with every car available it just depends on the car itself (I guess.) I have read some horror stories about the Sienna's tires, lag in the transmittion, squeaks and rattles and so on and since the SV6 is new there really aren't many reviews on it but it's just a matter of time until someone gets one that has a squeak or a bad tire or faulty line or something, I mean they are man made machines I expect some minor (fixable) imperfections! Anyway, my dad is really the only one who is set on American everyone else has basically neutral feelings.
    I know trading all the time is a bad investment (and bad habit) that is why I want to get a car that suits our needs and stick with it for a while (I too love new cars though) but my parents travel six months out of the year and put high miles on their cars quickly so they trade often. We have traded about every two years because we keep needing to change features to better suit our needs but I think a van is what we have really been needing. We are not having any other children permanently (if you know what I mean, tubes and tied is all I'm going to say) so we will only have four of us to haul around although we are somewhat tall people my husband is 6'3 and I am 5'7 and our children are tall for their age so we need lots of leg room and these vans are really roomy, I do love that feature.
    I'm going to check out a Sienna this weekend and give it a drive. I'll let you know how that turns out.
    By the way, I love your name Ian. My dad is a Scot/Irish man and I had actually considered the name Ian for my son when I was pregnant but it sounded wrong with our last name it kind of rhymed with the E sound in our last name so I went with Canaan out of the Bible. Are you any scottish or Irish? or is all your Irish in your name!
    Thanks for all the input in the last letter.
  • strstr Posts: 64
    I forgot to mention that in the picture of the SV6 on the brochure I saw a rear wiper. I am going to drive behind those vans tomorrow on my friends lot and make sure they don't have rear wipers. I know I looked at the loaded silver colored one in detail because I really liked it and it did not have a wiper and I was disappointed but at least I know some of them must. I just wonder if it isn't standard because somewhere on one of these forums someone lists the changes for 2006 and it says rear wiper added.
  • irgirg Posts: 197
    Hey Summer,
    I have Irish ancestry and Welsh too, with a little bit of Scot thrown in for good measure. I don't really think about it that much though, is not as if I go around saying I'm Irish American.

    My sister married a true Irishman, and their home is in Dublin (great city by the way), although they have been living in Beligium for the last couple of years for his job (Irish government).

    You're right, you can find something wrong with just about any car and car company. GM has been improving too. They still have more recalls than I think they should - especially on their full size trucks which by now shouldn't be happening. Any first year vehicle/redesign is more likely too to have more problems. That's another reason why I like the Sienna, it's the 2nd year it's been out now. Whereas the Odyssey and GM vans are first year designs.

    And the more anyone sells of any vehicle, the more complaints you are to find. The Caravan probably leads this list because they have sold more mini vans over the years than anyone. JD Power's recent survey did pick the Sienna as the best van in intial quality. Honorary mention to Dodge - and this is also not a new design. I read somewhere too, that the Nissan Quest has gotten better reviews too. They had a lot of problems when they first came out, the first 1-2 years, but seem to have a better handle on it now. Might also be worth checking out.

    As for man made machines - I think most vehicles are built by robots now! Well a lot of is anyway. I got a very neat tour of a GM facility in Texas not too long ago, and got to watch their large SUVs being assembled and put together. It is very interesting to watch a bunch of sub assembly parts coming together to make an entire vehicle in the course of a short period of time.

    Good luck with the Sienna test drive. I bought mine from a discount dealer in Maryland that was terrific to deal with. I was leary at first doing it over the internet and by phone, but when I signed the papers, everything was in order as promised. Much better than my local dealer experiences. You shouldn't be paying more than $500-600 over invoice on a Sienna, maybe less. I'll be curious to see how you liked this van. I really liked the Odyssey too, but I couldn't make the monthly payments to match the Sienna deal. Best of luck with your search and have fun!
  • tamu2002tamu2002 Posts: 758
    discussions guys and gals. Thought I'd throw my 2 cents in. I waited for their new vans with anticipation and actually really intented to buy one. But now I feel very frustrated with GM. The van is ugly (who cares about the SUV look), small (narrow), seating configuration that has no flexibility (no folding seat), no side airbags, underpowered, noisy, LESS fuel efficient than the Venture, ELIMINATED 8 passenger seating...And worst of all PRICY, which makes it imposible to be a good value. And who cares about the DVD player--I'm buying a VAN!

    This is what GM and Ford should do: make everything standard on their vans except for the DVD and navigation and sell them for $21K. Think about it, why would anyone fork over so much money for a barebone GM van when for the same money he can get a basic Quest that has curtain airbags, 4-wheel disk ABS, traction control, cruise control, rear AC standard? Not to mention a vastly superior engine.
  • irgirg Posts: 197
    You're even harsher than I am about the GM vans! I definitely agree on two points though, the seating configuration is not nearly as flexible as the others and they are pricey when you opt for either the LS or LT models with a few of the packages thrown in. The Odyseey and Sienna aren't cheap either, but at least you feel like you're getting more for your money - whether you are or not is debatable.

    Most people on this board who have gotten deals on these vans have used additional incentives like a GM Visa card rewards, and other customer incentives. All I received was a $500 incentive from GM - not enough for me to consider these vans. I think the GM models come standard with more features than you're suggesting, well at least the LS models. I've yet to see a base model on the lots. But if GM thinks they can sell many of the Uplanders in the $24-$29k range (some top $30k too) they will be very disappointed, I predict. I like your $21k van idea. Less profits, but they would definitely sell more.
  • tamu2002tamu2002 Posts: 758
    I wasn't in a good mood last night when I wrote it. Thanks to the union and medical insurance cost, it might not be financially feasible for GM and Ford to sell their vans for $21K. Too bad if that's the case. In any rate they need to do SOMETHING to stay competitive.

    The caravan has unique and very useful features (Stow-n-go, rear split seating);

    The Quest has standard safety features (curtain airbags, ABS, 4-wheel disk brakes, traction control, etc) and a futuristic styling which both my wife and I love;

    The Odyssey is just about perfect, although expensive;

    The Sienna has 8 passenger seating and close to perfect but pricy if you add the safety features;

    The Ford has 1st rate crash tests and curtain airbags.

    And as for the GM vans? There's simple NOTHING attractive to us about them. Nothing stands out. And they want me to pay $24k for it? I'd love to support the domestic automakers but our money doesn't grow on trees and we watch every dollar we spend. We simply can't incur that much debt for such a terrible value.
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