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Minivans - Domestic or Foreign



  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    Definitely play with the tilt and telescoping steering wheel. It adjust over a wide range.

    I'm 6' tall and I don't even nearly put the seat all the way back. In fact I could probably slide it back several more inches if I had to.

    I set my left foot flat on the floor. The dead pedal is at an odd angle (I had the same problem with the Odyssey), so I don't use it.

    Just crossed 1000 miles and in terms of pure comfort the Sienna is supreme. For twisties the seats could use higher bolstering on the sides but I save that type of driving for my Miata. :shades:
  • jipsterjipster Louisville, KentuckyPosts: 5,441
    This(Domestic Vs Foreign) should spice up this minivan discussion a bit. :sick:

    Though it is no longer available in the U.S market, the Mazda MPV stands out heads and shoulders above the rest of its foreign teammates, who shall remain nameless... and rightfully so.

    Really this battle is over before the bell rings. GM...out!
    Ford... K'Oed For team domestic it is Big Bad Chrysler standing alone. There is no other competition. So, maybe this discussion should be renamed "Chrysler Vs Foreign"?
  • azjostazjost Posts: 1
    Which minivan would you buy, and why?

    Here are my options.

    1) 2006 Toyota Sienna LE, 30,000 miles owned by a rental company. $21,000, $10000 down, 10% interest. I went in and gave a $1000 deposit. But then the rental place kept letting a customer drive it for 2 weeks and refused to give it to my dealer. Finally after 2 weeks, I said "I don't want it now!" by email, and that day I got an email from my dealer that he had gone to pick it up (after my email). It arrived at my dealer, front tires are worn. Dealer said this is not unusual, they get cars that way, and as the dealer, he'll replace them. I just feel very dicked around with and like the van is no longer worth it. Buying this van will exhaust all of our money, and if it needs repairs, we'll be in deep crap. But then again, it is a newer Sienna....

    2) Save money and get a 2006 Dodge Grand Caravan SXT for same or less miles for less money. Have easier payments and money to fix it if needed. But the quality is not that of Sienna, and we need something that we are going to drive for a long time.

    3) New Dodge Grand Caravan for about 21k. Same problem with exhausting our money, but at least maybe no repairs for a long time and a good warranty.

    4) Get a different Toyota Sienna for less money (About $14k-- the same as a newer Dodge with less miles), but it would be older (maybe a 2003 or 2004) with about 45-60k miles.

    Are there people who would rather have an older Sienna with more miles than a newer Dodge with less? All input is appreciated.

    I've had a lot of bad luck with a Dodge Shadow and Plymouth Voyager, so I am reluctant to buy a Dodge/Chrysler product. I want reliability. But I am also afraid of buying a used product with payments that I have to repair.

    If we buy Dodge, a family Dodge mechanic will service the van as need without ripping us off. However, we were fed up with always servicing the Voyager, and wanted something reliable. If we buy Toyota, we will be at the mercy of a stranger, but hopefully not often.

    What would you buy?
  • hansiennahansienna Posts: 2,312
    Last time I looked, my Sienna has the HIGHEST percentage "Made in USA" of any minivan. :shades:
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    Mazda MPV stands out heads and shoulders above the rest

    I strongly considered the MPV for a long time, but just could not pull the trigger. It did have some really cool features:

    * was truly "mini" and drove that way
    * side-by-slide is best 2nd row in the business
    * 2nd row windows open

    But, it's also missing some key features:

    * can't fit a 4'x8' inside
    * no split-folding 3rd row
    * HP adequate, but well shy of the best
    * no gas mileage advantage for that sacrifice in HP

    Once the better vans copied the 2nd row windows it no longer stood out. It had to compete on one thing alone - price.

    The CX9 replaced it and just look at what people are paying - $10 grand more than MPV transaction prices.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    Used is used. That makes it a tough call. Buying a used rental car is like buying a matress from a motel. I'd say no thanks.

    Spend more to get a base Toyota Sienna CE and sacrifice a few features. You can get them for $22k or so. You still get all the airbags, 266hp, and up to 8 seats. You can get stability control in a package and still stay close to the Dodges in price.

    But used rental vs. brand new, I'd pick new. New anything, brand hardly even matters at that point.
  • hypnosis44hypnosis44 Posts: 483
    Buying a rental car at any price is a very chancy undertaking. They are not to be confused with lease car returns which, although somewhat risky, are far and away a better risk than rental returns. Rentals are beat to death by half the drivers who get behind the wheel (I am one of those!). I worked in auto repair for many years and also in rental cars for a shorter period.

    The only way it would be close to a bargain is if you get it for wholesale book or less, and even then it will be a worry. If you do buy it get an additional bumper to bumper warranty with it, even if you have to pay for it.

    Again, a chancy undertaking at best.
  • jchan2jchan2 Posts: 4,956
    I would get the year old Grand Caravan; since you already have a Dodge mechanic, then repairs down the road shouldn't be an issue, and you'll have the money to pay for it.

    However, if you're going to finance, the new ones probably have some killer financing deals on them, given that the 08s are going to launch soon...

    Either way I would not get the rental Sienna; this particular model just seems to be too much of a risk.
  • hansiennahansienna Posts: 2,312
    GOOD advice to seriously consider a NEW Sienna CE or NEW GC where you get the full warranty without the un-necessary options of the higher priced models.

    The Sienna CE has a more comfortable front passenger seat than the Sienna LE and does not have the obnoxious shiny circles around the instrument gauges that the LE has.

    BEST advice is to get the Dodge where you know a reliable mechanic that will not rip you off with overpriced Toyota or Honda service.
  • bobw92bobw92 Posts: 11
    Without trying to sound like a total jerk, why is a Town & Country made by DaimlerChrysler AG (Symbol DMX) headquartered in Stugartt, Germany is considered a “domestic” van, but Toyota Motor Corp (Symbol TM) headquartered in Aichi, Japan is considered a “foreign” van? Especially since most Town & Country’s are produced in Windsor, Ontario (a “foreign” country), and all Siennas are produced in Georgetown, Kentucky (the USA)

    I thought the only vehicle manufacturers headquartered in the USA were Ford and GM?
  • joe97joe97 Posts: 2,248
    You haven't heard? Chrysler got a divorce from MB :)
  • jchan2jchan2 Posts: 4,956
    I thought that even though the sale has been announced, Cerberus hasn't closed on Chrysler yet. I think the closing date is sometime this month... So technically, any Sebrings or Pacificas being produced this month would still say Produced by DaimlerChrysler AG on them...

    So when are they going to change those little stickers from Produced by DaimlerChrysler AG to Produced by Chrysler Corp.?
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    Imported from Canada from a German-owned company. ;)

    Cerburus is american, though, right?
  • hansiennahansienna Posts: 2,312
    REMEMBER: The Chrysler T&C and Dodge Caravan/Grand Caravan are made in TWO places : Windsor, Ontario, Canada AND Fenton, MO, USA .

    My 2002 T&C LX was made in Ontario, Canada and my Sienna LE was made in Indiana, USA. There were NO defects in the Chrysler T&C made in Canada BUT the Sienna had the right side 2nd row bucket seat installed incorrectly so it could not be removed and could not tilt forward for access to the rear. :sick:

    My daughter's 1999 GC SE was made in Fenton, MO and it had zero defects. Apparently the DaimlerChrysler quality control was superior to that of Toyota. :shades:
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    So your Canadian import had fewer problems than your domestic built van. :D

    Zero defects? Wow. That's a first. ;)

    I have a neighbor (who in fairness carries heavy carpet samples in his) but he goes through transmissions like I go through toilet paper on his Dodges.
  • stacyvbstacyvb Posts: 1

    Regarding Your Option #2: I am also looking at Chrysler/Dodge minivans and was able to find multiple 2006 Grand Caravans/Town & Countrys (long wheel base) with 15,000 miles for $16,900. If you can live with the shorter wheel base, I found a bunch, also with 15-20,000 miles, for $13,900. This is in St. Louis, Missouri. I can provide links if you need them.

    This way you still have at least 1.5 years and 15-20,000 miles left on the warranty, and you are spending substantially under $20,000.

    We haven't pulled the trigger yet. Ironically, we are waiting to see if my parents want to sell us their used Sienna at a loss. But if that falls through, we determined the Caravan/TC was by far the best option for our budget.

    Also, I know most people's car opinions are anecdotal, but we had GREAT experiences with a '90 Dodge Shadow and a '97 Plymouth Voyager. We drove the Shadow for 8 years until it was stolen and are still driving the Voyager with minimal problems. I should note that both were bought NEW. However, I wouldn't hesitate to give a late model/low mileage Chrysler minivan a chance.
  • mrblonde49mrblonde49 Posts: 626
    I have a neighbor (who in fairness carries heavy carpet samples in his) but he goes through transmissions like I go through toilet paper on his Dodges. "

    I wonder if he's loading it up more than the specs allow :confuse:
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    That's quite possible. But don't a lot of people do that? Overload that is.

    He should get a Sprinter. ;)
  • mrblonde49mrblonde49 Posts: 626
    That's quite possible. But don't a lot of people do that? Overload that is. "

    Maybe. But I bet those people (in any brand of car) also see their transmission failure rates skyrocket
  • aaron_taaron_t Posts: 301
    Haven't you heard that a 2008 major redesign is coming for DCX vans?

    In metro Detroit, one can buy a new 2007 DCX minivan for 8-12k off MSRP. Heck, one dealer was advertizing half off MSRP on a base T&C, a $22k MSRP. The transaction price on my 07 T&C Signature Series was over $11k less than MSRP of $33.8k. So, a T&C Touring with no options and MSRP of ~$29k should sell for under $20k. IMHO, the base T&C with Popular Equipment Group is the best value if you don't need StowNGo or carry 4x8 sheets with the tailgate closed. Should be had for under $15k out the door for a brand new 2007 vehicle.

    This is my second minivan as I have a 2005 T&C Touring lease that will be returned soon. I have 38k miles on that van wirth no problems except the front brake pads/rotors I replaced @ 30k miles. The parts cost $75, rather inexpensive.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    Bargains without a doubt, but be careful because a lot of safety features don't come on those base models. Things like side curtain air bags and stability control, I believe.

    We did price an SXT Grand Caravan, saw a left over 2006 for $20.6k, but it lacked the curtain air bags. By the time you added that, the price was just too close to the Sienna.

    So you can get a bargain, but you're going to sacrifice something. I wasn't willing to give up those 2 key safety features (SAC and VSC).

    Toyota's packages are confusing, but you need a PhD to understand Dodge's.

    Also - how can you even tell if a Town & Country is the short wheelbase or long wheelbase? I was so confused I just looked for Dodges because you see Grand in the name.

    Sto-n-Go was cool but the seats themselves were not very comfortable. Still, very innovative.

    I did check out the 08 interior at the New York show. They had a static display. You'll be able to make the 2nd and 3rd rows face each other, and there's even a small table there you could play cards on.

    Leg room is a bit tight but 4 kids could probably squeeze in that space.

    Again, though, innovative. Nobody sells more vans. I think the 08 models will make those safety features standard so that should make it easier to shop.
  • jchan2jchan2 Posts: 4,956
    I will agree that Chrysler is practically blowing out the 07 minivans. If I were in the market, it'd be hard to pass up a Signature Series T&C.

    However, everybody in the minivan market is doing some significant discounting. It's just that Chrysler is doing a little more.

    And for the Town & Countrys, the "Base" models are the SWB ones. LX and up are LWB, and since Stow N Go is standard on the LWB models, if a 2007 Town & Country doesn't have Stow N Go, it's a SWB model.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    OK, that's why none of the models I considered lacked Sto-n-go. I definitely wanted the long model.

    I have seen short ones for $13k, but that's a 4 cylinder bare-bones model I'd avoid even as a rental.
  • hansiennahansienna Posts: 2,312
    NO Chrysler T&C has a 4 cylinder engine. The SWB T&C has the 3.3L V6 as STANDARD equipment.

    However, the base Caravan SE comes with a 4 cylinder engine but has the 3.3L V6 as optional. :shades:
  • hansiennahansienna Posts: 2,312
    You have shown why it is BEST to buy a vehicle when a new design is coming out. NEVER buy a new design the first year.

    Toyota now has $ 1500 Rebate on the 2007 Sienna even though the 2008 Sienna will be a carbon copy of the 2007. There was NO rebate when I got my 2006 Sienna.

    The ONLY problem at end of a model is finding the model with color and options desired. :shades:
  • jchan2jchan2 Posts: 4,956
    I think most people want the long model- hence why they're discontinuing it.

    Even most rental fleets go for the long ones... Resale is probably better on those too...
  • dbtdbt Posts: 298
    Chrysler is planning on dropping the MSRP quite significantly on the new 08 vans. See Chrysler to cut minivan prices up to $3,585

    I think this is a better strategy than doing the huge rebates.

    BTW, I'm off this discussion for now - thought I'd end up buying a van, but after Honda discontinued the incentive on the Odyssey, went back over to the Pilot. Definitely tradeoffs between the van and SUV, but between the $3500 price difference and the AWD (I'm in Minnesota), the Pilot made more sense to me.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    Oh yeah, I didn't specify Chrysler, and since they're twins I treat them as one option (same with Sedona/Entourage). 4 banger Dodges go for $13k around here.

    Pilot costs more than the Ody, even with FWD. For AWD you'll spend a bunch more, but if that fits the bill then go for it.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    Lower prices do make more sense, don't they have a $4000 rebate? At one point they did.

    $3585 lower still means the price is some $400 higher. I bet we see much smaller rebates, but by year's end.
  • dbtdbt Posts: 298
    Pilot costs more than the Ody, even with FWD. For AWD you'll spend a bunch more, but if that fits the bill then go for it.
    It's a bit complicated but I was comparing an EX-L Ody with an EX AWD Pilot. [with Odyssey, I had to go to the Leather seating because we didn't like the EX cloth, but preferred the cloth in the Pilot]. Before taxes/fees, the Pilot EX is $3600 cheaper than the EX-L Ody would be, for me: $25k versus $28600 (lowest local quotes). With taxes here, it's $3800 cheaper OTD.
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