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Minivans - Domestic or Foreign



  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    The 4l V6 is quite fast...quicker than the Entourage in a C&D test (8.0 vs. 8.7 to 60mph). Also more fuel efficient - 18 vs 14 mpg as tested.

    Spring for the big engine, at least. You sampled one of the weaker base engines.
  • aaron_taaron_t Posts: 301
    2008+ Chrysler/Dodge minivans have traction and stability control standard. They do offer powertrain options, though. The 4.0L/6-spd is quite quick and responsive. The engine is a little louder than I think it could be.
  • Hello. I'd like advice on the purchase of a minivan. My wife will likely drive it while I take her Volvo. We have one toddler and another on the way. We live in Canada, so winter driving is a factor.

    She drives far less than I do because she takes the train to work and a year of maternity leave is on the way also. There will be times when we need to transport eight people, so a larger minivan would be nice.

    I don't care much for bells and whistles, but I think we've had the Volvo for so long that my wife won't want to settle for less (e.g. leather would be nice). We'll probably buy in a few months, possible toward the end of the year.

    What models should I look at? What other requirements would be helpful for me to give? :confuse:
  • hjc1hjc1 Posts: 183
    The first thing I would suggest is to read the various blogs on the Minivans you have some interest in. Although informative you must remember that these blogs are biased because people seem to complain more then the satisfied owners.
    Looks like GM and Dodge minivans won't be in business much longer so that might not be a wise choice at this time. That leaves Honda, Toyota, Ford (Flex) and Hyundai
    Price and value needs to be considered. I live in Wisconsin and ended up buying a 2008 Hyundai Entourage. I test drove all the vans and this one offered all the good stuff at a much lower price and a 10 year warranty ........ We have had twice the normal snow this year and had no problems driving through this stuff :=)
  • kbella3kbella3 Posts: 8
    Don't forget Kia. I have an '08 Kia Sedona and simply LOVE it.
  • hjc1hjc1 Posts: 183
    OOOPPs forgot about sister company.......Both great cars :=)
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    They don't offer an 8 seater, though ("we need to transport eight people"), so cross the Sedona and Entourage off the list right away.

    I don't think the Dodge/VW vans come in an 8 seater, either.

    The only two 8-seater options are the Odyssey and the Sienna.

    In the Ody I think you have to get the EX or higher, and then you get a little bridge that goes between the two captain's chairs in the middle row, so you can squeeze an 8th passenger between the other two.

    To be honest, I wanted an 8 seater also, and for me the Sienna 8 passenger was the best by far, because the middle seat is adult-sized, about 20" wide.

    What Toyota did was they set the outboard seats farther apart to make room for a real, adult-sized chair. You do give up the arm rests on the outer chairs, but the middle chair folds so you still have inner arm rests.

    The catch is it's only on the CE and LE models, so you can't get a loaded up 8 seater. That should be OK, the LE packages offer plenty of equipment.

    We're happy with ours. The engine is the most powerful in the minivan class and still returns very good MPG, and there's room for us, our 2 kids, and up to 4 friends plus cargo. Hard to beat combination.

    Here is a big photo of the 2nd row, the middle seat can even be moved forward, for easy access to a toddler when needed:

    Here is the Ody's 2nd row. As you can see, your back actually rests on the folded arm rests, not ideal but I suppose it works in a pinch for short distances: - - yssey.jpg
  • thegraduatethegraduate Posts: 9,731
    Of course, you might want to adjust the captain's chairs to line up with the middle seat in the Ody. ;)

    Having ridden in that middle row to dinner across town, I can say it isn't bad. Same seat cushion feeling (not a hard hump like some sedans) as the other captains chairs so your rear doesn't get numb!
  • fmichaelfmichael Posts: 95
    What's the quality (size, and comfort) of the outter capt. chairs with the Sienna LE 8 when compared to the Sienna LE 7?

    I do know that the Sienna LE 8 is a better option if you're looking for a proper 8-seater when compared to the Odyssey EX; wife, & I are on the fence if we should get a 7, or 8 seat configuration.
  • thegraduatethegraduate Posts: 9,731
    If you are carrying eight passengers very often, I'd go with the Sienna. If you occasionally need the eighth seat, the Odyssey with the PlusOne seat is definitely the way to go; those armrests make a big different in seat comfort (the 8-pass Sienna doesn't have them in the second row).
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    grad - LOL, not my photo, that's the only one I could find. :shades:

    I measured at one point and the outer chairs on the 8 pass. Sienna are 22" wide, while the center chair is 20" wide.

    My office chair is less than 20" so I consider all 3 of those adult sized, even for long distances.

    What you give up are the arm rests, but the middle chair would not fit between them if an armrest was there, so you can't have your cake and eat it.

    All 3 chairs recline and are IMHO very comfortable. We took the van to Florida and drove for hours at a time. One very nice feature is that the front passenger chair folds flat, so you can recline the 2nd row and put your feet up on it. It's almost like a bed. I drove with my brother for 7 hours and we each took a 3.5 hour shift driving, the other half virtually lying down and watching a movie on the 12" DVD screen I had installed.

    So 3.5 hours driving, 3.5 hours watching two movies.

    Now that's a road trip. :shades:
  • Lets say I agree that the Honda and the Toyota are the best vans. Don't they cost $10,000 more then the Dodge or even the Kia?
    I say for the biggest bang for the buck you can't beat the dodge with the 3.8 or the 4.0 motor and I love those stow & go seats, its the only van that does that.
    After the Dodge i'd say the Kia is the best buy for the money?

  • sebring95sebring95 Posts: 3,238
    I bought back in 2005 and as close as you could outfit them, the T&C was $5,500 less than the Odyssey we bought. The T&C was heavily discounted, employee pricing plus several thousand $$ rebates. Odyssey I negotiated $500 over invoice with no incentives (good deal at the time). We liked the Odyssey a lot better so it really wasn't a money thing, but I wanted to know really how much the difference was. Fast forward four years and 50k miles, KBB says private party value on the exact same vans is $17,000 for the Odyssey (EX-L with NAV and DVD) vs $11,000 for the T&C (Touring with NAV & DVD and extras). Based on how heavily Odyssey's were being discounted last year, I'd be surprised if there's more than $5,000 between them now and no way is there $10,000. But someone else can do that math.

    Considering we're already a year longer than we would typically keep a vehicle (still very happy with it) I'd say we've done just fine on the bang-for-buck factor.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    I paid about $25k for my Sienna LE with power sliding doors on both sides and a trip computer. There's no way you could find a Dodge or Kia for $10 grand less than that at the time, probably not now either.

    At the time, a similar Dodge van was $22-23k and did not have the 8th seat I wanted. A 7 passenger Sienna was $24.7k. So it was more like $2 grand price advantage, not $10.

    The Ody EX, which is the model with the power sliders and 8th seat, was $26,883 at the time, but came with some extra equipment I didn't necessarily want. It costs a bit more but you get the extras.

    I actually looked at the Entourage more than the Sedona, though they are clones, and the Entourage was $23,317, and though it still didn't have the 8th seat and a couple of things my Sienna had, it had a backup sensor and heated front seats. So I'd consider the equipment level roughly similar.

    I did see one bargain Entourage for $19,799, but it has no power doors and no 6CD changer, so it was pretty bare-bones. Still, a bargain.

    I also saw a left over 2006 Dodge minivan for $20,600, but it was the old model, and already looked so outdated.

    But you'd have to compare those to a Sienna CE, which was a little under $22k.

    So $2-3 grand price edge for similar equipment, maybe, but not $10, no way no how.

    Sure, you can price a Sienna sky high, but only if you get things that other vans simply do not offer at all, and that's not really fair. I'm talking about AWD and laser cruise control, stuff like that. Not comparable to any other van, so why compare?

    We should not penalize Toyota for offering more options, especially if you don't have to pay for them. Very few Sienna were over $33k when I was shopping, and the funny thing is those were the ones that sold first, because some customers want everything. So they were actually hard to find. Go figure.

    Those were prices in the Spring of 2007, and I bet they are down for ALL vans. I know the new Sienna is a few hundred cheaper at least. The Ody's price has dropped even more.

    All the better for the van shopper, it's a buyer's market.
  • lavrishevolavrishevo Posts: 312
    BUT, Chrysler 4.0L has MORE torque which is also at a lower RPM than the Sienna 3.5L.

    Chrysler 4.0L: 259 lb-ft 4200 RPM
    Sienna 3.5L: 245 lb-ft 4700 RPM

    Would be nice to compare the GC SXT with a comparably equipped Sienna XLE and not compare the heavy T&C Limited with a lightweight, spartan Sienna CE.

    In comparing the American engine vs the foreign did you ever look at Kia Sedona's 3.8?
    3,778 cc 3.8 liters V 6 front engine with 96.0 mm bore, 87.1 mm stroke, 10.4 compression ratio, double overhead cam, variable valve timing/camshaft and four valves per cylinder
    Unleaded fuel 87
    Multi-point injection fuel system
    21.1 gallon main unleaded fuel tank 17.6
    Power: 186 kW , 250 HP SAE @ 6,000 rpm; 253 ft lb , 343 Nm @ 3,500 rpm
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    Torque is good but in a head-to-head comparo in C&D the Sienna blew all the other vans away in acceleration tests while also managing to be the most fuel efficient, an impressive feat.

    Dodge did well, too, coming in 2nd on both.

    The Entourage did OK in acceleration tests but gas mileage was dismal.
  • lavrishevolavrishevo Posts: 312
    I think we both know 0-60 times on C&D are pathetic compared what many others are achieving. 7.8 is about the fastest achieved on the Sedona. The point I am making is having 253 lbs of torque at such a low rpm is fantastic. It is all about torque for those who know engines not HP. The Sienna is fast because of its weight, the lack there of, and is a good van. I really don't like Dodge but this is just me. Anyway, back to your point about mileage... Ever thought about the amount of years it takes to make up the difference between let's say the Kia Vs Sienna. If the Sienna averaged 4mpg more then the Sedona at 1 21 gal tank a week it would take 19.5 years to make up the $8,000 price difference. Not to smart of a purchase. For me in PR this was the price difference for comparable models. Not to mention the far supperior warranty
  • yatesjoyatesjo Posts: 186
    Economy is only one factor in many that differentiate models that really should only be significant in comparing otherwise evenly matched vehicles and then only on dollars and cents. Spending more for a small economy increase is almost never worth it.

    However I took a look at the Hyundai when we were shopping for minivans, walked away and never looked back. Yes it is considerably cheaper... and felt every bit of it. Fit and finish were no where near the Toyota and Honda levels and much closer to Dodge level. On the sample I looked at, the third row was the least accessible of any minivan and more like a cross over- that may have been because not even the dealer could operate the 2nd row mechanism correctly. The magic third row was heavy and hard to move and that would have been a strict no-go for my 5'4", 105# wife (only the Nissan's single bench third row was heavier and more awkward). The general impression was they looked at the lead vans on the market and made lesser imitations of good features, but had no original thoughtfulness to add. Ride quality and driving dynamics were blah even for a minivan. Also, while Hyundai has made great strides, they still aren't in the same league for reliability and the forum discussions bear that out. All that makes the extra cost of the Sienna worth it with more power and better economy as icing on the cake.
  • lavrishevolavrishevo Posts: 312
    I could not disagree with you more. I found nothing so special about the Ody or the Sienna to justify over 10 grand more for the base model Ody and 8,000+ for the Sienna. I'm not saying that they are bad in any way but I am saying they are not worth the extra money. Your claim of not being in the same league is just silly. If this was not the case then how come a lot of market share is being constantly lost to the Korean market. The quality of the Kia, even before the redesign, could easily be claimed to be better then the Ody with tremendous transmissions failures. Now I am not saying the Koreans have not their sets of problems but their problems have not been powertrain. This says a lot about the quality of the most expensive and important parts of the engine. I think I can correctly claim quality because I actually own a Sedona for the last 3 years and have not had problems. The only van that actually handled more like a car is the Ody. The Sienna's ride is softer and leans in the corners more then the Sedona.

    My wife has no problems folding the third row but, she is not 105 lbs. To me they are very easy but again this is subjective to body type.

    I never test drove the Entourage as Hyundai does not sell it in Puerto Rico so I can not say if it drove different then the Sedona. I do know that the standard features and price sold me.
  • bobber1bobber1 Posts: 217
    We've all invested in a brand's van and because of that we're going to naturally defend our purchase.

    Hyundai guy, your arguments are interesting, but until Consumer Reports tells me Hyundai long term reliability is as good as Toyota and Honda, I'm not buying your argument.

    I did check out Hyundai when I was looking for vans. It was an okay van, but I really recall both the Toyota and Honda's being better equipped with more little detail items. The Hyundai price was better, but I only recall it being a $3,000 or $4,000 difference between comparably equipped vans. The depreciation hit you'll take will easily wipe that savings.

    If you're a value guy, yeah buy the Hyundai. I wasn't and love my Honda. :)
  • lavrishevolavrishevo Posts: 312
    I own a Sedona not a Entourage by the way. So I guess that makes me a Kia guy... Oh and by the way look at the 09 consumer reports and see how they rate the 09 Sedona off of 2006 data. Real accurate there chief considering 06 was the redesign year.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    I am going to agree and disagree.

    it would take 19.5 years to make up the $8,000 price difference

    Yes, *if* the prices you were quoted were really that far apart. In my experience it was less than half that price difference, more like $2-3000, easily made up on resale (and then some).

    I can find basic Sienna CE vans for $21k all day long without even having to haggle over the price, and you won't find an Entourage or Sedona for $13,000. Sienna LE with 2 power doors for about $24.7k, again no Korean van with power doors on both sides brand new sells for $16.7k. Freight included in all prices, BTW.

    And no fair comparing an AWD Sienna with dynamic laser cruise control and HIDs to a Korean van without any of those things.

    Apples to apples there's no way the difference is $8000, not in my experience.

    You are in Puerto Rico so that may be a different story, but here on the mainland there's just no way it's $8000 less. If it were, to be fair, I'd probably be in a Sedona.

    I did think the engine performed fine (I test drove a Sedona). The trim was OK for the price, especially when you stay under $22k, no excuses needed. I felt the cabin was a bit narrow, not sure why, and it wasn't as quiet as the Sienna, but it wasn't bad at all.

    Too bad you can't fly up here, buy a van, and drive it back. Only if it's an amphicar, LOL.
  • lavrishevolavrishevo Posts: 312
    In the states the market is very different. Here in PR Sienna's start at 29,500 Ody at 31-32 grand. This is because of the excise tax and lack of competition to name a few factors... And just in general the Japanese dealers are ripping people off because they can.

    I agree that there is less options from Kia, but to counter the HID argument my kit from e-bay cost less the $200.00 with lifetime warranty. Not sure why someone would pay often over a grand for this option when you can do it yourself for 1/8th the price. Not to mention my pioneer touchscreen in the front connected to a 10.4 inch in the back for less then a grand. These options from the dealer are always a rip off.
  • yatesjoyatesjo Posts: 186
    If you didn't see a big difference between the quality of Sienna or Odyssey versus the Sedona/Entourage maybe that's just because some of use are more picky than others. If your happy with your purchase good for you; I wasn't comfortable with the quality issues I saw. The power train may have once been the most expensive part of a vehicle, but these days electrical gremlins can severely compromise reliability, be devilishly expensive and hard to find and those are what got my attention on the forums.

    Driving dynamics of the Entourage made the Sienna seem positively athletic in comparison. It leaned, it wallowed, it bounced around to an extent that I would have been car sick sitting in the back and it dove heavily on a hard stop. The steering felt dead and after having just driven the Sienna, the engine didn't feel like anything special. Maybe the Kia is tuned more athletically, there wasn't a Kia dealership in the neighborhood and I wasn't going to search one out based on my experience in the Hyundai.

    My thought on why the Koreans could be picking up market is two fold: Chrysler has dropped the ball and cheap=value in some peoples minds.
  • lavrishevolavrishevo Posts: 312
    Yeah this conversation has been about the Sedona not the Entourage. And just FYI in the Slalom test Ody did it at 60 mph, Sedonda at 59.5, and Sienna at 56 mph. Pretty easy to tell what van has better handling.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    I went aftermarket for my DVD player, too. 12" screen for $900 and that was installed.

    You only mentioned the slalom time - in lateral grip the Sienna matched the Ody evenly. Not to mention the Sienna in that test was handicapped with the narrow tires from the base model instead of the upsized wheels and tires the others tested had mounted.

    So Sienna had #1 0-60, #1 mpg, #1 lateral grip. I can overlook the slalom with all those wins.
  • lavrishevolavrishevo Posts: 312
    Isn't big screens in the back fantastic!

    Now let me ask you something... are you quoting your model or the current model? Correct me if I am wrong but don't you have an 06 from the previous design? Maybe I am wrong but I thought I remember you mentioning this.

    I hear ya on the lateral grip, and 0 - 60 times. But I can pass on that for saving over 8 grand and getting all the options I wanted. ESC, ABS, TPMS, 8 airbags, and setting the standard for safety for the first van with 5 star in every category. Not to mention 10 / 100,000 mile powertrain warranty standard and 6 / 60,000 bumper - bumper.

    and I quote...
    . Insurance Institute for Highway Safety
    As of Jan. 2009
    Top Safety Picks 2009
    by Editors of
    4 stars Credibility Rating{?}
    Our Assessment

    The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety crash-tests cars and trucks, mimicking front, side and rear-end collisions. Cars are rated based on how well they withstand each crash. In order to merit… recognition as a top safety pick, a car must earn the highest rating of "good" in all three crash tests, plus offer electronic stability control. The Hyundai Entourage, Kia Sedona and Honda Odyssey are awarded the Top Safety Pick rating for the second straight year.

    National Highway Traffic Safety Administration
    Not Dated
    5-Star Safety Ratings
    by Editors of
    4 stars Credibility Rating{?}
    Our Assessment

    NHTSA crash-test ratings for most 2009 vans and minivans are included here in a simple chart format. Vehicles are assigned a rating of one to five stars based on performance in front-impact, side-impact and… rollover tests. Of the minivans featured in our report, only two -- the Toyota Sienna and Mazda5 -- do not achieve five-star impact and four-star rollover ratings, although their ratings are almost that high.
  • thegraduatethegraduate Posts: 9,731
    I own a Sedona not a Entourage by the way. So I guess that makes me a Kia guy...

    It's a case of 6 of one, a half dozen of the other. The vans are as different as the Town & Country and Grand Caravan (read: not very). :)
  • voiceofstlvoiceofstl Posts: 8
    I am still pretty new here. But I am shocked by how few posters here own Dodges/Chryslers, I know that Dodge had their problems with the infamous 4 speed tranny back in the 80's and early 90's but I believe that Hondas had great problems with thier trannys also.
    I'm not a super buy American man but I say if its close buy American. Especcially in these times when our fellow Americans can use our help. I still say dollar for dollar the Dodge is the best buy.
  • lavrishevolavrishevo Posts: 312
    In all honesty Dodge was the first van I looked stand if any van felt underpowered, this is in 06, and lacked many of the standard features offered by others it was the Dodge. I think they are decent vans and their engines / tranny's are good but the just are not exciting in any way to drive. Plus their safety is way under par compared to the Koreans. I agree and I wish to support the American economy but not at the expense of my family.
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