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Minivans - Domestic or Foreign



  • tmaliktmalik Posts: 27
    Hi all, need some help. Looking to buy a minivan to hold our growing family (have a 2 yr old and 4 yr old), and I'm trying to work on a budget of Canadian $ 15k. Have looked at what I can get in the Toronto market for this cash and generally the decision has come down to these two:

    1 - 2002/03 Caravan with 30-50k miles and maybe 2-3 yrs of powertrain warranty and some protection under the Chrysler 'Certified' used car program.

    2 - 1999-2000 Oddysey or Sienna with 80-100k miles and no warranty.

    The van will be 100% daily suburban driven by my wife, not more than 10k miles a year, and not many long trips. We likely won't hold on to it for more than 5 years. My estimate is that the Caravan will depreciate about $2k more over the course of 5 years. The big unknown is repair cost. I'm hesitant to purchase a Honda with 80k miles already on it. A low-mileage 2002-2003 Toyota or Honda would cost closer to Canadian $25,000, out of our price range.

    Any thoughts? Would you choose Japanese reliability, even with an extra 3 yrs on the minivan? Thanks!
  • marine2marine2 Posts: 1,155
    I hate the way Dodge makes you *pay* for safety features - ABS is extra, side airbags is extra, gimme a break. That's one thing the european car makers are cool about. Even the base model VW has all the safety features and is loaded with airbags & ABS.

    Dodge makes a model for most every pocketbook. Sure you can get a lot of those safety features standard on other cars and vans on their base model, but you pay for it in a higher price. Some people do not want to pay that extra amount. There is an old saying, "You don't get something for nothing."
  • marine2marine2 Posts: 1,155
    I think you should be able to get a 2005 Caravan base model for about $17,000 with air and am'fm/cd
  • tmaliktmalik Posts: 27
    marine2 - yes, a base Caravan can be bought for around US$17,000 (or around 20,000 Canadian dollars), but my budget is around 12,000 US dollars (or 15,000 Canadian dollars), so a new minivan is out of the question. That's why I'm looking at the used market.
  • strstr Posts: 64
    Ok, we are considering a Toyota Sienna or a Montana SV6. Just a few minutes ago I read two articles stating that the 2006 Sienna is going to have front end changes as well as tail light changes and inside gauge changes. I also found out that the Montana will have added features such as more safety features for the back seat riders and small details like color changes and a rear window wiper (lots more too numerous to mention.) So now we are faced with the dilemma of waiting another, I don't know, however long until the 2006's come out or buying a 2005 and accomidating our family immediately (we are really ok in our Envoy but would like the conveniences of a minivan) then possibly being outdated and wishing we had some of the new features. What to do? Has anyone else heard about these changes? When do 2006 models debut?
  • jipsterjipster Louisville, KentuckyPosts: 5,441
    You must have been looking in the wrong column or something when researching the MPV crash test results. NHTSA gave the MPV a Five-Star safety rating, the highest, in frontal and side impacts.
  • deepandeepan Posts: 342
    typically around the Aug time frame. any changes would be minor cosmetic i would imagine.
  • Hello to everyone!

    Right now I'm researching minivan market to replace my aging 92 Caravan.

    My main complaint with this minivan is the impossible seat removal and would like to get another minivan that has stowaway seating on either both rows or just third row.

    Basically my question is - when was the stowaway seating first introduced? I'm hoping that this will help narrow my search range.

    Thanks in advance for your advice
  • badgerfanbadgerfan Posts: 1,565
    Two row "Stow and Go" seating was introduced for the 2005 Model year Dodge and Chrysler long wheel base minivans. It was an early introduction for the 2005 model year, first started shipping about March or April, 2004.

    Caution, not all 2005 model year long wheel base Dodege and Chrysler minivans have this feature, however. The lower level base models may not have this feature.
  • charlotte7charlotte7 Posts: 144
    When is the end of the 2005 model year for most manufacturers? I'm looking at getting a minivan at the end of this summer (or a Chevy HHR or Mazda 5, though I suspect both of thse will get disqualified for various things) and am wondering when the best time is to get the end-of-model-year rebates and discounts.
  • Thank you badgerfan!

    Just to clarify, this topic covers all minivans that implemented the stowaway seating, and is not specific to Dodge.

    Also the stowaway feature seems to have a lot of different names so my use of this term is because it's the one I remember.
  • rorrrorr Posts: 3,630
    AFAIK, virtually every new model minivan on the market has some form of stowable seating for the 3rd row. Some manufacturer's offer split 3rd row stowable seating; some offer 3rd row seating which can essentially be rotated to face the tailgate (seating for tailgate parties). The ease of use varies somewhat between the manufacturers.

    At this time, I think only the DC minivans and Nissan offer any form of stowable 2nd row seating.

    Why be concerned with when stowaway seating was first introduced? I know Honda has offered it in their Odyssey since 1999. I know that Mazda has had it for several years in their MPV as well as Nissan in their Quest. For that matter, I'm certain that some form of stowaway seating was available in domestic station wagons as far back as the 50's. :)
  • "Why be concerned with when stowaway seating was first introduced? I know Honda has offered it in their Odyssey since 1999. I know that Mazda has had it for several years in their MPV as well as Nissan in their Quest. For that matter, I'm certain that some form of stowaway seating was available in domestic station wagons as far back as the 50's"

    Rorr-- I'm aware of the rumble seating you're referring to. I'm speaking specifically on the minivans.

    You're on the right track, though. I want a minivan and also want the stowaway seating but cannot afford a brand new vehicle.

    I'm also wondering now if getting the stowaway feature would be giving up on comfort for functionality. Any thoughts?
  • rorrrorr Posts: 3,630
    Ah, now your question regarding when the stowaway seating was introduced makes a lot more sense.

    Re - seat comfort. As far as the 3rd row goes, I don't think the stowaway feature causes any loss in seat comfort. All the wells which receive the seat seem to be fairly deep so the designers don't really have to make many compromises in comfort to make the seat stowable. The 2nd row is a bit different as the available space to receive the folded seat is a little less. How much it affects 2nd row seat comfort seems to vary from backside to backside. You're best bet would be to try one out and judge the comfort for yourself.
  • badgerfanbadgerfan Posts: 1,565
    Note that the second row in the Nissan Quest does not fold completely flush as it does in the Dodge/Chrysler Stow and Go. Thus on the Nissan, this may not be as nice as having a completely flat load floor when the seats are stowed.

    Also, you have to put up with an awful dash with an R2D2 center console which houses all the controls and displays. Not my idea of an ergonomic dash.
  • jipsterjipster Louisville, KentuckyPosts: 5,441
    ..."awful dash..." "Not my idea of an ergonomic dash"
    But, it may be the good sisters idea. She's not buying for you badger. Anyhow, she is not looking to buy new. The fairly new 2004 Quest is probably not what she is looking for.
    Why so concerned about 3rd row seat comfort? Unless, you're a back seat driver! ha ha But seriously much you wanting to spend? Could you be a little more specific sister?
  • I'm probably out of my league, but used I'm looking at probably $13,000-ish. If threre are any that have stowaway seating, my guess is that it would be third row only made by an import, which is why I'm fishing for advice. I have been in the dark ages awhile and am hoping to educate myself.

    Thanks to everyone for your input.
  • rorrrorr Posts: 3,630
    Well, for that price range, you've got the last generation Honda Odyssey (with the 'magic' 3rd row stowable seat) and the current generation Mazda MPV with stowable 3rd row seat.

    I suppose it's possible to locate a DC van with 2nd/3rd row stow'n'go seating for that price but not likely at all (they've only been out for a year). I'm fairly certain none of the GM offerings had stowable seating until this year so they'll be out of consideration. Previous generation Ford Windstar, Kia Sedona and Toyota Sienna did not have stowable seating.

    For your budget, it looks like either an older Odyssey or a somewhat newer MPV would be your choices it stowable seating was a major factor.
  • karbuffkarbuff Posts: 34
    My wife is also wanting a mini van with the stow-away 3rd row seat. I've been looking at the 2004 Ford Freestar, which is a re-styled Windstar. New ones are a bit overpriced, and like a lot of domestic vehicles, they depreciate like a brick. I'm finding a bunch of 04 Freestar SES's hitting the dealers around the northwest area, with 20-30000 miles with an asking range of $14-18K, which is about half of what they sticker for new. To get something less than $14K, you are looking at the Mazda MPV starting in year 2000, and the Honda Odyssey starting in 1999.

    The Honda's are highly rated, but $13k is going to get you a 5yr old one with 70-80K miles on it. I like the MPV, but they are a bit smaller and were under powered until 2002 when the engine size was increased. Toyota and Nissan didn't have folding 3rd seat til the 2004 model, and don't depreciate enough to reach your target price range.
  • rrr1rrr1 Posts: 3
    Just bought a 05 odyssey EX-L with DVD entertainment system (no navigation) for $29,500 + taxes,tags, freight for an out of the door price of 31,080. Wondering if it's a decent deal? I am thinking it's about $650 over invoice...
  • ClairesClaires Chicago areaPosts: 1,221
    Congrats on your new car, rr1! You might also want to post in the Honda Odyssey: Prices Paid and Buying Experience Forum to see what other members think of the deal you got.


    Need help getting around? - or send a private message by clicking on my name.

  • tamu2002tamu2002 Posts: 758
    We're looking to buy a van real soon. we've narrowed down to the Quest and the Grand Caravan. We love the Quest's styling, modern interior and comfortable seats. Funny but the lack of 3rd row split seating has become the biggest sticking point. Having had a GC as a rental for 2 weeks, my wife has grown to really appeciate this feature, particular she plans to carry a double stroller in the van all the time. We have 3 kids, so the 3rd row will always be occupied with one car seat which makes the Quest's fold-into-floor-3rd-row feature practically disappear. If we keep a hugh double stroller in the well, will there be enough room left for groceryies?? Please share your thoughts on this. Thanks!
  • irgirg Posts: 197
    This lack of a split folding back seat was one of the main reasons why I never even considered the Quest, that and the poor quality control with the 2004 vans. But it would seem so simple to me, that once they saw that the Sienna and the Odyssey had a split design, they would do the same. But they didn't, and neither did Ford. Also the turning radius is quite poor for some odd reason.

    Of these two vans, I think the GC is a better value. Picked second too by JD Power for Initial quality with the Sienna #1. I ended up with a Sienna XLE and I love it, and my wife who is the main driver of this, loves it too. We are expecting child #3 soon, so my reasoning was similar to yours - 2 kids in the middle row, one in the back, and what do you do if you can't split the third row? In the Sienna and probably the Quest too, the trunk space with the seats up is huge. One reason why I didn't consider the GM vans, was this complete lack of thought and convenience here. Whether you can get a stroller and groceries in the space is debatable. I just bought a new stroller myself, and haven't even opened it yet. I know though, with the Sienna I could do both so it isn't a question, same with the Odyssey. Any reason why you aren't considering the Sienna or Odyssey? For me I liked the Sienna best (really liked the Ody too) and the icing on the cake was the best van to finance for me was the Sienna - bought it at Fitzmall in MD, even though I Iive in NY. If you have to pick between the Quest and the GC, I would go with the GC. Probably cheaper too. We didn't like the interior, but I didn't care for the Quest's futuristic intererior either. IMO it will look dated very quickly.
  • marine2marine2 Posts: 1,155
    Well Consummer's Report might have rated the Honda as the best mini van but the U.S. government just ordered 24,000 Dodge minivans.
  • tamu2002tamu2002 Posts: 758
    Thanks for your comments irg! We're almost in the exactly same situation:two kids, 3rd on the way, a new double stroll that hasn't been opened yet ;) I posted some of our thoughts in the DGC board ( message #160 if you're interested. Basically the Odyssey and Sienna are out of our price range--a huge mortgage and a one-car payment are hard to deal with already. So we're trying hard to spend as little as possible on this van. Looks like we're gonna have to forgo some of the neat features on the DGC :(
  • masterpaul1masterpaul1 Posts: 421
    How about doing a test drive with your family and the double stroller in all the minivans you are considering to see how everything fits? Going by what you read or hear might not apply to you. At least this way you will know first hand both the pluses and minuses for each since your undecided. :shades:
  • tamu2002tamu2002 Posts: 758
    Just the thought of it makes me tired :P The dealers are all quite far away, and I'd like to keep the stroller nicely packed in the box because we're moving this weekend. Too many things going on for me to test out the stroller in the van. You guys have been very helpful though!
  • hansiennahansienna Posts: 2,312
    Was it the US or Canadian Government? If US Govt, we taxpayers hope they are made in Fenton, MO. If Canadian, they should be made in Ontario. :blush:
  • marine2marine2 Posts: 1,155
    How about doing a test drive with your family and the double stroller in all the minivans you are considering to see how everything fits?

    Well you could put your kids in the third row seat and put your double stroller right inside the side door all set up with stow-n-go. No need to fold it up. I doubt you would have to stow more than one seat either.
  • marine2marine2 Posts: 1,155
    Was it the US or Canadian Government? If US Govt, we taxpayers hope they are made in Fenton, MO. If Canadian, they should be made in Ontario.

    It was the US government that ordered the 24,000 Dodge minivans. Don't know where they'll be made. The MO. plant is now also making Stow-n-Go instead of just the shorter vans. But even if many are Canadian, most of the parts are American.
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