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Minivans - Domestic or Foreign



  • rorrrorr Posts: 3,630
    I'm a bit amused over the fuss regarding brake distances and 4-wheel disks vs. front disk/rear drums.

    4-wheel disks certainly have an advantage over front disk/rear drums but this advantange has nothing to do which braking distance. Brake distance if a function of brake swept area (actual contact area between the pads/rotors or shoe/drum). Generally speaking, brakes with a larger swept area will be capable of more brake grip and therefore shorter stops.

    The advantage of disk brakes over drum brakes has to do with cooling. Disk brakes cool down much faster than drum brakes; drum brakes can be overheated more easily with repeated applications and are more subject to brake fade. For a single panic stop from 70-0, I doubt you will see any advantage for disk brakes due to brake fade in a drum brake setup. If you did repeated stops, then yes, the disk brakes would have an advantage as the drum brakes would begin to heat up and brake fade would be a problem.
  • jchan2jchan2 Posts: 4,956
    Basically you'll want to look at 3 minivans:

    1) Honda Odyssey
    2) Toyota Sienna
    3) Dodge Grand Caravan/Chrysler Town & Country (make sure it has Stow N Go)

    All the other vans are either not as refined as the Sienna and Odyssey (GM vans) or aren't as flexible as the three vans listed up there. (Sedona, Freestar/Monterey)

    The minivan market doesn't have too many models, so it should be easy to shop.

    Deals are abundant on th GM vans, so if you don't mind having a 3rd row seat that doesn't really fold flat, you could take a look. Otherwise, stick with the Odyssey, Sienna, and Chrysler vans.

    The Nissan Quest, according to CR, has numerous quality problems.

    A CPO Odyssey might not be a bad idea either. Look for one built after 2001- it'll have side airbags and some extra horsepower.
  • macakavamacakava Posts: 775
    The first year 2004 Quest had the expected growth curve quality pains. But I understand the 2005 models are significantly improved to warrant a "recommend buy".

    The exterior shape is appealling to many, but you have to accept or get accustomed to the unusual center console position which many folks do not like.

    NB: The C & D June 2004 minivan comparo had their ratings as 1.) Ody 2.) Sienna 3.) Quest 4.) DGC 5.) Freestar. This was using a 2004 Ody; the 2005 Ody should be better. Bear in mind that the C & D guys are in the driving spectrum end of energertic, spirited driving with great engagement and handling.

    Based on the 2005 Maxima we have in our family, I love the same engine(although a bit detuned to 240hp from 265hp) which is very refined and strong. About 2 months ago, I saw an ad for the base Quest at just under $20K with rebates in the Raleigh- Durham area - that was very attractive then!
  • jipsterjipster Louisville, KentuckyPosts: 5,441
    Well, if you are going to buy a 2 year old minivan I would not include the Honda or Toyota due to their high resale value. You would be better off buying a new Honda or Toyota minivan if that is what you liked.

    Gas mileage...there is little difference amoung minivans. They're big.

    Reliability is open to debate. Toyota being most reliable.

    Price: Mazda MPV or Dodge Grand Caravan will give you the most BANG for your buck.Kia Sedona as well...though not as reliable.

    I'd do my homework on this before going to dealers lot to test drive. So, some salesman doesn't try to screw you over.Good luck.
  • macakavamacakava Posts: 775

    When I was purchasing my new Ody, 2 yr old Odys with about 25K miles were fetching $3K less than the new Ody I bought. Odys command high resale value.

    I preferred to pay the extra $3K for a brand-new, virgin Ody!

    If if were up to $10K less like used DGCs or Freestars, then it becomes more attractive! But you would have to accept the less satisfactory driving experience from these.
  • marine2marine2 Posts: 1,155
    jipster is right. But I'd pick the Toyota over the Honda. It seems the new Honda has some serious problems in their first year out with their new model. Of course if your going to use your van for more than hauling kids and need the room, Dodge/Chrysler is the way to go. You first have to know how your going to use your van to make a better choice.
  • tamu2002tamu2002 Posts: 758
    It's a good idea to know what reviewers have to say about the vans you're considering, but just don't rely totally on their opinions. For example, C&D always uses the "fun to drive" criterion to judge cars (and vans, trucks...). It's fine when it comes to Porches, but they always sound irrelevant and foolish in their reviews of things like the Lincoln Towncar. Duh, these shoppers actually LIKE the boat-like ride :surprise:

    Since we've just been through the process of buying our 1st van. Here's my take:

    ---First of all, forget about the Ford Freestar--too expensive, and for what? The GM vans are small, and lack the flexibility, and they're not cheap either. Both are bad values.

    ---if style and comfort is important to you, go for the Quest. A base model can be had for ~$20, 200 for ones made before the price increase (early May); and a 3.5 S model with added power door and hatch and parking sonar can be had for ~$1500 more. Side curtain bags are standard on all trims, which was really important to us. You'll love the openness of the cabin and the vast head room. Both 3rd row and 2nd row (almost) seats fold into floor. We paid $21750 for our S model ($650 below invoice).

    ---if feature and functionality are 1st priority, go for the Grand Caravan SXT, which can be had for about $22-23K. Dual power doors are standard; power hatch and side airbags cost extra. Forgoing the power doors, you can get an SE model with stow-n-go for well under $20K. We particularly liked its 3rd row split seating.

    ---if money is no pbject, there's no need for further discussion. Get the top of the line Honda or Toyota.

    Good luck and keep us posted.
  • marine2marine2 Posts: 1,155
    It's a good idea to know what reviewers have to say about the vans you're considering, but just don't rely totally on their opinions.

    I agree to a point, but reviewers take the vans out and drive them for an hour or two and write up their opinion. They have no idea of how they will hold up. Neither does magazines like C.R. on new models. Your best bet is to check out what people on here are saying about their new vans now they are holding up. They have owned them for awhile and know what problems they are having with them. You can't really go on past models because of changes and improvements made to them.

    If you buy used, then CR or other opinions should be heeded.
  • bluedevilsbluedevils Posts: 2,554
    "Price: Mazda MPV or Dodge Grand Caravan will give you the most BANG for your buck.Kia Sedona as well...though not as reliable."

    Personally, I would not rank Sedona below the DCX vans in terms of reliability.
  • 97xpresso97xpresso Posts: 249
    After reading the Sedona problems board, I would never purchase one, except maybe to roast marshmellows with :lemon:
  • jchan2jchan2 Posts: 4,956
    I'd say try the Quest (I've heard its finally improved quality wise, and that 3.5VQ engine is wonderful) and the Chrysler vans.

    Back when I bought a van, you didn't even have to comparison shop. The Odyssey was the best back then by a landslide. Then again, everybody paid a premium for an Odyssey those first few years. (including me- I only got $500 under sticker back in November 2001)

    If money is no object, get a loaded Sienna or Odyssey.

    Base Sienna CEs can be had for around $22K though, so you might want to check it out. It won't come with anything fancy, like power doors or a power liftgate, but it offers the basics at a great price and is reliable.
  • mcase2mcase2 Posts: 160
    If you buy a brand new van follow the Toyota v. Honda forums both a great cars - the only caveat being that the Honda is a new year model so you might want to wait for a 2006 model.

    Do not buy a pre-2004 Toyota - this model has been completely superseded and was never a big hit anyway, so why pay the high sticker.

    Two-year-old caravans go for really short money, but you have to worry about transmission problems
  • nwngnwng Posts: 664
    depends on how old your kids are, if you got older ones (8 and above), the pwr slider IMO is not going to be much useful. You can choose many of the less expensive trims and save a bundle. I would say the ody LX or the base quest would be a good choice, you got the curtain bags, abs and traction control standard. Other models would require you to go to a higher trim level to get these features.
  • jchan2jchan2 Posts: 4,956
    I've got older kids (11 and 13) and the power doors can be really handy sometimes.

    Depends on how much you're willing to pay for convienience.

    The Odyssey LX is a bargain though, IMO.
  • navyairnavyair Posts: 202
    Say what you want to about the Kia. It is a free country. There have been a few problems including fires reported, but nothing that doesn't occur with other platforms including Chrysler, Honda and Toyota :)

    I just rolled over 42k on my 2003 Sedona. We've had only a couple of a/c noise (fixed) and a recall (ditto). We put 3700 miles in 9 days with nary a problem. A/C dealt well with the 98 degree heat on the East Coast, , and the cruise control kept us up with the fastest traffic on the Interstate system.

    I still need to figure out overall mileage, but I was always around 21 mpg during fill ups. That isn't bad, for 4 people, extra gear on a hitch/platform, and high Interstate speeds with a/c on. :shades:
  • hansiennahansienna Posts: 2,312
    Most luxurious: Sienna XLE with leather
    Most comfortable seats: Odyssey EX with cloth
    Most features for least money: Grand Caravan SXT

    All 3 have power sliding doors standard on each side, separately controlled temperature for driver and front passenger, 60/40 split fold into the floor 3rd row seating, cast wheels, power seat for driver, and the most useable interior space of popular minivans. :)

    The Sienna has the softest, most comfortable leather and the doors have a soft covering everywhere above the armrest. The Sienna has the most complete overhead console with compass showing with any other function (outside temp and complete trip computer functions). A Sienna XLE with leather will have an MSRP of at least $33,000 and dealers will sell for about $30,500.

    The Odyssey EX cloth seats feel the most comfortable in all 3 rows and the Odyssey has the MOST powerful engine with the best EPA mileage ratings. The 3rd row seating folds more easily than Sienna or GC but the Ody has NO trip computer. Ody EX with cloth has MSRP $28,710 and many dealers will sell for about $26,500.

    The Grand Caravan SXT has an MSRP $27,625 and has the ultimate convenience of Stow 'N Go where 2nd row seats also fold into the floor. It is also easier to find a GC SXT available for purchase with the color a person wants. Most dealers will sell one for under $23,000.

    I have sat inside all levels of trim for Sienna, Odyssey, Grand Caravan, and Town & Country. The DaimlerChrysler leather is NOT as soft and comfortable as that in the Sienna and Odyssey while the 2nd row seats of the Sienna are not as comfortable as those in the Odyssey or DC minivans.

    If a person wants a slightly smaller minivan, look at the MPV, Sedona, Caravan, or SWB T&C. ;) The smaller minivans do not have enough interior space for my needs but are better for some people than are the larger Sienna, Odyssey, Grand Caravan, and traditional Town & Country.
  • jipsterjipster Louisville, KentuckyPosts: 5,441
    LOL...that's a good one hans. ;) My unbiased opinion is The Mazda MPV is the hands down winner in all the categories you mentioned....and all those you didn't.
    But seriously, I think the MPV competes well with the big 3 in everything but features available(no split folding rear seat, sonar, navigation, curtain airbags etc)
    Everything else is relative.

    I also wonder why we never hear from any GM,Ford and Kia owners in this topic.
    It's always Chrysler this, Honda that, or Toyota... "what a feeling". I would like to hear more from GM owners about how they like their SUV styled minivans...without going over to their boards of course. Perhaps Minivan Shopping needs to be crosslisted in their board if it isn't already.
  • hansiennahansienna Posts: 2,312
    No one will admit they were duped into buying an "SUV" that is just a slightly warmed over inferior minivan that GM had a hard time peddling as a minivan. :sick:
    I own a GM product (Chevy Blazer) that is inferior to its Ford counterpart (Explorer). GM pickups are not as good as Ford and neither GM nor Ford make a minivan that is competitive with the Grand Caravan/Town & Country, Odyssey, Sienna, or your MPV.
    Based on preliminary data on the 2006 KIA Sedona, the BIG 3 of minivans (GC/T&C, Ody, Sienna) will have some serious competition. Same with the 2007 Mazda MPV. :blush:
  • jchan2jchan2 Posts: 4,956
    My opinion:

    Flexibility: DaimlerChrysler vans
    Luxury: Toyota Sienna
    Sporty Driving Dynamics: Honda Odyssey
    Price: Kia Sedona

    There. I prefer the Odyssey over the Sienna though, but they're close enough nowadays that you can't go wrong either way. Back in 2002, it was a different story.
  • hansiennahansienna Posts: 2,312
    Agree almost 100 % with jchan2. Only change would be to have Price be either KIA Sedona or Caravan.
    DaimlerChrysler rebates, incentives, discounts place some Caravan/Grand Caravan about as cheap as KIA Sedona even though KIA has large rebates, incentives, and discounts.
    IF the 2006 KIA Sedona lives up to current available information, the KIA may become my # 1 Choice although I seriously doubt a Sedona will ever be as luxurious as a Sienna XLE or XLE Limited.
    Chrysler has watered down the Town & Country Limited with cheap feeling leather and a cheap looking interior so a T&C Ltd is no longer a luxury vehicle.
    A 2005 Chrysler T&C Touring is $760 MORE than the clone 2005 GC SXT and is not as attractive with the cheap looking grille that resembles earlier Voyagers which were entry level minivans. :mad:
  • hansiennahansienna Posts: 2,312
    Toyota brochures list many options for each Sienna model. Problem is that most of the options are NOT available.
    I checked Denver region, Northwest, and Kansas-Nebraska-Dakotas-Iowa-Missouri and was shocked to learn that the limited options of the Denver region are greater in number than the even fewer options of the other regions closest to southern Wyoming/northern Colorado. :mad:
    Denver region has only LE Pkg # 2, # 6, and another more expensive option. For XLE there are XLE Pkg # 4, # 6, and # 7.
    To get separately controlled temperature for a Sienna in the Denver region, I would have to purchase a Sienna XLE with at least XLE Pkg # 4 which puts the MSRP at $32,365 compared to an Ody EX MSRP $28,710, a GC SXT at MSRP $27,725, a Caravan SXT at MSRP $23,465 or a SWB T&C for $23,055. The DC minivans currently have a $2500 rebate so the Caravan SXT would be $ 20,995 and the SWB T&C $ 20,055.
    In the Northwest region, a 2005 Sienna XLE must have at least XLE Pkg 6 at $4975 making an XLE $34,765. :mad:
    The Odyssey has the most straight forward, least confusing vehicle availability of the BIG 3 of minivans. ;)
    However, to me the $8,000 lower priced Caravan SXT or SWB T&C (vs Ody EX) is a much better deal. My 2002 T&C LX and my son's 2002 GC Sport have been just as reliable as another son's 2001 Ody EX. The savings over a Sienna XLE is $12,000 to get the comfort feature that is most important to me and my wife.
  • bluedevilsbluedevils Posts: 2,554
    hansienna, have you spent time in the 2002-2005 Sedona EX? It really is a fairly high-end interior. Nice materials, excellent fit and finish. The interior quality is the high point of our Sedona. It has lots of *vehicle* features you don't get in some other minivans, or at least didn't get back in 2002 when we bought ours. E.g. power lumbar on driver's seat, power front passenger seat, moonroof, a great-sounding factory audio system, etc.

    The 2006 Sedona should be a noticeable step up in pretty much all areas, including the interior.

    I cannot compare to Sienna since I've spent no time in one.

    It does lack some of the *minivan* features such as power sliding doors, but I haven't really missed not having power sliding doors. My wife does, though.
  • tamu2002tamu2002 Posts: 758
    :) We are savvy and cheap, so there's no way we'd spend more than $23-24K for a van or anything else for that matter (other than a house). For you all that spend $30K plus on your van, where IN THE WORLD do you find money to pay that monthly payment after the mortgage, grocery, 401K (you do that right?) and tithe (to keep your pastor alive ;) )? I was only half kidding. I'm dying to know 'cause I consider ourselves quite well off and it's very hard for us to shell out $800 for the car payment.

    1. The Honda is nice but costs at least $25-26K. Forget it and end of discussion.

    2. The Sienna is ok. NOTHING about it stands out and strikes you. Folding 3rd row seat--everyone has that; ditto for the power doors; zero flexibility with the 2nd row seats. And when I test drove it, I went "where's the luxury everyone is talking about"? The ONLY thing attractive to us is the 8 passenger seating.

    3. DGC has all the right features that one needs for the right price...IF one can get over the depressing and ancient-looking dark grey and black interior. It has almost zero emotional attractiveness.

    4. Ford--too expensive, and what do you get? :mad:

    5. GM vans--too small, too expensive, too few features :mad: . And what's so good about looking like an SUV?

    6. The winner is...the Quest--the van we bought ;) . It's got great styling--all our friends "wow"ed when they first saw it. They "wow"ed again when I showed off the cool features--power door, hatch, parking sonar, 2nd row almost-fold-flat seats, fold flat 3rd row seat, and the tons of clever storage spaces, and its HUGE and comfy seats, and HUGE head room. Not to mention traction control and the side curtain airbags. For all these, we paid $21,750 before TTL. The base model without the power door, hatch, parking sonar and power rear windows could be had for $20,200. Talk about good values! :shades:

    Now your turn...
  • bluedevilsbluedevils Posts: 2,554
    Sounds like a really good price on the Quest and a nice van, but if price and value were so important - why in the heck were you worried about STYLING?

    You could have had a 2005 Kia Sedona for $16-20k. $20k will buy you a very well-equipped vehicle that lacks some gee-whiz minivan features that some folks can't do without, but other folks don't miss one bit. $16k will buy you a nice powertrain with a comfortable, medium-sized minivan. Not much competition down at these price points - DCX vans perhaps. Also maybe stripper Fords or GMs, but those are a cut below Sedona IMO.
  • rorrrorr Posts: 3,630

    Okay, assuming you are referring to the 8 passenger seating at the same time you say the Sienna has zero flexibility with the 2nd row seats; let me point out a few things you may not realize:

    With the Sienna 8 seater, the middle seat can be placed in line with the outboard seats, creating a comforable 3 person bench, or it can be positioned well forward placing an infant within easy reach of the front seat. Or the middle seat back can be folded forward creating a wide table/armrest for the other 2nd row occupants. Or it can be removed entirely leaving a very wide aisle to the 3rd row.

    With that middle seat removed, the right hand seat can also be repositioned next to the left hand seat creating very easy assess down the side to the 3rd row. And finally, either one or both of the 2nd row seats can be removed further expanding the hauling capabilities of the van.

    Now, the last part may not be as convenient as the stow-n-go feature of the DCX offerings, but I don't think it could be considered to have "zero flexibility".

    Waitaminute........"tamu2002" wouldn't happen to be because you are a 2002 graduate of Texas A&M would it? That would explain a lot......
  • jipsterjipster Louisville, KentuckyPosts: 5,441
    Agree with 1-5. Though for should have had Mazda MPV. Just substitute "HUGE"...for MORE THAN ADEQUATE. Can get a loaded LX with rebates etc for $18,000. Pound for pound...the minivan heaveyweight champ of the world.

    I agree though with styling..if I didn't care how something I was driving looked, I would have bought the 2004 Ody.

    Took 2 test drives in the Quest...interior materials and fit and finish seemed subpar.
  • tamu2002tamu2002 Posts: 758
    You guessed it! I'm a proud Aggie ;) And what would that explain :confuse: ? Help me out here will ya? You would'nt happen to be a longhorn, would you judging by your location ;) ?

    Yes, I was aware of what the 8-passenger Sienna 2nd row can do. I shouldn't have said "zero flexibility". Like I said, we REALLY liked that. I was mainly refering to its inability to fold flat. Your point is well taken.
  • rorrrorr Posts: 3,630
    Oh good, an Aggie w/ a sense of humor. :) A proud Aggie? Is there any other kind? ;)

    Well, I'm not a teasip by school (graduated from UTSA) but more of a teasip by heart. Which means my butt will be planted in my easy chair tomorrow evening watching the Horns go for another Championship in the CWS.

    Sweet. Last night, the Spurs won. And hopefully, the Horns can put a couple together against the gators over the weekend. And if the #6 car can have a good run in Sonoma on Sunday, life will be good..... :shades:
  • tamu2002tamu2002 Posts: 758
    "why in the heck were you worried about STYLING? "

    Well, I still wanna look cool even after 3 kids all right. Like I said, we would've got a DGC SXT if it weren't for the styling issue. I have a lot of respect for the Kia Sedona. Checked out one 3 years ago when it first came out. Great pick-up at low speed, solid feel. I didn't know it could be had for $16K. If I did we would've at least considered it. I didn't also because of its small size. I've been an admirer of Hyundai and Kia. Almost bought a Hyundai Sonata or Kia Optima 3 years ago. They make solid vehicels. I wouldn't have any trouble buying one.

    You know what, I remember you from way back because I followed the Sodona board for quite a while. How has yours hold up?...Well the answer is obvious I guess. Good luck with it.
  • tamu2002tamu2002 Posts: 758
    Gee, I haven't had such entertaining conversations on these boards since...well ever. I hope the #6 car kick all the other cars' rear bumpers and the Horns win the CWS--whatever that is, sorry not a sports guy. :) I went to grad school there so was pretty much exempted from the rivalry stuff with t.u. (sorry, couldn't resist ;) ).
    We love Texas. We have lots of fond memories... and horrible ones too (did I say I went to grad school there?). Our first daughter was born there. Wish we could move back someday.
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