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Minivans - Domestic or Foreign



  • jchan2jchan2 Posts: 4,956
    I remember reading on a different Sienna forum (not Edmunds) that the auxillary input was an addition to 2006 models.

    For 2006 Toyota restyled the Sienna and added a few features, like the aux input.
  • I plan on buying a 2006 Toyota Seinna within the next month. when is the best time to order the info pak. Now, the day before / the day / the week before I go to the dealer. Plus how long is the information in the info pak good for
  • jchan2jchan2 Posts: 4,956
    I've never used the InfoPak before, so I can't really give an opinion, but when using Edmunds TMV, I typically get the numbers the week or two before I begin test driving to get a feel for where the prices are and then right before I start dealing with the staff at the dealership I check the prices again.

    Granted, I really didn't use Edmunds TMV on my last purchase...

    I would go ahead and get the InfoPak two weeks before you go to the dealership. Then I would check Edmunds TMV prices again about 24 hours before negotiating.
  • marine2marine2 Posts: 1,155
    "If some people don't mind driving a mediocre minivan in exchange for a far lower price, it might not be a bad decision. Everyone of us is born a sucker

    In my case it was a great decision. I got a great minivan for a great price and then also got it for zero financing.

    Mediocre is in the eye of the beholder. No, I don't have a five speed transmission,( it's only four) but I can't feel it shift anyway so I really could care less.

    The Honda is less than a sec. faster in the quarter mile, but I don't race my van anyway so a sec. or two is no big deal to me. I usually have a light foot to save fuel anyway

    The Honda stops four feet shorter than mine at 60mph. Again, not that much difference.

    Honda is rated at 12/28 in mpg, mine is rated at 11/26.

    Am I willing to pay about $7,000 more for a Honda for the little bit of difference in performance? I don't think so.

    I have had my DGC going on 14 months now. It's only had oil changes and tire rotations. Not one small problem to take it to the dealer for. Was I a sucker? I think not. Not only did I get a great, dependable van for $7,000 less, I would imagine over five years with Zero interest, I will save another couple of thousand in interest charges.

    Plus I have a very family friendly van with seats that fold into the floor and storage bins that can hold gobs of stuff, all stuck neatly out of sight so the van never looks messed up.

    Now that might matter to a person like the small difference in performance between the two, doesn't bother me. Especially if your only hauling people, don't mind a messy van, or if your second vehicle is a pickup. But if you have kids or have to occasionally carry bigger things in your van, it can make a big difference.

    My daughter is due to have a baby next month. We bought her a chest and baby bed which easily fit into our minivan stowing the seats, saving us a $35.00 delivery charge. Got a diaper bag, ball gloves, tennis rackets, tools, battery cables, flashlight? They will all stow in the storage bins in front of the middle seats, all out of sight. Need a sheet of plywood, haul your motorcycle to the shop? They will fit in this van and you don't have to take out the seats.

    Yes, there are suckers born every day. But everyone is not born a sucker. They can believe it's worth paying $7,000-$8,000 more for a small difference in performance. And they can believe that their Japanese minivan will never break down and it's worth paying all that extra money to get one. Thank goodness I'm not sucker enough to believe that. I'll invest that extra money and still have a great, dependable, family friendly minivan, that I plan on keeping for 6-7 years.
  • marine2marine2 Posts: 1,155
    Let me add. I bought an iWay 350C GPS unit for my van. It's not nearly as big as the one in the Honda, but it has all the streets, highways, waterways and trails built into the unit, along with five million points of interest and a 1,000 address book, with two built in rechargable batteries and a cigarette lighter adapter. It also has voice directions, plays MP3 music, and shows family pictures for only $349.00. Not the two thousand plus dollars the Honda GPS costs. I can upgrade the maps free on the Internet and use the GPS in the wife's Civic if we want to. Or mount it on a bike, motorcycle, or boat.

    Sucker always born? I don't think so.
  • You make great points and I am happy for you on your decision. On the other hand, I have owned (3) Honda products. A 1996 Accord and Odyssey and a 1999 CRV. All (3) vehicles never gave me any problems. The (10) year old Odyssey with 135K miles does not have (1) rattle (It’s incredible). The Accord will have 190K miles with no problems or rattles. The CRV has a problem, it has a rattle in the dome light and only rattles during the summer, it has 114K miles. If everything was built like Hondas (appliances, electronics, plumbing etc..) life would be less stressful. My point, Honda cars are more expensive than domestics, but they EARNED the right to price the vehicles that way. If their current products are anything close to the ones they made 10 years ago, I wouldn’t hesitate to spend the money on such a good product even if it may be a couple thousand $'s more than the competition. Check out consumer reports and other product review magazines, they are always on thier "recommended" lists.
  • marine2marine2 Posts: 1,155
    I know what you mean about Honda dependability. They do make very good vehicles, no denying that. That is one of the reasons we bought our 2004 Civic. Plus the price for the Civic was only about $1,300.00 more than the Ford Focus we were thinking about buying, when we were ready to get rid of our 1993 Eagle Vision. Plus the wife liked the dash lights on the Civic better. But if the price had been around $3-4,000.00 more, we would have a Focus in the driveway now. The Focus really is a fun car to drive.

    I think the Honda Ody is an excellent van, I can't and won't put it down. It's just that to me, it was way to expensive over the Dodge and didn't have the fold flat seats or deep wells that the Dodge had, that I know I would really use.

    I have also had a number of Chrysler products down through the years. I had some problems with some of the ones I bought earlier in the 60s,70s and 80s. Nothing major, but annoying. But the last three before this minivan, Our 1989 New Yorker, 1993 Eagle Vision, 2001 Dodge Dakota,CC. were all trouble free except the last two years of the Eagle.(Air compressor & Engine mounts) But it gave us good service for 11 years. Even the power windows and door locks still worked after that long. So I have to believe that American cars are not anywhere near as bad anymore as people like to make them out to be and can be a great value to the buyer. I see that most are not rated that far behind some Japanese models and some are even rated ahead. On a whole, American cars are now rated better than European cars. So I think America has come a long way. It's mostly the reputation they need to get rid of now. And there are some great values for the dollar if one keeps an open mind.
  • petras2petras2 Posts: 104
    re your comment about saving 7-8k by choosing a dgc, i think that the savings depends more on what model level you are comparing... we first looked at a dgc sxt to replace our 96 gc and were disappointed by the new model's cheaper interior "feel" and less comfortable middle seats, price was only 22.7 after a 4k we checked the odyssey lx which is the base version.. it had more features that we wanted, was of higher overall quality and ended up costing only 24k, only 1.3k more that an sxt...
  • marine2marine2 Posts: 1,155
    petras2, I don't think anyone would argue that the Honda is nicer looking inside than the Dodge G.C. They're not even close. I have the SXT and paid a little over $23,000 for it. To get a Honda with close to the same stuff on it, would have cost over $30,000. I have power everything on the SXT. If I remember right, Honda doesn't even offer the power rear hatch on their cheaper models even if you were willing to pay extra for it. I don't remember them having the overhead computer, better radio and speakers, or adjustable peddles on the cheaper models either.

    I'll also admit the middle seats, while they are comfortable, are not as comfortable as the Honda's. But I also don't sit in those seats. No one that has sat back there has ever complained of them being uncomfortable. But even if the Honda gave me the same price as my SXT, I would have still bought the Dodge, because of the deep wells and the fold away seats.

    I use my van, much more than hauling people. I had a pickup before and had nowhere to put stuff I always carry with me, especially out here in Arizona where it can get up to 120 and a gas station can be 50 miles away from each other. I always carry battery cables, blanket, tape, tools,flash light, can of fix a flat and etc. Also water if I go out of town. The Dodge lets me store all that in just one of those deep wells, out of sight.

    I also do a lot of my own work around the house and I'm always buying stuff at Home Depot. Those fold in the floor seats work perfect for me. So much so, they are the reason I got rid of my truck. They also come in handy like last week when we bought our daughter that baby bed and chest. We saved $35.00 delivery fee by being able to take it ourselves. When my brother and I remodled our sister's bathroom, sis also saved over $70.00 by me being able to carry it all in my van.

    The Honda is beautiful and dependable. But it's not the van I would want for the stuff I use my van for. It's a great people hauler. Mine is that also. Not as nice inside, but it is more family and work friendly than the Honda and thousands of dollars less.

    I have said many times, if your using your van to just haul people, you can't do better than buying a Honda. But if your carrying a lot of stuff, got kids or babies that require you to carry a bunch of stuff, the Dodge fits the bill better than any van on the market. You can put all kinds of toys, diaper bags, sport equipment in those bins and your van will never look messy. You can stow just one middle seat and put in a wagon, set up stroller, 25 gallon air compressor, or what have you. It truly is a work and family friendly van. So it all depends on what one uses their van for and how much money you want to spend.
  • petras2petras2 Posts: 104
    i agree with you in that the flexibility of the gc can't be beat and it probably is the best compromise for various the power hatch and sliding doors, i am of the old school belief, "kiss", (keep it simple stupid) me all those power sliders and hatches are just another potential mechanical problem and expense down the road...our biggest problem with the 96 gc was with the "bells and whistles" options like the overhead computer/display, infinity factory speakers and radio, etc. overall though we were pretty satisfied with it over the years...
  • artgpoartgpo Posts: 483
    I have read all the excellent, thoughtful posts concerning the versatility of DCX van seating. Several of you boasted about the many thousands of dollars you saved by buying a DCX product when compared to a Honda Odyssey. The one thing not mentioned was safety. Is it more important to carry your Home Depot 2 x 4s than to protect your passengers? I bought an Odyssey because it offered the most standard safety features such as electronic stability control, head curtain airbags, electronic brake assist, etc. It is a matter of priority and placing the value of folding seats VS life changing, debilitating injuries or death of a loved one.
  • hansiennahansienna Posts: 2,312
    Honda cars had outstanding reliability when they were simple with very few comfort features. Once Honda added power sliding doors, started building a heavier minivan, etc. the Odyssey did NOT live up to the reliability expectation that Honda sedans had earned.
    Just read in the problems forums for all minivans for an accurate measure of reliability. What are the current owners of current minivans reporting? :blush:
  • thegraduatethegraduate Posts: 9,731
    I know what you mean...All of our friends always wanted to take OUR van when we went somewhere because it was much nicer than their Windstar, Town and Country, and Tahoe. It became quite a burden having a car we and our friends loved so much. Unfortunately for us, our Odyssey never spent an hour being repaired, so when the Heatons' (friends of ours) Chrysler was getting a transmission put in, we HAD to take our much loved Odyssey again. Sheesh, what a burden.
  • tamu2002tamu2002 Posts: 758
    Are you implying that those of us who look for value in our van don't care for the safety of our family as much as a Honda buyer does? Using your logic, unless a person loads up on every existing safety option, he doesn't care enough about safety. Not trying to pick a fight, just have some issues with your reasoning.
  • dennisctcdennisctc Posts: 1,168
    Why stop at an Ody then if Safety is your major concern? One should just go and buy a Volvo wagon or XC90? Weren't there issues with doors opening during crash testing of some Ody? Ody doesn't offer knee airbags to prevent passengers from planing under the IP in a crash? Stability Control is nice but not having it doesn't make another vehicle a deathtrap and it's owner heartless.

    I don't believe the brand new Civic offers it? Wonder why, if it's essential, especially when you consider Civic to be more entry level with less experienced drivers?
  • artgpoartgpo Posts: 483
    First, I would never pick a fight with an Aggie. Gig 'Em!

    Seriously, there are very good choices containing all the requisite safety features that one need not compromise. If you cannot afford Honda or Toyota all you need do is look at the new 2006 Kia Sedona or the soon to be on sale Hyundai Entourage. I know Hyundai has a higher collective quality level than DCX and I think Kia is getting there as well.

    Minivans are primarily movers of young families (although the demographic is shifting toward Baby Boomers ((me))so why wouldn't you want every available safety feature? Honda makes safety standard. Heck, if you order RES on a DCX mini you have to forego the curtain bags. Want to bet ESC and head curtain bags are standard on the next generation DCX minis?
  • artgpoartgpo Posts: 483
    The door issue was addressed and corrected by Honda.
  • hansiennahansienna Posts: 2,312
    And the statement is no more absurd than to say the Hyundai has a higher level than DCX. :sick:
  • artgpoartgpo Posts: 483
    Read JD Power owner satisfaction. Look at the other auto publications. The numbers do not lie.
  • tamu2002tamu2002 Posts: 758
    Gig'Em indeed! Too many factors go into the decision, for those of us with limited earning abilities anyway. Safety is a huge one. I too was not pleased with the safety options offered on the domestics, which is why we purchased a Quest with a standard curtain, traction control etc. But I wouldn't completely dismiss them based on this factor alone.
  • jipsterjipster Louisville, KentuckyPosts: 5,443
    "the most standard saftey features..." "folding seats VS life changing, debilitating injuries or death of loved one"

    Thats a pretty mean spirited statement to make art. To imply that one is making a choice between the folding seat of the DGC and risking the death of their loved one (by not buying Ody) is quite obsurd.

    If you really cared about your loved ones saftey... wouldn't you have bought the Toyota Sienna with AWD? Aren't you afraid you'll be going up a snowy slippery hill one day, lose traction...and get rear ended by a semi?

    I guess families who buy small or midsize sedans are just thrillseekers who live life on the edge???
  • marine2marine2 Posts: 1,155
    I thank you for the comeback and explanation. I realize that people want to feel good about what they buy and I know Honda puts out first class vehicles. I also know for many years, Chrysler had more than their share of problems.
    But it seems from what I have seen and heard, it's mostly behind them now.

    My brother has a 1999 or 2000 Plymouth minivan.(Can't remember what he said it was now) But outside of a freeze plug and brakes and rotors he put on last year, it's been problem free. I think his has even better road feel than mine.

    No one can go wrong buying a Honda. I just think for families that carry a lot of stuff in their vans, Chrysler vans are a better choice. For those that only want to carry their family and not mess up their van with a bunch of stuff, Honda is the best choice on the market.

    I just hope all of us that buy foreign, (I'm included in that) haven't written off the American manufactures. American manufactures put a lot more money back into the economy than foreign ones do and many jobs and 401-Ks are invested in American companies.
  • Hyundai has been getting great reveiws for their passenger cars. I have not seen any great reveiws on the Sedona, especially here at Edmunds. The most common complaint is that they will not honor their 10/100000 warranty. I would take a DCX van over a Hyundai van without question. I know the 2006 is supposed to be much improved, but it is too early to tell.
  • marine2marine2 Posts: 1,155
    I would only wish American manufactures would make a turnaround as fast as Hyundai has. One year they were putting out bland, vehicles with a bad reputation for having many mechanical problems. The next year they they completely redesigned their vehicles and made them look great and their quality improved 500%.

    But from what I heard, your right, they do try and wiggle out of their 100,000 mile warranty on many items.

    My neighbor bought one and had problems with the power window. When he took it in to fix, they told them they couldn't fix it because that model wasn't suppose to have power windows and only a few were made and they had no parts for it. They would put a crank in it's place.
  • artgpoartgpo Posts: 483
    We do own a 4WD vehicle with all the safety features. 4WD is nuts here in Dallas, even more nuts when we move back to San Antonio.

    There is no compromise when it comes to safety of one's loved ones. I stand by what I said even though I do not have a mean cell in my body.
  • I think people tend to paint the minivan makers (or any auto maker for that matter) with too broad a brush. I have been researching vans for a few months as I am a young father. In fact, my wife is having our second child on Friday and we have a 2 1/2 year old.

    I have been reading these message boards and find it very troublesome that there is the perception that just because a Town & Country or Caravan is a Chrysler/Dodge, then it must be a piece of crap. Similiarly, just because an Odyssey is a Honda does not make it the most reliable family van.

    I am not some buy american only advocate either. In fact, our current cars are a Honda Accord and a Toyota Corolla (I commute with the Toyota, the Accord is our "family car").

    The Accord is a 2002 with 53K (I bought it brand new). And it is a piece of crap. Next week I will have the FOURTH transmission installed. The last one was installed just 3,000 miles ago. It is one of the worst built cars I have ever owned.

    I fit right into the Honda demographic for an Ody. I'm educated, have a good job downtown, and a nice house in the suburbs. But I am also smart enough to know that not all Honda's are going to be great. I can also admit that maybe a Town&Country isn't so bad after all (even thought the 2000's and earlier had LOTS of problems).

    My current Honda is not a safe car for my family because of the issues it has had. For many people a Chrysler T&C Limited with all the airbags and DVD (and yes you can get both... it is the sunroof you can't get with the bags) is a very reliable family car.

    I think debates about all the aspects of the vehicles is great. Just remember there are bad Honda's, Toyota's, Chevys, Dodge's, etc. etc.
  • thegraduatethegraduate Posts: 9,731
    Your subject line is very goes both ways.

    After 17 Hondas (starting with a 1982 Civic DX), my parents have not had ONE experience like yours, but with Chryslers, we are 2 for 2 in lemons. I guess you could say those lemons left a sour taste for Chryslers in our mouths? Ba-dum, pshh!...anyway... My grandmother has nearly 80,000 miles on her 2002 LX Accord, with nary a problem (I drove it to a double funeral last week, it drove with no rattles or steering slack, etc...)
    Her miles are nearly all highway (70 miles a day round trip at 70 mph). I actually have 157,000 miles on my 96 Accord LX, and the only problems with it are wreck-related; warped brake rotors, knocking suspension (only 1 side of the car), (guardrail at 35 mph, it happens!); NO MECHANICAL PROBLEMS.I'm sorry you've had a bad experience with your Honda. If I were in your shoes, I'd probably never own one again; and likely, if you had a Chrysler for 8 months and kept it in the shop for 4, you wouldn't get a third either, right?

    Individual experiences shape overall perceptions, this is how the forums get skewed too far one way or another, and we are all guilty of it.
  • marine2marine2 Posts: 1,155
    There is no compromise when it comes to safety of one's loved ones. I stand by what I said even though I do not have a mean cell in my body.

    I agree that safety is important. But are you implying any car or van that doesn't have what the Honda has on it is unsafe? Have we been driving unsafe cars and vans around for the last 100 years? Doesn't a five star crash rating mean anything?

    Should I buy a van because it has one safety feature that most others don't have, even though it doesn't fit my needs? Is your Honda unsafe for the driver because in their crash safety test, the driver's door broke open and the Honda has no air bag knee protection? If your wife drives your van sometimes, aren't you putting her life in danger? Do you see where I'm coming from Artgpo?
  • dennisctcdennisctc Posts: 1,168
    Read JD Power owner satisfaction. Look at the other auto publications. The numbers do not lie.

    The nice thing about JD Powers is everyone can find a part of it to back whatever claim they want to make. There are so many catagories and sub-catagories, it's funny.

    BTW - I may not have been clear before, but you can't get stability control on the new Civics....WHY? I thought Honda was so focused on safety, and was a more caring, compassionate company?

    As far as the Sedonna......All Minivan manufacturers should be shaking, Honda like features at DCX prices! I still doubt the quality myself.
  • dennisctcdennisctc Posts: 1,168
    Could you provide the link? Thanks
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