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Grand Caravan SE Plus and SXT and LWB Town and Country have very flexible seating where any or all of 2nd and 3rd row seats can quickly fold into the floor.
All of the above have very large cargo area behind the 3rd row seats while the Sedona cargo area is very small.
The Mazda MPV also has a fold into the floor 3rd row as does the Freestar which gives at least twice the cargo space behind 3rd row of Sedona.
Although the Sedona has the least interior space of the minivans, it is the gas guzzler with much lower gas mileage than the rest. With gasoline prices rising as fast as the budget deficit, the cheap Sedona may cost more to own because of voracious appetite for fuel.
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I think some 2002 Chevy Venture had a 2-3-2, 2,2,3 or 2-3-3 layout but NOT the nice fold into the floor 3rd row of the MPV or Odyssey which doubled the cargo space behind 3rd row when all seats were in the upright position.
The Chrysler Voyager was the clone of the Caravan from 2000 until 2005 when it was renamed the SWB T&C. The Town & Country is the clone of the Grand Caravan.
Prior to mid-2000, the Plymouth Voyager and Grand Voyager were the clones of the Caravan and Grand Caravan while Chrysler T&C were an up-scale clone of the Grand Caravan.
Last November when I was shopping for a used minivan, I went in thinking either Honda, Ford, or Chrysler/Dodge. I found Hondas too expensive, Fords too scarce.
If you are buying used, you can't go wrong looking at the Chrysler T&C or Voyager, or Dodge Caravan/Grand Caravan. I bought one with 24K Miles on it for less than $16,000. This one was loaded. I could have gotten a used 2004 or 2005 with about 20K miles for less than $14,000, but did not want bench seats or built-in child safety seats.
With the Sedona, you will get a smaller vehicle than the Grand Caravan. I don't know how much a used one is, but there are very many Chrysler vehicles on the road and it will be easier to find a place to service it.
True as long as you don't buy one later than a 2001. Earlier models had a lot of problems.
I had a '98 Caravan that tossed its tranny at 80,000. My '02 PT cruiser lost its first tranny at 38,000 then again at 75,000. Chrysler repaired the first tranny and Aamco did the second. While picking up my PT cruiser I saw two Chrysler vans(unsure the years but looked reletively newish models) in for you guessed it...TRANSMISSIONS!!!
Other than the Transmissions I think its a good vehicle.
'04 Sedona EX
Exactly. If you are buying a 2000 or earlier model, then you have to worry about the transmission reliability. If new or only a few years old, you don't
One would expect more minivans with bad transmissions when there were so many more produced.
Toyota has changed the name of their minivan twice in less time than the Caravan has been in production. Honda and Mazda just started making minivans and Mitsubishi quit. Ford has dropped the Aerostar and Windstar and now call their minivan by yet another name. Chevrolet had the FWD Lumina APV, Venture, and now Uplander. The Astro/Safari are the ONLY minivans in addition to the Caravan, Voyager, and Town & Country that have been in production for many years and they were TRUCKS with heavier duty transmissions.
The Dodge/Chrysler mini vans are not as nice looking inside. But if you want to carry anything more than people, this is the van to buy. Stow and go seats, make it extreamly easy to haul anything that will fit in a van. If you keep the seats up, you have gobs of room to store things in the covered wells the seats would normally fit in.
So it really comes down to what you are going to use the van for and maybe price.
i've been researching edwards.com and i have a book written with all the notes i've taken but i still don't know what to do and i'm simply running out of spare time to look (working full-time). i would LOVE some advise from you guys...what would YOU buy?
thanks a bunch if you reply.
That's why I see many of the DGCs being used by tradesmen and similar wannabees to take their equipment and materials around to their job sites. For most of us who are not into the "trades" field, the need to remove the second row seats is very rare. In my past 12+ years of minivan ownership, I can only remember about 5 times when I needed to remove the second row seats.
You can buy the DGCs very cheaply and if one does not care for refinement, great handling and an engaging driving experience, then the DGC is a great choice for these tradesmen.
The Ody EX does have the Magic Seat that folds into the floor, power sliding doors, and the more flexible 2nd row seating that are not on my T&C LX.
The 2002 T&C LX is more refined and quieter on the highway than the 2001 Ody EX.
Only problem, Chrysler got rid of most of those features on the 2005 Dodge GC. It still has the overhead console and great stereo and locking doors, but heating coils are gone. So are the lighted controls on the doors, lighted key ring and glove box light are gone too. One light instead of two on vanity mirrors and rear hatch. But they have a top notch radio with both CD and cassette and more sound deadening through out the van. Still I liked those things they did away with.
Maybe DC minivans are falling behind the competition as suggested in another Town Hall forum.
How much was the savings to DC when they eliminated the nice features you mentioned? Was it worth the number of customers they will lose to the Odyssey and Sienna and perhaps the new KIA Sedona that will also have many nice features that DC has eliminated?
I had an Aerostar for years and it was a reliable van, unlike the Windstar that followed it. All of my friends who have Chryslers have had 1 or more transmissions, but accept that as a known weakness...I read all the posts, and my boss had a 2002 T&C that he replaced the tranny on last yr. Might be the exception rather than the rule, but he traded it on a Honda Pilot...his 3rd Chrysler van, his 5th tranny.
I currently own a Kia Sedona van and the warantee cannot be beat. 5yr/60k bumper to bumper and 10 yr/100k powertrain. Have 35k on it and only a noisy a/c compressor repair. It runs great in the snow...minor complaint is that you need to wash your wheels if you get onto salty roads, as they seem to be unsealed alloys, and the salt will pit the magnesium. I solved that by getting separate wheels/snow tires for our extended winter here in Twin Cities, but that would be unreasonable for a quick trip to the mtns for the weekend. Drove up to NJ during a blizzard on the OEM tires (Hankooks) and it handled great.
You can get into a base model for around $16k, and their fully loaded one for ~19K. Gas mileage is better than EPA estimate, but still not super thrifty, but you can buy a lot of gas for the $ you save, even at $2/gallon.
Others will have their favorites. We are looking at perhaps adding a stretch Sedona (06 MY)to the stable, but probably not next yr.
Happy hunting, and good luck finding something that fits your needs!
Again, dont believe me....Go ask Aamco!!
'04 Sedona EX
I was mearly replying to a comment Marine2 made:
"Chrysler transmissions WAS their weakest point. If ones buys a 2001-2005, there should be no problem. Most of the problems before that was with the tranny fluid Chrysler was using in their transmissions. It is no longer a problem, as they changed fuids in their 2001s."
My point is if Chrysler changed the tranny fluid to fix their problems they didnt fix it in the PT Cruisers. I believe Chrsyler still makes horrible automatic transmissions in the model years Marine2 stated. Sorry you didnt understand where I was coming from.
'04 Sedona EX
OK, but the title of the thread is "minivan shopping", so saying "Chrysler" in here is the same as saying "Chrysler minivan"
PT Cruiser issues aren't relevent to the discussion
Dont get me wrong, I think they do a decent minivan overall. I just wouldnt buy one because of so many bad experiences with a caravan and more recently the '02 Cruiser.
'04 Sedona EX
Not sure what the point of all this is, since it's basically established fact that the trannies are the weakest link in 96+ Chrysler minivan products. jump into some other online discussions to see the headache people have gone through swapping out minivan transmissions, some approx. every 30K miles. Maybe you just got lucky?
My Plymouth GV Expresso has 120K on it's original transmission but that seems more of the exception than the rule.
Buy the Odyssey if you want the most power, the best EPA fuel economy rating, and the highest resale value.
I liked the Ody and shopped for one for almost a year, talking to a couple of employees who owned one, and driving one for a weekend. We did the same with all makes/models. I can't say anything about the new Sienna, though, because I haven't driven one. Have extensive experience with the T&C, the Windstar (not Freestar), the Ody, and the Mazda since relatives have owned/operated them and we talk cars a lot.
In Northern VA, the Honda dealers were pretty arrogant, and demanded above MSRP. Dealer service departments were also higher cost than other dealers. Looking at the big picture, we decided not to go with Honda. I saved a little over $6k off MSRP, or $7k over best price offered by Honda for the same equipment on a Kia. Honda may be a little more flexible now that there is more competition...I'm starting to see a little more conversation on that on the Honda boards. Honda has had quite a few posts on the electric doors and transmissions, too. Each van model seems to have its own quirks. Generally, those that use automobile transmissions to carry the weight seem to have more problems.
Weight is both a drawback and a benefit for the Kia Sedona. It handles well, drives well in poor conditions, and has a great crash rating due to the mass. It's gas mileage isn't great, but I get fairly close to Hansienna's posted mileage with mine unless I'm doing all stop/go driving. We average 16-17 city, 25-26 highway...might go up a notch or two if I didn't have a lead foot (a known jet aviator bad habit.
Good luck with your choices. Right now, if I was fence sitting, I might try to hold out for the 2006 Kia in Sept. It is longer, and has about 100% of what options you can get on a van today. Drive comparably equipped models from all the majors and decide what you want.
Hansienna is right regarding room. The interior room is smaller in the Kia. Not cramped, but a little more like a Villager inside than an Ody or T&C. We haul 2 teens and 2 dogs in it routinely, but usually take out 1 of the buckets (behind driver)to haul dogfood sacks and potting soil, etc. Still have a 6 pax vehicle that way and room behind the seat and where the other seat was.
Best Wishes and good luck!
My sister lives in Northern VA; it's not just Honda dealers that are problematic up there. Her VW dealer has gotten better; I think so many people called VW about them to complain that they cleaned up their act some.
Hey I'll be the first to admit the Kia isnt the best on the market. Its just the best value on the market.
'04 Sedona EX
BTW, when KIA Sedona owners trash Chrysler, I feel it appropriate to counter with another view highlighting the achilles heel of the Sedona.
Each minivan has advantages and disadvantages. I test drove a 2002 Kia Sedona shortly after it was released and was quite favorable impressed with the overall package although the interior seemed on the small side. The driver and front passenger seating were very comfortable and it had a smooth, quiet ride with satisfactory performance from the 3.5L V6 (and I believe a 5 speed AT).
It did not have the power or interior space of the 2002 Odyssey EX that I test drove but the price was also thousands less. If initial cost is crucial, the KIA Sedona would be a good choice.
I felt that the KIA Sedona was comparable in price, performance, and interior volume to the Caravan or Voyager with the 3.3L V6 in 2002 and feel the same would be true for 2005 comparing a KIA Sedona to a Caravan or SWB T&C. However, the DC minivans have a much higher EPA fuel rating at 19 City and 26 Highway. Neither DC nor Sedona retain the high percentage of resale value of the Odyssey or Sienna.
I respect everything you said in that last post. If money was no object for me I too would buy the Honda. They and Toyota are leading the world in quality standards right now. I just cant stomache the prices and the arrogance at the dealerships. I usually shop for value in my purchases and besides.....if the entire world drove the same vehicle things would get pretty darn boring.
As for my comments about Chrysler I feel strongly about that issue. The last three company cars I chose were Chryslers:
1995 Dodge Intrepid
1998 Dodge Caravan
2002 PT Cruiser
My company maintains a fleet of 225 company cars for engineers nationwide. Last year they discontinued the Chrysler options due to extensive repair costs. I actually liked all three vehicles but after breaking down countless times you get a bad taste in your mouth. At the same time my Brother in law has a late 90's caravan with 200,000 miles and has not lost a transmission so go figure??
'04 Sedona EX
I just drove my '05 Odyssey for 2 2-hr trips this week with no back issues. My friend--who can't set foot into a BMW without serious back problems--drove his '05 Odyssey from Philly to Montreal and back and said it was a pleasure. I suggest you find a way to take a very long or overnight test drive; I suspect the "back" issues you refer to are very particular to the driver.
My wife wanted Pilot (my sister is very happy with hers), but switched to Odyssey at last minute after seeing how much easier access was for our young children (Odyssey closer to ground, more room inside).
Very happy with my Odyssey.
If you are willing to take a little more risk as to reliability and maintenance expense over a Honda or Toyota, a used Volvo V70 wagon w/optional rear seat can accomodate 2 kids 50-88 lbs in back rear-facing seat, in addition to 5 regular passenger seats. If you go for it, buy a good extended warranty.
Product marketing for expected sales is usually based strongly on customer perception of the product. If customers are not confident in the quality/reliability of a product, they will resist buying it unless there are attractive differentials like price and longer warranty - which serve as the carrot/bait for these customer segment.
Warranty As A Weapon (Warranty Week)
If Honda/Toyota/Nissan can attract their intended customers because of their superior product, there is no need to offer the longer warranties of their less-regarded competitors. Hate to say it, there will always be that "el cheapo" customer segment that Honda/Toyota/Nissan would not
Again it comes down to the customer perception of the product and also the superior product performance.
Again it comes down to the customer perception of the product and also the superior product performance."
You have to wonder where some people get off making it look like if you don't buy a Honda or Toyota, your either a cheapskate, the van is nothing but a cheapo, or you don't have enough brains to buy the(superior product) put out by the Japanese.
Well I did like the discount I got buying my Dodge GC. I could have easily bought a Honda Odyssey or the Toyota Sienna and chose not to because of how I want to use my van. The Honda, Toyota did not fit in with how I wanted to use it.
While the Dodge van has had it share of problems, I can see that so has the Odyssey. Are there more people complaining about Chrysler vans? Sure are. But Chrysler also sells a heck of a lot more vans than Odyssey. As a matter of fact, they have out sold all the Japanese mini vans combined last year. Maybe you should add up all the complaints all the Japanese vans have had and see how that compares.
Did Honda come out with a better van this year? I think so. But it took a lot of copying from Chrysler before any of them did it. Is it all that much better? I don't think so. Not with all the complaints it's getting on this site.
Even with it new engine that shuts off three cylinders and five speed transmission, all developed to save gas, it is only rated one mpg city and two mpg highway, better than the Chrysler/Dodge that only has a four speed tranny and all the cylinders fire.
My van rides smoother and quieter than the Honda and their is no rattles in it. The front seats fit like a glove.
So don't keep coming out with that so superior talk as if the rest of us non Japanese buyers, are just plain cheap or that not smart enough attitude, to buy the same van you own because it is soooo much better.