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Minivans - Domestic or Foreign



  • nwngnwng Posts: 664
    i wish i can afford an impulse appliance purchase
  • sebring95sebring95 Posts: 3,238
    The Freestar, albeit a lame-duck minivan, represents an excellent used minivan buy, in my opinion despite the poor fuel economy (for a minivan).

    Your thoughts on this?

    I've always considered the Caravan the choice for bargain used buying. It's a nicer vehicle with a low price on the used market. How much cheaper is a freestar on the corner lot? I've not shopped so I can't say, but the prices I've seen on 2 year old program Caravans screams deal. And it's a far better vehicle IMHO. The Freestar reminded me of driving a Taurus, which I'll do anything to avoid at the rental counter.
  • rorrrorr Posts: 3,630
    I'll agree with you completely.

    Comparing the Caravan to the Freestar head to head as new vehicles, the Caravan is far better (IMO) on several fronts. These advantages exist whether the vehicles in question are new or used. The Freestar would ONLY make more sense to purchase used if, for some reason, a Freestar were considerably cheaper than a comparable Caravan with similar mileage.
  • jchan2jchan2 Posts: 4,956
    I guess my opinion has been swayed by the ads in my area that scream "USED FREESTARS for $14,995!"

    Come to think of it, a dealer here advertised some ex-rental Grand Caravans at $13,990 so I guess the Grand Caravan is cheaper...
  • philliplcphilliplc Posts: 136
    in my area *80k power-train certified* 05 ex-fleet t&c lx's with s&g are typically advertised for $14995. hard to beat that for value in that price range.

    i still have my original 05 windstar (140k with original tranny lol, gotta be rare) just as a backup beater. can't believe ford hasn't updated the look in 11 years.
  • 97xpresso97xpresso Posts: 249
    The Freestar is so lame duck, it's forum has not had a post since 1/30/06. Soon it will become a "read only" topic.
  • Thanks to you all that replied.

    The 3 belts has become less important in recent days.

    The dodge/chrysler seem to provide the most flexibility. We are going to spend more time at a toyota dealer tomorrow.

    Thanks again.
  • jchan2jchan2 Posts: 4,956
    I wonder how often it takes the local Lincoln-Mercury dealer to sell a single Monterey...
  • 97xpresso97xpresso Posts: 249
    I don't even think I ever saw one on the road. I did see my first Dodge Caliber yesterday.
  • sebring95sebring95 Posts: 3,238
    I wonder how often it takes the local Lincoln-Mercury dealer to sell a single Monterey..

    According to Automotive News inventories as of March 1, 2006:

    Model/Days Supply


    I would say Ford tightened their production belts pretty hard. I'd also say the minivan market has dried a bit for the Dodge/Honda since their inventories are both up a bit. Here are the numbers from July 1, 2005:


    Toyota does not report inventory by model. Overall here is the inventory by manufacturer for March, 1 2006:

  • jchan2jchan2 Posts: 4,956
    I've seen two- a red one and a silver one.

    I didn't know the Relay was that slow of a seller...
  • thegraduatethegraduate Posts: 9,731
    Yeah, I think most of those GM Crossover-Sport Vans are pretty much glued to showroom floors. They keep Enterprise R.A.C. busy though.
  • hansiennahansienna Posts: 2,312
    Isn't GM building up a huge inventory (90 days) to use as a cushion with the possibility of a strike at Delphi?

    The biggest surprise to me is that there was only a 57 day supply of Caravan while there was a 52 day supply of the Odyssey as of March 1, 2006.

    Compare these numbers with 47 day supply of Caravan and only 26 day supply of Odyssey as of July 1, 2005

    Has the demand for the Odyssey dropped as fast in 8 months as current inventory that is twice as large implies?
  • thegraduatethegraduate Posts: 9,731
    Has the demand for the Odyssey dropped as fast in 8 months as current inventory that is twice as large implies?

    Probably, because it isn't a brand-new model anymore. Just like most new-releases, cars sit less time when they are brand new, in high-demand, and don't have extra production surpluses from years of production.
  • jchan2jchan2 Posts: 4,956
    I wonder when GM will put the magical $5000 cashback on these vans...
  • thegraduatethegraduate Posts: 9,731
    The magic rebates better come soon. People like Pontiac should be filling their showrooms with Solstices and G6 convertibles, not 7 year old minivans.
  • jchan2jchan2 Posts: 4,956
    I think the only reason GM continued building these is to keep the Doraville, GA plant alive without having to pay UAW workers for nothing...
  • badgerfanbadgerfan Posts: 1,565
    Hopefully I am not beating a dead horse, but I checked our 1996 Caravan operators manual, and it most definitely stated that the seat belts will lock up only in the event of a severe stop or a crash. They definitely would not lock up on the "jerk test" that temp409 has been using to "prove" that Dodge minivan seatbelts do not work.
  • sebring95sebring95 Posts: 3,238
    Actually, 90 days isn't all that high for GM. If you look at last July's numbers, they were low becuase they were running the employee pricing scam....i mean scheme...whoops i mean promotion.

    Honda does typically keep production tight during the first year or so of a new model. Toyota does the same. The new Civic is sitting on 24 day supply, which is less than half of where they were last year.

    Sales look strong for all the main players, except T&C. Following is January 2006 Sales and % change from January 2005:

    T&C 9447 -17%
    Caravan 16,273 +18%
    Odyssey 10,257 +10%
    Freestar 5,746 +4%
    Sienna 11,774 +27%
    Monterey 338 -62%

    Yeah, I threw the Monterey in there for fun!
  • jchan2jchan2 Posts: 4,956
    I didn't know people actually BOUGHT Montereys in January 2005...
  • leibiusleibius Posts: 2
    I work for an automotive research firm, and am interested in your thoughts regarding use of 2nd row seats. For instance, the Sienna offers a center "child presenter" function, to slide your child closer to the front row. Has anyone used this feature? What do you think of it -- and how does it work with & without infant seats? How many of you "mix" infant seats with empty seats? Where do you put infant seats most often? What happens when you need to get into the 3rd row?

    In short, any thoughts and opinions on how you use your 2nd row seats would be most helpful in designing better seats for future minivans. Thanks!
  • cpsdarrencpsdarren Posts: 265
    We normally keep two of our three kids in the 2nd row seats of our 2006 Odyssey EX-L. Around town, we usually keep the seats separated with an aisle in between. That's plenty of space for the other child to access the third row. We sometimes slide the passenger side captain's chair to the center if adults need to access the third row. That leaves a very large access to the back seat, if you also slide it forward. This arrangement also leaves the "60" folding section of the third row seat open in case we need to haul cargo.

    On a recent trip, I put the older kids in the 3rd row seat, one in a high back booster and the other in an extended weight 5-point harness restraint. That left the passenger-side 2nd row seat (moved to the center) and center 3rd row seat open. That allowed my wife to move back to the second row to be next to the rear-facing 11 month old. She could also get back to the third row to help the older kids when needed. That worked very well for us on a 2300 mile round trip drive. She ended up spending most of her time next to the baby, rather than in the front seat. In that regard, the comfort of the full sized captain's chair was an added bonus.

    We use the 8th PlusOne seat only as needed for an extra child or passenger. Normally, it is stored in the compartment where the Lazy Susan would be. This works great for us, since we only have 5 passengers most of the time. If we carried 7 or 8 passengers regularly, the Sienna 8-passenger version would have been a better choice.

    The Sienna's 8th seat option is very nice as a full time seat. The integrated shoulder belt and LATCH system are very handy for child restraints and passengers of all ages. The slide forward feature was nice, but would be much better if the mechanism allowed you to do this without removing the chair and re-attaching it. One other dislike is that the flush-mounted seatbelt buckles can be hard to access, especially for kids in boosters when they are sitting next to a child restraint.

    I had originally ordered a Sienna LE8, with the idea of having 3 kids in the second row and leaving the third row open. When our previous van sold, I quickly discovered that having our kids in the same row of our wagon was not pleasant on a daily basis. That was one reason I reconsidered the Odyssey and it's stowable 8th seat option.

    In my opinion, the ideal second row arrangement would be a Stow 'n Go system like the Chrysler minivans have. It would be improved with three separate stowable chairs, similar to those in the 8-passenger Sienna. It would also be easier to stow and have improved comfort compared to the current Chrysler design. Having LATCH in all three seats like the Sienna would be another great feature. That would be the best of all worlds for seating and cargo flexibility.
  • hansiennahansienna Posts: 2,312
    No armrests for any of the 2nd row seats. :cry:

    IF a person needs 8 passenger seating, the Odyssey EX with 8 passenger seating is the best choice. (The former Astro/Safari 8 passenger minivans were good because it was easier for children to access the 3rd row with an 8 passenger van than with the middle 2nd row seat in place with the Odyssey).
  • cpsdarrencpsdarren Posts: 265
    The lack of armrests might be a nuisance if you have adults in the 2nd row frequently. It's not much of an issue for kids, especially ones in carseats that often have their own armrests anyway. I'd much rather have the Sienna if I regularly had 7 or 8 in the van, but prefer the Odyssey for seating 5-6 regularly but more every now and then.

    The Odyssey's PlusOne seat is fine for a narrow booster or teenager, but not wide enough for an adult on a longer trip. The Sienna's 3rd row is also a couple inches wider which can help for 3 across, even though the legroom is less for adults. The tumble forward mechanism on the 8-passenger model is a little easier than the 7-passenger version and leaves a reasonable clearance for adults and plenty for kids.
  • phillymomphillymom Posts: 30
    We are shopping for our first minivan. We are trying to keep the cost low so we have narrowed down to the 2005 or 2006 Kia Sedona or Dodge Caravan (SXT model).

    Any opinions on either of these brands/models?
  • temp409temp409 Posts: 55
    We paid less for the 05 kia this year than 01 caravan purchased it in 02 and kia's 20yr 200,000 powertrain is way better than caravan offers. Plus kias rear shoulder straps will catch when you jerk them. You should see pics of my daughters face from Dodge caravan wreck where hers didn't catch her.
    From the resident seatbelt jerker. :P
  • jipsterjipster Louisville, KentuckyPosts: 5,441
    If you go Kia I would go with the new 2006 model. You'll also get more standard safty features with the Kia.
  • temp409temp409 Posts: 55
    LOVE MY KIA hate The caravan I had.
  • philliplcphilliplc Posts: 136
    agreed, if you want a kia go 06. the 06 sedona is much more refined than the 02-05 version - lighter with more powerful engine, standard 4-wheel disc abs with brake assist, traction/stability control, side airbags, fold into floor rear seat, much better rear climate control than the neanderthal rear heater in my 02, plus it's longer but (theoretically) gets better mileage than 02-05. it also has "active" headrests, which the IIHS is big on to combat neck injuries in rear-enders.

    also it's not widely advertised but kia has $1000 finance bonus cash plus 3.9% financing listed for the 06 sedona on their website through april.
  • jchan2jchan2 Posts: 4,956
    I thought Kia's warranty was 10 yrs/100K miles.

    There is no way on earth Kia would stick such a long warranty (20 years, 200K miles) on the Sedona- even cars with a "sterling" reliability reputation may not go that long without a repair. (I know my Civic hasn't, and neither has my Odyssey)

    Between the two, I would probably lean towards an 06 Sedona, because of the added safety features you get, the longer warranty, and because its a newer design than the Caravan.

    The Dodge dealer would have to offer me a very, very good deal on the Caravan SXT to get me into one.
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