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Minivans - Domestic or Foreign



  • kwonc71kwonc71 Posts: 245
    I mean bang for the buck.
    You can turn ESC off manually. Even with ESC on, tire spins for a second before ESC kicks in.
  • dc_driverdc_driver Posts: 712
    Never thought I would say this, but it looks like I will be replacing my much loved 2002 Nissan Altima SE for a minivan in the near future (next six months or so). My Altima has never had one problem outside of routine maintenance, reliability is very important to me (previously before the Altima I owned a VW Jetta VR6 that was in the shop every other month).

    Here are the factors that I am focusing on:
    - Reliability
    - Safety
    - Fun to drive (performance/handling)
    - Resale
    - Functionality
    - Looks

    After doing a ton of research (and having driven some of the vans on the market), I have ruled out:
    - The Nissan Quest (questionable reliability, horrible interior, questionable resale). Although they have redone the interior for 07, I doubt I will consider the 07.
    - The Dodge/Chrysler vans (very loud engine, not happy with the interior layout/material, questionable safety, poor resale, do not like the exterior looks as much). I have had friends and family that have had reliability issues with their Caravan's over the past several years as well.
    - Kia Sedona. Too be honest, I have not driven the 06 Sedona, and am very impressed with this van, but am very skeptical of buying the first year of a new redesign as significant as the Sedona. I also have questions about reliability and resale value. I will definitely drive the van, but doubt I will purchase for the above reasons. Warranty means nothing to me when my van is in the shop constantly.

    This leaves:
    - Honda Odyssey
    - Toyota Sienna

    I was leaning towards the Sienna until I spent some time recently in a friends 06 Odyssey. He let me take it for a spin and I was surprised at how amazing this van accelerates and handles. This van is nearly as quick as my Altima and handles much more like a sedan than a large van. The Sienna, while it had a very smooth ride, did not feel as responsive and quick. Edmunds claims the Odyssey accelerates from 0-60 in right around 7 seconds! That is fast for a van!

    I also like the exterior styling of the Odyssey slightly better than the Sienna, but am still impressed with the Sienna's interior and overall-all value.

    Gas mileage seems to be very close between the two, but I would sacrifice 2-3mpg for a van that is much more responsive to the road and accelerates more quickly in and out of traffic (a must where I live)..

    My wife and I will definitely drive these vans back-to-back before we buy, and overall the prices are very close (the Odyssey is slightly more when comparing the cloth EX with a Sienna 8 passenger LE with stability control). I honestly like the way that Honda packages their options, with Toyota there are way too many different packages and it can be confusing.

    I will definitely keep the forum posted on what happens. for now it is looking like the Odyssey and Sienna are at the top of my list with the Kia Sedona (and possibly the Hyundai Entourage) as a very outside option..
  • jipsterjipster Louisville, KentuckyPosts: 5,441
    When I read your "factors to focus on" I figured you would go with the Ody. In my opinon the Ody outscores Sienna fairly well in the fun to drive and "looks"(exterior) department. Everything else on your list is equal.

    "So, what do I have to do to put you in a Ody today?"
    Are you ready for it? :cry:
    Good luck.
  • sebring95sebring95 Posts: 3,238
    That's about how our list of needs read, except you could hack reliability off the top (not a biggie for me, they're all pretty good these days....).

    One thing I noticed (and you may as well) the Ody feels a little sluggish when green. The model I test drove was a dealer demo with about 4k miles on the clock and performed very nicely (considering it's a big hefty vehicle). When I took delivery of mine, I was a bit disappointed with the performance. After a thousand or so break-in miles, it felt the way I expected. I've noticed some folks on here say they couldn't really feel the performance difference in the Ody when test driving. Either they too were driving green motors, or perhaps left the parking brake on. :P
  • hansiennahansienna Posts: 2,312
    I was confused by your Town Hall name and erroneously thought you were a DaimlerChrysler driver. :confuse:

    Apparently the performance Sienna vs Odyssey varies from vehicle to vehicle since the Sienna we test drove and our 2006 Sienna LE definitely have faster acceleration than the 1999, 2002, or 2006 Odysseys I have test driven. ;)

    Our 2002 T&C LX with 3.3L V6 does not accelerate as fast as the Siennas or 2002 and 2006 Odysseys once the speed is 40 MPH or faster. DC acceleration compared to Sienna/Odyssey drops off even more as the speed climbs above 40 MPH.
  • dc_driverdc_driver Posts: 712
    Having driven my friends it was already broken in and more and more transmissions these days adjust to your driving style. I have not driven an Odyssey off the dealers lot yet, but expect it to be a little slower than a broken in one.

    As for reliability, I think the Honda and Toyota are probably dead even, but I am still worried about the Sedona. Five years ago I would NEVER have considered buying a Kia/Hyundai but they have come a long way fast.. Still, I am not a fan of buying a 1st year significant new model from any manufacturer.

    The other thing that scares me about the Kia is resale. I can almost guarantee that the same van one or two years from now will have a $2000-3000 rebate available. This will kill the resale of the first model year...
  • hansiennahansienna Posts: 2,312
    Kia has the same problem that DaimlerChrysler has...unless you compare resale with actual selling price of all minivans when they are new.
    Compare the actual selling price of a 2006 Sedona EX with the price of a Sienna LE or Odyssey EX. ALWAYS get a discount, rebate, or Incentive when buying a Sedona, Caravan/Grand Caravan, or a Town & Country.
    It is also a necessity to insist on a discount if you buy a new Sienna or Odyssey since they too can no longer be sold at MSRP unless someone is living in a cave and lets CR make their decisions.
  • dc_driverdc_driver Posts: 712
    Haha, I could see where my name would be confusing :) I live in Northern VA :)

    For the money, the T&C vans are a tremendous value. Stow-and-go will probably be standard on most vans in the future, and you are right the T&C vans that I have driven (one as recently as two months ago) were not nearly as quick as the Odyssey/Sienna that I have driven. For most people, it is more than adequate, but I really like having the extra push when trying to navigate the crazy freeways here. If you have ever driven around and thru the metro-DC area you probably know what I am talking about.

    For those of you that are not familiar with what I am talking about, we have tons of freeways here and even though the speed limit is typically 55mph, almost everyone drives 70-80mph, even in the far right lanes. We have some of the most aggressive drivers in the world and everyone is always in a big rush. This can make merging on and off freeways tricky and requires you to have a vehicle that can accelerate very quickly from 20-70mph, and also from 55mph-80mph for passing.

    That said, I felt that the Odyssey, off the line, to be slightly quicker than the Sienna (Edmunds claims the 06 Odyssey can hit zero to 60 in 7.1 seconds). Where I noticed the biggest difference is when passing (55-80mph). I have driven three Toyotas recently (4Runner, Highlander, Sienna) all had V6's and all seemed to hesitate (slightly) when I stomped on the gas peddle when trying to pass on the freeway. Granted, all seemed to accelerate more than adequately, but the hesitation was noticeable.

    This is not a deal-breaker for me, and honestly I feel that the Sienna has more than enough power to handle traffic here. I think, quite possibly, the biggest deal-breaker for me could be the handling of the Honda vs the Toyota. To me, the Odyssey seemed to handle better and feel more responsive. But, my wife will have the ultimate say since she will be driving this vehicle about 70% more than me.

    The only other thing that frustrates me with the Toyota are the crazy packages. I absolutely insist that my next minivan will have stability control in it. This makes the price between the Honda (EX/cloth) and Toyota (LE/8 passenger/) very similar and the EX has two power side doors as opposed to one. Price and feature wise, the vans are very close in price and will not make a big difference in either direction.

    I have to say, this is a great forum and really appreciate peoples feedback. I now it sounds like I am leaning towards the Honda, but it is a very, very, close advantage. It will most likely come down to the very small things now (which van is easiest load car seats into, which van is easier to move seats around, seating comfort, etc).
  • hansiennahansienna Posts: 2,312
    The Odyssey 2nd row seats can be moved MUCH more easily than the Sienna 2nd row seats. My 2006 Sienna LE right 2nd row seat was installed INCORRECTLY at the factory. Neither Toyota nor Honda have quality control any better than Kia or DaimlerChrysler. :cry:
    The Odyssey has better seating arrangement if you want to take 8 people in the van only on rare occasions since the 2nd row of the Odyssey has armrests for each of the outside bucket seats while the Sienna 8 passenger has NO armrests for any of the 3 seats of the 2nd row.
    We bought the Sienna LE vs Odyssey EX vs GC SXT but I now wish we had purchased the GC SXT. The GC SXT has the cheapest looking interior but has more of the nice features we want than either the Sienna LE or Odyssey EX.
  • dc_driverdc_driver Posts: 712
    Totally agree with you on the rebate issue :)

    Lucky for me we have some pretty competitive Toyota and Honda dealers in the area. I get get Sienna's easily at 1000-12000 below factory invoive and can get very close to factory invoice pricing on the Odyssey. My trade-in will be a factor as well, but overall I think I should be able to get either van with the options that I want within about $500-600 of each other.
  • hansiennahansienna Posts: 2,312
    It appears that the Odyssey EX would be the BEST choice for you. ;)
  • dc_driverdc_driver Posts: 712
    Thanks for the honest feedback :)
    We will see :) The way I see it, you cannot really go wrong with either of these vans, but if you are going to be spending $24-35K (or more!) on a van you should get the one you really want if they are close in price..
  • daddioof4daddioof4 Posts: 50
    Okay, our 2000 MPV had 147k miles on it and my wife decided it was time to get a new van. I on the other hand wanted to wait at least a year until my 03 Elantra was paid off. The MPV was running great and we never had a problem with it. Then the driver side front window switch died ($285 dealer part, $100 from junk yard). Wife had a flat and AAA put the spare on and screwed up the cable that holds the spare when they wound it back up ($300 dealer repair), then Check engine light came on. I didn't have any of these repaired. Then the alternator died ($404 independent repair, had to have this done. So I started looking. My four kids are bigger now then in 2000 when we bought the MPV (ages 17, 16, 13 and 10). So I decided to go bigger. After checking all Minivans, if price wasn't an issue, my choices in descending order was the Honda, Toyota and Kia followed by Mazda and Nissan. The first three had no compromises. The next two did. They were size, no split fold rear seat and no side curtain for back seats for MPV. No rolled down windows in second row and the ugliest dashboard ever conceived in the Nissan. Unfortunately, price IS an issue. The only mfg over good discounts were Mazda and Nissan. Well, after almost two months, we got another MPV, a new 2005 discounted beyond believe. It is an LX listed for $22940,
    with compass/homelink autodim mirror $300,
    rear step plate $50,
    4 seasons pkg $425,
    side airbag/traction control $400,
    Plus pkg $1505,
    roofrack $250,
    destination/delivery $545,
    grand total came to $26415. On March 31, I got it for $18266. Got $3700 trade in on my 2000 with 147k. Came home with it for $14566.00 nothing out of pocket. Man, what a deal. It was all done via email, with me only using the phone one time, to see what the catch was. As it ended, there was no catch. The improvements over the 2000 are all subtle but good. Bigger engine, 5 spd vs. 4 spd, bigger tires, 4-wheel disc, radio controls on steering wheel. Couldn't justify spending $5k more for a larger van when this van is easier to use in everyday driving. Only short coming is when we pack it for vacation. Wife is happy and we still have a zoom zoom zoom!
  • thegraduatethegraduate Posts: 9,731
    Ok, I read the post and came away a little confused. I thought you were needing the van because your kids have outgrown it?
  • dc_driverdc_driver Posts: 712
    Did you look for any 2005 Kia Sedona's? Kia is practically giving these away right now...

    Overall, I have owned several Mazda's (2 RX-7's, and a Tribute) and have been very happy with their reliability, engineering, and performance. It does look like you got a good deal too :)

  • jc9799jc9799 Posts: 70
    Nice deal on the new van. Guess $5K is worth more than the extra space for your kids in the back. ;) Kidding of course. We also noticed a lack of space when packing for 6 on a week(+) long vacation a couple of months ago. Still, just putzing around town when my folks join us, the MPV works fine.


  • daddioof4daddioof4 Posts: 50
    To answer thegraduate. My first preference was the larger vans. But, I had a hard time justifying paying $5800 more for the Honda or Toyota or $4600 more for the Kia or Nissan. The size factor only impacts us two days a year when we drive 11 hours to go on vacation. On any other given day of the year, the Mazda is sized "Better" than the four listed above. If I had an extra $5k, I probably would have bought the Kia. It has all the features of the Honda/Toyota, plus some standard items that were optional on the Honda/Toyota for $1200 less. As a matter of fact, I was thinking of waiting for the Hyundai Entourage (Kia Sedona twin), because I figure I would qualify for a owners loyalty discount. But, the MPV was to good of a deal to pass up. BTW my kids preferred the MPV over the Honda and Toyota that my wife preferred.
  • hansiennahansienna Posts: 2,312
    Congratulations on your new MPV. It is often better to buy the same brand each time.
    I was familiar with all the knobs, buttons, switches, etc. on my 02 T&C and the ones on the 2006 Sienna are placed in different locations and are NOT as user friendly to me.
    If I were buying now, I would buy the GC SXT instead of my Sienna LE. Except for the few long trips, the Caravan SXT would be more convenient than either longer Sienna or GC just like your MPV is MOST convenient except for your vacation trips. ;)
  • alpyaalpya Posts: 7
    I am in market shopping for a new Van. My earlier one was 2001 Toyota Highlander. I am in two thoughts between Honda Ody and Toyota Sie. But seems like am narrowing it down to Toyota Sie LE 8 passenger with option #6. But all of my research on this vehicle, I have not come across a single mention that theres a leather interior option available. Is there one available? If so has anyone got that done and what was the cost?

    Appreciate all the helpful tips and information
  • thegraduatethegraduate Posts: 9,731
    I see, I apparently completely misread your post; I was thinking you were shopping for a new van BECAUSE your current one was too small, and ended up buying the same thing. You can see why this logic confused me! After re-reading, I see that it was bordering on worn out!
  • sebring95sebring95 Posts: 3,238
    8-passenger Sienna is not available with Leather. Ody EX-L is the only way to get 8 passengers and leather.
  • rorrrorr Posts: 3,630
    "8-passenger Sienna is not available with Leather."

    ...from the Factory.

    There ARE a number aftermarket sources for leather interior on Siennas. In fact, your local dealer may already have deals made with local upholstery shops to have leather added to any vehicle you want and have the price rolled into the vehicle contract.

    It even shows up in the 'Build Your Own' section on Toyota's website as a stand alone option (depending on what area of the country you are in).
  • jipsterjipster Louisville, KentuckyPosts: 5,441
    Congrats and welcome to the MPVClub :blush: ...or Club Zoom Zoom as I like to call it.

    Agree with the size of MPV. Perfect except for long vacations with more than 4. Perfect size for our family of four. But, on long trips where mother-in -law comes along, the non split back seat limits luggage capacity. I guess a cargo carrier would take care of that problem though.
  • rorrrorr Posts: 3,630
    "I guess a cargo carrier would take care of that problem though."

    My hat's off to you jipster.

    I'm pretty certain I'd NEVER be able to get my MIL into a cargo carrier..... ;)
  • thegraduatethegraduate Posts: 9,731
    I'm pretty certain I'd NEVER be able to get my MIL into a cargo carrier.....

    ROFL :P ;) :D
  • dad23dad23 Posts: 430
    I'm pretty certain I'd NEVER be able to get my MIL into a cargo carrier.....

    I bet if you tried HARD enough, you could :surprise:
  • rorrrorr Posts: 3,630
    "I bet if you tried HARD enough, you could"

    Ummm, possibly.

    I think it comes down to a question of trip duration vs. the effective duration of the tranquilizer dart. I'd hate to be stuck in traffic, running late, when the darn thing worn off....
  • thegraduatethegraduate Posts: 9,731
    I think the looks from the other drivers would be priceless though.
  • hansiennahansienna Posts: 2,312
    Leather is available in ONLY the Sienna XLE and Limited. A Sienna XLE would probably cost about the same as the Ody EX-L for comparable content.
    If you MUST have seating for 8 and leather, the Ody EX-L is the only viable choice. Aftermarket leather would NOT be as satisfactory as when the leather is installed at the factory. ;)
  • jchan2jchan2 Posts: 4,956
    I've tried aftermarket leather before at dealerships and honestly I can't really tell the difference between the factory installed stuff and the dealer installed stuff.

    Maybe I'm just not looking hard enough for the differences...
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