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Minivans - Domestic or Foreign



  • hansiennahansienna Posts: 2,312
    The quality of the leather MIGHT be equal to factory installed....BUT, everything seems to fit better and last longer when installed at the factory instead of later.

    Aftermarket leather may look nice but how will it appear in 4 or 5 years? :blush:
  • sebring95sebring95 Posts: 3,238
    I've seen some very good aftermarket leather actually. A local guy I know put Katskins (i think that's the spelling) in his VW about five years ago. It still looks as good as any OEM leather I've seen. Most OEM leather is NOT the greatest IMHO, particularly in low-end vehicles such as we're discussing. The Odyssey leather is rather industrial, which is probably good for kid use. The leather in my wifes Lexus is very nice, but good lord it should be!

    Eitehr way it doesn't change the fact that the 8-passenger model Sienna is an LE, which is rather stripped down.
  • jipsterjipster Louisville, KentuckyPosts: 5,441
    I'm pretty certain I'd NEVER be able to get my MIL into a cargo carrier..."

    hmmm...that post of mine on cargo carriers and MIL didn't seem to come out the way I intended . Perhaps a Fruedian slip? :blush:

    Though on last years trip to Florida I did see a few cargo carriers had fallen off their vehicles, busted open, and abandoned along side the interstate. So, some of you out there aren't using enough sedatives when putting the ole bat(MIL) in storeage for long trips. Ya got put some sleeping bags, luggage and other nick knacks in with MIL...that way she can't get those knees up to kick
    the cargo carrier open and escape. :sick:
  • dc_driverdc_driver Posts: 712
    I agree with you on this. I have found that most aftermarket leather is usually of a better quality than most OEM leather (obviously this depends on the brand). It is important that the work be done by a reputable shop. My father-in-law had aftermarket leather installed in his SUV and it fit and looked very nice (I think he paid around $1K). I would definitely not spend 2-10K extra on a vehicle just to get leather (if you do not want the other options).
  • jrock65jrock65 Posts: 1,371

    Can you add the Entourage and the Quest to this thread?

    Also, I think the Venture should be changed to the Uplander.

  • jchan2jchan2 Posts: 4,956
    What would be a good price to pay for a 06 Sienna Limited with Package 3 right now? The lone dealer in my area with a package 3 Sienna is offering $36,029 after all discounts, and the $1000 off coupon the Nashville area dealers are offering.

    I have a gut feeling the dealership could go lower, but the price they're offering is below TMV.
  • dc_driverdc_driver Posts: 712
    After spending the entire day (and part of the night) yesterday test driving nearly half a dozen minivans I purchased a 2006 Odyssey EX-L in Northern VA for $500 under invoice (gotta love those end of month deals).

    I thought I would share some of my driving thoughts from the various manufacturers:

    - Toyota Sienna (LE and XLE). The Sienna was a very solid minivan that is well engineered. The seats in all rows were very comfortable, the dashboard was laid out nicely. Overall, my wife and I really liked the way the Sienna drove, it handled well, had a sharp turning radius, had brisk acceleration, and seems very solid. Here are the factors we did not like:
    - Packaging. What we hated was the various packages Toyota has for the Sienna. I insisted on stability control and hoped to purchase leather, but the Toyota XLE with leather was priced nearly $2K more than the Odyssey EX-L we purchased.
    - Performance/handling. The Odyssey was faster, and handled more to my liking (like a sedan). I actually liked the interior on the Odyssey slightly better after driving them back-to-back.
    - The worst part of the experience was the greasy sales manager at Lustine Toyota (Woodbridge, VA) who would not give me a breakdown in costs on paper and a final price. He kept telling me that the Odyssey price I was quoted by the Honda dealer was "too good to be true" and that first we needed to decide which van we wanted and then he could talk price. Needless to say, I informed him that I would deal with a different Toyota dealer if I decided to purchase a Sienna and walked out. I hate high-pressure sales tactics...
    - Safety. Overall, the Toyota has decent safety ratings per the IIHS, but received a "Poor" for rear impact collisions (compared to the Odysseys "Marginal"). I also did not like the fact that stability control was an option and not standard like the Honda.

    - Chrysler Town and Country (touring). Was actually very surprised with this minivan (having driven a Dodge Grand Caravan rental recently). This van was a loaded (leather, DVD, power liftgate, power doors, etc), model and had the 3.8L V6. First of all, this van drove my better than the Dodge GC we drove (I believe the rental had the 3.3L engine). The engine was much quieter during acceleration than the Dodge GC and had a ton of features for about 26K before TT&L. We drove this van as an afterthought really thiking it would come down to either the Toyota or Honda. The T&C's Stow and Go is a nice feature, and we loved the power liftgate and color options. The leather was not as plush as the Honda or Toyota, but it was not bad. As much as we liked this van, we picked the Honda based on these factors:
    - The T&C was not nearly as fun to drive as the Honda. The Honda was quieter, was much much faster, and handled much more like a car than the T&C.
    - The T&C's Stow&Go seats were uncomfortable. They would be adequate for children, or short trips, but I felt they would be uncomfotable on a long trip for an adult.
    - The overall fit and finish was not as nice as Honda or Toyota. The buttons and controls were poorly layed out (I felt as though they just bunched everything together) and the plastic controls felt very cheap.
    - We were also concerned with regards to reliability and safety on this van. Both Honda and Toyota get better overall safety and reliabily ratings.
    - Lastly, we were concerned with resale. Even though this van was severly marked down, we were concerned about trying to sell this van down the road.

    That said, the T&C had the most features for the money and had more than enough power. It handled well and is a great value. My conclusions are that all three of these vans are solid buys. I just felt that the Honda was the overall winner with regards to safety, reliability, performance and handling, functionality and features, resale, and price.
  • hansiennahansienna Posts: 2,312
    Congratulations on your nice new van. Excellent discussion of 3 minivans. ;)
    The Ocean Mist Metallic was our favorite color for the Odyssey EX with cloth interior and you got an EX-L for about $1,000 LESS than the best price we were quoted for an EX cloth without your extras.
  • hrngffcrhrngffcr Posts: 90
    From your discussion, did you not even consider the Kia Sedona or Hyundai Entourage?
  • dc_driverdc_driver Posts: 712
    I did consider them, and the Kia ranks very high with regards to safety. Here were my areas of concern:
    - I received several Internet quotes on the Kia (did not put out feelers for the Hyundai as I was not aware that they were available yet), and comparing the Kia EX with the luxury package and the power package, it was coming in slightly higher than a similarly equipped Honda Odyssey EX-L.
    - Although Kia/Hyundai have come a long way with regards to liability, I still think that Honda and Toyota have a much longer proven track record.
    - Was concerned about paying slightly more than invoice for a vehicle that may have $3K in rebates in 6-12 months. This would kill resale value.
    - Lastly, this vehicle is a completely redesigned model. I usually like to wait at least a year for the dealer to "work out the kinks".

    There is no doubt that the Kia is a very nice minivan, but based on the deal I got on the Honda, the Kia was actually slightly more expensive for almost the exact same features. In another 6-12 months, the Kia (with steep rebates) will most likely be 2K cheaper.
  • ClairesClaires Chicago areaPosts: 1,222
    Hi, deekster,

    This topic's for discussing shopping for minivans, so I've moved your post to the discussion below, where it's more likely to get the answer's you're looking for:

    Dodge/Plymouth/Chrysler Minivan Problems & Solutions, post #3918


    Need help getting around? - or send a private message by clicking on my name.

  • dc_driverdc_driver Posts: 712
    hansienna, thanks I love the van (our first mini van!) I was all set on getting the Silver Platinum van when I saw the Ocean Mist Metallic on the lot. Both me and my wife liked it the best, and since our other vehicle is silver, we thought this would be a nice compliment.

    It seems as thought Honda is getting more competitive with pricing these vans. It also helps to shop at the end of the month and get as many quotes as possible. Some of the quotes I received came in just below MSRP! In addition, I am fortunate that I live near so many Honda dealers. I was able to get quotes from about eight dealers all within 25 miles of my house.

    I also have to thank you for all your comments on the Grand Caravans. We came very close to buying a loaded Chrysler Town and Country (Touring). Anyone thinking about buying either a Toyota or Honda should take the time to drive this van. IMHO, the T&C and Dodge GC SXT vans probably offer the best overall value for the money. The Toyota and Honda just felt more solid, drove better, and had better fit and finsish.
  • ClairesClaires Chicago areaPosts: 1,222

    Can you add the Entourage and the Quest to this thread?

    Also, I think the Venture should be changed to the Uplander.

    Done :) But feel free to discuss shopping for any van you like here, even if you don't see its name up top. I've added the Uplander but have left the Venture in the description -- quite a few people come in here asking about purchasing used vehicles, as well as new ones.


    Need help getting around? - or send a private message by clicking on my name.

  • hrngffcrhrngffcr Posts: 90
    Fair enough. I agree on waiting a year. I do not plan to buy until the end of the year. Not quite a year, but should be enough time, with all the forum feedback, and two essentially the same minivans to be able to tell. The Odyssey would definetly be my choice after the Kia and Hyundai.
  • Does anyone know if I can get a second row bench for the Odyssey or any other minivan? I would like to install my baby's car seat in the center and NOT next to the door.

    Any suggestions I will appreciate.

    I went to the Kia daler to ask this about the Sedona, but they said there's a bench only for the third row.

    Thank you,
  • jc9799jc9799 Posts: 70
    The Odyssey can be had with 8 seat capacity. Off the top of my head, I think the EX comes this way. The Toyota Sienna CE and LE also come with an 8 seat option.
    As another option, the right side 2nd row seat on the MPV can slide left to a more central position. I think the 7 seat Odyssey can also do this.

    Good luck,
  • sebring95sebring95 Posts: 3,238
    The 8 passenger Ody can also slide the 2nd row buckets together as well. It just requires removing the center seat which will fold up and fit in the in-floor storage (assuming, like the Dodge, the in-floor storage isn't crammed with stuff). We pulled our center 2nd row seat out this weekend for a trip and it folds up quite small actually.
  • cpsdarrencpsdarren Posts: 265
    "Does anyone know if I can get a second row bench for the Odyssey or any other minivan? I would like to install my baby's car seat in the center and NOT next to the door."

    The 8-passenger Sienna (available on CE and LE trims) not only has a middle seat in the second row, but that seat can also be moved forward for easier access to a child from the front seat. This might be a nice feature for you, though moving the seat to that position is some effort so you wouldn't want to be moving it back and forth daily. The more common 7-passenger Sienna has a passenger side second row seat that can be moved toward the center like the Odyssey and MPV, though it is a little more difficult to move it.

    Children are very safe when properly restrained in any rear seating position. This is particularly true of kids in 5-point harnesses, especially rear-facing models. These seats offer an added degree of side impact protection. I would have no concerns having a child in an outboard rear seat of today's top minivans, assuming they are properly restrained in a correctly installed child seat. Carseats with a 5-point harness provide additional side impact protection, especially rear-facing infant and convertible seats. In most minivans, you also have the advantage of height and a few more inches of space from the captain's chair to the door and that helps, too. Finally, side curtain airbags are another advantage of most current minivans.

    Also, we are finding that while the center may still be the safest position, it may not be as advantageous as once thought. Being outboard does put you closer to one side of the vehicle, but that risk is almost balanced out by the much greater space to a side impact on the far side.

    I have an 8-passenger Odyssey and could move the passenger side seat in the second row toward the center. I do this sometimes to accomodate access to the third row, but normally I keep it moved to the outside and that is where our 1-year old is seated in a rear-facing restraint. I am very confident he could survive many crashes that an adult passenger in a seatbelt might not.
  • dc_driverdc_driver Posts: 712
    If you are waiting until the end of the year, I think both the Sedona and Entourage will be discounted more, and by then you should have a good idea of any reliability issues.

    I definitely recommend driving all the vans (Toyota, Honda, Kia/Hyundai, Chrysler/Dodge) before buying a van. It seems to me that each van has its strengths and weaknesses and, depending upon your needs, you may be surprised.

    The thing that impressed me about the Odyssey was resale. I briefly looked for some used 05-06 Odyssey's and there was little selection, and not much price difference from a new one. These vans hold their value very well and are also in demand.
  • joancjoanc Posts: 26
    Hi all..
    ..Just curious..does anyone happen to know if side-curtain airbags can be added on a vehicle after-market? I was wondering if it's possible to have it done on a Kia Sedona (o3). I know the new models come with the side airbags, but I really can't justify trading our current Sedona in and starting all over again on payments (especially when it's running great and we really enjoy it). Thanks in advance for any input..
  • dennisctcdennisctc Posts: 1,168
    You'd probably pay as much to have airbags installed as for a new van completely. The vehicle's electrical and mechanical architecture probably wasn't designed for these 5-6 years ago. It almost impossible to do!
  • cpsdarrencpsdarren Posts: 265
    In addition, I'd be surprised if any legitimate shop would touch something like this due to liability.
  • hansiennahansienna Posts: 2,312
    The Sienna 7 passenger right side bucket seat is MUCH MORE DIFFICULT to move to make a bench seat than either the Odyssey or MPV. :sick:
    The Odyssey has better designed 2nd row seating than the Sienna and also has a better 3rd row folding mechanism than the Sienna. ;)
  • elpablo123elpablo123 Posts: 14
    Thanks for the information. You are right, I went to a Honda dealer and they showed me how to move the right seat in the second row to the center, although it's not really centered but it's away from the door.

    I went to the Kia (Sedona) and the Nissan (Quest) dealers to check how they arrange the second row, but unfortunately the seats cannot be moved. In the Quest you cannot even open the windows for the 2nd and 3rd row. :-(

    Next stop will be to check the MPV, since some of you mentioned it here.

    Thank you for all the insightful information.
  • edhopperedhopper Posts: 7
    How many miles is too many? I am in the market for a 2002 -2003 Dodge Caravan. I've seen a few advertized with high mileage.
    I want to know if a 4 year old Caravan with 80k-100k is worth buying.
    For instance I would not buy a small 4cyl. car with over 100k. The engine will probably start having problems soon.
    So if I buy a 2002-2003 Caravan with 80k to 100k, would I just be asking for trouble?
    After all, that's 25k+ a year.
    This is info Caravan owners might know that doesn't show up in places like Edmunds or Kelly or
    I hope the forum members can help.
  • hansiennahansienna Posts: 2,312
    No, unless you KNOW everything is in excellent condition. Any used vehicle with 80k to 100k miles might require some expensive repairs. :sick:
    The Caravan eC and SE had a 2.4L inline 4 cyl engine while the Sport had a 3.3L V6. The Grand Caravan came with a 3.3L V6 in the GC SE, GC Sport and GC eL. The 3.8L V6 was standard on the GC eX, GC LE, and GC SXT.
  • sebring95sebring95 Posts: 3,238
    You can only afford what you can afford. If you need a minivan and those are in your price range, sounds like you're going to be buying used. Anytime you buy used, it's a bit of a gamble. I personally would rather buy an '03 model with 100k miles than a '99 model with 50k miles. The '03 was likely driven a lot of highway miles and more likely to have be maintained propertly. The low mileage car is probably driven around town. Either way, maintenance records and condition should point you to a decent car. Have a mechanic check it out real good.

    Engines really aren't that problematic anymore if properly maintained. 200k miles is fairly common without much effort. Transmissions on the other hand are less reliable in all brands so there's a big gamble there no matter what. I'd still prefer the one with highway miles. A transmission can be rebuilt for $2,000 which isn't that much in the scheme of things.
  • jchan2jchan2 Posts: 4,956
    If this fits your budget, I guess it would be better to buy the high mileage Caravan than buy an older but lower mileage Caravan as the high mileage one would have had mostly highway miles while the low mileage one was probably tossed around the city.
  • dennisctcdennisctc Posts: 1,168
    Buy the high mileage newer one!! I once purchased a 79 Civic with very low miles, driven by an old lady just to church and back - NOT JOKING!! The Civic was my worst car - burning oil etc... City driving is the worst, while highway is the easiest on a car.
  • thegraduatethegraduate Posts: 9,731
    Honda's had not fully hit their stride in the 70s, either...Honda of the 70s was like Hyundai of the 90s...improving, but not there yet.

    I also agree with getting a high-mileage newer car vs the low-milage older one; My grandmother drove my 1996 for 110,000 miles or so before giving it to me for my 15th birthday. It only had one problem ever with her, and was fixed under warranty (o2 sensor). As for me, I've only had to replace two things (knock on the proverbial wood if you please) and have never been stranded, even though just yesterday I clicked to 161,000 miles.
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