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Minivans - Domestic or Foreign



  • bobber1bobber1 Posts: 217
    If you're strictly looking at dollars and view the Chrysler similar to the Honda in utility, then the newer van with the lower mileage van is the way to go. It should have a longer life expectancy in front of it.

    Reliability is the million dollar question. Honda's are supposed to be better, but I had a friend who drove his Dodge van to 300,000 miles with virtually no problems. His secret was regular maintenance and changing of fluids. I agree with the other fellow on staying away from rentals. You don't know how they were driven as they've had a zillion different drivers with different driving habits.

    For our part, we just bought a new Honda. We looked at the Dodges, but hated how uncomfortable the stow and go seats were. Safetey features also seemed to be superior on the Honda. They are more pricey however and if you're on a budget I think the Dodges still give more bang for the buck.
  • thegraduatethegraduate Posts: 9,731
    Well, I have two different answers for a reason; I am very biased AGAINST Chrysler for major reliability reasons. The dealers here disappointed us, and the cars were pitiful executions of quality workmanship.

    That being said, I personally will never spend a dime on a Chrysler.

    Since I am so biased against Chrysler, I would go with the Honda. Many many people would go with a newer, lower mileage vehicle (it does seem logical, eh?) for similar money, and for that they have good reason.

    Personally, I'd go with the Honda, if only to avoid the Chrysler (for personal reasons mentioned earlier). I am but one person, however, and my perspective is probably much more bitter against Chrysler than many buyers, many buyers who are repeat Chrysler van customers who love their vehicles. This must be for a reason, so in you shoes, I can see why it is hard to pass up a 2006 van for 2004 money.

    Does that make ANY more sense? I hope so; if not, I apologize...
  • mnrep2mnrep2 Posts: 200
    Hi there, I have been using mini vans since 1991 for work. Primarily Daimler Chrysler products, as well as a couple Fords in the past! I have owned four Dodge Grand Caravans, a 91, 92, 98 and current, 02. I have never had a transmission issue, 2 of the 4 were AWD. Honda had a rash of transmission failures in that model year vehicle. That has been the biggest knock about the Daimler Chrysler vans, transmission failure. I know for a fact if you change the transmission fluid, with the proper type for the year, you will not have problems with the Daimler Chrysler tranny.

    I'm shopping for the next van as well. Since I love AWD, I am probably forced to go with the Toyota. I have seen lots of complaints about slipping quality on their vans as well.

    You can get lots of anecdotal stories about all the manufacturers. It I was looking at your situation, I would get a maintenance record on the rental car, and have the dealer change the transmission fluid and filter prior to taking delivery. Just make sure they use, Chrysler TSB# 21-006-01 notes that all current vehicles only use ATF+4 type 9602, part 05013457AA.

    Good Luck :D
  • sebring95sebring95 Posts: 3,241
    If the Odyssey comes with a Honda (not aftermarket) 100k mile bumper-to-bumper warranty I think the decision is a no-brainer. I personally wouldn't be excited about buying a 20k mile rental either. Those are tough miles, and it will be out of warranty a LONG time before the Honda.
  • thegraduatethegraduate Posts: 9,731
    I know for a fact if you change the transmission fluid, with the proper type for the year, you will not have problems with the Daimler Chrysler tranny.

    I know for a fact that blanket statements aren't always true. I'm afraid our problems came well before it was time before transmission service (we had two vehicles with transmission problems, one at 13,000 miles, the other within 6 months of ownership {I don't remember the mileage on the first one, it was years ago}).

    Yes, the vehicles were fixed under warranty, but who wants to take a car that eats trannies (and suspension parts in our case) on a cross-country trip? I'd be scared to death.

    I think Chrysler has improved, but an experience with a rental Sebring Convertible 2 years ago was not overwhelmingly good (the car would die every time you put it in reverse - not comforting when you are in Memphis, TN, 7 hours from home).

    You could chalk it up to being a rental (it was a 2.7 V6 Auto, with low miles) another case against the van our friend is shopping for; it was just very suspect back to our old Chryslers; like nothing had changed.

    Don't forget, Honda has issued a major extended warranty on Honda transmissions; something Chrysler doesn't offer. It didn't matter on our 2000 model, as we never had a lick of trouble from it except for a squeaky seat that was lubricated and never heard from again.
  • The Honda is a certified pre-owned car,and does come with the Honda backed factory 100k mile warranty.I am not sure what to do now.I wanted to get some numbers from the honda dealer,but our kids were tired,and hungry,and the sales guy was taking for ever so we split,but I bet they call me today.Thanks for the replies,and keep them coming.

  • thegraduatethegraduate Posts: 9,731
    Oh, I just realized it was a certified Honda... that does make a big difference. It would be hands down for me - I'd go with the 100k mile warranty on the Honda - it is giving you 58,000 miles of warranty coverage, vs. what, 20k from the DCX? Yep, go with the Odyssey if you like it.
  • And then of course fellow zoomer (great name btw!), you've got to wonder why Chrysler has DOMINATED the minivan market forever. Yep, something to consider as well. People just keep buyin' 'em. Maybe they do in fact offer more "bang for the buck"...but stay away from that rental!!! Have you considered the SWB Caravan/T&C? Knock off a couple grand there IF you can do without that extra 11" of storage space behind that rear seat.

    Zoooooom On!
  • thegraduatethegraduate Posts: 9,731
    Let me ask this, have you extensively test-driven both vans (meaning for more than 10 miles at LEAST)?
  • No we have not taken a really long test drive in either van,but I a, sure we could if we wanted to.The dodge we did take on the highway,but not for long.

    To throw a monkey wrench into the works we just found a really,really left over 2005 mazda mpv lx locally that can be had for $17999,but I bet we could get that lower as well.The only thing is I think the salesguy I spoke on the phone with knows nothing about the van,as it took three call backs to figure out whuch model it was.He said it is the middle of the road lx,but my bet is it is the bottom of the barrel lx-sv which is not what we want.

    I love mazdas,but we have not driven an mpv,but i do like the slightly smaller dimensions even at the cost of a little less room.I mean we have been getting by in a forester.Thanks for the input,and keep it coming.

    I think we are going to ook at the mazda,and a toyota,and probably take another honda out for a drive.

  • thegraduatethegraduate Posts: 9,731
    How many miles on that Mazda?
  • as far as i know it is brand new with less than 100 miles,but i haven't looked at it yet.
  • thegraduatethegraduate Posts: 9,731
    Well, if it has less than, say 5k miles, that price of $17,999 doesn't really seem bad at all. You could likely take it lower, but it doesn't look like they are trying to rip someone off. Might be a good deal if you whittle them down on price a bit more.
  • hansiennahansienna Posts: 2,312
    My first choice would be a NEW Caravan SXT with the HUGE discounts BUT since you have a Mazda and have been pleased with it, the NEW 2005 MPV would probably be YOUR best choice. :shades:
    The Odyssey might drive the most like a sports car but it is not as quiet as the T&C, GC, or Sienna.
  • AND coming from a zooooomer fan like me, I have to be honest, the MPV never was a serious threat to anyone in the minivan market. Just didn't have the right "stuff".
  • What sort of "stuff" does the MPV not have?It seems in all my research so far that is similarly equipped compared to the others,and in some ways what I have read about them they are a better handling van compared to the others.It seems you can get them with all the same options as well,with a few exceoptions,but there are things on a Dodge that you can't get on a Honda,and vice-versa.

    Enlighten me if I am missing something.Granted I have never driven the Mazda,but it seems to be nice.

  • dennisctcdennisctc Posts: 1,168
    I've heard this is the last year for the MPV, which would probably have an effect on resale value. Something to consider
  • Well, several things. One, it doesn't corner like the Mazda Protege'/3. It doesn't come off the line and wind up like an RX-8 or the jacked up 6. It's got a dated Ford engine in it (mpg nothing to write home about either considering the smaller size of the thing) and a reliabilty index that is somewhat wanting if Consumer Reports is to be believed. Oh, did I mention it DOESN'T have the cavernous interior found on the more popular Honda Oddy, the Toyota Sienna or the tried and true DCX twin offerings? Yep, in minivanland, both storage cubes and people haulin' cubes matter! All in all, it falls a bit short for the price IMHO...and alot of other folks as well based on historical sales figures. Finally, it IS in fact being discontinued. But hey, so is the Ford and GM entrants in the not so distant future if you believe rumor off the street.

    If bottom line price is an issue, besides the smaller Caravan/T&C I had mentioned earlier, there is quite a supply of the new and improved Kia Sedona's about which might be worth a look. Don't laugh. Those Koreans are grabbin' market share in this segment like you wouldn't believe. Can you say "upscale" Hyundai Entourage? I've never personally test driven the corporate 10year/100k warranty they offer, but they do seem to be turning heads.

    All FWIW or course. Good luck on that decision you have before ya. ;)
  • What sort of "stuff" does the MPV not have?

    12" of length. Suburbanites all bought the "giant" minivans. But they are all 201" long or more.

    The MPV is shorter, narrower, and thus is extremely popular in cities. The very good driving dynamics can't make up for all that space - passenger and cargo. We love our MPV, but take our Quest on long family trips.
  • Well we test drove the new leftover 05 MPV LX today,and I wasn't super impressed with it.It drove nice,and seemed to be a nice van,but the size was really pretty small.I guess it seemed pretty low scale even compared to some of the others we drove when it came to amenities,but that is probably more due to the fact it is an LX.

    We then test drove a Mazda5,and we liked that way more even with the smaller size.It handled like a car,and seemed more upscale even though it was a sport model.We can get one of these pretty cheap with my S-plan pricing,but our biggest concern with this is that there is virtually no room behind the rear seats which isn't that bad,but a large stroller won't fit back there unless we fold a seat down.That isn't too big a deal,but if we need to carry more people then it could become an issue.

    We seem to be caught up in never nevr land.We don't need the huge sized vans,and we like the handling of the 5,but it lacks some space.

    We quailfy for employee pricing for Chrysler,Ford,and GM products with my employment discount.

    I guess our biggest problem is there are too many options with new cars at rather large discounts,or used cars that are either Certified,or really good deals at around the price we want.

    I think of the 2 full sized min-vans we drove we like the Honda the best,but the idea of spending anywhere from 18-20k for a car with between 28-40k miles on it is tough to swallow.I bet we end up with a Caravan,but that is not my first choice.We are so confused.

  • jchan2jchan2 Posts: 4,956
    Personally, given the choice between the year old Town and Country and the 2004 Odyssey, I would probably go with the Odyssey, mainly because it is Certified, and the 2004s did not have the transmission and other problems that earlier years had.

    But when you add the leftover 2005 Mazda MPV LX into the mix, along with the Mazda5 and Kia Sedona, the situation gets more interesting. For me, what it would come down to is what kind of interest rate I would get if I financed each of those vehicles.

    In Conclusion:

    I definitely wouldn't get the Town & Country. It does not have the warranty that the Certified Odyssey has, nor is it brand new like the MPV/Mazda5/Kia Sedona are.

    The Mazda5, while appealing, is probably too small for your family. So I'd eliminate it. The extra space that the Sedona, MPV, and Odyssey provide will come in handy down the road.

    So now we are down to 3. The Certified Odyssey, the brand new Sedona, and the leftover MPV. I would test drive all 3, and bargain hard with all 3 sellers. And, since you'll be financing, you might want to take interest rates into account. The MPV might still have 0% APR for 60 months leftover from the 2005 blowout, I don't think the Sedona has any special financing rates on it right now, and the Certified Odyssey might not either.

    I do know that if you go with the Odyssey, you'll probably be able to hold on to it for quite a while with minimal repair costs. And the extra space of the Odyssey is definitely versatile.

    I'm leaning Odyssey, but something tells me that you should give the MPV and Sedona a good, long, hard look.

    Good Luck!
  • jipsterjipster Louisville, KentuckyPosts: 5,496
    I agree. I would take another look at the MPV. I bought my MPV after taking a second look and reassesing my needs, and am glad I did. After I test drove the cavernous Ody, Sienna and Quest, the MPV did feel small... in comparison. But, you compare it to any large size sedan, or midsize to large SUV, and there is more interior space than a family of 4 could ever need. Plenty of room behind 3rd row for the baby stroller.

    In terms of amenities...which were lacking that you require? The Mazda5 is very nice, but seemed "small" after being in my "cavernous" MPV for the past 2 years. The MPV has plenty of room to ZOOM ZOOM ZOOM!! ;)
  • guestguest Posts: 770
    Instead of comparing the size of the 05 MPV to the Oddysey or Caravan, compare it to ANY sedan or the Mazda 5. :shades:
    Do you REALLY want an OLD Honda Odyssey with so many miles on it when you could have an almost new MPV. The MPV would hold ALL the luggage for your family and is probably JUST THE RIGHT SIZE for your family.
  • bobber1bobber1 Posts: 217
    Mazdas are small. I looked at them when shopping and you're comparing apples to oranges if you're going to put them up against the Hondas and Dodges.

    It may be right for your family, but they weren't the right size for mine.
  • I think that we may look at another MPV,because the one we test drove was really stripped down,and it had some issues.The van had steel wheels with covers(15"),clear side glass that made the van look really cheap,and it had some serious scratches down the rocker of the drivers side,and the mirror glass was missing on the driver side.I know these things are minor,but it also didn't seem quite right,and the color was sort of ehhh(titanium grey which I loved on the RX-8,not the MPV).

    I agree the MPV will probably fit our needs just fine,but my wife was concerned about the space behind the third row being too small,and it seemed the second row of seat should slide back further.

    I liked the Honda best of all the vans we drove,and the Mazda5 the best all around,but I think that car is just too small for us.Not that the 5 is small,but the iidea is to be able to take the 2 kids around,and possible friends while holding all the gear we need for kids which takes up what little room is behind the third row of the 5.

    I am concerned about buying a used van especially with 40+K miles when it will need a timing belt in 20k,or less miles,and the price is high for used even though it is certified.I am also concerned about buying an MPV as I know the van is discontinued,and may not be supported well in the future.I think we are going to test drive a nice 05 MPV in whitewater pearl that I found local that is better equipped,and the color we like.It is used,but not much.

    We also found a 04 Odyssey EX-RES with 29K miles,and a nice color with the certified program,but the price is $20881 which is really high I think,but it is in line with Edmunds pricing.

    We are so confused.Why are there so many options?I guess it hurts that we are on a tight budget of around 17-18-19k to finance on a van that we would like to keep for a long time.Maybe Kia certifies used cars,and we can find one a year old or so cheap.

    Keep the post coming.

  • jchan2jchan2 Posts: 4,956
    I wouldn't worry about the mileage of the Odyssey- it is, first and foremost, a Honda which means that it is still rather reliable despite some teething problems with the 99s and some of the 02s.

    I do know that Sedonas (the base model) can be had for under $20K. There is an eBay listing from a Kia dealer advertising brand new Sedonas at $19,000 or so. Although it's probably stripped, it's not a bad deal, and definitely worth a look.

    The MPV, especially if you are worried about having to change the timing belt on the Certified Odyssey, is probably the best way to go.

    Good Luck! :)
  • bobber1bobber1 Posts: 217

    If money is the issue, you really should take a hard look at the Dodge or Chrysler products. You should use their quick depreciation as a tool to help find a good used one with low miles that is loaded with options that's inexpensive. While they tend not to be as polished as the imports and their mechanics are old; they are fundamentally sound vehicles. I had a friend who drove his Dodge 300,000 miles with out doing hardly anything to it!

    I bought a Honda because I liked them better, but my budget is not as tight as yours and I can afford it now. 10 years ago I would have bought a used Dodge because I didn't have as much cash and for the reasons I listed above.

    Don't break your budget on a stupid vehicle! Save if for the kids!

    Good luck.
  • think that we may look at another MPV,because the one we test drove was really stripped down,and it had some issues.The van had steel wheels with covers(15"),clear side glass that made the van look really cheap,and it had some serious scratches down the rocker of the drivers side,and the mirror glass was missing on the driver side.I know these things are minor,but it also didn't seem quite right,and the color was sort of ehhh(titanium grey which I loved on the RX-8,not the MPV).

    I agree the MPV will probably fit our needs just fine,but my wife was concerned about the space behind the third row being too small,and it seemed the second row of seat should slide back further.

    That was probably the LX-SV model - a cost reduced LX. The LX is much better equipped. Many have power side doors and rear AC. Some have the Four Seasons package. They are hard to find with the optional side curtain airbags.

    Are you carrying kids or adults in the 2nd and third rows? The MPV is a whole lot more agile than the standard US size minivans, and the seats are fine for any but large adults. Parking is a breeze. One FYI, though - the rear seat is really set up for two people and an occasional third. If you look around you'll find folks paying $20K or less for new 06 LX's, since the model has been discontinued in the US and the new model is not being brought to the US for the 07 model year, if ever.

    Mazda may go the way of corporate parent Ford in getting away from minivans for Pacifica-like crossover "vanagans."
  • jipsterjipster Louisville, KentuckyPosts: 5,496
    You should be able to get a loaded 2006 MPV with MSRP of $26,000 for around $19,000. That's 17" alloy wheels, 6 disc cd changer, leather wrapped steering wheel, all-sport package which includes window tinting, rearview mirror with compass and temp)You also will probably get the LX Plus package which includes rear air with controls, foglights and bodyside molding...which really gives the MPV it's sporty good looks.

    With the space behind the 3rd seat...try it out. We had a toddler stroller plus assorted other belongings fit well in the storeage space. The 3rd row seat does fold down for extra space when needed.

    If you have two small children, the second row captain chairs not moving further back shouldn't be a problem.

    Yes, the MPV is being discontinued..but only in the U.S. It is still being sold in other parts of the world. Getting parts and service shouldn't be a problem.

    If possible take your time and make sure you get what you will enjoy and can afford. I think a large percent of minivan buyers struggle with which van to get, options, price etc. The wife and I went thru the same thing you're going thru. It'll work out.
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