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Diesel MiniVans



  • Thanks for the welcome and the post.

    That Dodge Sprinter is UGLY UGLY UGLY. I think I am going to change my quest from a Mini van to a truck with the diesel such as a Ford F-250 with the power stroke diesel. I have driven this truck and really like it, however it is a bit pricey, again married with kids.. Perhaps a used one may fit my budget better. The journey never stops..

    Frustrated in the USA.
  • gagricegagrice San DiegoPosts: 31,086
    That Dodge Sprinter is UGLY UGLY UGLY

    My last 410 mile tank I got 24.58 MPG. Mine is a fully loaded conversion van. So I am happier than a pig in mud. Which is also very ugly.
  • mrnimmomrnimmo Posts: 271
    >they use imperial galons which are ~20% more then US galon, so it is not 44mpg, only 36.5.

    36.5 is still good for sure. To get 37 mpg in the US you have to drive a Fit, Yaris or hybrid.


    I like the Sprinter, but my wife just won't compromise on the looks. It is fugly.
  • gagricegagrice San DiegoPosts: 31,086
    What the Mercedes diesel Sprinter proves is you can make larger utility vehicles that get good mileage. I topped my mileage with a tank that I got 24.80, mostly in the mountains of AZ. Up to the Grand Canyon and down to Prescott. Can you imagine a small minivan like a Honda with a 4 cylinder diesel. It should get easy 35-40 MPG. I can guarantee the diesel is better suited for loads than any gasser. I drive that 8000 lb Sprinter up and over a lot of steep highways with no problem. Never drop below 3rd gear.

    The Sprinter may be ugly but it tops anything else sold in the USA in the Van/MiniVan category. Not perfect but practical.
  • shiposhipo Posts: 9,152
    What I don't get is why DC isn't putting that I5 Diesel in the Town & Country and Caravan series. Think about it this way, that engine has almost the exact same peak torque specification as the largest 3.8 liter MiniVan engine (but the peak comes at over 2000 fewer RPMs, not a bad thing at all), and certainly more than enough HP for a minivan.

    So I have to ask the question, "Why a small four pot diesel when a larger five pot unit will still give great mileage and very decent performance too?"

    Best Regards,
  • gagricegagrice San DiegoPosts: 31,086
    I don't know the answer. Maybe that 5C engine and 5 speed tiptronic is too expensive to stick in a lower priced MiniVan. The basic Sprinter stripped is about $30K. It is rear wheel drive and would require some real work to put in a minivan. I love that engine and transmission. Just tap it up or down. Going down hill it does real well using the engine to brake you.

    I think in the Caravan it would easily get 35 MPG.
  • jimlockeyjimlockey Posts: 265
    It would be to good to be true if something simple as adding a small diesel to a mini van.
  • marcbmarcb Posts: 152
    i remembered reading this link a while back, good news for canadians. i am just waiting to trade in my 2000 MPV for a fuel efficient diesel minivan.
  • tdinicktdinick Posts: 4
    GMC makes a Duramax diesel (runs on B5 biodiesel) full size van but it's made for cargo and not people. Why don't they let the consumer order a passenger van with the Duramax diesel option? No wonder GM is losing money!
  • smulveysmulvey Posts: 139
    It is too bad Kia does not bring their Sedona over with the standard diesel they sell overseas, to the USA market.
  • eliaselias Posts: 2,120
    you aren't going to see a 40 mpg (highway) diesel minivan,
    but maybe a 'microvan'.
    30 mpg for a minivan maybe. because
    air drag is proportional to the square of frontal surface area.
    in sprinter news, i test drove the tiniest one and found handling & turning radius much better than expected. road noise at highway speed was horrid however. gagrice how about a photo of the decked-out conversion in yours. where was the conversion done? how is road noise at 70 mph?
  • gagricegagrice San DiegoPosts: 31,086
    It is not as quiet as my GMC hybrid PU or the Lexus for sure. Not horrible either. I guess average for a RV of that size. It was done by Forest River in Indiana. I would say they are good not quite as good as the Airstream, though less expensive by about 10 grand. I will tell you where I was the most impressed was coming up the mountains out of the desert. It has plenty of power and it does not hurt the mileage significantly. If you want to cruise & camp across the USA at a reasonable price it is hard to beat. Personally I would rather fly and rent a car. Also to get 24 MPG you have to stay under 70 MPH. More like 60-65 MPH. It is a bit disconcerting in high wind or when getting passed by big trucks.



  • eliaselias Posts: 2,120
    wow, thanks for the photos/info, gagrice. that looks like a comfy roadtrip/camper vehicle! great locations too.
  • dudleyrdudleyr Posts: 3,469
    If I drive my Sienna at 65 it can get 30 mpg - I would think a diesel could certainly get close to 40.
  • berniedgberniedg Posts: 54
    Hi All, I posted the following on the 2007 Santa Fe forum because I like the looks of the new SF to replace my '98 Dodge Caravan.

    Heres a diesel review by a New Zealand publication.

    The 2.2l CRD, turbo:
    Hows 335 Nm/ 247 lb-ft of torque between 1800-2500 RPM and 47 mpg(Imperial) average. Also cruises 2000rpm 100kph.
    I'd like to see it here, in N/A.
  • marcbmarcb Posts: 152
    Wonder what became of this planned VW minivan. If it is still coming, a Pump Deuse on a Chrysler minivan would be nice. Good VW engine sans the crappy VW body with cheaper parts to boot.

    Still, i would prefer a Touran like design. But thats only me, since I would prolly want to squeeze the most mileage from a tank.
  • dpughdpugh Posts: 14
    greeting from Germany. I recently purchased a Kia Carnival (Sedona) 2.9ltr (common rail diesel injection). It is the previous shaped model and not the short fat ugly new Kia Sedona. It is called a Carnival in Mainland Europe for marketing reasons, whatever they might be. I have colleagues which brought their US Sedonas with them when posted to Stuttgart Germany and I can tell you these guys are pig sick. My European vehicle is loaded with extras and of course with that all important Diesel engine. I cruise on the Autobahn at a respectable 80 mph and still manage to get 38.4 mpg (US NOT IMPERIAL). The initial price is $1200 more than standard gasoline engined vehicle. The servicing is every 15000kms (9,320 miles). I have been assurred by kia that in between oil changes are not required!! I have also read that Diesel is refined in Europe to a higher specification to that of the US. Any body wanting photos then please send me a message and i will email them. The Chrysler Minivans in Europe are made under Licence in Austria, or at least were until recently. Good luck and safe driving.
  • w9cww9cw Posts: 888
    This just proves - once again - that European's have the best choice of all types of vehicles, thanks to the U.S. Government's requirements in emmissions and safety. If you've ever travelled to Europe, and happen to be a car enthusiast, you will understand what I mean.
  • dpughdpugh Posts: 14
    hi there w9cw, all new diesel vehicles in Europe are fitted with a Diesel Particle Filter which reduces emissions to once unheard of levels. The technology is being pioneered amongst others by Daimler/Chrysler. Emmissions and safety requirements in Europe are equal to and in some cases exceed American requirements. I do however think that stateside the consumer has more overall choice, and gets more for their $$$. I paid 18500 euros ($23,000*) which was still 8000 under list price. As Globilization takes a hold the products in world markets will converge. Take care all..
  • gagricegagrice San DiegoPosts: 31,086
    Thanks for making us jealous. We can only dream about a mini van that gets 38 MPG. I don't think it will happen in the USA. Too many political implications to allow diesel a foothold as it has in the EU.
  • dpughdpugh Posts: 14
    the average price for 1 gallon (US) is currently $5.24. And that is for Diesel, gasoline is 60 cents per gallon (US) more expensive!! I dream of $3 per gallon fuel prices. Taxes amount to 73cents per litre, and guess what, joe public just accepts it!!! At least Dick Turpin (English Highwayman/robber) wore a mask when he was out stealing. The governments over here don't even bother with that!!!!!! Anybody wants to move to germany????? bring a bike. regards :cry:
  • nwngnwng Posts: 664
    thanks for posting one my life-long dreams. I'd like to do a cross US trip in one of these.

    However, my dreams are shattered every month with the arrival of my mortgage statement, plus it's also destroyed daily by the noise of two girls bickering at each other. :cry:

    Can you also post a picture looking in the van from the driver's seat? :D
  • gagricegagrice San DiegoPosts: 31,086
    That was my plan. I just don't seem to have the time. Taking care of 5 acres of citrus and tropical plants keeps us home more than I like. Here is a shot to the back of the RV. Hope you make it one of these days. It would be about the most economical way to cross the country.

    PS: they girls will be gone before you know it.

  • marcbmarcb Posts: 152
    Rephrased from a competing auto site:

    VWoA has a tease on its coming joint venture with DaimlerChrysler of a modern version of the icon Microbus. It is hinting it will be coming by 2008. The tease is a restored 1964 Microbus carted to various media events and trade shows.

    Man...if it becomes true, hope a TDI version is offered with 40+ mpg. Hope it also would come with an affordable price tag seeing it will be built by Chrysler in NA.

    Gotta hold on to my 2000 MPV for another 3 to 4 years and start putting away some money. ;)
  • eliaselias Posts: 2,120
    R class is a diesel minivan , isn't it? discuss?
  • yabunyabun Posts: 2
    The issue with me is that there are NO reasonable options in the US for a decent diesel minivan. The options are almost as bad as our options for electric cars. People with an interest in diesels either want better efficiency or the option to go biodiesel. Both are admirable reasons. So what to do we have now?
    Dodge Sprinter - this one has been discussed and dismissed for being "fugly". Yeah, kinda. We'd like to take this industrial van and make a family hauler out of it. I could convince my wife to look beyond the "fugly" (especially if it had a Mercedes nameplate on the back instead of Dodge), but it looks like it only has a passenger-side rear sliding door. Compared to the Odyssey's and Siena's, this is a deal breaker. The PHEV/diesel version could trump all that, though.
    The R-class diesel - NICE!! For something that size, I'd like a little better mpg. But it's pricey. I'd have to be pretty well off to be ok putting >B10 in a $44k Benz.
    The Jeep Liberty - wrong category.

    Ideally, I want a Mazda5 diesel or a VW Touran to be sold at dealers in the US. I want 3 rows of seats (with the 3rd row removable/stowable), 2 sliding back doors, good diesel economy (>38mpg) with the Biodiesel option. Why is that so hard. Our options for this in the US are non-existent. That's frustrating and it sucks. Our options for electric cars are non-existent, but that's a story for another town-hall. I don't tow a boat or trailer, I don't go off-road, I'm not a contractor, I don't need or want an SUV but we have a crap load of those.

    ... I can't help but assume a lot of you feel my pain.

    Is it possible to legally import a Mazda5 or Touran from Europe?? Has it been done? Can't be from England, driver's on the wrong side.

    And another 2 cents... other non-van diesel options I'd like in the US are the Dodge Caliber and the SmartCar. Canada has 'em. Thank you.
  • dpughdpugh Posts: 14
    I have a 2006 (previous version) Kia Sedona, 2.9ltr Diesel Minivan. I get 32-39 mpg (US)...It runs on Ultra Low Sulphur Diesel which is the standard in Europe and also now available in the US. Since this car comes off the same production line as models destined for the US, there is no reason other than politics to prevent this model from being imported to the US.... I have looked into bringing the vehicle back to the US in two years, however the chances are roughly zero......... oh well.
  • marcbmarcb Posts: 152
    Yabun, I am exactly in the same boat as you. I use to want a Smart back when they were not yet available here in Canada. That was until we had kids.

    Then I thought I wanted Touran for a long time, even signed up an online petition several years ago. I’ve also scoped out a Mazda5 just in case Mazda decides to introduce a diesel version in the future.

    But even at 5’9” thin as a rail asian immigrant, I cannot fit myself in a Mazda5 3rd row seat. Maybe Tourans are packaged better but unless I see one I won’t sign for one anymore (if ever they even become available).

    My point is the primary reason I look into small cars is fuel efficiency, ideally at more than 40mpg combined. Size can be sacrificed and is even somewhat chic. But only if there is:

    1) a corresponding increase in mpg, 2) interior space efficiently utilized to maintain practical use, 3) price is kept reasonably low, 4) safety is not overly compromised.

    When it doesn't there just isn’t any point, specially when we risk the lives and safety of our loved ones.

    Hence I also gave up on the Honda Fit (good space, safety is addressed, ho-hum mpg), and all other tiny cars out there for now.

    My best hope is that car manufacturers finally see the light and start providing diesel engines in the not so large minivans to provide us with the fuel efficiency we want.

    Just in case you haven’t yet, check out the (possible) future 2010 Chrysler minivan with the (possible) 2.2. Benz diesel engine:

    As for other non minivan tiny cars, its too bad SmartFor4 was pulled out when it would have been the model to pull that brand out of the red.

    Hopefully the Chevy Volt will be built. Yes I also signed the petition for that one here: .0.1.1&seo=goo_volt
  • yabunyabun Posts: 2
    Sounds like 2009 or 2010 will be the years for real choices. Hmmm... 3 years.

    I agree. 3rd row seats are just a much wanted convenience not really intended for frequent adult use. Most likely only be used by the kids when we have the occasional extra kid, friend, or in-law.

    The Volt came out of no where and the concept is awesome. I followed your link and voted. Not sure it'll do any good, but I voted. The only issue I had when I first saw the Volt is the styling. It looks like a muscle car. It has an efficient drive train, but it looks heavy (like a Dodge Charger). Feels contradictory.
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