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Sienna vs Grand Caravan/Town & Country



  • sc00bssc00bs Posts: 87
    You said: DC should have copied the excellent Odyssey 2nd row seating for NON Stow 'N Go GC SE and the Caravan/ SWB T&C...

    I say: I do not care for the 2nd row of stow and go. I most certainly do not care for the cheesy plastic cover for the seat well (or whatever you would call the large hole that the seats go into). I just test drove some used 05's and EVERY SINGLE one of the latches on the second row to lift the covers up on were broken and would need to be fixed. No thanks.

    I am sorry to hear that you are disappointed with the Sienna purchase. It is really amazing how small things can make such a HUGE difference.

    Personally I found that both the seats in the Grand Caravan and the Sienna were comfortable. I was most surprised by the GC because from the looks of them they most certainly did not look comfortable at all (we test drove a very basic model).

    Just out of curiosity, what kind of reliablity did you see out of your old T&C??? My neighbor has an older model Caravan and she said she would buy another (but in Grand style) without blinking an eye.

    What made it easier to remove groceries from the T&C than the Sienna???

    Also I noticed that Dodge has two different engines available which would you recommend??
  • hansiennahansienna Posts: 2,312
    Our 02 T&C has 3.3L and it was an excellent compromise between power and fuel economy. A friend who has owned DC minivans with 3.0, 3.3, and 3.8L liked each one better than the previous. He recently got a 2006 GC SXT to replace the 2000 GC LE that was nearing 100,000 miles. My sister had a 1986 Caravan SE with little 4 cyl engine and sold it at 170,000 miles with no problems. They recently got a nice, used 2005 GC SE that has 23,000 miles.
    Groceries are easier to remove from the NON Stow 'N Go than the current DC minivans, Sienna (or Odyssey) because the floor is at the level of the bumper instead of being 10 inches lower in the well. However, the old style seating left only half the storage behind the 3rd row. We will enjoy that extra storage on our 1380 mile trip to Disneyland Resort later this month.
    BTW, the cover for the 2nd row well of Stow 'N Go has been greatly improved for the 2006 models over the 2005. :shades:
  • sc00bssc00bs Posts: 87
    Just out of curiosity what did they pay for their used 05 model??

    By the way have a great time in Disneyland you lucky duck (or mouse, lol). Sigh... someday.. someday :)
  • marine2marine2 Posts: 1,155
    $25,000 is about what I paid for my 2005 DGC last year. It has alloy wheels,traction control, 4 wheel disc brakes, CD & Cassette with six speakers, with radio controls on the steering wheel, 8way power driver's seat, power sliding doors on both sides, power tail gate, battery saver, carpeted floor mats front and back, three zone A/C, tire pressure monitor, keyless entry with alarm and starter kill. It also gives me paint protection that is put on twice a year for five years. I got it all for zero percent financing.

    I did pay $1,325.00 extra for the 7/70 extended warranty to go along with the 3/36,000 bumper to bumper and 7/70 power train warranty. I figure if just the a/c compressor goes out in seven years, it will almost pay for it's self. Plus with roadside service, AAA would cost me almost $800.00 for seven years. With all the power equipment on these vans, an extended warranty makes sense. Especially if your going to keep it for over five years.

    I have had my van now for 17 months. I took it in last week on a recall for a hose that could be crimped. That is the only thing I have had it in for except regular maintenance.

    My brother has a 1999 Plymouth minivan. He has only had to replace the brake shoes and a freeze plug in all these years.

    While I admit the inside of the Toyota is much nicer, I love the looks of the outside of my van and the main reason I bought it, was for the stow-and go seats and all that extra storage it gives me. I use it all the time and have had no problems with the latch on either bin breaking off. Now that my Mom has to use an electric wheel chair or scooter, I can get them both in my van with no problems at all. (see my web sight)

    I have never been happier with any vehicle I have ever owned. This is my first minivan.
  • hansiennahansienna Posts: 2,312
    Talked to her during the weekend holiday: $ 14,500.
    Rental GC SE had power rear vent windows (NOT available for regular buyers) as special order for rentals. Hers has Stow 'N Go 3rd seat, 2 built in child seats 2nd row bench seat, the popular equipment group with Triple Zone Temp, PDL, PW, PM, tachometer, and sound insulation.
    MSRP was about $ 24,900 and there was a $ 2,500 cash incentive, plus $ 1,000 if financed thru Chrysler. A private sale would have been about $ 20,800 NEW so she paid about $ 6,100 less with 23,000 miles on odometer.
    I prefer buying NEW and having the first trouble free miles for myself. :shades:
  • sc00bssc00bs Posts: 87
    Thanks Hansienna.

    I just got our newspaper and they have tons of the same vans as you describe here. They have some with 8yr/80,000 powertrain and 3mo/3,000 maxcare warr for 13,988. A couple of dealerships have them at 12,999 but they are not as plush as the others at the higher price.

    I would prefer buying new also but just can't afford them, lol.

    Our local toyota dealership has a 98 Sienna XLE (loaded) with 54,000 miles on it that they are asking 12,900 for. Over edmunds but negotiable.

    Decisions decisions...
  • penizzlepenizzle Posts: 104
    Overall, i think the sienna has the best quality and is the most family usefull esdpecially with small kids. The trim and set up in the Caravan is old and mostly plastic cheap stuff while the Sienna has a newer completely diferent set up and the trim looks much nicer. The smaller V6 in the sienna is smoother and a lot less noisy thatn the engines in the Caravans, especially the Caravans 3.3 V6. Also, the stow and go in the Caravan is clever but when the storage bin doors are closed, there are a lot of crack and crevaces. If a kid in the van spills something, it may get in those crevaces and will be a pain to clean up. and the carpet doest even look good with the storage bins unless there are mats over it. Just a couple of things. The Caravan is somewhat peppy but i still would buy the Sienna over the caravan
  • aaron_taaron_t Posts: 301
    I don't think most people would argue with you that the Sienna is better than T&C. The question is, how much is one willing to pay for a Sienna vs. an equally equipped T&C? Is the Sienna worth $3k, $7k, $10k more? Everyone has to decide for themselves.
  • avery1avery1 Posts: 373
    I just bought a new van a couple of months ago. I have a Dodge dealer in town and went there after getting a quote on a Sienna (LE w/package 3) to check out the offerings and get a quote. I was hoping to give them and Detroit (Yes I know some "domestic" cars have more "foreign" parts than the Toyotas and Hondas). My brother bought a new Dodge van 5 years ago and had the transmission go out twice, once under warranty and once not under warranty so I thought if I could get one with an extended warranty for the same price as a Toyota or Honda I might consider it. The quote was more w/o the extended warranty even though I told them I was on my way to buy the Sienna. I love my new Sienna.
  • aaron_taaron_t Posts: 301
    Interesting. Not comparable trim levels/equipment maybe? MSRP's are pretty close between Hon/Toy/DCX. One should be able to get at least $6k off MSRP a DCX van right now with the employee discount program and rebates.

    I have over 19k miles on my 2005 T&C Touring now without any signs of transmission problems. I have a 40k mile lease so I will replace this van with hopefully the 2008 DCX redesign. Anyway, enjoy your new van.
  • hansiennahansienna Posts: 2,312
    Sienna is NOT better than the Grand Caravan/Town & Country. I bought a NEW 2006 Sienna LE and after driving 5,500 miles I still do NOT like it overall as well as my 2002 T&C LX. :cry:

    I was duped into buying the Sienna LE by the false, misleading CR reviews of the Grand Caravan/Town & Country and the Sienna more comfortable driver's seat, more attractive instrument cluster and more luxurious appearing interior...and overlooked the ugly exterior styling of the Sienna and the atrocious windshield wipers/washers control and "one knob does all" stereo control.

    The 2006 Sienna does NOT have a good trade-in value or I would have traded it off and got a new 2006 Grand Caravan SXT by now.
  • penizzlepenizzle Posts: 104

    Let me know when you start having transmission problems. :P
    Just kidding. I think they fixed those. Also, when I refer to the Sienna, i'm talking about the older ones like my 1999. 91000 miles on it. Only problem we have ever had is a starter. I dont know much about the new Sienna,, but we love our 99'. We drove a DC and were impressed with the look outside and the peppyness, but nothing else.
  • hansiennahansienna Posts: 2,312
    Agree that the Sienna interior is MORE elegant than the Grand Caravan and the PERCEIVED Reliability is better. We looked at Sienna's before the new, larger 2004 models arrived but for us the Sienna was too small, too expensive, and I personally think both style Siennas have some of the ugliest exterior styling. :mad:
    I know many people whose Grand Caravans have gone over 100,000 miles with almost NO repairs...just routine maintenance and replacing things like tires, windshield wiper blades, brake pads, etc.
    My sister's 1986 Caravan had 170,000 miles on it when they sold it to a friend who loved it. Although she and her husband have a 2003 Camry, they recently bought a nice, used 2005 Grand Caravan SE and love it. :shades:
  • penizzlepenizzle Posts: 104
    I agree with everything you said, especially the exterior. I think the extrior on the DGC is much better looking thatn on any of the Siennas, although i somewhat like the grill on the new 06 and 07 Siennas. I looked and some pics. of the new DC that is coming out. The interior and exterior is almost a copy of the new Kia Sedona. I did some research on the tranny problems because a friend of ours might want to sell us her used 96. The four speed trannys which came out in late 89 and 90 were the ones having problems. Before that, there were 3 speed autos which hardly never failed. They even had a stickshift. I would do anything to have one of those on my Sienna! :P Aroun 2000 i think that Chrysler realized that they need to fix the four speeds.
  • jimlockeyjimlockey Posts: 265
    I owned a new 04 Sienna for one year and got rid of it. Out of 40 plus new cars I've only done this twice. The first was a new VW Rabit.

    I consider the 04 Toyota Sienna to be the worse vehicle I have ever owned.

    On windy days on the open highway it was a problem to control and while driving on not so even roads it was all over the road. I felt like it was a danger to drive.....

    I only had the Sienna in the mountains one time. Driving from Cloudcroff, NM to White Sands, NM the transmission got very hot and you could smell it inside the car. There was a Toyota dealer in Almagordo, NM. He said it was nothing to worry about. I didn't buy that because I have been driving in the mountains since I was 19 years old and have never had a transmission heat up like that before. Oh, by the way I'm 73 now.

    The only good thing I can say about the Sienna was the gas mileage. I averaged 20 MPG for the year we owned it. Comparing the Sienna to three Dodge mini vans owned the Dodges where great to driveand great to owned, but the mileage was only 16 to 17 MPG. Wouldn't it be nice if Chysler would put a diesel in their mini van. Hey Chysler, did you hear that?????

  • penizzlepenizzle Posts: 104
    if i was in the auto biz, I would cram a hybrid in the Sienna or any van for that matter
  • hansiennahansienna Posts: 2,312
    Absolutely NOT. .....but my 1970 Dodge Sportsman van was the worst vehicle I have ever owned.
    My friend got rid of his Rabbit after one year and says Volvo is the only other brand as bad as Volkswagen. My first 1964 Volkswagen bug was a good vehicle but the 1976 Volkswagen Bus was NOT. My Ford has been a much better vehicle for me than Volkswagen and all 6 Toyotas have been plain and boring but have been reliable. ;)
    My 2002 Chrysler T&C LX had an OVERALL AVERAGE of 22.3 MPG and got 28.2 MPG on a long round trip to the same place that my Sienna got 29.0 MPG. We will be making the same long round trip next month. I wonder if the Sienna will get the same good road mileage again. :shades:
  • samnoesamnoe Posts: 731
    As I mentioned somewhere above, there are so many differences between the 2 vans, and everybody likes something else. I also dislike the exterior of the Sienna (and sorry, but I especially HATE the grill - if you can call that grill), but I am certain that the designer at Toyota did not design an ugly vehicle on purpose... probably to his tastes the Sienna looks beautiful...

    The interior of the Sienna is perhaps nicer than the old, outdated DGC interior, but it's still far from the best. I think that GM has right now the best interior design for minivans - I'm not talking QUALITY - I'm talking DESIGN. It's pleasant, everything where it's expected to be, and nice, clean layout. Heck, I even think that the Freestar's interior (on the Limited) is better designed than the DGC and Sienna, albeit the quality sucks.

    I recently rented a 2006 T&C, and it drove better than my 2005 DGC, and it feeled much tighter overall. My 2005 is full of rattles.

    The pickup ("acceleration") in MY 2005 is quicker than other DGC vans. For some reason the pedal is looser than on other vans, and once you touch it, it MOVES... My friend's Sienna is soooo slow compared.

    I really hope that Toyota will upgrade the Sienna on 2007. I know the new 3.5L engine is coming with approx. 260 hp, along with the 6-speed tranny (which was terrible in the Camry first, but they're working hard to fix those problems), and I pray that the pickup should not be as sluggish as the current Siennas... and they should also improve braking...
  • hansiennahansienna Posts: 2,312
    The Sienna has more power, better gas mileage, more attractive interior, 60/40 split fold into the floor 3rd row seating, and a more comfortable driver's seat.
    The T&C was quieter, better stereo, more attractive exterior styling, less wind noise, more comfortable front passenger, 2nd and 3rd row seating, triple zone temperature (driver, front passenger, and rear passengers can have separate temperatures while Sienna driver and front passenger get same temperature but rear passengers can have a different temperature than driver and front passenger), a quieter and more powerful fan for front heating/air conditioning.
    Sadly, the Toyota Sienna resale value is NOT very good or I would have traded it off on a new 2006 GC SXT or T&C Touring by now.
  • samnoesamnoe Posts: 731

    I recently rode in a new Chrysler 300 sedan. I tried to compare the controls to the minivan. It has changed a lot. And probably for the future, all DCX vans will have the so-called "unfriendly" controls, which has one knob to control the bass, treble, L/R and F/R controls. Most other cars already does the same. So although if you like the current gen. DCX minivan audio controls over the Sienna, this may not be the case in ther future!

    One of the things I LOVED in the 300 sedan, was the LARGE, comfortable interior door handles. The door opens so easily and is a pleasure to use, compared to the tiny handles from the minivans which is a pain. I hope that the newer minivans also gets larger door handles.
  • hansiennahansienna Posts: 2,312
    Thanks. I had not looked closely at other DaimlerChrysler vehicles but obviously need to check them out.
    Too bad DC lets CR and other "experts" convince them to change to stupid ideas originating with the Toyota-Honda clique. :sick:
  • hansiennahansienna Posts: 2,312
    But the question is WHY?
    The 3.3L with downgraded ratings to 215 HP and 222 lb-ft Torque is more than sufficient for my needs (as was the lower 180 HP and 210 lb-ft Torque of 02 T&C LX).
    I test drove a 2006 GC SXT when I tried to trade off my Sienna on a GC and it did NOT have the power going up a relatively steep hill as did the Sienna (on 85 octane fuel).
    The Sienna is quieter at low speeds but it is NOT as quiet at highway speeds as the T&C was and had much more wind noise. :cry:
  • I test drove a 2006 GC SXT when I tried to trade off my Sienna on a GC and it did NOT have the power going up a relatively steep hill as did the Sienna (on 85 octane fuel).

    That's because the 06 DGC SXT, 3.8L V6 is only 205 HP (Not sure about the torque rating). When DamilerChrysler came out with the redesign back in 2001, the 3.8L engine was rated at 215 HP and 245 lbs of torque. That changed sometime in 2003 or 2004, I believe, to the current rating.
  • hansiennahansienna Posts: 2,312
    06 GC SXT 240 lb-ft Torque is MORE than 06 Sienna LE 222 lb-ft Torque. By comparison, the GC 3.8L torque dropped only 5 lb-ft from 245 while the Sienna dropped 20 lb ft from 242.
    I think the Sienna better performance going up that particular hill was more a function of the 5 speed AT having the right gear ratio for that hill compared to the 4 speed AT of the GC since the GC has 18 MORE lb-ft Torque than the Sienna. ;)
    Driving I-15 thru Utah, southern Nevada, and Mojave Desert of southern California, the 06 Sienna downshifted more frequently than my 02 T&C LX even though the Sienna has MORE HP and MORE Torque than my 02 T&C LX with 3.3L V6. A 5 speed AT does have disadvantages.
    I would prefer a 2006 GC SXT to my 2006 Sienna LE and I could have purchased a GC SXT for less money than the Sienna. :cry:
  • samnoesamnoe Posts: 731
    But the question is WHY? -- The 3.3L with downgraded ratings to 215 HP and 222 lb-ft Torque is more than sufficient for my needs (as was the lower 180 HP and 210 lb-ft Torque of 02 T&C LX).

    Here is WHY:

    Compared to all minivans today, the Sienna has the least horsepower. Most of them have in the 240 hp range, except for the Ford and Mercury which have 202 hp but offers approx. 260 lb.-ft. of torque.

    It may be sufficient for you, but not for the media... and in general, the 3.3L engine is going, and being replaced by the newer 3.5L across the line.
  • caravan2caravan2 Posts: 198
    I like GC Grand Caravan/SXT. Only thing that is stopping me buying is Stability control. And I still don't understand why third row middle seat does not have shoulder belt.
  • hansiennahansienna Posts: 2,312
    Probably because younger children should NOT wear a shoulder belt. ;)
    Very few large people ride in the 3rd row of ANY minivan...and only the Odyssey, Sienna, and DC minivans have 3rd rows that are comfortable for adults or large children. :shades:
  • Hi,
    We moved to northern Michigan, UP from a much warmer country recently and are looking for minivan. We are a family of seven and have a big dog. We live in a small place and there is no big choice of used cars. Could you help us make a decision between Toyota Sienna XLE (year 2000, 56000 miles, dealer is asking $13000) and Dodge Grand Caravan sport 4WD (year 2001, 72000 miles, dealer is asking $9250). What are the potential problems with both vehicles? Does the 4WD of Dodge outweigh the reliability of Toyota? Does it make sense to buy extended warranty (~$1500 for 4 years) on any of the vehicles?
  • guestguest Posts: 770
    We own a 2006 Toyota Sienna LE after owning a 2002 Chrysler T&C LX ( a fairly well equipped clone of the 2002 Grand Caravan Sport).
    My son traded in his FWD 2002 Grand Caravan Sport on a used 2006 Sienna LE a few months ago after replacing the transmission on his 2002 GC Sport. :sick:
    I liked our 02 T&C LX better than the 06 Sienna LE BUT in your situation, I recommend the 2000 Sienna XLE even though it is much smaller than the GC Sport and costs more.
    Too many Grand Caravans and T&C were ABUSED when used as rental or fleet vehicles while there is a very low possiblity the Sienna XLE was used as a rental or fleet vehicle.
    If buying NEW, I would buy a GC SXT and not the Sienna XLE (or LE). ;)
  • jpfjpf Posts: 496
    I would go with the Sienna. However, you should try to get a powertrain warranty. Toyota's V6 had an oil sludge problem up until recently. If you can't be sure that the oil was changed regularly on the vehicle, you could have problems. Also, I would get a set of 4 snow tires and steel rims for the winter driving up in Michigan. Good luck.
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