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Sienna vs Grand Caravan/Town & Country



  • shiposhipo Posts: 9,152
    Given the choice of the two vehicles you're looking at I would pick the DGC hands down. The DGC is both larger and far more capable in the slippery stuff with its AWD system. As a general rule the Generation 3 minivans from DC have proven to be quite reliable. The most significant problem area for the Gen3s was the transmission and by the 2000 model year (the first year that the new ATF+4 transmission fluid was used from the factory) the transmission problems were mostly eradicated. Do some still fail? Yup. If you check around you'll find that virtually every minivan on the market suffers from a higher failure rate than other vehicle types; that goes for Toyota and Honda too (especially Honda).

    Heat seems to be the biggest bane of minivan transmissions and so the first thing I would do to any recent minivan purchase would be to put a transmission cooler on it (assuming the original owner didn't order the Trailer Towing option).

    Regarding an extended warranty, I wouldn't bother. Put that $1,500 in an interest bearing account and "Self Insure". That way, even if the van suffers a failure beyond the end of the warranty (assuming the warranty company is still in business), you can still use the money.

    FWIW, we have a Gen3 DGC with the same basic engine and transmission as the 2000 AWD you are looking at and it is fast approaching 130,000 miles. Ours is a 1998 and the original transmission lasted 109,000 miles and cost me $2,600 to put a factory remanufactured (much better than a typical "rebuild") unit in. Other than that, I've put in a starter, a battery tray and a door switch that controls the interior lights. Said another way, my total cash out of pocket for unscheduled maintenance for 130,000 miles has been less than $3,000. Not too shabby.

    Regarding being cautioned about buying a used rental hack, I suspect that few if any AWD equipped T&Cs and DGCs ever saw any rental fleet duty so you can rest easy there. That said, make sure you have an experienced mechanic who is familiar with these vehicles give it a good once over before you buy it.

    Best Regards,
  • DO NOT buy a Chrysler product minivan. My 2001 T&C Limited has been trouble from it's first day. I'm on my 3rd transmission in two years, I've replaced the A/C condenser and what else I don't know (over $1,000), had front engine seals redone due to oil leaks, valve cover gaskets, water soaked carpets on passenger side (dealer had to install some kind of hose extension from the firewall, but I had to pay!! for the design flaw to be fixed). AND the electric sliding doors have never worked in the winter and now rarely work in any weather. In short, I've spent at least $6,000 on this piece of junk in the last two years. It has 117,000 miles on it. My wife drives it a lot, but drives like a grandma so it's not from abuse. We change oil and filters religiously. The product is just JUNK. No two ways about it. Get the Toyota. that's my next purchase.
  • hansiennahansienna Posts: 2,312
    DO NOT BUY A SIENNA. I bought a NEW 2006 Sienna LE and it is NOT as good as my used 2002 T&C LX that cost much less. :sick:
    It appears that you got your 2001 T&C as a USED vehicle. If so, you have no idea how the first owner drove or maintained it. :confuse:
    NEVER buy a USED Grand Caravan or T&C that was first sold to a fleet or rental agency where it got abused. :sick:
  • caravan2caravan2 Posts: 198
    Sienna is better then the gc/t&c for quite a few reasons.
    First of all, the gc/t&c does not have stabilty
    control :cry: .Plus the gc/t&c has the most crapyyest interior have ever seen :cry: ( besides the mazda mpv).
    Even though the gc/t&c is cheaper the sienna has all those features that the gc/t&c does not have and more. For example,standert mp3 players on all modles,stabilitycontrol,etc..... :) .The only good
    part for the gc/t&c is the stow and go.And if you do not like the sienna go with the oddesy.And if you do not like the oddesy go with the kia sedona or the entorage.And if you do not like the those go with the gm twins.My werst recomendations are the mazda mpvand the gc/t&c :sick: .
  • hansiennahansienna Posts: 2,312
    The Sienna has a VERY POORLY designed dash with curved shiny surface on the center part which causes glare from the sunshine...unless you live where it is cloudy all the time. :shades: Why didn't the jerks who write glowing reports about the Sienna notice this design blunder? :confuse:
    I agree: The GC/T&C interior does NOT look as elegant as the Sienna and the GC /T&C does not have the over-hyped MP3 player connection BUT the GC/T&C do have cassette players in addition to the CD player. The GC/T&C have power liftgate optional in much lower priced vehicles and have both side power sliding doors in more vehicles than the Sienna. The GC / T&C have MORE comfortable seats in every place but the driver's seat and have separately controlled temperature for the driver and front passenger in most models.
    BTW, Stability control is NOT standard on most Siennas. :shades:
    I have owned a 2002 T&C LX and a NEW 2006 Sienna LE. The T&C was by far the most desireable minivan. ;)
  • Yes it was used. I bought it from the dealer from whom the original owner bought it new. While I don't know how they drove it, I know it wasn't a rental. My point is, there are definite engineering flaws in the Chrysler, particularly with the transmission. Ours is the Limited model so it is very nice inside and rides smooth and quiet. But I can't put up with all the mechanical nonsense anymore.
  • hansiennahansienna Posts: 2,312
    There are NO engineering flaws in the Chrysler or in the Chrysler transmission.
    Chrysler transmission problems have been caused by un-informed people putting the wrong transmission fluid into the Chrysler automatic transmissions. Many Chrysler minivans were ABUSED by the fleet or rental users before being purchased by a private individual although yours was not a rental.
    Did you ask the salesman why the first owner got rid of it? :confuse:
    If you are having mechanical problems, trade it off just like I plan to trade off my 2006 Sienna LE since I do NOT like it as well as my 2002 T&C LX. :shades:
  • avery1avery1 Posts: 373
    Nonsense! My brother has purchased two Chrysler minivans new. The transmission went out in the first one at 65,000. He believed the salesman's story about those problems being in the past and bought a second one. The tranny went out on this one at 72,000 miles. He replaced it with a rebuilt one and within a year and a half that one went out. I would never buy a Chrysler minivan without a warranty that would run as long as I planned on keeping the car.
  • hansiennahansienna Posts: 2,312
    Where did he have the transmission serviced? Is he sure the correct transmission fluid was used if serviced? :confuse:
  • avery1avery1 Posts: 373
    It was always serviced at the dealer.
  • fezofezo Manahawkin, NJPosts: 10,330
    Usually when you see tranny problems in the Chrysler vans it is because they have the 3.8 engine rather than the 3.3. The engine simply overpowers the transmission. In my completely unscientific survey every person I've known who had a transmission issue had the bigger (well, bored out bigger) engine.

    My next door neighbor was tipped off to this years ago by a Chrysler mechanic. His current GC has over 220K on it. The one before that nearly hit 300K. He reminds me that he's never had a tranny issue while I did have one on my Odyssey. At least my tranny was replaced at no cost - even with a loaner. Whew!
    2013 Mazda 5 Grand Touring, 2010 Toyota Prius IV. 2007 Toyota Camry XLE, 2004 Toyota Camry LE, 1999 Mazda Miata
  • bobw3bobw3 Posts: 2,992
    /T&C do have cassette players in addition to the CD player

    what's a cassette player?
  • caravan2caravan2 Posts: 198
    If this is correct... then does this means that when Siena goes with larger 3.5 engine, it might have transmission problems? :confuse:
  • fezofezo Manahawkin, NJPosts: 10,330
    Can't say as I know on that one - depends on if they supply it with a transmission up to the job. I would certainly expect that given Toyota's record they would do that but I don't have anything concrete in the way of proof.
    2013 Mazda 5 Grand Touring, 2010 Toyota Prius IV. 2007 Toyota Camry XLE, 2004 Toyota Camry LE, 1999 Mazda Miata
  • hansiennahansienna Posts: 2,312
    My son's 2002 GC Sport with 3.3L V6 went out at 60,000 miles so traded it in on a USED 2006 Sienna LE. I think his 2002 GC Sport had been abused before he bought it.
    Meanwhile, one daughter has a 1999 GC SE with 93,600 miles but did have to have the transmission serviced when some "O" ring failed. It cost her between $ 100 and $ 200 for the service.
  • fezofezo Manahawkin, NJPosts: 10,330
    For $100 or $200 I'll live with a tranmission repair!
    2013 Mazda 5 Grand Touring, 2010 Toyota Prius IV. 2007 Toyota Camry XLE, 2004 Toyota Camry LE, 1999 Mazda Miata
  • My wife and I have a '98 T&C SX that we just loved! It has been our primary "travel vehicle", and now has 152,000 miles on it. This past summer, we were in the market for a newer one. We looked at all 2005 models. We did exhaustive comparisons between the Toyota Sienna, Chrysler T&C, Honda Odissey and Kia Sedona. We quickly took the Honda out of the mix due to price. The Kia was "okay", but not as solid as the Toyota or T&C. We test drove both quite a bit, and talked to owners of both.
    We went with the '05 T&C Touring. The past experience with Chrysler was key, as well as the Stow & Go seating - I was tired of having to store the back seat from the old van!
    My wife wanted the power sliders on both sides, and the power lift gate. The van has all that, and we love it! :D

    P.S. The '98 is for sale... ;)
  • guestguest Posts: 770
    Enjoy your new van. Each has advantages. We had a 2002 T&C LX, got a new 2006 Sienna LE and gave the T&C to our daughter. WE have test driven the 1999, 2002, 2005, and 2006 Odysseys as well has driven our son's 2001 Ody EX many times before it got wrecked.
    The Odyssey is not as quiet as the Sienna or T&C and the T&C is slightly quieter than the T&C...but had twice the cargo space behind 3rd seat as did the 02 T&C. However, the new Siennas have the MOST cargo space behind 3rd row of any minivan but the T&C has the additional space under the floor between front and 2nd rows. :shades:
  • bobw3bobw3 Posts: 2,992

    Based on the specs listed on the manufacturer's webpages, the Sienna has 2" more legroom in row 1, 3" more in row 2 and 6" more in row 3 and as far as cargo space:
    Behind rows 1/2/3
    Sienna 148.9/94.5/43.6
    T&C 144.2/85.9/32.5

    And both vehicles are the same length, width and height, so I'd say the Sienna wins by far for people space and even for cargo space. But if you're using it mostly as a cargo van and must have the stow-n-go, then get the T&C, but the passengers would probably rather have the extra space inside the Sienna.
  • It took some real deep thought about both (they both have their ups and downs) but we ended up with a T&C Limited. The stow and go was the clincher. We have retired racing Greyhounds so I needed the stow and go. The interior of the Sienna is hands down one of the most beautiful I have seen and at night the interior lighing is drop dead beautiful. However, the T&C is not far behind. I would have liked the AWD but I have a truck with 4WD and my wife has a Subaru with AWD so it was not a must. The 4k rebate did not hurt either. I did get the extended warranty due to the transmissions issues but from all I have been reading it seems that they have been solved. I traded in a Windstar SEL that while not great it was dependable but when I went to put the middle seats in I remembered why I opted for the T&C. Both ride nice and OHV or not, the 3.8 is as smooth as the Sienna. The Honda did not even enter the picture. The interior is what I would call "industrial". I saw some pictures of the 2008 T&C and did not like either the exterior or interior. I am not a big fan of the Aspen and that is what the front end looks like. The interior was "OK". So, I got the T&C and they paid me 4k to buy it. This is my first Chrysler ever so we will just have to see what we will see.
  • thegraduatethegraduate Posts: 9,731
    If you go and read the consumer ratings for the Sienna, I can't help but wonder how dumb someone has to be to buy a car that they don't like so obviously. Seems to me a buyer spending over $30k would do a little more research.

    Either that, or a couple of trolls have made some bogus reviews on the Sienna. (I'm a Honda owner, so not Toyota biased).

    Here's someone who rated it 2.5:

    Comments: Handles like it is three times as heavy as it is, underpowered, interior could use some refinement. Overall unpleased.
    Favorite Features: Nothing special about the Sienna.
    Suggested Improvements: More power and fuel economy, improved handling, upgrade interior.

    These are things that should be evident from a test drive (except maybe fuel economy).

    I think it's a bogus review.
  • We just purchased our first Sienna, a 2006 LE, so too early to tell. But after suffering with a 2000 GC and multiple transmission replacements, even a Yugo minivan would be an improvement. I've gotten more than 150 k out of every other vehicle I've ever owned. Not so with the GC. First tran went out at 48k. Chrysler's rebuild version went out at 111k. And that's not to mention probs with steering, breaks, AC and so on. The tran on my brother's GC died at just over 60k. If only we had heeded the warnings! Buyer beware!
  • I did this with some trepidation myself but I did get the extended coverage. This is a "third" vehicle for us. I have a suzuki XL-7 limited that I love and my wife has a Subaru Impreza outback sport that she loves. This is mostly for the dogs and trips with them. We are taking a trip to Jekyle Island Georgia in a few weeks and will put about 1.5k on the van. We will then see what it is made of. So far the navigation system has worked well. We did a test run to a friends house in Maryland and it took us right to the door. I did 7 years, 75K since I do not look at more than 10K a year on it. It seems everyone one, even Honda and Toyota, has problems. With my windstar it was the transmission gaskets. They would start to leak every 30 to 35k along with the power doors not closing properly. We have several people in our Greyhound Adoption Group that have the T&C and are happy with them so we have taken the jump. I did test the Toyota, XLE Limted AWD and was impressed but for the money the T&C came out ahead, especially with the with the stow and go. Just have to see. Good luck with yours and I hope we both enjoy our selections.
  • If you were able to keep a Windstar on the road, you should have no problem with your 07 T&C. I can't even find an ad in Sundays paper for any Ford or GM minivan. Like you said, "everyone has problems", but my 2001 Caravan has been trouble-free. They paid you $4K to buy it, and you gave them some back for your 7/75000, you should be able to enjoy this vehicle for many years to come.
  • seatigerseatiger Posts: 9
    I have a 1999 Chrysler Voyager (mexican version) with the 3.3L and 41TE transaxle. It's approaching 65,000 miles without a problem except for the fan relay module which I changed (US$ 100).

    What impresses me is the very light payload this van is rated for, on the glove box there it is a label which especifies the maximum payload for the van is 454 kgs. (1000 lbs.), which means my 200 lbs. body uses 1/5th of the maximum payload, so I must be carrying light stuff and forget about carrying 7 adults since I will go way past the maximum payload of the van, and maybe placing stress on the transmission which is designed for light cars like the Dodge Stratus.

    Any thoughts of this?
    (I might be 200 lbs. but I'm fit huh? i'm 6'3" :D )
  • mtnbrflmtnbrfl Posts: 7
    That is because both GM and Ford have discontinued their minivan lines. DCX is the only "domestic" left.

    I myself have a 2004 Sienna XLE with 70,000 miles and love it. The only issue is the drivers sliding door lock broke. We recently had new brake pads for the front installed and routine maintenance.

    At times the power does seem a little lacking. However that is solved with the new 3.5L engine.

  • 97xpresso97xpresso Posts: 249
    You can still buy a new Ford or GM minivan, but they will be discontinued. I just thought that they would advertise heavily to get rid of all the 07's they have and will build this year.
  • drbob1drbob1 Posts: 3
    I'm sorry, I don't agree with this. Our AWD 96 T&C needed a new transmission at 100k miles. We were second owners, from 20k miles, and babied it. It was serviced by a very knowledgeable and competent "5 Star" Chrysler dealer, so I'm doubting they used the wrong fluid.
  • My 3.3L 2000 T&C ate it's transmission at 80,000 miles and now our 2002 Voyager with the 2.4 L ate it's transmission at 56500 miles. I once drank the Kool-Aid and thought all of these reported transmission failures were hype, but two dead transmissions on two vehicles is enough for me. Even with the new "lifetime" warranty, another Chrysler probably is not going to show up in my driveway.
  • hansiennahansienna Posts: 2,312
    Daughter's 99 GC SE now has 101,200 and NO problems since the "O" ring was replaced in the transmission.
    I know of ONLY 1 person that has had transmission problem with a Caravan/GC/T&C/Voyager/GV and their minivan was purchased USED.
    On the other hand, I know dozens of owners who LOVE their Chrysler minivan and are repeat buyers.'
    I will NOT buy another Sienna but don't dislike my 2006 LE enough to trade it in with the dismal trade-in value that Siennas retain.
This discussion has been closed.