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Minivans - Domestic or Foreign



  • bluedevilsbluedevils Posts: 2,554
    The stow-n-go is a HUGE feature that surely will win plenty of sales for DCX based solely on that. DCX has plenty of good ideas in their minivans, but there are some areas where they still lag the competition - namely, powertrain.
  • marine2marine2 Posts: 1,155
    "but there are some areas where they still lag the competition - namely, powertrain."


    Not so sure. Looking at Consumer Reports, most of Chrysler's problem with their mini van's transmissions, ended in 2001. In 2003, they had above average reliability.(2004-05 are to new to report on.) They have had little complaints on their engines and both carry a 7/70,000 mile powertrain warrantee The 2005 Dodge GC and Chrysler TC are both recommended models.
  • hansiennahansienna Posts: 2,312
    Odyssey, Sienna, Sedona (and others) have 5 speed AT while DC still has a 4 speet AT with OHV engines.

         However, DC minivans get mileage as good as the Odyssey and Sienna and much better than the Sedona.

         DC has a longer powertrain warranty than all but the Sedona. Sure, a 5 speed AT will provide quicker off the line acceleration if all other things were equal. However, the "old fashioned" OHV engines develop torque more quickly than OHC which cancels the advantage of the 5 speed AT and higher horsepower ratings of the Odyssey and Sienna.
  • bluedevilsbluedevils Posts: 2,554
    If you folks think powertrains is not a competitive disadvantage in the marketplace for DCX minivans, you're kidding yourselves. First, read any professional review and it almost surely will knock the DCX van for this.


    I think it will be a while yet before the general public feels Chrysler has put its transmission issues in the past.


    Plus, doesn't the DCX powertrain "pledge" carry a deductible with it? My opinion is that 'no deductible' is a required characteristic of a manufacturer-backed warranty. If there's a deductible, then it's not a warranty. Which I believe is why DCX refers to it as their "7/70 Powertrain Pledge". Or maybe that's just a silly marketing move.


    Most folks would rather have the higher-tech combination of DOHC multivalve engine with more-gears-auto-trans. I know *I* would, and our family currently owns vehicles with 1 powertrain I'd call high-tech at the time it was introduced (our 2002 Sedona's 3.5L DOHC 24V V6 w/5-speed auto trans), 1 that's midpack (1998 Trooper, 215hp/230ft-lb 3.5L DOHC 24V V6 w/4-speed auto), and 1 that I'd consider low-tech (2004 Chevy Malibu Maxx 3.5L OHV 6 cyl w/4-speed auto).


    Practically speaking, sure the OHV and 4-speed combo gets the job done. Same holds for the OHV 4-speed powertrain in the Chevy Malibu Maxx we own, and that gets really good fuel economy. Still, I would rather have a higher-HP DOHC 24-valve V6 in there with a 5-speed automatic.


    I don't know the EPA ratings of DCX minivans off top of my head, but the real-world Sedona fuel economy seems to be legitimately well above the EPA ratings. At least it has been for our family's Sedona.


    The DCX vans have lots of great innovations, but the one thing stopping them from being the clear industry leader in terms of the overall vehicle is outdated and questionable-quality powertrain components.


    If DCX slapped in a 250-hp 24V DOHC 3.5L V6 with a bulletproof 5-speed auto, they would be right up there with the Joneses of the minivan world. Right now, they aren't.
  • steverstever Posts: 52,683
    When I was shopping vans in '98 I checked out quite a few used ones. Several people didn't even know if their van had a 4 or 6 banger in it much less what speed tranny it had or the cam design.


    Edmunds car enthusiasts are special, but most folks don't have a clue about the engines, and don't much care.


    Steve, Host
  • Thought this would be of interest to the forum members given all the talk of comparison between the various minivans and the general sentiment that Japanese is always better.


    "Minivans With Maxi-problems

    In this year’s Lemon-Aid SUV, Van, and Truck Guide, we have bad news for minivan buyers:


    less than a handful of minivans are worth buying and Japanese and American models are becoming less reliable.


    Buyers should stay away from bargain-priced new and used minivans that require frequent and costly repairs. Chief among these are Chrysler minivans, Ford Windstars, and the Mercury Villager/Nissan Quest. Chrysler models had engine, drivetrain, electrical and fuel system, AC, brake, and body deficiencies galore. Windstars are noted for engine, automatic transmission, brake, steering, suspension, and fuel system failures. The newest Quests are selling poorly and use many failure-prone Altima/Maxima parts. VW Campers are a good idea poorly executed. These minivans are nicely laid-out, but they aren't reliable and servicing is practically non-existent. Plus, they are costly."


    Link is


  • Can someone explain to me what is the benefit of a more modern DOHC V6 engine trans. combo like the vechicles you specified compared to the DCX OHV V6 engine trans. combo Daimlerchrysler uses. I think the new technology is great, but seeing that DCX has been building vans for over 20 yrs. and I still see some of the earlier versions on the roads today, is a sure sign that they must me doing something right with there engine/trans. combo. I have heard how DCX should have a 5 speed tranny since everybody else has one. Outside of gear ratio, I don't see that big of a difference between the two. As it has been said before, DCX gets about the same EPA as the more modern engine/trans. combo that of the foreign design. DCX reaches the max torque and horsepower with less RPM's. I'm not sure how long the 24V DOHC engines in the minivans have been around, but unless you can give better fact info. why DCX engine/Trans. combo is bad, it's all just opinions. I would like for DCX to update there engine/trans., but the one they have now is fine. Some of use around here like to have the new gadgets and technology. While others like and appreciate the old technology that has been around for decades. Both have there pros and cons.
  • bluedevilsbluedevils Posts: 2,554
    Good point. Still, among enthusiast buyers and among the pros in the automotive community, DCX is lagging behind in the powertrain area.
  • marine2marine2 Posts: 1,155
    Not ever having a radio like the one in the Dodge GC, with both CD and cassette, I also noticed the other day, it not only displays the station it's on, but the song that's playing and the artist that's singing it. I had a 2001 Dodge Dakota and have a 2004 Honda Civic and neither did that. Is this new, or has it been out for awhile and I just had two cheap radios that they didn't have it?
  • 1997montez341997montez34 NJ, USAPosts: 202
    Right, but to most people who shop for minivans it is irrelevant as long as it feels powerful and gets decent economy. One big con for the Sienna when I was shopping was that it requires premium. I will never get a family car that needs premuim again.


    That said, if the next DCX vans had the 3.5 I would be very happy about it...but I am an enthusiast on the Edmund's toenhall. I suspect I am not the average minivan owner.
  • steverstever Posts: 52,683
    it requires premium


    This is starting to become a crusade with me. I don't think any Sienna has ever required premium, but people keep repeating that it does. Must be some underground guerilla marketing by Honda or something.


    For example:


    cliffy1, "Toyota Sienna (2003 and earlier)" #1660, 29 Mar 2002 3:36 pm


    Steve, Host
  • jipsterjipster Louisville, KentuckyPosts: 5,443
    While The Sienna doesn't "require" premium is "recommended".Someone spending $25,000+ for a minivan are probably more inclined to take care of it with what is recommended(premium).
  • steverstever Posts: 52,683
    Maybe. I'm the type that'd spend more on the purchase price to avoid having to run premium in the years to come, if that makes sense. That's why I have a more expensive laser printer instead of an ink jet that burns $30 cartridges every month.


    Of course, I'm so frugal, I picked up my Series II Laserjet for $5 at the thrift store, and then a friend gave me his old one for parts. :-)


    Plus all you get with premium is a few more horses that you won't be able to feel by the seat of your pants, and any extra mileage gain will most likely be offset by the increased fuel charge.


    Steve, Host
  • ypresiaypresia Posts: 27
    For us, not having a premium fuel recommendation was a factor in favor of the Odyssey over the Sienna.
  • steverstever Posts: 52,683
    And that's probably why Honda dropped the premium fuel recommendation after the '99 version was introduced (link). People sort of expect to put premium in a luxury barge, but not in a minivan.


    Steve, Host
  • 1997montez341997montez34 NJ, USAPosts: 202


    Bottom line, if Toyota recommends premium them that's what I would want to use. I figure the engineers who design these things know something about this. To me it is a major cost factor over the long term with gas prices what they are now. Besides, it's a minivan, not a sports car. It should be able to run on the cheapest fuel from the grungiest truck stop on the American highway.
  • You guys are amazing me. Why refuse to buy a car based solely on the fact that it likes to drink more expensive (i.e. - premium) fuel? In my part of the World (near Boston), premium commands a 15% higher price. Driving 15K miles per year in a typical minivan will cost you somewhere around $1300 in gas only. If you are forced to use premium, this will add another $200 to your annual expenses. While this is a factor that needs to be taken into consideration as you are discussing your next car purchase, it is just one of them. Maintenance costs and resale value can be much more than that.
  • ypresiaypresia Posts: 27
    Well, maintenance and reliability b/n Toyota and Honda are fairly comparable.. So it's smaller things like this that distinguish them.
  • steverstever Posts: 52,683
    I guess some of us are amazing, but it would have to be a killer deal for me to buy a minivan that requires premium fuel.


    I'm a bit behind on my spreadsheet, but I figure I've spent $7,860.85 on gas on my van over it's first ~90,000 miles, at $1.80 a gallon. Twenty cents more a gallon would have cost me an additional $873.43. That's four season passes at the local ski resort :-).


    Resale is less important to me since I keep cars for a long time, but your point is well taken.


    Steve, Host
  • Hi all,

    I'm a newbie that's been lurking for a few weeks and have finally decided to speak up. I have some questions regarding the purchase of a new '04 mazda MPV ES. I notice that Edmunds does not have TMV pricing info up any more for the '04 models. The dealer is offering $7200 off MSRP for the van when contacted via e-mail ($23,570), but I noticed that the advertised price on the van itself matched the e-mail quote. How much wiggle room is available? Will I get hosed on a trade if I press much further? Am I better off trying to negotiate free services, extended warranties and such? This van has a moonroof, spoiler, 4 seasons package, and the autodimming temperature mirror with homelink. Any advice would be greatly appreciated!
  • steverstever Posts: 52,683
    Hi Labrat3, thanks for unlurking.


    Here's the link for the '04 ES pricing (the '04's are officially Used Cars now I guess):


    TMV Pricing


    I think your dealer needs to go lower. Check out the Mazda MPV: Prices Paid & Buying Experience discussion too.


    Steve, Host
  • jipsterjipster Louisville, KentuckyPosts: 5,443
    I show a MSRP of around $28,000 plus however much the homelink system was.What is homelink anyhow? The compass?;-) Navagational System ??This must have been a dealer after market add on as I've never known an MPV to come with one??? So that could be where the big dealer add on comes from.Tell the dealer he can keep the yourself a map for about $6 and ask him to let you have it for $22,500.
  • jipsterjipster Louisville, KentuckyPosts: 5,443
    The Toyota Sienna 2004 board people are a might sensitive when asked whether they use premium or regular and why. Not much of a response(1) when I posted a question asking which they used.They thought I was some Honda Ody troll looking to cause trouble.How obsurd!'re the man with a thousand links.Any data out there that shows when given the option of using premium or regular...what % of people use premium and what %use regular?I'm thinking people probaby start out on premium the first 3-4 years(of a brand new vehicle)...then switch over to regular when ole Betsy starts showing her age.
  • dulnevdulnev Posts: 652
    "I show a MSRP of around $28,000 plus however much the homelink system was.What is homelink anyhow? The compass?;-) Navagational System ??This must have been a dealer after market add on as I've never known an MPV to come with one??? So that could be where the big dealer add on comes from.Tell the dealer he can keep the yourself a map for about $6 and ask him to let you have it for $22,500."


    Homelink has nothing to do with Navigation. It's a system that allows you to open your garage doors with buttons built into the car. It's about $50 extra.
  • steverstever Posts: 52,683
    lol, that's a tall order. And even my posting a link doesn't mean the information in the link is right. But I'm game for an attempt:


    As the relative price of premium goes down, more people tend to use it. (Microeconomics)


    "But More than 16 percent use premium or super premium" Of that 16%, "about 44 percent said they use premium gas because their manual calls for it." Clark Howard Show


    "County workers filled up with premium unleaded gas 17.3 percent of the time."


    "High octane gasolines dramatically increased market share in the United States during the 1980s, increasing from 12% of the total gasoline market in 1983 to 15% in 1985 and 30% in 1989 (Figure I). The market growth of the 1980s followed by two price spikes in 1989 and 1990 suggest that this demand is highly elastic -- that high octane gasolines are widely treated as luxury goods."


    Premium Gasoline Overbuying in the U.S (UC Berkeley - pdf file)


    Steve, Host
  • Where does that $28,000 plus MSRP come from? Is that adjusted from the sticker MSRP because its a 2004 model? Its been more than 6 years since we bought our last new car, and I'm out of practice. I'm worried that if I aggresively negotiate a low price, then bring up the topic of a trade, they will low ball me on the trade. I guess I just have to threaten to walk under those circumstances... The other thing Edmunds won't let me look up now are the incentives (to customer and dealer) that Mazda is offering on '04s MPVs. Does anyone have a ballpark on this one?
  • jipsterjipster Louisville, KentuckyPosts: 5,443
    Interesting links Steve,thanks. It seems many people out there still use premium under the misguided assumption that it is better for their cars...even if their cars don't need premium.

    The microeconomics link reminded me of a professor I had in college who said he filled up on regular gas but on special occasions he would top off his tank with a gallon or two of premium as some sort of "treat" for his car. As if his car could recognise the premium and reward him with better performance.Waaaaay back then that was much more common to think along those lines.

        Anyhow,given the choice of regular or premium in a vehicle like the Sienna. Now... I'd probably go ahead and use regular without "much"hesitation.

    One things for certain..the higher gas prices go...the fewer Sienna owners you'll see at the pumps using premium.
  • rgb2rgb2 Posts: 31
    see my posting under MPV prices paid thread.

    I got virtually the same van for $8000 off MSRP, but had to go with Mazda financing (extra $1000 rebate) which I plan to pay off/refinance in 3 months.
  • Thanks everyone for the advice. I actually went with another dealership (stopped by on the way to the one I had been bargaining with). They convinced me to stay. I think I could've done better with the deal ($7,000 off MSRP), but I was able to get the trade I wanted after an aborted walk out attempt. The trade in was a WELL used 1998 VW Golf w/ 103,500 miles. I REALLY do not like the stress of buying a vehicle. The misses and I are happy with the deal we got and the razor blue '04 MPV ES is a beauty, and only 20 miles on the odo to boot! Thanks again.
  • It is usually best to separate the new car deal from the used car trade-in transaction. (I say this after breaking this policy several times myself.) Sometimes you can do better selling the used vehicle yourself or by taking it to CarMax.
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