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Andy Neuman
Andy Neuman SuperDork
1/22/20 9:21 a.m.

I'm looking to purchase a minivan in the next 1-4 months. I currently drive 4000-5000 miles a year. I'm looking to keep a van for 5-10 years, teach me which one will be the cheapest to purchase and own for that time period and mileage. I have some spare time this weekend and will be test driving as many as possible. I'm biased toward going with a Honda, Toyota or Kia at this point. 

I'm looking to spend between $1-20,000 convince me on which one to buy.  

ThurdFerguson
ThurdFerguson Reader
1/22/20 9:31 a.m.

My wife has had three Toyota's, one of each generation.  Currently driving a 2013 XLE.  It's nice.  Had a 2004 before this one that would eat tires.  Always replacing tires on it.  Other that that, good reliable transportation.

 

McDesign
McDesign New Reader
1/22/20 9:33 a.m.

My vote is for a 4th-gen. ('01-'07) Town & Country.  Our 2003 (left) just passed 300K; fine but old, and I just bought a 2007 (right) with 150K for $3K. 

The 03 is a spare parts car now for the '07.  Parts are super cheap and available - radiators less than $100. 

You won't believe it, but Rock Auto RIGHT NOW has front struts for $9.  No, that's right, NINE DOLLARS.  Just bought a pair.  Well, that was $18.00.

Forrest in Atlanta

mr2s2000elise
mr2s2000elise Dork
1/22/20 9:40 a.m.

Sienna 

Purple Frog
Purple Frog GRM+ Memberand New Reader
1/22/20 9:46 a.m.

We have a lot of mini-vans in the extended family.  (started with VW split windows in 1958)  

5 Honda Odesseys, a Ford E350,  and even a 2001 Dodge mini, etc

In your budget and the low amount of miles you predict I would recommend a 3 or 7 year old Chrysler Town and Country.

We just sold a 2009 after 185,000 miles.  Front brakes were the only wear part.  But, i could do them in the driveway in 40 minutes once a year.  Rotors were only $40.

The vehicle has lots of features and all the rear seats fold down to make for a completely flat floor.

ebonyandivory
ebonyandivory PowerDork
1/22/20 9:46 a.m.

We haven't been without a Chrysler minivan for closing in on 20 years. Had VERY (edit: FEW) problems with any of them. Now driving a new Pacifica S 

John Welsh
John Welsh Mod Squad
1/22/20 9:58 a.m.

I too am shopping minivans.  In my case, this will be the wifes car and I keep her in new cars or near-new.  

I have not pulled the trigger on anything but I have been watching the sale sites of the rental car companies.

Hertz

Enterprise

The rental market is flooded with lots of Dodge Grand Caravans (same body style since 2008) as well as Toyota Siennas (same body style since 2011)

Duke
Duke MegaDork
1/22/20 10:02 a.m.
ebonyandivory said:

We haven't been without a Chrysler minivan for closing in on 20 years. Had VERY little problems with any of them. Now driving a new Pacifica S 

I'll ditto this and up the ante to almost 30 years, divided among 3 vans.  Both of our current 2012 Concert Coach's predecessors (the 1992 Weasel Wagon and the 2000 Battle Bus) were only put out of commission by being rear-ended.  Sold the Battle Bus to my nephew, who replaced the hatch, bumper, and seats, and has put almost 100k on it in the last 5 years.

My sister just bought a lightly used Pacifica because her husband was injured in a fall and needs transportation he can get in and out of easily.  It was cheap enough to be worth buying it instead of renting one during his convalescence, and nice enough that they'll most likely end up keeping it.

There are other good options and the Hyundai / Kia twins have their supporters here.  But it always seems to be the Mopar vans we like best.

 

Fueled by Caffeine
Fueled by Caffeine MegaDork
1/22/20 10:19 a.m.

I have a sienna... it's fairly reliable outside issues related to Minnesota's salt penchant(rear A/C lines rotted out).   I liked the honda better and the Kia was nice as well but my wife wanted this one as our old Sienna gave us 200K of nearly trouble free service.  My wife has a 2-3mile commute each way.. it never gets used enough to justify somehting nicer or newer.. Though a hybrid would be nice as she'd never really buy gas..  

Pete Gossett
Pete Gossett GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
1/22/20 10:32 a.m.
John Welsh said:

I too am shopping minivans.  In my case, this will be the wifes car and I keep her in new cars or near-new.  

I have not pulled the trigger on anything but I have been watching the sale sites of the rental car companies.

Hertz

Enterprise

The rental market is flooded with lots of Dodge Grand Caravans (same body style since 2008) as well as Toyota Siennas (same body style since 2011)

Our 2014 T&C was an ex-Enterprise rental, but due to having 58k on it, we got it from a used dealer. It was a great vehicle in functions & features, but not su much in build. I'd not suggest one unless you're ok with random electrical issues and the potential for transmission failure. 

AngryCorvair
AngryCorvair GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
1/22/20 10:38 a.m.

this thread reminded me that while our 2010 Ody has been pretty stellar outside of recall fixes, the wind noise is berkeleying horrible for a modern vehicle.  we both liked the 2010-earlier driving experience vs the 2011-later.

i've rented a lot of ChryCo minivans and if i was buying another, the caravan / T&C / Pacifica would get the nod for sure.

Stefan
Stefan GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
1/22/20 11:13 a.m.

I'd lean towards a FCA GC/T&C/Pacifica or a Kia.

The Sienna has a terrible gear spacing 1st-2nd and it drove me nuts every time you left a light.  Not sure if there was some sort of traction control there, but it didn't matter the throttle position, it just shifted early and with a huge gap.  From 2nd-on it was fine and cruised along ok.  By the end of the week, I was dreading each and every stop.

The Kia we rented last year was a bit nicer and didn't annoy me in any memorable way.  Maybe the brakes were a bit undersized for bombing down a mountain road in Maui, but I can't imagine any minivan would handle it any better.

The Chryslers always felt like they had engines with a wider torque curve, even if the other brands made more peak power, the Chrysler seemed to shrug off any weight you threw at it.  That 3.6L is a well developed piece that just plain works.  The newer Pacifica is better overall than the previous vans, but the underlying tech is sound as it is a continuation of all the previous work they've done.

Our Pacifica S hybrid is awesome, I know that's outside of your price range.  The CVT coupled with the electric motor and the 3.6L makes Rolls owners jealous with the smooth power delivery.  It just wafts along and surprises quite a few people with how quickly it can move for a vehicle its size.

Ian F
Ian F MegaDork
1/22/20 11:24 a.m.
John Welsh said:

I too am shopping minivans.  In my case, this will be the wifes car and I keep her in new cars or near-new.  

I have not pulled the trigger on anything but I have been watching the sale sites of the rental car companies.

Hertz

Enterprise

The rental market is flooded with lots of Dodge Grand Caravans (same body style since 2008) as well as Toyota Siennas (same body style since 2011)

My 2017 GC GT is an ex-Enterprise rental.  I bought it in July 2018 with just under 25K miles and have put over 40K miles on it since.  It had one defect I've yet to get fixed - one of the rear seat trim parts is missing, but wasn't noticed during the initial inspection since it's only apparent when the seats are "stowed" - which for me is 99% percent of the time (I literally have not seen the rear seats in over a year). 

Anyway, I paid a bit over $21K for it and have done nothing to it other than basic maintenance.  My previous minivan was a 2008 GC and it had a few issues that came up as it aged (I bought it with 74K and put 150K on it before trading it for the '17).  The heater coolant pipe was a problem, but commonly known and was cheap/fast for my garage to fix (I keep my wrenching time for my "fun" cars). 

Chrysler made over a million of these vans (the '08 generation) - more than all the other makes combined.  They are still being sold today.  A side effect of that is parts are cheap and every mechanic out there has worked on one.

Recon1342
Recon1342 HalfDork
1/22/20 11:33 a.m.
AngryCorvair said:

this thread reminded me that while our 2010 Ody has been pretty stellar outside of recall fixes, the wind noise is berkeleying horrible for a modern vehicle.  we both liked the 2010-earlier driving experience vs the 2011-later.

i've rented a lot of ChryCo minivans and if i was buying another, the caravan / T&C / Pacifica would get the nod for sure.

Strange. Our new to us 2013 is remarkably quiet...  

I have kids, so rear seats are always up, but the Honda has been fantastic so far. For the in town driving we do, it gets good mileage, averaging about 16.5 mpg since we bought it. Interior quality is excellent, and the power everything is also a very nice feature (don't have to worry about a kid slamming the door and ripping off the door card...).

For us, it was a tossup between the Japanese big three, and the Odyssey won out due to mileage and cost (57k on the odometer when we bought it for $15k)

AngryCorvair
AngryCorvair GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
1/22/20 11:37 a.m.
Recon1342 said:

For us, it was a tossup between the Japanese big three, and the Odyssey won out due to mileage and cost (57k on the odometer when we bought it for $15k)

holy E36 M3cock, was it a salvage title?  in april 2014 i paid $23k for a 2010 EXL with 48k.

Clay
Clay HalfDork
1/22/20 12:10 p.m.

I'll chime in. We currently have a 2005 Sienna with 230k miles and I have owned a 2005 Odyssey as well. I prefer the Odyssey in general, but it was crashed early so I have more experience with the Sienna. My issues with the Sienna:

1. 2004-2005 have an issue where the VSC/ABS kicks in unexpectedly. It SHOULD be a safety recall, but Toyota is waiting on someone to get killed I guess. On freeway interchanges and onramps it thinks you are skidding and applies ABS to straighten you out. Sometimes towards a concrete barrier. Replaced steering rack, yaw sensor, etc, but never was able to fix it. Probably a result of squishy rubber in front suspension. Ultimately disabled ABS/VTC to avoid the issue. Not a huge deal in areas with little rain/snow like mine, but I wouldn't recommend it and I hate it for a car my wife/kids ride in. Look it up on NHTSA if you want more info. 

2. Eats front tires and brakes pretty quickly.

3. In 5 years/60k miles replaced: battery (twice), alternator (twice), brakes (twice), radiator, steering rack, starter, sliding door hinge, sliding door motor, thermostat housing (broke due to heat).

4. We got the XLE with lots of electronic toys that break. Laser cruise control and parking sensor system do not work.

The engine is reliable and just works. I keep waiting for it to die, but it just keeps going.

I'm looking for an Odyssey to replace it, but based on comments here, I might look into the Mopar for parts prices.

One last tidbit, our 2005 Odyssey took a solid 30-40mph rear-ending while sitting still. Destroyed the car that hit us, but I just popped the trunk, threw the rear bumper cover in, and drove home. I had just upgraded from an Accord and had two little kids int he car so I was very happy with how it handled it. My wife still prefers the Honda in terms of feel.

Andy Neuman
Andy Neuman SuperDork
1/22/20 12:17 p.m.

The biggest thought hurdle to me is newer 2-4 years old with higher miles 70-100k miles or save money and get a 7-10 year old one with similar mileage.  

mtn
mtn MegaDork
1/22/20 12:22 p.m.

We love our Kia. I could go on and on about it, but ultimately it was the right choice for us and we wouldn't have done it any other way looking back. For me, it comes down to buying new you will want to get either a ChryCo vehicle as they are CHEAP or else plug-in-hybrids, or a KIA since you can negotiate like crazy (we got ours about $10k off MSRP). 

 

If you go used, definitely go with the 7-10 year olds - from my shopping experience, anyways. The newer ones just haven't depreciated enough or else are extremely worn and/or the interior is a disaster. 

scardeal
scardeal SuperDork
1/22/20 12:46 p.m.

I made an earlier thread, and I'm still in the research phase, but we're heavily leaning towards a minivan ourselves.  I've been looking at lightly used prices in Louisiana (less than 4 years old, 45k miles or less).

I'm seeing lots of lightly used 2-3 year old Grand Caravans with 30k miles going for $15k or so.   You can even get *new* Grand Caravans in the low $20s.  Lightly used Pacificas, Sorentos, Siennas and Oddyssees are somewhat available for $20-$25k.  The higher trim lines, though, either have higher mileage or higher prices.

 

matthewmcl
matthewmcl New Reader
1/22/20 12:51 p.m.

I had this thread a couple months ago; itmay also have useful info for you:

https://grassrootsmotorsports.com/forum/grm/lm-used-minivans/158876/page1/

Matthew

1988RedT2
1988RedT2 MegaDork
1/22/20 1:46 p.m.

Sienna. 

If you're a gambling man, there are those that speak highly of the Chrysler product.

Recon1342
Recon1342 HalfDork
1/22/20 1:47 p.m.

In reply to AngryCorvair :

Nope. Clean title, one owner. Pretty sure that finding this one was the universe paying me back for a past good deed or something...

californiamilleghia
californiamilleghia Dork
1/22/20 2:16 p.m.

20 plus years ago , the Chrysler / Dodge minivans had very bad problems with the automatic trans , 

When did they fix that problem ?

 

Duke
Duke MegaDork
1/22/20 2:19 p.m.
1988RedT2 said:

Sienna. 

If you're a gambling man, there are those that speak highly of the Chrysler product.

My anecdotal experience says it's no gamble.

Out of a family history of 4 Mopar minivans ranging from 1990-2012, with a combined total of about 560,000 miles, exactly ONE has had any real mechanical trouble.

My father's 1990 Grand Caravan had the typical early-41TE transmission failure at about 125,000 miles, requiring a rebuild.  The van then went on for another 150,000 miles before rust got it.  Other than that, none of ours have needed much beyond routine maintenance.

 

Duke
Duke MegaDork
1/22/20 2:19 p.m.
californiamilleghia said:

20 plus years ago , the Chrysler / Dodge minivans had very bad problems with the automatic trans , 

When did they fix that problem ?

In about 1998.

 

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