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Mazdax605 UberDork
7/31/17 11:56 a.m.

Hey guys,

As some of you may know my 04 Suburban has been troublesome for about a year now. Always started, and only stranded me twice in that time, but it was starting to nickel and dime me a lot. We had been thinking about replacing it about a year ago anyway, and the troubles accelerated things.

Last week I traded it in on a new 2017 4Runner TRD Off-Road. Now that is the wife's new car after driving her Sienna for the past 10.5 years. The 4Runner will be her daily, and the tow vehicle for our camper on the few occasions we use it.

I'm not going to lie and say I don't want the 4Runner for myself, but right now I'm at peace with where we are in life as far as vehicles go.

I'm now driving the Sienna as a daily, and after setting it up with all of my crap, I must say this thing is an awesome car! I've always liked it when driving it which was not often, but almost always when we took a long trip. It has been a flawless car in the 10.5 years of ownership. The wife and kids haven't been nice to the interior, but it isn't horrible. It is a minivan after all. I spent a few hours over the past week here and there washing it, and vacuuming/ scrubbing the interior. I even went as far as cleaning the inner reaches of the body where the lift gate hinges are, and the sliding door crevasses, door jambs, etc...

I took it to play hockey last night, and it holds the hockey bag and sticks just as well as the Suburban, but is smoother, and gets better mileage. I look a whole lot more dorky behind the wheel, but really at this point what am I holding on to anyway? It is amazingly quiet to drive. I do miss the V8 power at times, and some of the little things like the stereo telling me the name of the artist, and song title, but I can live without that. The interior is like a vault in the Sienna compared to the Suburban. The Suburban felt a lot more rugged, but of course it will, as it is a truck compared to a car with a big box.

Going from driving a Ram 250 Cummins diesel 5-speed, to a Ram 1500 Hemi quad cab, to a full sized Ram passenger van, to the Suburban, and then to this is a huge change, but one that I really like so far. Would I still like to get my hands on a 98-99 full sized Montero? Of course, but the Sienna is paid for, runs/drives excellent, and is only a cool flame paint job away from being super cool. Right? Well probably not, but I still have the Delica to look cool in(probably still dorky), or the REPU(look like Magilla Gorilla in that one), or possibly the RX-7 (well maybe I do look cool in that, but I haven't driven it in a long time).

Ahh whatever, I drive a Minivan, and I like it. at least until I find something else cooler. Probably not, one car payment is too much let alone two. Anyone want to go to soccer practice?

failboat UberDork
7/31/17 12:04 p.m.

I was already on van #4 before we even had a kid (well to be fair, we were expecting when #4 was purchased). Hard to beat for a lot of the reasons you mentioned.

Crash Enburn
Crash Enburn New Reader
7/31/17 12:16 p.m.

I'd refer you to the "Lowered SUV" thread for ideas on upping the coolness factor.

Years ago, I was getting tires for our old minivan. While there, I asked about any deal on wheels that would fit. I ended up getting +2 sized, 7-spoke wheels and tires for ~$50 more than I was about to have paid for just tires. My wife thought it was a stupid idea, putting "racing wheels" on a minivan, but we never again had a problem finding it in a parking lot. And my kids and I thought it looked way cooler.

Klayfish PowerDork
7/31/17 12:23 p.m.

I don't DD ours, my wife does. But we've had one for over 10 years now and couldn't be happier with it. We transported a van full of kids yesterday for a b-day party. Did the job far better than any SUV could have.

eastsidemav SuperDork
7/31/17 12:27 p.m.

I've owned a third gen Grand Caravan and a first gen Villager, and do not have kids. Generally, I prefer them over SUVs/CUVs by a lot, and they can do a lot of jobs many people use pickups for. As a matter of fact, I'd kind of like to have one again, about the same size of the Villager (it was pretty much the definition of "just right" in size). The newer long wheelbase Transit Connect is pretty close, so I'll be keeping my eyes open in a few years to see where depreciation on them is.

Enyar Dork
7/31/17 12:33 p.m.

Funny you posted this. Our household is currently kidless and we're 30 years old. My wifes 2005 Corolla is starting to show some wear and my car (13 Focus) was purchased 2 years ago. So she's next on the list for a replacement. Being able to tow 2k pounds would be great so I was looking at smaller SUVs. Then I was trying to think about the future once kids get involved, where a minivan really shines.

If we have no kids, is it ridiculous to want a minivan just to plan for the future? Other than looking cool (let's face it, I'm going to need much more than a SUV to look cool) the minivan is better in every way.

edizzle89 Dork
7/31/17 12:38 p.m.

my wife went from an GMC Envoy to a Chrysler Town & Country. seats the same amount of people, externally about the same size, but the van is better in every way minus not having 4wd but living in the middle of flat Indiana there's basically no need for it.

you dont have to fold center seats down to get into the third row like you did in the Envoy which was a real pain in the ass with car seats. All rear seats can fold flat with the stow-n-go which has made trips to Ikea (~1 hour from us) super easy and not have to worry about weather or mpg's by taking the truck. The van does 18 city/24 hwy vs the Envoy doing 14 city/18 hwy. Plus the van had 2 DVD players which is great for the 8 hour drives to go see the family.

i hated the idea at first but after owning it for a while i should have made the move way earlier.

Matt B
Matt B SuperDork
7/31/17 12:51 p.m.
Crash Enburn wrote: I'd refer you to the "Lowered SUV" thread for ideas on upping the coolness factor. Years ago, I was getting tires for our old minivan. While there, I asked about any deal on wheels that would fit. I ended up getting +2 sized, 7-spoke wheels and tires for ~$50 more than I was about to have paid for just tires. My wife thought it was a stupid idea, putting "racing wheels" on a minivan, but we never again had a problem finding it in a parking lot. And my kids and I thought it looked way cooler.

Um, sir? I believe photographic evidence of said "racing wheels" is now required.

nderwater UltimaDork
7/31/17 1:27 p.m.

Minivans: the 'other' answer.

Tony Sestito
Tony Sestito PowerDork
7/31/17 1:53 p.m.

About that blurb about the "song names coming up on the stereo"...

I recently installed a Kenwood Bluetooth AM/FM receiver in my Dakota. It has RDS, aka the tech that shows what song is playing on the radio. It was cheap, too (around $50). It doesn't play CD's, though. They make one that does play CD's for a little more. It makes driving that hulk a little more enjoyable.

RedGT Dork
7/31/17 2:00 p.m.

I mean, if I was going to own an SUV I'd own a van first. Either a minivan for people moving or a full size for real towing. It's the right tool for the job. I'm not sure cute utes are the right tool for any job.

John Welsh
John Welsh MegaDork
7/31/17 2:23 p.m.


If the Sienna is white, I recommend some old TRD tri- colors inspired from these:

maschinenbau GRM+ Memberand HalfDork
7/31/17 3:05 p.m.

One of my favorite articles from when Jalopnik wasn't absolute crap. In Defense of Minivans.

"I own a Dodge Viper and a minivan, and if I could only keep one of them, it would be the minivan."

maschinenbau GRM+ Memberand HalfDork
7/31/17 3:15 p.m.

BTW we loved those 2nd-gen Siennas when were shopping. They're like the Lexus of minivans, and sure hold their value like one. But we settled on a too-cheap-to-be-true 4th gen T&C and are really loving that too.

Joe Gearin
Joe Gearin Associate Publisher
7/31/17 3:27 p.m.

Well I suppose driving a Minivan isn't cool.......unless you have a Hellcat Minivan!

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Ian F
Ian F MegaDork
7/31/17 3:29 p.m.

I daily drove my '08 GC for about 3.5 years until buying my '06 MCS last month. I put over 110K miles on it during that time. I still drive the minivan when I need to haul my bikes around. That said, there is a certain liberty to driving a vehicle you give no berks about. At the same time, it was also soul-suckingly boring to drive and that wore on me after 3 years. And slow. Really slow. And didn't handle worth a damn either. And the A/C broke. And the CD player broke. It served its purpose, but I look forward to moving on to a larger van and back to my TDI for DD use (with the MINI as a back-up).

chandlerGTi PowerDork
7/31/17 3:54 p.m.

I daily a Mazda5 and have a T&C. I love mini vans.

2002maniac Dork
7/31/17 4:57 p.m.

My wife's minivan ('12 T&C) has Jeep JK Rubicon wheels on it. They make me smile.

Datsun310Guy PowerDork
7/31/17 5:49 p.m.

I'm hoping my sister sells her Honda Oddessy cheaply thus convincing me to mate an Accord manual tranny to it. Might never happen but I dream.

After owning one Honda (Accord 5-speed) I'm drawn to Hondas now.

Tyler H
Tyler H GRM+ Memberand UltraDork
7/31/17 6:11 p.m.

I'm not gonna lie...shopping for Sienna SEs, and happy about it. I've been trying to convince the Mrs that we need a van for years. Growing family has us there.

I want a man-van.

JAhmed Reader
7/31/17 6:51 p.m.
2002maniac wrote: My wife's minivan ('12 T&C) has Jeep JK Rubicon wheels on it. They make me smile.


chandlerGTi PowerDork
7/31/17 6:58 p.m.

I was surprised that the new T&C was 5x5, could almost fit Porsche wheels....

Mazdax605 UberDork
7/31/17 7:12 p.m.

I half jokingly told my wife that I was going to put a flame paint job on the mighty Sienna.

Mazdax605 UberDork
7/31/17 7:20 p.m.

Aside from scratches all over the van and one dent in the tailgate from my wife backing into the basketball hoop the van is in damn good shape. I've really only had to do regular maintenance on the van in the 10.5 years of ownership. Timing belt at 85k, spark plugs and brake fluid flush at 90k. Flex pipe on the exhaust about 2 weeks ago. The only thing "wrong" with it is the right side sliding door (the only power one on this van) only works electrically by operating the door handles inside or out. The ceiling and B-pillar mounted buttons, and key fob buttons won't operate them. I thought it was something major, but just recently I found out on the internet that it is a common solenoid that causes this. You can get the part from Toyota for around $100, or just buy a new electric motor for $10. It's not super easy to replace, but not anything I can't handle.

Fueled by Caffeine
Fueled by Caffeine MegaDork
7/31/17 7:40 p.m.

I'm on minivan two after my first sienna went 197k miles And was just tired.

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