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John Welsh (Moderate Supporter)
John Welsh (Moderate Supporter) Mod Squad
5/30/20 10:38 p.m.

About the beginning of the year, my wife and I started shopping for a replacement for her 2010 Mazda 5 which we had purchased new. 

It has been wonderful but we were looking for something in the next bigger size.  I had narrowed my choices to the possibility of Nissan Armada, Lincoln MKT (the other Ford Flex), or a Grand Caravan.  Back in Jan I almost pulled the trigger on a CPO 2016 Lincoln MKT with all the options and 40k miles. 


I wanted to be at a price of $22k.  They held firm at $23.5k.  I walked away.  

I kept an eye on the Lincoln and watched as the dealership eventually lowered the advertised price to $22k, but...  By that time Covid was becoming a thing and I got cold feet and put all changes on hold.    It was actually at this same time that I had found a buyer for the Mazda5 but we talked and agreed that it was best to wait and see how this new Covid thing was going to shake out.  

While staying at home, I continued to shop online.  I started to watch the Hertz and Avis sites.  On those sites, in the beginning, Armadas were about $28k, Pacificas were about $25k.  The Flex were about $22k and Grand Caravan were about $20k.  The Covid hit and Hertz announced bankruptcy, etc.   Prices began to drop.  

Today, I pulled the trigger on this exact 2019 Grand Caravan: 


Here is the $35k original window sticker: 

This car was built in Sept '18 as a 2019 model so this would be an early 2019.  That means that the car is 20 months old or nearly two years.  So, though 42k miles is high for a 2019 MY vehicle it is not obscene for 20 months or just over 2k miles per month. This would be like 25k per year.   What was the deciding factor for me was that when shopping for any Grand Caravan (with all the options like this one) or a Town and Country with less than 50k miles, I could not find a 2014 or newer for less than $15k. 

The Grand Caravan:
Its a Mopar van.  There is nothing cutting edge about it.  The look is familiar.  You know what you are getting.  As i mentioned, this one is loaded for a Caravan so that means leather, Nav, better stereo, heated seats and heated steering wheel, power opening all doors, etc.     The downside (though somewhat welcomed) the van is generally low tech. No lane departure warning (annoyance), no adaptive cruise control, no self parking features that I might never use, etc.  Being a rental, not spec'ed with video screens with headphones that get lost and no optional roof rack.  I can see Hertz not wanting to tempt people to add 500lbs to a roof.  

The Hertz buying experience:
One of the sales reps said they were on track to sell 150 cars this month in the Cleveland location.  Further commented that most of that happened in 2 weeks since bankruptcy buzz.  They are moving the cars off the lot faster than they are adding cars to the lot.  We went twice to the lot.  Thursday we drove and thought on it.  Saturday morning we returned to buy.  Noticeable between the two days there was an entire row of cars gone from the lot.  My guess is they had sold 20 car in these two days.  

Hertz seems to drop the price a couple hundred every week that the cars sit on the lot.  Specifically, I had watched this car go from $15,590 when I first engaged to $15,440 when we went and test drove and then to $15,390 the day we went to buy.  A additional thing I had learned on my own is that a AAA Membership is good for a $300 discount.  Hertz holds to their no haggle policy but at a $15,090 I was fine with the price.  Part of this no haggle came out in that the sales people were not polished but conversely they were not slimy and deceptive.  They were generally 20s-30s year -ish and very nice and pleasant.  They were somewhat order takers by writing down your name, address, soc number, etc.   This then brought out a finance guy.  He too was not slick or slimy but this 40 yr old understood the numbers and how to somewhat game those numbers.  This is the guy who tried to present me number is "monthly payment".  When I pushed he caved that the interest rates were 4-somethings.  I then explained that I had a voucher with me for 3.24% from my bank.  

This sent him back to his office to "make some calls and see what he could do."  Quickly, he came back with 2.84% and I agreed to go with his offer.    This then sent us off with another 40-something yr old F&I Guy to finish paperwork.  This is where we were offered extended warranty, gap insurance, prepaid maint, etc.  However this guy too was smart but not slimy.  I passed on all the "products" and he did not play a hard game.  

Start to finish we were on sight at Hertz for 1.5 hrs and I would attribute .5 of that to just waiting.  They were busy on this Sat morning at 11:30.  While we were there I watched 2 other sales finalize and 2 new people drive off in new cars.   

The Hertz Cars:
The cars seem to come right out of rental service.  They get some further detailing like that damn shiny, sort of sticky stuff that use on the interior plastic. The cars are clean but rental car never really get (or stay) that dirty.  I would say that the paint has imperfections.  These are scuffs in the areas like where luggage gets dragged into the trunk.  The cargo are has a couple of gouges/scratches in the cargo area plastic from the movement of this same luggage, etc.   At 42k miles, my tires and their build codes of 16th week of 2018 reveal that these tires have 42k miles on them.  These Yokohamas are admittedly near the end of their life but at the price paid, I am willing to factor in the need to spend $600 on new rubber before winter.  This also allows me to choose the tires rather than take some no-names that a typical used car lot might put on.  The brakes look to have been replaced.  They feel good and seem to have a lot of pad left.    

In summary, the car has about 3 years worth of miles and is still priced lower than a 3 year old Caravan.  It has taken my wife 9 years and 4 months to add 71k miles to her Mazda5.  About 8k miles per year (or less lately.) She is a teacher at a school 3 miles from our house.  In this case, we bought a Grand Caravan with "high miles" but in just of couple of years of owning it and her low mileage driving it will quickly average out to "average miles."  My guess is that it will take her 7 years to hit 100k miles.  If I compare that to current 8 yr old Grand Caravans from 2012, they are still asking $9k.  Even if I sell it for $8k then I have a depreciation loss of $7k over 7 years or $1k per year (in very simplified math.)  I like those numbers!   I'm expecting I will be taking a $1,200 per year depreciation loss on her Mazda5 (which I'm happy with too.)  


In other humors.  That 42k miles in nearly 2 years is a lot of travel, so I played with the Nav and looked up recent addresses.  Most recent were just a few in the Akron/Canton, Ohio areas (near where I bought the car) but the bulk of the addresses are in Florida up to and including Disney along with Miami but generally Orlando. The only outlier from that is about 4 addresses in Wisconsin.  

Photo Dump:


Pete Gossett (Forum Supporter)
Pete Gossett (Forum Supporter) GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
5/30/20 10:54 p.m.

In reply to John Welsh (Moderate Supporter) :

That's about what we paid for our 2014 in October of 2015 with 58k on it(ex-Enterprise rental). I'd agree you stole it. 

The two common serious problems with these seem to be BCM issues/failures, and the torque converter failing to unlock when coming to a stop. I also had an oil pressure switch fail that I needed to replace, but it was pretty easy & cheap.

dxman92 HalfDork
5/30/20 11:18 p.m.

That is a good looking color/wheel combo..

chandler PowerDork
5/31/20 6:04 a.m.

One other issue that may come up around 80k is the gaskets/o-rings on the oil filter housing fail. It's an easy job but you kinda freak out when there is oil dripping under the van and all over the engine compartment. We paid about $15k for our 14 T&C in 15 with 38k, it was from Enterprise. The brakes may be the originals, I replaced mine at 90k! Otherwise ours has been bulletproof and we are almost to 110,000.


congrats on the new addition, your wife is going to love it!

ZOO (Forum Supporter)
ZOO (Forum Supporter) GRM+ Memberand UltraDork
5/31/20 6:31 a.m.

Great colour!  It’s hard to see how you could go wrong for that price.  The Pentastar motor seems pretty stout, with good fuel economy. 

Patrick (Forum Supporter)
Patrick (Forum Supporter) GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
5/31/20 7:21 a.m.

We looked at their site last night hoping there would be a charger R/T but they just have a couple 6 cylinder gt's.  I saw your van, i love the color.  The chargers are hard to beat 1 year old with 29k miles for $22k, but no sense in replacing a 4 year old v6 charger with another v6.  

John Welsh (Moderate Supporter)
John Welsh (Moderate Supporter) Mod Squad
5/31/20 8:08 a.m.

In reply to Patrick (Forum Supporter) :

Check back.  They are at a really low inventory point right now.  When I first engaged the Cleveland location had 3 Grand Caravans.  They now have zero.  When we were there to buy, there was a dark gray one too.  Funny story...our car had no owners manual but the gray one did.  I asked my salesman if he could pull the one from the gray one and put it in ours.  He did but when we were leaving he mentioned that he got it out just as another customer was getting in to test drive the gray one.  That gray one is now sold.  

Another oddity.  While were were still at the dealership and "getting familiar with the car" before my wife drove it home a guy past by and made a very friendly but somewhat awkward comment of "that's a really nice color."  The exchange ended there and was friendly but struck me as somewhat odd.  I think this was another shopper who had hoped to buy this pretty color that same day.  


I have a theory and that is that my van and the few they had are some of the last that were in the pipeline for sale before bankruptcy.  Now, there are many watchful eyes on the Hertz actions.  Those eyes will "try" to keep prices up as they hope to get the best return on assets.  The Hertz website shows more GCs coming but they are starting at $18k for similar to what I bought for $15k.  

Also, look at Avis.  Their game is different.  They don't have sales locations rather you find a car on their site and they move it to the closest location you would like to pick it up from.  I tried to reserve 2 different GCs from Avis.  The first one gave me an error when I tried to reserve and then gave the rep I spoke with in TX an error only to later find out that the specific one had been sold.  There was another that I wanted but would not be available until Monday.  On that Thursday I hesitated to reserve the Avis until after I drove the Hertz.  And, by that time, the Avis was gone.  The Avis offers were generally $600 more and had 10k less miles.   

Patrick (Forum Supporter)
Patrick (Forum Supporter) GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
5/31/20 8:19 a.m.

Cool avis has 6 r/t's within 1000 miles.  Some don't have pictures up though, so I will keep looking.  She's looking for black or another mean color with the step above base body panels(hellcat spoiler, ram air hood, front lip).  

John Welsh (Moderate Supporter)
John Welsh (Moderate Supporter) Mod Squad
5/31/20 8:43 a.m.

In reply to Patrick (Forum Supporter) :

I learned that Avis just uses stock photo. Even the ones that appear to be actual photos in a parking garage are just stock photos.

I also leaned that Mopar and Ford window stickers can be looked up via VIN which seems to be the best way to verify options. 

Patrick (Forum Supporter)
Patrick (Forum Supporter) GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
5/31/20 9:26 a.m.

In reply to John Welsh (Moderate Supporter) :

Ah, that's lame.  All their r/t are base trim looking it up like that

Ian F (Forum Supporter)
Ian F (Forum Supporter) MegaDork
5/31/20 10:15 a.m.

When I was shopping for a replacement minivan 2 years ago, I found out the GT trim basically replaced the R/T. Other than the badge, the equipment spec was essentially the same.

I agree $15k is a great price. I paid about $20k for my '17 GT back in 7/2018 with just under 25k miles.

Two years and 50k miles later, I'm still happy with it. It's awesome for the long drives I tend to do and I never thought I'd love the remote start feature so much until I had it. Power sliders seem frivolous until you're walking to the van with arms full of groceries.

I still use my phone for navigation, but having BT connectivity has been nice.

And while it's still a big vehicle, with 283hp, it's quite capable of getting out of its own way when needed.

Honestly, all the conveniences in this van is one reason why I'm abandoning the E-350 camper conversion plan.

We put Michelin Defenders on my aunt's 2015. She kept having issues with the Yokohamas that the Michelin's solved. 

Does it have an eco button? If so, don't use it. The 6 speed wants nothing more than to get into 6th as soon as it can, and the eco button just exacerbates that. 

The blend doors derping and blowing only hot air on the passenger side seems to be a rather common issue. My aunt's is doing it now, too. Has to be reflashed at the dealership this week.  

Snrub HalfDork
5/31/20 11:25 a.m.

You definitely deserve props for proficiency in the art of used vehicle value purchasing. On a yearly basis it will cost you say $1500 depreciation and maintenance shouldn't be much for some time. It's pretty much as cheap as it gets to own a larger vehicle, with as little hassle as possible.

John Welsh (Moderate Supporter)
John Welsh (Moderate Supporter) Mod Squad
5/31/20 11:43 a.m.

In reply to Snrub :


This grassrooting-thing is more than a casual pass time. Ha. 

John Welsh (Moderate Supporter)
John Welsh (Moderate Supporter) Mod Squad
5/31/20 11:46 a.m.

In reply to Jordan Rimpela (Forum Unterstützer) :

I had read about avoiding the eco. I'm sure I read it here since I read nowhere else. I have passed that info to the lovely Mrs Welsh already. 

I'm now watching tire deals and potential of rebates.  Tires seem to run $150—ish each. 

John Welsh (Moderate Supporter)
John Welsh (Moderate Supporter) Mod Squad
5/31/20 11:59 a.m.
dxman92 said:

That is a good looking color/wheel combo..

I'm a bit tired of black wheels being the current trend in "sporty wheels.". I think this exterior color would look good with gold/bronze. 


Pete. (l33t FS)
Pete. (l33t FS) GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
5/31/20 2:57 p.m.
chandler said:

One other issue that may come up around 80k is the gaskets/o-rings on the oil filter housing fail. It's an easy job but you kinda freak out when there is oil dripping under the van and all over the engine compartment.


The engine valley will hold 2.5 quarts of oil before it starts spilling out over the transmission!


I have seen a couple oil pressure senders fail too.  Just buy the whole oil cooler assembly, failure is a "when" not an "if" so it is best to bite the bullet and do it.  I have had exactly one sender come out intact.  On all of the coolers I have replaced, the brass insert in the plastic (!) housing that the sender threads into will break out instead.  At that point you are buying a cooler anyway.


At least it is a "soft" failure that you can attack at your leisure, the worst they ever seem to do is leak.

einy (Forum Supporter)
einy (Forum Supporter) HalfDork
5/31/20 3:12 p.m.

The Hertz resale location north of Cincinnati has had a large decrease in cars on their lot also in the past two weeks.  Lot used to be jam packed, now is only about 1/2 full.  Almost like they are shipping them out to other locations all of the sudden.

Andy Neuman
Andy Neuman SuperDork
5/31/20 4:09 p.m.

Trying to convince my wife to let me pull the trigger on one of these soon. Much better deal than anything else right now. 

John Welsh (Moderate Supporter)
John Welsh (Moderate Supporter) Mod Squad
5/31/20 4:34 p.m.

In reply to Andy Neuman :

Do it and you too can be happy like these people. Ha.  

It's first shopping trip was a success. Some landscaping supplies followed by a stop at Sonic for a blue slushy. Shortly after, this resulted in the first of what may be many spills of blue slushies. Minor spill. I also vacuumed the cargo hold out after dirty plants were back there. This shows I still care. 


Ian F (Forum Supporter)
Ian F (Forum Supporter) MegaDork
5/31/20 6:02 p.m.

The rear seats can be configured into tailgate seats? I didn't know that.  Being a rental, my van didn't come with a manual either, although I did download a PDF version of it.

edit: found a video how-to.  Neat. Didn't know it was that easy.  Granted, I haven't seen the center or rear seats in my van in over a year... 

A 401 CJ
A 401 CJ Dork
5/31/20 7:03 p.m.

The first time I rented one with the Pentastar (‘12) I was Astonished.  I’ve rented about 20 of them.  The boss pretty much lets me get what I want within reason and I like minivans.  Some perform better than others.  I’ve accused FCA with juggling the torque converters, gearing, and tune.  That first one though...Ho Lee.....

yupididit GRM+ Memberand UberDork
5/31/20 8:31 p.m.

In reply to A 401 CJ :

I drove one owned by the Air Force. Drove it 200 miles and flogged it. Was impressed 

yupididit GRM+ Memberand UberDork
5/31/20 8:32 p.m.

I wonder if there's really good deal on big American SUV's. Would love to replace my excursion with a Expedition or Yukon/Suburban hmmm

Patrick (Forum Supporter)
Patrick (Forum Supporter) GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
5/31/20 8:56 p.m.

In reply to Andy Neuman :

Get a charger r/t you pansy

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