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dxman92 Reader
8/7/18 8:18 a.m.

Someone at my church is looking for a minivan recommendation. I would think Grand Caravan is the way to go here. How does the Kia Sedona stack up..? Odyssey and Sienna are most likely going to be too expensive since they are big bucks $$$. Nissan Quest is a solid dark horse (I work at a Nissan dealer and these are pretty decent built.) I found these local:














What does the hive say?

John Welsh
John Welsh Mod Squad
8/7/18 8:28 a.m.

If Nissan Quest then 2006 is the year you want.  By then, they had gotten the metal chain guides, not the plastic which plagued '04 & '05.  For '07+ the Interior was updated (less funky dashboard) but the engine then called for premium fuel.  


If hauling "materials" then the stow n go of Chrysler is great however these folding seats are a compromise.  The easiest analogy is the other brands with non-folding seats have seats like well padded living room furniture.  The folding seats of stow n go are more like the comfort of patio furniture.  This becomes less important if the occupants of these seats are actually seated in kid-car seats.  

So, if mostly seating adults in the rear, and not carrying "materials" then avoid Stow N Go.  


That boxy Quest was never a big seller.  Most went into rental fleets and being a complete stripper model my guess is this one was a rental too.  Big word of caution on the boxy Quest is CVT.



Kias of 2006 and newer seem to have an excellent reputation too.  The latest restyle is rather attractive.  


Toyman01 MegaDork
8/7/18 9:07 a.m.

My son had a late 90s Quest. It was a horrible car as it aged and basically fell apart. Worse than the Venture it replaced by a lot. A broken and discontinued heater core manifold sent it to the scrap yard. 

Mazdax605 UberDork
8/7/18 9:10 a.m.

Used Sienna.

Klayfish PowerDork
8/7/18 9:38 a.m.

My vote is always going to go to the Kia Sedona when it comes to bang for the buck.  We've owned Sedonas continually since 2007.  The first one we bought new and drove it to 120k miles before we sold it.  We beat the ever living E36 M3 out of it and it never steered us wrong.  It never broke down once.  We towed with it...many times, hauled crap, kids, etc...  Our current one is a 2010 that we bought in 2014 with only 17k miles on the clock.  It now has 88k miles.  It just recently needed an air intake hose and the ABS pump is now leaking.  However, this van sat undriven for 2 years before we bought it (owned by a senior citizen at a retirement home) and I wonder if that's part of the issue...dry rotting/seals.  But before this issue, it's also been bullet proof.  We don't do any towing with this one, but it has hauled us to Disney World and back (1000 mile round trip) literally 10 times over the past 2 years, hauls the kids to sports, etc...it's a work horse.  Comfy for long rides, drives fine for a minivan, good power.  Sucky mpg. 

We have no use for Stow N Go, so the Chryslers had no appeal for us.  We thought the Sedona was just a better van, and the middle seats were far more comfy...which we use all the time.  The Oddity and Sienna are probably better than the Sedona, but much more costly. 

stuart in mn
stuart in mn UltimaDork
8/7/18 9:40 a.m.

My brother has a Chrysler minivan.  I've spent a fair amount of time sitting in the stow and go seats, and they seem comfortable to me.

Duke MegaDork
8/7/18 9:44 a.m.

Most people like the Sedona pretty well, and they don't seem to have many flaws.  I found them to be a little on the small side.

I have a 2012 T&C.  It replaced a 2000 GC, which replaced a 1992 Caravan, both injured in accidents.  While the back Stow-N-Go seats are not as soft as the fronts, I would put them as much better than patio furniture.  Frankly, they are no less comfortable than the Lug-N-Grunt seats that had to be removed from my old 2000 GC.  And with everything folded down, the back area is cavernous.

2012-up versions of the Mopar Twins seem to have fewer brake issues and some of the other problems from the 2008-2011 version of that generation.

I love mine and heartily recommend it.

ebonyandivory PowerDork
8/7/18 9:45 a.m.

We’ve had 4 versions of the Chrysler minivans.

I cant recommend them highly enough. Aside from one auto-sliding door, and me replacing  a worn tie rod end, they’ve never really been in the shop. 

Plenty of space, reliable and not lacking for power. The utility is amazing. Imagine taking two adults and three kids on week-long vacations and having the room for 7-8 days worth of clothes, pool toys, food and all the related stuff (3 females!) over the Kancamagus several times a week.

WonkoTheSane GRM+ Memberand Dork
8/7/18 10:29 a.m.

I've had 3 Chrylser minivans with stow n go, and I love them.  I just bought Tuna's a few weeks ago to replace one of my 2005s.   We've fit 5 kids and two dogs with luggage to go visit inlaws 6 hours away every month or two, all with normal maintenance on a 186k vehicle.   


I'm a big fan.  Before purchasing our second one, we test drove it against a Toyota Sienna.  both my wife and I thought the ride was better in the 05 T&C than in the 2017 Sienna as far as driving feel, steering input, road noise, etc.

8valve Reader
8/7/18 10:42 a.m.

The problem with used Sienna is they hold value like mad.  But yeah its a good way to go. 

ProDarwin PowerDork
8/7/18 10:51 a.m.

At this point I would have a hard time not going with a Chrysler.  My Odyssey experience has been awful.  The GC buy in is so low in comparison that it leaves a lot of budget for any major repairs if such things happen.


Joe Gearin
Joe Gearin Associate Publisher
8/7/18 3:55 p.m.

If they will be carrying cargo on a semi-regular basis, the Chrysler / Dodge vans with the Stow & Go can't be beat.  They are also a heck of a lot of van for the money.  The back seats may not be great for a cross-country trip, but they are fine for an hour or two.  I've never had any complaints. 

The Honda drives a bit better, but isn't worth the extra money IMHO.   I found nothing better about the Toyota Sienna, besides possibly better reliability long term.  

I've been very happy with my 14 GC.   It's been trouble free and basically perfect for my needs over 4 years and 35K miles at this point.  

I use the Stow & Go feature all the time----it's an amazingly versatile machine.  

Fueled by Caffeine
Fueled by Caffeine MegaDork
8/7/18 4:59 p.m.

Dynamically the Sienna is a dud.  It's a little loud inside( bout the same as the chrysler vans) but not as quiet as the Honda.  I bought my current sienna based upon my relaibility experience with an older model.  The honda was nicer..  The Chrysler made me nervous from a crash test standpoint and the Sedona had a third row seat that does not allow an adult to sit upright without brushing your head on the ceiling..   I like the idea of stow and go, but I have kids in big heavy car seats that I don't want to move.. so folding the seats never happens in my van.

So I bought another toyota.. sure they are expensive and really boring.. but it made my wife happy.  Next van might be a pacifica when the kids are out of the big seats.

Vigo UltimaDork
8/7/18 5:02 p.m.

I gave my mom an 06 T&C that i had planned to flip. Considering i couldn't have gotten more than 3k for it in the good shape it's in now they're a crazy value. 

I'm not as big a fan of the 08-up. The 08-11s my customers have are kind of a pita. The 00-07 are kind of the peak of 'pre-TIPM Chrysler' which is a good thing where the vans are concerned. 

mazdeuce - Seth
mazdeuce - Seth Mod Squad
8/7/18 5:33 p.m.

We had a rental Sedona in Puerto Rico last year. I wanted to be a car snob and not like it. I hustled that sucker all over the island purposely looking for twisty roads which were easy to find. I wan't quite convinced that it was the best thing ever until we got back and had to load the six of us into my truck. Literally everything about the Sedona was better aside from the ability to haul dirty stuff.

I still miss you, brown rental Sedona. 

barefootskater HalfDork
8/7/18 5:53 p.m.

Which minivan? Which STD?
This is GRM, therefor the answer is station wagon. Or suburban.

grover GRM+ Memberand HalfDork
8/7/18 7:08 p.m.

I've soured on honda's and oddy's in particular after my timing belt/cam drama.  

drainoil HalfDork
8/7/18 7:44 p.m.
Vigo said:

I gave my mom an 06 T&C that i had planned to flip. Considering i couldn't have gotten more than 3k for it in the good shape it's in now they're a crazy value. 

I'm not as big a fan of the 08-up. The 08-11s my customers have are kind of a pita. The 00-07 are kind of the peak of 'pre-TIPM Chrysler' which is a good thing where the vans are concerned. 

Do the ‘12 and later models also fall into the pita category? Just curious as I have a ‘15 GC and the only issue I’ve had is an HVAC vent door issue which of course just popped up after the factory warranty expired. Dealer wants almost $600 to fix. 

Floating Doc
Floating Doc GRM+ Memberand HalfDork
8/7/18 8:15 p.m.
grover said:

I've soured on honda's and oddy's in particular after my timing belt/cam drama.  

I guess they finally got the transmission sorted, but I'm still done with them too. Had two.

Bought a pre-abused 04 sienna with a fresh Jasper Transmission about 3 years ago. Going to get another one soon.

ebonyandivory PowerDork
8/8/18 5:00 a.m.
barefootskater said:

Which minivan? Which STD?
This is GRM, therefor the answer is station wagon. Or suburban.

Not really. Minivans are pretty popular around here. I’ve seen the “it’s not cool enough for ya? Suck it up and get the best tool for the job” way more than “don’t get an uncool mom-mobile, that’s not GRM enough” as far as minivan ownership.

Joe Gearin
Joe Gearin Associate Publisher
8/8/18 9:30 a.m.
ebonyandivory said:
barefootskater said:

Which minivan? Which STD?
This is GRM, therefor the answer is station wagon. Or suburban.

Not really. Minivans are pretty popular around here. I’ve seen the “it’s not cool enough for ya? Suck it up and get the best tool for the job” way more than “don’t get an uncool mom-mobile, that’s not GRM enough” as far as minivan ownership.

In the same vein that here people embrace Miatas for the wonderful sports cars they are......instead of using homophobic slurs or calling them "girls cars".  


mtn MegaDork
8/8/18 10:05 a.m.

We just went through this. Ended up with a loaded brand new 2017 Sedona. Here are the downsides of the Sedona compared to other minivans: 

1: MPG sucks. We average about 19. 

2: It doesn't have stow-n-go, but it does have Slide'n'Stow which is about 25% as good.

3: The center console is fixed/SUV style. Some see this as a positive, but I really like the drop-down table that provides a place for Mom to put her purse, and provides easy access to the backseat. 


We bought in June. We were looking only at new or lightly used, but the depreciation on minivans isn't enough to make us jump used, especially when you consider that half of them are trashed inside. Would have bought PeteGossetts Grand Caravan, but it wasn't available yet (I think it was a 2014). 

Ultimately it came down to this:

  • The Toyotas and the Hondas were too expensive, even used, and the dealers would not come off the price at all
  • The Pacifica was nice, but not as nice as the Kia and we got a better deal on the Kia by far. If my wife drove more, we'd have looked much harder for one because of the MPG. Didn't consider the hybrid becuase $$$ and availability. 
  • The Grand Caravan was very close to being the one. Not because it was nicer or better--except for Stow'N'Go, it didn't have anything going for it compared to the others in terms of the vehicle itself--but I was able to negotiate without trying a brand new van WITH Stow'N'Go for less than $20,000. That has to be the best value around right now. 
  • The Kia was just the nicest, by far. Interior quality and fit and finish was on par with my dads 2012 Infiniti. I personally think they're the best looking (although the Pacifica is very nice), and the dealer was willing to deal. 

The only one we didn't consider was the Nissan. Wife hated the way it looked, so it never even got out of the gate. 


FWIW, I sat in the 3rd row of the Kia and it fits me at 5'10" with a tall torso. No, not for a long trip, but I won't be in the 3rd row for long trips.


EDIT: Forgot arguably the best thing about the Sedona. Road noise. There is none. This is one of the quietest vehicles I have ever ridden in. I do not know how they made this thing so quiet. Incredible. 

Vigo UltimaDork
8/8/18 10:58 a.m.

Do the ‘12 and later models also fall into the pita category? 

I haven't had to do much work on them but I haven't heard as much bad, plus the motor and brakes got a lot better . There was a period in the mid-00s where Chrysler was transitioning all their models to a newer electrical architecture that seemed trouble prone for at least a few years. FCM, WIN, TIPM, a bunch of stuff that never used to exist to break in the first place. One of my customers with an '08 just spent 1k at a dealership getting her intermittent no-start issue fixed after her key finally broke (physically, which was a separate issue) and a locksmith buddy of mine couldn't make keys for it because the WIN module kept giving bad PINs. That's a characteristic example of an expensive pita that would never happen on the model that preceded it. In fact, there's basically nothing on our '06 that would cost 1k to fix short of a total engine or trans failure and me paying someone else full price to do it. Sadly it would be easier and cheaper for a DIYer to replace the engine/trans in an '01-07 than to replace/program some of the modules in an '08-up. 

failboat UberDork
8/8/18 12:33 p.m.

The late model quest, the seats dont fold into the floor, they fold forward and fold flat kind of like a mazda 5, which is why it ends up with the least available cargo room out of all the minivans these days despite being pretty large on the outside.  I saw one review liken it to an SUV in that regard.  On the flip side of the coin, if you have cargo stowed behind the rear seat (there is storage below the floor) you don't have to remove all that E36 M3 in order to fold the rear seat down. 

You can scoop them up cheaper than a Honda or Toyota. 

I have a 5 currently, looking pretty hard to upgrade to a Nissan Quest next year I think. I like the way they look more than all the other choices to be honest, and they pull decent mileage with the CVT. Probably get out and test drive everything though just to make sure. I drive my moms 12 Town and Country frequently, Other than the utility factor I'm not exactly crazy about it. 




drainoil HalfDork
8/9/18 7:20 a.m.

Thanks for the reply Vigo!

Having owned my stow n go equipped GC for a few years now, I have to say I do still really like it. I do love the fact that I can easily go from  seating for 5 then into basically a smaller cargo van, and then back again when needed. Not everyone needs or necessarily wants this feature but I really like it. It’s saved me from having to use a small trailer to haul stuff home from the home improvement store or garage sales. No joke I once hauled home a 12 foot pallet (inside the van, not on the roof).

And the best value among the CG’s hands down are the non stow n go models. Thousands less when new and still a great value imo now in the used market. 

And as far as the Pentastar 3.6 is concerned, it’s the most powerful engine I have ever owned in a daily driven vehicle. The 3.6 really hauls the mail when you want it to. Although having once driven a new ‘12 CG as a rental, that one was actually noticeably faster off the line than the ‘15 I currently own. I could easily catch rubber with that one. Same engine and trans as far as I know so must be different gearing? 


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