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trigun7469
trigun7469 SuperDork
7/1/20 8:45 a.m.

Okay, I have done some research, I currently have a Durango but I am tired of stepping up in to carry stuff and children. 

 Goals (in priority order):

  • 5k ish buy in, maybe 1k more for deferred maintenance
  • room for family (I did look at a Mazda5 and it just didn't quite cut it... so bigger than mazda5)
  • great gas mileage and low running/maintenance costs ( I currently have a Durango that gets 15-18, not a high ceiling)
  • ability to tow
  • I don't care what brand
  • No old tired Astros

What I know so far

  • Honda Odyssey Transmission issues
  • Chrysler T&C/Dodge Caravan (08-10 have more issues) Have been looking for 2010 and up. 
  • Toyota Sienna Oil Sludge and power door issues
  • Korean variety I don't see many available used (so maybe they go straight to the junkyard lolz) I owned2 kia's and loved them
  • Nobody seems to talk about GM's
  • Nissan Quest?
wvumtnbkr
wvumtnbkr GRM+ Memberand UberDork
7/1/20 8:47 a.m.

Tow how much?

 

Moat minivans don't have great tow ratings and I would worry about it if you live in hilly terrain.

 

I hate suvs, but that might be the answer here if towing more than 1.5k pounds.

trigun7469
trigun7469 SuperDork
7/1/20 9:07 a.m.

In reply to wvumtnbkr :

I have a small trailer I tow a kart with, any van should be fine.

I've owned a Caravan and a Chevy Venture. Hated the Caravan and loved the Venture. 

The Caravan needed head gaskets by 80k. It got the job done, but it wasn't a nice vehicle to drive. The throttle was more of a suggestion than a command. Slow as molasses and handled like a boat. 

The Venture was fast as stink and would boil the tires with the traction control turned off. Much more car like than the Caravan. It will probably have the dreaded lower intake gasket problem at some point. It's a long job but not impossible. Ours went 130k before it became a problem and then went another 110k before we gave it to my son. He drove it another 50k before he decided he wanted something newer for the wife to drive. They sell for next to nothing because no one has heard of them. 

Mazdax605
Mazdax605 PowerDork
7/1/20 9:14 a.m.

We've owned our 06 Sienna since Jan 07. It has been nothing short of amazing. Only one power sliding door on our LE, and while it did have an issue it was stupid easy to fix, and the part from Amazon was only $20. No sludge problems with our 3.3 litre, but I'm religious about changing the oil. We've done two timing belts in the 188k or so miles. Nothing suspension related, spark plugs once(gonna do again soon), brakes a few times, and tires a few times. Had a family of mice living in the HVAC system briefly recently, so If you live in the sticks, and get this generation you should plan on doing this:

 

Berkeleying Mice!!

 

Short of these things, thi svan has been perfect, and when I took over driving it 3+ years ago I thought it would be temporary, but I really love this car!! It has a 3500lb tow rating.

 

Get a Sienna!!

bigbrainonbrad
bigbrainonbrad Reader
7/1/20 9:25 a.m.

Currently have a 2015 Grand Caravan SE with about 115,XXX miles on it.  We bought it in February of 2017 with 40,XXX on it and have had very good luck with it.  I've done the routine maintenance (oil, transmission fluid, belts, spark plugs) and cannot complain about the serviceability; frankly a pretty easy transverse V6 to work one.  My wife averages around 22.5 MPG with split highway/city traffic driving; on longer trips, it will get into the mid-20's (I think the highest I recall was 26.X MPG).  My wife is not a fan, but she simply likes small cars (she actually bought a Smart ForTwo new in 2008, which we still have and the thing is as reliable as gravity).  I am a big fan of the van.

 

They are rated to 3600 lbs towing, which I have never done, but seems like decent capacity.  I can easily see the rear sagging with that much load, Timbren SES/air springs/etc. may be recommended if towing.

1988RedT2
1988RedT2 MegaDork
7/1/20 9:42 a.m.

The best minivan ever made was the second generation Mazda MPV--exactly the right size, good driving dynamics, reliable.  Sadly, my 2005 was among the last ones sold in the states.

If I was in the market, I'd probably opt for the Sienna, although compared to the MPV, it's a big, wallowing bus. 

Mazdax605
Mazdax605 PowerDork
7/1/20 9:51 a.m.
1988RedT2 said:

The best minivan ever made was the second generation Mazda MPV--exactly the right size, good driving dynamics, reliable.  Sadly, my 2005 was among the last ones sold in the states.

If I was in the market, I'd probably opt for the Sienna, although compared to the MPV, it's a big, wallowing bus. 

The Sienna is big, especially compared to the MPV, but I don't fell mine is wallowing. It's not a corner carver, but it rides well. Sadly it's the fastest car I own!!

Duke
Duke MegaDork
7/1/20 10:14 a.m.

There are a bunch of threads here on the minivan topic.  I say that not to be that guy, but because there is a lot of detailed discussion in these that bears revisiting.

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

https://grassrootsmotorsports.com/forum/grm/which-minivan/142062/page1/

https://grassrootsmotorsports.com/forum/grm/family-hauler-recommendations/162604/page1/

https://grassrootsmotorsports.com/forum/grm/buying-a-minivan-inform-me/163007/page1/

https://grassrootsmotorsports.com/forum/grm/lets-talk-mini-vans/119142/page1/

We have a 2012 T&C Limited, pretty much all the options except the actual towing package.  With the Pentastar 3.6 it's got enough oomph and since it is 2012+ it has the bigger front brakes than previous years of this platform.  It has the load leveling rear suspension and is rated to tow 3600 lbs (it lacks the upgraded cooling that the tow package has).  It's my third Mopar minivan since 1992 and I have not been disappointed in any of them.

I love it and they can be insane bargains on the used market, but there are other great options too.

 

Ian F (Forum Supporter)
Ian F (Forum Supporter) MegaDork
7/1/20 10:22 a.m.

I'm also a fan of the Chrysler vans. For the price on the used market they're hard to beat.  Plus, that plentifulness also means they are cheap to get fixed.  To the point where it's not worth my time to attempt doing most repair work myself.

nocones
nocones GRM+ Memberand UltraDork
7/1/20 10:44 a.m.

We owned a 08 Oddyssey for ~20K miles, it was great, I towed a Miata on a flatbed trailer with no real issues (~3300lbs, added trans cooler).  I'll defer to others for long term reliability but it did drive nice.  

The Kia Sedona is a good choice but the rental ones I've had all got ~20-22 MPG which doesn't make sense because my wife's Santa Fe with the same 3.3L engine gets 25-27 highway (But does have the 6 speed not sure if they were ever available on the Sedona).  

I did not like the Sienna when I test drove it 2 years ago before we bought the Santa Fe.  It's just very numb and the accelerator doesn't seem to be connected to anything (Highlander was the same way).  Handling was fine and it was FAST but it just wasn't very dynamic.  Compared to the other Minivans despite it's speed it was the least engaging to drive.  

I've spent a lot of time in Grand Caravans / Town and Countries and would likely buy one of those if we were in the market.   The fact that so many are used as rentals pushes the resale WAY down on these for all but the top of the line trims.   It also keeps junkyard full of them for cheap parts.  Try to find one with the tow package.  For the newer ones it's the only way they are rated to Tow >1500lbs.  

mr2s2000elise
mr2s2000elise SuperDork
7/1/20 10:47 a.m.

Sienna hands down

 

(this is from a 9 year Mazda5 owner). 

1988RedT2
1988RedT2 MegaDork
7/1/20 11:13 a.m.
Mazdax605 said:
1988RedT2 said:

The best minivan ever made was the second generation Mazda MPV--exactly the right size, good driving dynamics, reliable.  Sadly, my 2005 was among the last ones sold in the states.

If I was in the market, I'd probably opt for the Sienna, although compared to the MPV, it's a big, wallowing bus. 

The Sienna is big, especially compared to the MPV, but I don't fell mine is wallowing. It's not a corner carver, but it rides well. Sadly it's the fastest car I own!!

Sorry, I didn't mean to single out the Sienna.  When I dropped our new CX-9 at the dealer to take care of a couple things, I got a Pacifica as a loaner.  It drove pretty much like a boat as well. laugh

Ian F (Forum Supporter)
Ian F (Forum Supporter) MegaDork
7/1/20 11:49 a.m.

I don't get complaining about the driving dynamics of a minivan. It's a minivan. Of course it drives like a boat. It is a boat.  I'm not sure I'd want one that didn't drive like a boat. Boat-like dynamics are what I signed up for.  That said, I've never had either of my Chrysler minivans fail to perform emergency maneuvers when asked.  And the 282 HP in the 2017 GT is quite capable of moving the van with authority when I put my foot to the floor.

1988RedT2
1988RedT2 MegaDork
7/1/20 12:30 p.m.

In reply to Ian F (Forum Supporter) :

What can I say?  The MPV has hereafter ruined me for all other minivans.

John Welsh (Moderate Supporter)
John Welsh (Moderate Supporter) Mod Squad
7/1/20 1:26 p.m.

I see you said $5k budget but $15k and 2.9% financing got me a 2019 Dodge Grand Caravan GT (loaded model)

Edit:  I went to the Hertz website to find you one too but it looks like prices are up by as much as $3k compared to what I bought.  I think my car was already on the sale lot when bankruptcy was filed.  My bet is now that the legal proceeding of bankruptcy has begun there is an executor tasked with getting as much money possible from the assets...ergo...price increase.  

Grizz
Grizz UberDork
7/1/20 1:42 p.m.

If you don't have stow and go you ain't winnin hoss.

Legit, my moms routan is nice besides the obvious looming dread that comes from a combination of VW and Chrysler reliability but not having stow and go after moving from van after van that did is surprisingly annoying.

 

We did about 100,000 miles with a used T&C and were very happy.  As i remember I just gor used to doing front brakes once a year.  Got to where i could do it in less than an hour in the driveway.

We have a few Odesseys in the family.  Probably the best minivan out there.  But, they are like good pickup trucks.  They don't go up for sale unless they are used up.

codrus (Forum Supporter)
codrus (Forum Supporter) GRM+ Memberand UberDork
7/1/20 1:57 p.m.
Ian F (Forum Supporter) said:

I don't get complaining about the driving dynamics of a minivan. It's a minivan. Of course it drives like a boat. It is a boat.  I'm not sure I'd want one that didn't drive like a boat. Boat-like dynamics are what I signed up for.  That said, I've never had either of my Chrysler minivans fail to perform emergency maneuvers when asked.  And the 282 HP in the 2017 GT is quite capable of moving the van with authority when I put my foot to the floor.

The Honda is way less boaty than the others, it definitely drives better.

 

Ian F (Forum Supporter)
Ian F (Forum Supporter) MegaDork
7/1/20 2:10 p.m.

In reply to codrus (Forum Supporter) :

But they lose out on the practicality side.  My point is I'm not buying a minivan for how well it drives - I buy it for how well it does "box on wheels" things.  If I want an engaging driving experience, I have other cars for that.

Plus, I have lost all faith in Honda and Toyota products.  Simply not significantly better to justify the purchase and eventual repair costs over the Chrysler vans.

Duke
Duke MegaDork
7/1/20 2:13 p.m.
Purple Frog (Forum Supporter) said:

We did about 100,000 miles with a used T&C and were very happy.  As i remember I just gor used to doing front brakes once a year.  Got to where i could do it in less than an hour in the driveway.

Starting with the 2012 m/y, all the Mopar minivans got the bigger front brakes, which has really helped that issue.

 

Ian F (Forum Supporter)
Ian F (Forum Supporter) MegaDork
7/1/20 2:15 p.m.

In reply to Duke :

It would seem so. My 2017 has 76K miles on the original brakes and I just checked them recently - plenty of pad life left.

trigun7469
trigun7469 SuperDork
7/1/20 2:16 p.m.

In reply to John Welsh (Moderate Supporter) :

I looked on Hertz and Enterprise, I don't plan on keeping the van too long, just waiting for something short term until my wives lease is up in two years. My hope is that when she gets a new to us minivan I can get something sporty and manual.

Subscriber-unavailabile
Subscriber-unavailabile HalfDork
7/1/20 2:23 p.m.

We've had an 2008 quest for about six months now, so hard for me to say it's super reliable. But this is the 5th Nissan I've owned and they always treat me well.

We paid $4500 for ours, had around 130 on it and we've put nearly 8000 trouble free miles on it.

We looked at dodges, Ford, Honda at the same time. Quest is definitely much bigger. I can walk from front seat all the way to the back no problem. Rear seat folds into floor, middle captains almost lay flat. 
I've taken same corners at same speed comfortably on some back roads that my inifiti 35 would do. Brakes are there...

Biggest downfall is mpg. VQ has some nice pull but in town driving I don't care to log. Highway it gets 22-24 

 

dj06482
dj06482 GRM+ Memberand UltraDork
7/1/20 2:24 p.m.

I would look at a Pentastar Grand Caravan as the best bang for the buck in your price range. An Odyssey in your price range would be a crap shoot from a transmission perspective. Our '05 had the transmission go at 163k, and I maintained it religiously with 3x drain & fills every 30k with Honda's unicorn tears ATF. We also never towed with it. Sienna would be my second choice in your price range.

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