I'm buying a minivan

jasper_60103February 8, 2006

Hi All.

I'm thinking about my next car purchase. I decided on a minivan because I like the roominess of it, and the gas mileage isn't much different from a car.

Any vehicles you would recommend, or stay away from?

Suggestions appreciated.


Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Honda Odyssey and the Toyota Sienna are the two top dogs of Minivans. Mazda makes a smaller van if you dont need the space. I would personally stay away from the KIA but it does have a good warranty. I would also be hesitant on a Daimler/Chrysler product but they do sell a lot of vans.

    Bookmark   February 8, 2006 at 8:57AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

My parents have a Buick Terraza and I am impressed with it.They have had three mini vans and this is my choice of what they have had including.Dodge Caravan that developed engine problems and transmission problem.Avoid Dodge.Then they had a Chevy Astro van.Drove like truck and uncomfortable with its limited foot area.

Then they went with there 05 Buick Terraza.Rides like a car and is very easy to park.Plenty of power with its 3500 V-6 and good gas milage.Very comfortable and a real pleasure to drive.The Chevy Uplander is the same van.Very nice.

    Bookmark   February 8, 2006 at 10:48AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Uplifting to hear about the good GM products,Johndeere..
I'll bet the Chevy or Buick are every bit as good as any Honda or Toyota.
Now is the time to give the American brands a break, and consideration.
Chrysler, as always has QC problems, probably always will..
The Astro IS a truck.

    Bookmark   February 8, 2006 at 1:18PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I've had friends and relatives who've had the various Chrysler minivans, and most would recommend them. Some close friends just bought one a year ago with no problems to date. They also have the most versatile storage compared to even Honda or Toyota at a price that's thousands less.

Mechanical quality difference is negligible between makes these days. Everything comes with long warranties. No matter what you buy, your risk of getting a "bad" minivan is remote if you buy new.

    Bookmark   February 8, 2006 at 4:48PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

My parents have a 1998 Chrysler mini van, with over 100,000 km and love it. Never had any problems with it.

    Bookmark   February 8, 2006 at 4:57PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Thanks for all the feedback. I have to admit I didn't even know about the Buick and Chevy vans mentioned. I will have to investigate them further.

I will definitely try to buy american brand. I had very good experience with my '95 Chevy lumina sedan. That things a work horse, over 150K miles on it and still running fine.


    Bookmark   February 9, 2006 at 9:57AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Earthworm in my opinion there better not just as good.

    Bookmark   February 9, 2006 at 1:24PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

check out the new kia mini van, top of the line machine, and a great warranty. hyundai will have their version on the market in about a yr. same van little different sheet metal, and more luxury.

    Bookmark   February 9, 2006 at 2:20PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I would not recommend the Ford Windstar. We bought our "98 model in 2000 because it was one of the top 3 safest and most resonably priced of the top 3 - the others being Honda and Toyota. The transmission went out of it 500 miles out of warranty on a moving trip across the country. Ford did nothing to help. The passenger side window quit operating, the cruise control quit, it leaked into the seatbelt cavity on the driver's side during a heavy rain ( never did figure out where it was coming in at) and it blew out heat in the back instead of air conditioning in the summer. I have spoken with other Windstar owners that have had some of the same problems. Maybe it was just the year, who knows, but I'll never own a Ford Van again. We finally traded it in at Christmas time for a Mercury Mountaineer. Love it. Good luck with your decision.

    Bookmark   February 9, 2006 at 3:58PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I have been driving mini-vans since 1987, all company provided so I had no choice in the selection. I have had 1987, 88, 90, 92 Plymouths (same as Dodge), 95 & 98 Ford Windstars, 1999 Mercury Villager (same as Nissan Quest), 2001 & 2004 Dodge Caravans and driven them to between 55,000 and 85,000 miles each.

With all the Plymouths, I had transmission trouble...yes, every oneit was a different problem with each, but they all had their transmission replaced at least once!

The two Fords had mechanical problems as well (that Ford repair couldn't seem to get right no mater where I took them)...transmission on the 95, steering on the 98, but to add to the problems, they were the absolute worst for driving. Bigger on the outside without being bigger on the inside, horrible in crosswinds, massive turning radius, the syspension seems to become "tired" very rapidly, etc.

I only had the Mercury for about 25,000 miles and had no problems except it was somewhat underpowered and not very comfortable.

The '01 Dodge had its steering rack replaced twice in 55,000 miles and the '04 has had it replaced once so far, but I think it needs it again (currently at 46,000 miles). The '04 has had two sets of sparkplugs and plug-wires so far (by comparison, my 6+ year old, 95,000 mile Honda V6 is still on its original set). When I asked the Service Agent why, his reply was "a Dodge is NO Honda". By far though, these two Dodges are the best handling, easiest to drive of my list.

If I were to be in the market for a mini-van that I would need to pay for (and pay for repairs as well), I would not consider any of the ones I have driven.

GM is doing some very good designs and I would look there and at the Honda. Everyone I know that owns an Odyssey loves it and highly recommends them. I've also known of one Toyota that has more than its share of problems, but that is the only Sienna I know of.

Best of luck to youÂ

    Bookmark   February 9, 2006 at 10:45PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

This is very good info. Thanks all.


    Bookmark   February 11, 2006 at 2:29AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

The Toyota and Honda are the only ones most people need to look at. Toyota offers 4WD models that double as a light-duty SUV. They also have some way-cool Limited luxury vans that could easily pass for a Lexus. Loaded with useful toys - power folding 3rd-row seats, rear-view camera, driver seat and mirror settings memory, remote power open-and-closing rear and side doors, navigation system, 12v and 120v outlets, HID/xenon headlamps, Bluetooth wireless phone connections with nav integration, roll-up sunshades for all the side windows, laser-guided cruise control, power fold-in mirrors with puddle, side marker, and backup lights, parking assist, loads more. The Honda Odyssey Touring has most of this except for the AWD availibility, and has a more powerful engine and some underfloor storage.

The DaimlerChrysler vans (Dodge, Chrysler) have nifty 2nd-row seats that fold into recesses to fold flat into the floor; when the 2nd row seats are in place, a huge underfloor cargo hold is available. But the rest of the van is a generation behind the Toyota and Honda minivans, such as available safety equipment, ergonomics, and a missing gear in the transmission.

General Motors are selling four nearly-identical minivans through different brands (Saturn Relay, Chevrolet Uplander, Pontiac Montana, Buick Terraza). The four put together are being outsold by the Toyota alone though. Not hard to see why; this is an old 1997 design updated last year with a longer hood and a revised dashboard. The behind the 3rd row cargo space is tiny in these, because it lacks the deep storage well all the other manufacturers use now. So they actually had to build the floor *up* so the 3rd-row seatback could fold forward (not tumble back) and line up with the rearmost floor section. The whole thing is nearly a foot above the floor in the front half of the van, where the 2nd row seats begin.

Likewise, the Ford Freestar and Mercury Monterey are revamps of the previous Ford Windstar, also at least Ford ponied up for a new floorpan with a proper fold-rearward-into-the-well 3rd-row seat. Price (after steep rebates and incentives) drive most sales of these.

The Nissan Quest is worth a look for its stylish, comfortable interior, which offers some elegant color choices and a neat aircraft-style 5-skylight and overhead console package that looks like it was pulled from a Learjet. The dash is a bit funky for some tastes (glovebox where the speedometer usually is), the 3rd row must be raised or dropped in one piece, and its reliability has been iffy. The 2nd row seats fold almost flat into the floor

Kia has a redesigned Sedona van that is low-priced, and unlike the previous one, is reasonably conpetitive with the Honda and Toyota.

Rich people can now buy a Mercedes minivan, the R-Class which is the only one with an available V8 (6 cylinder is standard). AWD is optional, RWD standard. Rear side doors open like a sedan's rather than being sliders, but they are just as wide as sliding doors, making them more difficult to open in parking lots than SUV or wagon rear doors would be. Configured alot like 10 year old Mazda MPVs. Competes with the Odyssey Touring and Sienna Limited, as well as the Chrysler Pacifica.

The Mazda MPV is a standout for being smaller and shorter than most other vans. An again design, it still manages good design, a hint of sportiness, and lots of interior space in a small package.

As for buying "American brands", be careful concerning recent changes in the automotive market. Dodge and Chrysler are now German-owned (DaimlerChrysler AG), and their vans are built in Canada, with 75% North American parts. Toyota is a Japanese-headquartered company, but they designed the Sienna in California, and build it in two U.S. plants with 91% North American parts. So despite the more foreign-sounding name, the Toyota is more an "American" vehicle than the Dodge is.

    Bookmark   March 7, 2006 at 7:19AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Lee not sure what you mean by raised floor in the GM?Just went on a 1500 mile trip in a Buick Teraza all the seats and floor appear to be the same height.Maybe I missed something?If that was true would there not be a step up?Floor is same height and flat to each row of seats.As for it being a old desighn 97.Well maybe when you get it right there is no need for change?

Toyota is more American than Dodge?Maybe im not a Dodge fan.But Toyota sales still go to Japan banks not American and hurt our economy.Maybe the import brands change styles more often because they just did not get it right the first time?Also the import brands might be made here.But what will they do when there tax breaks Free tax ride is over?Pull out or cut way back like EXAMPLE.Mitsubishi in Bloomington Illinois?Leaving thousands without jobs.

    Bookmark   March 10, 2006 at 10:55AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Toyota is more American than Dodge?Maybe im not a Dodge fan.But Toyota sales still go to Japan banks not American and hurt our economy.Maybe the import brands change styles more often because they just did not get it right the first time?Also the import brands might be made here.But what will they do when there tax breaks Free tax ride is over?Pull out or cut way back like EXAMPLE.Mitsubishi in Bloomington Illinois?Leaving thousands without jobs.

The money Dodge makes stays in the U.S. as long as the money Toyota makes (Daimler-Chrysler). Profit is a small portion of what most manufacturing companies earn. Where they spend most of their money is what counts. The Honda Accord and Toyota Camry have about 80% U.S. content. I guarantee you Toyota and Honda are not shipping sheet metal and barrels of plastic polymer from Japan to the U.S. They're buying it most of it here.

As for Mitsubishi, they've had problems for years that have nothing to do with where they're built. They're pulling back because they're losing money by the wheelbarrowful. Something about building cars that aren't very sturdy and then financing them for people whose credit isn't very sturdy, either. Ford and GM are laying off thousands (in the U.S.) after all the tax breaks and free rides, too. So?

    Bookmark   March 11, 2006 at 10:10AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Oh no! how could that be?Mitsubishi or any other import brand build a low quality product?I thought they were made so much better then the good ole outdated American brands?

GM and Ford do not recieve tax breaks.There taxed higher so a import company can come in and not have to pay taxes for the first 7 years and get a reduced rate for another few years.This was there deal package.To promote growth create jobs.Seemed OK at first until there free ride ended and they started pulling out of the area.Laying off workers.Yet there people that came to this country to run the plant are still working there and living like fat cats.

Has nothing to do with the tin can quality vehicals they build.There selling like hot cakes.Yuppie Mobiles are popular.They could build them out of card board and the soccer players would still buy them.

    Bookmark   March 11, 2006 at 11:56AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

You've got to come visit my neighborhood. The Governor is falling over himself trying to figure out what economic enticements he can offer Ford so they don't close the Ranger plant here. No tax breaks? My foot. Ford and GM get their backs scratched just as much as Toyota and Mitsubishi.

If you find it amazing that Mitsubishi could create cars which are less than the best (and you forgot the part about the stupid financing they did way too much of), I could show you some European cars which would make my ex's mid-80s Chrysler look like a Lexus. They were so bad the companies don't even do business in the U.S. anymore.

Go pick up a copy of Automotive News sometime. Mitsubishi is dying, both here and in Japan. Blame whatever you want (blame the legislators you elected who approved this deal), but Mitsu isn't being treated different from anyone else.

    Bookmark   March 11, 2006 at 6:40PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

didn't mitsu make the dodge stealth? I thought they were a division of good old German-owned (DaimlerChrysler AG)maybe that was last decade... continue the debate...

    Bookmark   March 14, 2006 at 3:02PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

DCX dumped their remaining interest in Mitsubishi late last year. All that's left now are a few supply and design agreements.

    Bookmark   March 14, 2006 at 4:40PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

chrysler is as much an import as toyota. if you think of toyota as an import. myself i dont see any car company as import or american, since they all deal gloabely.

    Bookmark   March 15, 2006 at 8:20PM
Sign Up to comment
More Discussions
99' Blazer won't start when it's cold!
I would love to talk to John_G. I read some responses...
Problem with remote starter
I had a remote starter (AS-1780) installed on my 2014...
Warning:Quaker State Oil Filters
Better check your filters really close. I used to simply...
Blown tire on a dying car........
Well, in my other post I talked about how my transmission...
car alarm going off at odd times
We have a Hyundai that suddenly decided the entire...
Chickey Wingz
People viewed this after searching for:
© 2015 Houzz Inc. Houzz® The new way to design your home™