input on minivan value for the price

neversink4March 2, 2012

I need to start researching minivans as my 6-year old minivan is starting to give me major troubles. Anyone had a good experience (value for the money) or major problems with a minivan that they can share? I did post on another forum but I don't think its active anymore.

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Instead of just random opinions, spend the couple bucks on access to Consumer Reports.

    Bookmark   March 2, 2012 at 8:55AM
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My Honda Odyssey is not the cheapest minivan, but from previous experience with Hondas, I expect to get 250K miles with little trouble. Now at 6 years, 72K miles, so I should drive this for another 10 years, at least.

My 2000 Ford Windstar started getting $500-$800 repairs every other month at about 80K miles. Dumped it at 100K miles.

    Bookmark   March 2, 2012 at 9:57AM
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You can see reviews by both auto experts and consumers on, and You can view cars for sale in your area, get lots of information without leaving your house.
I did see Honda was having lots of problems with certain models and years, Honda is usually a safe bet, but this scared me off. I was looking for a used SUV.

    Bookmark   March 2, 2012 at 10:43AM
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Thank you. I get Consumer Report but I will also check etc. I often get good results from checking with "real consumers". I currently have a 2006 Buick Rendezvous. 128,000. I love the drive and the size, but as I said, I am starting to get transmission problems. Seems I was making a lot of replacements and repairs after 50,000 miles. Cars are such a poor investment so I guess we all want to get as much quality as we can for the money we pay out.

    Bookmark   March 2, 2012 at 3:30PM
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You really can't go wrong with a Toyota Sienna. Consumer Reports dinged the Honda Odyssey for first year reliability but it topped the charts in every other respect. Is first year reliability a indicator of the second year? I dunno know.

    Bookmark   March 3, 2012 at 7:50AM
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I like and read Consumer Reports, but I find many times they rate one thing very poorly because of something I don't value or rate it highly for something I also don't value.
There are many sites rated by actual consumers.
I do think many people rate something when there is a great problem not when things are good.

    Bookmark   March 3, 2012 at 12:27PM
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I had an '89 Dodge Caravan, that we bought new. It lasted my WELL for 18 years and the ONLY repairs we had on it (other than routine maintenance) were: replacing the air conditioning, and the transmission went about 15 years in. Obviously, comparing an '89 to a 2012 would be like comparing apples and shoe polish, but it was a great car, that we enjoyed and got a lot of really good use from.

Today? I drive an FJ, so that's no help, but given it's reliability, if I were in the market for a mini-van, I'd be seriously looking at Toyotas. Nothing has the name they do for being solid cars that will last you well.

I am curious, what brand van are you driving that after 6 years, you're having problems? That's not acceptable for ANY car. My FJ will be that old in a couple of months and it's NEVER had a problem of any sort (still even has the original battery, which is kind of amazing).

    Bookmark   March 4, 2012 at 7:38AM
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A 2006 Buick Rendezvous. Love the cargo and seating ares. Removable 2nd & 3rd row seats. miles per gallon not too bad. Went to a car show yesterday and many minivans/SUV did not have removable seats. Surprised to find in many models, the seats don't even lay flat or you need to remove head rests before folding. I felt claustrophobic in many of them and poor visibility in back and sides. I did like the Sieana (spl?) but its just a little too big. Also saw some interesting things in a Hyundai SantaFe. Chevrolet also seemed to have put a lot of thought into their design but I don't get a good feeling about anything they make. I was surprised not to see any Dodge Caravans. Maybe they don't make them anymore?

The more pricey ones (that I can't afford) seemed not be well designed, had lots of bells and whistles I am not interested in and really had nothing to offer except their name if you are into that.

    Bookmark   March 4, 2012 at 8:31AM
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We like the Toyota RAV4, though it may be on the small side for some.
Comfortable and handles well. No maintenance problems in 4 years.

    Bookmark   March 5, 2012 at 11:47AM
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There aren't that many companies making minivan -- domestically only Chrysler. VW's is a Chrysler clone. Chrysler does tout their "stow 'n go" seating which lets the second and third row seats fold flat. I haven't looked at an Odyssey or Sienna lately but certainly the third row seats fold flat on both and the second row seats are probably removable as well. I don't know anything about the Kia Sedona.

It's pretty typical for manufacturers to show their high end models at auto shows. A Sienna, for example, starts at about $25,000 and goes to about $40,000.

    Bookmark   March 5, 2012 at 10:51PM
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Thanks for info. Started with Honda last night. Loved the Pilot, but a little too much car. the CRV I would seriously consider. Another night I will check out Toyota and then Dodge and Hyundi. I am fortunate (fingers crossed) that I can limp my Rendevouzvous through another couple of months. I did read in Consumer Reports that '02'03 and '06 Rendevouzvous are trade-ins to stay away from so I can't expect much from mine but it is a negotiating tool.

    Bookmark   March 8, 2012 at 8:59AM
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Someone upthread said he doesn't always agree with the focus of CR reviews. That must be of new models?
What I find useful are the reliability ratings, that come from actual owner experience. For example, I was considering a Ford but saw in these ratings at about 5 years the reliability really took a dive compared to some other brands.
Another source for actual owner experiences is
It was almost spooky how many owners had the same issues with my elderly car as I had.

    Bookmark   March 21, 2012 at 12:07AM
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The reality is that even the best designed, best built car isn't going to be perfect because they're designed and built by humans. It's not common for a design fault to be experience by a number of owners. GM's Northstar engine, Chrysler's 2.7 engine, Ford's 6.0 diesel engine are all notorious for having problems.

What's scary is that company's know a particular product is problematic and continue to produce it, year after year.

    Bookmark   March 23, 2012 at 12:27AM
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