Which minivan?

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daave
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Which minivan?

Post by daave » Mon Oct 23, 2017 10:52 am

With a new baby arriving in March :D, my wife wants to get a minivan.. right now we share 1 car, a Ford Focus hatchback - which we've been reasonably happy with, but it's not roomy in the back. Do bogleheads have a recommendation on minivans that are on the market these days? I've been studying the Toyota Sienna & Honda Odyssey. If we go with the Odyssey, would you pay the extra for AWD (Pacific Northwest weather conditions)?

We'll probably buy new, maybe see if we can get a deal on the 2017 model towards the end of the year when 2018 models hit the lot. Have enough cash saved so financing is not a concern.

Nearly A Moose
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Re: Which minivan?

Post by Nearly A Moose » Mon Oct 23, 2017 11:40 am

There was a thread a few weeks ago where someone asked for recommendations on a third-row SUV for kids, and tons of people came out and said just get a minivan. Suggest a quick search for that. I posted, so you could search my posts if you want.

I haven't owned either, but I very strangely get extremely excited whenever I rent a minivan while on vacation with the family. Those things are amazing when they're done well. I can't really give you much feedback on the question you posed, so I guess I'm posting mostly to say you're making the right choice, in case you had any concerns in the back of your mind about becoming a minivan family. I think the consensus around here is that AWD isn't as important as appropriate tires if you're worried about really snowy conditions, but I live in the Mid-Atlantic. I do think you've narrowed it down to the two consensus choices and probably can't make a wrong decision. Things I'd look for include:
-How much can the trunk hold and how easily can you load it? Imagine loading up for a roadtrip
-Can you easily climb from the front seat all the way into the back seat?
-Are there enough individual climate and AV controls throughout so that everyone can be comfortable without fighting?
-Are there lots of good, easily accessible places to stash kid things?

Congrats and best of luck on the new addition!
Pardon typos, I'm probably using my fat thumbs on a tiny phone.

random_walker_77
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Re: Which minivan?

Post by random_walker_77 » Mon Oct 23, 2017 11:53 am

Can't really go wrong with either. Test drive both and see how you like them...

With a baby on the way, I highly recommend you get the power sliding doors and power rear hatch.

Rupert
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Re: Which minivan?

Post by Rupert » Mon Oct 23, 2017 11:57 am

Either one of those vehicles will serve you well. It's really a matter of whether you prefer the styling of one over the other. I second the recommendation that you pay for the automatic doors (I'm not even sure you can get one without automatic doors, but if you can, def. pay for the automatic doors). If you'd rather spend less money, the Kia minivan gets pretty good reviews and is a good buy when bought gently used (in contrast to the Honda and Toyota models, which don't depreciate much the first few years).

bloom2708
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Re: Which minivan?

Post by bloom2708 » Mon Oct 23, 2017 12:00 pm

First kid? No reason to jump to a $35k to $40k minivan with one kid.

First off, you won't go very far with an infant. Two, one kid and the related stuff fits in any car.

Set a goal and start saving, but a big, new 7-8 passenger mini-van might be overkill with a first kid. Most discussions happen when you get to 2 kids and a 3rd on the way.

Look for a nice/gently used Mazda5. They don't make them anymore, but there are still decent ones out there. Make an incremental upgrade.
"We are here not to please but to provoke thoughtfulness" Unknown Boglehead

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jhfenton
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Re: Which minivan?

Post by jhfenton » Mon Oct 23, 2017 12:01 pm

random_walker_77 wrote:
Mon Oct 23, 2017 11:53 am
Can't really go wrong with either. Test drive both and see how you like them...

With a baby on the way, I highly recommend you get the power sliding doors and power rear hatch.
+1 and +1

We test drove both in March 2012 and bought an Odyssey. We've loved it.

And the (remote) power side doors and (remote) power rear hatch are fantastic. I wouldn't buy a minivan without them.

strafe
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Re: Which minivan?

Post by strafe » Mon Oct 23, 2017 12:29 pm

I would add the Chrysler Pacifica to your short list and remove the Sienna.

The Pacifica has been winning most minivan comparison tests, though probably won't be quite as reliable as the Honda. The Sienna is outdated.

Of note, there's a steady supply of Pacificas coming in from rental car fleets. You can buy one lightly used for $25-27k.

Mr.Wu
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Re: Which minivan?

Post by Mr.Wu » Mon Oct 23, 2017 12:36 pm

Sienna is the only minivan with AWD option. But snow tire is way better than AWD with all season tires.

With one child, you don't really need a minivan.

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dual
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Re: Which minivan?

Post by dual » Mon Oct 23, 2017 12:50 pm

A Chrysler Town and Country man here. I have a 2007 model that I bought new and I love it--comfortable seats, good ride, lots of power, reliable, lots of room. I test drove the Toyota/Honda minivans and I did not like them. They Toyota was particularly bad. The seats were hard as a rock and the engine compartment intruded way into the passenger area so I kept banging my right knee on it.

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dual
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Re: Which minivan?

Post by dual » Mon Oct 23, 2017 12:50 pm

deleted
Last edited by dual on Mon Oct 23, 2017 2:13 pm, edited 1 time in total.

daave
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Re: Which minivan?

Post by daave » Mon Oct 23, 2017 12:54 pm

Thanks for the feedback all and strafe & dual thanks for the suggestions on the Chrysler models.

Do ex-rentals usually get sold through the big name-brand used car dealers, or is there some efficiency to be gained by trying to buy directly from a rental agency?

To clarify, this will be our 2nd kid (big brother is 2 yrs old), and we want to get a vehicle we'd be happy keeping for at least several years even if we have a 3rd one down the track.. don't want to be trading in and up-sizing again 2-3 yrs from now.

3dream3
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Re: Which minivan?

Post by 3dream3 » Mon Oct 23, 2017 1:41 pm

daave wrote:
Mon Oct 23, 2017 10:52 am
If we go with the Odyssey, would you pay the extra for AWD (Pacific Northwest weather conditions)?

We'll probably buy new, maybe see if we can get a deal on the 2017 model towards the end of the year when 2018 models hit the lot. Have enough cash saved so financing is not a concern.
The Odyssey does not come in AWD... I think that the Sienna is the only one with AWD. Also, the 2018 Odysseys are already on the road so not sure how many 2017s are still out there. The 2018 is the new generation which was completely redesigned. I think that the new design has a 'snow' mode... not sure what difference that really makes but I heard that it makes the minivan start out in second gear to help prevent slipping.

Check out Odyclub.com to see what others are saying about the new 2018s... however, you really only usually hear about complaints on those forums so take it for what it is. We have a 2014 Odyssey and so far so good... we love it. It has so much room. It's nice to be able to fit entire sheets of drywall or plywood completely flat (with the seats down and middle row seats removed). We debated between the Sienna and Odyssey and it really came down to the test drive. My wife liked how the Odyssey drove which she said that it was more car-like than the Sienna.

Edit: If you plan on going with the 2018, check out this thread where everyone posted what they're paying which might be useful in your negotiations:
http://www.odyclub.com/forums/81-2018-o ... yssey.html
Last edited by 3dream3 on Mon Oct 23, 2017 2:06 pm, edited 1 time in total.

rkhusky
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Re: Which minivan?

Post by rkhusky » Mon Oct 23, 2017 2:01 pm

We liked the Pacifica when we test drove it, but decided to go with the less expensive Grand Caravan, coupled with the Mopar lifetime bumper to bumper warranty. We like the extra power and even put it into economy mode to help with squealing the tires when starting out.

lazydavid
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Re: Which minivan?

Post by lazydavid » Mon Oct 23, 2017 2:08 pm

3dream3 wrote:
Mon Oct 23, 2017 1:41 pm
The Odyssey does not come in AWD... I think that the Sienna is the only one with AWD.
This is correct. The AWD variant of the Odyssey goes by a different name...Pilot.

If I needed a MInivan, the only ones I would look at are the Honda Odyssey, Chrysler Pacifica, and Kia Sedona. That said, your OP suggests this might be your first kid. If so, a minivan is WAY overkill. They really start to make sense at kid #3. For just one or two, a sedan, wagon, or small SUV is usually a better choice.

SimonJester
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Re: Which minivan?

Post by SimonJester » Mon Oct 23, 2017 6:03 pm

I purchased a 2004 Sienna and it has been a great vehicle. Beyond normal maintenance we have had no issues or repairs. It has served our family well and we will probably keep it a few more years. Lots of space for hauling stuff and people.
"They who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety." - Benjamin Franklin

TRC
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Re: Which minivan?

Post by TRC » Mon Oct 23, 2017 6:53 pm

You can't go wrong with either a Sienna or Odyssey. We have a 2016 Odyssey EXL with DVD and love it. Prior to that we owned a 2010 Odyssey EXL with DVD that hit 100K miles with no issues. FWIW, we live in the North East and have nasty winters. We put snow tires on in the winter and it's fine, though we don't purposely try to drive in snow storms. We average about 24 MPG. My i-nlaws have a Sienna AWD and get 16 MPG. In hindsight, my FIL said he should have bought FWD and Snow Tires.

motorcyclesarecool
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Re: Which minivan?

Post by motorcyclesarecool » Mon Oct 23, 2017 7:25 pm

We rent a Sienna from our local dealer every time in laws come to visit so we can all bop around town in a single vehicle. We love the Sienna for road trips and I love Toyota reliability. Consider a CRV / RAV4 / Rogue for your first 2 kids. Then rent a minivan for when you need the capacity.

Something to consider is what cars do the best job accommodating child safety seats. I like carseatblog’s reviews.

What aspect of a minivan is she after? If it’s safety, check out IIHS top safety picks for CUVs.
Understand that choosing an HDHP is very much a "red pill" approach. Most would rather pay higher premiums for a $20 copay per visit. They will think you weird for choosing an HSA.

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lthenderson
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Re: Which minivan?

Post by lthenderson » Tue Oct 24, 2017 9:50 am

daave wrote:
Mon Oct 23, 2017 10:52 am
If we go with the Odyssey, would you pay the extra for AWD (Pacific Northwest weather conditions)?
We just switched from a 2007 Honda Odyssey to the 2017 Toyota Sienna with AWD. The Odyssey didn't have AWD but had front wheel traction control. At times it drove like a hog on ice, i.e. not very graceful or safe. The front wheel traction control had to be turned off at times especially when starting uphill from a stop. It essentially maintained traction by throttling power to the wheels and if both wheels were slipping, it stalled you out. By turning it off, one could then spin the tires enough to get down to where you had traction and could get going and then you had to remember to switch the traction control back on.

We haven't hit winter yet with the AWD Sienna but the AWD RAV4 that we've had for the last two years is a world of improvement over driving the Odyssey with only front traction control. In fact, when we found out we would have to replace our Odyssey due to it being totaled out in a huge hail storm, we initially wanted another Odyssey until we learned the Sienna was the only AWD on the market. After that, it was a no brainer.

abonder
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Re: Which minivan?

Post by abonder » Sat Oct 28, 2017 3:57 pm

I am surprised there was a good deal of anti-minivan sentiment in this thread. Sometimes forums are confusing. On a recent thread somebody inquired about large SUVs and gets told to buy a minivan. This poster inquires about a m8nivan and gets told to buy a crossover.

I still think a minivan is an awesome option for a 2 kid family. We don’t have one (have a medium sized wagon) but I pine for one. I just need to drive our wagon into the ground. The flexibility you get with a minivan is so far superior to any suv. As long as ground clearance, AWD ability, or towing capacity isn’t paramount, then a minivan is superior for families of all sizes. Minivans get decent cas mileage considering their utility - much better than any comparable 3 row SUV. My only concern has been reliability. The new Pacifica seems to be the overall best-reviewed van but I hate FCA products and don’t trust their reliability. Odyssey seems slightly less well regarded (even the new 2018) but overall better reliability. Consumer reports only gives middle of the pack reliability ratings. The sienna seems more outdated but appears to be the only minivan with outstanding reliability. I have wondered about a recent (2015 and newer) Kia Sedona. They depreciate badly (for anyone buying new) but they are definitely not as good as the other options. However, I’ve wondered if a inexpensive used one would be a worthwhile compromise. I think that Consumer Reports actually gives the Sedona the same reliability rating as the odyssey and it’s definitely way cheaper used. Just something to consider. I’d love to hear the OP update us sometime.

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6miths
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Re: Which minivan?

Post by 6miths » Sat Oct 28, 2017 6:19 pm

We had a 1999 Odyssey, a 2004 Sienna, a 2010 Odyssey and currently a 2014 Odyssey. All of the Odysseys were mechanically very sound and great to drive. The Sienna was a lemon but also drove reasonably. My main issue with Honda products currently is that their 'Infotainement' systems seem to be lagging their competitors. I thought it was just me but a recent Consumer Reports review put Honda's system pretty much at the bottom of the list.

Agree that snow tires are a much better investment than AWD if you are going to be facing inclement cold weather.
'It ain't what you don't know that gets you into trouble. It's what you know for sure that just ain't so!' Mark Twain

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ram
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Re: Which minivan?

Post by ram » Sat Oct 28, 2017 6:35 pm

Our 2006 Honda Odyssey has 106 K miles and no major problems. It was a close decision between Odyssey and Sienna at that time. I have not kept up with the comparison between the two for recent model years.
Ram

cantos
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Re: Which minivan?

Post by cantos » Sat Oct 28, 2017 6:44 pm

Have an Odyssey. Perfect for any family with 2 kids or more for obvious reasons. Don't need AWD. Snow tires a must. I live in snow country, and I have had the stupidity to drive too fast in an AWD - luckily never paid the price despite my stupidity. Now I actually like FWD - it limits my stupidity.

By the way, as a dad, you'll like this - death rate for Odyssey? Zero.

daveydoo
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Re: Which minivan?

Post by daveydoo » Sat Oct 28, 2017 7:21 pm

Odyssey. DW has driven one (well, two) for at least 15 years. The latest version does not drive as well as the prior iterations, according to some reviews; I think they've Toyota-fied the handling a little. (Our latest is a 2010.) Where you are, the biggest limitation vis-a-vis adventuring is the clearance -- like if you're a ski family and head to Mt Hood or if you hike and are driving a few miles on gravel, etc. We have always gotten by with excellent snow tires +/- chains on the van. We did eventually graduate to a separate ski vehicle -- a passable (in both senses of the word :D ) CR-V and now an excellent Mazda CX-5. If you don't ski and have the luxury of staying home from work when there are weather-related school cancellations (I don't), you don't need AWD, imo. I will always take Honda over Toyota for driving dynamics, but the gap is narrowing.
"I mean, it's one banana, Michael...what could it cost? Ten dollars?"

timmy
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Re: Which minivan?

Post by timmy » Sat Oct 28, 2017 7:57 pm

Minivans are awesome.

You can't beat the flexibility.

ccieemeritus
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Re: Which minivan?

Post by ccieemeritus » Sat Oct 28, 2017 9:37 pm

Wanted to buy Odyssey in 2000 before our 2nd child was born. We slightly preferred the Odyssey thanks to the fold down rear seat. Due to an Odyssey shortage we got the Sienna with leather seats and power right side door. Very happy with the Sienna.

Now our 17 old son is driving the 17 year old Sienna.

I’ve been reluctant to get a new minivan because they are all about 4-6 inches wider than the 2001 models.

tampaite
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Re: Which minivan?

Post by tampaite » Sun Oct 29, 2017 10:21 am

daave wrote:
Mon Oct 23, 2017 10:52 am
Do bogleheads have a recommendation on minivans that are on the market these days?
Personally, I've narrowed down to Odyssey, Sienna, Pacifica and Sedona - you can't go wrong with either of them and in near future, we will be looking to buy one of them. having to decide getting a used or buying new.

wije
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Re: Which minivan?

Post by wije » Sun Jul 15, 2018 4:59 pm

I'm also in the market for something like a minivan. We just finished a 1,100-mile road trip in our 2010 Honda Civic and it was awful, the car jolted for every slight bump on the road and our two cats were freaking out. We're trying to have a baby and I don't want to put a pregnant wife through that same trip when we move back home next year.

The Nissan Rogue seemed to drive much better, but I'm looking for something with a little more space (to fit all our stuff) hence the search for a minivan. I latched on to Mazda5 idea: quick glance on TrueCar just now showed the Mazda5 being $10,000 cheaper than the Honda Odyssey for a 2015 model. Hopefully there'll be one available next year when I can afford it.

timmy
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Re: Which minivan?

Post by timmy » Sun Jul 15, 2018 5:47 pm

2017 Kia Sedona. Very happy with it

daveydoo
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Re: Which minivan?

Post by daveydoo » Sun Jul 15, 2018 5:51 pm

wije wrote:
Sun Jul 15, 2018 4:59 pm
I latched on to Mazda5 idea: quick glance on TrueCar...
Take a quick glance in person -- this is a 3/4-scale minivan at best. This is not a substitute for the other minivans discussed above. Unless you are a 3/4-scale family. It "looks" like all the other minivans in pictures, though!
"I mean, it's one banana, Michael...what could it cost? Ten dollars?"

Sasquatch
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Re: Which minivan?

Post by Sasquatch » Sun Jul 15, 2018 7:52 pm

How are the transmissions on the mopar products? Granted, it’s been many years since we had our grand caravan but it went through 3 transmissions in 120k. Otherwise we really enjoyed the Car it’s a family Swiss Army knife

skp
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Re: Which minivan?

Post by skp » Mon Jul 16, 2018 8:18 am

We had 2 Dodge Caravans and last year after agonizing similar debate bought a Pacifica. The reason we picked the Pacifica over the Sienna or the Odyssey were the Stow and Go Seats. The beauty of the van is it's flexibility IMO. We uses our van to haul things as well as for passengers and did not want to have to mess with taking out heavy second row seats and storing them every time we needed to. We currently have no children (we did with the other vans) but still wanted a van as we own a camp and need to haul a dog, groceries, and usually tools to do maintenance. It's comfortable for long road trips, and it gets reasonable gas mileage.
I originally wanted a Sienna or an Odyssey because of the reliability, but I went over my receipts for our Caravans and found that I really wasn't paying as much as I thought for mechanical repairs, we paid a lot more for my husbands VW TDI Jetta. I did HATE the rust problem of the Caravans, our van looked terrible, and the reason I was looking elsewhere, but mechanically we had no problems.
The Pacifica gets much better gas mileage than the caravan, and equal gas mileage to the Odyssey, drove as nice, interior was as nice, had the stow and go seats, and was a heck of a lot cheaper. 8.000 dollars cheaper. That buys a lot of hypothetical car repairs. I'm just hoping this Pacifica doesn't rust out like the Caravan.
We've had the car for a year and it hasn't been in the shop once.

lazydavid
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Re: Which minivan?

Post by lazydavid » Mon Jul 16, 2018 10:01 am

cantos wrote:
Sat Oct 28, 2017 6:44 pm
By the way, as a dad, you'll like this - death rate for Odyssey? Zero.
Incorrect, on two counts:

A) IIHS statistics only catalog driver death rates. As a dad, presumably he cares about passenger deaths also, which are not tracked in the same way.
B) The Odyssey was indeed one of nine vehicles that had a driver death rate of zero in the 2011MY study (published in 2015). It was not one of the eleven that had a rate of zero in the 2014MY study (published in 2017), nor even one of the 21 that fell into the top category of < 8. In fact, not one minivan made the list in the more recent study, though the Odyssey and Sienna were both dramatically better than all others in the category.

sources:
http://www.iihs.org/iihs/news/desktopne ... c-recovery
http://www.iihs.org/iihs/topics/driver-death-rates

More details:
2011-2014 Honda Odyssey – 8 driver deaths (1-15)
According to the IIHS, the ’11-’14 Honda Odyssey had a driver death rate of 8, with 6 predicted multiple vehicle crash deaths and 2 predicted single vehicle crash deaths both occurring from rollovers. They based their predictions on an exposure of 1,155,445 registered vehicle years with a 95% confidence bound of 1-15.
source: https://www.thecarcrashdetective.com/sa ... a-odyssey/

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