Reccommended Minivans

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CaptainMarvel
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Reccommended Minivans

Post by CaptainMarvel »

So my wife's 2001 PT Cruiser is finally breaking down. We thought we could stretch it for another year but it doesn't look like that'll be the case. Now, we are looking for a new minivan and on rather short notice so as to avoid having to pay for some urgent and complex repairs needed for the PT Cruiser. I would like to buy a new car, as we intend to own and drive it for many years, hopefully 15+. We have two small children both of whom are in car seats and in-laws that visit occasionally and would need to be driven around. I haven't looked into pricing yet in great detail but I'd like to spend around (or preferably less than if possible) $30,000.

What minivans would you recommend?

Thank you.
goodlifer
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Re: Reccommended Minivans

Post by goodlifer »

You are going to be hard pressed to find a new minivan for under $30,000. Most models have a base price of $27,000 to $28,000 and then you add options and taxes. I have been pricing a lot of minivans but have decided to go with an SUV. I rented a Chrysler Pacifica last month. We really liked the interior and the sound system. We had a Dodge Caravan before and liked that, too. My big trouble with the new models is that a very strong vinegar/stinky feet smell came from the air vents. It was so bad that we turned the car in. After reading the car forums, it is common and has something to do with the start stop feature. Not sure how to avoid it.
inbox788
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Re: Reccommended Minivans

Post by inbox788 »

Don't get the Odyssey, Sienna or Pacifica.

https://cars.usnews.com/cars-trucks/rankings/minivans
guyesmith
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Re: Reccommended Minivans

Post by guyesmith »

Toyota Sienna - hands down - All Wheel Drive (if in the north) - Best Trim You Can Afford - I highly recommend used.
psteinx
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Re: Reccommended Minivans

Post by psteinx »

For better or worse, there aren't that many makers of true minivans left any more, so it won't be too hard for you to view them all.

The main contenders are:

Toyota Sienna
Honda Odyssey
Chrysler Pacifica
Dodge Grand Caravan*
Nissan ???**
Kia ???***

Other makers may have things that are somewhat in the spirit of minivans, but aren't really minivans. Mazda still has, I think, something of a mini-minivan (smaller than typical minivans).

* I *think* they're still making this. This is basically the older design from Chrysler/Dodge, that I think is priced pretty inexpensively.
** Not sure if Nissan is still making this. They were, IIUC, kinda marginal in the minivan business. I/we looked at one of these maybe 3-4 years ago, and they did have some clever features, IIRC.
*** Likewise, not sure if Kia is still in this segment. If it is, expect it to be a rather low cost, low feature entrant.

The main contenders are really the Toyota, the Honda, the Chrysler, and I think the Dodge. If you're on a tight-ish budget, you should probably look at the Dodge. Basically, if you're in an area that has a car dealers' row, you can probably check out 3 or 4 of these in an afternoon, and get a basic feel for features/pricing, then perhaps check back on the internet for more information/research.

For what it's worth, we have a 2014 Toyota Sienna for our family of 5. I'm reasonably happy with it. Not sure if there has been a recent, significant model update there...
tech_arch
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Re: Reccommended Minivans

Post by tech_arch »

Love my 2016 Odyssey, but it was just a shade over $30k. We actually liked the new Pacifica better, but were worried about Chrysler's reliability so went with Honda.
Texanbybirth
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Re: Reccommended Minivans

Post by Texanbybirth »

I'd buy the 2018 Odyssey EX-L in a heartbeat, if we didn't already own the 2016 model. :D

It'll run you over $30k, but a couple extra $k won't make a difference in 15 years.

:beer
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froman118
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Re: Reccommended Minivans

Post by froman118 »

We've been really happy with our 2016 Kia Sedona EX. Purchase price was $29,500. I wouldn't touch the Chrysler or Nissan. I'd take the Honda over Toyota, but hate the styling of the Honda. Kia is the best looking IMO with good interior materials for the price. I didn't want too many bells and whistles (no sun/moonroof) so felt like it gave the best bang for buck.
chambers136
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Re: Reccommended Minivans

Post by chambers136 »

We’ve had a Chrysler Town & Country for 5 years now. Not a single issue. I wouldn’t hesitate to buy a Pacifica
orangeandwhite
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Re: Reccommended Minivans

Post by orangeandwhite »

We had rented a Pacifica while on vacation and after a week the family insisted on buying one immediately once we got back.

We bought a Pacifica Hybrid back in March and love it - after the tax credits, the hybrid isn't not far off from your target, and the fuel economy is unbelievable. Not a single thing wrong with it.

The Pacifica's quality scores are comparable to the Odyssey and Sienna, but if the Chrysler brand gives you pause, get a cheap extended warranty so it isn't your problem. We are not ordinarily extended warranty people, but it helped us avoid getting an Odyssey (which is thousands more expensive) and they have cheap options: we paid $800 for a 7/75 warranty with $200 deductible.

The Chrysler dealers we visited also had some Grand Caravans floating around, which are phenomenally cheap. You can get one from Hertz Car Sales for well under $20k but I think a new one with discounts isn't much more.

We thought the Sienna was an antiquated design and the Odyssey was much more money for a fairly similar car, but these are always very personal choices.
Loik098
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Re: Reccommended Minivans

Post by Loik098 »

Texanbybirth wrote: Thu May 10, 2018 2:16 pm I'd buy the 2018 Odyssey EX-L in a heartbeat, if we didn't already own the 2016 model. :D

It'll run you over $30k, but a couple extra $k won't make a difference in 15 years.

:beer
+1.

OP, take a hard look at what you'll do with those carseats when choosing a minivan. We went with the Odyssey, and chose to remove one of the captain's chairs in the back to allow easy access to put our twins' carseats in the back row. Our third child sits in the remaining captain's chair. We love having the extra floor space on one side to maneuver the kids, put grocery bags on the floor, etc.

Normally don't buy extended warranties but wife wanted one for this van. We purchased ours through Saccucci.

We also avoided the Pacifica due to reliability concerns.
tic
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Re: Reccommended Minivans

Post by tic »

If you want longevity, Toyota and Honda probably give you the best odds of hitting 15 years. The Pacifica may be as good, but that won't be known for years. The 2018 base model of both the Toyota and Honda have an MSRP >$30k, but based on a quick look at Truecar data, you should be able to get the base models for more like $28k (Toyota L) to $28.5k (Honda LX) before tax.

And then there's always the option of buying used...
mega317
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Re: Reccommended Minivans

Post by mega317 »

Another thing to consider: you will save 5-10k if you get something smaller, like a crossover. IMO most people would be better off having their in laws rent a car, or shuttle them in your other car, or Uber rather than buying a bigger car just for that.
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XtremeSki2001
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Re: Reccommended Minivans

Post by XtremeSki2001 »

tech_arch wrote: Thu May 10, 2018 2:00 pm Love my 2016 Odyssey, but it was just a shade over $30k. We actually liked the new Pacifica better, but were worried about Chrysler's reliability so went with Honda.
+1

Have a 2012 Odyssey - it's been great and we hope to have it at least 5 more years.
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CFOKevin
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Re: Reccommended Minivans

Post by CFOKevin »

If you are open to used, look at the 2017 Dodge Caravans at Enterprise. They are the high-end trim package (heated leather seats, etc.) and we just paid $21,500 for one with 24,000 miles on it. Not sure we'll get 15 years out of it. But expect 10+.
aerosurfer
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Re: Reccommended Minivans

Post by aerosurfer »

Love our 2016 Town and Country! Bought it 2 months ago for a great deal and low miles. There are plenty out there still in warranty and low miles. We got the Touring L model. Heated front and middle seats, heated steering wheel, sunroof, leather, power sliding doors and lift gate, and with nav and the Uconnect entertainment. Wireless headsets from the factory and DVD player (which the kids don’t know about yet). It’s fantastic! Plenty of power, been getting about 22mpg in mixed driving, did close to 25mpg on a recent 700 mile trip.

The stow and go seats are second to none. There is just so much space. Storage when they are up, and huge capacity when the seats are folded down.

We drove a Pacifica, which is what became of the T&C in model year 2017. It was really nice. Noticeably finer than ours, but just wanted to keep the cost under 25k and could find any without high miles and base options. The Dodge caravan is the same car as the T&C, but typically with lower options and trim levels.

We have a 3 year old and 6 month old, we outgrew our CRV, the minivan is perfect sized now, and should be for the foreseeable future.
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mhc
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Re: Reccommended Minivans

Post by mhc »

Bought a new Honda in 2006. Loved it. Just replaced it this year with the 2018 model. It's really nice.
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MastersChampion
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Re: Reccommended Minivans

Post by MastersChampion »

Our 2008 Sienna will be 10 years old this summer and just turned over 120k miles.
No issues with powertrain at all, ever.
Our only issue was with a power door that stopped working.

I would buy one again based on our experience.

Our previous kid-mobile was a 98 Dodge Caravan.
We loved that vehicle. 180k miles, 10 years, no issues except for the front strut pillar rust that seemed to doom many of those vintage Caravans.

Now that the kids are almost grown we can get back to reasonably-sized cars!
tulsuduke
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Re: Reccommended Minivans

Post by tulsuduke »

I have owned both the 2013 Sienna and (currently) the 2017 Odyssey. My main observations were that the interior was roomier in the Sienna, but the driving experience was better (more car-like) in the Odyssey.

The 2018 Odyssey though is a redesign with some really nice features for the pricier trims, and there might be a 2019 redesign in store for the Sienna.
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StevieG72
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Re: Reccommended Minivans

Post by StevieG72 »

My mom was in the exact same boat a few weeks ago.

Her vehicle had 180,000 miles on it and was starting to give up the ghost.

We found a nice 2016 Toyota Sienna with 25,000 miles on it, still under factory warranty for $22,400. Has all of the latest safety features, dual climate control, backup cameras etc.

Found on Cargurus, purchased from a Toyota dealer.

Sienna's have been rated in the top five for minivans for the last few years along with Honda Odyssey and Chrysler Pacifica.

I was trying to talk her out of a minivan, we test drove a Toyota Highlander and it drove like a truck. Minivan turned out to be the best choice.
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fortfun
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Re: Reccommended Minivans

Post by fortfun »

CaptainMarvel wrote: Thu May 10, 2018 1:04 pm So my wife's 2001 PT Cruiser is finally breaking down. We thought we could stretch it for another year but it doesn't look like that'll be the case. Now, we are looking for a new minivan and on rather short notice so as to avoid having to pay for some urgent and complex repairs needed for the PT Cruiser. I would like to buy a new car, as we intend to own and drive it for many years, hopefully 15+. We have two small children both of whom are in car seats and in-laws that visit occasionally and would need to be driven around. I haven't looked into pricing yet in great detail but I'd like to spend around (or preferably less than if possible) $30,000.

What minivans would you recommend?

Thank you.
I'm not sure if you are the camping/road trip type of family or not. If so, you might look into a Ford Transport. I sure wish I had one now. I'd just get the cargo model and then add some homemade bunks in the back. The cargo version doesn't come with a rear seat but you can have them added by a 3rd party. If your work commute isn't far, you can use it for your commuter vehicle too. Ford Transport will likely be my next vehicle.
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lthenderson
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Re: Reccommended Minivans

Post by lthenderson »

CaptainMarvel wrote: Thu May 10, 2018 1:04 pmWhat minivans would you recommend?
Last year our Odyssey was totaled and we got a 17 Sienna just because the dealer was local as opposed to the nearest Honda dealer 100 miles away. Both are good vehicles and are very similar in just about everything. The only big difference that stands out to me is the transmission in the Sienna compared to the Odyssey. It is geared much differently. I really notice it in town at city speeds between 25 and 40 mph going up hills, the Sienna transmission has a tendency to seek a higher gear and then fall back and bounce back and forth quite a bit. It evidently has a very narrow rpm band. I never noticed this at all in the Odyssey. It's nitpicking though on a quality vehicle.

[Edited to add that our model is an AWD which may have something to do with the transmission but we really love the AWD since we live in a very hilly river town where winter streets are consistently horrible.]
WhyNotUs
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Re: Reccommended Minivans

Post by WhyNotUs »

Sienna is a great van and Odyssey is a very good van as well. We buy Sienna AWD used with 90 to 100k. First one went to 260,000 miles and sold it for $1000 (bought for $9500), second one paid $9000 but it got totaled (I still miss that one it was in excellent condition) and most recently a replacement for $13,500.

Great for hauling, it holds a 3/4 full RV mattress for camping, and get decent mileage for something that size. They came with run-flats that I hate so we found an extra rim at a junk yard to mount a spare from a worn down tire.
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finite_difference
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Re: Reccommended Minivans

Post by finite_difference »

Texanbybirth wrote: Thu May 10, 2018 2:16 pm I'd buy the 2018 Odyssey EX-L in a heartbeat, if we didn't already own the 2016 model. :D

It'll run you over $30k, but a couple extra $k won't make a difference in 15 years.

:beer
I guess the “L” in EX-L is for Leather.

I got a 2016 EX new for $30k OTD (could probably get it for less if you are good at bargaining but I tried my best).

I’d argue it’s almost impossible to beat the utility of the Odyssey (or Sienna) for the price. I love my Odyssey.
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mainiac
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Re: Reccommended Minivans

Post by mainiac »

Our 2008 Sienna will be 10 years old this summer and just turned over 120k miles.
No issues with powertrain at all, ever.
Our only issue was with a power door that stopped working.

I would buy one again based on our experience.

Our previous kid-mobile was a 98 Dodge Caravan.
This is almost exactly our situation, except the 2008 Sienna has 200K. I think our Caravan was a '99 though!

We don't need the AWD or the run-flat tires. A good set of snow tires in our area is a must.
Second car is a Honda Civic. Kid car is a Honda Fit, so we like Honda too.
We camp and haul one kid to and from college, so another minivan may be considered when the time comes.
kelvan80
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Re: Reccommended Minivans

Post by kelvan80 »

We also have a town and country purchased used in 2015. Hoping to get at least seven more years out if it and by then can go back to not needing a van. I love the store and go options that I can do without the help of DH. By buying used we got every bell and whistle, two DVD players and two screens, heated everything, chrome. For a minivan I do love it and we haven't had any issues other than regular maintenance.
a5ehren
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Re: Reccommended Minivans

Post by a5ehren »

Came at the same question and basically settled on the 2018 Sienna XLE. Just sitting around and waiting for 0% APR at this point since sales are down 30% from last year.
reimann
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Re: Reccommended Minivans

Post by reimann »

Just bought a new 2017 Dodge Grand Caravan (stripped down) for $20,800 list; out the door for $22200. No electric seats or doors. Wanted a cheap minivan and couldn't beat the price. I wasn't expecting much but have been pleasantly suprised. It drives well and has plenty of power (V6). Yes it is an old style and sort of cheap on the inside but the price can't be beat! All the seats fold into the floor which is great, and makes a lot of room for hauling stuff, or throwing a mattress in the back 8-)

Reimann
rg422
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Re: Reccommended Minivans

Post by rg422 »

Drive them all and decide which YOU like. Prior to purchasing an Odyssey back in 2014, we tested the 3 we were interested in - Odyssey, Sienna and Caravan. We ruled out the Caravan right away; to us, the interior was cheap compared to the other 2 and the transmission shifted way too much. The Sienna drove fine, however my wife did not like the interior layout. We opted for the Odyssey as it had plenty of power, interior was nice and the van handled better than the other two.
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Mursili
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Re: Reccommended Minivans

Post by Mursili »

XtremeSki2001 wrote: Thu May 10, 2018 4:07 pm
tech_arch wrote: Thu May 10, 2018 2:00 pm Love my 2016 Odyssey, but it was just a shade over $30k. We actually liked the new Pacifica better, but were worried about Chrysler's reliability so went with Honda.
+1

Have a 2012 Odyssey - it's been great and we hope to have it at least 5 more years.
+1

We have a 2014 Odyssey that replaced at 2001 Odyssey only because we wanted a newer vehicle and had a relative that needed a reliable vehicle. We had some warranty work done associated with the audio system, but otherwise the vehicle keeps up with our family of five and that is a difficult thing to do.
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KSOC
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Re: Reccommended Minivans

Post by KSOC »

froman118 wrote: Thu May 10, 2018 3:18 pm We've been really happy with our 2016 Kia Sedona EX. Purchase price was $29,500. I wouldn't touch the Chrysler or Nissan. I'd take the Honda over Toyota, but hate the styling of the Honda. Kia is the best looking IMO with good interior materials for the price. I didn't want too many bells and whistles (no sun/moonroof) so felt like it gave the best bang for buck.
We are on our second Sedona. Totaled the first one. My wife was hit head on and she just opened the door & got out. The first responders had to cut the other driver out with a saw. She wasn't gonna buy anything but a Sedona. Second one we've had for 8 years (64k). Love everything about it. No issues yet and will run it into the ground. When we first went shopping we looked at the Dodge/Chrysler, Chevy, Toyota & Honda. The Kia felt good driving & fit our budget. Probably would have chosen the Toyota next, but the Honda would have been a solid choice too. Before the Sedona we drove a Plymouth Voyager. Got 10 solid years out of it.
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rkhusky
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Re: Reccommended Minivans

Post by rkhusky »

You can get a new mid-grade Dodge Grand Caravan for under $25K, along with a lifetime bumper-to-bumper warranty for $3-4K (actually from Mopar, OEM for Dodge). Hard to beat that if you plan to keep the vehicle for 15 years.
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