2002-2004 Sienna or 2005-2007 Chrysler T&C

We need a new family car and our budget is less than $8k. The dealer wants us in the 05-07 Chrysler, but I wanted to get other opinions. I do think that the Sienna is a better car, but we can get a Chysler with half the mileage.

I don’t feel that $8000 is enough to spend on a family vehicle like a minivan. For that money, I would look for a large sedan, carry less and make due. You will get a better and more reliable vehicle for your needs.

Of the two you’ve identified, and assuming both check out good by a reputable mechanic, I’d say the Sienna is generally the better buy. But you haven’t told us the mileage or the prices. Without at least that information we’re guessing totally blindly.

we dont have a specific vehicle yet, the dealer will buy one for us once we put the order in and he will do any repairs. He said it would be a 100-150K sienna or a 50-80K T&C.

I urge you to go elsewhere. Signing to purchase a new vehicle unseen is relatively risk free, but signing up to purchase a used vehicle unseen and letting the dealer “order it” for you is extremely risky and fraught with potential problems. You should NEVER sign ANY paperwork on a used vehicle unless you’ve test driven it and had it checked out by your own mechanic.

What they’ve suggested is a very bad idea for you as the customer. Run away. Find a better used car source.

For older vehicles in your price range, forget the name plate and look for a vehicle for which you may be able to find some of the history of the vehicle. When you have a candidate, take it to a reputable mechanic for an inspection and expect to pay $100 or so for this inspection.
I presently have a 2011 Sienna, but did own a 2000 Ford Windstar and a 2006 Chevrolet Uplander. Both of these vehicles did well for me.

I agree with TSMB - this is a VERY BAD IDEA. Used cars are a dime a dozen, do NOT get yourself locked into one dealer or you are guaranteed to get a bad deal, and maybe a bad car. As for the T&C, it is rated “Much worse than average” for ALL years 2004-2011 by Consumer Reports, with consistent problems in a large number of areas. So I’d go for a slightly older Siena, which is rated ‘better than average’ for all years.

thanks for the suggestions. this is not a normal car dealer, he has three full time mechanics on hand and is very good friend of a friend. He also has zero BBB complaints in the last 3 years and has been in bushiness for 36 years. the CR reports is what I was thinking about, so I am shying away from the T&C.

If it has to be one of these two brands, then I would go for the Chrysler with half the mileage. How many years will it take to put 60,000 miles on your next minivan? At 12,000 miles per year, it will take 5 years. And in 5 years you will be pushing 200,000 miles in the Sienna. Used Toyotas and Hondas are overpriced. You just showed data that confirms it.

Given that you know the dealer well, you should be comfortable buying anything he prepares for you. Also, consider other minivans that might be available. Test drive several brands that were available during 2005 to 2007 and see what you like. BTW, I own a Honda (bought new). I don’t have anything against the brands as new cars, just the high price of used cars.

I have to tell you, I still think this is a very risky proposition. My ex wife got me into some of these “friend of a friend” deals, except in her case it was “husband of a friend”, and they never work out well.

A true friend-of-a-friend would not require you to sign an agreement before helping you find a vehicle. This suggests that he sees it only as a business proposition. And it’s a highly unusual business proposition.

I wish you only the best.

You have a choice. An 11 year old Sianna with high mileage or a different car. A 2005-4 Camry in that range has better potential. I feel you are paying too much for the vehicle model ( minivan) and not enough for reliability and safefty of a newer car. We got along without them before they were here, IMHO, you should go without now and stay with a more recent large sedan. I have seen several young families do this, only to be nicholed and dimed to death in repairs and unreliability, which is a poor choice with kids in tow. It didn’t last long. They went to a wagon. Old vans are, well old and heavily used. Little old ladies don’t drive older low mileage minivans.

the T&C is a dressed up Dodge Caravan, so you might look at those, too.