CarTalk.com Blogs Car Info Our Show Deals Mechanics Files Vehicle Donation

Buying a new mini van

I want to buy a new minivan for the family and my wife will be driving it mostly. I intend to keep it for atleast 6-7 yrs. Tell me why should’nt I buy a KIA Sedona with a price of around 25k to 26k instead of buying Honda odyssey with a price tag of more than 35k

I faced the same problem a couple of years ago in 2006. I could buy a Chevrolet Uplander that was a “program” car for $15,000. The Uplander had 15,000 miles and I got the balance of the warranty. I could have paid twice as much and purchased a Honda or Toyota minivan. I bought the Uplander and left $15,000 in savings. I now have 46,000 miles and have had no problems. I am well aware of the poor repair record reported in Consumer Reports for the Uplander, but so far, my Uplander has been as reliable as the 2003 Toyota 4Runner which we also own. The Toyota 4Runner does have a more quality feel than does the Uplander. I suspect the Honda minivan has a better fit and finish than the Kia. You will have to decide whether the quality feel is worth $10,000 more. For my needs, it wasn’t worth the extra money to buy a minivan with a “quality feel”.

Check out Consumer Reports Apr 08 and see how the Sedona stacks up against the Odyssey, Toyota Sienna and the Grand Caravan/Town & Country. They all beat Sedona reliability hands down.

Last time I checked, you can get a Toyota Sienna for around 26K (not stripped, but not fully loaded, either), and much better reliability.

Not long after we got my wife a nicely equipped 2006 Sienna for about 23k (about 25.5k list), I was able to help a friend pick up a Sedona for about 17-18k (The 5k rebate helped on the Sedona). As far as I could tell the Sedona was almost a clone of the Sienna. If I hadn’t already got the Sienna I would not have hesitated to buy a Sedona for 6k less. I’m hoping to keep the Sienna for at least 10 or more years.

Ed B.

The only reason you should not buy the Kia Sedona is if you like something else better. Drive them all and pick the one you like best and feel you are getting the most for your money.

Kia and Hyundai have made strides in quality. The Odyssey and the Sienna are very nice vehicles, but if you like the Kia, there is very little reason not to buy it.

First buy what she really wants with your input, she is driving it not you. You can get a Honda/Toyota for mid-upper 20’s if you don’t overload the thing with non essentials. But that is a matter of taste.

When you go to sell/trade your KIA in 6-7 years its resale will about 50% of a Honda/Toyota. On the private market a Honda/Toyota is much easier to part with than a KIA any day.

Given the current car market I would also take a Chrysler Town & Country and Dodge Caravan for a spin.

Remember sticker is meaningless across all the makes, they are all are hurting across the makes no matter what load of lies the sales people state. If you see the vehicles on the lot they are not sold and not in demand despite what a saleperson tells you.

Lastly consider very new but used for KIA or Dodge/Chrysler. They plummet in resale making them a great bargain anywhere from slightly to more used(5 years old).

As others have pointed out the Kia won’t be worth much in 6 or 7 years. The Honda and Toyota will hold their value better. A middle of the road Odyssey (EX, no leather) can be had for under $30k. A comparably equipped Sedona can be had for around $25k. You probably be able to get most of that $5k difference back in resale value since Honda’s hold their value very well and Kia’s are among the worst at holding their value. The Honda will likely be more reliable as well. My dad has a 2007 Odyssey he has driven many minvians over the years (88 Caravan, 91 Caravan, 95 Windstar, 98 Windstar, 01 Windstar, 03 Windstar, and now an 07 Odyssey) and he says the Honda is by far the best one he’s had, that is coming from a die hard Ford guy.

You save absolutely no money by buying the Sedona comparably equiped . If you ever plan on trading, along with ownership cost, there is little difference provided the price is closer than you state. High twenties is more in line with Odessy/Sienna, a toss up and personal preference. Check the trade in and used prices of Kia products before you think the initial savings is worth it. You may not be able to give a Kia away in 7 years. Honda/Toyota products hold their value dramatically better.

More importantly, is the dealership you may do business with trustworthy. I’d buy a Chrysler Van before a Toyota if I was forced to do business with a dealership I couldn’t trust. Many times people don’t consider future service headaches before they buy. If you have an independent you can trust, it may not be an issue.

You can plann on a Toyota Sienna for 10 years; you can only hope as you say to keep a Sedona for that long.