MiniVan Choices

selling

#1

I am a Dad of three (third on the way) and must upgrade the size of the family car. For my price range and what I see available here in Maine, these are my options:



2004 Kia Sedona

2001 Honda Odyssey

2001 Chrysler Town and Country (All Wheel Drive)

2005 Chrysler Town and Country



My price range is $10,000-$11,000. Have I missed a better option? Which of these would be the best (safety top priority, including in snow/ice, and not being mocked a distant second)?



I am not a car-guy, and know nothing about any of this. We’ve gone out looking twice and my daughters are starting to look at me funny. Help.


#2

My daughter’s Odessey has trac control with FWD. With good tires, it’s perfectly fine for on road snow conditions, and it’s miles ahead of Chrysler products for relibility.


#3

Thanks for the reply. Chrysler is out.

Anyone have an opinion on the Kia Sedona? Would we be better off with an '01 Honda than a '04 Kia?


#4

The '04 Sedona is rated “worse than average” for reliability by Consumer Reports. I recommend sticking with Honda or Toyota.


#5

Thanks for the reply.

So, if I’m looking at one of the big three (Honda, Toyota, or Nissan Quest) I’ll be looking at '01-'03 with higher miles (70K+). This is the right way to go?

And am I right to put the Nissan Quest in the same league as Honda and Toyota? A friend recommended them.


#6

The Odyssey of that vintage has know transmission problems, but Honda has a secret (?) extended warrantee on some of them.

The Chrysler products are OK as long as you follow the maintenance recommendations, especially with the transmissions. The company I work for had a 97 Caravan for over 150k trouble free, mostly highway miles.

Kia’s have a good warrantee, as long as its transferable.

The Quest would be a good choice for reliability, but Nissans historically use a little more gas than other brands.

Don’t rule out the Windstar, it has a high Safety rating. There are some cars that would carry two adults and three small children too. I believe a Camry or Accord would work.


#7

The Odyssey of that vintage has know transmission problems, but Honda has a secret (?) extended warrantee on some of them.

The Chrysler products are OK as long as you follow the maintenance recommendations, especially with the transmissions. The company I work for had a 97 Caravan for over 150k trouble free, mostly highway miles.

Kia’s have a good warrantee, as long as its transferable.

The Quest would be a good choice for reliability, but Nissans historically use a little more gas than other brands.

Don’t rule out the Windstar, it has a high Safety rating. There are some cars that would carry two adults and three small children too. I believe a Camry or Accord would work.


#8

Thanks a lot for all the input. Please keep it coming. My wife and I are checking this board as we search dealers and make calls, and we need all the help we can get.

We really appreciate all the advice.


#9

Have you considered a Toyota Highlander…AWD and very reliable…


#10

Test drive an Olds Silhouette. You can find a 2003 GLS on the lot for under $11,000. You could get a 2003 Premier for under $11,000 from a private party. You might even find a 2004 GLS fur under $11,000. We have on and have been pleased with it. The Olds doesn’t have the power that the Honda does, but it is comfortable and has been good to us. We have 68,000 miles on ours. Stay away from the Pontiac Montana and Chevy Venture. They just aren’t as comfortable.


#11

We have a Limited '02 Chrysler T&C AWD van and we really like the way these vans are designed. When you are riding in it the feeling is like being in a luxury car almost. There have been some problems with it since we have purchased it new but I would say they haven’t been more than any other American vehicle. If you really could use the AWD and the '01 T&C is in good shape I wouldn’t pass it over until you check it good. See if you can get some history on it. If the van is a limited model I think you would be very happy with it.


#12

dont count the chrysler out, it is very reliable, smooth riding, and so luxurious or however you spell it.


#13

thats mostly right, but they are ugly


#14

Honda Odyssey is out. The reason it has failure prone automatic transmission that seem to last around 100k miles. Honda nicely extended the warranty to 8years/100,000 miles on this item however if your past that or never broken yet it may past the point. Even Consumer Reports who’s Honda’s show a much worse than average rating for the transmission.

I would say the 2005 Chrysler Town and Country. If snow/ice is a major concern purchase either separate set of winter tires/rims (price out at www.tirerack.com). It the newest and will likely last longer than any 2001 vehicle.


#15

It is a mini-van, after-all.


#16

A 2003 Windstar would meet your safety concerns. You should be able to get a nice one for less than $10k.

With the Windstar, I think the most important considerations are

  1. Has it been driven lightly? The engine has plenty of power, but the transmission does not stand up to a heavy footed driver - especially with a heavy load. Also, absolutely no towing - if it has a trailer hitch, eliminate it.

  2. Has the transmission seen regular fluid changes - every 30k or so?

  3. No power doors - they have been troublesome.