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Minivan, Crossover or SUV

I would love to get a minivan, but I live on a very steep driveway to a busy road in connecticut. Unfortunately, I think I should have 4 wheel drive, which limits my possibilites for minivans.

Does anyone have suggestions for 4wd minivan like cars?

We are considering the Mercedes R series (used) just because it seems to combine all the elements of a car, minivan and suv and it prices similarly to the Sienna believe it or not…but I would like to find something less costly, perhaps I could get a new car for the same price as a used R series? But what car?

The key features I am looking for are (1) low to ground like minivan, (2) not too big,(3) bucket seats making easy access to third row in back.

The Honda Odyssey appeals to me but I am too afriad to get it for our CT driveway/winters.

Any suggestions out there? We don’t know where to start in our search.

I would pass on the Odyssey for now. The transmissions are a little too light for this vehicle and they have problems. There are several other problems including brakes, sliding doors and engine noises. The Mercedes R is a good vehicle but repair prices are very high. The Toyota Sienna with AWD may be an option for you. Check out any vehicle that appeals to you and make an informed decision. My niece traded her 1 year old BMW X5 for a Honda Pilot and she couldn’t be happier with it. You might want to check out the Honda Pilot also.

Ford Flex, Honda Pilot, Chevy Traverse and GM twins come to mind (all have available awd). Avoid the MB R series (‘much worse than average’ reliability for all year, according to Consumer Reports).

I don’t know of ANY place in CT that warrants the NEED for 4wd. Nice to have…but there is no way you NEED 4wd. Any good fwd vehicle can handle any snow CT gets…even at it’s worse.

Check out the Ford Edge.

Aren’t both the Sienna and Odyssey available with AWD?

Mike, both you and I know no one needs 4 wheel drive unless the drive on unplowed mountain roads or offroad, but we will never convince them. I think people need to drive where it really snows to learn how to drive in it.

Sienna yes, Odyssey no, I think.

MissileMan…Can you elaborate a little on the problems with the brakes on the Odyssey? The reason I am asking is that I have recently drove a 2007 MO belonging to a friend (I borrowed it to pick up some furniture), and with only 19k miles on the ODO, it had terrible shaking when applying the brakes.

The brake problems had to do with a “soft” feel when applying the brakes. Defective manufacturing allows air to slowly enter into the Vehicle Stability Assist (VSA) modulator which is part of the brake systems of the recalled vehicles. This results in the brakes not engaging until the pedal is pushed closer to the floor than usual. Not a good thing.

Shaking when applying the brakes is probably due to warped brake rotors. It’s best to have this condition checked by a good mechanic. Most newer brake rotors are thinner than the ones made in the past. If they ever get overheated such as driving down mountains or panic stopping they can get hot enough to warp.

The Toyota Sienna is best suited for your situation with its available AWD. Forget Honda they are under built, noisier and have delicate transmissions.

Mike, you missed the part about “steep driveway”. They exist everywhere and with snow or ice with bad treatment you either walk up or need AWD or 4wd to make it up.

I also live in Connecticut and we do have some steep hills. I have a New Honda Pilot and I love it. This winter sometimes my road wouldn’t get plowed until very late or the next day. I use to have a fwd car and it was lousy in deep unplowed snow.