Need a used mini van-what is best? and is the awd sienna gas tank on top of the rear axle?

My 2000 Sienna just died, need used van quick. Toyota vs Dodge? Any opinions?


Don’t worry about the gas tank location. Since after the Pinto, gas tanks have been required to be protected sufficiently to survive federal crash testing.

the concern w/the gas tank was b/c my mechanic told me to stay away from subaru awd b/c of where the tank was in relation to the rear axle-maintinence issues and cost.

Okay. I assumed the concern was safety.

Used Toyota vans will cost more, but that’s because they’re much more reliable. And Chrysler is on the verge of folding. Parts availability may dry up.

First, what is your price range? This will make a big difference. Second, how will you use the minivan? Will you be taking long trips, or just ferrying kids around town?

In the second hand market, I would look for a minivan that hasn’t been thrashed around. I would look for the minivan in the best condition that has had proper maintenance regardless of the make.

How much do you want to spend? We have a 2003 Olds Silhouette Premium and like it a lot. It isn’t very popular, and that makes it attractively priced. You could spend about $10,000 on a 2003 Odyssey EX or about $7500 on an equivalent Olds Silhouette Premium. The Silhouette is the best of the early 2000s GM minivans. I would not consider the Chevy or Pontiac sister models. Ours has been good to us, maybe a Silhouette would be good for you, too.

Forget the AWD Sienna, the AWD at best could be called FWD+, terrible system.

Toyota is excellent 2004+ and reliable but more $$$$. The Dodge is much cheaper and decent but may require a few more repairs. However for the same money you can get a 2-3 year newer Dodge with under 30k vs Sienna that older/higher miles. The money saved can be applied to chance repairs happen.

Drive both and then decide. Good luck.

Your mechanic is clueless on Subaru. The tank has little to do with anything in maintenance of Subaru. The rear diff oil has to get changed every 60-90k for a cost of around $50.

I have had a dodge and a toyota-loved both, but the transmission issues with dodge make me nervous. single mom-and the kids and i spend a lot of time driving. 10,000 is my limit, would like less. I don’t expect to get anything(or very little) for the vehicle when I am done with it-but would like to have it for a while, so the resale value means little to me. Reliability, getting through snow, transmission issues, and getting parts concern me more.

meanwhile my computer died also-alas the life of a single mom~sigh~- thanks for all the info- will check in again next time I can borrow a computer.

price range-around 10,000. Using for school drop off/pick ups, and about every 2 weeks we travel 200 mi to visit my mother.

There should be some good used minivans in your price range. My advice is to buy the one in the best condition and that checks out well with an independent mechanic, regardless of the make. To me, a minivan is a minivan. I’ve owned a 1990 Ford Aerostar, a 2000 Ford Windstar and presently am driving a 2006 Chevrolet Uplander. The engine was replaced in the 1990 Aerostar under warranty, but I had no other problems with that minivan and have had no major problems with its successors. My son bought my 2000 Windstar and it now has at least 120,000 with no major problems. The Uplander has had no problems in 50,000 miles. There are some convenience factors that my Uplander lacks–I would like to have seats that fold flat into the floor. I have to wrestle the seats out when I need to haul tympani around for my orchestra. Mine doesn’t have a center console. However, it does the job. In your case, for school dropoff/pick ups, a power sliding door might be nice. If you often have to haul bulky items, seats that fold flat are a convenience so that you can convert from transporting people to moving big items.

I could give you a better recommendation if I knew why your 2000 Sienna died.

“price range-around 10,000”

You could get a loaded 2004 Olds Silhouette for that, a 2003 Honda Odyssey, or a 2006 Kia Sedona.

We have had a '02 Chrysler T&C AWD since new. No tranny problems with it though the we did have the solenoid pack replaced due to a small oil leak. We love it and will keep it for a long time.

We love our used 2000 Caravan too. Was half the price of a used Sienna in 2006. Might be cheaper after today’s news.

I suggest a Honda Odyssey or Toyota Sienna. I say from experience the Ford Windstar is a rolling piece of crap.