New car/minivan buying help?


in April or so a forklift dented the back of my old Odyssey, took it to a shop, insurance totaled it (it didn’t look that bad but apparently the crumple zone etc), and i don’t have that car anymore.

we do have a 9 and a 13 year old and the odyssey was convenient for trips, camping, cello lessons etc. so we were starting to look for a minivan using costco, in the low-mid $30s, but they all have these dealer packages or markups and are out-the-door in the 40s or 50s, but we were hoping on spending in the 30s. we are now open to a regular car or station wagon etc but just looking for any practical advice on any decent family car. manufacturer and dealer and e.g. consumer reports are all fine but they report (ridiculous) prices about 10-15k below what i (through costco) can actually get out the door, so that’s why im asking here. We would greatly appreciate any advice on choices for a family, ideally in the $30s?


Check out Enterprise car sales, some good deals to be had, some not so good. I bought a Caravan from them a few years ago and got a great price. As with any deal, shop around until you find a deal you are comfortable with. Unfortunately used car prices are stupid high now.

There is a shortage of new vehicles of all types. I looked at three local dealers. One had three Odysseys, anther had four, and a Toyota dealer had two Siennas. These ar big dealers an usually have 20 or mor minivans on site. Expect to pay MSRP if you buy new, and expect to pay a lot more than you probably imagine if you buy used. It will be several months at least until the microchip shortage is over and minivans will be available in large numbers. If you don’t want to pay list price (at least) for a new to you minivan, drive the old one for a while. You might also look at the dealer websites and see what they have available. You probably won’t do better going through Costco. Also, you don’t have to buy the dealer extras. If they refuse to deal with you because of that, try another dealer. Remember, dealers are in the driver’s seat just now, not you. Good luck and let us know how your search goes.

What old one, insurance totaled it.

why not look at SUV’s. there are some that have plenty of room and would probably easier to find one than a minivan.

10 Roomiest SUVs with Massive Cargo Capacities |

Instead of asking on the web Forums what to buy just go to every dealer web site near you and see what they have in stock . If you have driven by any dealer lots lately you should have noticed they just don’t have many vehicles to sell . Most of the time those sites will have pictures , specs and prices . Let your keyboard do the walking.

Even boats. There’s a marina that had a sign up since July. Yes we’re open. We just ran out of boats to sell.

Like the other posters said, if you can possibly avoid buying right now, do it.

If not, will a short term, ulra low mileage lease fit your needs?
Normally I strongly advise against any lease unless you’re using it as a Business Deduction, instead favoring a Buy and Long Term Hold strategy as being the least expensive but we’re living in strange times, which I suspect will revert back to normal fairly quickly. (Where profits are abnormally high, supply tends to come back in a “Hot Damn” rush for profits or have we already forgotten the “Great Toilet Paper Shortage”?)

And as far as Costco or any other Buying Service goes, in today’s tight market you’re just boosting your final cost by the amount that the Dealer is paying the Buying Service for the referral.

As far as specific vehicles, the Odyssey was a good choice aside from their engine mount problems but any comparable vehicle will probably be comparable but if you’re going to own a vehicle for 10+ years I’d start thinking about your future needs.
Trust me, in a few years none of your kids will want to be seen getting out of a “Mommyvan”, let alone driving one and you probably won’t want to either.

So if you can work out a short term solution until prices return to earth, you’ll probably be a lot happier.

For transporting musicians with their instruments and needing a vehicle for everyday transportation, nothing beats a minivan. We own a Toyota Sienna minivan and a Toyota 4Runner SUV. The 4Runner can’t do the job the Sienna does. I had two cello players, one violinist, one flute player, one trumpet player, and me with my French horn in the Sienna and we headed to a gig 50 miles away. All of us were reasonably comfortable and we had room for all our instruments. I have owned minivans for 30 years. We have owned the 4Runner for 18 years. The 4Runner is easier to maneuver around town and obviously is better in deep snow than the Sienna. However, as a vehicle to transport people and bulky items, the minivan wins handily. I hauled a set of 4 timpani in the Sienna. That would not be possible with an SUV.
The suggestion made earlier to shop for a minivan at a rental agency might be a good solution. My experience with Enterprise is that they seem to have Dodge vehicles. I did rent a minivan from Enterprise and it was a Dodge Caravan. When the agent asked me if the Dodge Caravan would be satisfactory, I said that I would rather have a Duke Ellington Caravan. The agent then told me that only a sophisticated lady could rent the Duke Ellington Caravan. Another time, I rented an SUV from Enterprise. I was asked if a Dodge Journey was o.k. I said that I would rather have a Sentimental Journey. The agent said that Doris Day had already driven away in the Sentimental Journey. Both the Dodge Caravan and the Dodge Journey did the job and got me where I needed to go and drove well.


Good to hear musical literacy and gentle humor on both sides of the rental counter!

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I misread the original post to say that they had a second Odyssey. They meant 9 and 13 year old children, not minivans.

I looked at costco for a new car my recollection is 500 off msrp, I can do better than that, at the time I thought, don’t know about now.

Tough times to buy a car. Used car market is getting just a bit better. On a new car, expect to pay quite some above MSRP. We just test drove a 2019 Toyota CH-R XLE (tiny CUV) with 45K miles, price is $30K at the local dealer, new MSRP for the same trim is $24900. Go figure. Obviously, we just wanted to see how it drives.
At least, if you want a minivan (which is great for practicality), at least they are not as hot as CUV/SUV’s. I agree with looking at a 2 yr or 3 yr lease. Maybe a Chrysler Pacifica which is hybrid. Also, the Koreans are having less of a shortage problem, so look at Kia. leases. Otherwise, try and get a CPO used but be prepared to do some leg work.

on the more basic end there’s the Chrysler Voyager and there are a few still on dealer lots around the country. Right around $30,000 MSRP for the L model, no idea if anyone’s trying for a mark up from there though. For 2022 it’s only available for fleet sales from what i’ve read.