Trade Van

Hello, I have a 2012 Dodge Grand Caravan.
I bought it when I had my son and two step daughters.
I am recently divorced and now just get to see my two year old son.
I can trade in for about 15,000.
I have found some almost new small cars for about 13,000 to 15,000
I currently get about 22-24 MPG with the van, looking at cars with about 38-40 MPG
Should I trade it in?
Money is very tight right now, an extra $120 a month savings in gas would be very helpful
But I really like the van.
I hate these decisions.
What do you guys think?

You must be driving about 32k miles per year or more. Are you sure you will be happy driving that much in a small car? What happens if you meet and marry another woman that has a couple of kids in a year or two?

+1 @keith - $120 a month must mean LOTS of driving. I’d hold off for now, see if the van’s usefulness makes up for the added gas cost. But if you are driving that much, and need the $$, then you can do it. Just make sure you’re being realistic on the cost savings, and that the new small car is big enough.

And be sure that you can get the car you want for a straight trade, you might be surprised by the add ons at closing.

Could you afford to rent a car that you are interested in for a week, or a couple days?

This would be your best bet since you could drive your normal routine and not have to live with the car if you’d bought it outright and hated it afterwards

Keep it. That trade-in value is about half what you paid for it, and only one year has gone by to boot. You like it. Women will see you as a down to earth, approachable guy. This is the easiest decision ever.

Don’t forget this part:

"But I really like the van".

While fuel economy is extremely important, both from the perspective of saving money, and for reducing consumption of finite resources, I’d suggest you compare the monthly gas savings against the big financial loss from selling a car and buying another. How much money are you putting in the dealer’s pocket when you trade in the Caravan and buy the econobox? How many years worth of fuel savings does it take to equal what you lose on the trade in? I think the cost analysis might point to keeping the Caravan, even if it does use more fuel. Do the math and see what you think.

If you absolutely must sell the Caravan, take a good look at selling it privately, rather than trading it in. Remember that a dealer is in business, ie, intending to make money.

Besides that, now you have a vehicle which you can load up with your camping gear (you do have camping gear don’t you?) and go off on a great solo adventure. Make lemonade from the lemons: do something you couldn’t do when married, while you have the chance and before you get re-attached. Or something like that…

And if you need some suggestions on adapting the Caravan for a long road trip, and some great places to see, let me know…I’ve got some ideas I’ll share. ;=)

I’m not sure I buy @jtsander’s point that the Caravan is much of a chic magnet, but I do agree more or less that it would suggest you are a practical guy. Hey, maybe jt’s got it right…give it a shot.

Most of all, best wishes on this life transition. I hope it goes well for you.

Another thought. You wrote: “I hate these decisions”. Maybe this is just not a good time to be making a relatively big decision, that is, while making this transition in your life. If it feels like too much to decide on right now, then maybe it’s best to at least postpone it for a while, and just be easy on yourself. Regardless, sincere best wishes.

You’re asking? I would trade the van for a car that more benefits our present life style. That’s a perfectly good reason and though it would take a long time to recover the lost in mileage gained, it will eventually.
You will loose money big time by trading. I would sell it outright and buy a new car with the proceeds. As a single, I would buy a compact car. By the way, I would do a little more research and make sure your next choice is well regarded by CR. These vans typically have lower resale value then other makes.

“I’m not sure I buy @jtsander’s point that the Caravan is much of a chic magnet …”

Context! My daughters would not be enthusiastic about a 20-something guy with a minivan, but the situation changes when the woman is 30s or better and the guy is too. She’s manificently 39 with a coupla kids, and VanMan looks like Tony the Tiger. Or Mr Right. You know what I mean.

I hope you picked up that my comment was partly tongue-in-cheek, and bit of …uh, the voice of experience. (I own 2 Caravans…)

And besides…I also wrote this:
“Hey, maybe jt’s got it right…give it a shot”

You do make an excellent point of course. A middle aged single mom might well gravitate more to the minivan driver than to the hunk driving a performance car or a burly lifted 4x4.

That said, I saw no reason to assume the OP was necessarily looking for a new partner at the moment. That was not part of his question. But because my use of minivans is radically different than the conventional use, I thought I’d suggest other ways of looking at them in case it was useful for his process to a decision.