Help! We own a 2001 Grand Voyager, with 250000 miles on it and it runds great! We also own a Grand Caravan and its a lemon! A Big Lemon. We want to cut our losses and get rid of our fruit and get another minivan. Does anyone have some thoughts here?
Honda Odyssey’s are good, but be aware that motor mounts and transmissions don’t have a very good history prior to the redesigned 2005 model.
Check Consumer Reports at your local library. What year are you interested in?
Toyota Siennas get highly rated by CR, while most Chrysler minivans are rated “much worse than average.”
The best used minivan is the one that has been maintained the best.
Look for complete maintenance records.
My son would say that the best used minivans come from Mom and Dad motors where he buys at a great family discount. He bought my 2000 Ford Aerostar and has replaced it with a 2006 Chevrolet Uplander from Mom and Dad motors. Of course, I maintain my vehicles by the book.
As another post said, in the used minivan line, look for one that has been well-maintained. When I was shopping last March, and thought I wanted another Uplander, the last year GM made a minivan was 2008. Most of the Uplanders I found in my area were from rental fleets. These minivans have probably been maintained well, but I decided to take a pass.
I’ve noticed in many cities, minvans are used in taxi cab fleets. When these vehicles hit the used car market, they are pretty well used up. Right below the ex taxicabs are minivans used by soccer moms. These vehicles often do the same type of stop and go driving that the taxicabs do and may even be less well maintained because soccer moms seldom receive tips from their passengers. What I am saying is to look for a minivan where you can find out its maintenance history and glean some idea of how it was driven.
Mine! But you can’t have it. I have a 2003 Olds Silhouette Premier, and it has been very good to us. It did lose a transmission at 58,000 miles, but it was under warranty! This was the last year for the Olds, and I suspect that you want a newer van. The other guys suggested the best maintained van you can find, and I agree. You might consider a Kia Rondo. My BIL and SIL like theirs a lot.
My comments are mostly generic, not brand-specific. A lot of cars and minivans are for sale in the ~$3,000 price ballpark when they have ~100,000 miles on the odometer. If you buy one, expect to spend some money on major repairs. Your ownership over five years may cost you $6K, or $10K if you’re unlucky, but it’s still cheaper than buying a new vehicle. People buying old boats and airplanes expect to spend that kind of money on upkeep, and wind up spending far less than the few people who buy new ones.
It’s a judgment call and a bit of a gamble, but I think a lot of these older vehicles have plenty of good use left in them. 20 minutes with your regular mechanic is a cheap way to get an honest assessment of what to expect.
And if you can find one with good maintenance records, jump on it. A couple years ago, a friend of mine sold his minivan for $2.5K. I should have jumped on it.
We’ve owned a '97 Chrysler (it got wrecked) and now a '05 Honda. The Chrysler had a $1,000 transmmission messup, otherwise was fine. The Honda, my mechanic warns me, may have such problems in the future. So despite Honda’s great reputation, the brand is not perfect.
Also note that at dealerships, used car pricing is mercurial. One dealer told me that he puts up a rather high price, and then lowers the price $1,000 each month until either it sells or it gets so cheap that he’s better off wholesaling it to someone else. I’ve noticed that bargains in used small economy cars are nonexistent, whereas used cars for fuddy-duddies (old stately Volvos, one VW Passat wagon I saw) are often cheap. I suspect that many minivans fall into that latter category. You may need to watch the market for some weeks before you find the deal to pounce on. Or you may find the right car right away.
If you are as long legged as I am you will find that the Chrysler Corp minivans are the only ones that fit. None of the others have enough legroom.
I second VDCdriver. When the word “used” comes into play all bets are off as to which is the best.
A 10k miles vehicles may be utter junk and a 100k miles one may be spot-on perfect.
VDCdriver is also correct about verifiable records and put zero credence into that worn out phrase, “oh, it’s been perfectly maintained”.
I would try a Honda Odyessy, Toyota Sienna, Dodge, and Kia/Hyundai and see what you like best.
Personally though Dodge is far cheaper to purchase due to significant depreciation, and even with significant repairs you will be ahead likely over the Honda/Toyota pair. The longevity of all the minivans of them is equal. It just all depends on your stomach to dish out repair/high mileage maintenance money.