This is a follow-up to my previous post here. I got some very helpful comments on that thread (thanks!), and we have said goodbye to our 2000 Toyota Sienna, and are continuing to look at a replacement. As I mentioned on the other topic, our budget is about $6,000 (or maybe a bit more), and we need a minivan. After doing quite a bit of searching on autotrader.com and on cars.com, and after looking at a few used minivans in person, I have narrowed down the search to these top two contenders:
A 2008 Dodge Caravan, with 94,500 miles. This is a two-owner vehicle, with the second owner purchasing it around 40,000 miles. The Carfax report shows a good number of maintenance records, but only up to about 75,000 miles. After that, Carfax shows no maintenance history. (Maybe this just means that they took it to an oil change place that doesn’t report to Carfax, but there’s no way to know for sure.) This Caravan looks nice, but it’s a very basic model – e.g., no power doors, no built-in DVD player, no power seats, etc. That actually could be viewed as a plus though, because there are fewer things to break.
A 2006 Chrysler Town & Country, with 75,500 miles. This is a one-owner vehicle, that was traded in at a local Buick dealer, and that same dealer now has it for sale. The Carfax report shows almost no maintenance history on this vehicle (only a couple of oil changes), but again does that mean that they didn’t do basic maintenance, or does it mean that most of it just wasn’t reported to Carfax? I don’t know. Unlike the Caravan, this vehicle has all the bells & whistles – power seats, leather seats, power doors on both sides, DVD player, sun roof, etc. It looks nice, though the leather seats don’t age as well as cloth seats, in my opinion.
Both vehicles are around the same price – between $6,000 and $7,000. And with either vehicle, I will make sure to have it inspected by a mechanic before buying.
Any advice on which one is a better gamble in terms of reliability and longevity? Or do you think that I should avoid both of these and keep looking? Basically, if I get either of these vehicles, I would be hoping that it lasts at least five years, without having to pour vast amounts of money into maintenance.
I also looked at a very nice 2008 Chevy Uplander that I could get for around $5,000, but I am a bit leery of the higher mileage (151,000).