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Need a mini-van but which one is the right one?


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07-21-02, 07:37 AM   #1  
afreda
Need a mini-van but which one is the right one?

Baby number 3 due in mid January. Need to get a mini-van. Test drove the Chrysler Town and Country LX. It was 2001 with fairly low miles and certified for 8 years/80,000 miles. However, comes with the high APR. Any thoughts out there on which way to go? Foreign or domestic, new with low or no APR vs. used with low miles and higher APR?

Still in the driver seat with some time to think about it.

 
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07-21-02, 09:50 AM   #2  
Joe_F
Chryslers are high on features, but low on quality. I would stay away. Lackluster.

Ford has nice features, but their quality is also suspect.

I believe GM to be the best, however they tend to be a little late in getting features the other guys have had for some time.

I would stay away from a minivan. My sister did. She got a Tahoe and couldn't be happier. It's not as "HUGE"as you think. Has 4WD for getting around in the bad weather, lots of room, power and it seems easy to work on. Changing the oil (the first thing I did on it so far) was a virtual breeze.

 
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07-21-02, 07:00 PM   #3  
I'm with Joe on this one....when shopping for a minivan, you have to pick the lesser evil. There are no quality minivans in my opinion. If you get a dodge, stay away from the 3.0 liter engine. If you get a ford, stay away from the 3.8 liter engine. (I would stay away from any Ford, but I know of some with many many miles on them). Have you considered an SUV? The Tahoe would also be my #1 pick. Much better vehicle.


"Who is John Galt?" - Ayn Rand (Atlas Shrugged)

God bless!

 
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07-30-02, 06:42 AM   #4  
I'll third everyone's response here. I'll also add in to look at the Chevy TrailBlazer or GMC Envoy. V8 Power with 6 cyl gas mileage.

Minivans are easier to get in and out of, but honestly I'd rather buy a cargo van converted by someone like Mark III or something. Those are real luxo-tubs. Minivans tend to be, as said, unreliable. Especially them stinking Chryslers. Pretty, but then again so was Christine in that old movie.

As for other SUV's, the Toyota Sequoia is a real winner. Toyota quality (and price ) but it's roomy, powerful, and (I think) 4wd available.

 
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07-30-02, 07:57 PM   #5  
otter_
for the money,

used gm minivan is a decent buy. Stay away from Ford, their 3.8's suck rocks (headgasket issues) and you can't keep an air conditioner or a transmission in a Chryco product.

In my humble opinion.

 
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07-30-02, 08:19 PM   #6  
I tend to agree with Joe and Cheese,consider an SUV,GM has $3000 rebates right now.They also have an Envoy with a third seat so you have room to make one more kid.lol

 
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07-30-02, 08:51 PM   #7  
I tend to like Honda minivans, the new ones are pretty good. They're also a lot more reliable then any GM/Ford/Crysler product. I don't really believe any US minivans are any good, but I believe Chevy full size vans are very good. Have one with 140,000 miles (89) on it that runs just like new. I don't know that many Ford or Crysler vans capable of that...

 
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07-31-02, 06:24 AM   #8  
Dan Meyer
mini-van vs suv

I went through that decision a few years ago and bought a mini-van. To me, the SUV's were cramped as far as leg room in the rear seats. With the mini-van, it's simple to remove the rear seats in order to give you more storage or leg room, if needed.

 
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07-31-02, 06:38 AM   #9  
It's really not about how long a car lasts. A car can last almost forever if you keep on repairing it. It's how many times you have to repair it. I have 2 toyotas, 2 hondas and a Chevy Van. It's true it is more expensive to fix a foreign car, but they do break down very rarely. Many times it's not the cost of repair that's the main factor, but the inconvinience of not having the car available. The Chevy Van I have gave me no major problems, and it's 13 years old and it has 140,000 miles on it. My neighbors Caravans (2) were in shop every month because something would break down. And this is for a 4 year old car with 60,000 miles on it. That should no happen. If you really want something between a SUV and a minivan then you should get an Astro Van. I believe it still offers a 4 wheel drive option, and is larger then a minivan. I know that I'll have to buy a minivan also (with kids right around the corner ), and the only one I'll consider is the Honda. It's not cheap to say the least, but it looks good, has decent power, and it is a Honda. How many cars are on the road that drove 170,000 miles without any breakdown? (Other then normal maintenance (tune-ups, timing belt, coolant, transmission fluid, oil changes). And that's for a 1990 car with a 4 cylinder engine driven like a "race car" by a teenager for 3 years.

 
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07-31-02, 07:19 AM   #10  
As far as Chrysler vans with longetivity, even a blind squirrel can find a nut now and then. Now I am not a mechanic but I know a number of people with Chrysler products, mostly Plymouth, and they have a lot of tranny and electrical problems. While on the topic of Chrysler, the automatic tranny in thier pickups, old and new, are quite troublesome at times.

I am a GM chaser, but the only van I would consider buying from GM would be a cargo van (heavy duty truck parts and drivetrains) or an early 90's Astro with a 4.3. Even those automatics had problems.

Chryslers are more expensive. So are Jaguars. Ask anyone who's ever had an old Jag and they'll tell you some pretty good repair stories. $$$$ does NOT equal quality. If that were so, there would be no such thing as a Lexus or Infiniti service dept.

 
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07-31-02, 10:04 AM   #11  
GwyniChaela
Minivans

We recently had a third child (january)..and had to let go of driving my little two door every day! We were gifted with a used Dodge Grand Voyager...with 150,000. It does need some work - regular maintenance work...but as we aren't driving it right now it's not an issue. It ran great, never had a problem.

My advice? Go with a minivan. I had an SUV and loved it! BUT

insurance rates were higher
gas costs were higher
less back room to manuever - with small kids that's important.
higher off the ground..not a HUGE point, but at 5'2"...u get the picture.

I don't like the Honda van...any vehicle THAT big built on a car chassy??? No thanks...not for the price.

I DO love the toyota, but again....the price. I have always preferred Chrysler in the end. I have a husband who can work on cars, and I have found parts for them to be easier to find than fo rmy little Hyundai....and cheaper. I wouldnt trade my van for anything (except maybe a new one...working on that.....lol)

 
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07-31-02, 10:58 AM   #12  
otter_
numbers don't lie....

up here, the combined nameplates of gm outsell chrysler vans. period.

True, GM does not make a trouble free product, but compared to chrysler, our quality beats them by a long shot. According to JD Power, GM is only behind toyota and honda (and ever so slightly) in build quality measured at initial 6 months of ownership.

What I have observed in my 11 years of working in and close to the car business is that Used car lots spend plenty of money on reconditioning when it's time to retail that chrysler van, midsize, compact, whatever. The same issues keep cropping up over and over: trans, a/c, electrical and trim. yeech.

 
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07-31-02, 11:25 AM   #13  
JackMaster
I suggest you check out:

www.hwysafety.org

Enter the vehicle make and model you are interested in and get the facts on crash results.

I for one feel that no one vehicles mechanical dependability and luxury options are much more superior than anothers. Yes, there are certain vehicles more dependable than others in some areas but not others. I have not seen a vehicle manufactured yet that has not needed some kind of repair work done to it!

I fell safety and your chances, as well as that of your wife and children, are more important. Mechanical repairs are a minor inconvenience compared to the loss of loved ones because of poor design!

 
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07-31-02, 12:04 PM   #14  
I think JackMaster makes a good point. Saftey should be important in deciding what vehicle to buy. I guess that why I brought a 2000 Ford Winstar, Couldnt afford the Toyota or Honda. In most test on crashes ford windstar takes 3rd place, Honda just barely beats the ford out. The Toyota gets a perfect score. I know ford has had problems with 3.8 and some transmission problems in the winstar. Hopefully the 2000 is better than the older ones. Even if its not, head gaskets or transmission are still cheaper than what my family is worth to me.

Hobie

 
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07-31-02, 12:29 PM   #15  
GM's are junk and always will be
Tell that to me- had a 1990 C1500, 115K miles, only put a new alternator on it at 80K miles, then I totalled it.

Tell that to my brother in law- 1989 GMC C1500, 240K miles, the tranny is just now starting to go out- leaking. This truck has been nearly totalled 3 times.

Tell that to me- Used to have a 1986 Cavalier, 2.0 4cy with 220K miles on it. Slow, ugly, and the exhaust manifold had a leaky crack in it that made it sound like a lawnmower, but the car NEVER ONCE broke down in the 2 years I had it. Sold it for $500 to a family that needed a dependable cheap car, and I needed a truck.

Tell that to me- just bought a 1986 Cutlass Supreme, 307 carbeurated. 101K miles, This thing cranks just as fast as a fuel injected, with only a lil pat on the accelerator.

Tell that to a deacon at my church- 1980(something) El Camino, original 305, 150-something thousand miles, original untouched engine and tranny, automatic, stone-cold AC.


I agree that GM drops the ball on a lot of things. Thier newer interiors are cheap looking. They are getting better, but they got a long way to go. And what the heck is up with Pontiac Aztec???? BARF!!!!

Yes GM has it's problems. Yet, you don't see them with the recalls that Ford does. My mom's 1999 Explorer has had recalled:
1) Hood latch- rusts away at about 2 yrs and the hood flys up while going down the turnpike.
2) Windshield wiper control switch- damn thing would wipe the windows out of nowhere, even on a 100 degree [email protected]$$ South Carolina summer day.
3) Rear hatchback latch- replaced, was way out of alignment and warped since day 1.
4) We won't EVEN talk about the tires. She HAD decent looking and costly Wilderness AT on them, but when they were recalled, they put on these puny crappy ugly Generals, and they weren't even All Terrains, they were touring. Mom needed something with mud-grip capabilities.

Pete only knows what will go wrong next. I wounldn't buy a Ford if anything depended on it. The one exception is the trucks. I like there half tons and super dutys.

Mako

 
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07-31-02, 12:44 PM   #16  
GwyniChaela
Afreda

LOL...bet you didnt realize you'd spark such a heated discussion with just one 'simple' question!!

In the end...look at safety ratings, go to a dealer and try putting car seats in and out of different models. You want something that is going to be:

1! safe
2 affordable
3 comfortable
4 easy to access
5 height appropriate for the family to be able to get and out of
6 safe
7 safe
8 safe
9 affordable.....oh, did I say that already?

10....attractive? a must for some while others could care less.

Know what you want. Cost is going to probably be a huge factor for you. Check out the ratings and know that in the end.....u want something that will protect as best as possible. In something drastic NOTHING..not even the perfect rated toyota...will SAVE anyone. All you can do is protect them as well as humanly possible. Buckle them in. Use an appropriate car seat (one that has NEVER been in a car accident)..make sure you do regular stress checks if you have ever used the car seat for any other child.

This is your third child and you have obviously kept the others alive....you know what you're doing!

Remember that cost does NOT equal quality. I know the Honda is a good car...but I can get comparable quality out of a different car...and for a lot less money. Hondas also get stolen ALL THE TIME. I stay away from Honda. I dont like the ratio of broken parts on Fords, tho I had a friend with a VERY high mileage newer Explorer and not ever did it spend a single day in the shop. He also sold it for ten thousand dollars....hmmmm....find something you like that is decently built and offers you enough space. And let me know what you end up deciding on!!

 
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07-31-02, 01:26 PM   #17  
Joe_F
Lol. I think I turned Mako into a GM man. Lol.

My .02:

"More consumers choose GM vehicles over their competitors, so why not buy from the #1 carmaker".

They are #1 for a reason, and this is a nation of choices .

(The quote sounds like a Trident commercial!)

 
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07-31-02, 01:34 PM   #18  
Originally posted by Joe_F
Lol. I think I turned Mako into a GM man. Lol.
Nope. I was a GMer long before I found you're forum, but you've been a total invaluable help.

Actually, since I found this site, I've noticed the lack of people posting things like "Camry misfiring" or "Accord transmission problems" or "Bad Nissan gas mileage".

I'm starting to appreciate more and more the solid quality, if a bit cramped and stiff seated, cars and trucks that Japan is cranking out. And a lot of them make them here in the USA, supporting out blue collar fellers.

Once Japan starts making affordable, big-butted V8 cars I'll turn into a ricer. Until then, it's an Olds for me.

 
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07-31-02, 01:37 PM   #19  
OK so there is a topic here called "Camry won't start" but hey, it's an old one.....

 
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07-31-02, 03:35 PM   #20  
Stay away from the minivans at all costs, many of them, especially the older ones tend to be quite clumbsy and dangerous. SUV's are the way to go now, usually much more solid, and safe. Do not buy an import if you get a truck/suv!! Do not forget that America still builds the better truck/suv (imo)

I do not know much about the reliability of the chryslers, but that tranny reputation goes far, cause I was suggesting someone hear get a dodge durango, and EVERYONE barked out--NO, trans problems, and other things. Why is it that when ever I see an older chrysler minivan, I can almost always count on seeing a big trail of blue smoke following? A dissappointment because if I was going to buy a truck, a durango or dakota with a 360 would be my first option!

IMO just get the new 390 horse mustang, put one hell of a smile on your face...I promise.

 
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07-31-02, 05:21 PM   #21  
otter_
GEEZ....

Brian Ponder,

Alfreda asked for an opionion, I gave it, as did others.

Read my post, I wrote "...GM DOES NOT BUILD A TROUBLE FREE PRODUCT...".

Read it again in case you didn't understand it; before you trash what I've got to say.

All you've mentioned is decade old quality issues that are long gone.

1) GM has the most market share in North America, Chrysler does not.

2) Chrysler has been on a cost cutting crusade and it shows in the lack of quality in their product. 7 year powertrain warranty has been introduced to try to re establish consumer confidence in the brand.

3) Chrysler products do not hold their value. Get your hands on a black book and take a peek.

4) JD Power does not lie - Highest Initial Build Quality as expressed by defects per 100 vehicles - of all domestics. In fact GM has captured Gold, Silver and Bronze (one award per category, industry wide survey of North American Manufacturing operations, this includes the Japanese an European mfgs who assemble vehicles here.) with three of our assembly plants.

5) Month old article in USA Today states that "GM is out to cripple the competition.

Until you have RECENT facts on your side, don't trash my opinion.

 
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07-31-02, 07:00 PM   #22  
Joe_F
I agree with Otter, except for one condition.

As for the "decade old quality issue", I have owned and own "problem year" cars from GM. However, I've never had any problems with them.

I've owned 231 V6 Cutlasses, Cavalier 4 cylinders, 5.0 carbureted engines that were supposed to give up a long time ago, etc, etc etc. It's all in the maintenance and GM has improved.

If you buy a bottom barrel product from any company (newsflash, they all make them), you get what you pay for. I always bought the upper end stuff, or it was given to me (in the case of my Delta 88).

GM always was and still is the #1 carmaker in the world. That says a lot. All those consumers can't be wrong and they have a choice .

Mako: I don't buy the "they assemble here so they are American". Those profits go back to the respective parent company in that foreign country. The suppliers, engineering, support and other activities wih that car are also foreign. With a car it has been said in the past comes 10 related industries (rubber, metals, plastics, interiors, etc). My vote is for American designed, owned and built cars. If not that, I'd rather keep our Canadian neighbors working as they are good neighbors (Kudos to you guys Otter).

I look at it this way, even though I own 20+ year old GM's, I still buy their GM parts, most if not all are made in the US or Canada, so I'm keeping SOMEONE working

 
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07-31-02, 09:02 PM   #23  
otter_
right back at ya joe

by the way...

We build more vehicles up here that end up in your driveways than we could ever purchase up here. Oshawa #1 (Impala, century, regal): highest quality, most efficient plants in the GM family!

Ummm, where did Brian's posts go?

 
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08-01-02, 03:40 AM   #24  
Joe_F
??? I don't know Otter.

 
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08-01-02, 05:22 AM   #25  
Mako: I don't buy the "they assemble here so they are American". Those profits go back to the respective parent company in that foreign country. The suppliers, engineering, support and other activities wih that car are also foreign. With a car it has been said in the past comes 10 related industries (rubber, metals, plastics, interiors, etc). My vote is for American designed, owned and built cars. If not that, I'd rather keep our Canadian neighbors working as they are good neighbors (Kudos to you guys Otter).
I totally understand your opinion, and paritally agree. The tie breaker is the fact that Honda and Toyota have an unbeatable build quality in general and an awesome resale value.

My point of view is this: I am blue collar, so is everyone in my family. Honda, Yota, Bimmer, etc.... make a lot of cars here in the USA (Bimmer has a plan only an hour or two from my home). Those people working in the plants- line workers, engineers, scrub crew, janitors, supervisors, lawn care workers, parking lot sweepers, security guards.....etc....... all are blue collar and earn a modest paycheck. Those are the people I am loyal to.

IMO so what if most of the money goes back to coporate Japan or Germany. We're the richest nation in the world, and while we faulter, if Japan goes under, we are in big trouble.

My loyalty is TO the blue collar and totally against the AMERICAN white-collar corporate world. I have been personally screwed by corporate America. I used to work for Hannafords, a small but successful (so we thought) grocery store chain. I worked in the newer southern division in NC. Rumors started spreading that Food Lion (yech!) was positioning for a merger. Hannaford's CEO Hugh Farrington (whom I have met and seemed like a nice guy) sent out this general company letter that said "We are a money-rich company, very strong and independant, and have no reason to want to merge.".

One month or so later, they merged. The FTC forced Delaize (the new owner of Hannaford and Food Lion) to close EVERY Hannaford in the southern division since there were too many stores combined. Me, and about 300 (or so, I dunno) others lost good jobs. Lousy rich [email protected][email protected]$. All they care about is $$$$$.

German and Jap evil or American evil? I choose to pollute the other countries, not America which is screwed enough.

OK sermon finished!!!


 
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08-01-02, 05:36 AM   #26  
BTW I am still a GM nut- a lot easier to work on and just plain classier!

 
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08-01-02, 07:41 AM   #27  
Joe_F
There are a lot of ways to argue this.

Daimler Chrysler makes Chrysler no longer "American". That means that the whole Chrysler Corporation is at the will of the folks in Germany and they could drop the ball any time. Whereas GM has a vested interest in America being an American company.

Also, if a company is an American company, they tend to want to use American vendors, suppliers and sources, not foreign ones. THIS brings jobs and keeps jobs in this country.

I'm all for world trade, don't get me wrong, but you have to look at the issue as a big picture, not what it does on the surface.

Yes, I know a few folks that work at Honda in Ohio.

 
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08-01-02, 07:42 AM   #28  
otter_
maybe he

packed up his toys and went home...

 
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08-01-02, 08:02 AM   #29  
No I guess he's got his tail 'tween his legs.

 
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08-01-02, 10:32 AM   #30  
Your all wrong, he is probably out fixing his chrysler

 
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08-01-02, 11:59 AM   #31  
LMAO!

 
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