Author Topic: What Kind Of Used Minivan Should I Get ?  (Read 1010 times)

stashing_it

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What Kind Of Used Minivan Should I Get ?
« on: January 27, 2020, 06:23:07 PM »
I am looking at getting a minivan sometime before our planned third child comes in about 18 months.    Obviously I will probably wait until the pregnancy starts, but want to do some research now.

Any suggestions on where the current sweet spot is on what kind of minivan / how old it is,  to purchase ?


Thanks!

chemistk

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Re: What Kind Of Used Minivan Should I Get ?
« Reply #1 on: January 28, 2020, 05:56:06 AM »
It really, really, really depends on (in my opinion) two things:

1) The kind of van your spouse (or whomever will primarily be using it) gravitates towards, including the features that may be important to you.

2) Your willingness to DIY repairs.

Point one is nearly face-punch worthy and sort of goes against the forum, but I can tell you right now my wife would have been far less pleased with a Grand Caravan than with our Odyssey.

If you're looking at older, less expensive models - your baseline should be an early '00s Odyssey or Sienna. Avoid older Chrysler/Dodge vans.

If you're looking at something that's 5-10 years old, the Sienna and Odyssey are still going to be the best two options.

You don't really need anything newer than ~5 years old, the newest Odyssey and Pacifica are ones to avoid (in my opinion). The Sienna and T&C/Caravan haven't been updated meaningfully in nearly a decade.

Most of the vans between 2007 and 2014 have similar features and similar drivetrains (power doors, liftgate, etc.) but all differ on smaller options and repairability. Each also has its own issues that you need to be aware of and look out for.

The best van you can find is one that's clean, has average or below average miles for its age, and has an accessible repair history. The Odyssey, Sienna, and to some extent the Quest all hold their value fairly well, so you're not going to be able to find something way below average price without a bit of luck.

Last year, upon learning #3 was on the way, we purchased a '14 Odyssey with slightly below average miles for about $1500 under the average asking price because it had been for sale at a Chevy dealer's used car lot and in this region, your average car buyer going to a Chevy lot is looking for a truck or SUV, not a Honda van.

All this being said, because these are the MMM forums, have you seriously considered alternatives to a van? In our case, we could justify the need for the extra trunk space and our kids don't like the Diono Radian style carseats. But, if we didn't need the space or the kids didn't mind the seats, we would likely have stuck with our Mazda CX-5 or upgraded to something a hair larger. Do you really need a van, or could you get away with a small SUV, station wagon, or other similar vehicle??

Gone Fishing

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Re: What Kind Of Used Minivan Should I Get ?
« Reply #2 on: January 28, 2020, 06:32:11 AM »
Honda or Toyota, look no further.  We put 242k on a (01?) Sienna before we sold it (still running fine) with my only a few annoying repairs to the emissions system that did not affect its drivability.

That said, we have (affluent) friends that have gotten along just fine with an Accord and three children.  We have since downsized to a Camry and use a roof box and/or utility trailer for ectra capacity when needed.

Jon Bon

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Re: What Kind Of Used Minivan Should I Get ?
« Reply #3 on: January 30, 2020, 06:29:34 AM »
IMO this depends on what you want to get out of it.

I currently rock a 2011 grand caravan, best car I have ever owned in terms of satisfaction, price, utility etc. I bought it for 2 reasons (well 3).

1. Stow and go. this cannot be understated. Name for me another car that you can load 4x8 sheets of drywall in and keep them dry?  Stow and go is fantastic even day to day because you can use them as additional storage when the seats are up.
2. Price - way less then Honda/Toyota. Because if your gonna be a typical minivan parent it must be one of those two brands! Very few parents drive anything but IME. Some are into the Pacifica which is a nice ride but still pretty pricey. I would guess less then the Japanese.
3. TV, its glorious to have on trips but they all have it.

All minivans are gonna kick ass a carting kids around and road trips. Its what they were designed for, its what the excel at. Also all modern cars are damn reliable these days. I think the 15-20k range you can get a van that will last as long as your kids can fit in it.

Sliding doors and power lift gate are a must. Backup camera is also pretty clutch in a vehicle that large.  Wife has 3 car seats across the back of her accord, its works (barely) but anything more then around town kids need to be out of range of each other.






essjay43

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Re: What Kind Of Used Minivan Should I Get ?
« Reply #4 on: January 30, 2020, 11:01:51 AM »
Avoid 2008 - 2013 Odysseys. There was a class action settlement for engine misfires which covers the vehicle for 8 years from purchase. Our 2011's engine failed at 105k miles 8 years and 3 months from purchase. It was pretty terrible.

StashingAway

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Re: What Kind Of Used Minivan Should I Get ?
« Reply #5 on: January 30, 2020, 12:35:54 PM »
Avoid 2008 - 2013 Odysseys. There was a class action settlement for engine misfires which covers the vehicle for 8 years from purchase. Our 2011's engine failed at 105k miles 8 years and 3 months from purchase. It was pretty terrible.

+1,

Additionally, the Caravan/T&C is one of Chrysler's best vehicles. 5th gen (2008 and on) with stow and go is pretty awesome, they're easy to work on. Less reliable than Toyota, but not unreasonably so. They take a depreciation hit, but if you're buying used that won't be a huge amount.

chemistk

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Re: What Kind Of Used Minivan Should I Get ?
« Reply #6 on: January 30, 2020, 01:26:10 PM »
Avoid 2008 - 2013 Odysseys. There was a class action settlement for engine misfires which covers the vehicle for 8 years from purchase. Our 2011's engine failed at 105k miles 8 years and 3 months from purchase. It was pretty terrible.

This also applies up to the 2017 model year, and it applies to other Honda/Acura cars that use the SOHC V6 with VCM.

There's an aftermarket remedy (only good on engines that haven't yet ruined the VCM cylinders or engine mounts) that 'disables' VCM. We currently have the 'fix' installed on our van and it works brilliantly.

Also to be aware of with 3rd and 4th gen Odysseys (the ones in question here) - the transmissions are still pretty delicate, relatively speaking. The 5 speed needs a lot of regular care and the 6 speed is more reliable but still needs regular fluid flushes at a much more frequent interval than most cars.