New vs Used Minivan? Toyota Sienna vs Honda Odyssey? - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 13 Old 05-10-2010, 02:07 PM - Thread Starter
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I am in the midst of research h$ll! Besides trying to decide on new vs used, I am also torn between the Honda & Toyota.

I am trying my best to get through the "Fighting Chance" reports on car buying/trading in & learning about getting email bidding wars started etc. But I really can't move fwd without figuring out these 2 decisions.

We are a 1 car family driving a 2007 Toyota Prius. It will probably get us $11,000-$15,000 when we trade it in. So whichever minivan we buy, it will be our only car. We do about 14,000 miles/year. My DH takes a train for his daily commute, so it is more the family vehicle as opposed to a commuter car.

Normally-I know a new car depreciates driving it off the lot but some of the things I have been reading lately refer to the fact that the economy has put the dealerships in a jam & that it can be a good time to buy new. But will I want an upgrade in 4-5 years & in that case, is it better to buy used & trade in for used later? I read the Toyota & Honda minivans tend to hold their value more so than other makes/models. But I also know I can get more minivan for my $ if I go with certified used.

And then there's the whole Honda vs Toyota decision. Toyota has taken a big hit lately so I wonder if that should make my decision for me?

Any advice, opinions etc.

Stephanie~hippie.gifwife to Dov, mama to Ella Irie (9/24/07) & Kaya Raine (2/1/10)~our vbac.gifbaby, born 45 hours after PROM!!!
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#2 of 13 Old 05-10-2010, 02:36 PM
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I went through all this a year ago, my best advice is not to make decion, I just kept a look out for good deals on either. It was very important for us not to have a car payment. We went to tons of dealership/used car places. In the end I kind of gave up for a bit and just cruised around on line looking. I ended up finding a very affordable used Odyssey from a private seller who was moving out of coutry. I had to drive about 45 mins away to look at it and make a desition. It's been a year and I'm glad I found it, we got a good price going through a private seller.

Erin Mama to thing 1 and 2 WAH with CELIAC?! Living and Learning
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#3 of 13 Old 05-10-2010, 03:13 PM
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I wish you were closer to us--- I'd swap you our 2005 Honda Odyssey (8 seater) for your 2007 Prius in a red hot minute!



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#4 of 13 Old 05-10-2010, 03:25 PM
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Hi there,
I just went through all the car buying business....I don't "need" a mini-van (and I commute right now) so ended up with a small car (Honda Fit), but I was impressed by the Mazda5. It is smaller and gets better gas mileage...tradeoff is a smaller 3rd row, but if you're only using it occasionally (like you have 2 kids with friends sometimes) it seems like a good choice. If I get a minivan in the future it would be the one I would probably get.

Do you have a sub to It was INVALUABLE! Good luck, I know how stressful car buying can be!

ETA: The question of new vs used....I bought used from a private seller and saved, like, $5000. INSANE. For us there was no question, esp with a Toyota or Honda (or Mazda) that hold their value really well.
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#5 of 13 Old 05-10-2010, 05:03 PM - Thread Starter
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Thx all!

TiredX2-that would be soooo cool-swapping cars! LOL

I have used Consumer Reports-which pretty much got me to Honda, Toyota or Kia. I definitely like the Honda or Toyota over the Kia. It seems the 3 biggest differences folks talk about with the Honda/Toyota are:
1) size of the 2nd row captains & middle 3rd seat
2) sporty handling vs luxury handling
3) off gassing results on

We are really struggling with lack of space so I would like to have a minivan within a month. DH is working a few days a week out of town for the next couple months & we can go with him if we want but haven't been able to because we just can't fit what we need in the prius anymore. And since we will most likely be going for a 3rd child next year-I know a minivan is what I will be happiest with longterm.

mamabeth-i need a lesson in the whole "holding value" thing. when we know that the brand holds it's value-why does that mean buy used? I guess it makes me think i should go new since in a few years if i wanted to upgrade, it wouldn't be hard since it holds its value & doesn't depreciate off the lot like other brands??? I have no car buying smarts!

Stephanie~hippie.gifwife to Dov, mama to Ella Irie (9/24/07) & Kaya Raine (2/1/10)~our vbac.gifbaby, born 45 hours after PROM!!!
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#6 of 13 Old 05-10-2010, 07:01 PM
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Ultimately it depends on how much you want to spend.

Here is a comparison of a new Odyssey (2010) to a used Odyssey (2008):

New-$26,805 to $40,755
Used (2008)-$17,625 to $30,250

New-$24,260 to $39,770
Used (2008) $16,850 to $26,675

So really it all comes down to if you want to spend more for new or buy a used. I would buy a 2 year old vehicle before I would buy new just because of the depreciation.

Hope, check out my life at

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#7 of 13 Old 05-10-2010, 09:59 PM
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Yep, I'd go with thriftyqueen (Hey, that's my OTHER title! ). Cars depreciate the second you drive them off the lot, and I always figure unless there's a giantly compelling reason to buy new (um....none come to mind? but maybe some feature the used doesn't have?) buying used is the way to go. Here's an example....I bought a one year old Subaru in 2001 for about $16,000. Drove it for 140,000 miles, sold it for $5000. If we bought it new, it would have been $26,000ish, and we would have STILL sold it for about the same amount at this point. Maybe we would have gotten another year out of it, but still. I just bought a 2 year old Honda for $10,500, and will probably sell it in 5-7 years for half that. hope this makes sense, but I just have never seen a reason to buy new that makes financial sense to me if the newness itself is not a big concern to you.
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#8 of 13 Old 05-10-2010, 11:03 PM
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Will you need to finance part of it? If you will be (regardless of new/used) there may be some of the 0% financing deals going on. That may make new worth it. But, we always buy our cars used. We found our last one through our credit unions repo-depot and got a screaming deal!!!

Sienna vs Odyssey--I prefer the Sienna. The Honda was so noisy when we test drove it, plus the arm rests were so high, and I didn't like the access to the third row as well as with the Toyota. But, if I were to find the "deal of the century" on the Honda, I would get it. But, I would be looking harder for the Sienna.

Since you are planning on upgrading in 5 years anyways, I would go used. I would only consider new if I knew I would drive it until its demise.


Mom to three very active girls Anna (14), Kayla (11), Maya (8). 
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#9 of 13 Old 05-11-2010, 05:29 PM
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I would go with the honda, for a lot of reasons that aren't necessarily finance related and a few that are. For a while I really liked the 04-10 Siennas (in pictures) but after seeing them personally I changed my mind. The new (2011) Siennas are nice but won't work for my family.

I do not know what kind of gas mileage I would get in a Sienna, but I get really good gas mileage in my (2006 EX-L) Odyssey. I average 22mpg around town and on long interstate-only trips (which I take frequently) I get 28mpg.

It seems like you get more for your money with the Odyssey, too. I have the EX-L and it comes with everything I want. A similarly equpped Sienna was more expensive, at least when I was actively looking.

Resale value for the Odyssey is better, which can go either way depending on whether you want to buy new or used. Also, with a (new) Odyssey I was able to get more $ off the sticker price.

Someone else mentioned the Mazda 5. That looks like a great choice too. I briefly considered trading my Odyssey in on one (instead of a new Odyssey) before I found out I was pregnant with #5. Good thing I didn't but it would have been nice to drive stick shift again.
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#10 of 13 Old 05-11-2010, 07:23 PM
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i would never buy new...not with the much as 35% in the first 2 years! no way. and saying that isnt' the case now, with the economy...i just don't buy it. you are still projecting what the car will be worth in 2 - 3 years and who knows?

as far as honda vs toyota, i drive a toyota but we aren't to the minivan stage yet, so i don't really know. we will be there, Lord willing, with dc #4 but i have such great cargo space in my 4 runner, even with baby #3 on the way i'm happy to keep it.

amanda... lovin' my dh since 2004 and mama to dd (3), ds (18 months) and expecting someone new Oct 2010.
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#11 of 13 Old 05-11-2010, 07:47 PM
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I'm more than likely getting a used Sienna in the ballpark of $5500. I cannot tell you how much I loathe, despise, and abhorminivans. I just don't like them.
What I want is a used Volvo XC90, which we can afford, at $10000, yes we know all about the tranny's and which to avoid.
But I'm cheap and I want to have the extra cash in my pocket. So I'm holding off until I can come to peace with my "I want" which isn't easy. I have until the next kid pops out, then I need to make a decision reaaaaaal quick. LOL

ETA: DH's research leans towards better resale for Honda, but more reliability and tranny issues over the Toyotas.


Wife, and mother to a small fairy, a demolition expert, a special new someone this fall and a small dachshund.
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#12 of 13 Old 05-12-2010, 11:33 AM
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We've bought several vehicles used from a dealer that are ~2-3 years old and have 24-36,000 miles on them. Dh and I were just talking last night that we're ready to do that again should we need to buy another car in the next year.

You might be better off trying to sell your prius and then buying a car separate. Trade in values aren't always fabulous.

There are some incentives for buying new, but if you buy a used vehicle that is only a few years old, it is usually still under warrauntee (sorry I can't figure out how to spell that!). Honda gave us a new transmission on our van.

Kristin -- mom of Erin (11/5/02) and Leah (9/29/05)
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#13 of 13 Old 05-13-2010, 01:50 AM
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We just bought a 09 Sienna. We went with a certified car from a local dealer and we bought it from the internet sales dept, which we found to be a relatively painless way to buy a car.

I was in the same situation as you, leaning towards Honda or Toyota, but not sure which way to go. My recommendation is to test drive and see which one you like. They drive differently and the layout of the controls is different. Once you drive you'll probably be closer to a decision. Good luck!
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