Mini-vans with the most bang for the buck - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 19 Old 01-03-2012, 07:12 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I've been toting my kids 3 across in my Honda Accord for 15 months and in March we may have the chance to pay cash for a new (to us, it'll be used) van. My car is worth about $3500 as a trade in.

 

What vans generally are good buys? Dh and I are relatively loyal to Honda and Toyota, but if we can get a van that is good and reliable for less, then awesome!

 

Right now, there are 2 in town that look interesting, although we can certainly drive into one of the large cities to shop. One is a 2008 Town & Country with 65k miles for $14,500 and the other is a 2006 Honda Oddysey with 76k miles for $16,900. I don't know if they'll still be around when we're thinking of buying in six weeks, but they've been on the lots for months now so it is possible.


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#2 of 19 Old 01-03-2012, 07:23 PM
 
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I would go with Honda over Chrysler any day. I haven't had a T&C, but a Voyager and a Caravan, and they were OK, but I wouldn't have another. Toyota vans seemingly run forever (like most Toyotas), I know of several over 20 years old.


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#3 of 19 Old 01-04-2012, 04:31 AM
 
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I read the Mazda5 mini van gets the best mileage.  Here is a link that review / categorizes

 

http://www.consumersearch.com/minivan-reviews


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#4 of 19 Old 01-04-2012, 05:51 AM
 
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I have a Mazda5.  While I like the advantage of the extra seating it can be a bit hard to move around in if you're putting adults in at all.  If it's just kids... totally perfect.  And they're cheap! 

 

I would go for the Honda though. 
 

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I read the Mazda5 mini van gets the best mileage.  Here is a link that review / categorizes

 

http://www.consumersearch.com/minivan-reviews



 

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#5 of 19 Old 01-04-2012, 06:44 AM
 
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Definitely the Honda (if you can). We traded our T&C for a Toyota Sienna (pretty similar to the Honda) two years ago, and haven't regretted it for a second.

 

Of course before you buy any used vehicle, take it to a trusted mechanic, who will check it out for you for about $100. If there's anything major wring, you can either pass it up, or use expected repairs to negotiate a better price.

 

Edmunds.com is a great resource for determining used car values.

 


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#6 of 19 Old 01-04-2012, 07:57 AM
 
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Ah, good to hear a review on this one.
 

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I have a Mazda5.  While I like the advantage of the extra seating it can be a bit hard to move around in if you're putting adults in at all.  If it's just kids... totally perfect.  And they're cheap! 

 

I would go for the Honda though. 
 



 



 


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#7 of 19 Old 01-04-2012, 09:13 AM
 
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i have a 2000 chrysler voyager with 55k that i got for $4000.  its great but apparently they are known to have the serpentine belt slip off when it rains and there is no real fix for it and that goes for the dodge caravan as well.  its happened to me twice already!  im not sure about the T&C or the newer models but i would look that up.  other than that its great but still if i were looking at spending that much money i would only get an odyssey or sienna.  the other minivans seem to only be a good deal if its a real bargain.

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#8 of 19 Old 01-04-2012, 09:19 AM
 
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I have a Honda Odyssey and I just love it! We bought it used in 2008 from a friend and it is still running great with over 250 000 km on it. We haven't had any major repairs aside from the usual maintenance.

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#9 of 19 Old 01-04-2012, 10:42 AM
 
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We have had both and would definitely go with the Honda. I have a 2005 Honda Odyssey and love it! We've had it since 3/08 and no issues.


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#10 of 19 Old 01-05-2012, 03:48 PM
 
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/the honda in a heartbeat out of those two choices.  I'm partial to toyotas, so if that becomes an option, I'd also look into it. I have a 93 Previa minivan, with 261,000 miles on it.  It is AWD, so goes through the snow like a champ (bought in Denver when we lived in the pretty rugged back country of the rocky mtns).  Has many cosmetic flaws at this point, but I've owned for 10 years and had kids for that whole time (and inhome childcare for half of it), so the cosmetic stuff is to be expected. Love it!


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#11 of 19 Old 01-06-2012, 10:20 PM
 
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my mazda5 is truly a magical car. I have never had one regret.


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#12 of 19 Old 01-06-2012, 10:46 PM
 
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I bought the first version... no A/C in the back.  I live in TEXAS!  I regret!  Other than that it's pretty awesome.  No problems ever.  My mustang... meh... I hate that thing.  But DH was going through a midlife crisis and had to have the NEW mustang.  Vomit.
 

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my mazda5 is truly a magical car. I have never had one regret.



 

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#13 of 19 Old 01-08-2012, 12:42 AM
 
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The Chryslers (and Dodges) are notorious for bad transmissions or other wacky things like that.  I think the first one goes out around 90K-120K miles?  So do some research and see whether they managed to fix that (pricey) problem.

Honda Odyssey is a good one.  We have a 2001 Odyssey.  It's not as roomy or fancy as the new ones, but we only paid $7500 cash for it (over two years ago).  We did have the tranny crap out on us that we had to deal with, but even then, it was cheaper than any of the other comparably-nice minivans available in our area.  The other one we gave equal opportunity to while looking was the Toyota Sienna.  No tranny problems on those suckers, fwiw, plus you can sometimes find used AWD ones.  We ended up finding a happily priced Honda first.


Although, as always, take them for test drives.  With all your carseats (do you plan to have more children? take extra carseats!) and stroller(s) or folded bike trailers or whatever.  We've had salesmen look at us funny in the past, but tough.  That's how we roll - we have to make sure the item we're purchasing will fit our needs.

 

Would you be able to sell your current vehicle privately first (for more?) and then buy another vehicle somewhere?  We sold our 2008 Honda CRV (oh, I loved the pretty blue) after we got pregnant with #4.  You cannot fit six people in that car.  Anyway, we sold it on craigslist, hunted around for a few weeks, then found our van.  All privately done, so we even got to send off our maintenance records with the nice lady who bought the CRV (she got a loan from a local bank after they checked out the VIN and whatever else, got us a cashier's check), and we got all the maintenance records from the folks we bought the van from.  If you haven't already look at that course of attack.  :)


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#14 of 19 Old 01-08-2012, 10:18 AM
 
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Ok, I'm looking at the new Mazda 5, as I have the first model and there is no A/C in the back.  The prices are no different from when I bought mine in 2006.  The new ones have A/C in the back which is a total plus.  I'm thinking a few more years out of this one then going in for the new model.  Happy they fixed that issue.  So far so good with our Mazda5.  I would like to say I was only able to comfortable fit 3 car seats in the seats.  Though it's a 6 seater the back seat is pretty small and is shortened by the wheel well.  However I can put all seats down and fill that sucker up with so much crap.  Seriously I once fit a dryer and a washer back there. 

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#15 of 19 Old 01-20-2012, 08:32 PM
 
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I have a Kia Rondo and I love it. It's more like a station wagon than a minivan; I guess you could call it a mini-mini van though there are no sliding doors, or maybe a small "crossover" vehicle. But you can get them with 3 rows of seats and put 7 people in there. They aren't going to sell them in the US anymore -- years available here are going to be 2007-2010, I think.  Overseas it's called a Kia Carens.

 

My only complaint is that I wish it got better gas mileage -- I think it's comparable to the Mazda 5. But other than that it's perfect for us. Because it's Kia you can sometimes get a quite good price used and it will come with many more features than you'd expect for the price. It was a popular rental vehicle a few years ago so sometimes Enterprise car sales will have them. (though you might have trouble finding the 3 rows of seats that way)

 

I know people aren't sure of Kia quality but I haven't had any major problems so far...of course it just went off warranty so we'll see!  Apparently Kia is making much better cars now and are owned by Hyundai. Someone said in a review of this car that "they used to laugh at Japanese cars too" -- but look at where Honda/Toyota are now.

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#16 of 19 Old 01-23-2012, 01:09 PM
 
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I'm pretty much in love with Mazda 5's. They are just so dang cute! Lol

Otherwise, I want a Honda Odyssey, but only a 2011 or 2012 b/c I like the styling, and not so much the previous models.

We drive 7-seaters of a Nissan Pathfinder and Subau Tribeca, FWIW, but if I was in the market for minivan the above is what I would prefer.

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#17 of 19 Old 01-27-2012, 10:24 AM
 
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Do Mazda 5s have a lot of cargo space? We want to have another baby, and we take long trips to visit family and we need a lot of room for those things. I like the idea/size of the 5, but worry that there isn't much storage space in the back. 


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#18 of 19 Old 01-27-2012, 11:30 AM
 
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We did a road trip all over the Black Hills of South Dakota and Wyoming when my kids were 15, 13 and 11 in my Mazda 5.  If you can be creative and your kids aren't totally used to massive amounts of space I have put 4 teenage boys with Hockey bags in  it on a regular basis.  And this past summer we did Me, dd (17) and ds(15) and our 2 dogs (80lbs and 45lbs) from Northern CO to PHx and we brought all the stuff we needed for 10 days plus a large dog crate and enough of my dh's and ds's stuff so that they only did carry on at the airport.  We will probably be moving across the country later this year and I am thinking of getting the rack so I can do a car top carrier but we never have before.  Mine is 3.5 years old and has almost 90,000 miles on it (I'm less than 500 away) so we travel in that buggy a lot.

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#19 of 19 Old 01-28-2012, 03:25 PM
 
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I bought a 2008 Mazda 5 and I love it. It drives just like a new car. However, DS's bike won't fit in the back which is majorly frustrating. It's only an 18" inch bike, so we're not talking about anything huge.
 

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Originally Posted by Imakcerka View Post

Ok, I'm looking at the new Mazda 5, as I have the first model and there is no A/C in the back.  The prices are no different from when I bought mine in 2006.  The new ones have A/C in the back which is a total plus.  I'm thinking a few more years out of this one then going in for the new model.  Happy they fixed that issue.  So far so good with our Mazda5.  I would like to say I was only able to comfortable fit 3 car seats in the seats.  Though it's a 6 seater the back seat is pretty small and is shortened by the wheel well.  However I can put all seats down and fill that sucker up with so much crap.  Seriously I once fit a dryer and a washer back there. 


 

Not if you are planning to put three kids in the car. You'd have to have a roof rack. I love that it can do car pools and I can foster another child but there's no way I could load it up for a trip if I had more than two kids in the car. We don't go anywhere, though.



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Originally Posted by smokeylo View Post

Do Mazda 5s have a lot of cargo space? We want to have another baby, and we take long trips to visit family and we need a lot of room for those things. I like the idea/size of the 5, but worry that there isn't much storage space in the back. 



 

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