Buying a Minivan - Nerdhelp Required

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Buying a Minivan - Nerdhelp Required

Postby Mighty Jalapeno » Wed Dec 19, 2007 6:25 am UTC

Allrighty. Most of you know that I now have three kids. Last month, I had to buy a 91 Taurus on EXTREMELY short notice when the transmission from my 93 Century decided that it had lived a rich, full life, and killed itself. The new Taurus was a hell of a lot cheaper than a new transmission. Even so, the Taurus sort of sucks a little, and when my new daughter goes from rear-facing to forward-facing, we won't have enough room. As it is now, with a stroller or two in the trunk, we barely have much room at all. Additionally, we would like a car that doesn't need constant repairs, that can go up the extremely steep road through the sandbluffs that leads to my neighborhood, and just maybe has fuel efficiency that can be measured with positive integers.

My wife is fixated on the Mazda 5. it is very fuel efficient, three rows of seating, and very inexpensive. Downside: I would actually feel like beating myself up for being seen inside that ugly-ass piece of crap.

Image

I personally want a Pacifica. It's not too expensive, good mileage, excellent crash ratings, and most of all, I fit inside it (I am 6'4", and ~300 lbs). However, my wife hates them for some reason, and mentions it only has two rows of seating (though it is a heck of a lot wider and more spacious than the Taurus).

Image

What are your nerdy opinions? Is there something we haven't considered? We don't have a lot of money, but a new car does seem to be in the cards for us.

Thank you!

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Re: Buying a Minivan - Nerdhelp Required

Postby thisisdavid » Wed Dec 19, 2007 6:40 am UTC

Toyota highlanders are nice, plenty of room, it gets basically the same milage in town as my Sonata :/ and you can TOW STUFF (ragh man points). A used 06 or 07 shouldn't be horribly expensive.

I'd buy a decade old Astro before I got a minivan, fuel economy be damned, I could live in there. If you must get a minivan get an Odyssey, they look nice and its the only one that cartalk reccomends
Last edited by thisisdavid on Wed Dec 19, 2007 6:53 am UTC, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Buying a Minivan - Nerdhelp Required

Postby Hawknc » Wed Dec 19, 2007 6:42 am UTC

From the looks of it, the Mazda 5 rips the Pacifica apart on fuel economy, and looks at least as good in terms of safety, so my nerdly opinion would be the Mazda. The fact that I think Chryslers are overbloated pieces of junk may affect that, though. ;) In the end, it's whatever you feel comfortable driving - if the Mazda is too small for you, there's no sense in buying it.

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Re: Buying a Minivan - Nerdhelp Required

Postby Mecks » Wed Dec 19, 2007 6:53 am UTC

Safety rating, safety rating, safety rating.

Get what has the best safety rating. With little chilluns', nothing's more important than keeping their precious noggins from leaking that important gray fluid inside.
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Re: Buying a Minivan - Nerdhelp Required

Postby Mighty Jalapeno » Wed Dec 19, 2007 7:06 am UTC

I prefer to rely on my driving skills than the safety ratings of vehicles.

    "Residents of low-density, residential-only sprawling communities (where I live) are also more likely to die in car collisions, which kill 1.2 million people worldwide each year, and injure about forty times this number."

Still, safety ratings are important, get me wrong not. As far as I can tell, I do fit into a Mazda 5 (some of the hubbies on my wife's forum are my size and they fit) but Mazdas still piss me off. Chrysler's often are bloated, but the newer Pacificas are much better (newer Chryslers in general). Still, the Mazda is cheaper.

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Re: Buying a Minivan - Nerdhelp Required

Postby zingmaster » Wed Dec 19, 2007 8:02 am UTC

I actually don't like anything that resembles a minivan. But if I had to pick, I'd say that the Pacifica looks nice. But I'd suggest you get a Japanese car if you can. Honda probably has some good larger size cars.
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Re: Buying a Minivan - Nerdhelp Required

Postby Toeofdoom » Wed Dec 19, 2007 9:55 am UTC

I think the mazda 5 looks fine, but my levels of car ratings are bomb, old not shiny thing, shiny, and something with a nice paint job. So I'm not a good person to ask, and it's probably good I dont drive.
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Re: Buying a Minivan - Nerdhelp Required

Postby AKADriver » Wed Dec 19, 2007 12:02 pm UTC

Safety ratings are a bit misleading. Any current vehicle will outperform something from 20+ years ago by orders of magnitude. Also, the vast majority of crashes are survivable, especially when you're talking about children seated in second and third rows (provided they are properly restrained). There's also more or less no such thing as a minivan that doesn't max out the ratings in this area.

The primary advantage to the Mazda 5 is that its small external dimensions and low mass make it drive truly like a car. In fact, it'd be above average for a car - it's more responsive and pleasurable to drive than my mom's Toyota Camry, which is a sluggish and muted car for people who hate driving. The Mazda 5 is the only minivan I'd buy right now.

The Kia Rondo is very similar to the Mazda 5 in dimensions and purpose, while enjoying more conservative styling, so check that out. It also has three rows of seating, and it's just as efficient and cheap.

Image

The Pacifica is a bit of a dinosaur. It's my advice to anyone who asks not to buy any Chrysler/Dodge/Jeep product right now, as the company may not exist in five years (they've been sold out to a corporate raider by their previous owner, Daimler-Benz) and most of their products are one or two generations behind the times. It just isn't as space-efficient or well-constructed. It's also not a minivan, it's a "crossover" which means it has a higher floor than a van.

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Re: Buying a Minivan - Nerdhelp Required

Postby Azrael » Wed Dec 19, 2007 1:30 pm UTC

Coming from a family that has owned faaaar too many Chrysler vehicles, including serveral minivans ... DO NOT BUY.

Reliability is crap. Resale is crap. The drive train is ABSOLUTE crap. The interiors are squeaky, noisy pieces of crap.

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Re: Buying a Minivan - Nerdhelp Required

Postby ZeroSum » Wed Dec 19, 2007 2:56 pm UTC

If you're looking for new: Mazda5, Scion xB or Honda Element. Good safety, good reliability, low total cost of ownership for all three.

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Re: Buying a Minivan - Nerdhelp Required

Postby PatrickRsGhost » Wed Dec 19, 2007 3:13 pm UTC

I'm not savvy when it comes to minivans. I've ridden in a few in the past. To all those who say Chrysler = crap, they're absolutely right. When I was a teen a friend of mine's parents had a Chrysler. The seats were uncomfortable, the seatbelts didn't really work, and the AC was borked. They finally traded it in for some minivan, forget what it was.

If I were to buy a minivan, I'd want an Odyssey. I think they have one of the highest safety ratings and voted Best Truck/Van by Car and Driver Magazine.

MSRP usually goes around mid-20s to low-40s, depending on model and accessories.

Edit: correct price range
Last edited by PatrickRsGhost on Wed Dec 19, 2007 3:41 pm UTC, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Buying a Minivan - Nerdhelp Required

Postby Hawknc » Wed Dec 19, 2007 3:31 pm UTC

The Odyssey is what I'd recommend if you're in the market for a Honda - good safety rating, low CoG, handles more like a car than a van and has (from memory) three rows of seating. It's a lower driving position than a lot of minivans, though.

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Re: Buying a Minivan - Nerdhelp Required

Postby MotorToad » Wed Dec 19, 2007 3:35 pm UTC

Easily the Mazda between those.

The best minivan on the market, IMO, is the Honda Odyssey. They're more expensive but they have *.* features and are rated as being more reliable than gravity. I wouldn't hesitate to buy one of those used, either, if I wanted to save a buck.

I wouldn't trust Consumer Reports for my personal automotive decisions, but they're good with the more mainstream appliance-type vehicles. The Pacifica is not recommended, the Mazda 5 is recommended (partially based on an actual road test), and the Odyssey gets their highest recommendation (which is just more crash testing :-\ ).

Looking at those, three things strike me. The Odyssey has about the same price range as the Pacifica. The Mazda, while smaller and cheaper and only has a 4 cylinder engine, has an available 5-speed so you can at least maintain a smidgen of your masculine dignity. :) They list "reliability" as one of the weaknesses of the Pacifica. I'd take the Mazda if it were me, but I think the Honda is the better family car. I couldn't think to suggest the Pacifica.
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Re: Buying a Minivan - Nerdhelp Required

Postby Cowboy » Wed Dec 19, 2007 3:40 pm UTC

Must it be a minivan? Why not a station wagon? I'm not sure if Honda still makes thier Accord wagon but my buddy has an older one that gets great gas mileage, has a bit of pep, fits his 6'4"/250 pounds of manflesh, kids, strollers, wifey and all comfortably, and he didn't need to hand his balls over to the salesman upon purchase.
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Re: Buying a Minivan - Nerdhelp Required

Postby Zohar » Wed Dec 19, 2007 4:02 pm UTC

I'm sorry, I know nothing about cars. I asked my dad (who knows quite a bit about cars) but he didn't really know the Pacifica (he's more into offroad driving). However, this has been glaring at me from the OP:

Mighty Jalapeno wrote: ugly ass-piece of crap.


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Re: Buying a Minivan - Nerdhelp Required

Postby Mighty Jalapeno » Wed Dec 19, 2007 4:18 pm UTC

AKADriver wrote: it's more responsive and pleasurable to drive than my mom's Toyota Camry, which is a sluggish and muted car for people who hate driving.

I loved the 2004 Camry I rented a while back. I fit into it fine, and it had loads of driving power, and I think it only used three cups of gas. Maybe her Camry needs a tune-up.

AKADriver wrote:The Kia Rondo is very similar to the Mazda 5 in dimensions and purpose, while enjoying more conservative styling, so check that out. It also has three rows of seating, and it's just as efficient and cheap.

Some of the only advice I got from my in-laws, who take apart cars for breakfast, is "Don't buy a Saturn, a Kia, or a Buick".

Note: The Honda Odyssey costs 1/2 as much AS MY HOUSE!! In fact, a 5 year old Odyssey costs more than a brand new Mazda 5. Odyssey is sadly out.

Also, I do want a wagon, but my wife pretty much refuses, since the wagons aren't much wider than my car, and no 3rd row of seating.

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Re: Buying a Minivan - Nerdhelp Required

Postby Hawknc » Wed Dec 19, 2007 4:23 pm UTC

Damn, I wish housing was that cheap here. :P I'll be renting for a few years yet, house prices are too high for me until I get out of the grad program.

Anyway, yeah, the Odyssey is a great car but you pay for the privilege. Out of the two you said, I'd still say go for the Mazda.

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Re: Buying a Minivan - Nerdhelp Required

Postby Mighty Jalapeno » Wed Dec 19, 2007 4:24 pm UTC

STOP AGREEING WITH MY WIFE!!!!

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Re: Buying a Minivan - Nerdhelp Required

Postby The Mighty Thesaurus » Wed Dec 19, 2007 4:26 pm UTC

I agree with MJ, because that's what friends, and enemies masquerading as friends, do.
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Re: Buying a Minivan - Nerdhelp Required

Postby Cowboy » Wed Dec 19, 2007 4:28 pm UTC

Volvos have the third, rear facing seat which is not only great for storing children but can also accommodate a gunner in case of zombie attacks.
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Re: Buying a Minivan - Nerdhelp Required

Postby hipp5 » Wed Dec 19, 2007 4:29 pm UTC

ZeroSum wrote:If you're looking for new: Honda Element.


Buy this one if you don't mind me throwing a brick through your windshield. Seriously, that is the most ugly vehicle in the world, closely followed by the Toyota FJ.

As for advice: the Mazda would be the best out of those two. It's too bad your wife won't consider station wagons as there are a lot of decent choices in that category. Try to convince her that you should get a used Volvo. We used to have an 83' Volvo with over 500k kms on it. How's that for reliability? They're also super safe. We got into an accident once and completely decimated the front end of the other guy while only smashing out our headlights (the engine comes off the block to absorb the energy). The one downside is that I imagine fuel economy isn't amazing.

Edit: As cowboy said, you can also get a rear-facing jump seat for the Volvos.

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Re: Buying a Minivan - Nerdhelp Required

Postby Hawknc » Wed Dec 19, 2007 4:31 pm UTC

I think Cowboy might have the best idea in the thread so far.

Sorry MJ, I'm just trying to do what's best for you. What's best for you, of course, being agreeing with your wife. :P

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Re: Buying a Minivan - Nerdhelp Required

Postby Hench » Wed Dec 19, 2007 4:31 pm UTC

The Mighty Thesaurus wrote:I agree with MJ, because that's what friends, and enemies masquerading as friends, do.

Automagically disagree with someone b/c we're familiar with that person's spouse while ignoring evidence? Sounds dubious. :wink:

But seriously, I'd go with the Mazda, as well.... >_>
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Re: Buying a Minivan - Nerdhelp Required

Postby Endless Mike » Wed Dec 19, 2007 4:40 pm UTC

Get the Mazda. It's based on a great, great platform (shares with the Mazda3, Euro Focus, and Volvo's entire lower-end spectrum) has a very good, reliable engine, and I think they look pretty good, honestly. The reliability of Chryslers are...not good. Notably the transmissions, and certain engines. Why do you need three rows of seating?

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Re: Buying a Minivan - Nerdhelp Required

Postby PatrickRsGhost » Wed Dec 19, 2007 4:45 pm UTC

Cowboy wrote:Volvos have the third, rear facing seat which is not only great for storing children but can also accommodate a gunner in case of raptor attacks.


Fix'd.
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Re: Buying a Minivan - Nerdhelp Required

Postby Mighty Jalapeno » Wed Dec 19, 2007 6:01 pm UTC

Everyone in her family has a Volvo, and everyone is urging us to get a Volvo. The only problem is I can't spend $900 when a belt breaks, but I can spend $40 when a belt breaks in a Mazda or a Chrysler.

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Re: Buying a Minivan - Nerdhelp Required

Postby MotorToad » Wed Dec 19, 2007 7:39 pm UTC

Mighty Jalapeno wrote:Note: The Honda Odyssey costs 1/2 as much AS MY HOUSE!! In fact, a 5 year old Odyssey costs more than a brand new Mazda 5. Odyssey is sadly out.

I only know pricing from what I saw on the Consumer Reports site, the price range was a few hundred different on the low end and a few thousand more for the Honda on the (not in question) high end. In the real world, I'm sure given cars with the same MSRPs, the dealer's price would creep up a lot for the Honda and plummet for the we-can't-give-them-away Chrysler. I would expect the Odyssey to be expensive used as they really are that good and they'll hold their value slightly better than your house.
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Re: Buying a Minivan - Nerdhelp Required

Postby El Senor Fruit Swing » Wed Dec 19, 2007 7:46 pm UTC

When all else fails. See which has a bigger cup holder and which has more ways to distract children. Note DVD isn't meant to distract children. Having enough room to fit a toy box with toys, and room to play with toys. Is a child distractor.
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Re: Buying a Minivan - Nerdhelp Required

Postby Mighty Jalapeno » Wed Dec 19, 2007 7:56 pm UTC

El Senor Fruit Swing wrote: Note DVD isn't meant to distract children. Having enough room to fit a toy box with toys, and room to play with toys. Is a child distractor.

Thank you, Captain Obvious :)

Also, the Mazda 5 apparently has 9 cup holders, or something crazy like that. More and more it seems to be the way we're going.

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Re: Buying a Minivan - Nerdhelp Required

Postby Endless Mike » Wed Dec 19, 2007 9:03 pm UTC

Mighty Jalapeno wrote:Everyone in her family has a Volvo, and everyone is urging us to get a Volvo. The only problem is I can't spend $900 when a belt breaks, but I can spend $40 when a belt breaks in a Mazda or a Chrysler.

Learn to do it yourself. Serpentine belts are really easy to replace in any car and certainly don't cost $900. Timing belts will be expensive no matter who makes the car, but cheaper at a mechanic and not the dealership.

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Re: Buying a Minivan - Nerdhelp Required

Postby Lucien » Wed Dec 19, 2007 9:38 pm UTC

Three rows of seats = child seperation if needed, or a back bench for naptime.

The mazda may look ugly, but.... you're driving a minivan. What do you expect?

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Re: Buying a Minivan - Nerdhelp Required

Postby (╯°□°)╯︵ ┻━┻ » Wed Dec 19, 2007 10:36 pm UTC

Cowboy wrote:Volvos have the third, rear facing seat which is not only great for storing children but can also accommodate a gunner in case of zombie attacks.

Man, I knew I loved Volvos for a reason.
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Re: Buying a Minivan - Nerdhelp Required

Postby cacp » Thu Dec 20, 2007 5:20 am UTC

Go wagen. Get a Jetta Wagen TDI. Tons of room, looks to kill for, amazing mileage. 2005 goes for $14k according to Kelly Blue book (or $9000 according to Ebay Motors). Mileage which comes close to hybrid. Diesel engine will last 500k.

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Re: Buying a Minivan - Nerdhelp Required

Postby Mighty Jalapeno » Thu Dec 20, 2007 6:00 am UTC

I want a Jetta wagon, but not wide enough for three car seats.

I actually want a Passat wagon.... a 91 Passat wagon was the first car I ever got to be in while travelling 250 km/h over a bridge. That totally converted me to European cars. :)

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Re: Buying a Minivan - Nerdhelp Required

Postby Col. Mustard » Thu Dec 20, 2007 6:48 am UTC

My neighbors have a Hyundai Entourage, and they love it. The fuel economy is only an estimated 17mpg, though.

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Re: Buying a Minivan - Nerdhelp Required

Postby Verysillyman » Thu Dec 20, 2007 11:39 am UTC

You can't go to the love shack in a Honda.

Also, I think I like Chryslers, they make some very pretty cars. My favourite modern car is a Chrysler.

Though I don't like mini-van things at all. I'd maybe say that if you had to have one, get a proper van or a minibus that isn't trying so so very hard to look like a regular car.

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Re: Buying a Minivan - Nerdhelp Required

Postby Maseiken » Thu Dec 20, 2007 12:21 pm UTC

Whoah whoah whoah.
Nerd help for buying a CAR?! This is not the natural way of things! Unless the car has lasers (Which it totally should)
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Re: Buying a Minivan - Nerdhelp Required

Postby El Senor Fruit Swing » Thu Dec 20, 2007 1:25 pm UTC

Verysillyman wrote:You can't go to the love shack in a Honda.

Also, I think I like Chryslers, they make some very pretty cars. My favourite modern car is a Chrysler.

Though I don't like mini-van things at all. I'd maybe say that if you had to have one, get a proper van or a minibus that isn't trying so so very hard to look like a regular car.

This sparked my thoughts,

So i looked into mini-vans and i found the dodge caravan

I like the style, its family friendly and its Safe,
here are some pictures.
Image
Image
Image
Image
The van's website is http://www.dodge.com/en/2007/caravan/
Some nice saftey features are:
Safety Cage
To help minimize injuries in the event of an accident, Dodge Caravan and Grand Caravan vehicles feature a rigid safety cage construction with steel side-guard door beams, as well as engineered crush zones that divert and dissipate impact energy away from the passenger compartment.

Integrated Child Seats[3]
With the available fully integrated child seats[3] for the 2007 Dodge Caravan and Dodge Grand Caravan, safe child placement is a snap. Never mind the hassle of installing a child seat, this seat comes integrated right into the vehicle.
Air-Bag Protection
Because Dodge vehicles are all about putting safety first, the 2007 Dodge Caravan models come with advanced multistage air bags[1] and supplemental side-curtain air bags[1] that cover all three rows of outbound seats for additional side impact protection. Plus a driver’s side inflatable knee blocker[1] is standard. The big idea: helping keep you safe and sound, all around.



(sorry for wall of txt and pictures, but I wanted to make sure I included everything
theres much more but I feel these are important features)
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Azrael
CATS. CATS ARE NICE.
Posts: 6491
Joined: Thu Apr 26, 2007 1:16 am UTC
Location: Boston

Re: Buying a Minivan - Nerdhelp Required

Postby Azrael » Thu Dec 20, 2007 2:00 pm UTC

a) "Finding" the original minivan shouldn't have been much of a challenge.

b) It's still a Chrysler.

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Endless Mike
Posts: 3204
Joined: Thu Dec 06, 2007 3:04 pm UTC

Re: Buying a Minivan - Nerdhelp Required

Postby Endless Mike » Thu Dec 20, 2007 3:47 pm UTC

I don't know how much Nissan Quests run, but the dash looks like a spaceship, which is always good. Actually, it looks like they revised it a bit for 2007. Still somewhat spaceshippy, but not as much as a new Civic.

Image

The 3.5L V6 in them is godly, as well. It's been on the top 10 engines list basically since it was introduced.


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