Looking for a bigger mini van

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Looking for a bigger mini van
« on: 25 Mar 2017, 03:29 am »
So I bought a 3d scanner . It weighs about five hundred pounds and the company shows it loaded in a Prius trunk. 17 poles three feet each when folded in half .We loaded all our gear three poeple , plus this rig , suitcases, etc., and barely squeezed in. In a Subaru Forester one seat dropped down.
Thinking about a minivan that can get four people in , and this machine, luggage etc. with some room to spare.
Used is ok .
We will be trading in our lease which is not up till December. Subaru said we can trade it towards any vehicle.
Am I going to take a huge hit doing this ?
Leaning towards a Toyota Sienna or something like it.
  Should I be looking at an 8 passsenger.
  Can you get those Mercedes cargo vans with a front row for passengers? They seem pretty cheap.
Appreciate your thoughts!   Todd


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Re: Looking for a bigger mini van
« Reply #1 on: 25 Mar 2017, 11:52 am »
My 2000 Sienna is my favorite vehicle ever.  Comfortable, 100% reliable, not too big to park, towed a U-haul, and got 25 mpg.  It's only down side was that the back gate couldn't close on a 4ft x 8ft sheet (but that precludes the big/parking advantage).

Do you need 4WD? 

Consider maneuverability and where you'll be driving when inching up in size. 

Recommend Consumers Report (the 2017 car issue is out) and Edmunds.com as research resources.

My wife shows rabbits, each go in their own cage plus she needs to haul a folding table, camp chair, luggage, rabbit food, etc.  So before we buy the next vehicle we'll be hauling cages to see how many would fit - can you practically do the same?

Of course you'll take a hit swapping vehicles, unless you find a relative or little old lady selling a van or SUV cheap.


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Re: Looking for a bigger mini van
« Reply #2 on: 25 Mar 2017, 04:43 pm »
What about other factors?

How important is the driving experience?
Performance versus economy?
Preferences / prejudices re. import vs domestic brands?
What sizes are the four people (kids / adults)
Must have features?

My wife still loves her 4 year old Flex Ecoboost. Despite her not being a fan of it's exterior styling, it does everything else very excellently including having the fire breathing dragon wagon 365HP twin turbo V6 flying far under the radar of traffic cops. It gobbles luggage like a hippo and second row space is second to none. None.


Re: Looking for a bigger mini van
« Reply #3 on: 25 Mar 2017, 05:24 pm »
Thanks gentleman!!
I drove the Sienna, it drove like a dream !!


Re: Looking for a bigger mini van
« Reply #4 on: 25 Mar 2017, 06:47 pm »
Exploring the Flex online . Thanks !


Re: Looking for a bigger mini van
« Reply #5 on: 25 Mar 2017, 07:03 pm »
We owned a Hyundai Entourage for 9 years.  Good piece.  Same as Kia Sedona.

My brother loves his Honda Odyssey.


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Re: Looking for a bigger mini van
« Reply #6 on: 25 Mar 2017, 08:35 pm »
Of course dealership and access to competent/not expensive service should be considered, especially if you live in a small market.

In 40 years of car ownership I've only rarely bought domestic nameplates, due to the poor reliability and service experiences I've had in my small market, so my options have been limited.  But buying an import nameplate from a primarily domestic dealership was even worse.  I say "nameplate" because my Camry and Outback are both built domestically.  My Toyota dealer has been excellent, same salesman since the 80's, big enough to always have the needed part, no waiting to get service, and reasonable prices.  Fortunately I've found a closer/cheaper/more honest service source for the Outback.

But it seems that domestic build quality and reliability are much improved (except for FCA). 


Re: Looking for a bigger mini van
« Reply #7 on: 26 Mar 2017, 12:18 am »
The Honda Odyssey is pretty great, in all weather it seems as a friend uses his year round in snow and all. Honda didn't do AWD which allows huge space and very modular seat arranging. You can easily pack in all adult men into all the seats. (Maybe not real tall in the rear).


Re: Looking for a bigger mini van
« Reply #8 on: 26 Mar 2017, 02:19 am »
I am considering older model 2006-2009 to keep my payments low . Is buying a Toyota or Honda ok with 120,00 miles or less. This vehicle may only be used for highway driving and around town a couple of times a month.


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Re: Looking for a bigger mini van
« Reply #9 on: 26 Mar 2017, 03:23 am »
Hello, stlrman.

Back in 2003, we bought a new Honda Odyssey. We drove it all over N. America. I finally sold it to my little sister last year because she really needed an inexpensive minivan (and she didn't have much money). It had 160,000 miles on it when I shipped it off to her.

The guys who serviced my Odyssey all those years assured me it would easily get to 250,000 miles with regular maintenance. In 2015 while we were on our way back from a multiple National Parks journey, we happened upon a family driving their 2002 Odyssey. Theirs had 300,000 miles on it already!

It's a damned good vehicle for the money. I sold ours only because my sister was in a bind and because our son no longer needed it for transportation.


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Re: Looking for a bigger mini van
« Reply #10 on: 26 Mar 2017, 11:39 am »
Exploring the Flex online . Thanks !

Me too. Anybody else have comments about the Flex?

Also, just read this in a review of the Sienna, thought it amusing:
"Parking it is like docking the Queen Mary"


Re: Looking for a bigger mini van
« Reply #11 on: 26 Mar 2017, 12:22 pm »
I'm on my 3rd Honda Odyssey and use it exactly for the purpose you intend to. I'm a pro paperhanger and the rear seat folds flat to stow my gear. I takes less than 5 mins to transform into a family vehicle.
My first was a 2000 that I purchased in '02 with 53,000 miles on it. Traded it in for an '06 in 2009 with 190,000 miles. In October of 2012 Hurricane Sandy flooded it out with only 73,000 miles  :evil:.  Purchased a used '02 and now have 140,000 well kept miles on it. I have two friends (yeah I know hard to believe! But their fee to say so is reasonable so...) who bought new 2016's and loves them.
Very important to keep up on the maintenance with a Honda especially the the timing belt at 90,000 -100,000 miles. Make sure if you buy an older Odyssey ('00-'04) the records show the transmission recall was performed and the timing belt was replaced. At the dealership the timing belt will run between $900-$1400 depending on whats done. Usually the other belts and water pump get replaced too. It's a "while your in there" maintenance thing. I have a guy (remember I live in NJ) who worked at Honda for 20 years and 10 years ago opened his own shop, does all my work, and saves me about 30% using genuine Honda parts. Always stay with genuine Honda parts! The price difference is only about 10%-15% and well worth the peace of mind.

If you stay with Honda or Toyota you can't go wrong. Both highly rated by Consumer Reports, KBB, and Edmunds. I hope your journey is successful and you find a great deal!  8)


nature boy

Re: Looking for a bigger mini van
« Reply #12 on: 26 Mar 2017, 02:33 pm »
I don't think you can go wrong with a Honda Odyssey or Toyota Sienna.  Both are excellent haulers of stuff and people. My wife has an '04 Odyssey.  Moved two kids with their stuff back and forth to college, several long range family trips, etc.  Has 130k miles and the V6 is still going strong.  Good luck.



Re: Looking for a bigger mini van
« Reply #13 on: 13 Jun 2017, 05:17 am »
Hey Stir.....hope your new business is going well.

Ok, don't laugh, but it's sorta hard to beat the Dodge Caravan for hauling gear. Yeah, they're not at well finished as the imports (Dodge/Chrysler products seems to have sorta chintzy interiors) but they can be had fairly cheap and they are mechanically pretty stout. Plus the 3.8 motor has pretty good performance. The newer ones with the power fold rear seats are really handy. I used to rent these when I traveled on photo shoots over SUV's (unless I really was going out into truly off road situations) Plus I had a T&C van home for years, and never had any issues beyond basic maintenance (other than the fact the remote door locks wouldn't work) But if you only want as work vehicle and not as daily driver......not a bad option.

Yeah the Mercedes/Freightliner/Dodge Sprinters may be the ultimate ultimate rolling photo support vehicles, but they are anything but cheap. You're looking at at least $40K even used. Ton of room (rented these too) but not much fun to drive and tough to park.


Re: Looking for a bigger mini van
« Reply #14 on: 13 Jun 2017, 07:54 pm »
Take a look at the Ford Transit Connect.  I have no personal experience with it, but have been extremely impressed with my full size transit.  Very comfortable, easy to drive, have had 0 issues after about 35,000 miles, and got it new for $26k.  If the bigger size and lower gas mileage doesn't bother you, the full size would at least be worth a test drive.



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Re: Looking for a bigger mini van
« Reply #15 on: 17 Jun 2017, 04:14 pm »
I had the Toyota Sienna as a work rental vehicle while my actual work vehicle was in the body shop. I overall enjoyed driving it (but anything is better than a Chevy City Express (Nissan NV200).

I'm not a fan of Toyota. Seems that they have allot of recalls. Quite frankly, there are too many Toyotas on the road (that's how Japan is secretly invading us).

It was still a nice minivan. The middle seats don't fold down (only the third row). Not a huge Chrysler fan either but I got used to driving Dodge Grand Caravans (Chrysler Town & Country) for work and they have both middle and third row seats that fold down (Sto-N-Go) and that made them most of being a utility vehicle.