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Fuel-efficient family hauler

The Right Car for Me | TrueDelta


I'm torn. I don't really want to dispose of my car just yet, but rust and repairs are making the decision for me.

It's a 2005 Toyota Sienna LE with 174,000 miles.

I'd get an used van, but the sticking point is I'd like to have the latest security features and that means buying new. Is that worthwhile? Or would an used one be a better decision?

Priorities: Fuel economy / Reliability & durability / Safety & braking

Need minimum of 7 seats

Will consider both new and used cars
Maximum mileage: 80000
Maximum age: 5 years

Maximum price: US $ 15000

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Response from LectroFuel

8:06 pm February 28, 2018

You won't find a new van for under $27,000 without it being a Grand Caravan, and that isn't a good van. The safety features in new cars these days are extremely helpful, especially if you aren't a good driver. They are also available in the very cheapest trims of the new Honda Odyssey and Toyota Sienna. The features are on the $34k 2018 Odyssey EX (not LX) and the $30k Sienna L. If you are on a strict budget and safety features are the number one priority, almost every new Toyota has every safety features standard (Honda is just starting to do this), so an $18k Corolla or $23k RAV4 has all these features, but they don't have the space of a minivan.

The Toyota is a little more reliable than the Honda and has always been, but the 2018 Odyssey is the better minivan right now. These new vans are completely out of your budget. It depends on your financial situation, but I don't know if paying $15k over budget is worth it to get a few safety features.

When taking your budget into account, test drive a 2011 or newer Sienna and a 2011 or newer Odyssey. The Odyssey had some minor reliability problems, so be aware of that when buying. The Toyota didn't. The Odyssey was still the nicer van at the time, but it was not as big of a difference as the 2018 vs 2018. I think the Odyssey had blind spot monitoring in the Touring Elite trim in 2011. The Sienna has always been the only minivan available with AWD.

Because no one wants to be seen in a minivan, SUVs are the craze right now and as a result SUV prices are inflated and minvan prices are still reasonable. You don't get the same practicality in an SUV as a minivan unless you need to tow over 3,500 lbs.

Good luck and please tell us what you choose!


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Honda Odyssey

Response from AcuraT

11:04 am March 27, 2018

I don't disagree at all with Lectrofuel but there are a couple of other reliable minivans he left off his list.

One is the Kia Sedona. For some reason that is forgotten by most that it is a capable minivan. Not quite as polished as either the Toyota or Honda, it is highly relliable - more than the Honda, less than the Toyota (again, the difference is not that great between the three, but the Odessey has had transmissions issues with each redesign which they eventually fix in most cases).

The Ford Transit Connect Van is not as good driving as the Toyota, Honda, or Kia but it is another option that is fairly reliable. Not quite as good at those three in reliablity, it is still far better than the Chrysler option.

I would look at the Kia as well with those two, and the Ford only if you want to look at all options.


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Kia Sedona
Ford Transit Connect

Response from LectroFuel

1:28 am March 30, 2018

If you go with the Sedona, make sure it is the newest generation because the previous ones were not good at all. The new one is better in every way. A used CPO one would work well because of the massive drop in price since it was new. You still get the 10 year/100,000 mile warranty. The Ford is more of an airport shuttle van. Don't expect any luxury items found in minivans.


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