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  • I Need a "Family Vehicle"

    Well, with the addition of a new family member, we need to purchace a new (or used) high occupancy vehicle (e.g. a van of a SUV). We prefer a (mini) van and I was wondering if any of you here have any recommendations or suggestions. Prices in the 20's or below.

    Thanks,

    RW
    ~~ Veritas simplex oratio est ~~
    No matter how far a wizard goes, he will always come back for his hat. --T. Pratchett

    <---- You know you're getting old when you rely on your forum meta-data to remind you how old you are.


  • #2
    Re: I Need a &quot;Family Vehicle&quot;

    Suggestion: spend a little more money on contraception.

    Otherwise, I suggest a conversion van with a bed:

    http://cgi.ebay.com/ebaymotors/29K-C...QQcmdZViewItem

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    • #3
      Re: I Need a &quot;Family Vehicle&quot;

      If I read this right you looking for reliable well built, best for your dollar. That said being a loyal American, Buy any thing Honda. Reliable, dependable, cheap on gas and low comparative cost.

      http://automobiles.honda.com/tools/b...Name%3DOdyssey

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      • #4
        Re: I Need a &quot;Family Vehicle&quot;

        I would not recommand a VAN or SUV as I hate them, LOL.

        I would go with a wagon instead, such as a used A4 avant quattro.

        Slow is Smooth. Smooth is Fast!

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        • #5
          Re: I Need a &quot;Family Vehicle&quot;

          I'm a loyal American, but there are few American vehicles I would recommend. I would never buy a new vehicle, It's just silly imho. One American vehicle I can recommend is the Lincoln Aviator. You can get a '03 Aviator for around 18-19k. They don't have many mechanical problems, they got a bit of power for anything you need to do, they have 3 rows of seats comfortable for most any body. They are a mid-sized so you get fairly decent gas mileage. It's basically a nicer Explorer with a better suspension, and more comfort. If you really need lots of room go for a 02'-03'Chevy Tahoe. You can get a Tahoe for under 18k, the 5.3L V8 get decent gas milage, they are comfortable and roomy, basically problem free.

          I have a 99' Silverado EXT Cab longbed (basically a Tahoe pickup) with a 5.3L and I can drive from Dallas to Houston with a quarter of a tank to spare. It's a nice ride too.

          Conversion Vans make Chevy SUV's look like hybrids. Don't buy a fullsize Ford (junk), don't buy a midsize Chevy (junk). Don't buy an American minivan. Go with a Honda.
          Last edited by AniGamor; 07-08-2006, 08:47 PM.

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          • #6
            Re: I Need a &quot;Family Vehicle&quot;

            I have made the van decision 3 times in the last 10 years, and every time I chose the Dodge Caravan. (leased 1, had it stolen, leased a replacement, bought it at lease end) I'll try to keep it brief. Sorry if I offend owners of other brands, but it may happen. ;)

            - I have no emotional tie to american/canadian/foreign vehicles, I have owned 'em all.
            - Comfort and safety come first
            - Cost does not enter into the equation until all other needs are met (this confuses all dealers who first want to know how much I can afford)

            My first van purchase was like this:
            I test drove everything out there with an open mind. Ford and Chevy failed immediately on drive and comfort. Toyota, Honda, and Chrysler were quite close, but Toyota was falling behind due to some odd design choices. Interior inspection had Toyota hanging by a thread due to the small rear bench, and terrible salespeople cut that thread in a hurry. (Nissan was out right from the start because their minivan was much too small)

            With 2 left, it came down to options and cost. The Honda had very limited options, and at the time they were pushing the useless motorized doors. It was a matter of taking the basic van or the luxurious one with the magic doors. The Chrysler had extremely flexible options, and I was able to price out exactly what I wanted. So I priced out the two options and it was no surprise to anyone that the Honda came in at about $5000 more.

            But it's a Honda, and they are so reliable!

            And this brings me to the most important part of the message. Reliability is for the most part just another cost. Do you know how much reliability that extra $5000 in my pocket buys me? The most likely catastrophic failures in a properly maintained vehicle besides a rusted out body are air conditioning and transmissions. These are pretty rare failures, but in the event my transmission does die when the van is 10 years old, I will dip into my $5000 and replace it. That's if I still own the van then. I know I will still have the cash. The fact is that I took some of that extra cash and dropped it into a solid warranty which will cover anything unexpected for as long as I own the van. (I am not endorsing warranties, that is a whole different decision that should be made with care.)


            At my two other vehicle decision points, I went back to all of the dealers to see what was new, and though some things had improved, the decision went the same way for essentially the same reasons. The Honda should have had a better fighting chance in the most recent comparison due to closer cost and better options, but the salesman was borderline retarded, and he couldn't even tell me where the spare tire was stored.

            In the final judgement, my 3-year-old Caravan won out over any of the new options (including the new Caravan) because it had tie-downs built into the rear bench allowing it to very easily haul 4 child seats. (home daycare)

            My experience so far? The air-conditioning compressor died this spring and I got it replaced under warranty. I also had it dump all of the power steering fluid on a cold winter day a few years ago, and that was also fixed under warranty. My brake rotors warped two years ago and had to be replaced at my cost. That was the one painful bitch, but that can happen with any of the cheap rotors they put on all makes.

            My overall recommendation is to
            - test drive all of them, considering your comfort and convenience above all - think about those kids and car seats
            - when you get down to cost comparison, consider the value of the "reliability" carefully
            Peace through fear... since 1947!

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            • #7
              Re: I Need a &quot;Family Vehicle&quot;

              If you buy used, by American. It's just so much cheaper. Japanese cars hold their value much better than American cars. Consequently, they are more expensive than their counterparts on the used market. If you buy new, I'd suggest Japanese unless you plan to keep it for the rest of its life. That way, when you're ready to get rid of it, it'll have some value.

              That said, I've heard very good things about the newer Honda Odysseys.

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              • #8
                Re: I Need a &quot;Family Vehicle&quot;

                Originally posted by icky
                I have made the van decision 3 times in the last 10 years, and every time I chose the Dodge Caravan.
                My take home vehicle was a Dodge Caravan for over a year and that thing rode smoother and drove better than most of the other CARS in the fleet at work. I was so glad that there was a "soccer mom" stigma attached to it and nobody else wanted to drive it! If we ever buy another minivan (I think we're going to go with an SUV next time), it would probably be a Dodge Caravan.
                Become a supporting member!
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                TacticalGamer TX LAN/BBQ Veteran:

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                • #9
                  Re: I Need a &quot;Family Vehicle&quot;

                  Originally posted by CingularDuality
                  My take home vehicle was a Dodge Caravan for over a year and that thing rode smoother and drove better than most of the other CARS in the fleet at work. I was so glad that there was a "soccer mom" stigma attached to it and nobody else wanted to drive it! If we ever buy another minivan (I think we're going to go with an SUV next time), it would probably be a Dodge Caravan.

                  My grandparents owned couple caravans, well actually a voyager to, when they still had plymouth. Same thing, but they've really enojoyed their caravans, they bought a 05 model caravan last year, and are very happy with it. Grandfather got it for like 16k brand new to. Came with a dvd player, and blue tooth built right inside.

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                  • #10
                    Re: I Need a &quot;Family Vehicle&quot;

                    I've "owned" two different Caravan's as work vehicles. "Owned" so much as the company I work for hands me the keys to a new vehicle and I drive it for ~4 years until there are too many kilometers on it and there is not much left. I put generally about 60,000 km's (40,000 miles) per year on those vehicles and they were great at the beginning but after many km's they really start to show their age and need a lot of repairs. Near the end of the time I had with them they both needed thousands of dollars in repairs done. One even needed a cylinder head replacement. I don't pay for maintenance, fuel etc. so I religiously change the oil every 5000 km's, all scheduled maintenance is done on time, parts are replaced when needed. So it isn't from lack of regular maintenance, its just they seemed to self destruct after the warranty ran out.


                    As an alternative to offer up, I bought a used '99 Jeep Grand Cherokee just for towing my camping trailer last year. When I bought it I had the attitude that it would probably be a typical piece of crap made by Chrysler, poor quality, terrible to drive, hard on gas. That truck has completely proven me wrong at every chance it has had. I totally fell in love with the thing and so did my wife. Its roomy but no too big, comfortable to drive, easy on gas (good sized inline 6), tows our trailer like nothing is back there even on big hills. Every time I have had to do something for maintenance, change fluids, install an electronic brake controller, etc. I have been surprised by how easy it was to work on. I have nothing but good things to say about that truck.

                    As a smaller alternative, I also had a Honda CRV for a work vehicle that I really enjoyed as well.
                    I put a couple hundred thousand km's on it, it needed very little repairs, and it was dirt cheap on gas.
                    Certainly there is no hunting like the hunting of man and those who have hunted armed men long enough and liked it, never really care for anything else thereafter.
                    Ernest Hemingway, "On the Blue Water," Esquire, April 1936

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                    • #11
                      Re: I Need a &quot;Family Vehicle&quot;

                      dodge/ and chrysler make good stuff, never had a problem with them.

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                      • #12
                        Re: I Need a &quot;Family Vehicle&quot;

                        Kia's are getting good ratings, they are cheap, and relaiable. Beth's sister has had one for 2 years and it hasn't had any problems.

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                        • #13
                          Re: I Need a &quot;Family Vehicle&quot;

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                          • #14
                            Re: I Need a &quot;Family Vehicle&quot;

                            I was in a family of 5 growing up -- parents, me, brother, cousin -- and my parents used a Toyota Camry station wagon. We had that one for about 14-15 years, then they got a Honda Accord wagon. I don't think either of them make wagons anymore.



                            TacticalGamer TX LAN/BBQ Veteran

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                            • #15
                              Re: I Need a &quot;Family Vehicle&quot;

                              Originally posted by leejo
                              Yeah, but the Clampetts won't sell it to an Okie.
                              ~~ Veritas simplex oratio est ~~
                              No matter how far a wizard goes, he will always come back for his hat. --T. Pratchett

                              <---- You know you're getting old when you rely on your forum meta-data to remind you how old you are.

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