By on June 22, 2011

Michael writes:

Towards the end of the year, we may be in the market for a minivan (Honda Odyssey… this is not the advice I’m looking for, but feel free to weigh in). We have two cars we own outright: 2004 Toyota 4Runner and a 2006 VW Passat with 75K and 65K miles on them, respectively.

Both are in good working order, no issues other than the sign of age. Both have V6 engines.

Question: which one to trade in? I figure they are both worth about $10k trade in based on KBB, with the VW potentially worth marginally more (I could be wrong there). I’m leaning towards trading in the VW since it will depreciate faster and is more likely to have issues as it continues to age and wear.

What are your thoughts (now being greedy)…on both the trade-in AND the minivan choice?

Steve Answers:

Neither. Unless you are having another child and your current rides won’t accommodate another car seat.

If you enjoy what you have then keep what you got. It’s that simple. The Passat is definitely the less reliable of the two if you look at all the data and reviews out there. But who knows? You may have one of the good ones! In which case you better change the middle names of one of your children to Tiguan for good luck!

It sounds like you have two solutions in search of a problem with your current rides. But if you must have a 10k minivan… I would skip that Odyssey. It is the most hysterically overpriced family vehicle on the planet. If you’re spending $10k on a family ride I would look more towards a Mazda 5 if you want a ‘family vehicle’ with a bit more sport.

If the minivan has to be full-sized then I would go completely against the TTAC grain and buy whatever hasn’t been knocked too hard by actual owners from Carsurvey, Edmunds, Consumer Reports and TrueDelta. I despise Sedonas. Others hate Freestars. Quite a few folks will turn their noses at Quests, Caravans and the GM brood. In truth minivans were mostly cheap and interchangeable during the 06 thru 08 period. Even the cheap ones will last to 200k.

Siennas and Odysseys were premium offerings for their time. But they had mixed reliability and are poor values in the used car market. My number one? An end of the model run 2007 Grand Caravan with a great owner and very low mileage. Think Florida retiree vehicle. You will spend far less than 8k on one and be all the better for it.

Sajeev Answers:

Disclosure time: Michael is a friend, former manager and 100% straight shooter. While I have no (current) need to suck up to him, I must admit he’s rather awesome. Plus he nailed his own query, which must count for something!

The Passat is the trade-in for obvious reasons: even if your initial VW dealership gripes originally mentioned (as co-workers) went away, it’ll never be the value proposition of a 4Runner. And the Odyssey is a perfect new vehicle for the family. Not that the Odyssey is a perfect minivan, it’s rather expensive. And both the transmission and displacement-on-demand engine left many folks (including TTAC’s Robert Farago) upset at the service department. The former shouldn’t be an issue, and let’s keep our fingers crossed on the latter.

Because I don’t see you liking the alternatives from Nissan, Toyota and Chrysler. Maybe a stylish Buick Enclave or Ford Flex Titanium is worth a look. Maybe not. Tough call. Too bad every decision isn’t as simple and awesome as the time you introduced me to the Irish Car Bomb.

I could certainly use another one after all this Minivan talk!

Need help with a car buying conundrum? Email your particulars to sajeev@thetruthaboutcars.com , and let TTAC’s collective wisdom make the decision easier… or possibly much, much harder.

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49 Comments on “New or Used: Anything for Another Irish Car Bomb?...”


  • avatar
    Educator(of teachers)Dan

    Steve likely has the best advice but if you MUST trade… Ditch the VW and pick up a Chrysler minivan of the variety Mr. Metha suggested. A friend of mine just had his 3rd kid and although he and I both have a soft spot for full sized wagons (and he’s a used car buyer) he couldn’t reconcile putting his wife in a 20 year old car just to get a full size wagon. His solution? A retiree Chyrsler mini-van out of Arizona.

    After taking it on a trip from NM to MI he had this to say: “I hate to admit it, but damn it I love the thing and the pure competence with which it does the job.”

    • 0 avatar
      geozinger

      @EdDan: I rented a (then new) 08 Grand Caravan for a couple of weeks to haul relatives and other stuff throughout SWMI. I’d driven other Caravans before, so I had an idea of what the van would be like. What surprised me was how much more I liked the van than I had back when the kids were little. It did most everything rather well, and I loved the space inside the van, especially when moving my kid’s stuff into the dorms.

      I think many guys my age (late 40′s) have vanity issues and won’t see themselves in a minvan, no matter how practical it would be for them. If Chrysler/Fiat would offer the Man Van, I think they’d have a hit on their hands…

      • 0 avatar
        Zackman

        Man Van or not, the Chrysler/Dodge is the only way to go. I’m tired of Toyota and Honda being put on a pedestal and I know of several friends who have and do own Chrysler/Dodge vans and they love them and have few or no issues with them, too.

        20 years ago when we could have really used a van – a nice short wheelbase red Plymouth Voyager, we couldn’t afford it and we made do very well with our Acclaim and E-Class.

        NOTE: Please choose headlines more carefully! “Irish car bomb”, drink or not, sounds terrible! “Driving with Hitler” is a much better choice!

  • avatar

    There’s a reason people hate VWs. Like I said to one of the lady tellers @ my credit union: “Volkswagens are not known for NOT having electrical gremlins.”

  • avatar
    philadlj

    I’ve always liked the original, Sayama-built, first-gen Odyssey (1995-1998). Honda tried something different with the four real doors, and the model hadn’t yet grown to the size of a subdivision. If you believe CR, it remains the most reliable Odyssey to date.

  • avatar
    John Horner

    The trade in question is easy, ditch the Passat. VWs rarely age well.

    As far as minivans go, sometimes the sleeper bargain out there is, amazingly, the VW Routan. It is basically a very well trimmed out and tuned Chrysler, but often sells at a very deep discount. Being a Chrysler, the reliability and durability are likely to be better than that of most VWs.

    A local friend recently had taken to enthusing about how great the fuel economy on her 2011 Jetta TDI is. But yesterday she was instead complaining that the air conditioning had already died (it was 100 deg. F here yesterday). But hey, she said, at least three of the four electric windows worked! It is a mystery to me how VW sells so many vehicles whilst having such spotty quality.

    BTW: Irish car bomb? What on earth does that have to do with this inquiry?

    • 0 avatar
      jmo

      It is a mystery to me how VW sells so many vehicles whilst having such spotty quality.

      I think Bertel offered the best explanation – quality isn’t the only factor in buying a car. Also, it’s not like Hondas never break down and VW’s break down ever 3 months. For a 6 year old Civic vs. Jetta it’s more like every 9 months for the VW and every 16 months for the Honda.

    • 0 avatar
      Japanese Buick

      re: Irish car bomb: inside jokes and references add nothing to posts on a blog like this for any one but maybe 2-3 people, and I’m surprised to see one from Sajeev. TTAC is too good for that kind of insider clubbiness.

      • 0 avatar
        Luke42

        IIRC, an Irish Car Bomb is a drink featuring a dark beer (usually Guinness) with a shot of Irish whiskey (or was it Irish cream?). It’s been a while since I was in college, and I hope it’s understandable why I wouldn’t remember the exact recipe of a drink like that one…

  • avatar
    Dukeboy01

    We have an ’06 Odyssey that’s beeen completely trouble free. It’s a mid- level EX version, which doesn’t have the displacement on demand feature, so I can’t speak to that. IMO it’s the perfect car for what it is: a family hauler. It’s comfortable, gets decent gas mileage, and has great performance compared to other minivans I have driven.

    My parents have had a progression of Chrysler minivans since the mid ’90s. They ran them all into the dirt (175,000+ miles) but it seemed like there was always some little problem with them up until their last one, which is a 2008 model. Their 1994 model ate oxygen sensors, for example. Because of their experience with Chrysler products my wife and I didn’t even drive the Caravan when we were shopping for our van.

    My brother has a Mazda5. It’s a decent little car, with the operative word being “little.” It’s just not in the same class as the Odyssey, Sienna, or Caravan. Sure, it has three rows of seats, but there is almost zero room between the third row and the hatch. If he’s trying to take it on an extended family vacation with a lot of luggage, he has to fold down the third seat. that’s something you won’t have to do in the Odyssey. His kids are also both under eight years old. As they get older and bigger the Mazda 5 is going to be a lot less comfortable for them.

    Come, join the collective. Get the Odyssey.

    As far as which car to get rid of, I’d dump the VW. The old 4Runner will be more useful for hauling stuff like bags of mulch that you won’t want to put in the new Odyssey. Plus, 4WD is always something to nice to have around just in case you need it.

  • avatar
    Thinkin...

    As everyone agrees – the VW gets the axe. No question. Not only will the 4runner age better, but it brings a couple advantages to the table that the passat doesn’t. (4WD SUV…)

    @Steve: You sir, need to read closer! Michael never said he was looking to get a $10k minivan – he said he would get about $10k from either of his trade-ins. And based on his current vehicles, it seems pretty clear that he’s looking at buying the minivan in question new (or nearly new). Also – I agree about the Mazda5 being a unique offering in its sporting intent and its cost/size – were I in the market, it would be on my short list for those exact reasons. However, Michael never mentioned any hint of interest in a family hauler that wins in the corners… And judging from his current fleet – it isn’t a major concern.

    I agree that most minivans these days are interchangeable. Drive ‘em all and pick what you and the wife like the best.

  • avatar
    JMII

    Add me to the growing list of “ditch the VW” crowd. Our ’00 Passat started its death spiral about 5 years after its born-on date. So your ’06 is about to enter this phase… consider yourself warned.

  • avatar
    jpcavanaugh

    Ditch the VW. Buy a Chrysler Town & Country or Dodge Grand Caravan. 07 was the last year of the old style. IIRC 05-07 have the stow n go seats. 08 marked the newer version. I understand that those tend to eat front brake pads.
    Their resale is relatively low so you can buy one right. Both the 3.3 and 3.8 engines are almost slant 6-like in their durability. Transmissions will take care of you if they have been maintained.
    I own a 99 T&C with 207K. Drives like a dream. I bought it old and cheap, but it is very nice – you will be surprised how much you like it.

    Odysseys are expensive used and not universally loved.

  • avatar
    VanillaDude

    The Toyota is useful. It will become your vehicle because you will discover that owning an Odyssey is like putting your nads in mothballs. You will need the testosterone boost.

    Dump the metrosexual VW.

    • 0 avatar
      Luke42

      Huh, I found that parenthood made me a lot less concerned about “nads” and “metrosexual”. You see, once you actually use your balls for something worthwhile, you don’t really care what guys like you think anymore.

    • 0 avatar
      Luke42

      Huh, I found that parenthood made me much less concerned about “nads” and “metrosexual”. You see, once a guy actually use his balls for something worthwhile, they don’t really care what guys like you think (if they ever did in the first place).

      • 0 avatar
        Luke42

        I do agree that he should ditch the Passat, but that’s because the Volkswagen Jetta that I used to own was so unreliable that I would never recommend anyone own a Volkswagen product beyond the end of its warranty period.

        It doesn’t have anything to do with the other choices he faces, or how he would look. It’s just that my Volkswagen ownership experience showed almost nobody can afford to own a Volkswagen beyond the warranty period, unless they have a six-figure income.

        My wife and I own two out-of-warranty cars (Toyota + Ford), and they cost a tiny fraction of what my old Volkswagen required in order to keep them in good repair. I have a deep dislike the false machismo that comes with driving an SUV that never leaves the pavement (comes from growing up in a rural farming area and all of the city slickers blocked the roads with SUVs while the locals took everything off the pavement regularly) but, in this guy’s case, keeping the 4Runner and ditching the Volkswagen is the only rational choice he has — even if he never gets around to buying the Odyssey.

    • 0 avatar
      geeber

      I find it fascinating that minivans will supposedly neuter any man who dares to come within 10 feet of one, while SUVs are the ride of choice for real men.

      Meanwhile, in the real world, it’s my WIFE who won’t drive a minivan, and has expressed admiration for the Cadillac Escalade. (Thankfully, high fuel prices have put the kibosh on that idea. She now says that she likes the Focus hatcback. High gasoline prices aren’t always bad.)

      It’s the same in my friends’ households, as well. It’s invariably the wife who enforces the “no minivan” rule. I’d take a Honda Odyssey or Ford Flex over any SUV.

      • 0 avatar
        Luke42

        I’ve observed the same thing.

        But, then again, I find that being practical is a key part of masculinity. And minivans are very practical vehicles. It’s hard to get more manly than using the right tool for the right job — especially if that job is taking care of your family.

        I rarely go off road, and I know how to drive on rutted gravel roads, so an SUV would be a waste of ground clearance and heavy metal for me. So, for me, driving an SUV would be impractical, and would therefore emasculating. I’d be happy to drive an SUV if I needed one — but a guy driving around in a clean SUV that looks like it hasn’t been offroad in weeks looks like a guy who is just missing the point.

        My wife also the one in our house who has a no-minivan rule. At least until we really need a minivan, which means some undetermined time after the the next kid. And when that time comes, it sounds like she’d rather just give in to the “I am my mother” and trade whatever she’s driving at the time for the minivan her actual mother is actually driving at that time. Until then, we’ll drive practical little cars that suit our needs.

      • 0 avatar
        tallnikita

        Funny, same here, I refuse to drive an SUV because I never go offroad, but I need to tow around 2K lbs, so I suggested a minivan, and my wife flat out refused. Taking the NYC taxi cabs, the best ride is in Sienna, Ford Crown Vic is two steps down, Ford Escape is a complete piece of trash on stilts (I sometimes wave them by if it’s not too busy).

    • 0 avatar
      johnxyz

      Love VanillaDude’s posts – always smart, clever, irreverent and most importantly humorous. Can’t wait for his next one to pop up – just far too infrequent.

      • 0 avatar
        VanillaDude

        Thanks.
        You are obviously smart, clever, irreverent, and humorous as well!

        I have expounded at TTAC about minivans and about Hondas. So naturally an Odyssey owner would be offended by my remarks. They can’t help it. Sometimes they miss their mothballed nads as they tool around in that vehicular version of a Boppy pillow. They paid too much for them and after they recognize they’ve done so, they do what we all do – defend their decision to drive it around to the hilt. Or what they got left of their hilt, that is.

  • avatar
    cdotson

    The 2nd-gen Odyssey (1999-2004) pretty well sucked until the end of its model run; my parents’ 99 and my inherited-from-grandma 00 had ergonomic, ride, noise, and seat belt locking issues but my parents’ 04 seems relatively free of them.

    My displeasure with the ride, noise, and ergonomics of the 00 left me hesitant to consider another Ody when the time came to replace it. I dug the Mazda5 a lot, but the wife just wasn’t having a microvan when a “full-size” minivan was an option. The Mazda5 is simply not an option if you ever leave town with more than two kids; it’s like the minivan for people who really only need a compact-class station wagon with occasional seating for an extra two legless dwarves. I test drove a corporate fleet 2007 Town & Country with 45k miles and its driving experience can only be described as scary and soul-sucking. All of the ride control and handling foibles of my in-laws’ 188k mile 2003 T&C I had chalked up to age and wear, but it was clearly engineered-in incompetence. That said, the 188k mile example was very reliable over its entire life despite receiving only minimally-required dealer maintenance and a rough life with a rough driver. The Chryslers are the reliable but soulless appliances of the segment; the new Sienna should more appropriately be a Lexus and the Honda an Acura.

    What you should get depends on your needs. If you need something truly larger than a Passat a Mazda5 probably isn’t going to cut it. If you enjoy the VW driving experience a Chrysler-brand vehicle probably isn’t going to cut it, although a Routan might as it received unique suspension tuning. The new Sienna is nice if you’re hauling tweens or older kids and/or dogs, but the seat tracks in the floor will soak up all kinds of crud from littler ones. I have no experience with older Siennas or current-gen Odys. Last time I checked TrueDelta for Odyssey reliability the 2006 model year had the best reliability and a lot of the common problems are related to the engine mounts for the variable displacement engine. Only other thing to check is if a used Odyssey has had the power steering fluid reservoir replaced with redesigned one with larger outlets so it doesn’t starve the pump for fluid…it’s a cheap easy fix that didn’t always get performed and can cause power steering pump failures if not addressed.

  • avatar
    radimus

    Forget the minivans. Been there done that. Run what you have until the family doesn’t fit anymore and then go shopping for a nice used Suburban or Expedition. Minivans only really get better mileage if you’re on the highway a lot, but get in the stop n go traffic and the mileage drops to 4Runner levels quick. Maintenance and repair costs are also higher.

    • 0 avatar
      Ubermensch

      Unless you tow or go offroad how is a Suburban or Expedition (assuming they are still around in a few years) a better choice for family hauling than a minivan? Show me where a minivan gets worse mileage than a BOF SUV or has lower maintenance and repair costs. Ludicrous.

      • 0 avatar
        Patrickj

        The minivan will get better gas mileage most anywhere. I’m skeptical of claims of any large modern BOF SUV or truck getting over 16 mpg. A minivan will get low 20s on the highway with no attention to economical driving. Given the mathematics of mpg vs. l/100 km or gallons/100 miles, this is a substantial difference.

        Given that transmissions are a near-universal weakness of minivans, Radimus may well be right on maintenance.

      • 0 avatar
        cdotson

        Patrickj,

        I commute in a 1/2 ton 2wd pickup with a V8 and manual transmission in mostly highway with some city/suburban driving. I average 18.5-19.5mpg and have for over three years. Add more city driving and I drop to low-17mpg.

        It took my wife a few months after we got our 06 Odyssey (with 5spd auto) to rise above 17s on a tankful in admittedly less highway and more suburban driving. We had to start driving faster on 45mph roads to force the trans to upshift into 5th so we could get 18+ mpg. Luckily lately she’s been averaging just a shade under 20, and on highway trips it’s easy to get 23+ whereas my truck won’t crack 20 without being extremely judicious.

        The point about city mileage vs. highway mileage is valid. Buying new minivans are expensive, but when I priced full-sized SUVs I was hit with full-on sticker shock. Depreciation on SUVs is higher than Honda/Toyota minivans, but even several years old you’ll probably still save enough purchasing the minivan, plus the fuel savings if your driving is highway-centric, to more than offset any perceived higher maintenance/repair costs of the minivan.

    • 0 avatar
      radimus

      On the fuel mileage issue, I’ll admit that it’s been a few years since I compared the mileage stats on minivans. I just looked at the numbers on the latest ones from Dodge, Honda, Toyota, and Hyundai and the EPA numbers are much improved from what they were a few years back. But my statement about the city mileage of a minivan compared to the fuel mileage of Michael’s 4Runner is still accurate.

      Patrick, compare the service schedules for any minivan and a Suburban and you’ll see what I mean. Then there’s also the vast difference in the cost of a tranny swap, the costs of replacing struts vs shocks, etc.

      Ubermensh, that’s not what I said.

    • 0 avatar
      gessvt

      This is actually our mindset at the moment. Gas prices have directly affected the resale value of Expeditions and Suburbans, and there are a ton of nicely equipped used models ripe for the picking around here. We may go to a large SUV once the minivan pukes its transmission (inevitable).

    • 0 avatar
      ajla

      In my experience, SUVs are much easier to DIY on than vans. Stuff seems to wear out a lot faster on the vans too.

      YMMV I guess.

  • avatar
    vento97

    Ditch the VW. Unless you are someone like me who can keep them running:

    1975 Scirocco – 250,000 miles (hit by truck; deceased)
    1987 Golf GT – 624,000 miles (hit a deer @ 55mph; deceased)
    1997 Jetta Trek – 355,000 miles (daily driver)
    2003 Jetta Wolfsburg 1.8T – 190,000 miles (weekend driver)
    2003 Passat GLS 1.8T – 150,000 miles (wife’s daily driver)
    Or my non-VW vehicles:
    1977 Datsun 280z – 200,000 miles (1987 trade-in for Golf GT)
    1987 Chevy Pickup – 93,000 miles (weekend workhorse)

    If you have very little confidence in your automotive skills, or believe that general automotive knowledge isn’t for the faint of heart, then ditch the Passat.

    • 0 avatar
      CJinSD

      Fixing cars isn’t everyone’s hobby. Some people with young families probably don’t have the time if they wanted to spend it chasing electrcal shorts in their VW.

      • 0 avatar
        vento97

        >Fixing cars isn’t everyone’s hobby. Some people with young families probably don’t have the time if they wanted to spend it chasing electrcal shorts in their VW.

        Well, I must be the lucky one, because I didn’t have many electrical shorts to chase.

        Besides, I work in an office as a software engineer with 3-hour daily commutes, so that doesn’t leave me much time to do any hobbies. I have the discipline to maintain my vehicles so they spend very little time in the shop. So quite frankly, I find the “probably don’t have the time” thing to be a cop-out.

    • 0 avatar

      Sounds like you’re aiming for the moon with those combined distances. Best of luck to you!

      I think even with kids and a hectic schedule, it wouldn’t hurt to do more preventative maintenance like installing a transmission cooler, or doing an annual transmission oil change.

  • avatar
    SteveMar

    Let me put a plug in for a reasonable well-kept Mazda MPV minivan. We bought one of the last ones in 2006 and have been pretty satisfied. We had been driving a 2000 Passat wagon — which we kept and loved until it’s untimely demise in 2008. The MPV was a quarter or so size smaller than the larger vans, but offered much more room than the then new Mazda5. (Frankly, the 5 was about the same size and offered the same space as the Passat wagon.)

    We’ve taken road trips in the MPV and the entire experience was made much more comfortable with the addition of a third row and higher roofline. Do I love minivans as a group? No. Are they the easiest way to get a family and their stuff down the road? Absolutely. There are alternatives, but, for pure functionality, I would take a the minivan.

    Also, we had 8 pretty trouble-free years with our Passat. Maybe we lucked out. My suggestion would be — keep the Passat, sell the 4 Runner and get a gently used minivan. MPVs actually go for a pretty reasonable price due to depreciation with the discontinued line. Or get the last gen Grand Caravan. It’s a utility vehicle, remember. Drive the Passat when you want to pretend a little. Drive the van when everyone comes along for a ride.

  • avatar
    Conslaw

    I would ditch them both. Ditch the 4-Runner because the minivan (of any make) is a more direct replacement for it than the Passat. It’s good to have one hauler and one more economical car. Ditch the Passat because of potential reliability problems. I would buy a used minivan and a new Hyundai Sonata turbo. In the alternative, buy a new minivan and a used Acura TSX.

  • avatar
    sastexan

    As a recent buyer of an Odyssey (less than one month ago), I can share in the OP’s need / desire and confusion what to do, although both of our existing cars are cars (Camry and Contour) and worth virtually nothing due to age, cheap to run, so we kept both.

    One reason to go van for us was the car seat issue – rear facing plus forward facing car seats make the Camry useless for passengers (the passenger seat needs to be far up for the rear facing seat – and won’t fit in the center next to the other car seat, which is where the solo rear facing seat was originally).

    The other reason was for hauling stuff, which you have with your 4 Runner (if you actually use it). We always had my father-in-law’s Grand Cherokee to borrow, but after he passed away, and it kept munching parts, we sold it.

    I agree VW long term is just inviting trouble – but I see no reason to keep the 4 Runner when you’ll have a minivan to do the same hauling duty.

    As for the Ody haters – yes, it is expensive, but it is light years better engineered than every other van on the market. The powertrain is adequate – the Sienna is superior – but the cylinder deactivation is pretty invisible in the 2011 and the transmission does its job without complaint. We were sold on the Ody when we took each van we were looking at home overnight and drove on our normal routes, to preschool, etc. I really thought we would end up with another one of the vans but it is worth the premium for the flexibility of the design of the Ody.

  • avatar
    mnm4ever

    I think you should keep them both too, no sense getting a car payment when you already own two good cars outright. But, if you MUST get something new, trade in the Passat at a VW dealer for a Routan. The Routan will be just as reliable as a Caravan, slightly nicer inside, and is discounted dramatically, new or used. You should also get better trade in value there for your VW. We just took a cross-country trip in a Caravan Crew, it was wonderful, powerful, comfortable, efficient, just excellent in every way. The Odyssey is simply too expensive for not really better engineering. A lot of what people think make an Odyssey great is simply basic attributes of minivans. Besides, the Honda dealer will laugh at your VW trade-in.

  • avatar
    Russycle

    Why the hate for the Sedona? I’ve rented one and ridden in a few. It’s nothing to get excited about, but then it’s a minivan. It holds lots of people in reasonable comfort, what more do you want?

  • avatar
    hal

    Are you condsidering a Minivan to transport your kids?
    Buy the one with the best available safety features / rating.
    When kid #3 arrived a couple of years ago after looking at safety ratings my choice was between a 2008+ Odyssey or 2007+ Sedona.
    If I wanted the leather / av system I would have gone for a new Honda but I didn’t want to finance so I bought a one year old Sedona for cash (I would not buy a new one).
    I’m not sure that I’m saving money in the long term but I figure I’ll get 10years out of the KIA and I don’t have to worry about the inevitable stains on the interior or scrapes on the exterior.

  • avatar
    Anchorman33

    As the owner/primary driver of an ’06 Odyssey and having just had a ’11 Caravan as a rental, I’ll attest to the vast difference between the two. The Oddy is bigger and able to haul more large things than the Caravan could dream of. I will admit the new Pentastar V-6 is a nice engine and served remarkably well in SoCal freeway traffic. It was also noticeably quieter than my admittedly wreck damaged Honda.

    As a foot note, I drove an ’02 4×4 F150 for several years, getting 15/18 mpg. The Odyssey is getting withing rounding error of 20/25, no matter how hard or easy I am on the throttle. It’s tough to find a vehicle that large that gets mileage much better than that.

    • 0 avatar
      WRohrl

      That’s weird – we also have an ’06 Odyssey and were just in SoCal two weeks ago and rented an ’11 Town and Country. I found the PentaStar engine OK but nothing special (I was very underwhelmed after reading all the positive reviews here…). After getting back to Colorado and climbing back into the Odyssey it felt faster, quieter, smoother and in my opinion handled better. The T+C was just too rough and frankly unrefined, I was quite surprised to realize that I liked out 80000 mile Odyssey better that a brand new 800 mile T+C. Having previously owned an ’05 Sienna that we lost in a fire (not the car’s fault), my wife preferred the Sienna to the Odyssey, I prefer the Odyssey even though when we bought the Sienna it was my choice at that time.

  • avatar
    200k-min

    I just don’t get why TTAC has so full of Mazda 5 fanboys all the time. Quite frankly, there is zero comparison between a 5 and a minivan. If someone wants to drive around 5+ adults (teenagers inc.) there is nothing better than a minivan and Honda makes one of the best, hence the price.

    • 0 avatar
      cdotson

      200k-min,

      The comparison between a Mazda5 and a minivan is that they both have three rows of seating and two sliding doors.

      There are tons of 5 fanboys on TTAC because there are tons of small-car aficionados on TTAC and the above-mentioned comparison to the minivan makes the 5 the de rigeur recommendation. As I mentioned in my earlier comment, the 5 is a minivan only for people who need no more room than a compact-class station wagon…because it is a compact station wagon (essentially a stretched high-roof Mazda3).

      The problem for real families is that three nominal rows and two sliders does not a minivan make. I personally thought the Mazda5 was great, but I enjoyed the handling and never have to carry more than myself and two kids. My wife always has three carseats (she babysits our nephew) plus kid detritus which makes the 5 cramped from the get-go. Our 2006 Odyssey EX swallows it (and the nephew’s parents when needed) with ease.

  • avatar
    gslippy

    Trade the VW, get a Kia Sedona. We love our 09 – no problems, comfortable, affordable, and a great hauler.

  • avatar
    Robert Gordon

    Hi, As a very close relative of a person who was badly injured by a car bomb left by the provisional IRA – I am actually quite offended that you would make light of such deplorable acts of terrorism. I am sure who wouldn’t use glib references in relation to 9/11 so why use them here? Please consider a change to the title of what is otherwise a good piece.

    • 0 avatar
      mnm4ever

      The pu$$ification of America continues!!!

      Lighten up Gordo! I am sorry to hear about about your relative’s tragedy, but TTAC is no place for people who get so easily offended. The article’s title was OBVIOUSLY referencing the drink name, not the actual IRA bombs. Are you going to contact every bar in America and ask them to rename the drink or change the menu because it offends you?? Seriously, this is what is wrong with this country, people getting offended and thinking the rest of us should give a sh!t about it. You might consider reading Autoblog, or Yahoo Autos instead.


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