Hammer Time: Minivans Rock!

Steven Lang
by Steven Lang
hammer time minivans rock

The minivan market’s always interesting to those of us on the front lines; the genre reflects the paradox of the most conservative and loyal car buyers. Many of these folks will shop for ‘brand name’ regardless of whether the model in question really deserves a price premium given it’s history. For example, the average 2007 Grand Caravan (SXTmodel with 22k miles) is going for $10,200 average, wholesale, book. That’s a steal compared to the Sienna LE ($14,650) and the Odyssey LX ($14,850), which have generally trailed their name brand stablemates in the quality category. Speaking of history, a 2007 Saturn Relay is around $9400, while the Ford Freestar SE is going for $9550. As October’s historically the worst month for used cars (no ‘sale’ holidays, no tax refunds, fear-inducing elections), this may be the right time to pull the trigger on a near-new minivan at 40 cents to the depreciating dollar.

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4 of 26 comments
  • Threeer Threeer on Oct 03, 2008

    Am looking at eventually replacing the Liberty. Now, I harbor a passion for buying a used Wrangler, but given my role in Scouting (I keep a tent and sleeping bag in the vehicle at all times!), which every month means hauling kids and gear, a gently used minivan doesn't look like that bad of an idea. Like the comments above, maybe it's time to get back to embracing who we all actually ARE and not who we think we need to look like! Sure, a minivan may not be sexy, but I remember the Montana we owned years ago...it could haul our (since sold) pop-up camper, and had the captains's chairs in the middle. On long trips, it was crazy comfortable and held all that I could stuff in it. More times than I can count on, I was asked if I would let it be borrowed to haul other kids and gear...

  • Steven Lang Steven Lang on Oct 03, 2008

    A 3.3L V6 Caravan from the 2001 - 2007 era is actually rated for 25 highway. Tyically my family would get around 21 to 22 mg in combined driving. Honda and Toyota have both experienced reliability issues. The Odysseys have historically had very weak transmissions, the Sienna has been improved since the prior generation but still trails in the interior's durability and has various minor issues. Truth be known, any of the minivans should easily last over 200k and 12+ years these days. Despite all the myth inducing fears in the marketplace, the domestics are by far the best near-new values in this segment. I stand by what I've stated.

  • Stingray Stingray on Oct 03, 2008

    I've read the Odyssey has problems with tranny near the 100K miles mark. Problems that need a rebuild. I've also read that Toyota engines develop sludge inside. So, in the end... they're not as holy as they would want you to believe. Refreshing to read that the domestic team kicks butts in this segment... yet.

  • S.cummings S.cummings on Aug 04, 2009

    Had a 1998 Olds Silouette ran great till 400,000km then the tranny went. They don't make minivans GM or Ford and that is the only 2 types I will buy Dodge is a mussle car brand so I bought a 2004 Ford Freestar with 100'001km for $11,000 Canadian and when this one is toast I will buy a old 2007 being the last year of the minivans. Oh ya Ford recomends changing the tranny filter and fluid every 50,000km