By on July 13, 2018

It’s best to just admit it: I have van envy. The educated among you will know that van envy, like many other communicable diseases, comes in a few forms. There’s Van Envy A, which is the traditional desire to have a boxy vehicle of some sort in the immediate vicinity for carrying children and accomplishing household tasks; this virus is typically found in the water supply of single-family homes. Van Envy B is indicated by repeated involuntary exclamations of “dajiban!” You catch that from accidental subculture immersion.

Van Envy MTB is when you can’t stop thinking about fitting out a fresh new Transit with a toolbox and internal bicycle mounts so you can take a quick trip to Ray’s Bike Park in Cleveland — or maybe Moab. The most virulent and damaging strain of the disease is Van Envy IG, which manifests in a gnawing sense of envy regarding attractive twenty-something couples who rootlessly travel the West holding drum circles and making love in converted high-roof Sprinters, subsisting on nothing but their income from selling woven bracelets at street fairs and an eight-figure trust fund.

Today’s question comes from someone who is suffering from precisely none of that. Instead, he has another condition. One marked by eroding telomere chains, drying skin, and a growing desire to watch Matlock. Chances are you have it too, although it might not be as severe.


Matthew writes,

Hey Jack,
Like you I’m getting old, but I’m a bit farther along, staring down the barrel at Social Security age. I have a lot of joint pain and think I’m going to let my Outback wagon go. It used to be high enough now it isn’t… It might be time for a minivan. $35,000 or less, going to buy it new, need to get ten years out of it, maybe a bit more. If they’re all the same except for reliability, I guess maybe the Toyota is the one. Am I wrong?

This was actually a pretty long email, but it covered some other topics that aren’t directly related to vans. I get the sense that Matthew is a pretty self-sufficient fellow, which is why he isn’t looking at, say, an Encore or BMW X3. He likes the idea of having the space behind the driver’s seat.

There’s a school of thought that says, basically: minivans are refrigerators, buy the one that lasts longest for the least money. Which, as Matthew intuits, would almost certainly be the Toyota Sienna, which puts clear distance between itself and the next most likely choice, the Honda Odyssey, by virtue of having a more respectable transmission supplier. In Honda’s defense, the company has made some nontrivial commitments to improvement in the decade or so since the era of the glass-gearbox Odysseys and Acura TLs, up to and including the creation of a dedicated transmission plant in northeastern Ohio. (Insiders call it HTM, in case you’re curious.)

With that said, you’d be a fool to bet against the long-term durability of the infamous Swagger Wagon from Toyota. It’s a proven performer in its current and all previous iterations. Just call up an UberXL in any major city if you want proof of that. It’s fit for purpose. There’s nothing wrong with it. Even the price is right; when a friend of mine went shopping for one last year I was frankly amazed at how much Sienna you can get for a transaction price of under $30k.

Ah, but let’s take a moment and view Matthew for what he is: a fellow who very well might be buying his last car. Any time you have someone in their sixties talking about getting a decade-plus out of a purchase, it’s a fair bet that they aren’t planning to replace it with a Huracan at the age of seventy-eighty. I think Matthew is entitled to a little surprise-and-delight, even at the expense of resale value or some additional maintenance expenses down the road.

For that reason and a few others beside, I’m kind of sweet on the idea of a loaded-up Chrysler Pacifica. The new model hasn’t been totally trouble-free on debut, and I’m fully aware of its likely deficiencies in service life compared to a Sienna, but do me a favor if you have time: open up the doors of both a Pacifica and a Sienna and have a seat for a few minutes. The Sienna is all Playskool knobs and wide open spaces of undifferentiated light-texture plastics, but the Pacifica has gloss and polish and chrome and, perish the thought, a bit of actual grown-up design in the thing.

The Toyota looks like what it is: a durable box for unruly children, now entering its second decade of existence without much change. The Pacifica, by contrast, is a distinctly new ride, and it has just a smattering of ’76 Cordoba, a touch of glamour. It’s also a bit sharper and more rewarding to drive. Put it this way: if you were going to choose a minivan for a cross-country trip and you didn’t have to pay for it, a sane person would almost certainly choose an optioned-up Pacifica over all the other contenders.

When you get right down to it, the whole Van Envy thing is really a manifestation of the wish to have a little more excitement and adventure in our lives. If we have imagination, we see ourselves going somewhere and doing something in a van. Matthew is also on a journey, although he might not think of it that way. He’s rounding third base on the home run of life. Why not have a little pleasure out of the trip’s final leg?

[Image: Fiat Chrysler Automobile]

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148 Comments on “Ask Jack: A Van for No Reasons?...”


  • avatar
    gmichaelj

    Buy the Pacifica, best looking and most American of the bunch. I had a 96 T&C and it was very reliable up to 240k.

    • 0 avatar
      deanst

      The only one not made in America is the most American? Donald trump would not approve…

      • 0 avatar
        gmichaelj

        That’s because Trump is not too bright – he doesn’t understand the difference between the approximate 30% of sales price that goes to supporting overhead in Michigan (or Japan) vs the approximate 4% that goes to paying workers at the final assembly plant for labor in Canada (or Ohio).

        But that’s ok, the Canadians do:

        http://www.unifor.org/sites/default/files/attachments/977-labour_costs_in_vehicles_0.pdf

        • 0 avatar
          Jack Baruth

          The question is: what creates the most social good? Paying the “overhead” white-collar workers, or paying the assembly-line people?

          This country is now twenty years into an experiment of what happens when you send every single living-wage unskilled-labor job overseas. How’s it going?

          • 0 avatar
            PrincipalDan

            Jack’s statement is why I would be happier buying a vehicle assembled in an American factory by a foreign company than buying an “American” car assembled in a factory in some other country.

          • 0 avatar
            gmichaelj

            So is the blue collar worker in Ohio “worth” more than the white collar secretary in Michigan?

            Also, in Econ, they talk about a multiplier effect for money spent. The money doesn’t stop with the assembly foreman, the secretary, or the overpaid Exec, they spend their earnings at the grocery store, or pay for a home improvement, and that money in turn gets spent (hopefully for American goods).

            “This country is now twenty years into an experiment of what happens when you send every single living-wage unskilled-labor job overseas.” – not well, which is why I support the tariffs, while I prioritize buying American-branded products. Hopefully the tariffs will motivate US companies to re-shore.

          • 0 avatar
            Lie2me

            The thing is most people can figure out if their car is “American” by design, but few people know where their car is built

          • 0 avatar
            JohnTaurus

            I wonder who employs more, and/or spends more, in America: Chrysler/Dodge/Jeep/Ram or Toyota/Lexus?

          • 0 avatar
            gmichaelj

            “I wonder who employs more, and/or spends more, in America: Chrysler/Dodge/Jeep/Ram or Toyota/Lexus?”

            Good luck finding that financial information anywhere. I’m gonna go Ockham’s Razor on that, and say its’ Fiatsler. BTW, I’m amending my 30% above down to 25% given they are owned by Foreigners.

          • 0 avatar
            Lou_BC

            “This country is now twenty years into an experiment of what happens when you send every single living-wage unskilled-labor job overseas. How’s it going?”

            If that is truly the case then why recommend the Pacifica?
            It isn’t built in the USA.

          • 0 avatar
            Big Al from Oz

            Um….Jackie, where do you think most of the jobs went? And why some jobs off shored?

            You gotta be smarter than Trump. You are embarrassing yourself attempting to be a populist.

            Most jobs were lost to automation and the jobs offshored are no longer viable (competitive) in the US due to the advanced stage of the US economy.

            So, with your view why are doctors not working as kitchen hands? The same reason jobs are off shored. Doctors skills and income makes it unviable.

            US manufacturing output has increased as jobs disappeared.

            So, stop with your nonsense, or go out and get a job at $7.60 an hour.

          • 0 avatar
            Peter Gazis

            Jack Baruth

            Just buy a Buick Enclave. The vehicles is designed built and tested in the U.S.

    • 0 avatar
      DeadWeight

      Due to the strategy I’ve implemented over the last few months, this is the 1st essay/article/written musing by either Baruth Brother that -‘as nest I can tell – contains no political partisanship digs, antagonism, or other incendiary remarks, overt or stealthy, designed to intentionally inflame passions, sew division, and foment bitter acrimony and bickering in the comments section,

      I, however, can’t take all the credit for this fortunate turn, or even most of the credit, as many here have done as much or more to shut such antics down, so thanks to all of you who have successfully helped in this endeavor.

      TTAC is a much better place as a result.

  • avatar
    Sub-600

    There’s also a school of thought that says a minivan should come with a t-shirt that reads: Life Has Kicked My Ass. Matthew, find a pre-owned Durango with the 5.7L.

    • 0 avatar
      PrincipalDan

      Pre-owned… Jeezus I’m willing to give Chrysler a try but I’ll take new and buy a little bit of extra powertrain warranty.

      Which is way outside his budget to get say a Durango R/T.

    • 0 avatar
      deanst

      I suspect the wisdom of his years on earth has allowed him to progress beyond giving a damn about what others think.

    • 0 avatar
      gtem

      No better show of virility and sexual prowess than piloting a van full of your kids :P

      • 0 avatar
        Arthur Dailey

        @Gtem that is 100% correct. Driving a van full of your progeny is irrefutable evidence that you are indeed virile.

      • 0 avatar
        bullnuke

        Nothing wrong with that sentiment, gtem. Drove vans from ’72 to ’92, six kids, all seats full most of the time. Even proudly drove a 7-passenger Mits Expo SP (later my wife’s) from ’92 to ’05 though less full as my spawn aged out.

      • 0 avatar
        threeer

        GTEM, yep…I’m pretty secure in my manhood driving around our 2016 Grand Caravan R/T. Three years ago, my wife and I were just coming back from being stationed in Saudi Arabia and contemplating life together (finally) as an empty-nest couple. Of course, as the joke goes…tell God YOUR plans! Just before Christmas of 2015, we found ourselves piloting the better half’s Scion tC to Michigan from Alabama to pick up our (then) 9-year old niece. Her mother, my sister-in-law, was in full meltdown mode and we genuinely feared for the future of our niece. Long story short, by the summer of 2016, these two empty-nesters had adopted and now had a 10-year old daughter. Our daughter has a true gift with animals, and has taken to assisting in dog rescue runs, while also showing dogs. So…a two-door Scion tC and a 12-year old Mitsubishi Lancer Sportback Ralliart just weren’t going to cut it. While home from deployment last Christmas, we made the plunge and bought our 2016 Grand Caravan. She ain’t sexy, but it’s dang-near the easiest vehicle I’ve ever gotten in and out of (no cracks now, I’m only 48!), has plenty of power with 285 HP and those stow-n-go seats. Oh, the things we can carry when all four seats are down behind the driver’s seat. Do I somebody still want something much less practical for a “Sunday afternoon in the country” car? Absolutely. But for now, I genuinely enjoy driving the van and am amazed at its capability…stereotypes and all.

      • 0 avatar
        Lou_BC

        “No better show of virility and sexual prowess than piloting a van full of your kids :P”

        Dodge had a commercial playing up that very angle with the GC.

      • 0 avatar
        spookiness

        Virility and fertility are different things.

    • 0 avatar
      baconator

      If you really need to tow something, then the Durango. But if you need to *haul* stuff, the Pacifica is way more spacious *and* more comfortable. If all you want is a Hemi and a rumbling exhaust, then really the Challenger is the best wrapper for that candy bar. (I have no good reason to buy an SRT-392 6-speed in that extroverted green color, but I may have to make one up before they get discontinued by the Fun Police.)

  • avatar
    ajla

    I don’t have an opinion on which van is “best”, but making 10+ year purchase decision on the basis of glossy finishes and better plasti-chrome is the kind of thing that leads someone to own multiple Volkswagens.

  • avatar
    Sloomis

    The Pacifica is good looking for sure, and no doubt nice to drive. Certainly all the borrowed and rental Chrysler/Dodge minvans I’ve driven over the years were. As long as you’re happy replacing the transmission every 40,000 miles or so…

    • 0 avatar
      lost1

      I have driven Dodge Caravans or Grand Caravans (15 of them) since 1988 a new one every 2 years or so with 80 to 100,000 miles on them and have never had a transmission problem. The older ones were not perfect but the 2010 and up have only needed oil changes and tires and brakes. I now drive a 2018 Dodge Grand Caravan company vehicle and just purchased a 2018 Chrysler Pacifica Touring L plus.

      • 0 avatar
        Big Al from Oz

        lost1,
        A fews years back I had a Caravan and Plymouth equivalent as a work hauler for my guys.

        I really thought it sucked when required to move 6 adults. I didn’t like it.

        It was okay with 4 adults, but it felt cramped. It needed a torquer V6.

  • avatar
    Lie2me

    “and it has just a smattering of ’76 Cordoba”

    Rich Corinthian leather or no deal

    • 0 avatar
      Sub-600

      “Cordoba, as fine an automobile as I am an actor” – Ricardo Montalban

      • 0 avatar
        Arthur Dailey

        I truly appreciated Jack writing/including that line.

        Unless you were in the market in 1976 you truly do not appreciate the impact the Cordoba made.

        And I agree with much of what Jack wrote but not his conclusion. If I was leasing or intending to own the van for less than 6 years I would go with the Pacifica.

        But for a ‘retiree’ owning/operating an older vehicle that requires constant time in the shop or that is unreliable can be a real hazards. When you purchase your ‘last vehicle’ you truly want something that will drive faithfully, until you no longer can. Hence the Sienna is the optimal choice.

        • 0 avatar
          geozinger

          @Arthur Dailey: I really appreciate that Jack included that line, too. Especially considering it was from before his time. Additionally, you are 100% correct about the impact of the Cordoba. There had been PLCs before, but the ‘Doba arrival accelerated the whole trend and made it mainstream.

          Now, if the Pacifica can do the same for minivans, that would be impressive.

      • 0 avatar
        Lie2me

        Hey, you try working with a midget (sorry, little person) who gets all the attention for screaming “Da plane, da plane” and see how you like it. I should get an Academy Award simply for not strangling the little bastard…

        -Ricardo ;-)

  • avatar
    2drsedanman

    Vans have all the attributes buyers say they want (plenty of headroom, good sight lines, easy ingress/egress, tons of room, rides good, gets decent gas mileage, etc) until you tell them it is a van. They are excellent road trip vehicles. I think they work best if you have a second vehicle to supply you with the few things the van lacks. I find myself liking the van even more since buying my Miata a few months back. As much as I like a fun, manual shift, good handling car, I wouldn’t want to drive it all the time. Having both of these is the sweet spot for me, automotively speaking.

  • avatar
    gtem

    If ultimate durability is the goal then yes a Sienna is probably the safe bet. Although I’m kind of wondering about Aisin’s new transverse 8 speed automatic. I’m under the impression that it is a DCT design?

    I had a rental Pacifica Touring-L (heated leather, smaller wheels with fat tires, more basic uConnect) with 42k rental miles on it and just about fell in love. Gobbles up Midwestern interstate at a brisk pace while still returning damn near 30mpg. I kept doing roll-on acceleration tests leaving construction zones, the Pentastar is a lusty, revvy beast and the 9 speed in my rental was well behaved and responsive. The way you sit in it and the way it handles is much more like a car than a Grand Caravan of the past. I really liked the interior materials and design as well. My rental’s only issue was creaky rear doors, apparently a common problem on many minivans and solved with some silicone grease.

  • avatar
    TideLife

    Pretty sure I’m the current belt holder for Nerd Van Life. Through a series of twists and turns, my wife has a 2014 30th Anniversary Chrysler T&C in Granite Crystal Metallic, while mine is a 2014 Dodge Grand Caravan 30th in ….Granite Crystal Metallic. I like to refer to them as Air Force 1 and Air Force 2, or maybe, Thunder and Lightning.
    Should I trade the Dodge for something bigger, i.e., Transit, Sprinter, etc.? Join the ranks of the normal with a trade for a Pickup? Or, given the 3 younger-ish kids, and the no debt on these rides, continue wearing the Nerd Van Life Belt?

    • 0 avatar
      dal20402

      Buy a bigger van only if you’re planning to have more kids.

      • 0 avatar
        TideLife

        I’ve been lurking/reading on here a while, and am a big fan of the B&B, and particularly folks like you dal20402. I tend to think the same way. While more space would be nice, including having an ability to possibly overnight in a van that could extend our range on trips, the likelihood of that really happening is pretty low. Given that, the current vans really do complete the jobs quite well. Spending more money to look cooler has never really worked for me anyway. Thanks for the advice.

        • 0 avatar
          dal20402

          Thank you!

          There are downsides to the big vans as well. They are big enough that they don’t fit in many parking spots and too tall to fit in a lot of (personal and parking) garages. I think you have to be certain you want one before they make sense.

  • avatar
    cdotson

    The Sienna was all-new for MY2011, so it’s still a wee bit out from it’s second decade. My in-laws’ 2011 Sienna XLE has had numerous charging system issues (total failures) in it’s 85k miles or less. Which is fun when your power steering is electric and you’re limping a van to the dealer with a dead battery and dying alternator. My Ram 1500 didn’t pull that even once until past 190k (and hydraulic PS FTW); their van’s done it at least twice that I had to get involved with in half the mileage.

    A co-worker fully embraced his Van Envy MTB in precisely the manner described. Fuel pump failure at 12k resulting in a week at the dealer, but he convinced his wife they’d keep the van.

    I’m still debating an NV3500 to tow what Suburbans can with more payload and interior room at a lower price, but talk about playskool interior…

    Odysseys drive better than Siennas IMHO. Even the GrandCaravan is a better drive than a Sienna so I’d hope the Pacifica compares favorably. As a rule minivans are the least reliable vehicle of their respective manufacturers. Evidence I’ve seen holds this to be true of Toyota and Honda without qualification. FCA appears to be doing a fair bit better with their minivans that their more, ah, marinara-infused offerings.

    • 0 avatar
      JohnTaurus

      When thinking about driving for Uber/Lyft, I was reading on some ride-share forums and more than once, I read how troublesome a Sienna can be. Several people stated it was the worst vehicle they owned, and strongly recommended looking elsewhere. Most stated that a Caravan is no worse, yet costs much less.

      I wasn’t considering a minivan at all, but I was reading up on what worked for others and what didn’t. Honestly, the Kia Sedona got a lot more praise and less ridicule than the Sienna, but most agreed that the Caravan worked best as an Uber whore.

      • 0 avatar
        Arthur Dailey

        For what they are worth a great many reports (and no not JD Power) rank the Sienna very highly regarding reliability and longevity. Not so the Caravan.

        https://www.consumerreports.org/car-reliability-owner-satisfaction/10-best-cars-to-get-to-200000-miles-and-beyond/

        http://www.thedrive.com/sheetmetal/17512/here-are-the-top-15-cars-people-keep-for-15-years-or-more

        https://www.digitaltrends.com/cars/most-reliable-cars/

        https://cars.usnews.com/cars-trucks/most-reliable-cars-cars-that-last-forever

        https://autowise.com/top-10-longest-lasting-cars/

        Now I am officially fed up with this website. Cannot abide having to try to log in multiple times. Somebody please fix it!!!!!!!!!!

      • 0 avatar
        markf

        Strange. I have a 2011 Sienna XLE with 92K miles and have never had a single issue or mechanical fault. In fact I had the original battery until last month. It didn’t die but I figured I was on borrowed time with a 7-8 y/o battery.

        The only issues I have with it are the hard plastics on the upper door panels, the fact that it eats through tires and a lot of road noise seeps through.. Other than that it is a pretty great van. Great stereo, DVD for the kids, plenty of power and a non-finiky, smooth shifting transmission.

  • avatar
    OzCop

    I bought one of the first Mini Vans available in Central KY back in ’84 when they first came out…Plymouth LE model. Bought it right off the delivery truck, drove it locally for a week, loaded it up with two inlaws, my wife, and all our luggage, and set out on a 5500 mile trip to Sacramento, San Francisco, down the coast highway to LA, to Buena Park and Anaheim, then to Huntington Beach, down highway 101 to Laguna and other coastal towns, then to Las Vegas, to the Grand Canyon, then to Dallas, TX, and back to Lexington, KY. It had the 2.6 Mitsu engine, and the van was a pleasure to drive, even over Colorado mountains, including a juant to the summit of Pikes Peak, from there north to Salt Lake City, while enroute to Sacremento. My father in law even managed to get stopped by the Utah Highway Patrol for speeding.

    That was the first trip we took in that van, and indeed, it took my wife and I back to California a year or so later, and again, performed flawlessly. As a daily driver my wife loved it. I had a take home police car, and she used the van exclusively unless we were traveling. I tried to use it to tow my 86 Omni GLH Turbo autocross car on a 12 ft. steel trailer. It would tow it, but it was slow going up hills.

    In 2007 we had put 55 K miles on it, and the new units were out with the 3.0 Mitsu V6. I felt that could double as a tow vehicle and a daily for her. And it was…worked great. But alas, she tired of mini vans about 6 months later and 3500 miles into the new van. We had not driven it on any trips, just locally, plus towing my GLH from Lexington to Fort Knox and Sharonville, OH autocrossing several times. I sold that van for the same price I paid for it a few months earlier.

    I still hanker for a van sometimes, rather than a pickup truck. The versatility is difficult to deny. But I would want a full size passenger type unit, with towing power, and seats that could be removed for hauling. But I’m too cheap to spring for the cost of a Sprinter Van…

    • 0 avatar
      JohnTaurus

      Sounds you need a Transit with the 3.5L EcoBoost.

      My family came around to the minivan in 1990 when dad bought a new Ford Aerostar. Many, many cross country trips in that van, it was very comfortable and allowed my brother and I to sit apart from each other, thus keeping the bickering to a minimum (impossible in a sedan). My mom loved it so much, she actually cried when it was traded in in 1997. Well over 100k, it had required one power steering pump under warranty, an alternator 5 years later and a transmission pan gasket a year after that (good excuse to change the fluid/filter). It still had the original brakes on it when it was traded in. When it was in the shop for the transmission service, they were asked to check the brakes. The technician said that there was 80% life left and recommended no service at that time.

      I have since owned a few Aerostars, all older and higher mileage, but they served me pretty well.

      • 0 avatar
        Lie2me

        Aerostars were great, had a ’90 Edie Bauer XL loaded with 1990 tech, because kids and cris-crossed the country a couple of times. Being body on frame truck based you’d be hard pressed to kill one, also available as a 4X4 for extra fun. The only mini-van I ever owned or liked

        • 0 avatar
          Sub-600

          You were okay in an Aerostar as long as you didn’t drive into the desert, those things had serious a/c issues. Ford was contemplating providing owners with blocks of dry ice that they could place behind the dashboard.

          • 0 avatar
            Lie2me

            Never heard of that issue nor did I ever have a problem with the A/C and I lived in Atlanta, so it was on all the time

          • 0 avatar
            JohnTaurus

            We lived in the deep south (including in Dallas, Ga, not too far from Hot-lanta) and drive through the SW deserts many times in ours, don’t remember having a difficult time keeping cool.

            But, they (like every Ford ever, but no other make) all burned up in a firey blaze with 1,000 miles on the odometer, so I could be mistaken. I heard Ford was giving out jugs of water for passengers to carry around to douse the flames when they found themselves on fire.

  • avatar
    Hellenic Vanagon

    In the U.S.A. a, foreign, van won qualitatively, inspirationally: the VW SYNCRO VANAGON.

    Quantity is important but this case belongs to exceptions.

    The Syncro Heresy

  • avatar
    Maymar

    How has the current generation of Sedona been holding up? They’re a little nicer inside than the Sienna, and $35k should get a pretty nicely equipped one.

  • avatar
    dal20402

    If the Sienna is too boring and plain (which it is), I think I’d rather roll the dice on a Pacifica Hybrid than a gas Pacifica with the dreaded ZF 9-speed. The Hybrid has a Toyota-style transmission with a single planetary gearset that should be quite reliable. It’s got temperature management for the battery so the battery should be reasonably durable. It’s actually cheaper to buy than the gas Pacifica with comparable equipment after you take the federal tax credit into account, and if electricity is cheap in your area you’ll also save quite a bit on gas.

    The downside is that you lose Stow ‘n’ Go, which means you have to lift the heavy middle-row seats out of the van if you want to carry really big cargo. (Although for passengers those seats are a lot more comfortable than the Stow ‘n’ Go seats.)

    • 0 avatar
      JohnTaurus

      I agree. I was going to suggest the same thing. The Pacifica hybrid is the best van nobody is talking about (IMO of course). Yes, its expensive, but its a helluva nice van with incredible mileage.

      • 0 avatar
        dal20402

        I have a habit of buying cars and then immediately having life priorities change on me. That’s happened again, and now I’m thinking seriously of flipping my LX570 and getting a PacHy right before the LX’s license tabs expire and I’d be facing a $700 renewal bill.

        • 0 avatar
          30-mile fetch

          From LS460 to LX570 and now to minivan?

          Dal! If the Pacifica were a total box blob like everything else in the minivan field rather, I’d say that’s starting to look like an automotive terminal dive.

          Congrats on the third?

          • 0 avatar
            dal20402

            No, haha, but good guess. This spring (starting a couple months after I bought the LX) we’ve really gotten into e-biking, and we’re thinking we want to go down to one car and add more bikes instead. If we have one car, it must be a PHEV (for complicated but valid reasons), and it must have road-trip capability. Not many cars fit that description and the PacHy is the best value of all of them.

            Also, I think the PacHy may be breaking up minivan stigma a bit. People in rich parts of Seattle have not tended to buy many (if any) minivans, but PacHys have been sprouting like weeds in my area, driven by the same folks who usually have RX450h or MDX in the driveway. I count four of them within five blocks, all bought within the last six months.

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            @Dal

            No Acura?

          • 0 avatar
            dal20402

            28, the Acura’s still on long-term loan to a relative. Still own it, it’s running fine at ~200k miles, and my ability to get it back occasionally would make going down to one car in our garage easier.

            JohnTaurus, so far the potential gains from a private sale haven’t been worth the time and hassle to me, but I double-check that every time. We’ll see how the numbers shake out, if indeed I decide to sell it, which I still might not.

        • 0 avatar
          Lie2me

          Nooo, you have the finest all-purpose vehicle on the planet, anything else would be anti-climatic

          • 0 avatar
            TideLife

            Dal20402, echoing our conversation above, likewise, I’d target the Pacifica Hybrid if/when we get ready to move on from 1 of the 2 FCA vans we have now. Particularly down here in Bama, I don’t see much adoption of them, meaning they may stagnate on lots. Combine that w/the Fed Tax Credit — assuming it doesn’t go away at end of 2018 — and this could be a potentially interesting option come mid-2019. I like the idea of doing the school routine on battery, and would have the other van for the hauling duties with the Stow N Go, which is something we use quite a bit.

        • 0 avatar
          JohnTaurus

          Dal, every time I read PacHy in your posts, I can’t help but jump to this:

          https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Paykan

          LOL good luck on whatever you end up doing. I hey that LX would fetch a pretty good amount on eBay. For some reason, people don’t seem to mind spending way too much on a car when it’s on eBay.

          • 0 avatar
            Lie2me

            Lol, never knew such a vehicle existed

          • 0 avatar
            JohnTaurus

            @Lie2Me,

            I spend way too much time researching oddball cars I’ll likely never set eyes on in the flesh. Just one of the many quirks of yours truly. Lol

            Just for $#¡Г§ and giggles, check out the South African Datsun 140Z and 160Z. You’ll never think of the lowly B210 the same again.

          • 0 avatar
            Lie2me

            Those Datsuns look ok, basic transportation is basic, better looking then that Iranian thing

  • avatar
    geozinger

    At 55, I’m a ways out from retiring, but I am thinking about the next car or two I may buy. I love the idea of BEVs and EREVs, but don’t want to lose the practicality of my van.

    The answer: Pacifica Hybrid.

    Next up: getting my wife to drive it.

    This may take more effort than I thought…

  • avatar
    EMedPA

    Back in 2012 my wife and I test drove a T&C based on Jack’s review here. We also drove a Sienna, which handled worse, was slower, and had exponentially worse visibility from the driver’s seat. We bought the Chrysler, and have put 110k or so on it since then. It has not been perfect, but the drivetrain has never gone wrong, it’s brilliant on long trips, and with seats folded has approximately the same cargo volume as a TARDIS. I bet the OP would thoroughly enjoy driving a Pacifica, and that with routine maintenance it will last as long as he wants to drive it.

  • avatar
    TW5

    I have both Van Envy MTB and Van Envry IG, and it’s probably terminal. A couple of years ago, I was able to drive a Ford Transit Connect cargo van and Ford Transit Passenger Wagon. Epic. Headroom for days. Plenty of room for gear and sleeping quarters for adventure traveling. Both vans are quite underpowered, and neither offers all-wheel-drive, but they always have plenty of cash on the hood.

    Van Envy is real. The question is not to buy or not to buy, but rather which one to buy.

  • avatar
    Johnster

    Minivans like the Odyssey, Sienna and Pacifica usually have surprising amounts of head and leg room and are great for tall drivers.

    The people who drive them (who aren’t parents of young children) tend to be really interesting people without much pretense who do interesting things and they use their minivans for things like antiquing, gardening, and hauling dogs.

  • avatar
    30-mile fetch

    If aching joints are the reason for seeking a new car, STEP ONE is to find the van with the seats, driving position, ergonomics, and step-in ease that works for Matthew. Everything else is irrelevant.

    If both the Toyota and Chrysler are still on the list once that’s settled, then assess your tolerance for repair cost and inconvenience over a 10 year period. If it’s none, get the Sienna and enjoy a sub-7 second run to 60. If it’s some, get the Pacifica in a color you like with the options you like and enjoy the first minivan that actually looks pretty cool.

  • avatar
    srh

    I’m awfully tempted by the Pacifica Hybrid. The downsides: It’s Chrysler. Actually that’s it, as far as I can tell. Otherwise it seems like a great option. But every 10 year old Chrysler product on the road looks at least 20 years old and has depreciation to match. And I’m not sure I’d trust them with a complicated hybrid drivetrain.

  • avatar
    pmirp1

    Buying a minivan = giving up on life.

    You will get no respect from men, and women won’t even look at you. You are the lowest of low in everyday driving.

    Here is my recommendation to the person who wants to buy a miserable minivan, get a Toyota Tacoma. Around 35k. Will last forever. It is sexy. Can fit four people and a lot of stuff.

    Good luck

    • 0 avatar
      dal20402

      You need to hang out around different people.

    • 0 avatar
      threeer

      Sincerely hoping that is sarcasm, as I feel I am far from having “given up on life” since buying the Grand Caravan. Actually, just the opposite. Each time I get in, I am reminded as to WHY I bought it, and it brings me immense joy (the adoption of our daughter). We can haul the three humans and two dogs, plus all of our various stuff together in air-conditioned comfort. Sure, I could have bought a truck and stuck a topper out back over the bed, but I’m not a fan of having the pups exposed to sweltering heat for long drives. I must be hanging out with the wrong people, because most of them appreciate the van rather nicely. And if they don’t, I’m okay with that, too.

      Going after life in my minivan…;)

      • 0 avatar
        geozinger

        @threeer: Good on you man, for taking in your niece and making her your own. I have a great deal of respect for people who can adopt children. If loving your own is a magnitude of one, then loving someone else’s child/children as your own is a magnitude of 10.

        As for the minivan haters, their attitude says more about their position in life than anything else. I know, I used to be one…

    • 0 avatar
      Sub-600

      Actually, “giving up on life” is when you wear sweats everywhere you go.

      • 0 avatar
        TwoBelugas

        I’m not sure I want to be near women who judge me based on what I drive. I don’t give a crap what men think of me since I don’t lean that way(personal choice, you can do as you wish)

        Enjoy the crap ride and cramped seating position of the Tacoma.

        • 0 avatar
          Lie2me

          You don’t want to be around ANYONE who judges you on what you drive, doesn’t matter which way you lean ;-)

          • 0 avatar
            JohnTaurus

            ^100% this.^

            We all have our preferences, be it what gender we are attracted to or what type of vehicle we choose to drive. Anyone who makes judgments about you based on either is not worth your time and you’re better off without them. So long as you’re not hurting yourself or anyone else, don’t base your decisions on what someone else might think. I sure as hell don’t, or I’d be driving a car I dislike just to appease some of the B&B (and dating/seeking someone I’m not attracted to just to appease an admittedly smaller part of the B&B).

    • 0 avatar
      Lie2me

      Careful, pmirp1, maybe it’s the heat, but jokes aren’t going over very well here today, if that wasn’t a joke then it wasn’t very nice :(

      Cars are appliances and should never be considered a means to judge someone else’s life

    • 0 avatar
      Arthur Dailey

      And the stuff in the back will be exposed to the elements, wet or too cold much of the time, slide around and if you put a cap on it, then you are limited in what it will hold. If you don’t then when you park, you are taking a chance that nothing is stolen out of it.

      Pick-ups are like convertible roadsters, perfect when the conditions are just right for them. Otherwise, a minivan is far more practical.

    • 0 avatar
      HaveNissanWillTravel

      The cabin of the Tacoma is made for a Japanese-sized man, not an American man. Test drive one and you’ll understand immediately.

    • 0 avatar
      jack4x

      So when I proudly park my Sienna in between my Viper and my SS, at what point have I given up on my life?

      Minivans are unquestionably the most versatile vehicles available for sale, and among the best values. And I just feel bad for anyone who buys a vehicle based on what they think others think of them. Buy what makes the most sense to you and live your life.

      • 0 avatar
        NoID

        Meh, my fleet consists entirely of vans, one uuuuuge and one miniature. I don’t feel like I’ve given up at all. Of course it helps that I get to scratch the horsepower itch at work…though the motorcycle bug has bitten me lately, and with a 100+ mile round trip every day the fuel economy benefit makes the purchase semi-justifiable.

        Vehicles aside, if you let your stuff define you then you’ve got life all wrong anyways.

        • 0 avatar
          pmirp1

          People who are defending minivans are not being real. Minivans in America = not manly = giving up on life as a man. Are they practical for some purposes? Sure if you want to carry 6-8 kids, they are more practical. That’s it. Otherwise they are good as shuttles.

          But I never talked about practicality. For majority of people, carrying 5-8 people are not important.

          What matters is looking rough and tough. Rugged. Ability (Tacoma has in tons) to go anywhere in 4 wheel model while the mommy mobile is stuck in a mall.

          So to all the minivan defenders and owners, I say stop lying to yourself. Life is short. Get a sports car or a truck (or at worst real body on frame SUV). Any other vehicle form in America doesn’t measure up to people expectations of value, manliness, or practicality.

          Add to that Toyota reliability and lasting for ever, and it is a win win situation.

          • 0 avatar
            Lie2me

            I know you’re trolling, but anyone who gets their self-worth through the car they drive already has some personality deficiencies too complex to address here
            Just for the record, “real men” go to work, pay their bills and take care of their families. They drive what they can afford and what works best for those families and rarely give it a second thought.

          • 0 avatar
            gtem

            Amen Lie2Me.

            Of pmirp1’s entire incoherent and rambling diatribe where does a sports car or pickup truck beat a van for “expectations of value… …or practicality.”

            I’ve got more awesome family trip memories in our two old Mazda MPV vans than in anything else. And in the case of those old solid rear axle based Mazdas, have probably done more offroading and camping trips in them than the statistically average Tacoma will ever see.

          • 0 avatar
            Arthur Dailey

            Please allow me to forward some pertinent ‘life advice’ to @pmirp1 from A Bronx Tale one of the great modern ‘gangster’ and ‘coming of age’ movies.

            “You want to see a real hero? Look at a guy who gets up in the morning and goes off to work and supports his family. That’s heroism.” Lorenzo.

            Sonny gives sound advice, too. One of the things he tells C is that “You cannot live your life on the basis of what other people think, because when the chips are down, nobody really cares. You’re giving them a power they don’t really have.” Sonny

          • 0 avatar
            gtem

            Arthur, great reference from a great movie. It was really cool to see DeNiro play the honest working man in a mob movie, totally unexpected but done superbly.

          • 0 avatar
            threeer

            You know…I was all set to sit down here and wordsmith a crafty response to pmirp1’s diatribe on how unmanly I must be for owning a minivan. Then I took another sip of coffee and decided otherwise.

            The bait was strong in this one…almost hooked me.

          • 0 avatar
            geozinger

            Not feeding the trolls has made my life soooo much better.

  • avatar
    Sub-600

    Law & Order is the new Matlock.

    • 0 avatar
      JohnTaurus

      As with 90% of what you post, I couldn’t disagree more. I’m 36, I grew up watching Matlock and I still watch it today (there are several episodes stored in my DVR for a rainy day). I’ve also enjoyed Perry Mason since they started showing it regularly. I like Murder, She Wrote as well.

      I dislike Law and Order, especially SVU. Its all about sensationalism, and I could not be bothered to subject myself to it.

      A more accurate comparison would be Matlock and NCIS (the original, and New Orleans to some degree).

      • 0 avatar
        Dave M.

        As I’m reading these comments I’m watching the original Law and Order. I know I’ve seen every episode at least 5 times (Green and Fontana are my favorite detective crew); I do not imbibe in any of the other versions of Law and Order because it is just as you said – sensationalism, too dramatic, way too many personal issues. The original was pretty much straightforward, perhaps a few diversions on occasion but nothing over the top.

        That said, my minivan recommendation would be the Sedona. Crossover cockpit with a decent exterior design and extra-long warranty. I’ve not heard of many H-K major malfunctions.

        And Kia is dealing just as strongly as FCA is right now.

  • avatar
    Hellenic Vanagon

    Tom Hanks, “late show”: http://www.vwsyncro.eu/p/blog-page_22.html

  • avatar
    jalop1991

    Jack, Honda may have made strides in its transmissions–well, except for the 9 speed–but they’ve transferred their inabilities in this market space over to the V6 engine, which is…glass.

    Go ahead, research Honda VCM. If you dare.

    I think it’s VERY telling that Honda removed the “Eco” light that tells the driver that his engine is slowly disintegrating.

    Honda’s heavy V6 and turbo and belt-driven CVT cars are all leasemobiles. Anyone pondering a 10+ year relationship with a van, should steer FAR clear from Honda.

    The only Hondas worth looking at are the hybrids using the newer system that debuted in the Accord several years ago. Naturally aspirated 4 cylinder engines and no traditional planetary gearset auto transmissions–it’s the only thing I’d trust from them today.

    • 0 avatar
      Carrera

      My 2006 Pilot with VCM has 180,000 miles. Drives like new, never had a problem with anything. Synthetic oil since new and that’s about it. There’s plenty of old Pilots on the road. I think you’re overexageration quite a bit Jalop

      • 0 avatar
        jalop1991

        And you can find individuals who speak similarly about their 2002 Odyssey/Accord/Acura transmissions. But anecdote =/= data.

        The numbers tell all. And it’s all about the odds, which are EXTREMELY good for the VCM-equipped V6 destroying itself over time. And the question was, what do I do for a long term commitment on a minivan?

        The answer to that question is NOT American Honda Motor Manufacturing.

    • 0 avatar
      johnds

      A corner used car lot near my house in Minnesota has 3 Honda Odyssey’s from 2002-2004. 2 have over 300,000 miles, and 1 has 286,000 miles. They want over $2000 for each of them.

      • 0 avatar
        jalop1991

        Original transmissions?

        The odds are overwhelmingly against that.

        • 0 avatar
          DenverMike

          That’s the downside to minivans. Transmissions and head gaskets. Their drivetrains are fine in the fwd cars they came out of but minivans are used to pull the weight of (actual) light trucks, and are underbuilt for the task.

          Astro vans have a cult following for a reason. And minivans aren’t so “mini” anymore.

          Consumers don’t buy them just for “show”, there’s work to do, except for the Cadillac of minivans.

          • 0 avatar
            jalop1991

            Minivans are conversion vans. Honda’s even using the platform for trucks–and that should scare people, but it doesn’t. Not in the leasemobile world.

            A buddy of mine needed something for his work, but a box van was too much. He discovered, and found one of, the last-gen Astro minivans complete with AWD and the upgraded brakes/suspension and transmission cooling. While he’s not one to do maintenance on his family’s cars–he fixes them as they REALLY break (which means doesn’t run) which causes him more headaches than he’s willing to admit–he knows the Astro is a unicorn that he must take care of AND repair well and promptly, because to replace its functionality will cost much more.

            Curious: what is the “Cadillac” of minivans?

          • 0 avatar
            DenverMike

            This best explains it.

            youtube.com/watch?v=mohoyRj_VpU

            “Get Shorty” reference.

          • 0 avatar
            Lie2me

            Last night I was parked along side a Sienna, a vehicle I normally wouldn’t pay much attention to, but because of this piece I’m suddenly conscience of them and OMG that thing is HUGE. Nothing like Chrysler’s minis of the 80s

    • 0 avatar
      el scotto

      Jalop, watch “Get Shorty”

  • avatar
    HaveNissanWillTravel

    Take a good look at the Nissan Quest. There are plenty of 2017 models just slightly used out there. We are rocking almost 200K on our 2011 SV and we love it.

    The FCA Pacifica looks nice but until they solve the unknown shutting off in traffic issues I’d stay well away.

    • 0 avatar
      JohnTaurus

      They did solve it, and issued a recall early this year for affected 2017 Pacifica models. Evidently it was a fault in the power train control module that incorrectly assessed the situation and caused the engine to stall. A simple reprogram fixed it.

      • 0 avatar
        NoID

        I remember seeing some FCA employee taking an M-plate home for the weekend have this happen to him in traffic on I-75 once. Gave me a good laugh.

        He got going again though, so it was a happy ending.

        My only experiences in the Pacifica have been positive, both as a driver (one long haul to and from Kentucky) and as a passenger (company shuttle.) It’s worlds better than the outgoing Caravan/T&C from a powertrain performance / integration perspective, I can say that much.

  • avatar
    syncro87

    I’d like to have something along the lines of a Promaster City or Transit Connect, but built by Toyota. I’d settle for a next generation Honda Element.

    I think I might be waiting a while…

    • 0 avatar
      JohnTaurus

      So, you want a worse vehicle with a logo on the grille that makes you feel better. Oh, and make that grille take up 90% of the front of the vehicle, with 80% of it blocked off and useless, like a Camry or Sienna.

  • avatar
    DeadWeight

    The one thing that every American, left, right, center, independent should agree on…whomever and of whatever ideology if they care about the fundamental’structure, health and future of America (and our allies)….

    …is that the United States must create a new alliance, with Germany, Japan, South Korea, India, Malaysia, Indonesia, the UK, France, Canada, Spain, Italy, Poland, Australia, Mexico, and others, to complete undercut the ability of China to continue to steal intellectual, military, manufacturing and other proprietary technology, through its unilateral forced Joint Venture State Owned Enterprise system (forcing non-Chinese companies to take on what are essentially Chinese entities that are literal units of the Chinese Government), thus allowing easy theft of technology, processes, and other proprietary information, just to be able to access the Chinese domestic consumer and business market.

    It is imperative that this alliance also insist that China lower any and all tariffs to equivalent reciprocal levels with any trading nation, and in the case of sectors where China attempts to claim that there are national security grounds for imposing higher reciprocal tariffs and/or subsidies, in order to protect and foster domestic nascent industry, that there are legitimate grounds for doing so, from a reasonably prudent person perspective, on par with other trading partners stated cases, as adjudged by a truly independent and multinational organization that shall hear and adjudicate such claims (again, however, the mandated Chinese joint venture partner system must cease immediately and forever).

    Some will claim that what I’ve stated is antagonistic in a way that begs for an inevitable military confrontation with China.

    On the contrary, my plan is aimed at staving off any military confrontation, which is the path that global trade (and Americans trade, in particular) with China has now set us on, and which should be avoided at all costs.

    The world can no longer afford the patently unfair, one-sided, incredibly destructive trade arrangements, and imposed conditions, that China has now engaged in and insisted on, for 30 some years, to the detriment of its trade partners, which has allowed it to massively subsidize its military expansion and other infrastructure build-out, at the direct adverse cost to its trading partners.

    China can not be, and should not be stopped from being an aggressive competitor in the global economy, nor somehow prevented from growing itself wealthier and stronger, but that endeavor must be now pursued fairly, based on its meritocratic ability, and not through theft and cheating, with roughly reciprocal trade policies in place with its trade partners, and it should no longer be conferred the incredibly unfair and preferential treatment that it has enjoyed with major trade partners, especially, since the 80s and 90s.

    Also, to those foreign corporations that invested trillions in building out factories, facilities, plant and capital in China for 30-some years, they should not be allowed to cry foul in the event that trade negotiations continue to deteriorate, thus adversely impacting their Chinese operations and revenue streams; they should now be compelled to face what was a Faustian bargain that they voluntarily entered into with China, as sophisticated entities, and suffer the consequences of what might be their imprudent and unwise interjection of capital into the Chinese mainland.

    • 0 avatar
      Lou_BC

      USA gains global power and projects global power through its military, neighbours, allies, markets and values. You can’t tackle China alone. If you make every other country on the planet your enemy you loose markets, allies, and friendly neighbours cease to be friendly. When that happens, all you have left is military power but you can’t finance that for very long when you’ve turned everyone on the planet against you.

      • 0 avatar
        TwoBelugas

        People keep saying how much the US needs the TPP countries, yet every TPP country’s natives keep wanting to move to the US and the governments keep want the US to buy their stuff.

        How about we just stay friends without all of them moving into our house while we give money to their parents?

        • 0 avatar
          Big Al from Oz

          TwoBelugas,
          Australia and many small nations import more than the US per capita because we don’t have market like the US or even the EU.

          The US isn’t the only country that imports, exports and has a trade deficit. The trade deficit is not that bad.

          What is worse is government debt, because that directly affects your tax rate.

          So if the US goverment debt is 80% of GDP means your debt is between 14 and 16 trillion dollars. If you are paying interest and no principle you need (as tax) find a pile of money to pay interest, no different than paying of a car.

          Trump has cranked up massively US government borrowings, with no real structural changes to pay it down. How do you think he’s been bankrupt in business?

          • 0 avatar
            Sub-600

            Australia Province, as China calls it, imports more per capita than the U.S. or EU because it doesn’t manufacture anything. They mine for the Chicoms and cater to tourists. It’s Bermuda with coal mines.

          • 0 avatar
            Big Al from Oz

            Sub,
            What is wrong with you? Do you have a problem?

            It seems yourself and other Trump Ultra Nationalist revert to drivel, nonsense and offensive behaviour when proven incorrect.

            Why don’t you research how and what countries do? Or, will this make you moe insecure realising there is a world out there that can pretty much match the US?

  • avatar
    RS

    We’ve owned our 2014 Chrysler T&C for about a year now. Bought it used (CPO) from the local FCA dealer. I’ve only had one issue with it so far – oil leak near the oil filter mount. They fixed it under warranty. It’s got 68k on it now. Love the power and economy of the 3.6L. Much better than the 3.8L that was in our 2010.

    I love the utility of it – especially when reworking our deck railing this summer. 8′ deck boards go in with no issues. 10′ boards will go in but hang over the front seat/center console. A couple 12′ boards will go in at an angle with one end on the dash – and still close the gate. It’s amazing what will pack in there with the stow-n-go.

  • avatar
    Acd

    I had the misfortune to rent a Sienna a few years ago and thought it was a modern day Oldsmobile and not in a good way. It was big, floaty, handled like a small office building and full of cheesy plastic pieces lining its interior.

    The Pacifica will infuriate you when it breaks, which hopefully won’t be all that often. But the Sienna will bore you to death and generally make you miserable every time you drive it. Buy the Pacifica (and an extended warranty) and enjoy.

    • 0 avatar
      Lou_BC

      @Acd – I’d rather live with a bland but reliable minivan. I like the Sienna and don’t mind how it drives. 3-4 trips a year to the dealership isn’t my idea of a viable compromise.

  • avatar
    NoID

    Jack, get a used Ford E-350 12-pass with the removable benches, and never look back. I’ve never gotten more utility out of a vehicle in my life.

    Once you’ve got that, stop delaying and get yourself that Hellcat Challenger in some obscene color. It makes even more sense now that the 707 HP version can be newly described as the garden-variety model.

  • avatar
    Big Al from Oz

    Well, last year in Seattle I had a Sienna, Sedona and some Nissan van (piece of sh!t).

    For driving the Sienna was acceptable, a close runner up the Sedona and way behind the Nissan thing (the Nissan was that poor I don’t wan’t to recall its name).

    Interior comfort would go to the Sienna, again the Sedona second and the Nissan thing third.

    Interior quality in the same order as above, but gadgets went to the Kia, then Toyota and the Nissan thing last.

    The Sienna was the best of these 3 vans with the Kia worth a quick look to show how well the Toyota performs. For a laugh go and take the Nissan thing for a drive.

    • 0 avatar
      gtem

      The Quest is largely recognized by everyone (auto journalists, the B&B here) as having the nicest put together and best quality interior of the bunch (its Japanese market roots make this so). The Sienna is almost unanimously considered to have the cheapest interior on the market. I would be curious to hear what exactly makes you think the Quest has the worst interior quality and Sienna the best?

      • 0 avatar
        Big Al from Oz

        The Quest interior appeared more commercial than the Sienna or Kia.

        The Toyota was the most “car like”.

        Also ergonomics of the Toyota was better. The Sienna I drove considerably longer as it was my primary vehicle.

        These were rentals from Enterprise. I don’t know the vehicles ages or did I care as I found them to be quite boring. At least the Hemi Ram I had was rear wheel drive and morecexciting to drive. Especially in the constanly wet Pacific NW.

        Oh, this is the impression that I remember.

        The front skirt fell off the front of the Toyota, but I think my guys must of hit a snow bank or drift when they went to Mt Barker (that’s how I ended up with the Ram, which was nice).

  • avatar
    Jason Raburn

    I have a 2010 Dodge Ram Laramie crew cab truck and a 2012 Jeep Grand Cherokee SRT8…

    I also have a 2008 Dodge Grand Caravan SE with those weird swivel and go seats… And 200,000 miles on it. I bought it from an auction as a bank repo to use as a little work van. It looks runs and drives like a brand new van and I find myself driving it more than the Jeep or the Ram pickup!

    I think that minivans should make a comeback, they are certainly the easiest to get in and out of and to park. I just don’t understand the hate that they get. Of course I’m not getting rid of my Jeep or my truck either.

  • avatar
    Eliyahu

    Surprised no one suggested a Honda CR-V. No doubt mini-vans are very cool, but the compact SUVs serve many of the same functions, but with better handling and gas mileage. If it has to be a mini-van, the Honda has a nice built in vacuum cleaner.

    • 0 avatar
      gtem

      It’s an entirely different scale of utility and interior room. For some the “compact” CUV does just fine, especially with the 35+ cu ft cargo holds many in the class have these days, but I think once it’s 2 kids, plus maybe a dog or something, for long trips the minivan’s room and comfort can’t be beat.

  • avatar
    Carroll Prescott

    Buy a Ford C-Max – I also have issues getting into some cars – this vehicle was easy to get in and out of and has loads of room – plus you can steal one for song these days since they aren’t selling.

  • avatar
    phlipski

    I just finished cross shopping the big 3 minivan makers (Chrysler/Honda/Toyota) and put my money down on a new Pacifica. The Sienna’s interior is clearly dated when sitting next to the Odyssey and Pacifica. The captains chairs in the second row when optioned right are pretty sweet though – they slide back and have a foot rest. I can see 4 “mature” people with their luggage driving around in that thing and it’s like a private jet.

    For folks with kids it comes down to the Honda and Pacifica, and that stow and go is hard to ignore. I’ll mostly keep those seats up but that floor trunk space is amazing for road trips. For the same feature set I picked up a Pacifica for about $5k less than the comparable Honda. I couldn’t convince the wife to get behind that blacked out s-line trim on the Pacifica, but damn is it NICE!!!


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