1 2
BlueInGreen - Jon
BlueInGreen - Jon SuperDork
3/6/20 4:11 p.m.

We're expecting a baby which will bring the family roster to: me, wife, 8 year old kid, baby, big dog, and little dog.  My wife's Focus gets smaller every time I look at it and as cool as my big old station wagon is, it's old and too worn out to be a good family car.  Also, it's due for an extended stay in the garage for a significant amount of work if I want it to stay reliable long term.

There's a few options we've considered, and have settled on some sort of 3 row CUV or minivan thing.  The third row would pretty much stay removed/folded but we want to have room for bulky stuff and the dog crate on trips.  Plan number one is to finance a lightly used (or new if we find a great deal) 3 row CUV or minivan thing.

But... I really like not having a car payment.  We could do it comfortably but saving $$ is always good.

So, I enter "<$5k, minivan" into CL out of curiosity and immediately my eyes behold the splendor of a 2003 Astro LT AWD.  Lots of pictures, super clean, just over 183k miles, on the odometer, "1 owner GM retiree, garage kept and babied," "was mostly a highway/travel vehicle."  It looks real nice.  Anyone have insight into how these have held up over time?

Next I found a promising 2001 Sienna with 157 miles and a well-written ad boasting up to date maintenance.  But... it's gold.  And Toyota gold is the beigest of beige so it's not as cool.

There was also a 2005 Kia Sedona that had less miles on it but looked a little bit crustier than the other two.  It's only worth mentioning because it's blue and I'm curious about that generation of Kia minivans.

My wife thinks old cheaper cars cannot be trusted (I disagree, but would a 20 year old Sienna prove her wrong or right?) and believes older vans to be deeply uncool (ok, she's totally off base there.)  But... like I said, we really like not having a car payment.  Also, sliding van doors are the bomb and she knows that.

How far would you trust a <$5000 van with 150,000+ miles on the clock, knowing that it's been well maintained?

We don't need to buy now, but I'd be prepared to pull the trigger if the right vehicle popped up.

Or, should I stop looking at cheap crap and go shop for a nice 5-7 year old awd Ecoboost Flex?  Mmm... booooost.

slefain
slefain PowerDork
3/6/20 4:20 p.m.

I'd give the Astro a pass for this reason: https://www.iihs.org/ratings/vehicle/chevrolet/astro-minivan/2003

1988RedT2
1988RedT2 MegaDork
3/6/20 4:23 p.m.

Low-mileage examples of the last Mazda MPV's would likely serve you well.  My '05 has 178,000 miles on it, and I still see a good many driving around.  Should be well under your budget also.

logdog
logdog UltraDork
3/6/20 4:26 p.m.

Is it going to be her new daily driver?  If so, remember- If momma ain't happy, ain't nobody happy.

Dusterbd13-michael
Dusterbd13-michael MegaDork
3/6/20 4:26 p.m.

Had an astro with over 300k as a delivery van. It was rock solid reliable garbage. 

 

Buy a mazda or caravan. 

clutchsmoke
clutchsmoke UltraDork
3/6/20 4:35 p.m.

Flex Ecoboost.

Grizz
Grizz UberDork
3/6/20 4:40 p.m.

Get a caravan and enjoy flat floors when you need them with minimal effort

mr2s2000elise
mr2s2000elise Dork
3/6/20 4:46 p.m.

Sienna hands down. 
 

I DD a gold 2001 vehicle myself with my kids. Bulletproof reliability. 205k miles 

Duke
Duke MegaDork
3/6/20 4:48 p.m.
clutchsmoke said:

Flex Ecoboost.

In theory I love those things, but sliding doors trumps swing doors in back. 
 

dj06482
dj06482 UltraDork
3/6/20 4:50 p.m.

In that price range, I'd be looking hard at Siennas is colors other that gold.

BlueInGreen - Jon
BlueInGreen - Jon SuperDork
3/6/20 5:20 p.m.
slefain said:

I'd give the Astro a pass for this reason: https://www.iihs.org/ratings/vehicle/chevrolet/astro-minivan/2003

 

Oof. Well that’s something.

John Welsh
John Welsh Mod Squad
3/6/20 5:23 p.m.

Back in Jan my wife and I came very close to trading in her 2010 Mazda 5 for a Lincoln MKT Eco

If you might be interested in a 2010 Mazda5, Sport, automatic... We bought it new as a late model in Feb 2011.  In the early years it was our road-trip car and saw some miles.  Later, it has become just my wife's DD and her commute as a school teacher is now 3 miles.  It has 71k miles.  They are not big (which is nice for DD duties) but I added a roof rack which increases the cargo for when you need it.  It has carried two kids in car seats a whole lot of times!  

$5k is the absolute lowest I could go.  Includes the roof rails but the box was always borrowed from a friend.

If it helps, I could walk you through how to finance the entire amount through PenFed at 2.99% for 3 yrs = $145 per month

 

If looking for an underappreciated (and therefore under valued) vehicle in the 3rd row space, look for a Ford Taurus X.   First developed at the Ford Freestar, the Freestar has a CVT trans which has a horrible reputation.  Later, it got a conventional auto trans and was renamed the Taurus X.  Later the Taurus X got updated sheet metal and you know that as the Ford Flex.  Sadly, the Taurus X was before the Ecoboost so just a NA V6  

Real sample: '08 w/123k asking $4k

If you are wondering if they last, the only two other Taurus X within 200 miles of me are: 240k miles or 209k miles

BlueInGreen - Jon
BlueInGreen - Jon SuperDork
3/6/20 5:25 p.m.
logdog said:

Is it going to be her new daily driver?  If so, remember- If momma ain't happy, ain't nobody happy.

Truth! Although depending on what we end up with it could be my driver that we use when the whole family is going somewhere.

Javelin
Javelin MegaDork
3/6/20 5:26 p.m.

I also have a Mazda5 for sale, though with stupid mods because I'm weird.

John Welsh
John Welsh Mod Squad
3/6/20 5:48 p.m.

My wife doesn't drive the 71k mile Mazda5 much any more because she really likes the 200k mile Sumo Wrestler, Montero that I picked up a couple of years back.  

These Monteros are slow but stout and get crappy mpg. Rated to tow 5,000lbs!  Have a 3rd row. 

Damn!  sweet 85k Montero but a big price.  

Another low miles example 

drainoil
drainoil Dork
3/6/20 5:54 p.m.

As having once owned one, I to will vouch for the Mazda5. A great family vehicle if you have no more than 2 children. The only knock I have on them (Mazda in general) is the body rust that seem to prematurely develop where road salt is regularly used. 

mr2s2000elise
mr2s2000elise Dork
3/6/20 6:05 p.m.
Javelin said:

I also have a Mazda5 for sale, though with stupid mods because I'm weird.

I am curious why yours hasn't sold. Yours is a great example.

Mine is the twin of yours. Exact colour. Mine was the Touring. Not sure if yours is sport or not.  Mine had the bilstein shocks and MS3 wheels. Otherwise stock. I saw your ad, I posted mine after you. Took me 8 days to sell mine. Got exactly what I was asking. You are asking less than me too.  We had owned ours 9.7 years. 

Javelin
Javelin MegaDork
3/6/20 6:29 p.m.
mr2s2000elise said:
Javelin said:

I also have a Mazda5 for sale, though with stupid mods because I'm weird.

I am curious why yours hasn't sold. Yours is a great example.

Mine is the twin of yours. Exact colour. Mine was the Touring. Not sure if yours is sport or not.  Mine had the bilstein shocks and MS3 wheels. Otherwise stock. I saw your ad, I posted mine after you. Took me 8 days to sell mine. Got exactly what I was asking. You are asking less than me too.  We had owned ours 9.7 years. 

Mine has been for sale for *checks ad* about 6 hours. 

BlueInGreen - Jon
BlueInGreen - Jon SuperDork
3/6/20 6:43 p.m.

My grandparents have a 5. I need to take a close look at how much room is in there with the back seat folded. I really like them.

BlueInGreen - Jon
BlueInGreen - Jon SuperDork
3/6/20 6:51 p.m.

In reply to Javelin :

I'll be honest, you're the reason I want an Ecobooost Flex right now ;)

mr2s2000elise
mr2s2000elise Dork
3/6/20 8:52 p.m.
Javelin said:
mr2s2000elise said:
Javelin said:

I also have a Mazda5 for sale, though with stupid mods because I'm weird.

I am curious why yours hasn't sold. Yours is a great example.

Mine is the twin of yours. Exact colour. Mine was the Touring. Not sure if yours is sport or not.  Mine had the bilstein shocks and MS3 wheels. Otherwise stock. I saw your ad, I posted mine after you. Took me 8 days to sell mine. Got exactly what I was asking. You are asking less than me too.  We had owned ours 9.7 years. 

Mine has been for sale for *checks ad* about 6 hours. 


 

my apologies. I mixed you up with Chandler 

DeadSkunk  (Warren)
DeadSkunk (Warren) PowerDork
3/6/20 9:19 p.m.

I've had two Astros. First one went 250K before my son totaled it. Second one got traded for my new Canyon and it had 248K on it. They were great for hauling the family around, pulling the race car, runs to the lumber yard, what have you. The only reason GM stopped building them was because of uprated crash standards that it couldn't meet. Sales remained decent right up to the end for a reason...the thing was as dependable as gravity and right-sized for the time.

https://www.facebook.com/marketplace/item/2739411042833424/    Only one winter on this one.

dropstep
dropstep UltraDork
3/6/20 10:16 p.m.

Get the wife what she wants and live happily. I tried the cheap old SUV route and while reliable it wasn't what she wanted and she hated driving it. That's why she has the escape (I won part of that argument and we have a 12 2wd). As much as I would rather she drive a 78 bronco it's a lot easier this way. Some points aren't worth proving 

1988RedT2
1988RedT2 MegaDork
3/7/20 8:16 a.m.
dropstep said:

Get the wife what she wants and live happily. I tried the cheap old SUV route and while reliable it wasn't what she wanted and she hated driving it. That's why she has the escape (I won part of that argument and we have a 12 2wd). As much as I would rather she drive a 78 bronco it's a lot easier this way. Some points aren't worth proving 

There is much wisdom here.

Antihero
Antihero SuperDork
3/7/20 9:47 a.m.

Aerostars are stupid cheap nowdays, they come with the very reliable 3.0 (or so everyone says I have no personal experience) or the 4.0 of which I have 3 cars and many hundreds of thousands of miles on them.

 

The extended ones are AWD usually and very roomy too

1 2
Our Preferred Partners
y8pD46H5TXersyRNZxgh7MsGJUjqONr2Bs6O6BByIdVMFcTMDjaeiWdOevVWNLpd