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John Welsh (Moderate Supporter)
John Welsh (Moderate Supporter) Mod Squad
7/1/20 8:33 p.m.

In reply to trigun7469 :

How do you feel about the Ford Flex?  

Not as big a cargo area as a minivan but exceptional at transporting people. The Flex came out in 2010 and prices are getting lower but the real sweet spot might be a '08 & '09 Ford Taurus X.  

See my postings in this ole thread

 

Real samples: 

https://pittsburgh.craigslist.org/ctd/d/washington-2008-ford-taurus-all-wheel/7148346144.html

https://www.facebook.com/marketplace/item/844221226103163

https://www.facebook.com/marketplace/item/3352568901428116

 

codrus (Forum Supporter)
codrus (Forum Supporter) UberDork
7/2/20 3:13 a.m.
Ian F (Forum Supporter) said:

But they lose out on the practicality side.  My point is I'm not buying a minivan for how well it drives - I buy it for how well it does "box on wheels" things.  If I want an engaging driving experience, I have other cars for that.

Presumably you're talking about stow-n-go seats?

As I've said before, I don't see the appeal.  Minivans are for families, and families means car seats.  You lose most of the utility of the stow-n-go seats if you have to pull the car seats out before you can fold them down into the floor.  In the 10 years we owned our Odyssey, stow-n-go would have been useful exactly once, whereas I got to enjoy the "sucks less!" driving dynamics every time I drove it.  If I want to carry cargo, I have other vehicles for that (like my truck, which is far better at it than any minivan could ever be).  Meanwhile the 2nd row non-folding Honda seats are quite a bit more comfortable than the stow-n-go ones on the Chryslers.

I can't speak to current Hondas but our 2007 was flawless, it did over 100K miles needing exactly one mechanical repair (transmission park/neutral safety interlock).

 

Ian F (Forum Supporter)
Ian F (Forum Supporter) MegaDork
7/2/20 6:00 a.m.
codrus (Forum Supporter) said:

 You lose most of the utility of the stow-n-go seats if you have to pull the car seats out before you can fold them down into the floor.  

 

Huh? This sentence makes no sense... frown

I have no family and likely never will. I buy a minivan purely for the "SUV" aspects. I bought mine to replace my truck since the minivan does 99% of hauling tasks better - with a lower load height and covered cargo.

xxsportscar
xxsportscar New Reader
7/2/20 9:46 a.m.

In reply to Ian F (Forum Supporter) :

I have a Grand caravan and 2 kids in car seats and it 100% impacts the stow and go.  As an example if I run to the hardware store and grab a 4x8 sheet of whatever the fold process is slightly complicated by the need to first remove the car seat.  It's not a big deal but you then need to have a location to store large bulky car seat for your trip home.  For me it seems to add about 15 min on either end of the process and typically I need to remember to pull the seats before running to the store.  If your a no kids person this seems like a moot point.

An additional issue with 3rd row and car seat is access to the 3rd row of often blocked.  For our g/c a rear facing convertible car seat blocks 3rd row access from that side.  It's ok if car seat number 2 is forward facing or a infant style with base because you can get buy on that side.  Most 3 row vehicles require some seat folding to get to the 3rd row and it really makes me question why we don't see the resurgance of a rear facing 3rd row as hatch access for the older kids sounds ideal.  With the increasingly stringent child safety laws and recommendations for extended rear facing it's tough to find a vehicle that works for a large family with 2 in car seats and minivan seems to be the best option.  

xxsportscar
xxsportscar New Reader
7/2/20 10:02 a.m.

In reply to trigun7469 :

Based on your targets the grand caravan sounds like a winner, they are super plentiful but don't do a very good job holding value.  In your price range the g/c is likely to be considerably Lower mileage and years newer than Honda/toyota. The G/C is basically unchanged from the time it got the pentastar so year is probably less important than condition and at the $5000 range of the depression curve I would expect to see a wide variety of options.  The G/c and Routan and t&c share a chassis but the Routan had some unique and thus rarer body components and the seats in the 2nd row are not stow and go but supposedly more comfortable.

I think if you check prices for breaks/wheel bearing/chassis parts you will notice the g/c is significantly lower than the Honda/Toyota but may need parts more frequently.

 

The Nissan quest in the 2010-2017 erra sold a total of like 80k with a best year sales of ~18k. The G/c alone is 10x as common and if you add other variants probably closer to 20x.  If I'm shopping in the $5000 range I like the idea of common because I think it increase the odds of finding a good one.

Ian F (Forum Supporter)
Ian F (Forum Supporter) MegaDork
7/2/20 10:21 a.m.

In reply to xxsportscar :

Child seats will affect the utility of any van and seat removal.  But it depends on how you use the van.  I haven't seen the center row seats in my van in about 2 years.  I only saw the rear seats last weekend as I was fiddling around with the "tailgate" seating position.  And the prospect of removing those seats entirely to make use of the attachment points for another project.

The main reason I like stow-n-go is because I really don't want to deal with figuring out where to store the seats in my house. 

trigun7469
trigun7469 SuperDork
7/2/20 10:41 a.m.

I have a guy interested in trading his Dodge Caravan for my Durango, see if he shows up next week.  Started doing more research, I see that integrated babyseats were a thing, were eliminated, when stow-n-gow happened. I wonder if the integrated seats, can be put in a Stow-and-go van? there are some pro's and cons to the integrated seats/

 

In reply to John Welsh (Moderate Supporter) :

I have a SUV, my problem without looking at the measurements is both kids have trouble crawling up into a SUV.

 

 

Stefan (Forum Supporter)
Stefan (Forum Supporter) MegaDork
7/2/20 11:21 a.m.
trigun7469 said:

I have a guy interested in trading his Dodge Caravan for my Durango, see if he shows up next week.  Started doing more research, I see that integrated babyseats were a thing, were eliminated, when stow-n-gow happened. I wonder if the integrated seats, can be put in a Stow-and-go van? there are some pro's and cons to the integrated seats/

 

In reply to John Welsh (Moderate Supporter) :

I have a SUV, my problem without looking at the measurements is both kids have trouble crawling up into a SUV.

I suspect the seats are completely different and the baby seats also expire so I probably wouldn't and just use proper seats.  My guess is that some of those were developed for the rental market, but the rental agencies discovered quite quickly that they could rent the seats for a bit more money and for safety they can also be replaced more easily.

Wife has a Pacifica Hybrid.  So that eliminates the stow-n-go to make room for the battery pack.  The seats are more comfortable, but they are heavy as eff.  The rear seat folds nicely though, but that's where the kid's seats are for us.  It does drive quite nicely and the ergonomics are better than the previous gen Caravan.

SKJSS (formerly Klayfish)
SKJSS (formerly Klayfish) PowerDork
7/2/20 1:31 p.m.

I'll put in my vote for the Kia Sedona.  In you're price range, you're looking at the generation that went from late '06 to something like '14.  We've owned that generation Sedona continually since 2007.  We bought our first one brand new in 2007 and drove it from 0 miles up to 130,000 miles and it never left us stranded.  Ever.  OK, well, my wife ran it out of gas once, but that doesn't count.  We beat the ever living E36 M3 out of that van.  At the time, our 3 kids were young...as in my wife was still pregnant with our twins when we bought it.  So it carried 3 little ones and all their crap, along with all the messes little kids make.  We also put a trailer hitch on it and I towed everything from cars (on tow dolly) to a 6x12 landscape trailer with it frequently.  That van even served as my weekend hotel for several LeMons races.  With the middle seats removed, it held a full size air mattress quite nicely and made for a nice hotel substitute.

In 2015, we sold it and bought..yep, another one.  This was a 2010 with only 19k miles when we bought it.  We still own that van.  It currently has 134,000 miles on it and like the previous one it has never left us stranded.  It's had a few small issues, such as a dry rotted air intake hose and seals that dry rotted on the abs pump, but I very much attribute those to the fact that this van sat undriven for 3 years before we bought it (we're pretty sure the van was owned by an elderly man who lived in an assisted care community and could no longer drive).  Like the last one, we have beaten the daylights out of this thing.  It's made literally 12-14 trips too and from the Disney World area, which is 500 miles each way from me.  It's gone lots of other places too with the kids.  It runs as solid today as it did the day we bought it.  I wouldn't hesitate to drive it anywhere.  In fact, it's being driven to Charlotte NC next weekend. 

The whole Chrysler stow-n-go is really dependent on how often you truly think you'd want or need it.  In the 13 years I've owned Sedonas, I can count on one hand the number of times where I said "Gee, I wish I had stow-n-go".  Pretty much never.  And I think the Sedona is a better all around van than the GC.  The only bad thing about the Sedona is the mpg sucks, something like 16-18mpg in mixed driving.  But what else would you expect from a big heavy minivan that's got enough power to smoke the tires from a stop light easily. 

codrus (Forum Supporter)
codrus (Forum Supporter) UberDork
7/2/20 6:32 p.m.
Ian F (Forum Supporter) said:
codrus (Forum Supporter) said:

 You lose most of the utility of the stow-n-go seats if you have to pull the car seats out before you can fold them down into the floor.  

 

Huh? This sentence makes no sense... frown

I have no family and likely never will. I buy a minivan purely for the "SUV" aspects. I bought mine to replace my truck since the minivan does 99% of hauling tasks better - with a lower load height and covered cargo.

If you have no family then you've probably never tried to install a child seat, right?  It's a total PITA.  Even with the modern LATCH stuff it takes 10 minutes of fiddling with straps and clips and buckles, crawing around on the floor behind the seat to get the rear anchor installed, contorting into strange positions in order to tighten that strap, etc.  Child seats aren't on auto-tensioners, the straps need to be TIGHT to function properly.  90% of them are installed improperly.  Removal isn't so bad, but figure 10 minutes per seat to get it installed properly and families with minivans often have more than one of them to install.

With the Odyssey it was actually easier to just remove the rear captain's chair from the van with the child seat still strapped to it.  Yes, it's heavier to lift, but with the quick-release latches Honda uses it was much less fiddly and it just slots back in with no fuss.

Most people buying minivans do it for transporting kids -- if your primary goal is cargo then that's an unusual case and probably not very applicable to most people asking for advice (including the original question in this particular thread).

 

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