Thursday, January 28, 2010

Dodging the Odyssey

Texan Papa and I are new-minivan shopping.

The first thing I have to say about that is, Where have all the minivans gone?

Chevy? none.
Ford? Gone - or, well, converted into a 3rd row crossover minivan don't-wannabe.
Hyunda? Nope
GM? Nuh-uh
Toyota? I'm not even gonna go there (Sienna isn't recalled but still...)
Pontiac? Got eaten by the economy

So, basically, I can get a Honda Odyssey or a Dodge Grand Caravan or a Nissan Quest or Kia Sedona. What's the deal there? Why has everyone gotten rid of their line of minivans and just changed them into those spaceshipy-looking crossover vehicles?

So far we've looked just at the Odyssey and the Grand Caravan. And, I have to admit, I was reluctant to look at the Odyssey because I feel like Hondas are kinda for people who like things a little bit... um... nicer. And who are willing to pay for it. NOT THAT THERE'S ANYTHING WRONG WITH THAT!!! But, I feel like I'm kinda cheap and I'm okay with that. Now, I don't want my car breaking down because of cheap parts, but at the same time I don't want to pay top dollar for something just because of its name.

So, to be fair to the Honda, I gave it a test drive. I checked it out. And... meh. Well, actually, it was nice. But not nicer than the Dodge. They both had good points and bad points. The place where the big difference came in was the price. For about the price of the baseline Honda, I can get a Dodge with lots of extras. And I can get 0% financing (not even an option at Honda, no matter how good our credit is.) I feel that the Honda people are like, "Yeah, these minivans sell themselves, so I really don't have to give you any incentives to get you to buy one."

But I know that women go SQUEE over Honda Odysseys, but I have yet to find the "WOW" factor in that minivan. Some woman was walking around the showroom floor with her daughter at the dealership. She saw us looking at the van and asked us, "Is this your first Honda?" to which I replied, "Well, we're looking but we're not sure. We'll see." She said, "Oh, my Honda is my favorite car EVER! I just love it!" I asked her what she loved about it and she said something about it's easy to get the kids in and out, it's just the right size for them to climb in. And that it's just so nice. I was thinking, Are you for real? Have you been planted here to foist yourself onto unsuspecting moms? Does your husband work here as a salesman or something? I mean, she just didn't really have any solid reasons why her minivan was worth the extra interest I'd be paying on my monthly car payment.

So, people of the world, if you have some earth-shaking reasons why I should buy a Honda or avoid a Caravan, please let your voice be heard! To me! Because I care! I really do!!!!

oh, we're also considering the Kia Sedona but we haven't checked them out yet. I've heard they are a great value, but not too flashy or spectacular. Which, frankly, is okay with me. We don't want the DVD player or leather interior or XM satellite radio. We just want a van that can fit at least 7 people and runs decent and doesn't put us into the poor house.

Okay... I'm open to suggestions...


Molly said...

I have a few friends who have Caravans, and they love them. Make sure you get one with a DVD player to keep the peace on long rides! : )

Em said...

Um, well, I used to have a Honda. LOVED, LOVED, LOVED it.

However, you better remember where you parked it in the grocery store lot, because seriously, they're popular.

But they're popular for a reason.

I now drive a Yukon. The other most popular vehicle in North Texas.

To be honest, I miss the heck out of my automatic sliding door. Sniff. And the gas mileage - that 3 cylinder shut off thingy rocks for the gas mileage. Honest. We made it from here to Florida, only stopping once.

Did that help? Probably not.

Emily said...

I'm with you on all that pretty much. We looked at the Odyssey and one of the biggest things the sales guy kept pushing was the resale value. But, I'm the type of person who drive their car into. the. ground. So, paying more anticipating a good resale value just doesn't fly with me.
We have a Town & Country (same as grand caravan but Chrysler's version). I love it. Nothing bad to say about it.
I have a few friends w/ a Kia and love love love them. I've only been in them a few times but they seem a little smaller to me.
what have you been driving...if you don't mind my asking!

Someone Being Me said...

Wish I could help you but I am one of those who refuses to be the minivan mom so I bought a 3 seater crossover SUV. I ended up with a Honda Pilot which I love more than I probably should. Although the gas mileage sucks. But I came from another SUV with crappy gas mileage so no big change there. I actually found the Pilot was the best deal for what I wanted compared to the other 3 row SUVs so I'm not sure why the minivans aren't more comparable on price with other brands. I did get the vibe you got on the "they sell themselves" but we still got a good deal after shopping around. We ended up driving to Dallas to get ours.

Foursons said...

I have the Dodge Caravan. It is 8 years old now and I still love it. Comfortable and everyone fits.

Jennifer said...

It will last longer and have a better resale value and I bet it uses less gas. And I've never met someone that had a Honda that didn't LOVE it. Other than that, I've got nothing.

Sturgmom said...

I think I've heard that Dodge parts are very difficult to acquire if something goes wrong, which means that any repairs that have to be completed will be super expensive. But don't quote me on that.

Does Mazda sill make a minivan? We have an MPV and it suits us. No bells, no whistles, right price (for us at the time).

And I totally recommend the DVD player. It's for your own piece of mind. Seriously.

Anna See said...

LOVED my caravan for 11 years.
What's up w/ the Sienna (is it the gas pedal thing?). I have MANY friends who are crazy for their Siennas. If I hadn't bought a spaceship looking crossover thing I would DEFINITELY have bought the Sienna. Sweeet!

OHmommy said...

I hate my Honda Odyssey.

Hate. Hate. Hate!!! We purchased it 3 yrs ago and are almost done paying for it. Im cheap w/cars and got the basic model. Hate it. Hate. Hate. Hate. Can not wait until the Fall to go car shopping.

Hate the Honda.

Aunt Crazy said...

I am of the "step away from the minivan" mom group...LOL I drive a Chevy Trailblazer. I love it, absolutely love it. Mine does not have 3rd row seating, but with two kids that play ball, I needed the cargo space. The gas mileage is kind of crappy, about 17 mpg city/21 road trip, but I don't care. It goes fast when I push the gas and it's held up to me which is not easy.

Lisa@verybusymomwith4 said...

You want the leather interior, trust me on this. Kids spill things, kids vomit, have accidents. Leather just wipes it away and not that much of a difference.

We have the Volvo SUV--I had one of the first ones made so it is pretty old. I don't want to let it go even though repairs/tune ups are really really pricey :( it already has 120,000 miles and I do not care. So cozy and still rides great.

My sister has the Kia and really likes it. I think you should go for something you are comfortable in because you might be in that car more than your own bed when all are involved in activities!

(PS--Thanks for your note--I am going to email you soon. We are doing OK just overwhelmed!)

Lisa@verybusymomwith4 said...

Almost forgot---look into used cars. You can get something known as 'program cars' --cars driven by execs for under 5000 miles. or just look in the paper for used ones---some people dump their car after just a year or so! (I think they are insane but hey their loss, my gain ;) )

J said...

We haven't got a minivan or anything yet, but I've always had Hondas because they are so reliable. I have had 4 Hondas over 20 years and have never had anything go wrong with any of them. We have 2 right now and one is 10 years old, still no issues at all. I feel like the money we save on not having to ever get it fixed more than pays for any difference in price initially.

smock4fun said...

We have the Kia. We bought it b/c of the warrenty...60,000/6years. That's wonderful. It does have 2 sliding doors...and i love those. But, it's a "sporty" mini van. haha

Wendy said...

First go to and do some research.

And I will say... I'm a nightmare SUV-driving mom... but I justify this by saying we use it for off-roading in the mountains and going camping. But I just can't bring myself to look at a minivan. Can't. Do. It. Getting a minivan would be crossing some line in my mind from which there is no going back.

What that line is, what it means, what difference it makes? No idea.