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We're thinking of buying a minivan this year sometime. Baby #2 is coming in July. We might purchase before baby #2 arrives (for a less hassle buying experience for us), or towards the end of the year.

We don't have any car payments right now and it is sweet. I hate the idea of taking on car payments, but we feel a new-to-us minivan will be very beneficial, esp since the car it will replace is a 2 dr hatchback.
(Our other car is a 4 dr sedan.)

My parameters are:

Honda Odyssey EX-EXL (2002-2005) or Toyota Sienna LE-XLE (2004-2005)

Target price - $17,000 - $21,000ish (total, w/tax), I'm thinking of looking at cars up to $23,000ish to negotiate from.

I have a few color preferences, specifically no tan. Then I have other colors that are more favorable than others (show less dirt)

Prefer leather interior, but would compromise.

Miles -- I dont' know? I'm thinking we could go up to 60,000 miles, but we want to keep this van for a long time -- like 10 years -- so what would be the best target miles to look for? We probably would lean towards certified used and try to find something with a maintenance history that shows regular oil changes.

I'm going to wait at least until we get our tax refunds (at least $1,000 or more) to add to our down payment kitty. We will take a 60 month loan to get the lowest payments, but will plan to pay it off in 4 years max, hopefully 3 to 3.5 years -- funnelling extra cash towards the payoff.

Any suggestions to narrow our field? It's going to be at least another month or 2 before we shop, and we will have plenty of time to find a van that is the right one for us. We're not in a hurry, so we can be picky about finding something.

There seems to be quite a few used vans on the market right now.




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Just an edit - we'd look at Hondas 2003-2005, not 2002.
And the reason for considering higher mileage is because they are priced considerably lower at 50-60k miles than at 20-30k miles.

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Toyota Sienna LE-XLE (2004-2005)

Another poster on this board mentioned some big problems with the run flats on the AWD version of the Sienna. Do a search on the board and web.

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I'm not considering the AWD model. Too expensive and I don't want run flats either.

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we could go up to 60,000 miles,.............. I don't want run flats either.................................................


Figure that unless you guys never check or change the oil, you should reasonably expect to put another 150,000 miles on the van. As for run flat tires vs regular, tires are cheap(relatively) to change over if you found a van that you otherwise liked except for the rubber.


Pete

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There seems to be quite a few used vans on the market right now........



ALSO, beware of "flooded" vans from hurricane areas that have found their way into the marketplace, despite being "written off".



Pete
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A car you may not have thought of, but for the price, you might want to check out a new Mazda5. Looks like a "mini-mini-van". Has 3 row seating, but with the 3rd row folded, there's plenty of room and the 2nd row is roomy. Has a 4-cyl, 5-sp stick or 6-sp auto.

I thought of this because I was just re-reading a Consumer Reports test. The top sticker price of one of these would be $23,000 and that's with the killer navigation system. More than likely they would probably be around $18,000 to $21,000 for most regularly equipped 5's. The bumper-to-bumper warranty is long, 4 years, 50K miles.

We saw this at the Detroit Auto Show and liked it. It's even roomier than the Mazda6 wagon, which surprised us.

Now it's just on my list of "cars to get when the Aztek dies", but the only drawback I see is that it does not have traction control, nor is AWD an option.


Duck
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Figure that unless you guys never check or change the oil, you should reasonably expect to put another 150,000 miles on the van. As for run flat tires vs regular, tires are cheap(relatively) to change over if you found a van that you otherwise liked except for the rubber.

The rubber is not the concern. The OP doesn't want AWD. The AWD Sienna comes with run flats and the FWD Sienna does not. Therefore, the tires are not the issue.

As for you comment that rubber is easy to replace, the reason run flats are on the AWD because there is no room for a spare tire. If a person choose your option to use regular tires, they would need to find room in the passenger compartment to put a spare or just risk never getting a flat.

IF

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As for you comment that rubber is easy to replace, the reason run flats are on the AWD because there is no room for a spare tire. If a person choose your option to use regular tires, they would need to find room in the passenger compartment to put a spare or just risk never getting a flat.

Either that or a can of stop leak.
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Either that or a can of stop leak.

Stop leak is only for small punctures.

IF
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From what Duck says, the Mazda 5 sounds good, but the lack of traction control is a deal-breaker for me. I live in snow country and I like having traction control. I feel more secure in a car with traction control and ABS, and I think that all-wheel-drives are nice, but too expensive for us.
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If you're going to pay the loan off in 4 years, look into getting a 4 year loan instead of 5. You will sometimes get a lower interest rate, which will lower the total interest paid.
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The rubber is not the concern. The OP doesn't want AWD. The AWD Sienna comes with run flats and the FWD Sienna does not. Therefore, the tires are not the issue....................................................


As long as the OP can be sure that the previous owner didn't put a set of run flat tires on a regular Sienna, when replacing the OEM tires.


It ain't likely, but it sure ain't impossible either.


Pete


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More on run flats, although that's not what I came here to talk about!

My understanding is that the run flats use a different type of rim and that they're not as simple to change out as just replacing the tire. Some folks on odysseyclub.com have discussed this topic at length re: the Touring model that also has run flats. I also believe the run flats are pretty rare and new at this point.

But... I'm not shopping for an AWD model or a Touring model.... they're out of our price range and truly more than we need.


Back to my original topic of looking for a used van. I browsed some used car lots this afternoon (in really cold, damp, yucky weather, and there were lots of browsers out!) and I think that for the Honda, we'll only consider the leather interiors.

I need to decide if I'm going to go at this from a price-first, then fit the price cateogry (which is what I should do), or pick the right van, and let the best van dictate which price (in our range) we're going after. I'm seeing lots of decent vans in the 22-23k list price range.

As far as the 60 month loan, I want the lower payments and we'll slough off chunks of principal when we get extra cash, like bonuses. I don't wan the higher payment number month to month because it will be more of a stress on our brand-spankin'-new budget. I know a 60 month is not ideal, but we'll make it work for us.

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