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jmoss5723

Minivan Advice: Chrysler vs. Honda

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We have a 3rd kid on the way and they're all in car seats, so the OBW isn't going to cut it anymore. I'm looking at buying a 4th gen Chrysler Town & Country (2001-2007) or a Honda Odyssey (2005-2010).

 

Anyone have experience with these vans? I'm looking for advice from a longevity/reliability and ease of maintenance perspective.

 

Thanks!

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I've worked for a dealer group that has 3 Chrysler franchises for the past 9 years.

 

You can buy two Chryslers for the price of one Honda and it's still not worth it. The Honda will last 4x as long.

 

Build quality on the Chrysler/Dodge vans is abysmal. Not only will you deal with all kinds of random things breaking as well as premature rust on the rocker panels/wheel wells, it's also a guarantee the transmission will fail. They are very poorly designed and even the rebuilt ones tend to explode before 100k miles. And I do mean explode- what usually happens is one of the planetary gearsets fails at speed and blows a hole in the side of the transmission case. Safety-wise there's no comparison either... the Honda is light years ahead of the Chrysler.

 

The Honda van will be expensive but it's worth every penny.

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I worked in the rental car business for many years (just retired from it last summer), and despite the reputation that Honda had in the past, the quality is just not "way ahead", as it used to be.   We got every brand and configuration of every car made for the US and Canada, and in the realm of minivans, the Chryslers are far and away "king".  Over the last gen or two, the interiors in the Hondas (and those awful Toyotas) has been just plain weak.  Chintzy quality, quick to wear through and impossible to remove stains.  Drivetrain life and reliability are all about the same nowdays.

 

Chrysler has a LOT of junk out there too (Avenger: LOL!!), but the vans are the best in the industry, by far. 

 

My 2 bucks

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oh my, two different opinions, now what!?!?  i don't know anything about them but...

 

The honda will be worth more in the future.   Depending how you buy/drive/etc it may not actually cost you any less to own a honda.  Or you might just prefer having a lesser priced vehicle (teenagers, insurance, work use, etc). 

 

It can cost you $5,000 to own a car whether you originally paid $7k or $12k. 

$7k buy and $2k sell is exactly the same cost as $12k buy and $7k sell.

 

So sometimes you can get the more advantageous car for nearly he same net cost. 

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I worked in the rental car business for many years (just retired from it last summer), and despite the reputation that Honda had in the past, the quality is just not "way ahead", as it used to be.   We got every brand and configuration of every car made for the US and Canada, and in the realm of minivans, the Chryslers are far and away "king".  Over the last gen or two, the interiors in the Hondas (and those awful Toyotas) has been just plain weak.  Chintzy quality, quick to wear through and impossible to remove stains.  Drivetrain life and reliability are all about the same nowdays.

 

Chrysler has a LOT of junk out there too (Avenger: LOL!!), but the vans are the best in the industry, by far. 

 

My 2 bucks

 

OP was asking about the 2001-07 vans which are an entirely different animal from the 08+. With the 08+ body style many of the issues were rectified- the rust isn't so much of a problem and the transmissions are much, much better. Interiors are full of hard plastic and kind of chintzy but not that bad. When they refreshed it in 2011 the interior quality got incredibly better and they switched to a world-class powertrain with plenty of power and decent fuel economy considering the weight of the vehicle. Safety is great with plenty of airbags, high-strength steel chassis, and electronic stability control.

 

The 01-07 vans are cheap for a reason.

 

EDIT- oh hey I just noticed you're also in Pittsburgh. *wave*

Edited by Wagon Wagon

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EDIT- oh hey I just noticed you're also in Pittsburgh. *wave*

 

Yeah, man!

 

It seems like the general consensus from all of my various sources is to buy the Honda. Only a few outliers have said to get the T&C.

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Just as an update for those who might care, I bought a 2005 Honda Odyssey with 170k miles. Its REALLY nice. I think we'll be very happy with it!

 

And I only paid $3500!

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Good, choice! I bought a 2002 Grand Caravan with less than 50k on it. 52k the transmission was cooked. It got so hot the differential had to be replaced in the trans too. This was in typical family use too.

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we had a 98 chrysler town and county minivan for a long time and the only things that ever needed fixed was an exhaust manifold gasket and the front lower facia because my mom and sisters had a habit of running over parking curbs with it.We also used it like a truck by using it to pick up aluminum cans on the road,deliver papers,hell we even did some mild offroading with it(unimproved forest roads).To the best of my knowledge its still running around,it was sold a couple years back with 2XXK miles on it.

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Congrats on the new family vehicle! My uncle and his family drove excactly that - 2005 Odyssey up until this past summer when they were in a pretty rough accident in it. The whole family was in it. 2 adults, 3 kiddos and while the van is done, everyone walked away with only minor bumps a bruises. It did its job. They bought it new and it was very dependable.

 

Guess what it was replaced with - another odyssey.

 

Congrats on #3!  We found out #2 is in the oven about a month ago. Maybe I'll be in the market for a van before too long.

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Congrats on the new family vehicle! My uncle and his family drove excactly that - 2005 Odyssey up until this past summer when they were in a pretty rough accident in it. The whole family was in it. 2 adults, 3 kiddos and while the van is done, everyone walked away with only minor bumps a bruises. It did its job. They bought it new and it was very dependable.

 

Guess what it was replaced with - another odyssey.

 

Congrats on #3!  We found out #2 is in the oven about a month ago. Maybe I'll be in the market for a van before too long.

 

This is a solid review, here. I think we'll really enjoy the van. I have 21+ hour road trip to break it in in a few weeks!

 

#2 is no reason for a van! 2 car seats fit in the subaru no problem. The big convertible car seats are a little tight while rear-facing in an older impreza or forester, but manageable.

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That's the plan for now. My wife has a 2011 outback and there's plenty of space.

 

I'm toying with selling my lifted 98 legacy and making the 05 Outback project I bought my DD. More safety and I think I can make it pretty beastly with some 30 inch tires and a lift.

 

We'll be fine with 2 but if there's a #3, I'll be shopping. Wonder what it would take to put an outback engine and drivetrain into a chrysler/plymouth/dodge shell....

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I tried to get my wife on board with a Subaru powered VW vanagon, but she shut me down. That would've been a sweet family shuttle.

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Good buy on the Honda, you won't regret it. I worry we may end up with a minivan in the future when our #2 comes along. We go camping or road tripping once a month and our 07 outback will be a tight fit for 2 kids, a dog and all our gear. I may step up to an 08-up tahoe at that point because I still need the 4wd, and really can't stand the thought of a minivan

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I joke about the van a little bit, but I honestly love it. We always had one when i was growing up and they're honestly the best. It can hold a full sheet of plywood, 10ft lumber, or a couch. It can haul 8 people far more comfortably than an SUV. The gas mileage isn't bad and it makes plenty of power. Sliding doors are amazing - no one is ever parked too close, I'm never too fat, etc.

 

If you NEED 4WD, get an SUV. If you don't, get a van!

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I changed the timing belt on the Honda this weekend. What a pain! I spent more hours with my head in a fender than I ever care to again!

 

Timing belts are never fun, but on a Subaru, at least you get to stand up most of the time.

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