I researched the heck out of cloth diapers…and they don’t cost nearly as much as a van costs, so you can be certain I’m researching the superheck out of vans!
We’re not in a huge hurry, though I think I would like to have it purchased before our new baby gets here in December. Buying a vehicle and selling another with a newborn laying around…yeah that sounds like a pain.
It appears that there are three main models that are widely available: Honda Odyssey, Toyota Sienna, and Chrysler Town & Country.
The first two are highly regarded by Consumer Reports in terms of reliability and features. The price of these vans reflects that.
The T&C didn’t score as highly on various reliability tests in certain years. It’s also WAY cheaper.
For example, if I’m wanting to spend around $9,000, I could get an ’04 Odyssey with about 100k miles on it at a dealership.
Or, I could get an ’07 base model T&C with about 55,000 miles. Even an ’08 T&C (which is redesigned from previous years and has more features) can be had for around the $10-11k price point, and around 80k miles. ’06 and ’07 Odysseys with that kind of mileage are still above $17k from what I’ve been able to find so far.
So it’s apparent that I could get something newer and with lower miles if I went with the T&C — but I do need to keep in mind that they do have more reliability problems than Hondas.
This summer and fall, the redesigned 2011 Odyssey will debut, as will a new Dodge Grand Caravan and Toyota Sienna.
I have a theory but it’s based on my own logic and not necessarily real-car logic. I think that when these new vehicles come out, current van owners will be excited to trade in their older vans.
People who have a three-year lease on ’08 vans will have the option to buy the van or return it to the dealer soon — and if lots of them return it (and maybe buy or lease a newer model) then I can expect to see a greater supply of ’08 vans for sale.
Greater supply = good for a buyer! Maybe lower prices, and certainly better selection. Lease holders tend to keep the mileage lower, so that’s another thing to consider.
So maybe if I wait until the fall, I will have more options available. I will still keep looking because you never know when a deal will present itself.
Another thing I’ve noticed — I’m seeing very few privately owned ’08 vans listed for sale. On Autotrader.com, within 500 miles of Pittsburgh there are only FIVE ’08s for sale from private owners. And that’s at all price points!
I have another theory. Well, two. First, ’08 is still really young for a car, so maybe ’08 drivers are still happily driving along with no intention to sell any time soon. Or, they are upside-down on their car loans and don’t have/don’t want to pay the difference to the bank if they sell now. ?
I don’t know.
But it does seem that if I want an ’08, I’ll most likely have to work with a car dealer. That stinks because you can usually get a better bargain from a private seller.
We hope to get out and test drive a few vans to see how we like them so we can truly narrow our search and be ready to pounce when the bargain comes along. We haven’t decided how much we’re willing to spend, so that will certainly play a factor in what we end up getting.