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What..I need a Van?


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Well, I guess I do now.

With the Cobalt now done, I can enjoy being payment free....or maybe not. As I found out, there is going to be some kids in the family (adopted and born) on the wife's side. Since we all tend to help each other out (what family doesn't), this is calling for a bigger something. Her Cavalier is simply not going to cut it. (Though it' still a keeper) But I really don't want payments, but want a family hauler. I'd love a SUV (Trailblazer, Tahoe), but really need a (mini)van so that we can really be ready. (those with large families can understand) So, an order van that I can put a few bucks in may be the choice. The Current two choices:

Astro/Safari twins- Mom has a 99 Stro, that will never die. These vans can be a PITA with the seating (driver) and one sliding door, but they make up for it in never, ever dying. A AWD drive might be good choice too. Loving the bulletproof drivetrain as well.

U Vans-(2002-2004) No, I'm not planning to die in one of these. My dad has an 2003, and that Van has been flawless (makes some funny noises though). Over 100k, the 3.4 is still in good shape. Would like to avoid earlier years, due to the annoying gasket issue. The other issue is finding a decent bodied one, as these things rust quick. ( will be Ziebarted if I get one)

Also considering an older Blazer (not sure how this ended up on the list, even though I said no SUVs), though I can picture the front end work...... And of course the Caravan.

Opinions? Suggestions? Keep in mind I'm only worried about the drivetrain and body, as everything else will be fixed to my standards.:smilewide:

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That was our 2005 LS, which we opted for over the Uplander. Frankly they were better than the Uplander. Less rattles, less electrical problems, Nicer seats. Also had a 2002 and a 1999, both also LS LWB models

Thing to remember is that the LWB models have a 96L gas tank, which ended up costing nearly $150 to fill in the summer of 2008 when we finally got rid of it. That's food for thought, but it did get 30 on the highway.

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Would you ever consider a Buick Rendezvoux.....almost as cavernous as the minivan. actually probably has a more useful load area....

The 'vous is nice too... but I'd disagree about the useful load issue, mainly since you're pigeon holed into the SWB model, and to their credit, this generation of the U-Van could carry 4x8 sheets of plywood with the back and middle seats out. The wide door openings and low step in height also make ingress and egress a lot easier. The leather/cloth upholstery in the 'vous also doesn't seem to wear as well as the upholstery in the U-Vans (based on what I've seen here in Canada)

@ Dave... I've got a ungodly amount of brochures from this period; if you want me to digitize any for you just let me know and I can zip and send them.

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I know, resident Chrysler guy alert, but the 2001 - 2007 Grand Caravan/Town and Country models were really nice vans and can be had at pretty good prices lately with decent miles.

They were reliable as hell, and are pretty much universally liked by everyone I know who has one. People that I do know that have and use them frequently have purchased them in the past and will continue to purchase them in the future.

I don't want to be a downer on the Venture, but I just never liked anything about them, bland styling, bland interior, etc.

A friend's mom had one when I was in high school. It was some fancy dancy model, leather and the whole 9 yards, and GM tried hard, but unfortunately didnt come up with a product as nice as my other friend's mom's Town and Country. Thats totally subjective though, so if you like them, go for them. She didn't have any reliability issues with it at all, and I think she bought an Uplander to replace it, so she must have liked it.

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I would recommend the 2005-2007 Grand Caravan or Town and Country. Stow `n Go is the best feature put into a minivan since the second sliding door. Oh, and they aren't not a tin can either. 2005+ had reinforced roof and side structures as well.

I would not put my children, the most important, precious things in my life, in a vehicle that deforms as much as the U-Bodies do.

We had a 2007 Town and Country rental after our `91 was totaled for a few weeks. terrific van. my mom loved it, I loved Stow `n Go, and the large drainable cubbies the front seats store into, which can be used as coolers and storage. they also drive well for minivans, and they have decent interiors. Just can't beat them for practicality. If you want a bulletproof, if slow engine, 3.3L all the way.

I would stay far away from Quests and Villagers, terrible vans. Rust prone and very bad engines, poor quality overall. WindStars aren't much better.

Odysseys seem pretty good, as do Siennas.
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My grandfather had a 2003 Caravan Sport with the 3.3L and he got so fed up with it, he ended up getting rid of it.

Constant HVAC and Electrical Problems, and the transmission went all in the 80k miles he had it.

One night at 9.30pm the whole car just went nuts, horn honking, lights flashing, power sliding door opening and closing... even though it had been parked for hours.

I took to calling it Christine.

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Yeah, I've never seen a U van hit head on ,either. Dad's venture is doing fine. Mon's good friend got into a nasty freeway accident with her 2001 Montana, and she was able to walk away from it. They say the same thing about Cavaliers, and i've watch people walk away from those as well. (my brother as one). While I do inderstand, I take those tests with a grain of salt...

That being said, I'm also looking at the 2002-2005 Caravans as well. As much as I like the stow and go, those seats are lousey to sit in for a while. (I've done it) It this case it;s just a matter of finding one that was serviced. The 3.3.s hold up well, and if the trans are cared for, they'll go for a while.....

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2004+ Siennas are bulletproof and superbly refined, assuming the oil has been changed. Otherwise, you might get sludge with the 3.3Ls.

We have a 2002-2004 Odyssey, and it's the most reliable vehicle we've owned (only oil/fluid changes, brakes, tires), but apparently the transmissions die once they reach 100K+. But back in the day, it was by far the best van out there: Magic Seat third row, sliding fore/aft and side-to-side second row, most interior space, best handling, and quickest accelerating. C&D clocked one doing 0-60 in 7.5 seconds.

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