Top 2 Best Used Minivans

December 1, 2009

Once it was the king of the road, so to speak, at least in terms of family versatility and popularity. But the minivan, which debuted in the mid-1980s with the introduction of the Dodge Caravan and Plymouth Voyager, is definitely on the decline, according to the editors of Consumer Guide. Although its been replaced by more popular crossover vehicles, the minivan still serves the needs of many families across America.

If the prices of brand-new minivans is not in your reach and youre looking to buy used, you may well ask what the best used minivans are. Consumer Reports, in their Best of the Best lists of various vehicle segments, lists only two: Toyota Sienna and Honda Odyssey. Their research includes vehicles from 1999 through 2008 and includes only vehicles with multiple years of above-average reliability.

Toyota Sienna

First introduced in 1998, the Toyota Sienna is a good choice, new or used, according to Posting good crash-test scores, Sienna has exceptional reputation for both long-term overall dependability and overall quality, Edmunds editors say. A look at the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reveals Toyota Sienna scored 5 stars for driver frontal and 4 stars for passenger frontal and 5 stars for driver and passenger in side-impact tests from 2000-2003. In 2004, Sienna earned a 5-star rating in frontal and side impact testing. From 2005-2009, Odysseys NHTSA ratings were 4-star driver frontal, 5-star passenger frontal and 5 stars in side-impact testing. lists used Toyota Sienna dealer retail prices ranging from $4,785 (1998) to $28,743 (2008). For 2009, Toyota Sienna base prices range from $24,540 to $37,865. Offering 7- or 8-passenger seating and a 230-hp 3.3-liter V-6 engine, the 2009 model is well-equipped and benefits from Toyotas reputation for strong resale value. EPA fuel economy range for 2009 models is 17 to 23 mpg. Toyota Sienna is the only 2009 minivan available with AWD for better traction control on slick roads.

Honda Odyssey (2001-2006)

While Honda Odyssey has been around since the first-generation (1995-1998), Consumer Reports lists the second-generation (2001-2006) as the best used minivans. From 1999 to 2004, Odyssey was available in front-wheel drive (FWD) only in LX and EX (EX featured the dual power-sliding doors). Power came from a 210-hp 3.5-liter V-6 engine (240 horsepower from 2000 to 2004). Anti-lock brakes (ABS) were standard, 2nd-row seats folded or could be easily removed, and 3rd-row seats folded flat into the floor.

Edmunds lists used Odyssey dealer retail prices ranging from $2,913 (1995) to $33,341 (2008). For 2009, Honda Odyssey dealer retail prices range from $24,214 to $37,355. Consumer Guide lists 2009 prices ranging from $26,255 to $41,605, and EPA fuel economy at 16 mpg city/23 mpg highway.

What To Look For

Using these two minivans as a starting point, compare other available minivans out there. Consider their NHTSA crash-test ratings, EPA fuel economy, costs to buy, insure and maintain. Also check the vehicles maintenance records to ensure its been serviced properly.

Are there other really great used minivans? You bet. Consumers have their favorites, as indicated by blog postings all over the Web. But you have to start somewhere, so use these two that Consumer Reports list as the best and go from there.

To read the rest of the article, visit Best Used Minivans at iSeeCars blog where you'll find more unbiased car buying tips from experts.  To start your search of cars for sale, visit,a leading search engine for finding over 2 million cars for sale from more than 11,000 websites.
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