March 25, 2010
We are no stranger to mini-vans. We have 5 young children (from 2yrs old to 10yrs), so we are rougher than the average buyer.
First minivan was a Honda. Have no idea why they get the rep for quality. everything inside fell apart. Turned it in before lease was up to go to a honda pilot. Still not happy with it's quality.
Next Minivan to replace the honda was a 2006 chrysler town and country.
Boy, Chrylser really let it's quality go down the drain. Numerous drive train problems, numerous electrical problems, and internal plastics kept breaking. Even though it had a very low residual value, I would not buy it for fear of not having the bumper to bumper warrenty on it.
I then purchased the Montana SV6 FWD used (2 years old), started with 35k on it. Had to replace the rack and pinion almost right away, and the front wheel bearings.
I expect to sink $1k into any used vehicle to bring it up to snuff, and that is what it cost me.
The driver side window keeps slipping off the track, and the passenger side door handle trim keeps slipping off, but I can deal with that.
Now, at about 77k on it, the rack went again, and the power steering pump is starting to make noise.
I'll expect another $1k worth of repairs by next year.
Considering it is paid off, I don't think $2k worth of repairs total in 3 years is a bad investment. Things wear out, and this is a heavy beast.
Economy is about the same as my old town and country, but it feels like a caddie inside. Rides nice and smooth, kids have lots of room, they love the dvd player and rear air.
The wife is happy with it, since it feels like a SUV, and she feels very secure in it.
I think I will end up keeping it for several more years.
As long as you maintain this correctly, I think it is a excellent value.
One word of caution. This is a front wheel drive, not all wheel drive.
Get REAL snow tires if you live up north. I am from Western New York, and I got 4 blizzak tires, and it is sure-footed, and nearly unstoppable. Without them, I would not let it on the road in deep snow.