Good wagon/van 96-99ish?

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Jun 15, 2003
Looking for a car for my brother in law in college. Currently has a chrysler cooncorde with head gasket problems. He plays the drums and needs something that will carry them around in. (Concorde worked for that.) He doesn't really check the fluids much [Bang Head] and needs something reliable, cheap, and roomy. Since he spends hours persuing the cheapest gas good MPG is nice too. Automatic trans. My father-in-law hates fords. Could maybe bring him around with an escort/tracer wagon but if anything goes wrong it'll be my fault. Were late 90's Hyundai Elantra wagons any good? My sister's 01 Accent is quite nice but Hyundai improves a lot every year. (That is to say, nicely, their old stuff is junk... when was the transition?) Would do a bargain basement minivan... but dodge 2.4s blow gaskets and trannys. Ford 3.8s the same. GM stuff loses intake manifold gaskets on 3.4s. Might do an astro-van with the 4.3 but tradesmen are all over these, driving the price up. He'd actually like a van, I think, he's kind of goth. He really wants a hearse. [Big Grin] Saturn wagons... I drive one. The resale is through the floor, especially on SOHCs. Transmissions are quality as are the motors... if one can keep them full of oil. The MPG is good. Midsize GM sedans with 3.8... Mother-in-law drives a lesabre and loves it. Resale prices are higher on these. Could probably get a 95 Bonneville for the same price as a 99 Saturn or Escort with much lower miles. See the dilemna? Ford and Chrysler midsize... yuk... But maybe a duractec taurus with recently rebuilt trans. Rural mail carriers have bought up all the GM A-body wagons (1996 and older) because they drive them from the passenger portion of the bench seat. Would get one if I could find a cherry one, but prefer something newer. Most foreign stuff (except hyundai) is overpriced used and probably poorly maintained. (JMO) Summary: Small wagon list: Escort/tracer, Elantra, Saturn midsize sedans: GM 3.8 vans: Astro Anything I'm forgetting? Shoot holes in my theories. [Razz]
The early Honda Odyssey might be something to look at? They are much smaller than the current ones and mileage should be good, price MIGHT be lower because they the older generation... I think pre 99. I have a 01 and it has been great. CR rates them good, lowest score is for brakes.
There's a thought! I remember in NYC back in 98 they used the Isuzo Oasis as a taxi quite a bit. It's a clone of the first odyssey and virtually unheard of. Must have had strong incentives to wind up in cab fleets. I just won't get an orange one. [Smile]
Originally posted by eljefino: I just won't get an orange one. [Smile]
I'd say that is a wise choice. [Big Grin] (Odyssey seems like a sound decision to me.)
I have been looking too as the wife has been after me to get her a mini-van(shudder,cringe,cold sweat forms on forehead). My first thought was to buy American and just rebuild or buy remanufactured engine and trans. I stoped that line of thinking realy quickly afterlooking at the price of DC V6! I noticed that Caravan tend to depreciate the fastest! The Honda's and Toyota's were still to expensive. Have you considered an astro van? They are usualy cheap,RWD, lots of space, engines and transmissions are common and cheap in most cases!
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