Toyota Sienna vs. Traverse vs. ? for family of 6

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I am helping source a vehicle for a family that will be growing to size of 6 so they need a vehicle with 3 rows in most cases and ideally some cargo space with 6 people/seats in place. Leaning toward new but considering used as well. I will be doing all the maintenance over its life. I'd like to hear opinions/recommendations with pros/cons among the two vehicles I've identified as worthy or others. Main objective is total cost of ownership/reliability. The owners see vehicles as appliances and don't care for them that well. (whereas I personally would pick the Traverse over any minivan just on principle) I am very hesitant to go Chrysler minivan with its quality record despite a much lower price point than Toyota. I rule out something like the Highlander as being too small- barely any cargo space behind the third row and tiny third row seating as it is. I would consider an Odyssey but it seems Toyota has a slightly better quality record and better gas mileage, at least in used models. Thank you for any input.
 
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Big difference between the Toyota and the domestic options. Hands down Toyota. You need to drive the Honda and make your choice. For me, it was still the Toyota. The Toyota offers bulletproof reliability.
 
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There's no reason to rule out the current Chrysler products. The Pentastar engine and 6-speed transaxle have been doing a stellar job since they replaced the 3.8 and (particularly) the awful old 4-speed transaxle it had previously and which earned it such a bad rep. Its also very feature-rich compared to the others. Its in no way, shape, or form the same van as it was 5 years ago. I'd put it up against a Sienna any day.
 

deanm11

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I want to believe this since it is such a cost savings. Maybe particularly a reasonable choice to buy new and make a tough call near the warranty expiration when evaluating the particular unit and more reliability history on this drivetrain.. Not fully ruling it out. Thank you for the thoughts.
Originally Posted By: 440Magnum
There's no reason to rule out the current Chrysler products. The Pentastar engine and 6-speed transaxle have been doing a stellar job since they replaced the 3.8 and (particularly) the awful old 4-speed transaxle it had previously and which earned it such a bad rep. Its also very feature-rich compared to the others. Its in no way, shape, or form the same van as it was 5 years ago. I'd put it up against a Sienna any day.
 
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About 7-8 years ago a friend of our family bought a brand new Sienna fully loaded. Very Nice Van. But it developed transmission issues and had the tranny replaced under warranty. Then the tranny broke for a second time and they got rid of it. It was used as a mostly soccer mom short tripper with the occasional road trips to their beach house in NJ. They replaced with with a equally loaded Grand Caravan that they used for about 6 years after which they downsized due to one kid leaving for college and the unfortunate death of the Father.
 
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Chrysler, right. That's fine as long as you are using your money to purchase that fine Chrysler minivan. Toyota is proud of both its past products and its current offerings too. The Auto Crushers of America did vote the Chrysler van #1. JD Powers didn't, however.
 
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Chrysler = bottom of the barrel long term quality. JD powers, Consumer Reports, everyone says the same. Honda has iffy transmissions and, IMHO overrated. Sienna and Traverse are solid choices. If you are OK with the looks, check out the Ford Flex. Limo like interrior, a decent 3rd row (I'm 6'2" and it would be fine for short trips). Powertrain is solid as well (Ford 3.5 or Ecoboost 3.5).
 
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I'd favor the Sienna between the two, but I'd also look hard at a Dodge Grand Caravan. A really nice and roomy driver for well under 20K that also delivers good fuel economy in actual use and has ample power. A lot of people like to knock on Caravans, but they seem to hold up very well in service. The interior even features some real stitching, something you don't see much anymore outside of higher end cars.
 
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Originally Posted By: SilverC6
The Auto Crushers of America did vote the Chrysler van #1.
LOL a bit harsh? The Sienna is no value, but it's the well-damped choice IMO. The Carry-van has a sweet engine these days.
 
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I personally chose a 4th generation Ford Explorer for my similar dilemma. To answer the OP's question, It's not even a discussion TOYOTA ! You could not begin to compare the two manufactures in terms of reliability..... IIRC the traverse has the same V6 that the XL7's use and it seems to be prone to sludge and has common timing chain issue between 75-100K mi, We just researched (almost) the exact same thing for over a year.
 
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Toyota 4-Runner...with 3rd row seats....IMO would fit the bill perfectly. The 8-cyl engine is rock solid and with good maintenance, should last to 300K easily. To save $$$, I would avoid a new vehicle and look for a 3 to 4 year old with under 50K on the OD.
 
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Based just on past reliability, I'd pick Sienna over any other brand's minivan because statistically the reliability is better. Now of course, you'll see odd cases in every brand but odds are you will get a more reliable transmission from Toyota / Aisin instead of Chrysler / ZF. If you want to go Chrysler, I'd see if there is a small cost difference between lease then buyout at the end of lease, just so that I can dump the van if I discover problem down the road.
 
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Originally Posted By: fdcg27
Sure. If the owner cares to keep it fed with fuel.
My son's gets 23 MPG highway. Its an 05'. Has about 135K on it, and runs like a top. No major maintenance issues. Possibly a newer year might get better mileage.
 
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I happened to rent and got both recently a long trip (1500 round trip). We had my family of 5 + grandmother. We ended up swapping(flashing CEL) the excellent Traverse for a Sienna. I felt the Sienna was a much better vehicle for a family of 5+1. It also burns a lot less fuel!
 
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In actual use there is no comparison between minivans and SUVs for 3rd row utility. If you need the 3rd row daily, get the van. We are on our 2nd Sienna. No problems whatsoever. It came down to Honda or Toyota. Everything else felt on a different level of cheap.
 
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