A used minivan can be a good choice for a car buyer that’s looking for a vehicle with a lot of cargo capacity, but don’t want a big, bulky, and fuel-inefficient truck or full-size van. Whether you are a soccer mom, or you are carpooling, a used Dodge Grand Caravan or Honda Odyssey can provide the space and versatility you need at a great price. Most automakers have at least one minivan in their model lines, and with all the choices that are out there, finding the right used minivan can be a long process. This guide will tell you what to look for, and it will also provide you with some basic facts on used minivans.
There are three different sizes of minivan: compact (which seats 4 to 5 people), regular (for the average-size family) and large (for greater cargo capacity or bigger families). After the large-size minivan, you’re really moving into full-size territory—and those vans are best suited to those with really large families.
Of course, prices will vary depending on location and the vehicle’s condition, but you can expect to pay about $13,000 for a used 2008 Dodge Grand Caravan, or about $14,000 for a used Honda Odyssey. Correspondingly, a van with more options (such as power locks, keyless entry, and CD changer) will cost a bit more.
Most fairly modern used minivans come with a 6-cylinder powerplant, but there are a few 4-cylinder models still available. Most minivan models provide adequate (but not too brisk) acceleration, and at least 20 miles per gallon on the highway. As the van gets bigger, so should the engine—and the fuel mileage and efficiency will go down.
In general, minivans are among the safest vehicles you can buy—but before you make your decision, look at your van model’s crash test ratings, and you should also look for features such as rollover control and side airbags. Larger vans don’t usually come with this kind of equipment, so make your purchase carefully.
When you’re transporting your family in a used minivan, you should look for some key features. Adjustable seats, dual air conditioning controls, an entertainment system such as a DVD player/monitor combo, and cup holders all make it a lot easier for your family to ride in comfort.
Many used minivan models come with removable rear seats, but newer models come with second and third-row seats that are reconfigurable (some can even fold into the floor). Those with larger families can benefit from a van with a second-row bench seat. Most minivans can seat at least seven people, and have the space for parents and kids to move about. They can hold more cargo than the average SUV, too.
While sport utility vehicles continue to be popular on the used vehicle market, used Dodge, Honda and Kia minivans are a more financially sound choice for most families. They are cheaper to insure, and maintenance costs are generally lower. They offer better fuel efficiency, and far more cargo area. All in all, a used minivan is an ideal choice for the family on a budget.