Re: can you trade in a car that is worth more than what you are buying?
Interesting discussion, I was thinking the same thing.
I don't think I will end up doing it, but I dislike our 2011 XLE AWD Sienna enough to do it as soon as... now.
I was thinking of getting a base model Mazda 5 w/ manual transmission and no options. Sienna is just too big and really offers nothing we need. It's really ponderous and sluggish to drive, really! I can't think of anything I like about our Sienna. The only reason why we keep it is because everyone in the fam wanted one (MINVAN, TOYOTA, AWD, DVD, MUST HAVE!!!). But really it's too much of what we don't need, has terrible ergonomics/road manners and is just too big for comfort, but yet cramped for tall people (me!). We were getting along just fine on a Subaru Forester, fancy that.
Now if I can get a brand new Mazda 5 for 18 grand list price, maybe less if I can talk them down, I might still be able to get some equity out of the Sienna. On the same note, I might even be interested in a Honda fit. Indeed do they ever cut you a check for the difference?
One can only dream...