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Discussion Starter #1
I've noticed a lot of people come on these forums who are trying to compare minivans before making their final purchase. Good friends of ours just had to replace the engine in their Dodge Grand Caravan at only 35,000 miles! Unfortunately (and perhaps not surprisingly), the engine died soon after their 3-yr warranty expired, so they will have to fork out the repair costs themselves. Although obviously very upset over the whole ordeal, they feel at least grateful the power train is covered for 5yrs (which makes one wonder if the power train will even last that long). They are now considering getting rid of their minivan once they pay to get the new engine installed. Just thought I'd warn those considering the Dodge Caravan due to the loaded features and attractive price tag. All may not be as it initially seems; and in the long run, you may end up spending more in maintenance and repairs fees.

Yeah.... That's why we steered clear from the Dodge and Chrysler minivans when car shopping. Consumer Reports rates them really low and they have a history of unreliability across the board. Check their ratings and statistics. Yet oddly everyone seems to have one around here... This only further confirms our decision to go with a Toyota Sienna over other competitors - not that we'd ever consider getting the Dodge Grand Caravan anyway, despite all the bells and whistles. Yes, even the famous Stow N Go 2nd row seats weren't enough to entice us. Sure our Sienna LE AWD model is sort of plain jane and doesn't have all the fancy features the other competitors may have - but nothing beats knowing we have a reliable vehicle that will last us for many years, problem free (as predicted, so we hope anyway)! So excited to get our new 2014 Toyota Sienna LE AWD in just a few days! :)
 

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Welcome aboard and congrats on your new sienna.

I rented one (T+C-they even have the sport one) last year on vacation and the transmission is a total POS!
The one I had had less than 5k miles. It was loud, really weak, and feels like it was struggling. 2nd and 3rd gear were aweful. Everytime you let off the gas and then want to accelerate, it was super slow.

I cussed every time I drove it...my wife couldn't stop laughing at me.

After getting back in my sienna, I couldn't believe how smooth it shifts.
 

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I'm really confused. If they have a 5 year power train warranty, why isn't the engine being covered under the warranty? The engine, transmission, and the parts that connect those items to the wheels ARE the power train. Something isn't right here.
 

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We just dumped our 2010 grand caravan which we purchased new..........
Brakes calipers and rotors replaced 3 times under warranty in first 50,000km
Then again when out of warranty............. then tie rods.......
We dumped it last week when we traded it and got a 2011 sienna SE
Will never buy another Chrysler product
 

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Even Sienna owners can have a blown engine. Sometimes it's bad design, other times I chock it up to people that do not maintain their vehicles or keep an eye on them.

If you've been on this site for any amount of time, you'll realize that people that owned a second gen Sienna and have moved to a third gen Sienna, are not pleased with the cheap feel of interior. For paying substantially more for a Toyota you should be getting a more luxurious Van as compared to a Caravan.

I do hope your new Sienna is trouble free, but it's no guarantee that it will be trouble free.

Regards, JC.
 

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gs3tek - Thanks for the reply! Yes, I'm very excited about getting my new (and first) Sienna tomorrow! I have a feeling it will make my life so much easier. I'm upgrading from a 2004 Ford Mustang - which has served me faithfully and well all these years, but is totally unpractical when it comes to having young children in car seats. I will miss my manual sports car, but understand that a minivan is the most logical way to go at this phase in life. Also, I think I'm really going to enjoy all the luxury that minivans have to offer. I have the most basic Mustang - no features - and my husband has the most basic Toyota Tacoma - even less features than my Mustang. We were both blown away with the long list of features that come even on the LE model of the Sienna. Talk about an upgrade!

As for the T&C - It seems I hear and read mostly negative reviews on this vehicle as well. It goes to show you get what you pay for. I understand many go this route for the cheaper price tag and more features, but it seems like it might be worth spending a little extra cash and going with something that has a better track record (in my personal opinion). So happy with the decision we made with our Toyota Sienna. I must admit, I was debating about going with the Honda Odyssey - which probably has the biggest hype between most of my mommy friends - but it doesn't have the AWD feature which I so desired.
 

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bullfrog23414- Thanks for responding to my post! As you, I was also really confused by this very strange warranty (sounded shady) - but I also had no idea what warranty package came with my friend's Dodge Caravan so I inquired about it. Evidently this is what the dealership's service department told my friend when she originally took the vehicle in for a diagnosis. They were even going to charge her $150 just to diagnosis the engine problem. So she ended up taking the minivan to another dealership's service department to get a second opinion, who also happened to offer much better service and honored the warranty that covers BOTH the engine and power train. Sounds like the first dealership was just shady all around, but it's also located in Bowie, MD, so I guess I'm not surprised! ;) haha.

Based on the 2nd mechanic's diagnosis, there is design flaw which caused half of the engine to be damaged. Evidently they've been having issues with their minivan since they first bought it brand new - this wasn't the first problem. Over the years, none of the Dodge dealerships they took the vehicle to could help because the computer system couldn't identify the source of the problem. They then went to Chevrolet who found a lose pin, which evidently caused her to lose power while driving on a major highway one time. Now the engine is the problem.

Either way, it sounds like a lot of headaches one would want to avoid all together...
 

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repsolal - Thanks for the post! So sorry to hear about your 2010 Grand Caravan problems... although I sadly must admit, I'm not surprised... It seems to be the word on the street, unfortunately :/ Based on several people's personal experiences with their Dodge Grand Caravan and Chrysler T&C vehicles, as well as based on Consumer Reports surveys with people who've owned these vehicles - they get "much worse than average" ratings in terms of their reliability and new car predictions. Not sure that's a good selling point, for me anyway! Wishing you all the best with your new 2011 Sienna SE! Here's to hopefully being a more reliable vehicle!
 

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jc - Thanks for the reply! I will be the first to agree with you that every car brand has had it's design flaws and problems. There's definitely no denying this. Even Toyota had that infamous acceleration issue and recall a while back. I'm sure there are many people out here who can vouch their Dodge Grand Caravan or their Chrysler T&C have never had a significant problem in all their years of ownership. Same as there are many out there who can probably vouch their Toyota has had problems since the get-go. There are lemons, it just happens.

However, I think what concerns me most is the undeniable poor track record that both the Grand Caravan and T&C minivans have, yet many people still get them. They are the most popular minivans where I live, whereas Toyotas, Hondas, and Nissans are few and far between. Statistically speaking, the Caravans and T&Cs are significantly more likely to have greater/more problems than their competitors. Glancing down at the Consumer Reports auto reliability for these two vehicles (based on surveys sent out to people), between the years 2007-2012 there are trouble spots galore and their overall new car prediction is rated as "Much worse than average." As I mentioned in a previous post above, this is not a good selling point for me, personally. Now comparing these ratings to that of the Toyota Sienna, which has for the most part better than average ratings for the years 2007-2012, and an overall new car prediction of "Better than Average." Granted there are a few trouble spots that even the Toyota Sienna had over the years, but there are very few in comparison. Furthermore, in subsequent years, these problems appear to have been corrected by Toyota, whereas the Caravan and T&C minivan problems often seem to carry over form year to year. Who knows, maybe the newer 2013-2015 models will prove us wrong, but it's definitely something to consider when first purchasing a vehicle, especially for someone that is seeking reliability and a vehicle with a proven track record of it.

I also agree that with the higher price tag that comes on the Toyota Sienna, that we probably should get more features in the base packages. I even found out at the dealership last week, that the 2015 base models actually have less features than the previous years (since they're trying to get people to purchase the more expensive models with more features). I must admit, I was a little shocked at the bareness and seemingly cheapness look of the 2014 LE Toyota Sienna AWD model when I first peeked in. I even remember asking the salesman if it was truly a 2014/2015 model I was looking at, as I felt like I was looking into an older style vehicle... I had a hunch that if I looked into the equivalent 2014 Honda Odyssey model that I might've been won over in the respect. However, after test driving the LE Sienna, I was truly impressed with how comfortable, smooth, and quiet a drive it was. It just felt like a solid and good quality vehicle. Ultimately, I went with the Sienna purely because of the AWD feature that is only available on the Sienna minivan right now. I suppose in the end, Toyota knows they have a quality and reliable product that their name brand is known for; and therefore, can put a higher price tag on it with less features that aim to try and encourage customers to purchase additional add-on packages or go with the more expensive XLE and Limited models. For us, the fancy electronic features weren't as important to us as having a vehicle with a significantly higher chance of being a reliable vehicle in the long run. For others, maybe all the fancy features are more important and even cost is a factor for them. However, I'm just trying to help make sure people are aware of what they might be in for should they decide to go this route. Are we taking a chance going with the Sienna - sure, we could very well have engine problems from the beginning. I sure hope not! However, I'll take my chances with a name brand and a vehicle that has a history of generally being a more reliable product.
 
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