For road trips and home improvement tasks, my wife and I typically rent a minivan two or three times a year. But, renting a vehicle is a bit of a hassle, and the pandemic has turned me into a certified germiphobe, so I am interested to add a minivan to the fleet. This vehicle would be joining a VW Golf and a Mini Cooper S in our driveway. Note that we do not have children, but when we go on trips, we bring a lot of kitchen stuff so that we can cook most of our meals, and we also want to be able to fit enough stuff in the car to be away for a few weeks.
Here is the case for “why a minivan, not an SUV”: I would like at least 140 cu ft of storage behind the front seats. 140 cu ft is 2.6 times more space than my VW Golf hatchback. And, 140 cu ft is 1.7 times more space than a Ford Flex. In the interest of space efficiency, it just seems silly to get anything other than a minivan. I am not concerned with the image of owning a van.
So, I am leaning towards buying a used minivan, and I have $20k to spend. I don’t care much about the infotainment, or the acceleration, or the styling. For this purchase, the priorities are:
1. Must have a height adjustable passenger seat (which even the top-spec Sienna, Odyssey, and Quest lack)
2. Needs to be reliable. (Consumer reports predicts dubious reliability for the Pacifica, but most other models seem fine. Of course, I am interested to hear your experiences.)
3. Needs to be quiet and comfortable on road trips. (So I can’t get a 1980s JDM microvan or anything like that. I have ridden in a friend’s 2nd-gen Mazda5, and it was too loud for my tastes. And, with only 98 cu ft of cargo space behind the front seats, it the Mazda5 doesn’t meet my cargo space goals.)
Right, so that pretty much leaves the 2015-present Kia Sedona and the final-gen Dodge Grand Caravan. Both of these have height adjustable passenger seats in the higher trim levels. We did a 1600 mile road trip in a rented ~2017 Grand Caravan GT, and it was fairly pleasant. I remember wishing for better lumbar support, and it did have a couple of squeaks and rattles (if it were my car, I would be taking apart the interior to fix squeaks and rattles), but other than that the humble Dodge minivan was reasonably comfortable and quiet. Finally, how about the Sedona? From what I have read, the 2015-2021 Sedona is quieter than the Grand Caravan, and the Sedona interior and seats are more modern, though I have seen mixed reviews about the Sedona’s ride quality.
So, what do you think? A reliable and comfy 140+ cu ft hauler for $20k or less — Sedona SX, or something else?