You know, because I love minivans. I am manly like that. So I’ve been going around and round on it. There are lots of options. I know what Long Voyager is going to say, so the 90's caravan’s are on the table, still. Looking at sub-$5000, so that limits my years, but pre-2005 seems to be ok.
I’d like something to play with, better mpg than the Montero, soft roading (handle some dirt roads with K02's, camping road trips, not serious offroading, though) roof rack, and something i can make look cool. I mean, I’m not embarrassed to drive a minivan, but I like my cars to look like my car, not everyone else’s car.
Here are my thoughts:
2000's Astro / Safari.
Pros: Can have a body lift, AWD available, can swap in a blazer transfer case for true low, It’s a chevy vortec 4.3 which is really stout. Probably the most customizable of them. Would be a fun build. Cheap, like $2-$3k for a rust free one with 150k-200k miles. Dutch doors!
I know this is a ‘98, but still, just look at it!
cons: gas mileage is 17-19 hwy. Comfort is not a priority on these, if I remember correctly, but they can tow 5000 lbs...
In that price range, one can also get a mid-2000's Toyota Sienna with the AWD. Probably the most Luxurious option.
Pros: best MPG, lift kits available (yes!), I mean, it’s a Toyota, so it’ll go forever. Leather and such, comfortable. I’d have to fabricate parts like steel bumpers and things, but that’s alright. Strangely enough more power than anything else here.
Cons: Not so cool. Probably more difficult to work on than other options. Less aftermarket, so i’d have to fabricate stuff myself.
Early 90‘s Caravans, could be fun. LV would help me out with a manual swap and a paint job, because he’s awesome.
Pros: The lightest option, pretty common, easy to work on, some options for engine upgrades and such.
Cons: older, Chrysler product, so watch out for those automatics. We had one growing up.
And there are the Hondas, Nissans, etc. Do I need AWD? Probably not. Can get to camp sites in state parks on FWD. Though the Astro is RWD if not AWD. Others are FWD, and that’s good and bad.
I’m in the early stages here. WWOD?