2015 Lemon Aid New Car Reviews - Minivans


From an equipment, versatility and comfort standpoint, minivans offer better value than similarly-equipped mid-size sedans and SUVs. Despite the value proposition minivans represent, the segment, whether because of fashion or demographics, is losing momentum. The Minivan section of Lemon Aid 2004 mentioned 24 different nameplates compared to the five nameplates covered this year.

The big news in the Minivan segment for 2015 is the return of Kia to the segment with an all-new Sedona. In addition, Toyota treats the Sienna to a significant update for 2015.

The safety record of minivans is generally very good, a function of their height, large size and usually cautious drivers. With the exception of bumper strength on some models, minivans meet almost all passenger car safety standards. Bulky vans with deep-tinted glass can be challenging to park, especially at night. Proximity parking sensors are optional on most vans now, and several makers now offer backup cameras as well.

A note about mileage: The APA is using the U.S. Department of Energy fuel consumption figures once again as the figures from the new Canada EnerGuide test cycle were not available as this research was being compiled.

Chrysler Town & Country Honda Odyssey Toyota Sienna
Dodge Grand Caravan Kia Sedona   

Chrysler Town & Country, Dodge Grand Caravan

Specifications


 

 

What’s new
No changes of note for these models in their eigth year on the market in their current forms. 
Performance
Good performance and refinement from the 3.6L V6 that is a bit lacking in torque at low revs. The main quest of the automatic transmission is to reach the highest gear possible means a lot of downshifting when a bit of extra speed is required. There is no creep function when the vehicle is in gear with the brakes off, making low-speed manoeuvres tiresome. Heavy steering is reassuring on the highway, but combined with the firm throttle, makes the van feel ponderous in town. Strong brakes. The Town and Country's suspension swallows road imperfections on the highway and ably handles all but the biggest urban potholes. Noticeable body movement on sinewy roads. Big, clear gauges. Elegant dash and lots of padded surfaces. Simple, logical controls for a full-featured van. Supportive front seats. Adjustable pedals and telescoping wheel make all drivers comfortable. Enormous, clear, cargo hold. The second and third row seats enjoy good legroom but the Stow N Go seats are mounted too close to the floor to be comfortable for adults. The Town & Country was ranked third in a four van test that also included the Honda Odyssey and Toyota Sienna.

Comments
Only one powertrain, a 3.6L V6 hooked up to a six-speed automatic transmission sending power to the front wheels, is available. Properly equipped, maximum towing capacity is 1633 kg (3600 lbs.). Made in Canada and the United States. With combined sales of nearly 61,000 units (about 9000 being Chryslers) in 2015, these Chrysler minivans are the dominant players in the segment.

Pricing
Compared with the Canada Value Package, the SXT trim upgrade is overpriced. The Crew and R/T packages are priced to reflect the value of their contents and the Crew Plus is keenly priced. Good value Town & Country Touring L and S trim upgrades but the Limited package is overpriced. A Chrysler Touring L is priced roughly $3000 more than a Dodge R/T with similar equipment. Savage depreciation. If you plan to trade-in your van before the five or six year mark, you would do better to buy a Japanese-branded van. A Grand Caravan equipped the same as a base Sienna or Odyssey bears a similar MSRP, however, Chrysler's spectacular incentive packages make the actual transaction price considerably less. No leasing available.

Reliability
Below average since the current model was released as a 2008. Weak points could include air-conditioning, electrical system. Unproven V6 engine. Rapid brake wear is a possibility.


Body Style:  4SW
Occupants:  2/2/3

Engines:
3.6L-V6 (283 HP) 

Transmissions: 6A 
Drive Layout: Front-wheel drive

City Fuel Economy:  13.8L/100 km
Highway Fuel Economy:  9.4L/100 km
Active Safety Features: Available blind spot and rear cross traffic warnings
Additional airbags: Driver's side knee airbag

Warranty: 3/60,000, 5/100,000
Current Generation Debut:  2008

Country of Origin:  Canada, United States

 

IIHS Ratings:

Sml. Front: P

Mod. Front: G

Side: G

Roof: G

Rear: G

NHTSA Rating: 



Honda Odyssey

Specifications


 

 

 

 

What’s new
No changes of note for the Odyssey in 2015.

Performance
The 3.5L V6 is smooth, quick and sounds great when pushed hard. The six-speed automatic transmission upshifts smoothly but can hesitate when asked for a lower gear. Cylinder shut-off (6-4-3), works imperceptibly and uses a bit less fuel than the Toyota Sienna. Confident handling. Firm ride. Precise, but light steering. The brake pedal on our test car was very firm, making the brakes hard to modulate. Big, clear instruments. Though the dash centre stack houses a lot of buttons, they are grouped into operational themes and easy to cope with. Comfort is assured by supportive seats and ample cabin space. While the interior looks carefully assembled, some drivers encountered rattles on our test vehicle. Top models lack the luxury appearance expected at the price. Good cargo space. The Odyssey was ranked second in a multi van test that also included the Chrysler Town & Country and Toyota Sienna.

Comments 
The 3.5L V6 is hooked up to a six-speed automatic transmission. With just over 11,000 units sold last year, the Odyssey and the Toyota Sienna are selling in equal numbers, but can't compete with the Grand Caravan/Town & Country numbers wise. Properly equipped, maximum towing capacity is 1588 kg (3500 lbs.).

Pricing

The LX model is comprehensively equipped and unless you are looking for luxury features there is no real reason to venture further. The SE trim upgrade lacks value for the money asked but the EX model is good value. To get leather upholstery, buyers are forced into taking either navigation or an Entertainment system. The Touring package is priced about $2000 higher than the value of the contents in the package. Very good value leasing. Good resale value. 

Reliability
Good reliability predicted. Unproven six-speed automatic transmission. Power sliding door durability could be a trouble spot. 


Body Style:  4SW
Occupants:  2/2/3, 2/3/3

Engines:
3.5L-V6 (248 HP)

Transmissions: 6A 
Drive Layout: Front-wheel drive

City Fuel Economy:  12.4L/100 km
Highway Fuel Economy:  8.4L/100 km

Active Safety Features: Available forward collsion and lane departure warnings
Additional airbags: None

Warranty: 3/60,000, 5/100,000
Current Generation Debut:  2011

Country of Origin:  United States

 

IIHS Ratings:

Sml. Front: G

Mod. Front: G

Side: G

Roof: G

Rear: G

NHTSA Rating: 



Kia Sedona

Specifications

NEW

 

What’s new
The third-generation Sedona want on sale in early 2015.

Comments
The new Sedona looks considerably sleeker than the previous model. The dashboard features big, clear gauges and uncluttered controls. The cabin is chic, with plenty of soft-touch surfaces, two-tone colour schemes and piano black and bright metal accents. Second-row seats (with extendable footrests on the top-end model) fold compactly as they move forward, allowing for very good access to the third row. Thanks to a deep well between the third-row seat and the tailgate, cargo capacity is ample with the third-row in place. According to Kia, the Sedona is built on an all-new new chassis featuring large amounts of high-strength steel. The Sedona is powered by a 3.3L V6 sending power to the front wheels via a six-speed automatic transmission. No tow capacity information available.

Pricing

Massive model range comprises seven different trim levels which will be difficult for both the Canadian distributor and dealers to administer given the historically minimal sales the model has generated. The base L is nicely equipped but the LX trim upgrade, which contains a wealth of equipment for not much money, is the best value of the lineup and is equipped to suit most buyers. The LX+, SX+ and SXL trim upgrades are priced to reflect their additional features but the SXL+ is a bit pricey given its content. Reasonable value leasing. To gain a foothold in the minivan market Kia will have to be a lot more aggressive regarding incentives than it was in May of 2015, when Sedona intenders had to pay the same finance montly for a Sedona LX as for an Odyssey LX; with lease monthlies for an Odyssey considerably less than for a Sedona.
Reliability
Not rated, new models. Most other Kias, which share components with this Sedona, are rated good.  


Body Style:  4SW
Occupants:  2/2/3, 2/3/3

Engines:
3.3L-V6 (276 HP) 

Transmissions: 6A 
Drive Layout: Front-wheel drive

City Fuel Economy:  13.1L/100 km
Highway Fuel Economy:  9.8L/100 km

Active Safety Features: Optional Forward Collision Warning System, Smart Cruise Control, and Blind Spot Detection with rear Cross Traffic Alert.


Additional Airbags: None

Warranty: 5/100,000
Current Generation Debut:  2015

Country of Origin:  South Korea

 

IIHS Ratings:

Sml. Front: G

Mod. Front: G

Side: G

Roof: G

Rear: G

NHTSA Rating: 



Toyota Sienna

Specifications


What’s new
Mid-cycle remake includes mildly revised exterior styling and an updated cabin featuring a new dashboard and more attractive cabin materials. Bluetooth and a rearview camera are standard for 2015. New options include a Blu-Ray player and "Easy Speak" ,which plays the driver's voice through the audio system. More sound deadening materials have been added to enhance refinement.
Performance
The Sienna's 3.5L V6 is powerful, economical and very well matched to its smooth-shifting six-speed automatic transmission. Quiet enough in gentle driving, the V6 sounds rough when pushed. Well-judged ride-handling compromise. Light steering lacks feel and has a "dead" sector when driving straight. Prominent torque-steer on strong acceleration. Strong brakes despite spongy initial brake feel. The cabin is much more attractive and better-assembled than last year.   Comfortable seats are located in a roomy cabin that can easily handle six large adults and all of their luggage. Ranked first in a multi vehicle test against the Honda Odyssey, and Chrysler Town & Country.

Comments
All Siennas are powered by a 3.5L V6. Front-wheel drive is standard, with all-wheel drive optional. Seven and eight seater versions of the Sienna are available. With just over 11,000 units sold last year, the Odyssey and the Sienna are selling in equal numbers, but can't compete with the Grand Caravan/Town & Country numbers wise. Properly equipped, the Sienna can tow up to 1585 kg (3500 lbs.).

Pricing
The LE eight passenger model is the best value of the Sienna lineup. SE Technology package is priced to reflect its contents. Compared with the LE eight-passenger, the Limited seven passenger model is poor value, with its price roughly $3000 higher than its additional features are worth. Good value XLE Limited package. All-wheel drive, standard on the XLE, is a $2825 option on the LE trim. Good Value leasing.

Reliability
Above average reliability predicted. Some reports of touchscreen and sunroof failures which are very expensive to repair atter the warranty has expired.


Body Style:  4SW
Occupants:  2/2/3, 2/3/3

Engines:
3.5L-V6 (266 HP) 

Transmissions: 6A 
Drive Layout: Front-wheel drive, all-wheel drive

City Fuel Economy:  13.1L/100 km
Highway Fuel Economy:  9.4L/100 km
Active Safety Features: Blind spot and rear cross traffic warnings. 
Additional airbags: Driver's side knee airbag.

Warranty: 3/60,000, 5/100,000
Current Generation Debut:  2011

Country of Origin:  United States 

IIHS Ratings:

Sml. Front: A

Mod. Front: G

Side: G

Roof: G

Rear: G

NHTSA Rating: