2017 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, lost a lot of momentum but appears to have stabilized. The Minivan section of Lemon Aid 2004 mentioned 24 different minivan nameplates, compared to the five nameplates covered this year.

The big news in the minivan segment is an all-new Honda Odyssey which should be on sale as a 2018 model by mid-2017.  

The safety record of minivans is generally very good, a function of their height, large size and usually cautious drivers. Bulky vans with deep-tinted glass can be challenging to park, especially at night. Rearview cameras and available proximity parking sensors are optional on most vans now and take a lot of the guesswork out of parking. 

A note about mileage: The APA is using fuel mileage from the Canada EnerGuide this year as figures were available at the beginning of the model year. 

Chrysler Pacifica Honda Odyssey Toyota Sienna
Dodge Grand Caravan Kia Sedona   

2017 Dodge Grand Caravan

 


 

 

 

What’s new
The Chrysler Town & Country was replaced by the Pacifica, leaving the 10 year old Grand Caravan on its own for 2017. The sole change of note this year is the replacement of the previous R/T model by the new GT.

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 and the foldable Stow N Go seats are acceptably comfortable now.  

Comments
This van is getting very old now and a replacement based on the new platform created for the Chrysler Pacifica has not yet emerged. 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. These vans outsell the Honda Odyssey and Toyota Sienna by a factor of more than four to one.  

Pricing
Low MSRPs for the base CVP and SE Plus models. Moving up from the Canada Value Package to the SXT is very expensive but is the gateway to the Stow n Go middle-row seats. The Premium Plus, Crew, Crew Plus and GT are all good value. The MSRPs of the SXT and higher trim Grand Caravans are not that compelling when compared to similarly equipped Odysseys and Siennas, but the almost mind-bendingly large incentives offered on the Grand Caravan reduce transaction prices significantly; making these vans great value. The downside of the budget-friendly pricing is swift depreciation which may hurt you if you sell the van before the five or six year mark. Leasing is offered but is not worth considering.  

Reliability
Below average since the current model was released as a 2008. Weak points could include air-conditioning, electrical system. Some transmission fluid leaks reported. 3 Unproven V6 engine. Rapid brake wear is a possibility. Lower body and conduits for the rear heating and air-conditioning vulnerable to rust. 

Specifications


Body Style:  4SW
Occupants:  2/2/3

Engines:
3.6L-V6 (283 HP) 

Transmissions: 6A 
Drive Layout: Front-wheel drive

City Fuel Economy:  13.7L/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: 


2017 Chrysler Pacifica

 

NEW

 

 

 

What’s new
Introduced in the spring of 2017, the Pacifica gains a new LX base model and a plug-in hybrid model this year. 

Comments
The Pacifica moves away from typically minivan proportions toward something sleeker and more sporting than its predecessor and the plethora of three-row crossover vehicles potential buyers might also consider.
The range-topping model has a very elegant, luxuriously appointed interior. Most Pacificas will be powered by a 3.6L V6 sending power to the front wheels via a nine-speed automatic. FCA released a plug-in hybrid in early 2017. It is said to have been developed completely in-house, with an all-electric range of 48 kilometres under ideal conditions. More Pacificas were sold in the last half of 2016 than Town & Countries were in all of 2015. 

Pricing
The new $37,995 LX base model is $2000 cheaper than the Touring trim, which was the least expensive trim when the van was introduced. That said, moving up to the Touring trim is extraordinary value and would likely suit the needs of most buyers. The Touring L, Touring L Plus and Limited trim upgrades are all good value if you like the equipment they contain. The hybrid variant, only offered in Platinum trim, has no direct conventional Pacifica equivalent. The Plug-in hybrid is eligible for a large rebate from Ontario but the province is dreadfully slow in processing the rebate. Leasing is available but is poor value and not worth considering.  
Reliability
Not rated, all-new vehicle. The Dodge Grand Caravan and Chrysler Town & Country were rated below average for reliability.

Specifications


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

Engines:
3.6L-V6 (287 HP), 3.6L-V6 H (248 HP combined) 

Transmissions: 9A 
Drive Layout: Front-wheel drive

City Fuel Economy:  12.9L/100 km
Highway Fuel Economy: 8.4L/100 km
Active Safety Features: Available active safety equipment includes adaptive cruise control with stop and go, forward collision warning with auto braking, lane departure, blind spot and rear cross traffic warnings and lane keeping assist. Knee airbags for both front occupants.
Additional airbags: Knee airbags for both front occupants.
Warranty: 3/60,000, 5/100,000 

Current Generation Debut:  2017
Country of Origin:  Canada

IIHS Ratings:

Sml. Front: G

Mod. Front: G

Side: G

Roof: G

Rear: G

NHTSA Rating: 


2018 Honda Odyssey

 

NEW

 

 

 

 

 

What’s new
The next generation Odyssey should be on sale by mid 2017.  



Comments
Most automakers have left the minivan market but Honda is doing steady business in the segment and unveiled the fifth-generation Odyssey at the Detroit show in January.

The new Odyssey is powered by a 280 horsepower direct-injected V6 that sends power to the front wheels via a nine-speed automatic transmission in most trims, with a 10 speed exclusive to the range-topping Touring model.

Cabin space is very generous, about the same as the last Odyssey, but cabin materials are more luxurious. The so-called Magic Seat centre row seats can either be used as captain seats or moved laterally together to ease access to the third-row seat, and forward to be permit front row occupants to reach second row passengers more easily. Comfort and convenience features include 4G LTE WiFi as well as CabinWatch and CabinTalk that permit the driver to monitor second and third-row passengers visually and communicate with them through the audio system of the van.

Available active safety equipment includes collision mitigation braking and road departure mitigation, adaptive cruise control, lane keeping assist and blind spot with rear cross traffic warnings. 

Pricing
No pricing details are available. 

Reliability
Good reliability predicted. Unproven six-speed automatic transmission. Power sliding door durability could be a trouble spot. Some engine consumption issues on 2011 and 2012 models.

Specifications


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

Engines:
3.5L-V6 (280 HP)

Transmissions: 6A 
Drive Layout: Front-wheel drive

City Fuel Economy:  n.a.

Highway Fuel Economy:  n.a. 


Active Safety Features: Active safety equipment includes collision mitigation braking and road departure mitigation, adaptive cruise control, lane keeping assist and blind spot with rear cross traffic warnings.
Additional airbags: None

Warranty: 3/60,000, 5/100,000
Current Generation Debut:  2011
Country of Origin:  United States

IIHS Ratings:

Sml. Front: NR

Mod. Front: NR

Side: NR

Roof: NR

Rear: NR

NHTSA Rating: 


2017 Kia Sedona

 

NOT RATED

 

What’s new
The SX trim level was disconfinued and the model range streamlined. Autonomous emergency braking and a thicker windshield are standard on the SXL+ trim for 2017. A rearview camera is standard on all models except for the base L trim this year. 

Comments
The Sedona is a very sleek looking minivan. 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 trims) 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. The Sedona appears to be gaining traction in the market as 4700 were sold in 2016, a massive increase compared with 2015. 

Pricing

Complex model range consists of six different trim levels. The LX trim is very good value and represents to level of equipment most buyers are looking for. The LX+, SXL and SXL+ trim upgrades balance price and additional content very closely. The SXL+ is the sole trim level to offer active security features such as forward collsion warning with auto braking. Leasing is not worth considering.  
Reliability
Not rated, new models. Most other Kias, which share components with this Sedona, are rated good.  

Specifications


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:  13.2L/100 km
Highway Fuel Economy:  9.7L/100 km
Active Safety Features: Optional Forward collision warning system, adaptive cruise control and blind spot detection.
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: 


2017 Toyota Sienna

 


What’s new
The 3.5L V6, updated with direct injection, now produces 296 horsepower, 30 more than in 2016. The previous six-speed automatic transmission has been replaced with a new eight speed.   

Performance
The Sienna's new powertrain delivers, punchy, flexible performance. Well-judged ride-handling compromise. Light steering lacks feel and has a "dead" sector when driving straight. Prominent torque-steer on spirited acceleration. Strong brakes despite spongy initial brake feel. Attractive, carefully constructed cabin. Comfortable seats are located in a roomy cabin that can easily handle six large adults and all of their luggage. 

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 13,000 units sold last year, the Sienna is about 1000 units ahead of the Honda Odyssey, roughly three times more popular than the Kia Sedona but nowhere close to the Dodge Grand Caravan, which is the dominant player in this segment. Properly equipped, the Sienna can tow up to 1585 kg (3500 lbs.).

Pricing

The LE eight passenger trim is equipped to suit the needs of most buyers. The sporty-themed SE trim is priced to reflect the value of its extra content. The XLE Limited trim is good value if you are interested in its luxury equipment. All-wheel drive, a unique option in this segment, costs $2835 on the LE and XLE Limited trims. Very good lease value. 
Reliability
Above average reliability predicted. Some reports of touchscreen and sunroof failures which are very expensive to repair atter the warranty has expired.

Specifications


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

Engines:
3.5L-V6 (296 HP) 

Transmissions: 8A 
Drive Layout: Front-wheel drive*, all-wheel drive

City Fuel Economy:  12.5L/100 km
Highway Fuel Economy:   8.9L/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: