Wednesday, December 11, 2013

The Bargains of Christmas - Mini and Full Sized Vans (2013 Picks)

Our yearly feature during the season that everyone loves is on its second year. Finding a car for yourself (assuming if you are a good guy) or for your loved ones in each category is daunting, let The Ultimate Used Car Guide help you.

So, how are these bargain picks are chosen? Here are some criteria that were followed:
  • A vehicle must be available between 2003-2012
  • Reported problems from owners are minimal, based from local forums and several of my reviews
  • Vehicle value must be excellent, since they are good bargains. 
  • Must offer a competitive advantage over its rivals and must fit the buyers needs in a category
  • Availability in the second hand market must be widespread
For Wednesday, we would be featuring vans, both regular and full size. Unlike the ones we had last Saturday, these people carriers have sliding doors. If you want something stylish or has the capacity of carrying more people this coming holidays, here are our top recommendations.

MINIVAN BEST BARGAIN: 2005-2011 Mitsubishi Grandis
For the second year, we would be awarding the best bargain for minivans to something that does not have a sliding door. Let us focus more on the brighter side since this vehicle has room for seven, sedan like drive and comfort, and importantly, low residuals which makes it a great purchase. No diesel under the hood, but still one great vehicle.
Recommended trim: 2.4

Other bets:

2003-2012 Kia Carnival/Sedona 
More cheaper than the Japanese minivans listed here is the Kia Carnival; especially that low prices can give you something refined and comfortable. For the first generation (2001-2006) model stick with the diesels since the gasoline engine drinks gas like there's no tomorrow. Choosing the second generation (2007-2013) would give you a choice of short or long wheelbase, but go for the latter since you get more space.
Recommended trims: 2.9 diesel (2003-2004), 2.9 diesel LWB (2007-2012)

2003-2012 Toyota Previa 
Both the first (2003-2006) and second (2006-2012) generation Previa are good minivans and with low prices, they are a steal. With dual sliding doors and tons of luxury amenities, you have something posh for less. Do avoid the imported units from Japan since they are converted, which makes quality questionable.
Recommended trims: 2.4 (2003-2006), 2.4 base (2006-2012)

FULL SIZED VAN BEST BARGAIN: 2003-2012 Hyundai Starex/Grand Starex
Whatever the year model, a Starex is still a Starex. All models will give you a punchy engine (except for the pre-late 2004 models), a roomy and comfortable cabin, a driving position similar to a sedan, and you get road respect. You won't be mistaken for a group of commuters but rather an extended family headed to the mall or a family reunion. While getting a Grand Starex brand new is difficult, a second hand unit is the way to go since changes are minimal. Before we jump to the other bets, resale prices are on the high side.
Recommended trims: 2.0 SVX (2003-2004), GRX (2004-2007), Any variant except the Limousine (2008-2012)

Other bets:

2003-2012 Nissan Urvan
If you can't afford to buy a brand new Urvan then a second hand unit is the prudent pick. With minimal updates, you wouldn't mind at all. There are 12, 15, 18, and 21 seater models that suits every buyer's need; with the pick of them is the 12 seater of the Escapade variant since maintenance is cheap, you wouldn't worry fueling this up, and all get front facing seats. The Estate is a more posher variant since it has power amenities, a 3.0 engine from the Patrol sans the turbo, and a stately appearance. There exists a CEO variant back in 2003 which has seats that can swivel and a table standard. Want an Urvan Estate? Go with a Philippine built model available from 2007 since the initial models from Japan suffered from poor ride and sound quality; these nibbles were improved in the Philippine assembled ones.
Recommended trims: 2.7 Escapade (2003-2012)/3.0 Estate (2007-2012)

2003-2012 Toyota Hiace  
Still a good choice, whether new or used. The great assets of the Hiace include the following: a tried and tested platform, can seat 12-15 people in a pinch, low maintenance costs, and commonality in the market. The second generation (1995-2005) and third generation (2005-current) models would do the job well, just avoid the gasoline engine in the second generation while the third gen costs more even at second hand prices. Avoid imported units from Japan as well.
Recommended trims: 3.0 Super Grandia (2003-2005), 2.5 GL Grandia/Super Grandia (2005-2012)

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