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View Full Version : Please help me buy a car, van, SUV


SandraC
04-11-2004, 09:52 PM
Hi All ~ Well, it's car/van/SUV buying time. I am so confused! I am leaning towards a used Windstar ~ 2001 year. Any comments? Thanks! S

Rebecca P.
04-12-2004, 07:48 AM
Please do not buy a Windstar without reading Phil Edmonston's book "The Lemonaide Guide" in the section about them. Just go into any book store.

I have had cronic problems with mine. Transmission went at 78,000 kms. Is constantly having repairs. If you go to cartrackers.com, there is a site just for Windstars. The Freestar has now replaced the Windstar but sales are very low and the plant in Oakville has shut down twice since Christmas. It sure looks like a Windstar to me! The only lemon I have ever owned and the biggest problem is Ford is very poor about helping with known problems.

I could go on and on. You would be appalled if you saw the work that has been done on this van with only 100,000 kms on it. Totally babied, serviced every 5,000 kms. Nice to look at and drive but a total lemon!

Rebecca

cabmom
04-12-2004, 12:59 PM
I have owned a Montana since they came out and the Lumina before. I'm quite happy with my Montana. We own a 2004 Montana and a 2002 Sunfire. I would never buy a sunfire again!
Marilynn

sammi
04-12-2004, 01:00 PM
Hi Sandra! I have to agree with Rebecca on the Windstar!:( We owned a 1995 and after owning for just under 5 years and maintaining it all the time we had the engine blow on New Years day just past.:(

Not what we wanted at this point but we had heard horror stories with the transmission and Windstars (especially 1995) we had in total put in $7000.00 in 5 years with repairs. Although I really loved the van, we went and bought a 2002 Ford Focus wagon which we absolutely love! In true honesty I have to admit we are a Ford family as my brother who lives in Mississauga has worked at Ford for over 37 years and is retiring this July.

We did a lot of research into the Focus wagon and it has won several awards in it's class.:D

I know the stress of purchasing a new vehicle.... good luck in your search!:sunny:

MikeyNS
04-12-2004, 02:20 PM
I think you'll find a vary of opinions of people who either love or hate their vehicle, no matter what the brand.
Personally, I believe the GM vans are probably the best domestic van for that era. I used to hear horror stories about Caravans (but they are still the #1 best seller!), and Windstars can be hit or miss. I'm a real Mazda fan so you can't rule out the MPV.
A Honda or Toyota would be more $$$, but they don't seem to depreciate as badly as the domestics. I think the #1 choice would be a Honda Odyssey if you can swing the price.

cdnmickeylover
04-12-2004, 02:24 PM
I've heard horror stories about the Windstar too. Had a Transport (now Montana) and now have a 2001 Montana which I love. What I liked about it was the fact that it comes with individual chairs rather than bench seats. I can remove the seats myself but couldn't possibly do that with a bench.

Good luck.

Canadave
04-12-2004, 02:43 PM
I have to agree with the hit and miss theory...we have a 96 Windstar with 220000+ km on it...never had a transmission problem (KNOCK WOOD), but have had several repairs $300+...but who hasn't?...especially at that age and mileage...always been a Ford person, but not keen on the Freestar...BTW, we rented a new Caravan to go to WDW in January, but were not impressed with a lot of things about it

DSNY FN
04-12-2004, 02:54 PM
My mother has a Pontiac Montana and it has been really good we have driven it to Disney 2 times. It has been great on gas when we travel we get about 500K from a half tank of gas and could probably get more if we slowed down a bit hehehe. The van runs well is very quiet and has had very few problems only after being hit in the front end did anything develop and it was promptly taken care of at the dealership and has since had no issues. I would highly reccomend this van. I am leaning towards the new Chevy Equinox as I do not want a van and if I have to get a van I want a rear weel drive one so it will be an Astro or Safari. They are both larger mini vans based on truck frames and also alot harder on gas.

bunnyfoo
04-12-2004, 02:56 PM
One thing to consider if you get an SUV is that they are real gas hogs... My dad picked up a Nissan Pathfinder in December. It's been pretty good so far and the 4-wheel drive is nice to have in the winter. One other thing I don't like about it is that it takes a long time to heat up ... not good on a cold winter day... but I'm told that a problem with some SUVs.

My BF's parents have a Windstar (I think its a 98 or 99) ... I know they've had a couple of mechanical problems with it. As a passenger, the ride isn't too comfortable. I know they've also have trouble with taking the seats out ... some of them are fairly heavy.

Let us know what you decide to get Sandra :)

FayeW
04-12-2004, 03:33 PM
I would recommend anything Toyota makes, we had a 4Runner, Tercel, and I drive an old Corolla now. It needs a new engine, but still goes 120k/ph on the Queensway every morning. Fabulous vehicles! We have a Nissan Pathfinder as well, it's ok, but doesn't make me want to run out and buy another Nissan product. If I was going to break down and buy a domestic product, the only brand I would consider is Chev. We had a Lumina van that we liked, and didn't have any major problems with ( we bought it used, and only had it for about a year when we "downsized" to a wagon).

Susan--Ontario
04-12-2004, 05:16 PM
Sandra,

We have a 99 chevy Venture van and I absolutely love it. It has the best mileage going. We spend Less money on gas for our van when going to Florida than we did with our Malibu. We can go 1000 km on a tank in the US and about 800 in Canada. The seats are very easy to take out by yourself. The only problem is the seats in the back aren't the most comfortable for adults. We have two kids so it's not an issue unless I have other adults with me. That only happens though when there is a family wedding and everyone goes with me because I am the forever designated driver.

I'd buy another one in a minute. It's front wheel drive which is important to me as I am much more comfortable driving it. However, if I win a Hummer in the house draw in London I will be switching to it. Could have used it some days last winter.

Have fun!!

MikeyNS
04-12-2004, 06:13 PM
If you really want to get creative, we have a PSD (diesel) Excursion. Absolutely amazing vehicle, reliable, with a horrible resale value. We get approximately 22+ mpg, (1200+kms per tank on the highway (big tank!)), and it will take 7-9 people comfortably. ;)And diesel is always cheaper (10-20% here), so it's really like getting 25mpg in a gas vehicle.

maryliz
04-12-2004, 08:02 PM
Hi Sandra. I recommend, with 2 kids, getting a van over an SUV. I just think you have so much more room in them. We have a '99 Windstar and love it. Knock wood, not too many problems with it ($225 to fix intermittent wipers just last week - :rolleyes: ), but just the usual stuff so far. I have concerns about the transmission going -- my friend has a '98 and had to replace hers 2 years ago (high mileage on it though). My sister borrowed my van to move her son to Ottawa and she said the trans "clunked" a couple of times -- but keeping my fingers crossed that it's all OK. I know that the newer vans have seats that disappear into the floor -- my one complaint about mine is that you couldn't get a split back seat. I would love to be able to take half out, giving us the floor space for WDW, but still having an extra seat to move an obnoxious child into when necessary :teeth: We actually converted our middle bench seat to captains chairs last year, and we will never buy another van with a middle bench. Our back seats are very comfortable, even for my DH and I, and we are both tall. Susan's comment about the Venture seats -- that would be ME complaining to her :wave2: - I find that they seem so low to the floor so my knees feel like they are at the height of my chest when I'm riding in her back seats.

Good luck in your quest!

Mary Liz

NancyK
04-12-2004, 08:14 PM
Hi Sandra,
Although I don't have a van, I have borrowed each of my 3 sister's vans on different occasions. Each has a different make. I love Mary Liz's Windstar. It was very comfortable and easy to drive. But as she mentioned, the transmission clunked a couple of times on the highway and I was kind of worried it was going to be a problem while it was in my care. I drove Susan's Venture to Florida one year and it was so good on gas. My other sister has a Dodge Caravan and although it too is really nice, for some reason the driver's seat was very uncomfortable for me. My back was really hurting while driving the Caravan. Honestly out of all three vans, I would want the Windstar. But again there's that transmission thing . . . Now if the Venture had an interior more like the Windstar/Freestar I would be sold. Good luck with your decision. I would definitely buy a van over an SUV.

rxs148
04-13-2004, 07:28 AM
I have owned both 98 Windster and 2000 Montana.
Love the seat setup in the Montana but was spoiled with Captains chairs in Windstar. And that extra room in the Windstar is to die for. I had to buy a roof top carrier to make up for the lost room in the Montana.
Montana problems are electrical, mine eats turn signal lights, head gasket, wipers stick in upper position especially rainy highway driving, rust is already coming out on Hood. The head gasket the dealer fixed, with a little arm twisting (85000 kms out of warranty)

Windstar transmission but i have heard of several people getting fixed transmission with a little arm twisting at the dealership. I was very lucky with my Windstar everything else was regular maintenance

Depends on Kms on the windstar you want and service record to date.
Japanese is good if you can afford up front.

I am thinking of going back to 2002 Windstar, so I would feel comfortable recommending it to anyone. But I am not shy about going to dealer with a problem especially when it is proven to happen to a majority of them

rxs148
04-13-2004, 07:29 AM
PS even if its out of warranty :earseek:

tigger2on
04-13-2004, 11:18 AM
We looked into it when it first came out to buy when Ry became ill.
They have had nothing but problems and now even the Ford Freestar is having trouble selling or so The Toronto star stated a few weeks ago!
We are thinking about a new minivan and are looking at the Toyota Sienna or a Dodge caravan.... I love the fact that all passenger seats in the back fold into the floor on the Dodge and we like the fact that the middle seat on an 8-seater Sienna is actually 3 seats and the middle part moves up close to the drivers seat... good access for Ryleigh.
However... i finally think it is time to get a wheelchair van so that we don't have to lift her into a van until she's 15.... cuz it'll take us that many years to wear out the next van...
Good Luck

tigercat
04-15-2004, 09:59 PM
I have a 97 Dodge mini van. I absolutely love it. Because I am so short finding a car/van that I can drive in comfort is very hard. I tried the other van's and they did not compare at all with my Dodge. The seats are comfortable and it drives like a dream. I now have over 220000 km on my van and so far (knock wood) have not at any problems with it all. We really haven't put a lot of money into it except for of course the normal stuff like oil changes.
tigercat

MommaBear
04-16-2004, 12:48 PM
We own a Honda CRV and were planning on driving it down in 2002. My mother was horrified that I would try to take my boys ages 13 and 9 (at the time) and my husband on such a long trip in such a small vehicle. I am 5'9", my husband is 5'10" and both boys are quite tall for their ages. My parents insisted that we take their Pontiac Montana so we switched vehicles for 2 weeks.

As they are older (late 60's) they have added every luxury known to mankind on this vehicle, except for the DVD player which was of no use to them since neither sit in the back seat.

It was an absolute dream to drive and only $20.00 US to fill tank. If I remember correctly we only filled up twice on the way down.

My husband fell in love with it and when his vehicle fell apart last summer we purchased a 2002 Montana. Although it is not fully loaded like my parents' van it is just as comfortable and great on gas. Plus there is plenty of leg room for my tall family. It will have it's first trip to Florida in July 2005!

On a side note: We had never used the CRV for long trips, only to get around Mississauga and my drive into work. While we were away my parents went up north for a week to visit friends at their cottage. It was a 2 hour drive and my poor Mom complained that the seats were too hard and she didn't have room to stretch. I was grateful we didn't take this vehicle to Florida.