Saturday, October 18, 2008

A New Ride.

Yesterday, we purchased a new ride. I'm sure the Queen will be happy to tell you all about it in depth, so I'll summarize. We purchased a Red 2007 Dodge Grand Caravan SXT. It has Sto-n-Go seating, dual powered sliding doors, 3 zone AC and only 31k miles. We're happy to have it and our little princesses are stoked about it as well.

We now have enough room for them and all their assorted stuff without feeling crowded. We're going to sell our old family car (a Green 1996 Dodge Intrepid ES) and part ways with an old friend. We'll miss you, Lizzzie.

Anyway, this post was brought to you by the letters R, O, O, M, and the number 7.

2 more ramblings:

Old Man With a radio transmitter in his car said...

I read the Queen's blog but it didn't give any details. I replied to her before reading yours. Dodge Caravans are great. They are truly unbeatable family vehicles (been there, done that), and a 31K-miles 2007 should last you many, many years. It is roomy, rides wonderfully, and like you said, it has LOTS of room. The interior was designed exceptionally well, and it is amazing how much stuff fits in it, and they utilize every nook and cranny. The ride is smooth, it's relatively fuel efficient, overall, we are very happy with ours. I think you're going to love yours, too.

If I can be so bold as to offer a suggestion, based on experience: BUY the extended warranty!

Yes, yes, I know, I know, those things are generally rip-offs to get more money out of your pocket into the dealer's. But in our case, we had heard so many horror stories about Dodge Caravans for many, many years from so many of our friends, that we went ahead and rolled the dice and gambled and purchased the car that really seemed, hands down, no contest, to fit the family so positively perfectly -- but to hedge our bet, we decided to go against conventional wisdom and we bought the $1000 bumper-to-bumper 100,000 mile complete covers-everything warranty. Boy, was that one of the best investments we ever made! Ever!

Ours was a 1997, we bought it in 1998 with 17k miles on it. The dealer made a big deal about the 100,000 mile drive-train warranty that comes standard, and offered us several different extended warranties for the rest of the vehicle, at additional charges, of course. The car was so perfect for the family, we really wanted it in spite of our friends' experience, so we asked for the top-of-the-line warranty extension. Turned out to be one of the smartest decisions regarding cars I ever made.

Dodge basically rebuilt the entire vehicle, bumper to bumper, a piece at a time, for us under that warranty. No joke, no exaggeration, we replaced the power steering pump three times, alternator twice, the A/C compressor, windshield wiper motor, the serpentine belt at least four or five times, door locks (several times), power windows (both front doors), front suspension, water pump twice, and ... yes, of course, the famous Chrysler transmission that everyone ends up replacing somewhere between 40,000 and 80,000 miles (ours actually lasted till 84,000 miles, so we got a little extra out of it). All of the above was totally free to us, replaced before the 100,000 mile mark, because we bought the deluxe extended warranty that didn't even require a co-pay or deductible. It's one of the few times that I've ever gambled and won. Big time.

In spite of the repairs it's required, however, I do like the van. I still do. Very much, in fact. The vehicle still runs on the original engine, and the body is still in fantastic shape (except for the rooftop which needs painting), and believe it or not, it still gets good mileage (24 mpg consistently on Ethanol, 27-29 on real gasoline), and we have been so happy with it as a family carrier, we have 195,000 miles on it! And I'm planning to drive it out to Utah to see you with it, at the end of December! I drive it to work 25 miles round trip every day. We no longer fix the little things when they go wrong (the door locks are out again, the electric seat is stuck, the rear window washer is out, etc. etc.), but hey, the car is 11 years old, has almost 200k miles on it, and we would buy another one if we had a family (as long as they still sell the complete 100% extended warranty!) Plus, maybe Dodge has redesigned some of the stuff to be more resilient.

I think you've made a good choice. While I prefer Toyotas for my single-person driving (mainly for their maintenance-free running), I have to say that I don't believe Toyota makes a vehicle that can come anywhere close to the grand Caravan for being such a great vehicle to hold the entire family.

Lint Monkey said...

...Yeah, what Dad said. I like the van. And grats on the new car! Vehicles with plenty of room for everyone are really great for families--my siblings and I used to fight so bad over invading each other's space in cars.