Friday, January 29, 2016

Presenting the USS Simon

It's big, it's gray, and it will undoubtedly see its share of bombs so we figured a battleship inspired name was appropriate our "new" 7 passenger people mover. Your eyes are not deceiving you, we did in fact forego our Toyota roots and buy a Chrysler product making this purchase a I-will-never two for 1 combo of Dodge and Minivan.  Mopar or no car baby.

Joking aside, the Caravan was heavily revised in 2011 after the formation of Fiat Chrysler America (FCA) and they seemed to have resolved most of the age old issues that plagued them through the 2000s.  The 3.6L Pentastar v6 is used in everything under the sun and is pretty bulletproof aside from a head issue (which is covered under an extended 150k mile warranty) and at 283hp it's no slouch either.  If I'm going to drive a minivan it's at least going to be the most powerful one you can buy.  The pre-2013 models are plagued with wimpy front brakes leading to a relatively short pad/rotor life, but a set of quality pads and rotors can be had for ~$60 shipped on RockAuto and the much better later model brakes can also be swapped in after an upgrade to something larger than the stock 16" wheels which is as good an excuse as any to throw on a set of 20" SRT replicas like this person did to a similar colored van:

We were dead set on another Yota but when this 2012 Caravan popped up at close to half the price of a comparable Sienna, a little research and some soul searching led to what we hope to be a good buy that will serve us well.  A non-working DVD player and a few other small things (including not much life left in the front brakes) led to enough negotiating leverage to get the price down to just above trade value so even if there are a few bumps in the road we'll hopefully be covered.  One thing that's certain is it won't hold its value as well as a Toyota (evidenced by our purchase price of 1/3 it's original retail just 4 years after it rolled off the showroom floor) but  I'm also certain that anything that sees the use this thing is about to see will have little to no value several years from now anyways.

We did decide to go with a loan as we felt the $400 in interest over 4 years was well worth the freedom and potential benefits of holding onto or leveraging the cash from pairing down our now ridiculously sized used car fleet.  Speaking of that, anyone need a Prius?  Maybe a Volvo or two or a pair of Supras??


  1. Sorry, guess I didn't state that clearly, 2nd picture is a similar color van that someone put a set of 20" SRT replica wheels on to clear the larger brakes on the newer models. A more reasonable (and probably cheaper) option would be to just find some 17" wheels from a 2013+ but what's the fun in that!