After more than a week of research, following up numerous leads, and frequently being disappointed by just how shady used car salespeople can be, we finally narrowed our choices down to something we can live with.
We wanted a vehicle that we could pay off in 3 years or less, with room for our family plus at least two, economical to drive, that would be comfortable and reliable for road trips. It came down to a Honda Odyssey or a Toyota Sienna. Both vehicles have typical life expectancies of over 300,000km, and hold their value better than the average van. We were unable to find an Odyssey in our price range that didn’t have a very suspicious background.
We did, however, find a Toyota with a flawless CarProof vehicle history, and immaculate service record. One owner, an older couple, who didn’t miss a single tune up or recommended service. It’s a 2004 LE with 117,000km on it. For a Sienna, that means its nicely broken in. We got the vehicle itself, reasonably equipped, for $12,600 – and then added some comfort features that are mostly just vain conceit, like heated leather seats and a DVD system for the kids, for another $3000. Our credit rating scored us 4.5% financing at the bank, so we should be free and clear well before our target date.
Granted, its not the hippest set of wheels out there. But you can’t tell its 6.5 years old, and for those in the know about family vans, a Sienna is a very respectable vehicle to drive. We may not be broadly cool any more, but in certain circles, our ride is a pretty sweet one. We take delivery next week, which means we didn’t quite make it 3 weeks without a car payment… oh well, at least we own one of our vehicles. And really, with a family of 5… this had to be done.