Cheap Used Minivans

Minivans are one of the most popular vehicle types on the road. Introduced in their current form in the 1980's, they have remained popular ever since. Today almost every domestic and Japanese auto maker has a model of minivan for the public.

Photo: Used Minivans

They offer much of the convenience of a car, but with the ability to haul 7 or 8 people in relative comfort while still providing acceptable fuel economy and the ability to carry a large amount of cargo. Before the minivan, the only way to carry that many people and their cargo was through the user of either cargo vans or station wagons.

Neither of these is as practical as the minivan. Station wagons were ungainly large vehicles that usually had big engines to propel their bulk, thus giving them horrible gas mileage. They were low to the ground and visibility was severely impaired if they were fully loaded with people. Their size and weight also hampered their handling and safety. Full sized vans fared no better, with many of the same drawbacks and the additional misfortune of having been built on truck chassis’, giving them an uncomfortable ride in addition to their other drawbacks.

The smaller frame of the minivan and the car chassis it was built on must have seemed truly revolutionary at the time. Given its much lower weight and smaller engine, gas mileage was radically improved as well. The minivan filled the gap between a full sized people hauler and a family sedan. The Dodge™ minivan, the caravan™ reigned supreme in this category for many years, even after the big Japanese auto makers jumped into the market with minivans of their own. Today, however, the domestic minivan has to play second fiddle to those from the foreign market. Even so, the Caravan™ and its sibling the Chrysler Town and Country™ sell a huge number of units each year and are being continuously refined.  

All of this refinement has led to minivans that cost a great deal more than those of the past, though this is arguably simply the result of the move to a more upscale design and more features and comforts within the minivan itself. Regardless of why it has happened a new minivan can end up costing you over 40 thousand dollars. That is a far cry from the inexpensive people movers they once were. This has led many people to begin shopping for the cheap used minivan.

Buying used has always carried with it a level of stigma, or the assumption that one was too poor to afford a new car. With the state of things today, however, even if buying a new car is well within your means, buying used may still be a wiser choice. Domestic minivans fair worse than the foreign models, but all vehicles suffer heavy depreciation in the first year of ownership. For many people, letting someone else take the depreciation and putting the first 15 or 20 thousand miles on the car is a worthwhile trade off. If money is an issue, then the thousands of dollars saved by buying used is certainly an attractive proposition, since it’s all but impossible to tell a gently used 1 year old car from a brand new one in any other way. The lemon issue, while not terribly common today, is another thing that can be avoided by purchasing used instead of new. Should you buy a new car that does have a serious mechanical flaw, you may have it in and out of the dealer many times and lose the use of that vehicle for much of that time, before the problem is either fixed, or the vehicle is purchased back under the lemon law stipulations. Most of the lemon type mechanical problems will manifest themselves in the first few thousand miles. By letting someone put the first 15 thousand miles on the car, you can be fairly sure there is nothing outstanding wrong with the car from when it produced.

Who Makes Cheap Used Minivans?

Any brand that sells minivans will eventually be the host of cheap used minivans. It may be best to look at American brands for the best deal. As they depreciate faster and to a greater degree than some of the foreign models. Regardless of the brand you choose, you should be able to find a cheap used minivan to fit your budget, whatever it may be.

Where to Buy Cheap Used Minivans

When shopping for a cheap used minivan, there are going to be considerations to take into account. One of them is where to buy. Typically, the choice comes down to buying it from a local dealer or private party, or from buying one on the internet, either far away or from a large auto mall. There are pros and cons to either method of buying and some of them are listed here.

Local

When buying locally, you will likely not be able to find the very best deal. Since there is little competition for any particular model, there is little incentive to deeply discount them. There is also a limited selection available to you when shopping locally. However, if you have an issue with the car, shopping locally does help a great deal in getting it fixed. There is also something to be said about in house financing. You are more likely to find it in local dealers than faceless internet auto malls.

Internet

When buying on the internet, you are likely to have to drive some ways to get to the vehicle you want to look at. Alternatively, you can have the vehicle shipped to your location, but how many people are comfortable buying a car they’ve never seen in person. On the other hand, some of the best auto deals can be found when shopping on the internet.

Where To Find More Cheap Used Minivans

Auto trader.com

This site is one of the largest internet auto malls and can be found at http://www.autotrader.com.

Car Soup.com

Another large internet auto mall with many cheap used minivans can be found at http://www.carsoup.com.

Edmunds.com

This is known as a research site, but it also has listings to used cars for sale across the country. It can be found at http://www.edmunds.com.