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Old 12-10-2014, 02:03 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Best 12 passenger van for fuel economy?

Our family has outgrown our minivan and we're going to purchase a 12 passenger van. I know that all vans of this size are horrendous gas guzzlers, but is there any one particular model that is a little better than the rest?

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Old 12-10-2014, 02:10 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Outgrown as in too many bodies, not enough seatbelts, or enough seatbelts and not enough room for cargo? A trailer, rear cargo box, or car-top carrier could probably resolve the problem if its cargo related with less impact on fuel economy.
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Old 12-10-2014, 02:20 PM   #3 (permalink)
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I would bet a 6.6L Duramax would get the best average MPG but if you are one of the places where diesel is $3.50/gal while unleaded is $2.65 The regular 5.3 Chevy would cost less per mile. The Sprinter diesels supposedly get almost 20 mpg but will cost a fortune upfront. Ford now has a European style diesel van as well, again it would buy a lifetime supply of gas for a late 90's Dodge 12 passenger.
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Old 12-10-2014, 02:27 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Whats the budget? What year vehicle are you looking for?
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Old 12-10-2014, 02:48 PM   #5 (permalink)
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The newly updated Ford Transit Wagon with the V6 ecoboost is rated 14 city/19 hwy/16 combined... not too shabby compared with the outgoing Econoline E150 which got 13 city/16 hwy/14 combined.

The Chevy passenger vans get 13 city/17 hwy (combined unpublished, but I'm guessing it's probably 14-15 mpg.

Obviously with these low numbers, a little change goes a long way towards fuel savings.

If I were going vans right now, I would want a Transit Connect. The long-wheelbase version is rated 1mpg better than the previous MPG winner, the Honda Odyssey. Seats 7 though, so not for you.

If you really need 12 passengers for you family, your best bet for saving fuel in the future is maybe to stop having children .

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Old 12-10-2014, 02:50 PM   #6 (permalink)
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The issue is too many people. If it were a cargo constraint, I would definitely look for a trailer. We have a maximum of $20,000 USD to spend and would feel more comfortable staying closer to $17,000. Duramax Chevy Express would be awesome, but the Duramax is not available on the 12 passenger models as far as I know. Even if it was, it would probably command a steep price.

What about Sprinter vans? Does anyone have any experience with them? I know they have a good reputation (both the Dodge labeled ones and the Mercedes labeled ones). My only concern is that the name Mercedes screams $$$$$$$$$$$$$$. I'm afraid of repair costs if anything ever goes wrong. Can anyone address this concern that owns a Sprinter van, or has owned one in the past?
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Old 12-10-2014, 02:55 PM   #7 (permalink)
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I just looked at prices for used Sprinters. Not going to happen. Looks like it's down to the Ford E series and the Chevy Express. Any owners or former owners of those vans on here that would care to comment on your ownership experiences and fuel mileage?
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Old 12-10-2014, 03:16 PM   #8 (permalink)
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At work we have a 3 chevy work vans.

The 08 is a V6 @ 188K miles lifetime MPG 16*
the 12 is a V8 @ 125K miles lifetime MPG 13
the 14 is a V8 @ 23K miles lifetime MPG 15

change the oil and get ready for a transmission swap.

~40% towing miles with cheap 12' - 16' v nose trailers.

*you can tell what vehicle I drive.
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Old 12-10-2014, 03:26 PM   #9 (permalink)
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We have a 12 passenger Express with a Duramax as a pool vehicle at work. So they did make them. But exceedingly rare and pricey I'm sure.

We had a 2001 Savana (st home) for four years. 5.0 V8. It would get mid-teens around town. We got as high as 20.0 on a 400+ mile trip, but drove 60 MPH. At 70 it got more like 17 or 18. Couldn't find another 12 passenger in the right price range to replace it. I think the seats changed in 2010 to having shoulder belts for the middle passengers in the back. If you plan on traveling with 12 people much, that may be a must have. (earlier ones only had lap belts in the middle positions.)
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Old 12-10-2014, 06:23 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Like mentioned, do you have 10 kids? 8 kids, 2 pets and 2 adults?

Ive been looking at the prius v as a larger fuel efficient vehicle to seat several large adults. I saw a ford transit van the other day. It was rather small, compact and low to the ground. Id hope it got close to 30 mpg, other the mini van would be another look.

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