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Old 12-30-2008, 04:01 AM   #11 (permalink)
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"I think a lot of minivans get in the 30mpg range stock with normal driving. Not really sure what ones get what but a quick look on fueleconomy.gov would give an idea of what is out there."

No, I don't think so. According to fuelecon.gov, and from what I've heard, most minivans hang around the 20 mpg mark. Even under "old" EPA they don't bust 25. Yeah, disappointing, I always thought they should be better than that too. Not much better than pickups. The only claims I'm familiar with that are above 25 are from owners of GM 3.8 dustbuster minivans, and hypermilers. Oh yeah, and the diesel Sprints.

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Old 12-30-2008, 04:40 AM   #12 (permalink)
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Old 12-30-2008, 09:40 AM   #13 (permalink)
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Wow, thanks for the in-depth responses, CoyoteX and others too. If I do decide to get an astro van, I'll at least know what I'm getting into. Too bad they didn't make them with a manual transmission, that would have been perfect. I'll continue to look at other vans too and see what is available. I won't do any towing or heavy hauling, I have my Suburban for that if I need it.

I'd LOVE to get a Scion xB for myself... but that's just not possible. A dealer would probably die of laughter... notice how all my ideas are 20+ year old vehicles that are sub $1500 used?
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Old 12-30-2008, 03:39 PM   #14 (permalink)
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Working as a network admin, and occasionally having to use the tech's company vehicles here....I can rate both of them as decent for the job and hold up well.

The first is a 2005 Dodge minivan with the 3.0. Highway here in Wyoming is 75 and a lot of mountains. Average MPG for it has been 26-28. It has 125k miles on it now and runs just fine. They are easy to find used and repairs have been low on this model. It replaced an Astrovan that was basically garbage. It only went 88K before breaking a-arm and steering components (I don't remember the year of it).

The second is a 2001 Honda CRV. A small sport-util. 4 wheel drive and average on it has been 25 so far. I understand the manual transmission versions get considerably better.

Both are decently comfortable for up to an 8 hour trip.

Even a full sized car would meet your requirements for MPG though. A friend of mine who is 6'4" and a traveling salesman ran Crown Vics for many years. Averaging about 23 overall. He had the same issues getting out of low slung cars which is why he stayed full sized. He recently replaced his last one at 250K miles with a PT cruiser (It had been his wife's....he bought her a new Mini) and he likes how he sits upright in it and still averages 27.

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Old 12-30-2008, 04:55 PM   #15 (permalink)
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If you're going for cheap, my old '86 Ranger (2.3L, 5 speed) easily got 24 mpg freeway. You could also look at the early wagovans, like the Colt Vista and Civic lunchbox. Also, I noticed that for 1994 at least, the Ford Aerostar was available with a 3.0L and 5-speed that was good for 23 mpg freeway.

I have to agree on the Astro: my employer had a '94 (back in 2000), and it had a nice setup, with cabinets and a work surface built in the back, powered by a couple of batteries and an inverter on the floor. However, it got about 16 mpg under my foot and was scary as hell above about 70 mph.
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Old 12-30-2008, 06:30 PM   #16 (permalink)
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Why doncha find a K-Blazer with a 6.2 or 6.5 NA engine? Driven intellgently, it would get you into the 22-24 MPG range.
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Old 01-04-2009, 01:49 AM   #17 (permalink)
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Here is what I have been doing with my Astro all week.



Really an Astro isn't really a minivan it is kind of in the middle of a full size van and a minivan and doesn't really fit well into either category. So a real FWD minivan will potentially get better mileage by a little bit and be smaller and easier to drive in a city. But if you ever wanted to do something heavy minivans won't be up to the task. I hauled that tractor 75 miles to the dealer to get the fuel gauge changed under warranty and the Astro had no trouble with it. For typical weight I am dealing with I would have been better off with a large truck but vans are much cooler than a truck so I make do with my little Astro. I reset my ignition timing back to the proper setting and with my radiator fan removed I am at 24mpg right now.

I would say you really just have to think about what you want out of your car and what you are willing to live with. If you actually sit down and add up the numbers from the mileage and estimated expenses you should get a pretty good idea of what will work for you. It pretty much comes down to total cost of ownership, purchase price, repairs, fuel, and maintenance all add up. So think of all the things you want to do with a car and figure out what it costs for each vehicle you look at. Sometimes the best mileage is not always the best choice. And sometimes you spend a bit more overall on a car because that is what you really wanted even though it wasn't financially the cheapest choice. Me personally I think my Astro is great for what I use it for. But I have my Metro to drive around in when I don't have 5 people going with me or hauling something heavy so that makes things different for me than it will for you.

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