When we became a one-car family relying solely on our trusty 2007 Volvo S40 for transportation, we knew the consequence of our decisions. Seeing as how we’re a two-career, one-car family, we racked up the miles quickly, and our Volvo decided that at 161,000 miles, it was time to move on.
That’s why we started shopping for a minivan in February 2018.
We’re DINKs, so why a minivan?
The idea of purchasing a minivan came about by way of this episode of Radical Personal Finance. But we also aspire to live a vanlife life. 😉
Since we became debt free last year, we’ve been working hard to save more money so that we’d have enough money in an emergency fund available to pay cash for a replacement vehicle. At the time, we weren’t sure if the minivan was the right idea, so we considered all the options. But our search always returned to minivans.
Not long after we funded our emergency fund, we started looking for a Dodge or Chrysler minivan because they are cheaper than imports. All we really needed was a used, low-mileage minivan that could comfortably tow our teardrop camper.
About a mile from our home, we found a family-owned dealership with a solid reputation for selling reasonably-priced minivans. What luck!
Because this dealership sells through so many minivans, the inventory changed daily. So, we decided to take a trip to the dealership one Saturday to look around. That’s when we found Dennis (our minivan).
After putting down a deposit, we did our due diligence. We checked out the Carfax report (clean!), followed up with the dealership where the minivan came from, and took it to our mechanic who gave it a thorough inspection. Everything checked out.
Though it’s been only a week we’ve had our 2010 Chrysler Town & Country, we LOVE it and here are some of the many reasons why.
Reason #1: Price
Our 2010 Chrysler Town & Country had one owner who purchased the van new in 2009, so the minivan did a lot of depreciating over the last nine years. Stick price on the minivan? $13,995
Reason #2: Low Miles
One of our requirements when shopping for a minivan was that it had to be under 55,000 miles since we’ve become people who drive used cars for 9 years until the wheels nearly fall off. Dennis (the original owner) purchased this van late in his life and had installed a lift and a mobility scooter, so we’re certain he wasn’t using the van to take kids to school and soccer practice daily. Miles on the minivan? 25,151 miles
Reason #3: Maintenance
Using the Carfax report, we were able to locate the dealership in New York where the van came from. As it turns out, Dennis purchased this van new in 2009 and took the van in for all of the scheduled maintenance AND oil changes every 3 months AND a recall. On time. Every time. Dennis (the minivan, named in memory of the original owner) has been well-maintained over the last nine years.
Reason #4: Model
We have a 2010 Chrysler Town & Country Touring, which is one level up from the base model. With this model, we have a 3.8L engine and 6-speed transmission, so we’re capable of hauling far more stuff than just our teardrop camper. Also, we have dual climate control…LOVE!
Reason #5: Options
With this Touring edition, we have tons of storage (when both rows of seats are in the floor), a crazy number of cup holders, and a power outlet.
Reason #6: Space
Minivans have a TON of space, more space than I think we could realistically use. No longer do we have to rent a truck to move big stuff, like the table and chairs I need for a trade show this week. We’ll have plenty of room for the “nice to have” stuff that will make our future van life adventures a little more comfortable.
Reason #7: Speed
Or a lack thereof. Our Volvo S40 was quick on the acceleration. Our Chrysler is…not so quick. Lane changes, turns, and “quick” trips to the store require slightly more planning than our Volvo required because the minivan is…slow. Our minivan has made us take a more leisurely approach to our day, so we’re appreciating a slow living approach to driving.
Reason #8: Future-oriented
We didn’t plan to purchase our minivan in March 2018. Actually, we wanted to squeeze a little more life out of the Volvo, but the Volvo had other ideas. Now that we have our minivan, we’re thinking more about financial independence/early retirement and whether we should continue pursuing that goal or hit the road and enjoy vanlife today.
Reason #9: Security
If you follow Two Cup House on Twitter, you know all about the repair vs. replace a car situation we’ve faced this last year. Our Volvo went to the shop nearly once a quarter in 2017, which was always stressful and expensive. Having a low-mileage vehicle made the stress melt away within a hour of completing the minivan purchase. We had NO idea how stressed we felt about our Volvo. Now, we can go for a long weekend trip in our Chrysler without fear of another break down.