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  • morin2 06/17/12 6:41 pm PST

    The reliability for any sub-$3000 will require constant vigilance. In this price range, the condition of the vehicle, receipts for past service, and having a mechanic check it over is highly recommended.

    The best bets would be a 2000 Mazda MPV or 99 Mercury Villager. The Villager is the same as the Nissan Quest but sells for less because of the Mercury name. Older models would be previous generations and could be ok - but you'd sacrifice some features. I would also consider the Dodge Caravan around 2000-01 - provided your mechanic checks it out. I would not consider the GM or Ford minivans. A Toyota in this price range would be very old and have over 250K miles on it.

    Something with a known history would be best. And some strong negotiation!

  • gfre0705 09/25/12 5:18 pm PST

    i agree with morin2 in the sense that i just bought a 2001 MPV ES that already has 143k miles on it from a private owner. obviously, $3k is not that much to work with so you have to do every bit of research in edmunds.com as to the top 3 minivan you would consider getting (stay away from the honda, toyota & nissans due to their residual values unless of course with luck you can get one). secondly, have a lot of time looking around on/offline, test-drive and have it checked by your own mechanic (always an advantage to have your own mechanic you can honestly trust). once the test drive is done and your gut tells you that it suits you then negotiate and put it on hold as the vehicles with a good value to begin with almost always gets sold quickly to the people who do buy & sell business. as a buyer, I almost always do my vehicle research in edmunds.com including residual value.

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