Help me choose a van for a cross-canada trip!
January 21, 2010 2:02 PM   Subscribe

My girlfriend and I are taking a (return) cross-Canada road trip in April, and I'm getting pretty excited about it. We want to keep overall costs as low as possible, and I think purchasing a cheap Van is probably going to fit the bill. Any suggestions on makes/models?

- I intend to sleep in the vehicle most of the time. The Prairies in April probably won't be too pleasant in a tent, and hotels are just too pricey.
- Buying anything newer than 95 probably won't happen for budget reasons (around $3,000 limit on initial purchase)
- I've heard MiniVans have hard-to-access engines and often have transmission problems
- If the thing does end up breaking down, it needs to be fixable! (part availability bonus)
- I might hold onto the vehicle after the trip, might sell it; no solid plans, but resale/re-purposing holds no value to me in this decision.
- I have no current vehicle.

I'm willing to put some work into the vehicle before the road trip starts, like insulation or building a bed/tearing out seats. What's the hive mind think?
posted by weasel to Travel & Transportation (6 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
My SO's family has a 1992(-ish) Toyota Previa with more than 300,000 km on it. Their mechanic says he's never seen such a reliable engine/transmission, and that it should be good for 400,000 km. It's needed work, obviously, on hoses and such and the body is not in great shape; the point is that Toyota builds the guts of these things to last. With all that in mind, my advice is to buy something like this. Take the back seats out, put down a mattress, and you might just have an uncle named Bob.
posted by Dasein at 2:15 PM on January 21, 2010

I'm seeing a lot of Mitsu Delica (4x4) and Toyota Hi-Ace (4x4) vans popping up around Victoria. They seem to me to bee the ideal go-anywhere-for-cheap configuration but as of yet I have no idea where they're coming from or how reliable they are. Might be something to look in to.

Right-hand drive, BTW.
posted by klanawa at 2:58 PM on January 21, 2010
posted by klanawa at 2:59 PM on January 21, 2010

Ensure that the tires are good - even in April there will be snowy/treacherous conditions through the Rockies.

My first car was an '85 Dodge Caravan - other than the fact that it leaked a quart of oil a day, it was awesome. (This was back in '92 era). However, since I've gotten older, I lean towards Japanese vehicles.
posted by jkaczor at 4:47 PM on January 21, 2010

Uh, Right-hand drive is avant-garde. Unless you are into that sort if thing.
posted by ovvl at 5:41 PM on January 21, 2010

I had a 1991 Dodge Caravan that fell apart after 100,000 miles. Would never own another!

Now I drive a Toyota Sienna, my second one as the first got totaled. I love it, back seats are long gone and I use it to camp and haul stuff. Friends have have great luck with older Previas.
posted by mareli at 6:10 PM on January 21, 2010

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