You're So Van
If a minivan is a mainstay of your business transportation needs and you're looking to trade it in for a new model, consider two domestics and an import loaded with upgrades.
Chrysler Voyager loyalists will appreciate a base price under $20,000 and some new extras: a choice of regular or extended wheelbase; front- or all-wheel drive;142.3 cubic feet of cargo space; a variety of equipment options; and the standard 2.4-liter, 150-horsepower, inline four-cylinder engine. Mileage: 20/24 mpg city/highway.
Honda's revamped Odyssey is the most popular minivan in America in several surveys. The 2002 version, starting at $24,250, sets a high standard with a 3.5-liter, 240 horsepower V-6. A new five-speed automatic transmission is standard in all Odyssey models. New side air bags protect in crashes, and eight bag hooks, a hammock cargo net and second-row grab rails that double as clothes hangers are practical interior additions for commuters. Maximum cargo: 146.1 cu. ft. Mileage: 18/25 mpg city/highway.
Chevrolet's $22,035 Venture has a new optional all-wheel drive system, a stowable third-row seat and captain's chairs that fold flat for 140.7 cubic feet of cargo space. A rear parking alert beeps and flashes, and a 3.4-liter, V-6 engine provides 185 horsepower. Mileage: 19/26 mpg city/highway.
The Odyssey and Venture all have dual sliding side doors with power as an option and DVD entertainment systems with rear-mounted, flip-down screens (great if your van does kid duty on weekends).
On a budget? Check out Kia's new bargain, the $18,995 Sedona. With an engine as large as the Odyssey's but less horsepower (195), the Sedona has a five-speed automatic transmission, removable rear seats, storage boxes, a lockable bin and tons of standard features such as air conditioning; map lights; and power windows, mirrors and locks. Maximum cargo: 127.5 cu. ft. Mileage: 15/20 mpg city/highway.
Editor and consultant Jill Amadio has been reporting on the automotive industry for 24 years.