Mini Vans Anyone?

I’m not a big fan of Mini Vans but still I’m leaning towards purchasing one for the biz.

I was looking at the GMC Safari/Chev Astro van. To me it looks like a work vehicle and if a used one comes minus all those passenger seats I think I could get one at a decent price.

Any ratings here?
BTW, anyone know how much cargo space there is? I’m looking for 7ft from behind the front seats to the back door.

Other makes suggestions?

Mark, yes the astro Van would be great, you can usually find some cargo ones painted white with ladder racks already installed. In the GTA i remember when i was looking for a van, i came across a dealer that had only those, if i happen to see that site again ill let you know. I have a 2001 Montana, the only reason i went for a family min van with seats is because i wanted a dual purpose van for hauling the family as well on long trips.
My ideal van would have been a Astro Van Cargo with pro ladder racks.

One thing to keep in mind with a minivan is that they are not built like a work van. Depending on the load you will make it bear, you may have problems. The gas may be more with a 1 ton/V8, but it will stand up to a beating.

If you have some time and don’t mind waiting for potentially a month or two you could custom order one. Got to the dealer and tell them exactly what you want or in your case, what you don’t want. It may be a little bit cheaper. Plus you get to pick the colors, if you want carpet, seats… etc etc. Just a thought, plus being the original owner of the vehicle is always nice.

This is why I was looking at the Safari/Astro. Out of the reviews I’ve read on mini vans, this is the model(s) that are more Van-Like than the rest. I will be using it as a personal vehicle as well.

My father in law had a contracting business and worked out of an astro van with seats and all. 4 wheel drive and drove that thing into the ground. I think it had a bizillion miles on it when he sold it:D

Ya, I’d love to go to a dealer with plenty of these in stock. If they had the ladder racks it would be a bonus for sure.

Well, I’m on a tight budget so I’m definitely looking at used. $5000-7000. Maybe more if the vehicle is right.

I hear ya. If the price is right then the price is right.

Sounds good. Do you know what the payload is on an Astro? Just in case you may ever go to a static WFP operation, the weight of those tanks can get pretty heavy.

Incidentally, I just purchased a white 95 Chevy G30 (V8, 1 ton) with 37,000 miles for $4500. It was a military van (southern state) so it’s in great condition. You can find some very good deals if you look.

Willing to drive a little ways to get your new van? :slight_smile:

Like Marc (because of?), I recently purchased a full-size van – '96 Ford Econoline E350 (1 ton/V8/standard length) in great condition (ex. State of California) for a reasonable price ($3,000.)

While the fuel consumption is high, I am pleased with my purchase and am still planning its interior configuration (a mounted commercial RO/DI system is one consideration.)

Pros include interior standing height, low-cost and available parts and accessories for commercial use, and lotsa room.

Cons include low fuel mileage, large turning radius, and the looks I get cruising around elementary schools (JK.)

My cargo van is not dual-purpose, though some come equipped with a bench in the cargo area for additional “crew.”

I do, on occasion, pull a 7,000# GVW trailer…

Great topic Mark.

I have a Honda Odyssey. I just do commercial storefront, so I rarely do ladder work, so I don’t have ladders on it. I generally just use it to put my buckets, poles. And I bought it because it has a lot of space, and it had very good ratings, and it’s a Honda! I wanted something with a fair amount of carg room if I expanded my business.


I’ve heard the Honda’s are pretty good and wouldn’t rule it out. A little more pricey than I want but better track record I think. What’s the amount of storage space length-wise measuring from the back door to the front seats?

Thanks to the other posters of this thread as well. Gives me a few things to think about. I’ll probably be buying end of July.

From the most recent [I]Consumer Reports Annual Auto Issue[/I] (April 2008):
[B]Best & worst used cars
Good Choices[/B]
[U]Less than $4,000[/U]
Honda Odyssey '98
[U]$8,000 - $10,000[/U]
Honda Odyssey '02
[U]$12,000 - $14,000[/U]
Honda Odyssey '03
[U]$14,000 - $16,000[/U]
Honda Odyssey '04
[U]$24,000 - $30,000[/U]
Honda Odyssey '07

[B]-Best of the best-[/B]
Honda Odyssey (among 8 total Hondas and many others)

Good reporting! Go to the front of the class.:wink:

my father who does ONLY res wc’ing, bought a 96 odyssey, and then again a 98 odyssey and loves them…lots of interior room but not as boat looking at the larger body ones that came later…the doors open like car doors, the rear seats fold flush with the floor panels, the roof isnt as high as the later models so its easier to lift ladders off it…lots of advantages, specially the price if you can get one thats been lightly used.

I use a 2000 Dodge Grand Caravan and I LOVE IT. It does great for my mostly residential biz. I put a Yakima rack on the top to carry my ladders. I carry a 28’ on down. It great ok gas mileage, and it’s comfy to drive. It’s not a Honda, but the price is much more affordable. The only thing that I would prefer an Astro Van for is the swing to the side rear doors. I don’t like lifting my rear hatch up. But, that’s easy to get over. Dodges are for sale EVERYWHERE so you should be able to get a pretty good price on one.

Jeremy Anglin
Reflections Window Cleaning LLC
Spokane Valley, WA

Chevy stopped making the astro van last year, and they haven’t come out with a good replacement that I have seen yet.

Hey Jeremy, does the Caravan fit in your garage with the ladders and racks on it? Any way to post a pic?

Yes, it fits great. It measures about 6.5’. Here’s a pick.