Here’s the latest reader question – along with my reply!
Amanda asks: Hi Eric, what years Suburban do you recommend? Same question for Silverado. Also, are there particular years Odyssey/Sienna that lend themselves to good repair and safety? We are on our way to a big family and your article about older engines has changed the way we think about buying vehicles for our future. Thank you!
My reply: I’d be open to almost any year except the current year – which is the first year for the new 10-speed automatic transmission (with the 6.2 V8). This transmission has an unknown track record for long-term (post warranty) reliability and if it fails, it will be very expensive to rebuild/replace it.
The 2015 and prior Suburbans still use GM’s excellent – and known reliable – six-speed automatic.
Otherwise, these are rugged, solid, really durable vehicles. The main downside vs. the Odyssey/Sienna isn’t fuel economy or price, by the way. You’ll be startled by how thirsty those vans are! The Suburban’s main deficit is that it’s a bus. If you have to drive in a … suburban environment, be sure you can manage!
The Odyssey/Sienna are also big, but their packaging is better – in terms of interior size vs. exterior footprint. Their main deficits are that you can’t pull much and they are not as rugged as the truck-based Suburban.
Also, the new/recent vintage models are oriented toward empty-nesters looking for a luxury van. For a family with young kids, you might want something more utilitarian (able to handle sticky fingers, spills, etc.).
Have you considered something along the lines of the Ford Transit Connect? If not, I recommend a look. It’s not luxurious – but it is a great family hauler at a reasonable price!
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Got a question about cars – or anything else? Click on the “ask Eric” link and send ’em in!
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