Thursday, December 9, 2010

Vans and Minivans


Thank you for your book.  I abused your holiday price and picked up my dad a copy for Christmas.  Shh don't tell him. 

One question for you,  do you guys drive minivans down in Argentina and how have they held up post economic collapse? The damn things are so practical and useful I was just curious if they held up.  There’s not much for evasive maneuvers but parts are cheap and they are built like tanks.



Hi, of course we have minivans here and they are popular.
It’s interesting that you brought this up because the reason for their popularity is relevant to what we discuss in this blog.
Pickup trucks that are so popular in USA are also easily found here and cars like the Toyota Hilux are a bit of a status vehicle, besides being a good tough truck..
The problem though, is that for work exclusive use, unless you absolutely need the 4x4 capability you may have more economic options.

1)First of all is price, nice pickup trucks and double cabin trucks are terrific, but they are also expensive.

2)Vans and Minivans are also more cost effective in terms of mileage since they sue up less gasoline. They have smaller engines, 1.4 cc or so. BIG consideration when you cut down expenses during a recession.

3)Spare parts and repairs tend to be cheaper. The guy with  the pickup, he may use it or not for work. The guy driving a van is mostly considered a working guy with less money. So its not just parts being cheap, mechanics are likely to charge less.
Fiat Fiorino

4) This is a key issue. Common pickups have open beads, and this is just impossible in cities or towns where crime has become a significant problem. Some Americans may not give much consideration to this. I’ve seen how in Texas people just leave stuff there, go to a store and back not even checking if the toolbox they had there in the back was stolen. Forget about doing that in Argentina. It’s simply not possible, even in red lights you’d get stuff stolen. That’s why you see lots of Dodge Sprinters and Fiat Fiorino light cargo vehicles. They have the capacity, and they keep merchandize within the vehicle. 
Sprinters are commonly used for Commuting

5) Vans are also used a lot for transportation. A notch above ordinary public transportation, vans with AC carry passengers comfortably seated and the middle class will often pay for that bit of life quality. They can’t afford the gas prices or parking expenses any more, but they’ll pay a few more bucks to commute comfortably. 

These are some of the reasons why vans like Fiorinos and Splinters are so popular here,



Anonymous said...

We have the Mercedes Benz Sprinter here in the US, but not the Fiat Fiorino-at least not yet. Ford has recently introduced the Transit Connect van here that is popular in Europe. Also, we used to have lots of passenger minivans, stuff that isn't offered elsewhere like the Dodge Caravan, Ford Windstar (no longer made), and the Honda Odyssey. Passenger minivans aren't as popular here as they used to be. In the Middle East passenger minivans are used to carry paying passengers, and I see that the same thing happens in Argentina. With so many cheap cars in the US such uses aren't very popular here yet-most Sprinters are used as cargo vans here.

Bones said...

We had a "mini" van; a kia sedona that was a freaking whale. It was huge, heavy and averaged a whopping 11 mpg.

I wonder if the phrase "minivan" means the same in the US and Argentina! :) Here in the us, "mini" vans are anything but.

We now have a mazda 5, which gets ~20-25 mpg and is more like and actual "mini van" than anything else in the US market.

Anonymous said...

I spent some time in Romania, and they also use vehicles similar to the Fiat Fiorino and the Dodge/Mercedes Benz Sprinter for much the same purposes FerFAL is talking about. The Sprinter type vehicles (we called them maxi-taxis) are especially versatile as they can be used for either cargo or passengers. One problem to be aware of with this design is they are very top heavy and prone to rollovers.

I never saw the Fiat Fiorino that I recall (intersting, since I saw a lot of Fiats there otherwise), but they did have a native version of it. Their version was a modification of the Dacia passenger car/sedan (itself a Romanian clone of the French Renault 12). I expect the Fiorino is the same basic design -- a passenger car modified to have a larger cargo area, sort of like a larger station wagon for those of us in the US. They also had a pickup version of the Dacia which was similar in configuration to a Chevy El Camino.

Depending on your needs, these may be suitable. The Sprinter and Fiorino types would seem to be best suited to city driving. Another alternative more suited for the country is to put a camper shell on an ordinary pickup truck. With this configuration, I think you would get many of the same benefits as the Fiorino (enclosed, locked cargo area), but with the flexibility of a truck chassis (ability to go places passenger cars can't), although at the expense of lower gas mileage.


Anonymous said...

I love my 8 passenger all wheel drive Astro Minivan. It has clearance like a truck and gets 15 to 18 mpg. It will also haul 1000 pounds nicely centered with the rear seats removed.

Anonymous said...

Mines the Mitsubishi Delica L400. It's a 7-Seater small-van-shaped people carrier with a 2.8 turbo diesel engine, raised suspension, selectable four-wheel and large off-road tyres. Great fun, but not cheap to run :)

Anonymous said...

Many still leave the ignition key in around here. a

Anonymous said...

The total cost of ownership should be considered. A restored older vehicle that get's lousy mileage might be a better choice given the distance one travels, insurance and their willingness to do most the repairs themselves. Last check, shops charged between $80 to $100. I'd rather make that money by doing the work myself and do. There is no way I'd own a newer vehicle. a