Hello everyone,
Now that I've started a family, a bigger vehicle is needed. I have a 2 door Camry and the wife has a Rav4 CUV. I've been thinking of a minivan, but they are just way way overpriced. I definitely can't afford a new one since a decently equipped new van starts around $28,000.

I too looked for used Toyotas and Hondas and a 4 year old with at least 60,000 miles still sell for about $20,000.

For the heck of it I looked at Chevy Express (12 passenger only). I know a minivan is overkill for 2 kids and a German Shepherd, but a CUV or sedan/wagon is just too darn small specially when making Costco trips.

I started thinking about an Express 3500 6.0 since they're fairly cheap. I can find a one year old former rental/fleet with 13,000 miles for as little as $20,000. These vans are about $34,000 new so the $14,000 price reduction with only 13K miles is quite a bargain.

From what I've seen, they're rated at 11mpg city and 15hwy. However, when I looked thru various message boards, I can see people getting 15city/20hwy from the 3500 with the 6.0 I have driven a Toyota Sienna with the 3.0 V6 and I was getting 17mpg city. So if the 15mpg city claim is legit, I don't mind taking a 2mpg hit on a larger van with gobs more power and space.

I've also driven a U-Haul with the 3500 front end with a 6.0L and got 14mpg mixed.

I'd like to know what you guys are getting.

My other vehicle in mind is a Suburban or Tahoe. However, since many people (despite high gas prices) are still in the SUV craze, they do not sell as low as an Express van. I'd be lucky to see a 1 year old Suburban with 13,000 miles for a hair below $30,000.

This won't really be my daily driver since I'll still keep my 2dr Camry (that gets 25 city and 30hwy). I just want a family vehicle that will protect the folks inside and have the ability to haul stuff and tow other junk in the future.

In a nutshell, are 3500 6.0L express good vehicles for the price.

My last question is that since the engine is well inside the firewall, how are they to work on. The biggest job I've done on a car is head, fuel/oil pumps, cooling, starter, alternator work... are the Express/Savanna a pain in the arse to work on?

Thanks again guys. I'd appreciate your honest feedback.