Much of late November and December was spent looking for a new van. We had decided to venture to Arizona in search of better weather for January and February. Our (now former) 2000 Toyota Sienna racked up almost 240,000 km in the 6 years we had owned it; much of that mileage was traveling to/from dog shows. We didn't think this van would make it to and from Arizona from Ontario, Canada - the round trip is 7,200 KM or 4,470 miles - plus all the driving while in Arizona.
Like many dog-owning humans, we make many purchase decisions to accommodate our four-legged family companions. I go to a lot of dog shows and trials with multiple dogs so our vehicle has to have a lot of space to carry all the dog equipment.
It was a great time to buy a car because of the worsening economy. We decided to stick with the Toyota Sienna although we were tempted by the Honda Odyssey which has very good ratings and reviews. But the newer Siennas have a bit more cargo space than the Odysseys and we needed every extra inch of space we could get for this trip. Having traveled with dogs before, I know that their crates and other stuff take up most of the cargo area, living little extra for humans' luggage.
In the end, we got a good deal on a very low mileage, 2006 Sienna that was imported into Ontario from Florida. The body was rust-free as it hadn't been exposed to winter salt. It also has lots of features our old van didn't have, including stow-n-go rear seats, an automatic side door (that's really neat), and side windows that open - a real plus when you own dogs. Corrine Sellars who owns Milo, sent me this neat website http://www.dogcars.com/ to help you select a vehicle for dogs. The latest model got the paws up. I am thrilled with our new "Vizslimo".