Chrysler, Toyota, and the reliability doctrine

We are trying to decide between two new minivans and are finding ourselves torn, over the issue of “reliability”. I’ve posted a note at Facebook asking for feedback, and wanted to reprint the note here to get your all opinion.

Let’s discuss reliability of cars. We are trying to decide between a 2011 Chrysler Town and Country and a 2011 Toyota Sienna. Toyota has a massively better reputation for reliability than Chrysler, but we liked the T&C more. Do we play it “safe” and get the Toyota? Or is the reliability of the Chrysler probably comparable, and there’s just no data?

Consumer Reports is probably the least biased source, and they did rate T&C “very good” but did not give it a Recommend (same as iPhone 4, but I digress). However, CR’s reliability score is based on surveys of existing CR subscribers, who skew towards owning Siennas. So, sampling bias is a problem (and CR had admitted this – see:

btw – the Toyota is $5k more expensive, but has AWD. Both the Sienna and the T&C are full redesigns. The latter has a new pentastar engine which is the same as the one in the CR-recommended Dodge Ram pickup. The Sienna has nicer 2nd row seats, but the T&C has blind-spot detection and cross-aisle detection. T&C has a better powertrain warranty (100k vs 60k) and Sienna gets ranked first by all the car review sites.

I’d be happy in either van, frankly. I’d like to solicit opinions from *all* of my FB friends – what do you think of Chrysler reliability? Should we get the “safe” van or the one we actually liked more?

Would really appreciate feedback from everyone on this.

I’m also inviting comment over at Dean’s. I will update this post with various links to comparisons and data.