Last post on May 23, 2013 at 10:23 AM
You are in the Honda Odyssey
What is this discussion about?
Toyota Sienna, Honda Odyssey, Car Comparisons, Van
#2598 of 5511 Re: My brand new car [rorr]
Jul 20, 2005 (12:40 pm)
The first time I saw the +1 seat, I couldn't believe how small it looked. But then I actually tried it. It is much, much more usable than it looks. Before anyone passes judgement on it, they should actually TRY it.
GOOD POINT. Perhaps it gets more comfortable the longer you own it and rationalize it? I'm not a big guy. Even so, I spilled over the edges onto the other seats. I'm sure it's been adequately reinforced and tested. Having taken a close look when I folded it for the lazy suzan, I didn't get a lot of confidence that it would be a great idea for a heavy adult to be using in the event of a serious rear-end crash.
I measured under 11" from the inside of one seatbelt anchor to the other. Yeah, you can probably still squeeze in if you or your child seat are much wider than that. Honda did do a good job with the space they had available to kludge in another seat. I'm sure it would come handy, as one of our kids might fit into it without a booster in a couple years and I'm sure I could make one child restraint or another fit there if needed.
Even so, I hope the Sienna 8th seat is a lot more functional when I see it. I'll reserve judgement on which design is superior until then. It does appear Toyota designed it from the ground up, rather than kludge it into the existing 7-passenger version. You do apparently lose some width and armrests from the outside captain's chairs to get the 8th seat. Not a bad compromise if you haul kids in back 99% of the time, but probably not worth it for those carrying adults for frequently.
On the other topic, I'd almost buy the Odyssey on having the exterior styling with the slate grey color alone. Both are very safe vans, and I could deal with the interior seating quirks of the Odyssey. The new one is still nicer than our 2001 in that regard. We've been really happy with our 2001 and the dealer, but I was really hoping the interior would have impressed me as much as the exterior.
#2599 of 5511 Re: My brand new car [caviller]
Jul 20, 2005 (1:04 pm)
"Even so, I hope the Sienna 8th seat is a lot more functional when I see it."
"You do apparently lose some width and armrests from the outside captain's chairs to get the 8th seat."
"It does appear Toyota designed it from the ground up, rather than kludge it into the existing 7-passenger version."
First, yes, Toyota did design both their 7 passenger and 8 passenger versions 'from the ground up'. The Sienna was a complete redesign in '04 when they were released. However, the Ody was also a complete redesign in '05 when the +1 seat was released. Meaning it is NOT a "kludge" fit into an existing 7-passenger version.
Second, all you are seeing is two different approaches taken by Honda and Toyota. If you intend to use 3 across in the 2nd row fairly frequently, the Toyota 8-seater makes much more sense. However, to offer 3 roughly equal sized seats in the Toyota, they slightly reduced the size of the outboard seats and eliminated the armrests.
Honda took a different approach. They thought that more buyers would be interested in the ability to OCCASIONALLY carry 3 across in the 2nd row. Therefore, they kept the outboard seats full sized with armrests. Think of the Ody EX or EX-L like the 7 seat versions of the Sienna with the added capacity to occasionally carry a 3rd butt in the 2nd row.
Was Honda right that more buyers would be interested in occasional 8-passenger capacity rather than frequently? I don't know and I don't care. All I know is that for OUR situation, we liked the idea of having an 8-seater but also knew the middle seat would only rarely be used and didn't want to have the outboard seats smaller or w/o armrests. If we had bought the Sienna (and we WOULD have bought the Sienna if the local dealers hadn't been so proud of them), we'd have bought a 7-seater. As it is, we consider the +1 seat a "bonus" seat which doesn't compromise on the comfort of the two outboard seats in any way.
All I was attempting to point out was that, for occasional use, the +1 seat is actually better than it looks. Some folks simply take one look at it and think "no freakin' way am I sitting on THAT".
#2600 of 5511 Re: My brand new car [rorr]
Jul 20, 2005 (1:28 pm)
However, the Ody was also a complete redesign in '05 when the +1 seat was released. Meaning it is NOT a "kludge" fit into an existing 7-passenger version.
The 2005 is a nice evolution, but calling it "complete redesign" is a stretch. It's not the dramatic change we saw from 1998 to 1999, when they went to the new chassis. If you look at them, you will notice that the 2005 Odyssey second row seating is very similar to the 2004 version. Perhaps calling it a kluge is a little extreme, but they did pretty much just stick a small 8th seat in between the existing ones and called it +1.
I understand the differences in the two vans and how their use may vary from person to person. Indeed, I'd call the +1 seat a bonus, too. I'll be happy to have it if I purchase the Odyssey, but I won't fool myself into thinking I'd want to sit there for any extended duration. In fact, this is basically why I'm not strongly considering a Sienna XLE or Limited. At that point, I'd rather have the EX or EX-L for the +1 seat.
#2601 of 5511 Re: My brand new car [caviller]
Jul 20, 2005 (1:55 pm)
"...but I won't fool myself into thinking I'd want to sit there for any extended duration."
Fair enough. But I wasn't trying to fool anyone into thinking they'd WANT to sit there. Obviously, given a choice, I'd much rather sit in the outboard seats. All I'm saying is that it is more useful/usable than it looks. I've personally had people look at it, tell me it was completely useless, and then (after sitting in it) saying, "wow, this seat's actually pretty comfortable".
If you're over 6'0" and/or in excess of 180#'s, no I wouldn't recommend it. But for it's intended occupant (kids of normal build up to and including most HS'ers) I think it should be just fine.
#2602 of 5511 Re: Ease of parking new Sienna? [newvanbuyer]
Jul 20, 2005 (2:52 pm)
What did you own before the '97 Caravan?
If you had owned a small sedan like a Civic, Corolla, Nubira, etc. the difference in size between it and the '97 Caravan would be much greater than between the Caravan and the Sienna.
#2603 of 5511 Re: My brand new car [caviller]
Jul 20, 2005 (8:14 pm)
If you really research the two vans. You'll find out that there is basically a 90% change in the 2004 to 2005. To me that's "DRAMATIC"!!!
#2604 of 5511 Re: Ease of parking new Sienna? [hansienna]
Jul 20, 2005 (9:20 pm)
OK, you may have a point - I drove an MR2; had a little "incident" in that and switched to my husband's Mitsubishi Eclipse. When child number one came along, it became clear that the Eclipse just wasn't going to cut it as a family car, hence the Caravan. But you'd think after driving it for 8 years I'd have figured out how to get it straight into a parking place, and yet I never did. Today I got the Sienna spot on every time I tried. Go figure. Mind you, I haven't tried to parallel park, so that might be another story. I've always been able to parallel park just fine, but this one seems so much longer than my Caravan, I'm almost afraid to try. (Of course, compared to parallel parking an MR2, this is going to be like trying to dock the QE-II, but that poor MR2 is just a distant, fond memory at this point.)
The only complaint I've had, after a full 24 hours of ownership, is that the kids are bemoaning the lack of reachable cupholders in the middle row. I know I could move the console back there, but I like it in the front. A minor point, I know, but I thought I'd throw it out there for those still contemplating their purchase. I'm toying with the idea of buying a second little console at Target or someplace. Not that I'm ever going to let the kids eat or drink in my brand new car...ha ha ha ha.