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
#4576 of 5511 minivans and the pursuit of happiness
Jan 20, 2008 (12:02 pm)
Hard to believe that nobody has posted here for two months. I guess it's my turn.
I am getting ready to replace my 2000 Ody EX, 120K miles, with something new. The Ody is still running great (cross my fingers, knock on wood, etc.) and has worked very well, with only one or two minor repairs. I could keep it longer, but I also don't have to feel guilty about replacing it.
Buying a new car should be fun, right? Well it's not quite working out that way for me. I guess the main issue is that every car purchase I made so far more than doubled the expense of the previous purchase. My first car was a used Dodge station wagon that cost $1,300. The second car a new Mazda GLC for $5,500. The third car a Honda Civic Hatchback SI for $13,000. The fourth, the Ody for $30,000. Every car I bought in the past was a significant upgrade over the previous one. This time, no such luck. If I wanted to continue the trend I should buy something like a Toyota Land Cruiser for $60-70K. But this idea has two insurmountable problems. One, I am reluctant to put myself into this class of conspicuous consumption. Two, it's an SUV. I am sorry to say that SUVs are a major reason why one should consider renouncing US citizenship. They are such a waste! Excluding the 0.5% of SUV owners who actually need one, all others are getting a heavy vehicle with a high center of gravity, poor handling, and not that much room, just for looks. This preference skews the market so profoundly that there is about one minivan choice for every twenty SUV choices. No wonder that choosing a minivan is so difficult. There aren't enough choices, so the compromises are more painful.
Which brings me to the Ody and the Sienna (and the new contender, the Chrysler, if I ever get to see one before it's sold). There is only one thing I didn't like in my 2000 Ody. It could be quieter. It's not horrible, but I have driven in much quieter sedans, particularly Toyotas. And, to me, noise makes a difference. Enough of a difference that I will sacrifice handling for quietness. If the Sienna were substantially quieter, I would get a Sienna and be done. But is it? I cannot tell. Reviews from both consumers and experts vary. There seems to be no simple objective way of measuring it. I have driven both cars and the noise levels seem similar, but I have the feeling that I'd need to drive them a lot longer to be able to tell.
This is true for many other aspects of these vehicles, such as seating comfort. The front seats in the Ody seem somewhat better than in the Sienna. The second-row seats in the Sienna are uncomfortably low, so the Ody wins this one. The third row seats are equally bad.
The consensus is that the Sienna drive train is noticeably better, and I have to agree on this one. In addition, I am not so sure I like the variable cylinder management stuff. I have driven a 2006 Ody EX-L and noticed that in the final gear the engine RPM was about 15-20% higher than in my 2000 Ody. This may be different in the 2008 since it has an additional 4-cylinder mode, but it's another piece of information that's hard to obtain. I like the relaxed feel of low RPM at high speed, not to mention the lower engine noise. I find it amazing that in spite of the VCM and the lower max power in the Ody, fuel consumption is about the same as the Sienna.
Handling is a no-brainer. The Ody's handling is undoubtedly superior by a good margin. The question for me is different: how much does it matter? My guess is not that much.
Looks. They are both ugly, but the Sienna is uglier. Certain viewpoints reduce the ugliness, and the Ody has more of those. For instance, the front view of the Ody is pleasantly aggressive, while the Sienna's is bland, with no character or redeeming features. Also the stance: the Sienna floats unnaturally high on its wheels, whereas the Ody is solidly squat. Looks wouldn't matter so much if it weren't that we have to look at our cars so often.
Options. This is where it gets messy. Why isn't the Sienna offering a removable 8th seat like the Ody? I really like this feature! Not just for the extra passenger, but also to be able to put three children together closer to the front seats---and perhaps fold the back seat for cargo. But then, why doesn't the Ody offer laser cruise control? I really like the idea! I've never used it and don't know if it's any good, but how can one not like a feature with the word "laser" in it?
I could care less about DVD and navigation. Almost all my DVDs are region 2 and they won't play on either car. (And don't tell me I can rip the DVDs and burn them back on a region-free disk---babysitting DVD-burning is way too much hassle.) Getting ANY nav system in a car is a waste since it starts out as an inferior product, compared to the market offerings, and it quickly gets further behind. The sad thing is that I'll probably end up getting both anyway so I can have some of the additional features that don't come separately.
There are other differences of course, and if I could only remember which trim level of which car offers what, I'd be able to complain a lot more about what combination of features I really want but cannot get. As it is, I have to stop here. Maybe I'll keep my 2000 Ody for another couple of years and hope that things improve. But I doubt they will.
#4577 of 5511 You are correct......
Jan 20, 2008 (6:23 pm)
The Ody is noiser, particularly in the back row, and thumps horribly over road cracks. The Sienna is considerably quieter - also uglier as you say, but a bit cheaper. Couple of thousand cheaper, at least used. Something about Honda's cult following, makes the Ody more popular. Inside, I prefer the Sienna.
You are also right, that Minivans are the ultimate people and stuff movers, for the best economy and versatility. SUVs are often not required, unless you have traction issues and need 4WD, you're wasting gas, really. However, this IS America, and choice is what makes us who we all are.....
I push Minivans for families - but there are the soccer Moms who just HAVE to have Suburbans.....which never see any action worse than speed bumps at the supermarket......
I'm wondering just how high gas has to get before Burbs are abandoned by all but the Sierra Club - who strangely, seem to require that every member has one.....
#4578 of 5511 Re: You are correct...... [nvbanker]
Jan 20, 2008 (10:17 pm)
Nvbanker, thanks for the reply. If I may ask, how do you know that the Sienna is considerably quieter? In my test of a 2006 Ody I drove over cracks and bumps and it didn't seem bad. But then of course I wasn't driving from the third row. I do that only in my nightmares. Either that, or drive at 50mph in reverse and with brakes that don't quite work, until the street becomes so narrow that I have to get off, fold the car, and carry it under my arm.
You're right about the Sierra Club. I had to give up my membership when they realized the Ody doesn't have AWD.
#4579 of 5511 Re: You are correct...... [semenzato]
Jan 21, 2008 (4:09 pm)
When we were checking out the 07 Sienna and 07 Odyssey we'd get on the highway and I'd sit in the third row and talk to my wife in the first row. We didn't notice too much difference between the two. That being said, I will say road noise on cement pavement is my biggest gripe with the Odyssey. Maybe it's just the OEM tires, but they can howl on certain surfaces. I love everything else about the van.
#4580 of 5511 Re: minivans and the pursuit of happiness [semenzato]
Jan 24, 2008 (8:55 am)
Try an 8 seat model, we own one. The center seat is actually big enough for adults, and it is removeable. The catch is you can only get it with the CE or LE trim lines.
Still, a loaded up LE is well equipped, lacking only leather and GPS. You could get Katskins leather aftermarket and just use a nice Garmin Nuvi.
Honda had great incentives on left over 2007s so that is the bargain right now.
The Honda did handle better, but Toyota had a better, more isolated ride. Fair trade.
I sampled the Toyota 3.5l V6 and it was Game Over.
#4582 of 5511 center folding tray?
Mar 14, 2008 (5:08 am)
Can a center folding tray be installed aftermarket in sienna XLE as in LE and odyssey? how much would it cost?
#4583 of 5511 Re: center folding tray? [raj1]
Mar 14, 2008 (7:15 am)
Yes for Toyota.
Check here for prices:
The cool thing is you could move the center console to the middle row, so the kids would have storage in back. Then you can add either a 2nd console or the folding tray.
If your interior is gray and you're willing to trade with me, I have a folding tray and would prefer the console, so I'd swap with you.
We never use the walk-through. Our kids are bigger, I guess.
OE prices are expensive. The console is $529 retail. The folding tray is probably less, but I can't imagine it's cheap, probably $300+. Ridiculous for both.
I'm in the DC area, so if you're near DC/MD/VA I'd even figure out how to remove and replace both, and take care of all the labor.
Let me know if you are interested.
#4584 of 5511 Which of these has better BASE model? Best time to buy? 3 car seats ok?
Mar 17, 2008 (8:26 am)
We're still in a toss-up between the Sienna and the Odyssey. We're looking for a model with regular upholstry seats and a non-electric seat adjuster. (My husband dislikes the automatic ones... "just one more thing that can break".)
At the Chicago auto show this year, we sat in both in the back row and noticed the Toyota has a much lower leg level. Even I, at only 5'5", ended up with my knees way up when I sat in the back seat. He's 6'1", so it was even worse for him. But I've been hearing bad things about Odyssey reliability. With money also an issue, we can't afford to have things breaking down.
We have two convertible car seats right now in a 1999 Saturn SW2 and there's no room for us to go overnight anywhere because of the stuff we'd have to bring... including an IV pole for our older son. (Long story - HLHS heart defect) We hope/expect to be needing a third car seat in 2009, but hopefully our oldest will be into only a booster seat by then. Has anyone put three car seats in either of these vehicles? If so, what was your opinion? Anyone ever fit an IV pole in either of these cars with the back seat still up?
All of these questions will affect our decisions. Thanks!
#4585 of 5511 Re: Which of these has better BASE model? Best time to buy? 3 car seats ok? [hyperpippi]
Mar 17, 2008 (8:31 am)
I have power seats that adjust for height and angle (on my 07 Sienna LE w/pkg #3), but you said he doesn't like power seats...
If you get manual seats (CE, base LE), you will probably give up the adjustability to some extent.