Last post on Jan 16, 2009 at 4:58 PM
You are in the Honda Odyssey
What is this discussion about?
Honda Odyssey, Dodge Caravan, Car Comparisons, Van
Oct 19, 2007 (8:34 am)
A reporter seeks to talk with owners and serious shoppers of the 2007 or 2008 Honda Odyssey OR the 2008 Dodge Caravan who are also parents. If you are interested in commenting on your experience, please reply to jfallonedmunds.com no later than Thursday, November 15, 2007 and include your city and state of residence as well as the age of your child/ren.
Thanks for your consideration,
#87 of 185 Re: I prefer 2008 Grand Caravan STX over 2007 Odyssey [dennisctc]
Oct 20, 2007 (2:32 pm)
I have had an interesting time with my attempts to purchase a minivan. We just had our first child and we have a Ford Explorer Sport-Trac which has been a great multi-use vehicle for us over the past four years.
But hauling the kid in and out of it is tiresome and the wife wants a minivan.
Imagine my delight at finding out the minivans now have almost as many neat gadgets as my father's G35. Back up cameras, nav, hard drives, dvds, etc... I'm enjoying looking.
Well, first step is to check the review sites. Apparently, if you believe the reviews, you'd just plain have to be an idiot to buy anything but the Odyssey. In fact, now that I am looking at minivans, I've informed my wife that if anyone ever offers her a bet where you have to guess at the brand of mini-van passing you on the street and if you get more than half right you win - then just guess "Honda" every time and you will come out ahead. I'm amazed at how many Odysseys there are out there. Second place has to go to the Caravan series.
So, that helped me narrow it down.
I spent quite a bit of time on the internet, and I've finally decided that the only two real choices for me are the Odyssey Touring and the Town & Country Limited.
I haven't driven a Limited yet (that is a whole nother story, the owner's wife has the only Limited in stock and thus it isn't available to show or sell to customers.) but I have driven some well optioned Grand Caravans and looked at as many T&C's and GC's as possible. I have driven the 4.0 liter engine vehicle.
My take is this. You get better acceleration with the Dodge (I'm going to call all the Dodge/Chrysler products "Dodge" for brevity's sake) and the handling is actually a little better with the dodge than the Honda. The Honda (Touring Edition, remember) with the PAX feels good, but road noise is high and there is a little bit of a "boat-like" feel. I was surprised at Edmunds slalom scores.
There are also many more neat options on the Dodge products. Swivel-n-go is nice and the electric back seat is a nice touch as well as the dual dvd and mygig HD.
You pay for it in other areas though. The leather is not as nice as the Honda's leather. The seats are not nearly as comfortable as the Honda. Even though the power is noticably better with the Dodge 4.0, it exhibits a strong power-steer with the FWD.
Overall, the Honda feels much more refined and luxurious.
In the end, they are worthy competitors with different tradeoffs. For comfort, quality and luxury, I think the Honda is going to win for me. The Dodge has more gadgets and performance.
Depends on what you need...
#88 of 185 Re: Import vs. Domestic; new song, same lyrics! [wjtinatl]
Oct 21, 2007 (10:37 am)
I owned 2 Grand Caravans, a 1998 and a 2002. Between the two I replaced the transmission 5 times. Never again will I buy a Chysler product. We just bought a 2007 Honda Odyssey. So far so good, will keep acount of all problems.
#90 of 185 Re: Import vs. Domestic; new song, same lyrics! [ducksdad007]
Oct 21, 2007 (11:25 pm)
AMAZINGLY THAT SOUNDS JUST LIKE MY WIFES HONDA ODYSSEY PROBLEMS. THAT'S WHY I'LL NEVER BUY ANOTHER HONDA PRODUCT.
#91 of 185 Re: Import vs. Domestic; new song, same lyrics! [dvsutton]
Oct 22, 2007 (3:05 am)
I'd probably wouldn't purchase a Brand "A" minivan after replacing multiple trannies in a previous Brand "A" - that would be stupid and go against common sense. That would be foolish or possibly fiction to begin with.
#92 of 185 Money Matters
Oct 31, 2007 (2:42 am)
As an Air Force officer, I'm a big advocate for buying American products. In fact, I'm praying we buy the Boeing air refueling tanker over the European competitor--it will be critical to the health of the US aviation industry. I was also praying that Chrysler would finally come up with a minivan that would unseat the Honda Odyssey as the best.
As we do faithfully every time we are ready to replace one of our cars, my family and I visited our local Chrysler dealers this weekend. We left disappointed. All three dealers had ADM or "market adjustment" stickers on their vans (strike one). All three dealers guestimated our trade-in value at several thousand below the Edmunds and NADA trade values, while the lowest we heard from a Honda dealer was $2500 more (strike two). I compared resale values (strike three).
The T&C had some really nice features, but between dealer greed and poor resale values, it's tough for me to buy one. Hopefully, the market will correct in the Chrysler's favor before I'm ready to buy again in 2-3 years, but it looks like I'll be buying my fourth Odyssey today.
#93 of 185 Re: Money Matters [vinnyny]
Oct 31, 2007 (5:23 pm)
Sorry to hear your buying more transmission problems. I thought the same way as you until I had my trans rebuilt twice on my wifes Honda Odyssey before it hit 20K. Honda sales people in my area are totally arogant. And service personal wouldn't know how to replace wiper blades if you showed them. Honda is no longer on any of my families shopping list for anything...EVER.
#94 of 185 Re: Money Matters [vinnyny]
Nov 01, 2007 (2:18 am)
Where do you live that they mark up Chrysler's? They're offering $2k off here in Michigan, that's probably because the market is so bad here, with people losing their jobs and homes, home values plunging, and our famous democrat governor's solution is to raise taxes, drive people out of michigan and spend more...woo hoo!!
Thanks for your support of the domestic auto industry! We need more "big advocates" like you buying their 4th Honda product, then "feeling" bad about it.
#95 of 185 Re: Money Matters [dennisctc]
Nov 01, 2007 (6:40 am)
I'm in Southern VA, so the market may be different than yours in MI (or the dealers may just be more optimistic--or is it opportunistic?).
I've bought sixteen cars in the last last ten years, so when I buy a Honda it's a drop in the bucket relative to the average American who probably buys a car every 3-5 years. That aside, the Odyssey is the only exception to the rule that I buy foreign only when there is no acceptable American substitute.
For instance: I've owned an 01 Audi TT Roadster and 04 350Z Roadster--what's the American substitute? Corvette? Yes, but it costs $20k more than the other two. When I could finally afford a Corvette Convertible, I bought an 05. I also owned a an 04 BMW 330 Convertible. What's the American alternative to that--a Chrysler Sebring convertible? I guess I could have bought a Mustang convertible, but I needed a car that would allow humans to fit in the back seat. Besides, my high school days are long behind me.
For our family car, we've owned two Chevy Tahoes, three Odysseys and an Acura MDX. When I'm ready to trade in our family car, I always look at American alternatives first. In making this latest purchase decision, I narrowed the choices down to the 07 Odyssey Touring, 08 Chrysler T&C, 07 Chevy Tahoe and 08 GMC Acadia. Why did I pick the Odyssey?
GMC Acadia: my first choice. It's comfortable, had lots of cargo/passenger capacity, and reasonable gas mileage. Net trade difference including all incentives: $14k
Chevy Tahoe: my wife's first choice. My teenagers would never tolerate the third row for a thousand-mile trip (something we do often) and the gas bill would kill me. I loved this truck anyway. Net trade difference including incentives: $12k
Chrysler T&C: the dash was so cheesy looking that my wife refused to sit in it. I baited her in by showing her the stow-n-go seats and dual DVD system. She was sold on the Tahoe and I couldn't argue that it was such a good deal that we had to have it. I'm guessing that the best trade deal I could have worked would have given me a Net trade difference of about: $11-12k.
Honda Odyssey Touring: has everything we expect but it makes my wife "feel old". Net trade difference: $6500.
I won't get into reliability issues because I've never had a significant problem with either of the Chevys or the Hondas and there's no way of knowing what will happen with the Chrysler. I won't even talk about resale values because the candidates are too new. But does it make any sense to pay $5k more for the next cheapest alternative (and deal with your wife's wrath)? Does it make sense to pay $7-8k more for the Tahoe or Acadia and live with all the compromises--significantly less space and lower gas mileage?
So, I guess you've correctly identified me as another "pocketbook patriot". But with four kids and two mortgages, I've got to do what's right for my family. Paying significantly more for an American product that doesn't meet all of our needs just doesn't make sense.
In two years when the teenagers are at college and the twins are out of car seats, we'll buy another family car. As always, we'll look to buy American first. When that happens we won't have to care about third row seat room or whether or not our stroller fits behind it. We won't have to care about the ability to carry six passengers and their luggage in reasonable comfort and security. But as a "pocketbook patriot" with two kids in college, I'm still going to have to care about buying a car that costs more and delivers less...
Sorry for the diatribe.