Last post on Jul 02, 2012 at 6:03 AM
You are in the Vans & Minivans
What is this discussion about?
Toyota Sienna, Honda Odyssey, Car Buying, Car Comparisons, Van
#11 of 22 Re: 2011/2012 Odyssey EXL Vs Sienna XLE [quizzer]
Feb 20, 2012 (8:21 pm)
I have not made up my mind which one I will buy but I am pretty sure it will be the Sienna. I have owned several Honda's and was sure I would buy an Odyssey. Here are the reasons.
The ground clearance is too low on the Honda. I believe it is only 4.5 inches but it is difficult to find out if that is correct because Honda will not publish the clearance. Go to Honda.com and compare let's say the CRV, Pilot and Odyssey. Notice they give you the ground clearance on the CRV and Pilot but not on the Odyssey. Originally it was on their web site but they pulled it off. I believe they pulled it off because some people are bottoming out the front end under certain conditions. I do not have a link handy to problems I found.
Whether or not you plan to tow anything you should know the Honda towing package will cost you about $1500 (about $950 for parts and the rest for dealer installation). The Sienna comes standard with a heavy duty transmission cooler and I believe also a heavy duty radiator). Part of the cost on the Honda is for a heavy duty transmission cooler. With all the transmission problems Honda has had, I wonder if their transmissions would last longer if they ran cooler (especially in Arizona and other hot places).
I know three people who have over 100k miles on their Sienna with zero problems. I know two Odyssey owners including my son who have had transmission and other problems within 100K miles.
The only thing I do not like about the Sienna is that when you take out the second row seats, the roller mechanism for the seats remains in the car so you do not have a completely flat floor in that area.
Feb 20, 2012 (8:25 pm)
If you buy the AWD Sienna, you do not have a spare tire because they use 'run flat' tires. A set of new tires will cost you about $1600. I was told you can only buy those tires from Toyota.
The insulation under the AWD might not be as good as a FWD since they run a drive shaft underneath.
#13 of 22 Low Ground Clearance on the '11/'12 Odysseys
Apr 03, 2012 (6:17 pm)
I too was worried about low ground clearance on the Odysseys, but I ended up buying one anyway. The 2nd week, I looked under the front of my van, and I was pleasantly relieved. Try this at the dealership: Get down on to the ground and look under the FRONT end of the van. Where the ground clearance is 4.5" is the bottom of the suspension arms, close to the front tires. When you hit a bump, that part near the tires will rise up too. Now look under the rear part of the van. There you'll find plenty of ground clearance, even with a trailer hitch installed. I take 5 of us plus 5 bikes on biking trips, and ground clearance doesn't concern me.
#14 of 22 Odyssey EX-L vs Toyota XLE vs Quest SL
Apr 03, 2012 (7:14 pm)
I researched the minivans heavily in the winter of 2012. On paper, at least, the Sienna was my first choice. Although my gut choice was the Nissan Quest with its cushy and quiet ride, which I longed for. I had an '08 Odyssey for 4 years which worked out well, but I didn't like all the road noise and the stiffer ride. It was last on my minivan shopping list. Then in mid-March, I started test-driving these 3 vans. Here are the results: 1)Nissan Quest SL--I liked the smooth, quiet, limo-like ride, but seats were smallish, with seat cushions that were too flat. It lacked storage space, but the seating arrangement I had no problem with. It's lower resale value was a turn-off 2) Toyota Sienna XLE--I liked the van overall, but on the test-drive, the engine seemed to be noisier and rougher than expected. The van itself seemed to be noisier too, but then Hondas are noisey too. 3) Honda EX-L--It was definitely improved from my '08 model. I'm indifferent about the exterior. The engine is all but silent, and it's smooth too. The road noise is reduced a little, but I wish they had reduced it more to match the Quest. I thought the Ody had the most comfortable seats for adults. (I carry a lot of senior adults around) I especially liked the improved 8th seat in the center of the 2nd row. So after the test-drives, and more thinking, we decided to get another Honda EX-L. (which was NOT my plan) I've had it 2 1/2 wks. I would say it's better than the older ones like my '08, but I can see where it's not really THAT much better. And I think both Honda and Toyota have cut some corners on content and quality. The Sienna was my 2nd choice by a slim margin.
#15 of 22 Still conflicted
Apr 11, 2012 (5:55 pm)
Great thread -- and thanks to all who offered an opinion. I am still undecided. Here's where my head is at:
*Background: I am at the end of a lease on a 2010 Honda Odyssey EX-L with Nav and RES. We wanted to get an equivalent.
* Models -- Honda now does not offer NAV + RES on EX-L, so I started looking at Odyssey Touring and Sienna Limited with the Premium Package. I have since started considering EX-L with RES vs XLE with RES + Nav.
* Price: in these models, Sienna is more expensive. Yes, the base price is less than on Odyssey, but once you add the Premium package (which you have to add for the rear entertainment system), Sienna is ~2K more expensive (Touring vs Limited or EXL vs XLE -- same thing).
* Lease: Toyota has better residuals (by 2-3%) and better money factors (0.00066 vs 0.00115). But they are less willing to negotiate, so the lease costs on Honda come out about $50-60/month less than Sienna on average.
* Exterior: don't care -- both look fine to me. It's a minivan.
* Ride: don't care -- both ride fine for a minivan.
* Features/interior... this is where things get wacky
- Nav system: both suck, but Odyssey sucks more. No more touch screen. Oh my god -- the joystick/nob design is terrible and is many years behind. Why they switched? Don't know. the 2010 had a touch screen, and while it was bad, it was usable for input. Sienna is functional, I just don't like the low screen resolution. In the end, I've decided I'd rather not pay for the nav and get an aftermarket Garmin or TomTom for $300. I rent a lot of cars, and see much better systems on Fords, Cadillacs, Audis... why can't they put a decent nav in these?!
- Dashboard/console: Odyssey looks much more polished. The center stack on the Sienna is very functional, but to my eye, ugly. The textured plastic is unattractive. More importantly, the center stack on the Sienna is harder to reach that on Odyssey.
- Third-row folding system: Both are good. I like the push-button style on the Sienna, but the Odyssey manual system is easy and painless. Overall, not enough of an advantage either way.
- Push button ignition: Sienna can have that, but only on Limited. Odyssey can't have it. Ridiculous. My el-cheapo sedan has it. Many new cars have it. Come on, Honda and Toyota!
Winner: Sienna (kind of - Limited only)
- Second row: I know, Honda's done some magic here. But for me, the second row on a Sienna in a 7 seat configuration is just better. The seats are more comfortable, they move further back, and the recliner feature, while not fit for adults, is great. The windows on the Sienna in the second row are also wider, so it just seems roomier.
Winner: Sienna (subjective)
- Sunroof(s): Sienna offers two sunroofs on Limited. Some people say they don't use them -- we do. My three kids loved the second sunroof.
Winner: Sienna (Limited only)
- Auto Folding mirrors: Ooh, Toyota, you've got that one right. Again, Limited only, but it's nice. I park two cars in the garage, and routinely fold the mirrors by hand. The push-button convenience here is useful. Honda, you listening?
Winner: Sienna (Limited only)
- All-wheel drive. Need I say more? I can live without it, but the fact that Toyota offers it is great. The incremental price is small (a little over a grand). The extended cost of replacing a $1600 set of run-flat tires is a bit of a downer.
Winner: Sienna (only if you MUST have AWD)
- Other Options: Both are bad. Odyssey -- why not over nav and RES on EX-L? Answer: to push people to buy Touring. Sienna -- why are the nav and res options so expensive? Answer: to make the buying experience confusing. HID lights? Get the Touring Elite with Odyssey or buy the expensive high-tech package on the Sienna. You do get more flexibility with the Sienna (at a price), but overall it's a tie.
Winner: Tie (Small advantage for the Sienna)
Still undecided, but I fear I will end up going with an Odyssey EX-L with RES and buying an aftermarket nav. I will miss the dual sunroof, the auto-folding mirrors, the push-button third-row seat, and the push-button ignition. But at $60-$80/month less expensive on a lease than a comparable Sienna, it's hard to justify not going with Odyssey. Unless I can get an incredible deal...
#16 of 22 Bad exterior design/Weak tranny v/s mediocre interior/floaty handling
Apr 26, 2012 (7:37 pm)
We are in the market and looking at both, the Sienna XLE & The Ody EX-L. Since we are not interested in the Limited trim, so the 5 speed tranny is a big concern. It is cheesy on Honda's part to push consumers towards the higher trim if they want a six speed.
We like the Odyssey but can't get past the exterior design. Wifey didn't like it at first and by the time she came around, the kids thought that it is ugly. I am willing to accept it if the family goes with it
Sienna's has a nice exterior but the interior looks cheap. The handling is a bit floaty too.
Have two more days to decide so the debate continues.
#17 of 22 Re: Bad exterior design/Weak tranny v/s mediocre interior/floaty handling [mbillo]
Apr 29, 2012 (2:57 pm)
We finally settled on the Sienna. Got an XLE with Nav. Like I said earlier, the tranny was one of the reason. We thought that the Ody looked like a hearse, but then it's us. Also looked at Reco's from a couple of friends (they have cars/suv's only) and they agreed that Ody wasn't cool, looks wise. so Sienna it is. Enjoyed the ride home and looking forward to a few long ones within the month. First things first, swap out the interior for some cool LED's.
Apr 29, 2012 (5:20 pm)
Ended up going with Sienna Limited with rear entertainment and no Nav (bought a Garmin for Nav, very pleased).
The deciding factors: dual sunroofs and reclining captains chairs in the second row. The kids love it. In the end, the lease was comparable to Ody Touring, maybe a few bucks more.
I like the push button start, push button folding mirrors, and push button folding third row seats. The tilting windows in third row are also nice.
In other words, we chose the Sienna for the features simply not available on the Odyssey.
#19 of 22 Ended up with the Odyssey
May 19, 2012 (7:45 pm)
We started our search between the Nissan Quest, the Sienna XLE and the Odyssey EXL. The Quest was ruled out immediately after the test drive. The Sienna came next and I loved it in comparison to the Quest. I was replacing a Toyota Sequoia with a minivan, so my initial concerns in switching were a) would I be comfortable in a lower more carlike driving position, and b) could I still have acceleration when needed on the freeway, etc. Of course then comfort, ride, handling were priorities as well. The Sienna alleviated most of these fears, and so I thought we had a winner. We then went and drove the Odyssey EXL. I liked the Odyssey too, but for different reasons than the Sienna. Here are the primary pros and cons of each to me.
Sienna-- Pro's: Handling and ride are great. I still think they are better than the Odyssey' s. It's a very responsive car. The seat tracks for the second row are awesome, allowing full range forwards or backwards, and the seats were nice, with decent grade leather. You have a TON of legroom in the second row. Widescreen DVD is awesome, and I liked the overall layout of the dash and controls. The door controls being located in the center also made sense. And of course, a ton of storage, with two glove compartments, consoles etc.
Cons-- The seats came up a little short in the thigh support area for my husband and me. We are both very tall and I wished for an extra inch or two on the seat length. This actually turned into one of the main determining factors for me. The seats were okay, but I could never get as comfortable as I could in the Honda. Also, the fact that the middle seat of the second row was useless became a deal breaker. We have to fit two rear facing car seats in the second row, and not being able to use the middle seat and sit them side by side made it extremely difficult to access the third row. The seat travel allowed you to be able to squeeze past the front of the car seat, if you moved the seat all the way back, but it was a squeeze, and just wasn't practical for our older child (or anyone else) to have to do this day in and day out until the car seats could be front facing, which is over a year from now. Also, I do not think there was as much leg room between the rows if you had to accomodate adults in all seats. On the stereo front, we found the sound quality to be lacking in the standard XLE stereo, and the back up camera screen was also dinky- those things made us then decide to look at the XLE with Nav instead, and also the Limited.
Odyssey EXL-- Pros: Seating comfort was great, and the second row was far more flexible. You can fit two large rear facing car seats side by side and still be able to slide the remaining outer seat forward, or have someone comfortably sit in it. Even though the seats don't have the ability to track back and forth to the degree of the Sienna, there is still plenty, if not more legroom for the second and third rows. The dash layout and materials are a very nice quality and don't have the gimmicky wooden inlays of the Sienna.
Cons: ACCELERATION and handling. The Odyssey EXL is obviously slower than the Sienna, and just disappointed with the get up and go, or lack there of. This fact alone resulted in us leaning more towards the Sienna.
We were leaning towards the Sienna at that point and the dealership bailed us out for a few hours so we could try out with the kids. It was at this point that I realized that the seats were a little uncomfortable. Enough so that I was having to shift around a lot more that I thought I should driving for just an hour. After some more research here on Edmunds, I saw that the Odyssey Touring and Touring Elite both had the extra gear, which resulted in a quicker acceleration time. Back to the Honda dealership we went to test drive a Touring version. And boy, what a difference. Also, the Nav on the Honda is much better than the Toyota Nav in my opinion as it's accessible while driving. So in the end, the seat comfort and practicality, with the better acceleration making it about equal with the Sienna helped me make my decision.
It was a hard choice as the Toyota is a very nice car, and we could have purchased an XLE with DVD and Nav for cheaper than the Touring Elite. The XLE also had keyless entry which was a nice feature the Honda does not offer, but in the end we just felt more comfortable in the Honda and thought it was worth the extra cost.
Jun 04, 2012 (5:41 am)
I have a 2010 Sienna LE (8 passenger) currently w/ 44,000 miles on it and am very happy with the car. Looked at Ody, Nissan and Chrysler T&C also.
A few nits to pick but nothing major, it rides and performs like a mini van should, actually better. I have had a few friends / family that have driven my van and remark on how impressed they are in that it does NOT seem like a mini van.... " this thing flies and handles much better than I thought it would" Even my 20 something kids like it.
After the first 2 or 3 maintenance visits I have done all the maintenance via a local mechanic as I HATE dealerships and I have never gotten a break from them and feel they just wait for the opportunity to screw you over when something is not covered. Remember when Toyota and Honda would bend over backwards to make their customers happy?
I looked at this and an Ody and liked them both but at the time (Sept 09) Honda was the one NOT doing any dealing and it would have been a $2500 difference to get the things that came on the Sienna as std plus the discounts Toyota was offering (Honda would not budge, they let me walk!!) and while I liked the styling of the Ody a little better it was not enough to make me lose the $$.
Now I have read about the tranny problems on Ody and the sliding door problems on the older Siennas and have come to the conclusion that every car has it's problems, every manufacturer goes back and forth on how much they want to discount etc. you just have to catch them at the right time.
Bottom line is that I like the Sienna and plan on keeping it for a while. We use the capacity and folding seats a lot - I have a t-shirt / promo business and deliver lots of larger boxes. I actually took out the middle seat in the 2nd row as I do not need it too much and it is pretty easy to put in when I need it.
We also have a camp in Maine and I have toted everything from kayaks (INSIDE and on the roof), bikes and lumber, to kids and adults all over dirt roads and paved in all kinds of weather and am happy. We do not tow our boat with this car.
I will say that I came from a 2000 Chevy Venture 8 passenger and that lasted us 10 years w/ about 180k miles. Good van but Chevy had nothing to replace it with.
Good luck with your choice and safe travels.