Last post on Jul 02, 2012 at 7:03 AM
You are in the Vans & Minivans
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Toyota Sienna, Honda Odyssey, Car Buying, Car Comparisons, Van
#19 of 22 Ended up with the Odyssey
May 19, 2012 (8:45 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 (6:41 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.
#21 of 22 Am very happy to replace my Ody with a Sienna
Jun 06, 2012 (11:11 am)
I had a 2006 Odyssey that was a problem almost from the get-go. All kinds of plastic parts breaking off (and I do treat my cars well), the infamous air conditioning condenser replacement, several brake re-dos, no auto headlights, lousy nav system (GPS Drive on my iPhone is far superior), and finally the transmission failure at 93K did it in. I had a 2005 Sienna that was totaled. Went with the Honda because I needed leather with eight-passenger capacity, which Toyota didn't offer at the time. Am now driving a 2012 Sienna XLE, and couldn't be happier. No more nav system that requires annual $150 updates, no more DVD that kids just fight over (got them their own Nook Colors instead, much better solution, and far cheaper than in-car DVD), love the blue lighted dash, love the USB and Bluetooth interfaces, the backup display is far better in the Toyota (though smaller, it doesn't wash out in sunlight, which made the Honda display useless, the 8th seat on the Sienna is much easier to deal with, etc etc etc. Toyota leather is much nicer. And I won't even get into the super-ugly new Odyssey styling.
#22 of 22 New Odyssey Owner
Jul 02, 2012 (7:03 am)
I just purchased a 2012 Odyssey EX-L this past week and compared it to the Sienna LXE comparably equipped. We were prior Odyssey owners, having had a 2003 EX-L RES as well. That vehicle had transmission issues which are well documented on the net. Ours only had 92k miles and we had hoped to get many more miles from it, but it was not to be. That failure obviously had caused me to question the reliability of the newer vans as well and compare them to the Sienna. As a side note, the OdyClub forum group was of very little help as I posted a question on any reports of complete tranny failures on the newer models and was told to search other messages. There were no other messages specific to my query and the pissy moderator shut down the thread.
Regardless, we were forced to compare the two to obtain a new van. As a prior owner of an Odyssey we were immediately more comfortable with the new version. The controls and feel were similar and we liked the organization of the van. We even liked the 2nd row middle seat set up better. I would say I thought the vans drove very much the same. The Odyssey a little more tight, but the difference was negligible to me. I thought the leather in the Sienna was nicer and the airiness of the cabin was nice. I know it's subjective and I'm picky, but the Sienna was just a bit too unfinished for us. That said, the Odyssey was a few thousand dollars more. I don't think you can go wrong either way, but I'm taking a chance that they've fixed the transmission reliability issues and I get many years out of this new van.