Last post on Nov 07, 2013 at 6:19 AM
You are in the Vans & Minivans
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Honda Odyssey, Toyota Corolla, Chrysler Town and Country, Car Buying, Car Comparisons, Van
#10 of 51 Re: 2013 Odyssey vs 2013 Sienna vs 2013 Town And Country [dc_driver]
Mar 22, 2013 (6:08 am)
For what it's worth, once you get used to the Dial Navigation Control it is so superior, it's hard to ever settle for touch screen again.
I am a gadget freak and early adopter of most major tech. When I shopped for my last SUV, the tech was so important that when I went to test drive the GMC model and they said it didn't offer Bluetooth integration I walked out without a test drive and scratched it off the list. The dealer couldn’t believe it was so important to me but I said I couldn’t believe they were so behind the times that they didn’t understand many drivers care about the technology now. Before each test drive I called ahead to make sure they had a model with a working navigation and wouldn't go unless they did, then I spent at least 30 minutes trying navigation features on each test -- driving the dealers crazy. I pretty much ruled out the Toyota at the time for the specific reason that it's navigation had a "nanny" feature that locked out using it while in motion -- ignoring the fact that there are often people in the passenger seat perfectly able to handle that.
When I first tried the dial I was skeptical and even after my half hour test I wasn't convinced. But I got the car and got to know it. By the way, I had had an integrated touch screen nav in my previous car and have owned several Garmin portables that we take with us on trips to use with rental cars. Combined with the test drives and using other rentals, I have used almost every nav system out there.
Anyway, after a few weeks I decided I would never NOT want a dial nav again (which pretty much limits me to Honda, Acura, BMW, Audi, etc. – note mostly high-end brands). I agree that it is inferior for typing a specific address or the name of a waypoint, but honestly I don’t have to do that often. In every other regard, the dial is superior. For example, the most common function I do during a trip is to zoom the map in and out of different magnification levels. I never bothered doing this with my touch screen because it’s only relevant while driving and it’s too distracting to find the right place to touch. But dozens of times on long trips – zooming out to see the path ahead during long stretches on freeways, zooming in when I want more detail for off-ramps or city streets, etc. Sometimes medium zoom in is fine for streets so I can still see the next couple turns, but sometimes super zoom is better when the streets are close together, etc. I can do all this without looking at the screen because you quickly memorize the position of the dial and how to handle it. So I need only glance at the resulting map, far less distracting than a touch screen. And that is but one example – most of the menu features can easily be used by the driver because of minimal distraction and voice response. Sure with touch screens – which the Honda has too – you can use voice commands but after the gimmick wears off you realize those are way more trouble than they are worth in most cases.
Also, of the three brands you mention, the Honda is the only one that won’t disable virtually all functions on the nav system while in motion. It’s up to drivers to exercise common sense but more importantly it doesn’t prevent my wife from being “the navigator” without us having to pull over to add waypoints or check alternative routes during traffic, etc.
#11 of 51 Re: 2013 Odyssey vs 2013 Sienna vs 2013 Town And Country [citivas]
Mar 22, 2013 (8:47 am)
Wow, great feedback on the Nav systems. It is one are that rarely gets discussed, but I agree, the technology is really important to us as well. My car has bluetooth phone support and my wife loves it. It is so critical for us with kids in the car and being able to take calls or stream music from our devices.
Definitely good feedback on the dial. We have a top of the line Garmin now, and I hate it. It is constantly buggy and routing us the wrong way, or the longest way. I have a cheaper Magellan that is quite old that does a much better job.
We will be able to test drive a Sienna that has the Nav tonight back to back with the Odyssey and I will definitely compare the two features. The Nav, for me, is a must have with the Sienna since the normal display screen is so tiny it is almost pointless to use as a backup camera screen. I give Honda credit for their big screen.
#12 of 51 Re: 2013 Odyssey vs 2013 Sienna vs 2013 Town And Country [dc_driver]
Mar 22, 2013 (11:31 am)
Yeah, I hated all our Garmin’s too. Way too buggy. I hated the annoying “off route, recalculating” every time you chose to do something different. And it would get fixated on its route choice even when you chose a different way and were obviously far into it – it would still say to make a u-turn if possible far after it would have been quicker to just recalculate you to continue straight. Annoying. I mainly got it for GPS use while traveling. After the last one failed – they never worked more than a couple years – we finally switched to using our iPhones for travel nav. I’ve tried Apple’s Maps program, the new Google Maps program, etc. But by far prefer Waze, which is a free app but it’s got a social traffic feature where everyone using it reports traffic and other conditions in real-time (“hidden police 1,500 ahead” etc.). It’s got a few limitations but is excellent overall.
Yep, the rear screen camera on the Sienna is much better using the large navigation screen. I also liked the Totoya’s voice command system overall – though as I say after a while you stop using any of them because it’s annoying when it doesn’t get it right the first time versus more quickly just doing it with touch/dial. I thought the Toyota was fine for direction too, but haven’t tested it in several years (same basic design now from the few minutes I spent with it recently) so I can’t speak extensively to accuracy. For me the killer, besides my now bias toward dial over touch, is the nanny-feature. Once moving you will only be able to use voice commands. It doesn’t matter whether you have a passenger who could safely use the touch screen or not. There are third party websites dedicated to selling people expensive after-market products to try and defeat this legal liability cop-out, but you pay for that and have to be willing to tinker. Honda just flashes a screen when the system first turns on that releases its liability and you move on.
I also agree about the Toyota’s cheapness of interior finish and for me I am frustrated that they don’t offer an 8th seat option in their higher end models like Honda does.
Good luck with your purchase.
#13 of 51 Drove them again
Mar 23, 2013 (8:16 am)
Wife and I drove the Odyssey Touring vs the Sienna XLE w/NAV, DVD, and blind spot monitoring package late yesterday afternoon. I let me wife do all the driving since I already drove them, and I kept my opinions to myself because she ultimately drives the van about 80% of the time. She has to live with the decision everyday, whereas I can get in my 2 door sports coupe
The pluses for the Odyssey:
- She thought it was noticeably the quieter of the two vans driving around the city. I agree. The Sienna is fine once you get up to speed, but the engine is louder and cabin is louder in the city.
- Better backup camera and screen.
- The cooler is kinda cool (no pun intended). We do lots of long trips as a family, and it is nice to be able to keep drinks cool on a long drive.
- We both thought the seats in the Honda were more comfortable. Especially in the front and third rows.
- The third row magic seat in the Honda is easier to operate.
- The overall fit and finish of the Honda is nicer. The dash looks and feels better to the touch. The Sienna is really cheap feeling and looking and has an odd texture on the dash. The light beige color of the dash is not really our preference either.
- I thought the Honda handled a little better around corners.
- Honda gets better MPG
- Honda had better safety ratings
- I hated that you cannot remove the center console in the XLE for the second row. With three kids my son will be in the third row and will always be stepping over or on the second row console to get to the back. With the Honda you can remove the middle seat completely and slide both captains chairs to the side and have a nice clear entry and exit point for the third row for a child.
- Wife and I both liked the Sienna exterior styling better.
- Wife REALLY liked the keyless perimeter entry on the Sienna. Very useful with little kids.
- The blind spot monitoring was a nice safety feature.
- DVD screen was larger than the Touring Odyssey.
- We both felt the Sienna had less buttons on the dash and was simpler to use.
- My wife felt the Sienna had more pickup and power.
- Sienna was about $1600 cheaper vs the Odyssey Touring
- Toyota 2 year 25K free maintenance is a nice to have.
- Like the storage cubby in the back that fits the third row jump seat.
We really struggled to decide. I think we both felt they were great vans, each with pros and cons. We came home and listed all the pros and cons we liked for each vehicle and then discussed which van we see ourself owning for 5+ years. My wife loved the permitter keyless entry feature of the Sienna, but we both hated the cheap second row middle console that could not be removed. We both were concerned about the 3 star front crash rating for a female in the front passenger seat for the Sienna vs the 5 star for the Odyssey. We did not like the idea of compromising on safety to get a van that we felt was so close to the other one.
But, the Sienna had its merits for sure. I was leaning towards the Odyssey but did not tell her and we both decided to sleep on it and then discuss it in the morning. This morning my wife said she just felt better about the Odyssey. It was a little more money, but she was concerned about the frontal crash ratings and hated that middle console for our son to step on and over. In Minnesota that means snowy/dirty/slushy boots and that means the console (which was a cheap beige plastic) would be impossible to clean. We even discussed me cutting the console out, but I am reluctant to do that on a brand new vehicle that would most likely void the warranty on the seat if there was an issue.
Some great choices out there. The Sienna could have gone either way. If the front crash ratings were 5 stars on it, we probably would have gone with the Sienna.
The Honda dealer gave us a much better trade-in on our 06 Odyssey (about $1200 more, and $1200 over KBB blue book value which was really solid) which really helped with the deal, and I was able to get all weather floor mats for thrown in for free ($225 value). The price of the vehicles was basically a wash at this point with Honda offering .09% financing as well (we were going to take the $750 Toyota cash back vs the 0% finance).
We pick it up today and I was able to do almost all the paperwork via email and online, easiest dealer experience I have ever had. No pressure on any other accessories, paint protection, pin stripes, extended warranty, etc.
Very happy, hopefully we will still feel that way in a few years
Mar 26, 2013 (10:07 am)
Congratulations on your purchase DC driver. I'm sure you will be very happy with your new Oddy. I'm still leaning towards the T&C Limited, but with some reservations.
I have negotiated with a local dealer to $34,370 for the 2013 Limited minus Luxury Group and before taxes. Will visit him this weekend. Hope I get a good trade on my 2006 Oddy as you did.
#15 of 51 Re: Drove them again [dc_driver]
Mar 26, 2013 (3:23 pm)
Yes, thanks for the time and effort you put in for the excellent reviews. I can understand why you removed the Chrysler minivan from your list given the awful track record it has. Even if the new ones under Sergio Marchionne's watch are better, it will take years before the negative perception is changed.
Mar 29, 2013 (7:00 pm)
Thanks all. Really enjoying the vehicle, my wife can't keep smiling. Don't know how we lived without memory seats all these years
I cannot believe how much smoother/quieter the 13 is vs the 06. Very happy with our decision
Pic I took while taking delivery:
#17 of 51 Re: Thanks [dc_driver]
Mar 30, 2013 (7:18 am)
I hear you on the memory seats. It's something we have vowed never to buy another car without as well. It's one of the things that drove me away from the Highlander when we were shopping for a mid-sized 3-row SUV a few years ago, that and the nanny-nav system. Toyota has this super customer-unfriendly habit of putting memory seat functionality out of their SUV and mini-van vehicles when they do major model refreshes so they can throw it back in around model year 3 as an enhancement.
I'm heading to the NY Auto Show this coming week to see the new 2014 Odyssey before deciding whether to pursue a 2013 model...
#18 of 51 Re: Thanks [citivas]
Mar 30, 2013 (9:25 am)
My wife is considerably shorter than me, and boy, it the memory seats are sweet
Very cool your going to the NY Auto Show, that should be exciting. We have a 2000 mile road trip coming up in a few months and were looking at $3-5K bill to get our 06 Odyssey where I would feel safe taking the family on such a long trip. The 2014 does have some really nice features, particularly the push button start and perimeter smart key. While I actually like the look of the touchscreen audio system in the 14, I am old school and find it easier to use the buttons when driving.
Have fun! I believe they are going to debut the 2014 Honda Pilot at the NY Show as well.
#19 of 51 Chrysler Town and Country -The Best Minivan in the Market
Apr 03, 2013 (4:53 pm)
I have a 2011 Town and Country Touring model(the base model among the three models)purchased new in 2011,currently it has 25,600 mi (41,000 km)mileage and fortunately for me this van still doing better and the only time i brought it to my dealer was the regular oil change schedules.Though it is a touring model only,it is equipped with some luxurious features that includes the following:remote starter,push button starter,rear camera,powder sliding doors and windows including the quarter windows at the back,power liftgate (rear door),sirius satellite radio,intelligent key ( no need to bring out the key or fob in my pocket to get in or get out the van,you only have to touch the door handle and it opens automatically),DVD,2nd and 3rd seats folded flat to the floor and of course the powerful pentastar 283 hp v6 engine that were instaled to all T/C that started with the 2011 model.So far i don't have any issues with this van since i bought it two years ago for only $30,000.