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Honda Odyssey vs Dodge/Chrysler minivans

wilferonwilferon Posts: 1
edited March 15 in Chrysler
I am struggling to make a decision between the
Odyssey LX and the Chrysler GCS. Given the Odyssey
has a more advanced and more powerful engine, the
GCS is a few thousand dollars less expensive. My
major concern here is their competency in towing a
pop-up tent trailer. I suppose having 30 hp less
than the Odyssey (at 210) doesn't necessary mean
that the GCS is not quite as capable in towing.
Besides, the 2001 GCS is supposed to be innovative
and very quiet. Having read that the Odyssey is
lacking in low rpm grunt, I do wonder where the GCS
stands in comparison. I have tried fruitlessly to
search the hp/torque performance curves of these
engines. Would anyone be able to shed some light on
this issue or direct me to relevant web sites, I
should be most grateful.
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Comments

  • axle59axle59 Posts: 28
    Actually dodge makes the GCS and chrysler makes the town and country. Regardless though they are basically the same van with diffent name plates on them. That said the honda does makes more horsepower only if you elect to have the 3.3L engine in the chrysler van. Otherwise the 3.8L witch I have in my van make 215hp or if you wait a couple of months the Town and County limited will come with a 3.5L out of the 300M that makes 230hp. Whats more is that in order to get the 210hp from the honda you must use premium fuel whereas the chrysler vans only require regular 87 octane. I'm not sure of the torque on the honda but the chrysler 3.8 has 240lbft of torque and the 3.5 will have 245lbft.
  • mike734mike734 Posts: 128
    The high end line of the Dodge product may ultimately have more power and if towing is your concern, there is no substitute for power. However, the Dodge product will be a "new" model and may suffer the ills of a new model. The power rear door comes to mind. Alternatively, the Honda is in its' third year. I believe most bugs are worked out. Of course, the bottom line is how you feel on the test drive. I suggest going on a test drive without the salesman, if possible. If not, make him sit in the back and be quiet. Take your time and don't second guess yourself once you have made a decision. My advice is to get the Honda EX-Navi. I love mine.
  • mojo66mojo66 Posts: 83
    This was a pretty easy decision for us, but we waited until the '01 DC vans came out just to be sure. The only area the Odyssey may fall short in comparing these vans is in interior features. The Odyssey interior looks plain and doesn't offer leather, and the stereo system is terrible, but these things can be added. In any case, Honda's strong suit continues to be engineering, and in that respect the two vans couldn't be further apart. It's the main reason the Odyssey is so popular with buyers, while Chrysler is already offering huge rebates and cutting production in Toronto. The Odyssey is just a well thought-out vehicle that will last far longer on the road than the Chrysler and will almost certainly experience fewer problems. Do yourself a favor and get on the waiting list for an Odyssey. It's worth the wait.
  • "The Odyssey is just a well thought-out
    vehicle that will last far longer on the road than
    the Chrysler and will almost certainly experience
    fewer problems."

    Last longer on the road than chrysler and fewer problems? Why is it that the Odyssey Problems Topic grows and grows and grows and people with the 2001s are still experiencing some of the problems the 1999s have. The Gen2 Odyssey hasn't been out long enough to prove it having fewer problems. I dunno about lasting longer...we'll just have to wait and see about that. Minivan shopper...do yourself a favor, buy what you like and what you are comfortable with...all minivans have problems but the Honda isn't perfect.
  • mike734mike734 Posts: 128
    To answer your question: The owners of the Odyssey have very high expectations. I believe the problems so far have been minor.
  • Transmission clunk/replacements, engine whine, fuel gauge inaccuracy, fuel tank thud, pull to the left or right, falling roof rack pieces, speedometer, dash lights, phantom sliding doors are minor? I have high expectations for a vehicle myself and I don't consider things like that to be minor. In fact things like very early transmission replacements are major things to worry about.
  • and to top it off...these problems were evident in the 1999, 2000 and even the brand new 2001 models? And just recently American Honda Motor Company has requested ALLDATA to deny access to Acura and Honda repair information. So that means you will not have access to Acura or Honda vehicle repair information, technical service bulletins or recalls. Sad isn't it?
  • mike734mike734 Posts: 128
    You have a point. I have been lucky and have not experienced any of the above problems yet. I'm just glad I did not buy a Toyota Sienna.

    I would say a transmission change and phantom doors are the two most serious problems. I hope Honda will stand by their product on a case by case basis. I guess my point was that I expect the Odyssey to be less troublesome than the competition. I guess we will see....
  • pat84pat84 Posts: 817
    I traded in a 95 Dodge Grand Caravan on a 99 Odyssey because of a transmission problem. While Daimler -Chrysler has been putting in a marginal at best transmission in its vans for many years- do a web search on bad transmissions to verify. DC has a hidden recall, Honda replaces bad transmissions when they are found.
    As for the number of Honda problem forums is now up to VII, the Honda discussion forum is up to XXX. If you look at that ratio the number of the problem forums looks smaller.
  • You can scan ANY problem forum for just about any vehicle and come up with a list as long as yours. I mean come on, the end pieces falling of the roof racks? I saw those posts and they are very recent ones(and very few). I've been following the problem thread for well over a year now and no one up until now complained about that. There was somebody just recently had the dial of the rear heater unit break off, you must have missed that one.

    Point being, Do a little more research on what your calling major problems, just don't scan the headers and compile a list. The gas tank thud just happens with this van, its a design give and take with the well created by the third seat and only happens when its filled up full. The speedometer shows around 4 mph higher than the speed but well within gov. standards. Engine whine? Where did you see that one? Perhaps its the ones where the owners are not recognizing the ABS cycling sound at start-up. I'll admit Fuel guage inaccuracy and dash lights have been reported but not heavily. The owners manual states that the gas light pops on at 1/4 which is earlier than most vehicles I think, but mine hits that right on and with consistancy.
    Enough defending, the argument will never end until there's only one brand to choose from. God help us if that day ever comes.
  • With long pointy snout, power sliding doors, and overall general appearance, it was just a matter of time for the Odyssey EX Limited RR
    version. Exclusive options are bright center mounted front headlight,
    loud airhorn, PA system that announces "All Aboard".
    Since no railroad service would be complete without cargo, just flip the magic seat and you can haul coal, ore, or whatever.
    Now when Honda can solve the problem with erratic power sliding doors, break down of transmissions, etc...your liability insurance will drop as you offer new rail service...without the problem of fixed
    metal rails.
  • steverstever Viva Las CrucesPosts: 41,972
    We had one of those Buick vistacruiser type wagons when I was a kid. I couldn't ride in the magic seat for long since it faced the rear. Riding backwards in trains doesn't seem to bother me.

    I actually liked the lack of options offered by the Odyssey when I was shopping back in late '98. Basically you picked the LX or EX.

    At the Dodge dealer, there were seemingly dozens of option packages, and the ones you thought you'd be interested in were never installed with the "right" engine or whatever on the 100 vans on the lot. I didn't have "swift" salespeople at either dealer though. The Dodge guy just started work that am and was clueless about his inventory.

    Steve, Host

    Moderator
    Minivan fan. Feel free to message or email me - stever@edmunds.com.

  • If we can trust the members of the Town Hall who post in all forums. Sienna had a torque converter problem for one brief period. Chrysler had problems in the past. Odyssey transmission problems are in the present. My 99 GC SE has 22,444 miles with zero problems.
    The percentage of Sienna, Chrysler, Odyssey, etc. with any type of transmission problems is very low... BUT: if a person gets one of the very few, percentages do not matter. I have asked every one of the many owners of DC mini vans (that I know)to tell me of the problems with their DC mini van. Not one transmission problem.
    The only problem I have been told is that my sister felt her 1986 Caravan with the little 4 cylinder engine was under powered. Zero problems in 170,000 miles and it is still being driven by the 3rd owner.

    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
  • carleton1carleton1 Posts: 560
    For the past 2 days, I have attended the big Auto Show and looked at a sample of almost every vehicle sold in the USA plus some new concept cars like the Chevrolet Avalanche, Chevy Nomad, Buick Cielo, Chrysler Chronos, 2002 Trailblazer, 2002 Envoy, 2002 Bravada.
    I looked more closely at the 2001 Odyssey EX, Grand Caravan Sport, Caravan Sport, Caravan SE, Voyager LX, Voyager Base, T&C LXi, and Sienna XLE and tried to make a very close comparison.
    Unfortunately, the batteries were disconnected which made it difficult to properly evaluate the driver's seating position for visibility and exact comfort level at the place I would position seat.
    The Odyssey offers most of the nice features I would have on a minivan at the best MSRP.
    Sienna appeared to be slightly more upscale in appearance and was considerably more expensive. Leather, power moonroof, etc. are not items on my desired feature list.
    Dodge and Chrysler had models from the under $20,000 Voyager with 4 cyl to a luxurious Grand Caravan Sport AWD and Town & Country LXi. True, the base Voyager lacks many features but would be a very good choice for someone who needs a minivan to seat 7, have 2 built in child seats, and have an MSRP of only $20,005. Add $375 for Cruise and tilt steering.
    The Odyssey appeared to have the most leg room. Very comfortable front and middle row. But, the magic seat hinges poke me in the back if I sit at either end of 3rd seat. All the Sienna seats were very comfortable...even the middle of 2 piece 3rd seat...but leg room was lacking in 2nd and 3rd rows. Chrysler and Dodge 50/50 3rd row seat was NOT comfortable in the middle due to hinges poking me in the back. They are not as comfortable in the driver's seat for me with place to rest left foot as were Odyssey and Sienna
    but other seats were equally comfortable to Ody and Sienna except Sienna 3rd row seat is more comfortable than Ody or DC minivans.
    The Dual or Triple Zone heating/AC of DC minivans is superior to the Ody and Sienna. Ody has heating in only front and very rear right. Sienna has front plus ducts under front seats. DC has heating in front, rear of front doors plus the rear right. All 3 had A/C in front and ceiling...but here again, DC A/C also comes out the rear of each front door and ONLY DC permits the driver and front passenger to have individually adjusted temperature of heat, vent, or A/C.
    I can see no reason to trade our 1999 GC SE in on any of the new minivans except to get a more powerful engine than my 3.3L with 158 HP and 203 lb-ft of torque.
    I felt that the 2002 Trailblazer showed the most improvement over its predecessor than any vehicle...but, the 2001 Blazer NEEDED more improvements than other vehicles. I liked the new RAV-4 and Sequoia but the Highlander was a disappointment. Insight is not practical like
    a 5 passenger Prius.
  • carleton1carleton1 Posts: 560
    as we drove to the funeral of my wife's uncle and it was 1 degree below zero (Fahrenheit) enroute. It was 18 degrees below zero Centigrade.
    With the powerful heater in front and the nice powerful rear heater with a separate fan, the van warmed up quickly when we left home where the temperature was a milder +10 F. The Odyssey with a separate front a rear heater unit would have heated the van just as nicely.
    The temperature rose from 9 F at the funeral site during the viewing and funeral to a more comfortable 15 F. It had warmed up to 30 F at home just 110 miles south of the town where the funeral was held. Living in a place where temperature can vary from well below zero F. in the winter to above 100 F. in the summer, the excellent heating and air conditioning of Grand Caravan, T&C, and Odyssey are greatly appreciated.
  • Dodge just announced a GC EX and is priced lower than the Odyssey EX. You might want to compare the standard feature offerings to the Odyssey. You can configure the new EX at www.4adodge.com. T&C also has an EX (www.chrysler.com). Good luck in your pruchase decision.
  • We love our 99 GC SE and just had the tires rotated at 23,620 miles. Rear tires had no measurable wear and front tires had about 70% of tread remaining. Van has had ZERO problems. GREAT
    purchase and am glad we got the GC SE.
  • Has many options I do not want such as Power liftgate and power sliding passenger-side door, 50/50 rear seats, removeable center console with power outlet.
    Now, why did it not include the Trip Computer? (that I have on my 99 GC SE). Why not offer the Trip Computer and 3.8L on the GC Sport?
    DC has made an attractive package with GC EX and T&C EX but have things I do not want while not having a nice item like the Trip Computer.
    On the other hand, the Odyssey LX has most of the things I like at a lower price (Although not the Trip computer...and also not the Triple Zone of DC minivans).
  • I have no doubt that the Honda is a fine machine, but I absolutely love my 99 Grand Caravan Sport. We bought it in May 99. It now has 26,0000 miles. I've followed the book for routine maintenance. It has run perfectly in every respect. It's handling, acceleration, braking etc., have met my every expectation.
  • dave210dave210 Posts: 238
    carleton1, I just went to the Dodge website and for just under $27,000 you do in fact get a trip computer plus all the other power amenities on the EX. So it does in fact come with a trip computer and temp readout for under $27,000. Also, I understand you're entitled to your opinion and all, but if the price was right, why wouldn't you go for a power seat, doors, and the removable console? If you don't like the console you can take it out, and it's another great place to put stuff. Although, I guess I'm a little biased since I've had a power seat on all my vans starting with my 1988 Grand Voyager and now power doors, back gate, memory mirrors/seats, etc., on my 2001 T&C LTD. Does this mean you have manual locks and windows, too on your 99 SE? Just wondering.
  • My 99 GC SE has overhead console with Trip Computer and Compass/Outside Temperature. The sheet I printed on 2001 GC EX from Dodge web site states the EX has only an Overhead console plus compass and temperature...The Trip computer is NOT listed...My Dodge 2001 brochure shows ONLY the EX has Trip Computer and GC Sport has compass and temperature. The EX does have the more desirable 3.8 L V6.
    MY 99 GC SE has speed actuated power door locks, power windows, Infinity 10 speaker 200 Watt stereo with cassette and CD player, Cast Aluminum wheels, lighting group, etc. The only option I can think of that I do not have that 99's SE's could have was the security and remote key fob. The 2000 GC SE did NOT have a Trip Computer as an option while my 99 Trip Computer/compass/outside temperature came with the Dual Zone/ Rear Heating Rear A/C option. I would have preferred the Sport option over the regular SE but the dealer did not have a GC Sport when I bought. My 99 GC SE had MSRP of $27,490 and after discount my price was $22,590. The 2001 EX is NOT eligible for incentives.
  • Our 99 GC SE with the 3.3L has also met or exceeded my expectations once I got used to some features that did not measure up to my 91 Astro CL with the 4.3L V6.
    I preferred the larger 4.3L with MUCH more torque, the more comfortable seats, the 27 gal fuel tank, the rear panel doors and the higher seating position of the Astro.
    Twenty-three months later, I like the GC better as the heating and air conditioning of GC is far superior to the Astro. The front passenger seat is much more comfortable in the GC. The GC has had zero problems whereas the Astro had that damnable digital dash instrumentation which started working intermittently (coolant temperature and oil pressure)a year or so after purchase. The trim on sliding door came loose and would not permit the door to be opened from the outside. (I think the door had been dented before I purchased the Astro as the "alleged" first owner and in the repair, the Chevy dealership was too damn cheap to also replace the cheap plastic items that held the trim to the door).
    The less powerful 3.3L in GC gets about 3 MPG better gas mileage on highway trips than did the Astro and about 1 MPG better mileage overall than did the Astro. Result: I prefer an engine larger than the 3.3L and wish we had bought a 99 GC Sport with 3.8L and the nicer quality seats than our SE.
    I think DC could design a more comfortable place for driver to rest left foot while driving than is the situation with the 96 and later DC minivans. Our daughter's 1988 Voyager had a better place to rest the driver's left foot and also had more comfortable front seats than does our 1999 GC SE.
  • Thanks a lot Dodge for the EX. Only you don't allow the trailer tow option that would make owning the 3.8L worth it. Since this is clearly an aim at the Odyssey (who has a better MSRP, and the dealers are getting it!), a strong 3.5L (similar specs to the Dodge 3.8) it falls a bit short! Add to this the lack of any incentives that you have on the other models, and it's a loser in my book. The marketing / pricing genius who thought this 'package' up must not have many DC stock options -- DC is sinking fast.

    It's back to looking at the ES... with the options needed to tow 3000lbs, you're pushing 30K while Honda is still around 26K. Hmm, let me think on this...

    My last three vehicles were Chrysler products, but the pricing of the 3.8L with trailer tow options has made me consider my first Japanese nameplate (though it's built in the same northern climes as the Caravan!). I sat with my local Dodge dealer last fall, and he couldn't offer any thing except consolation, as the hoards went down the block to the Honda dealer (to wait in line to pony up MSRP).

    Get with it folks!
  • The ES is by far the better buy. It rides better,looks better, is quietist of the two and has more features. With the tow package is has a Edmund's TMV of 28,167. With the $1,500. rebate it comes to $26,667. Throw in the 0.9 or 1.9% financing and one would be dumb to buy the Honda.
  • "The Honda rides better..."

    And Automobile Magazine says, in naming the Ody an All-Star and best minivan (February 2001): "The Odyssey distinguishes itself, simply enough, by being more comfortable, more reliable, and more fuss-free than the rest."

    And then there's resale. A five-year-old, little, four-cylinder, prior-generation Ody is now worth more in trade than a five-year-old Town & Country.

    Both are fine vehicles. You pays your money and takes your choice.
  • If the Ody rides anything like my 2000 Accord EX (same base frame) then Motor Trend is way off. The uncomfortable ride is very noticeable on a 2-3+ hour trip. I also drive a '99 DC LE AWD that has a very nice ride (drove it 12 hours straight last summer) that the Honda ride cannot compare to.
  • My neighbor the Chrysler dealer had a 1999 T&C and the ride was, quite simply,not very good--uncontrolled, lumpy, etc., IMHO. Attempting to compare the Ody with an Accord--at 1,000 pounds less, shorter wheelbase, etc.--is uninformed at best, misleading at worst.

    The 2001 DC minivans supposedly ride better, but according to Motor Trend--and others--are still not up to Ody standards.

    Both are fine minivans, but it certainly cannot be "dumb" to buy the first choice of Motor Trend, Car and Driver, Automobile, Edmunds, Consumer Reports, etc., etc.
  • Motor Week, a weekly TV show over 20 years old, stated today that the Diamler/Chrysler minivans are the vans to buy for 2001. Winners of the SUV category were the new Ford Escape/Mazda Tribute twins. Honda motor company only made the winners list with the luxury priced SUV Accura MDX. Diamler/Chrysler also won the mid-size sedan. Best of show was the little combo car/van from Diamler/Chrysler. Best of small sedans is the Nissan Sentra. Best luxury sedan is the Lincoln LS. BMW M-5 led the HOT sports sedan class. All in all a good show. :-)
  • hotspur,
    I guess you could say the ride is "very subjective" if you just happen to own a Honda Ody and you think it is a great vehicle. My comparison is also subjective. Honda makes a so-so car that isn't a great anything car. I consider it a beefed-up version of basic transportation. I don't need to compare weight etc of the Accord to the Ody, nor do I need a magazine article to tell me what is better. I happen to know that the way my 2000 Accord EX rides is "cheap" just like the Ody that I test drove. Also, now at 18,000 miles my automatic transmission is slipping, so I now have to question Honda's reliability factor. I would be trading it right now if wasn't for the fact that it is just a year old. Unfortunately, due to resale conditions, I will be driving this Honda for another 2 years.
  • Motor Trend was one of the few if only magazines that said the Odyssey rides better than the Chrysler mini vans including Consumer Reports. Most of the people who has actually driven both vans and have posted their opinions in town hall have preferred the ride of the Chrysler vans. Those of you who use AOL should check out Members Choice under Autos where owners rate their cars. The 2001 Chrysler vans get an overall satisfaction rating of 80% where the Odyssey EX gets a rating of only a 56%.
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