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Honda Odyssey vs Dodge/Chrysler minivans



  • Why don't some people trust Sienna or Oddysee owners who report problems here in the Town Hall?
    I was thinking of trading our GC in on a Sienna until I read all the Sienna problems being reported by Sienna owners here in the Town Hall. The Sienna has the most comfortable seating for my wife and I but unfortunately the Sienna does not have separately controlled temperature for driver and front passenger. Nor does the Sienna have a separate heater at rear or the space of either the Oddysee or DC minivans.
    The Sienna is a very nice minivan but it is NOT as problem free as Camry, Corolla, etc. have been (If we can trust Sienna owners).
  • enetheneth Posts: 285
    It's not a matter of trust or distrust - these are just anecdotal stories, which may or may not reflect the buying public at large - certainly the numbers are too small to make any sort of statistical prediction from them.

    May be the Sienna isn't as trouble free as the Camry - but it's far and away the most reliable minivan on the road in North America today. Single experiences may vary - but everything I've ever seen about the Sienna says no one does reliable minivans better than Toyota.
  • Owners of vehicles who post data about their own vehicle here in the Town Hall are probably more factual than the unsubstantiated, anonymous surveys compiled by CR.
    I have reported that our formerly zero defect 1999 GC SE had zero problems. When a coolant leak occurred at 35,002 miles, that information was reported. The head gaskets were replaced at no cost to me by the Dodge dealer under factory warranty.
    I have no reason to question the integrity of people who own Oddysey or Sienna in reporting facts about their minivans.
  • A few months ago, I posted some messages re: my experience replacing the howling roof rack on my T&C Ltd. Here's a quick recap.

    I went to Fullerton Chrysler (Southern California) after they told me to bring the car in. Once I got there, the first thing the Asst. Mgr. Of Service asked me is if I know the difference between a recall and a TSB (technical service bulletin). Basically, his point was that I have to pay for a TSB. I told him, not if the car is under warranty. He then said, "What year is your car?" He should know the answer, the model just came out (2001 model). He then asked, "Is it still under warranty? How many miles is your car?" How many people drives 36,000 miles in less than a year? The rest of the conversation does not matter. I knew then and there I do not want them touching my car.

    I then went to Huntington Beach Chrysler. Upon arrival, the first thing I was asked is if I have an appointment. I told them, No, when I called Chrysler Corporation, I was just told to bring the car down. (This is a lie, I did not call Chrysler Corp. I just read from these postings and by calling other dealers that I was to bring the car down). Nonetheless, his answer surprised me. He said, "We do not work for Chrysler Corporation. Chrysler Corporation does not pay us. We are an independently owned dealer." When he saw the look on my face, he retorted, You don't want to pay for this, do you? . Basically, he is upset that I do not have an appointment. Point taken, but on the other hand, I was not asking him to fix the car right then and there.

    A few exchanges later (and I want to point out, I still kept my cool because I just want them to change the roof rack) he calmed down, took the part number down and told me he would call me when the part came in. When it did, the work was performed and I was off on my way.

    When the survey came, I told Chrysler Corporation the work was performed as expected, but that I was surprised at how rude the Service Manager was and how I felt my business was not appreciated. I was happy with the work, but I was not happy with the way I was initially treated. I did write that after the initial unpleasantries, I was treated as expected.

    A few days ago, my ABS warning light went on. I called this same dealer to make an appointment (they were closest to my work) and was assigned to the same service manager. I did not want to deal with him again, but I had no choice. He said he can't see me until next Tuesday. I made the appointment anyway. I then called a different dealer and they were able to see me the next morning. I brought the car in and got better than expected service. The problem (rear wheel sensor) was fixed right away.

    A few hours later, the same Service Manager @ Huntington Beach Chrysler called me and said, :Don't bring your car in. We don't want you to bring your car in. Your comments on the Chrysler Corporation Survey cost me $300. What kind of response did you think you were going to get?" I was taken by surprise, I just said, "Okay" and hung up. I couldn't believe it. Do I have to go through this verbal abuse every time I want to have them fix my car?

    So I called their General Manager and told him what happened. His response was, "If you were not happy with us the first time, why would you want to come back?" Wow! This is new for me. I have never heard of a dealer refusing service to someone for writing a negative survey. After all, aren't surveys designed to find out why customers aren't happy? Apparently this dealer did not believe or want second chances.

    So, I called Chrysler Corporation again and reported what happened. Even though the person on the other end eagerly took down the report (he couldn't believe it either). I expect nothing to come out of this (and by the way things are going, I HOPE nothing comes out of this).

    I am not asking anyone to boycott the dealership. They seem to do good work and I am sure most people have no problems with them. I am still convinced I just caught this particular Service Manager at a bad time. I was thankful this happened. I now know for sure where not to take my car. And BOY, do I have a story to tell =)

    Does anyone know anyone else who has been blacklisted from a dealership? For writing a bad survey?

    Last but not least, I know none of you read my actual survey, but do you think I am fair in my survey, saying that I am happy with the work done but not the way I was initially treated?

    I know the dealer is upset because of the bad remark, but, do you think they are justified in asking me not to bring my car to them? (even though I no longer want to?)
  • 4aodge4aodge Posts: 288
    Odyssey owners can't seem to understand the difference in the ratio of minivans that Honda and DC produce and how it reflects the price, demand and resale values of these vehicles. Don't u think that if DC only made however many minivans Honda makes per year, they would also be in just as high demand as the Odyssey is now? Of course! DC minivans looks better, drive better, handle better, have more features, and are more fun to drive than any Odyssey is. Just look at the comparison test between the two vans at The Chrysler beat the Honda in almost every criteria of the competition. Face it, not everyone wants a boxy exterior, bland interior, a fold away third row seat, and transmission problems.

    My "base" 2000 Town & Country LX has many features that a 2000 Odyssey LX wouldn't have even though the two cars are very similar in terms of pricing. Such features include a trip computer w/ multiple functions, dual zone climate control, 10 speaker infinity sound system w/cd player and casset, cargo basket, grochery bag hooks, 16 inch chrome wheels, hidden door tracks, standard roof rack, and an attractive exterior. Just look at the Chrysler or Dodge website and see for yourself the numerous features that Chrysler offeres on it's vans that Honda doesnt. These features are just some of the features that keeps many people comming back for more.
  • I got a close look at a friend's Oddy after spending eight months with my T&C Ltd. I agree with 4aodge's comment -- that the Oddy's interior looks plain -- but I envy his navigation system.

    I seemed to have solve the foldaway seat issue (I now have three german shepherds). I moved the bench seat to the second row and took out the two captain chairs. These captain chairs are a lot easier to manuever -- I can take them out on my own. I've only managed to take out the bench on my own (I'm a little guy) once. Most of the time, I don't need to seat 7, but I take my dogs with me often.

    Would I buy another Chrysler/Dodge -- well, see my posting #584 above. I opted for the T&C because it looks better, more features, seemed to give better value compared to a fully loaded Oddy. Most of all, I didn't want to beg a Honda sales person to sell me one. Do I regret it? Kinda. Obviously I only have to deal with the salesperson once -- during the transaction. But service, I've dealt with a few times, three bad experiences and two good ones.

    I fully expect to get an Oddy once I am done with this van.
  • enetheneth Posts: 285

    Anecdotes are single user comments. There is no way to statistically project their validity onto the population at large. Anyone familiar with statistics will tell you that small sample sizes are statistically unreliable, and that reliability increases with sample size. That's why anecdotal stories are useless as bases for buying decisions - though you may be affected by the experiences you have, or that your family and friends have - I know I am, and that since we were victims of two unreliable Chrysler vehicles, we'll not buy again from that company - there are simply too many other options out there with better track records. Maybe if enough people report that things have changed with Chrysler now that it's no longer an independent automaker, that opinion might change - but in my exteded family, we've gone from almost 100% Chrysler 10-15 years ago to 0% now because of all the bad experiences.


    Not everyone values features over engineering. Those who are safety-minded will prefer the Odyssey for its superior safety standing in the crash tests. Many will choose it for its superior engine, others will do so for its superior resale value - and a significant base of people will choose it because of positive past experiences with Honda automobiles - just as many won't consider a DaimlerChrysler van because of poor past experiences with its products.

    There's something out there for everyone - and remember that Honda is selling every Odyssey it can build, without resorting to no-interest financing. DaimlerChrysler is struggling to sell with no-interest financing and with pumped-up (temporarily) warranties - so Honda is clearly doing something right, and DaimlerChrysler is clearly having to make up for its past mistakes.

    I suspect, based on Mercedes recent push into minivans, that this generation will be the last Chrysler-designed minivans - and that the next generation will be Mercedes-designed, but we'll see how well that works out.
  • dmathews3dmathews3 Posts: 1,739
    If Dc minivans are so damm good why did DC come out with a EX version to complete against Honda instead of Honda coming out with a Town & Country? Maybe it's because DC knows a good van when they see it. I think the Odyssey looks a hell of a lot better than the Dc vans. If I wanted something streamlined I would have bought a vette but I wanted something with room. Also I wouldn't throw stones yet on the tranny until a couple years down the road as you can't be sure yet the DC vans have an improved tranny. Also The Odyssey doesn't have a bland interior anymore with the leather and heated seats should be 6 star rating on crash tests if there was such a rating now that they added side air bags. Also theat ratio crap on vans doesn't get it as the Accord has a better resale value than the comparable DC product even though they sell at least twice as many. So it all boils down to you buy what you like even though you don't have good taste.
  • Make an appointment with your eye doctor tomorrow - there's something wrong with your peepers.

    And how do heated seats make the Odyssey's interior less plain?
  • dmathews3dmathews3 Posts: 1,739
    Maybe you are the one who need your peepers checked. Is there something about leather you didn't understand.
    Of course someone who drives a firetrap can't be on the ball anyway.
  • dave210dave210 Posts: 237
    Some people here are acting like 5 year-olds...and over what? Minivans! And I'm not talking about just the pro-Odyssey people. Let's try to keep the bickering above the 4th grade level, thank you.
  • 4aodge4aodge Posts: 288
    Years from now when it is unquestioned that Chrysler has rocksolid transmissions in their minivans and all of their other cars, Odyssey owners will still be saying they can't trust the transmission and can't be sure it has been improved. They will say this despite all of the problems Odyssey owners are having now with their minivans which is totally unexpected of a car company such as Honda.

    Why did DCX start producing their "EX" minivan models to better compete with the Honda Odyssey? Because Chrysler is the one defending the title of the sales champion, not Honda. Some Odyssey owners here with think skulls just can't seem to get that if Honda built as many minivans as DC they too would have to offer incentives to move their vehicles as fast as they would like to.
  • DTKWOKDTKWOK Posts: 131
    Wow 4aodge, I'm taking you Vegas if you can predict the future! First how do you know one way or the other that all of Chrysler's trannies will be bulletproof? (not saying one way or the other).
    Second, how do you know what the status of the future Odyssey models will be in the future?

    As for the new EX models, I believe dmathews3 was asking, with all the available configurations that DC already had, shouldn't there already be one trim level that's ready to "defend" against the Odyssey?

    Regarding the incentives and stuff, yes, maybe that would be true if production actually caught up to demand. It would be interesting if that actually happened, to see which models consumers would prefer. But again, as they say "talk is cheap", we can be talking about "if's" for as long as we want - "if" I only chose those last 6 numbers for the lottery I would.... You get the idea.

    The talk about safety always ends up with the argument that defensive driving is the best safety tool. I agree with this, to an extent. If all accidents can be avoided by your actions alone, then you would never get into one since you can drive defensively right? Probably not! Ever get rear-ended at a stop light or sandwiched for that matter? Would defensive driving have gotten you out of those???? There's also the idea of "deliberate crash into fixed barriers" and how they reflect real world data. Well, if any of you have any better ideas on predicting crash results, by all means file for a patent and do humanity some good. Crash ratings are a comparison tool and not an absoulte truth. The non-deformable barrier can represent the guard rails, center median barriers, that Ford Excursion, UPS truck, MACK truck, etc...

    As for handling, how 'much better are you folks claiming the DC van has over the Odyssey, just curious? Any good numbers? I can claim for example that car A "feels like" it stops better than car B, but the real determinator would be the actual stopping distance and not the "feel from your pants judgement", professional driver or not.
  • dkrabdkrab Posts: 77
    I will soon be driving a brand new minivan. I was trying to decide between the DaimlerChrylser products and the Honda Odyssey. I believe I made an informed decision based on the following:

    Price of Vehicle: If you take the two vans (Chrysler Town and Country eL and Oddy LX) and equip them equally, the Chrysler's street price will be about $800 less in my market (Honda is currently selling here at $500 below MSRP). I could get the Chrysler even cheaper, but I would have to sacrifice the middle-row bucket seats. Had to add extra in for the Chrysler to get side airbags to equal the Honda.

    Extended Warranty Price: HondaCare 7/100 zero deductible street price is about $900. DC corporation equivalent extended warranty street price is about $1500. An option here would be to just go with the promotional 7/100 powertrain warranty, but that would not make for an even comparison. Plus, the DC promo warranty has a deductible. If I get the equivalent warranty, the price of the DC van is about $400 less than the Honda if I buy the vehicle and warranty together.

    Luxury: I consider reliability to be the ultimate luxury. Padded armrests and triple-sone climate control systems mean absolutely nothing to me at all. I'm buying transportation, not a house.

    Versatilily: Honda third row seat folds into the floor. Honda middle row can be configured as either a bench or bucket seats. Chrysler third row is available as a split bench, meaning I could take out only half and still have room for 5 people and long luggage. So, both have their advantages, what matters is how it fits the way you would use it.

    Reliability: In spite of all the postings here, this is NOT a subjective measure. Honda has better reliability overall, no question about it. But, Chrysler appears to be improving, and Honda had a bad year in the '99 Oddy. Need to consider other factors such as overall reliability across the product line, and time it takes the company to correct problems when they do occur. Also, how good is the dealership when a problem does come up? It looks like Honda's troubles in 99 were very un-Honda like, while Chrysler's apparent improvements are very un-Chrysler like. It seems Chrysler takes the better part of a decade to fix their transmission problems. Honda fixes problems much faster, otherwise they would never have a good reputation.

    Ride/Drive/Handling: Chryslers are a bit quieter, but not by much. They seem solid and tight. Honda's make a bit more noise over the road, but overall it's a draw.

    Resale Value: Even considering the Chrysler sells for much less than MSRP, the Honda still retains a greater percentage of it's original purchase price. Part of the reason for this is the fact that some people will pay extra to get a van today, so a used Oddy has that advantage over a brand new one. I do not know how increasing supply of Oddys will affect this. So, I have to consider the resale value of the company's products overall. Historically, Honda's have better resale value. Even when the product, such as the Accord, is easy to get. Actual cost of ownership of the Honda should be less, if history is any indicator.

    Safety: Honda Ody fairs better in controlled, repeatable tests such as the governments and IIHS. These are the only tests that are repeatable, and that do not factor in differences in drivers, and are therefore the much more reliable figures. Insurance information for deaths per number of miles driven is very inconsistent, as proven by the very different numbers they provide for identical vehicles with different nameplates, such as the Nissan Quest and Mercury Villager. Their data is very nearly useless. Honda has standard side airbags, DC cost extra.

    Availability: Chryslers are available for immediate delivery. Honda, you wait. Weeks. Maybe months. If you had to have a car tomorrow, you would have no choice. But if you plan ahead and can afford to wait for something you will likely keep 5 years or much longer, it's not a big issue.

    I should be getting my new, silver Honda Odyssey LX before Christmas. If I have a bad experience with it, I'll post it.
  • However, I do not lurk in Volkswagen and Volvo forums to trash those pieces of junk. In time you too will lose your hostility toward DC as I have moved on from my anger and hostility toward German and Swedish Junk and slimy, slithering, crooked dealerships selling those 2 loathsome brands.
    Life is really more pleasant once a person no longer has a grudge.
  • dkrabdkrab Posts: 77
    Carlton, that was meant to be funny, I hope!
  • akin67akin67 Posts: 62
    4aodge are you a politician? You certainly should be. I don't know another person on this board that can spin the truth as you do. You indicate that the Chrysler Vans rate higher than the Odyssey in every category? What a load of ______.

    For those who are unaware, Edmunds did a comparison test of the leading minivans. And as with every other authority in the field the ranked the Odyssey number one by a wide margin. To find out the truth just go to the Edmunds comparsions. I provide the link below:

  • pat84pat84 Posts: 817
    LOL at your post #595 above. I had no idea you had such a great sense of humor.
  • A true random sampling of ownership and repair statistics is needed to evaluate the reliability of a product. Too many other factors are involved in how many negative posts might appear on a particular internet site.

    Demographically, owners of one brand might be more likely to be internet users or visitors to a particular site. Frequent use of internet auto sites might tend to be correlated with ownership of one brand, especially if reviews on a site tend to present the brand in a favorable light.

    Expectations of users plays a role in how they will react to problems with a product. Perhaps those who paid more than sticker for a reputation of quality will expect perfection and thus complain more loudly and more frequently?

    There is no guarantee that repeat posts by relatively few users won't skew the numbers.
  • enetheneth Posts: 285

    I hold no grudge againt DaimlerChrysler - it is true that I would not buy one of its vehicles again, but that's largely because there are better alternatives for me, and there are too many other choices out there for me to gamble $25,000+ that Daimler has brought quality to the company that Chrysler never could.

    However, it's also true that potential buyers should see the other side of DaimlerChrysler's past - there are those who would have you believe that their vans are world-class in quality and engineering - and they're far from that, or at least until very recently have been far from that.

    Take a look at New Jersey's published stats on lemon law buybacks and you'll see exactly what I mean - I've posted the link before, and if there's any better indication of the company's past track record, it's that its percentage of lemon-law buybacks is higher than any automaker save Hyundai and Kia - and I can tell you from having had to deal with the "old" Chrysler Corporation, that it's not simply customer goodwill that led to those buybacks.

    Yes, you can get a lemon with any brand. Until this generation of minivans, your chances of getting a lemon with a DaimlerChrysler minivan were higher than with any other on the road - and though it may have less meaning now that Daimler is running the show, it is certainly still relevant to anyone considering a used model - the DaimlerChrysler vans were troublesome right through the 2000 model year production (particularly in the powertrain; halfway through 2000, the design was changed - yet again). There are plenty of relatively late-model Chrysler time bombs out there, just waiting for a hapless purchaser to fall victim to.
This discussion has been closed.