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Honda Odyssey vs Dodge/Chrysler minivans



  • There are more horror stories out there. There are stories of Audis with sticky accelerators, Hondas with bad transmissions, Fords with blown head gaskets, Toyotas with engine sludge. There are also a lot a success stories from all of those same manufacturers. It just amazes me that there are so many people who are willing to condemn a given manufacturer forever because they got a bad car. I'm not saying that I would immediately buy from the same manufacturer but I would continue to moniter their progress in the future. Your 2002 Oddyssey does have a tough act to follow but if it had been a '99 it may have been a repeat performance of your T&C.

    By the way, I currently own three vehicles by three different manufacturers. I drive what suits my needs, my tastes, and my wallet and I am not loyal to any brand. I also tend to be a little more forgiving of minor problems because I do most of my own work and can often turn a $200 repair into a $40 repair.

    P.S. Good job getting your clutch repaired in the future (12/23/2001). There is nothing like getting something done ahead of schedule:)
  • akin67akin67 Posts: 62
    Lets try to keep this board civilized. The whole value proposition of message boards are the collective wisdom resulting from all of its participants. If the participants go away the value of the board diminishes.

    Also agree with the notion that the same car manufacturer can produce very good quality cars and some bad ones. I think we have to be more forgiving especially if it is a new product from a new plant. I had a 1998 Volvo S70 and had tons of little problems with it and coulnt wait for the lease to expire. I learned then to stay away from first model year vehicles.

    I now have a 2000 Odyssey EX and have had no problems with it at all. Currently trading it in for a 2002 EXL-with NAV. The new vehicle should be coming in, in about another week (been waiting 2 1/2 months now). And the dealer is providing me $24,000 for the 2000 Ody so the amount I have to pay is minimal. The Odyssey really does retain its value. I could have gotten more by selling it direct but didn't want to deal with all of the hassle. And by trading in I also save on sales tax (only have to pay sales tax on the difference between the trade in value and new vehicle price).

    Hopefully the 2002 Odyssey will be as problem free.
  • Slip of the finger! Clutch replacement date on the Civic was 12/13/01. Thanks for pointing that out!!
  • enetheneth Posts: 285
    One major point being missed here is that it does appear the the 2000+ DaimlerChrysler minivans appear to be better-built and more reliable than those of previous model years.

    The Honda Odyssey appeard for 1999, and the Toyota Sienna, a year before that.


    I don't think so - competition improves the breed, and just as the arrival of the Camry and Accord forced the U.S. (and German, in the case of DaimlerChrysler) automakers to improve quality and reliability, the competition from Canada (and Alabama) and Kentucky forced D-C into addressing long-standing issues with its minivans.

    So even if you don't buy one, if you're in the market for a minivan, you benefit from the presence of the Odyssey and Sienna in the marketplace.
  • My folks bought a T/C only because they couldn't get a Honda. It is a '01 and they have driven alot... over 24000 miles this year. So far it has been trouble free, and they are happy about everything except the resale value (milage taken into consideration). I just picked up my Honda EXL-RES this week, and although it is light years ahead of my Olds '00 Premier as far as quality, I will have to take it back because it pulls to the right way to much...

    I do believe that the ride quality and fit/finish in the Oddysey is better than DC (and GM). If you live for bells and whistles, then you'd be dissapointed in the Honda line-up. The '00 Olds I traded had more equip than the EXL-RES Honda has for '02. I still like the Honda better though...
  • 4aodge4aodge Posts: 288
    Back when we had our 1998 Grand Caravan SE we took a trip to Hawaii and rented a 1999 Oldsmobile Shilouhete minivan and I was very dissapointed in the interior build quality of that car. I almost felt as though it was an embarrasment to GM to have a van with such poor interior quality. The dashboard was plasticly, the seat cloth was cheap, and the power sliding door was broken (granted, this was a rental car). I'm saying all of this while comparing the Oldsmobile to a rather lowly 1998 Grand Caravan SE with the base interior cloth and only several options.

    Thus, I can see how someone could say the Honda Odyssey is light years ahead of GM and it's fleet of minivans. While the Honda interior may look better put together and assembled, I think the Chrysler dash is much nicer to look at and doesn't look as dull and boaring. I think that also adds to the "sporty" feel when driving that many reviewers attribute to Chrysler's vans.

    Just some observations...
  • jodar96jodar96 Posts: 396
    OK. Here is my opinion. If I can get Chrysler to give me FREE 10 years/100K bumper to bumper warranty, I will choose Chrysler; otherwise I choose Honda. I will even ignore Chrysler's poor to no resale value. Our van at $25K new, is not worth more than $9K ( I will be lucky if I even get that)

    we do have a 97 Grand Caravan LE that we bought new. it has 89K miles on it. Its lay out, function, its operation of sliding doors, and solid feel of its door shutting is unmatched.
    BUT(and it is a big but)Chrysler reliability is not there.
  • enetheneth Posts: 285

    There's a world of difference between the 97-2000 vans and the 2001+ models from DaimlerChrysler - the assembly quality and materials have improved considerably. The same can be said for the newer LH and JA cars as well - so there may be some hope that Daimler brought some substance to go with the flash and dazzle that Chrysler had been known for in the prior decade.

    Now, with it appearing that the large vans from Dodge will be replaced with Freightliner-badged Mercedes vans sold through Dodge dealers, it would appear the integration of the companies is going even further - one has to wonder whether, with most of its own platforms (Neon/JA, LH) about to disapper in the next few years, how Chrysler Group will design its next generation minivans - will they be Mitsubishi or Mercedes platforms?
  • dmathews3dmathews3 Posts: 1,739
    Why don't you check out the dash in this DC van. I'll bet it isn't prettier than Hondas.

    What is your response to this story.

  • 4aodge4aodge Posts: 288
    I hope you won't ask DTKWOK to drop a bomb on my house after you read my message. That would be very similar to what happened to the lady in her 1999 Town & Country when it errupted into flames. I honestly can say that burning up in your own car has to be one of the worst ways to leave this world.

    I can also say I'm glad Chrysler is finally going to get themselves together and recall the affected minivans. Although I am troubled as to why it has taken them so long to get all of the replacement fuel parts for these vans. I remember reading something a few months ago that said 2000 model year vans built after a certain date were not effected, and my 2000 Town & Country is one of those vans. Thank god.

    No one here ever said Chrysler made the safest cars on the road. So I think I'll brace myself for what the Odyssey fans here will say. No, I do not believe that all Chrysler vans are time-bombs waiting to explode and no one should buy them as a result. The article states that the 2002 models are not effected (and I am asumming 2001 models as well, since my 2000 model is not effected by this).

    But nevertheless, the 25 inccidents where fires have been reported isn't good. I'm just glad Chrysler says it is finally going to recall the effected vehicles. I just hope they don't flake out, again...

  • 4aodge4aodge Posts: 288
    As for wheather or not the dash in the picture of the 1999 Town & Country that burned up is "prettier" than the dash found in the Honda Odyssey, I don't really know. Thats a tough one...

  • enetheneth Posts: 285
    The sad part about the minivans is that DaimlerChrysler already recalled almost a million first-generation LH cars to fix a similar problem. I know of at least one person who had an Intrepid catch fire because of a fuel-rail leak - fortunately, no one got hurt (though the car was a total loss).
  • dkrabdkrab Posts: 77
    This isn't a new problem that started with the '96 model year. The leak on my '91 Grand Voyager fuel rail was EXACTLY as shown in the illustration in the article. At the time (Feb of 99), Chrysler had already recalled the LH cars for this problem, so I called them about getting mine fixed on their dime. I had 87K miles on it. They flatly refused. I had an independent shop fix it to the tune of $890.

    Now I see they STILL had the SAME problem at least up into the 2000 model year. That is NINE YEARS! What in the world does it take to get this company to fix defects! Transmissions bad starting in '89 all the way up to '98 at least; fuel rail leaks for nine years; paint peeling on '89 thru '96 at least; rear tailgate strut mounts breaking off and allowing the heavy tailgate to fall; tailgate latches that could not take a hit and stay latched. And these are just the things I see as I look through all my repair reciepts. Other items that happened to my van: piston rings siezed to pistons, causing huge oil consumption and requiring overhaul at 58k; starter failed around 80K; water pump failed at 58K; A/C compressor went at 98K (that one cost me $1200). There's more, of course, but it would be a boring read. I can't believe, now that I have reviewed my van's repair history, that I really seriously considered buying another DC van. Man, they drive good and look good. In my opinion, though, it's a siren's song.

    Anybody else with Fuel Rail leaks on any year 3.3L or 3.8L DC van? Let us know if DC paid for the repair or not. I think this thing is much bigger than it might first appear.
  • dmathews3dmathews3 Posts: 1,739
    I guess the answer to which van is the best is both are nice vans but the problem is they both have had problems in the past and only one seems to fix the problems. Thats Honda. DC has had trans problems for over 10 years before they sound like they finally fixed the problem. Fuel fires for just about as long, and the 01 still had a fuel leak. Is it now fixed. Only time will tell. DC had a tailgate problem that took what about 4 years before they started fixing them on recall and big pressure from Uncle Sam. I'm not saying Honda don't have problems, but their track record on repairs is 100% better than DC's. You can have the pretty dash, I'll take the quality.
  • akin67akin67 Posts: 62

    And regarding 4adodge's comments as to the burned up T&C's dash beingpretier than the Odyssey, I think it is a clear demonstration of his complete bias towards the T&C van. Those reading his posts should take his opinions with that knowledge.
  • I agree that DC has been way too reluctant to take care of some of its quality issues. I am glad that they have some pressure from competition to motivate them to improve. I hope that their new leadership will have a better understanding of the importance of customer satisfaction even when it is on small items.

    dkrab - Sorry to hear of all of the problems with your '91. If it is any consolation the starter on my '92 Toyota Tercel also failed at 80K.

    gglen1 - I figured it was a typo. I was just giving you a hard time.
  • enetheneth Posts: 285
    Quality issues are one thing; safety is another (more important) issue. You can argue over whether one van is likely to be more reliable than another from either side and probably be correct - there will always be sample variations that skew one way or another.

    Safety is one place where DaimlerChrysler/Chrysler vans have fallen demonstrably short, whether that's the faulty tailgate latches that went on for years, the faulty antilock brakes Chrysler fought (and lost) over recalling, or the fire-prone engine fuel systems that it's taken so long to sort out.

    It seems pretty clear that a lot of those record profits recorded over the years came not only from cut-rate engineering in the transmissions, but from neglected safety engineering as well - and as usual, it's not going to be cheap to fix after the fact.

    I wonder just how much of these problems surfaced in Daimler-Benz's due diligence before the merger - and presuming many did not, how news of them might have affected the enthusiasm for the takeover?
  • Well we know both of you own Hondas so you could not at all be biased! Lets get some facts straight. DC reinvented the minivan (VW actually was first) It was built as a TRUCK and is still classified as a TRUCK! Remember all the panel versions running around. The rear hatch latches were built to the government standards that existed at the time they were built. They sold millions of them before the hatch issue came up. I could be wrong but I seem to remember that the last lawsuit for a hatch opening was thrown out because the passenger was not wearing a seat belt. DC was NOT obligated to fix the hatches but did it on a voluntary recall, which cost big bucks. Honda benefited from all the development work DC did and even used the outline of a 96 Grand Caravan in their 99 ads. You have to credit Honda they wait until the see a market opportunity and try to copy (and improve) the best selling US entry. The Acura SUV is another good example of this strategy. Not a bad one I admit, but hardly a pioneering one. As far as fires go you guys never responded to the Honda Odyssey fire article, but are quick to post any negative DC articles. You might not remember but when Honda first introduced the Accord, they had the magic dissapearing front fenders (RUST) that took a few years to admit to. Oh and in regard to the last comparasion. It is the combined opionion of 2 (TWO) newspaper writers, who still preferred the ride and handling of the DC minivan. You should buy what turns you on, as you are the one making the payments.
  • dmathews3dmathews3 Posts: 1,739
    So they reinvented the minivan. Does that give them the right to build unsafe vehicles? Honda and their rusty fenders, how about all the original reinvented DC vans with the rusted out rear liftgates. Maybe you don't live where it snows but here in Michigan there are tons of the rusted out vans on the street. Rust is one thing, but fire is another. As far as the fire in the Honda goes, that was just ONE van, hardly the thousands that DC puts on the street year in and year out. If the late made 01's and 02's prove to be a quality built van 5 years down the road, it will be a first. Maybe they can get an OsCar (pun intended) or something for a first.
  • According to you the DC designers sit up nights thinking up ways to make the minivans unsafe. GET REAL!
This discussion has been closed.