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Honda Odyssey vs Dodge/Chrysler minivans

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  • dave210dave210 Posts: 237
    While I do think the PT deserved it for its outright "look at me" appeal and it's great initial quality, Motor Trend kinda lost their credibility with me after rating the Chevy Vega MT Car of the Year two times in a row, only to have it rust out after two years and have the infamous backfire that almost killed my back seat passenger (a dog) when the whole rear caught on fire.

    Oh and for this years SUV winner...the GMC Envoy? Yeah ok.....

    Sorry, just a *little* bitter at GM, so I actually DO understand why some people dislike the Chrysler vans who HAVE OWNED troubled Chryslers. I owned a VERY troubled GM product that they never stood behind until law suit after law suit.

    While the transmissions may not be great (don't know, never had problems), that cannot compare to the near death experiencing I had with GM....but since I'm already off-topic, I'll save that for another day. :-)
  • 4aodge4aodge Posts: 288
    Dave, I can totally understand why you have lost credit in Motor Trend and it's "Car of the Year" award. While I still have more faith in their ability to judge what's best, I too am a little confused as to why they chose the Chevy Trailblazer as the SUV of the year. I haven't driven one, but I have sat in a Trailblazer that was on display at a local mall. It was ok. But good enough to label it the car of the year?

    I don't know about that.

    Also, one more interesting thing about Motor Trend. The Chrysler minivans have been the ONLY ones ever made to win Motor Trend's car of the year award. That was back in 1996 when they were first remodeled. I wasn't into cars back then but the 1996 Chrysler minivans must have really blown past the competition in that year. I don't know of any other minivan on the market then that could even compare to the Chrysler vans.

    But of course, those days are gone. And as someone here pointed out, the increased competition in todays market will only make the products better and cheaper. Which, of course, is good for the consumer!

    -Adam
  • akin67akin67 Posts: 62
    Especially since Car & Driver (industry leader) Motor Trend, Road & Track and Automobile Magazine all have rated the Odyssey the best minivan in the market in their most current minivan reviews. And those reviews were for the 2001 model year where the DC vans had just made siginificant improvements and yet the Odyssey had almost no majopr changes from the 2000 model year.

    Can't wait until they review the 2002 vans. The Odyssey has addressed most of its previous shortcomings. Much quiter, much smoother ride, amazing performance and a great deal more refined than ever especially with the new leather interior. The already stellar safety in this vehicle has gotten even better with the introduction of side airbags, child safety seat latches and rear disc brakes.
  • Has anyone checked out the new Sedona?
    If cost was no concern, I'd probably go with the Honda, but. If one wants to save about $8,000, one may take a look at the Kia.
    The interesting thing with the Kia is it weighs like 4,700lbs. That's like 500lbs more that the Odessey and something like 700lbs heavier than the Dodge. With all the supersized SUVs on the road, every pound counts. Even though the Honda does decent in the crash test, it still tends to be a little light which may put it in a safety disadvantage.
    Another problem I see with the Odessey is the price. With the lack of availability, and inflated pricing, one could almost drive away with something about 10 notches higher like a Yukon. I hear people are waiting in line to buy these odesseys at over $30,000. Is something wrong with this picture?
  • On all the minivans. We currently own a '95 Safari. It seat 8, has ample room behind the rear seat and has a dismal crash rating. Then you have the mini's, The Sedona, Odessey and DC? seem to have a major seat issue. You either have a 7 seater around town or a 4 seater on vacations. The older DC's I know had flexible seating . rear into middle position. Does the Odessey or the new Caravans do this? I know the Sedona doesn't. To meet the needs of a typical family of 5 that goes camping and on other outings, they don't cut it.
    If the Kia wouldn't have made the major seating mistake like Honda did, I'd be driving one.
    As for the ABS thing, I not sure if this is a real good thing. If you ever hit gravel, ADS cars are almost impossible to stop. The rolling wheels keep going over new gravel. The Sedona without the ABS with all it's weight can likely put it's feet down in adverse conditions. Besides safety, this is another advantage of the heavyweight Sedonda.
    For now, I think I'll stick with the Safari until some larger minivans emerge.
  • tomtomtomtomtomtom Posts: 491
    Those auto magazine writers are normal human beings just like you and me. When they compare cars they do put in their personal feelings. If they like particular car/brand they would find nice things to say about it. In a recent C&R comparison between family sedans, Honda Accord ranked first, the writers wrote, "...The big black dials in the cluster are elegant in their purity. No other maker has the confidence to present machinery so simply...Interior feels a bit snug around the passengers' elbows compared with the others here..." If the two things mentioned about found in other cars, the writer would probably write, "...the big black dials in the cluster are oversized and boring and it shouldn't be in a $20K plus car...Interior feels a bit snug around the passengers' elbows compared with the others and this is bad news if you are buying a 4 door sedan to carry people."

    I am not trying to badmouth Hondas, the Accord and other Hondas are fine cars. I just want to point out that buyers should not purchase ANYTHING based on what they read...
  • carleton1carleton1 Posts: 560
    We did NOT even look at the Sienna in early 1999 as Motor Trend had written that the Sienna is very nice but too expensive and too small.
    Although the Sienna is smaller and more expensive than comparably equipped Odyssey and DC minivans, the Sienna size is actually better for some people's needs.
    Read car magazines and also the magazine that test everything from toothbrushes to condoms to get ideas on features to consider. Compare, sit inside, AND drive all the ones you are considering. Each minivan has distinct advantages.
  • tomtomtomtomtomtom Posts: 491
    Sorry, C & R should be C & D (Car and Driver)
  • And probably the last time, but I came back and browsed and had to leave a couple of parting thoughts...

    Carleton1 - Your Chrylser product blew the head gaskets before 36K and you recommend it? Yes, I know you got it replaced free, but what if it had happened a month later and you only had 3/36? Lots of DC owners are in that predicament. Also, you post inflamatory remarks about Honda and about Consumer Reports and then ignore responses that factually refute what you state. you use anectdotal information to back up your claims and then refute or ignore anectdotal information from others. FWIW, here is some more... I recommended the Caravan to my older sister a few years ago. I can only hope to live long enough for her to forget that. It's her easy comeback in any discusion now - "Yeah, and you were sure about the Caravan, too.". My next door neighbor had one. When it was totalled, they got an Ody. My neighbor said "I felt guilty, because within a month of buying the van I hoped it would get totalled. Fortunately, noone was hurt." These are just antecdotes, so the 100% anti DC bias should be taken withe a grain of salt. Many people have had good luck with them and several lived through it.

    4aDodge - Why are you out here engaging in virtual arguments with a buncha old farts when you should be interested in fast cars and girls at your age? Not my daughters, though! Seriously, you need a bit more experience behind the wheel and behind the payment to be taken seriously here.

    Bye bye (this time I mean it)...

    Andy
  • carleton1carleton1 Posts: 560
    You write you once more entered the fray. Why then, do all of the listings for what you have written in the Town Hall appear in this forum to trash DC?
    Why do you exaggerate and say my GC blew head gaskets when I wrote that it had a coolant leak and the dealer replaced the head gaskets the next day under warranty?
    Why do you not trust current Odyssey owners who are writing about problems with current Honda Odysseys in the Town Hall....yet you believe "Not Recommended for Purchase" CR as if it were the Bible or Quran?
  • 4aodge4aodge Posts: 288
    I am speechless. I can't believe an adult would write in the manner in which arbarnhart has. I think it's sad that some people here resort to personal attacks just because they don't agree with someone elses choices on MINIVANS, among all things.

    I am 16 years old. I've been participating in these message boards for almost 2 years now and I think I have made some pretty damn interesting points over the years, especially for a teenager who doesnt have enough experience to be taken seriously here.

    I am very dissapointed in the behavior that has been exhibited by arbarhart. I would think, and hope, that over the last two years I have earned more here at Troll Hall than to just be disregarded as an inexperienced teenager by some adult who can't except a difference in opinion.

    And yes, I have a life outside of Edmunds.com. I like girls and I like fast cars, I just value the room, utility, and economy of the minivan. These cars get much better gas mileage than SUVs and you can fit more people into them, at least most of the time.

    As for your daughters, arbarhart, if they are anything like you than I would never want to have anything to do with them, and I don't know who else would!

    -Adam
    (16/M/CA)
  • dkrabdkrab Posts: 77
    The idea that a heavier vehicle will stop shorter because it bites into the pavement/gravel/dirt better is a popular myth. But a quick check with logic argues that a heavier object has more stored energy in the form of inertia, and will therefore require more energy be dispersed to stop it. In general, heavier cars take longer to stop.

    Think of it this way, if a freight train and a motorcycle are both going 50 mph, and they both slam on the brakes at the same time, which will come to a full stop first? To make it more relevant, how about a motorcycle and a Cadillac? Some of this is a function of surface area at the tires, but the cycle has less. If two cars ride on the same tires, the lighter car has the advantage. Simple high school physics.

    Carleton, a coolant leak that requires a new head gasket is, indeed, a blown head gasket. Sorry.
  • 4aodge4aodge Posts: 288
    From what I have heard and read, the 3.3L Chrysler V6 is a very reliable engine and has been used since the early days of the Chrysler minivans in the 1980s. I also say this from personal experience. Our 1998 Dodge Grand Caravan SE with the 3.3L V6 went 70k miles without any problems as has our current ride, a 2000 Town & Country with the 3.3L engine that has 33k miles on it. And just about all of those miles were what I like to call "hard" miles.

    Anyway, I do not believe that the leak resulting in a new head gasket in Carl's 1999 Grand Caravan SE is representative of most if not all current 3.3L engines. As the Chrysler enthusiast site "Allpar" sugguests, the 3.3L engine is "tried and true," and I believe they are right from what I have seen and heard.

    -Adam
  • cavillercaviller Posts: 331
    Carleton1 uttered:

    "Why do you not trust current Odyssey owners who are writing about problems with current Honda Odysseys in the Town Hall....yet you believe "Not Recommended for Purchase" CR as if it were the Bible or Quran?"

    Perhaps because CR uses a survey to produce its statistics, with over half a million responses? I bet they could cut their cost by an order of magnitude if they used anecdotal usenet and enthusiast forums for their source of statistics. A solid math course might have some fundamental statistics which could help you understand why they don't do this. I highly suggest one. Means, modes, medians, variance, standard deviation, margins of error, etc. Online forums are great for discovering which types of problems may be among the more frequent ones which affect a particular vehicle. On the other hand, their nature makes them very poor for determining overall problem rates or relative comparisons to other vehicles.

    Consumer Reports has its own set of flaws, but none I think nearly as major as trying to get any useful comparative statistical information from a forum like this one.

    4aodge said:

    I am 16 years old. I've been participating in these message boards for almost 2 years now and I think I have made some pretty damn interesting points over the years, especially for a teenager who doesnt have enough experience to be taken seriously here."

    Please stick around. No one benefits if people leave discussions like this one. As it is, I suspect you are more mature than many people who wield the right to vote. Fast cars are nice, but as I recall a large back seat was also very popular. Hard to beat a minivan in that category.
  • carleton1carleton1 Posts: 560
    Why doesn't Consumer Reports state the number of owners who responded to their questionaire for EACH vehicle? They have the data so why are they hiding it unless the actual cold, hard numbers would let the public know their data is NOT statistically valid?
    I have successfully completed many university level math courses and am very well educated in math sufficient to know that CR should state the number of respondents for each vehicle to have credibility.
    Consumer Reports reliability data has been inaccurate on most of the vehicles and appliances we have owned. Based on being a subscriber to CR for many years and reading inaccurate information, I no longer subscribe but read CR occasionally in the Public Library to get ideas on features to consider.
    I can personally verify the information told me by owners of vehicles. The facts are that 4 of 7 Honda Accords (owned by people we know and verifiable) had major problems. One had constant non-curable electrical problems. One had transmission failure and two had transmission AND engine failure. NO DC minivan had any problems as of March 16, 1999 when we had placed an order for a Granite Green 1999 Odyssey LX-C.
    Call it anecdotes or any other convenient, disparaging epithet but real world, verifiable data has more significance to many people than the unreliable myths contained in CR.
  • pat84pat84 Posts: 817
    CR is geared to rate appliances. Toasters, refrigerators, etc. (Even some of the appliance models they rate are no longer available). CR is a fairly poor tool in evaluating vehicles prior to purchase. I think we agree on its value.
    What difference does CR make after purchasing ? It is nice for fueling flames, apparently.
    We all made our purchases on what met our needs at the time. Needs in vehicles evolve with time. Vehicles also change at some greater frequency.
    As I have posted, the differences are relatively minor. Some items are higher priorities for some.
    I truly believe that competition benefits us all because it results in improvements in our next vehicle.
    .
  • carleton1carleton1 Posts: 560
    Glad to read a posting again from you and happy that your lovely Odyssey continues to perform flawlessly. As with you, we can see advantages in either the Odyssey or DC minivans.
    We like the Odyssey and DC minivans. At the moment, our choice would probably be the Odyssey LX since the closest dealer has the best salesman we currently know who sells either brand. I like the local Dodge dealership service department but whenever we meet a salesperson we like while in for service, that person has departed by the time we go in for the next routine oil change.
    We have met an equally decent salesman who sells Chrysler in a location 30 miles from us. The T&C eL would be our 2nd choice.
  • cavillercaviller Posts: 331
    Why doesn't Consumer Reports state the number of owners who responded to their questionaire for EACH vehicle? They have the data so why are they hiding it unless the actual cold, hard numbers would let the public know their data is NOT statistically valid?

    A valid question. Still, with over 500,000 respondents, I suspect vehicles like Odyssey and Grand Caravan are well represented.

    I have successfully completed many university level math courses and am very well educated in math sufficient to know that CR should state the number of respondents for each vehicle to have credibility.

    Then I encourage you to go back and reread my posts regarding averages and statistical significance. Your understanding at the time seemed very limited, unless your intention was to ignore the mathematics in favor of pure speculation.

    Consumer Reports reliability data has been inaccurate on most of the vehicles and appliances we have owned. Based on being a subscriber to CR for many years and reading inaccurate information, I no longer subscribe but read CR occasionally in the Public Library to get ideas on features to consider.

    Having taken these math courses and being an informed consumer, you should, by now, know about averages and variances. Even the most reliable products overall will have some instances of units with poor reliability. You may remember the classic bell-curve. Most are in the middle, then it tapers off but still leaves some on the fringes of the distribution. Yes, it is possible to buy a lemon of even the most reliable make or model, but unless you dismiss the mathematics of averages and distributions you are far more likely to get a unit that is reliable than not. Also, as a former subscriber, you should also know that with the exception of autos, reliability is not broken down by model or year. Instead it is a lumped average of many products over the previous years. That's a guideline, not a direct sampling of the particular appliance you bought.

    I can personally verify the information told me by owners of vehicles. The facts are that 4 of 7 Honda Accords (owned by people we know and verifiable) had major problems. One had constant non-curable electrical problems. One had transmission failure and two had transmission AND engine failure. NO DC minivan had any problems as of March 16, 1999 when we had placed an order for a Granite Green 1999 Odyssey LX-C.
    Call it anecdotes or any other convenient, disparaging epithet but real world, verifiable data has more significance to many people than the unreliable myths contained in CR.


    It's nice you state your sample sizes, but merely stating them does not make them significant. Indeed, the reliability figures from Consumer Reports are not from their editors. Instead they are submitted by real world, verifiable subscribers. You should know that, having been one.

    If you insist on sampling yourself and making a legitimate conclusion then I have some suggestions. Your advanced statistics (or marketing) courses would help here, too. Increase your numbers to N>100, for starters. Give each respondent a well-designed questionaire so that there is no subjectivitiy involved. Make it anonymous and voluntary. You can even do Consumer Reports one better and make it randomly sampled across a wide demographic. When you have the results, then we'll talk about mathematics.

    Until then, don't be too angry at Consumer Reports. Even by their own admission, the average problem rate for new autos is 0.2 problems per vehicle over the last 12 months. At that rate, it takes a below average vehicle many years to have even one more problem than an above average vehicle. That says to me that most cars are pretty reliable. Still, despite the flaws in Consumer Reports, I put a lot more confidence in their survey than in your unverified anecdotes. No offense.

    Cheers.
  • I said the heavier vehicle stops better under certain conditions, mainly snow and ice. The light vehicles are all over the place. Trust me, I'm an avid California skier and driven and seen them all. The old full sized American cars used to blow by my small cars in the snow.
    As for braking, according to the article I read, the Sedona with rear drum brakes stopped just as good as the Odessey with rear disk brakes. I'm not sure why, but apparently the Sedona made good without spending as much.
    Thanks for clearing up the head gasket issue.
    On the performance side the Sedona with 500 extra pounds and 45 less horsepower is good for 0-60 in about 9.8 while the Odessey comes in about 9.0. The reason they are kind of close is the Sedona has a lot of low end torque. It develops about 220 ft lbs at 3,400 rpms. The Oddessey develops it's torque way up high in a range most people will never see.
    Another standard feature the Sedona has is the ability to tow 3,500lbs. The Oddessey needs the tow package to do that and most of them don't.
    I realize the space is not quite as abundant as the Oddessey, at least as far as cargo space. The passenger space is amost identical, although the rear headroom is an issue on the Sedona.
    With all things considered, the 75% price, 300% warranty with 95% size, it would be hard for me to justify the Odessey over the Sedonda.
    On the size ratings, most of the articles compa4re the regular caravan, the Sedona, the Sienna, and the Odessey in the same size category, while the Grand Caravan is definately longer and wider. As for ultimate size, none of these even come close to the Safari size, it's probably 5 inches wider and 5 inches taller. In fact you can easily get to the rear seats without squeezing by the middle. As for cargo space, my guess is the Safari has twice that of the Odessey. The only real drawback with the Safari, is the front occupants are riding in the crumple zone. It's a shame GM hasn't done anything about their safety.
  • dmathews3dmathews3 Posts: 1,739
    Just a thought on the horsepower. I don't know if you were around in the late 60's but for the old hotrodders out there that Ford v Chevy at the drags was the big thing. Chevy seemed to blow away the Fords all the time even though they had the same or less advertised HP. Those in the know including the car magazines all knew that a 427 Chevy with 425 HP checked out on a dyno at over 500 HP. Could be that the Sedona does the same. But it would be cool if you could get about 400 HP with a van.
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