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2013 Odyssey vs 2013 Sienna vs 2013 Town And Country
Here are my experiences with all three vehicles:
Stopped at the Honda dealer first, and had an great experience (which has not always been my experience with Honda dealers). Salesman was not pushy and really knew his stuff. Off the top of his head he recited the major revisions vs the 2006 model and was easy to talk to and helpful. Not pushy at all. I told him I was interested in an EX-L with RES as well as a Touring. Within 10 minutes he had both models waiting for me outside and he did a quick 10 minute walkthrough of both vehicles to highlight their differences. He gave me both sets of keys and told me to take my time and come see him when I am done. I really prefer this approach vs a salesman sitting next to me asking me questions. Here are my thoughts:
Sigh. I have to be honest. I like the Odyssey except for that rear side view with the door track.. It just looks odd to me, and the van literally looks like two different vans merged together. I like the front half. I like the rear view if facing the back of the van. I just hate that last 1/3rd of the van. I would rate outside appearance a 7 out of 10. I know, it is a minivan, and I do give Honda some credit for trying to be different. This could have easily been an 8 or 9 had they been able to hide the track under the side windows..
Interior and features:
I was impressed with the interior and features. Seats in all three rows were very comfortable. Plenty of legroom. I really liked some of the newer standard feautures vs my 2006 EX-L such as the large display, the backup camera, the power lift gate, the drink cooler (we will use this for sure). Plenty of storage compartments and drink holders. The Touring model was equally impressive with the addition of the NAV, 6 speed tranny, and rear sonar. The DVD player in both models does the trick. I was not excited about the Nav (not a fan of the dial), but the voice commands worked well and I really liked that you can use voicecommands to control the temperature of the van, make phone calls, turn on the radio or DVD player, etc. Our current Garmin GPS is just touchscreen and does not accept voice commands. I had no issue making it work. Worked well. Hated the dial though, and wished the screen was touchscreen.
I did think the cockpit was a little busy with all the buttons but it seemed pretty intuitive. I also wished the DVD screen in the touring model was a little larger, but the Odyssey had the biggest nav/display screen of all three and with three little kids and a neighborhood full of kids.
Hmm.. The minute I started to drive the 2013 Touring model (the EX-L was the same) I noticed the more electronic steering at lower speeds. The steering was quite numb at low speeds, I much preferred the steering feel of my 06 at lower speeds. Once you get up past 20mph or so the steering is much tighter and responsive. Aside from that, the vehicle handled like a Honda Odyssey which is a good thing It really does feel like a smaller vehicle and is very easy to maneuver and park. Turning radius is tight and the van has good acceleration. I was impressed with the 6 speed transmission, it really responded when I went to pass and there was no hesitation as I have sometimes noticed with my 06 5 speed. I also noticed right away how much more quite the Touring model was vs my 06. The 13 EX-L was also considerably quieter than my 06, but, and I am not sure if this is the Touring model or not, but the Touring model seems a little bit quieter and that could be due to the extra gear of the transmission. At highway speeds I thought the van was still quieter than my 06 but there was some wind noise.
I was actually surprised at how responsive I felt the 6 speed was vs the 5 speed. I was really thinking if we went with an Odyssey we would go with a 5 speed EX-L with RES, but the 6 speed, to me, felt more responsive. 1mpg better gas mileage is nice too. I also like the idea of the rear sonar that beeps when you are going to hit something with the Touring. We have lots of kids in our neighborhood and I like the extra safety (the camera is great too).
The pricing difference between the EX-L with RES vs the Touring was roughly $4K.. This seemed a little steep to me. But you get the better transmission, front/rear parking sensors, NAV.. Worth $4K?? Tough one, and I am still sleeping on it... The transmission and extra safety features are definitively nice to have.. The NAV is nice, but not as much of a deal for me.
2013 Sienna Review:
Easy enough the Toyota dealer was attached to the Honda dealer. I rolled in after driving both Odyssey models and worked with an Internet sales consultant whom I had previously emailed and spoken to on the phone. Seemed like a nice guy, knowledgeable, but he literally did not have a single XLE with rear entertainment and/or nav van on the lot. He told me the nearest Sienna XLE with rear entertainment (and no nav) was over 500 miles away, and he would not have an XLE with nav and entertainment package in for about 2 weeks. So he brought a V6 FWD XLE around for me to drive. He spent about 10 minutes going over the features and functions of the van and sent me on my merry way (again, he stayed back like the Honda dealer which I preferred).
Appearance: Again, being honest, I liked the external appearance of the Sienna more than the Honda. It has some masculine features without going too far. A little more boxy than the Odyssey, but I can live with that. That said, I am not a fan of the external old school metalish antenna that sticks up from the van on the passenger front... On a $30K+ vehicle I would expect an integrated antenna like the Odyssey. Nevertheless, I think Honda did a good job with the overall design of the exterior. I would rate it an 8.5 out of 10.
Interior features: Well, while the Toyota designers did a good job on the exterior they really missed the mark on the interior... Big time. While I appreciated less buttons, the overall fit and finish, for me, was very disappointing. Hard, cheap looking plastic is evident throughout the van. A really cheap faux wood looking trim piece really looks out of place along the front of the cabin. What were they thinking? The buttons in the main cabin felt cheaper than the Honda. The really tiny display screen is a joke for the rear camera. It is like a 3" by 3" screen and is pretty useless and looks comical ne