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SUV vs Minivans



  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    It was the unselfish thing to do...your passengers will thank you.
  • What made you purchase the Odyssey over the Sienna? I am thinking of going with the Sienna because I like the AWD option.
  • sebring95sebring95 Posts: 3,225
    We came out of an Ody and into a Sienna. We started toward the Sienna because of the AWD and were never happy with the snow/ice performance of the Ody even with Blizzaks. Once I gave the Sienna AWD a good look and balanced the pro's/con's we ended up with a FWD. The system is very basic, drags mpg, and the run-flats are not my cup-o-tea.

    I personally like everything about the Ody better except for the exterior styling. But given that not much changed in the overall mechanicals I have doubts the new ones are any better in the snow/ice. Ody was the worst FWD I've owned for winter performance so I guess we'll find out how the Sienna does. We drive a lot of very hilly and rarely plowed roads so really we would prefer an SUV. But the compromise of space just doesn't cut it.

    We looked closely at the Acadia but there is just not enough cargo space if you need the 3rd row, which is the only reason I can imagine buying one of these vehicles. We have several 4x4 vehicles around so we have choices if the weather turns really foul. But it never fails we'll be on a trip and hit some weather coming or going. Nice to know you can actually get home once you get off the highway. We managed with the Ody and Blizzaks but it was not impressive.
  • yousafyousaf Posts: 4
    Hmm I purchased an Odyssey and not a Sienna because Sienna does have a nice exterior from the front however the back looks kind of messed up. The Odyssey is actually better exterior. The Honda Odyssey has better interior features and a better interior design unlike the Sienna where everything looks so messed up in the front where all the AC controls are.

    Somethings I really liked about the Sienna was that it had AWD, it was really spacious much more than Odyssey, it had more trim levels and starting price for leather was cheaper, the front design I love it, and a few other minor things.

    One kind of dumb thing Toyota did with the AWD models are that they only have 7 seats if you want AWD. If you get standard 2WD then you get 8 seats.

    Overally I think both vans are very good and spacious epecially after selling an Acura MDX.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    edited October 2011
    Good point - I wanted AWD and 8 seats even back in MY2007, but had to compromise. We choose the 8th seat, since we also own a Subaru.

    Is that still the case with the 2011s?
  • sebring95sebring95 Posts: 3,225
    2011+ the XLE AWD and all Ltd models come with the 7 pax lounge seating. LE AWD just has plain 7 pax seating.

    I'm guessing there's something mechanical from allowing the 8-pax seating on the AWD models. The driveshaft goes through where the spare tire would be on FWD models which is why they only have run-flats on AWD. The AWD Ltd also loses the power third row because of some limitation.

    It could also be a weight limitation since the AWD adds significant heft. Curb weight on a Ltd AWD is 335# higher than a FWD LE and 200# heavier than a FWD Ltd. That's more than one pax by most definitions.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    I know on the 2004-2008 models the floor stamping was different when you compared the 7 and 8 seaters. I'm sure that plus the other things you mentioned are all factors.
  • sebring95sebring95 Posts: 3,225
    You can see that with the complexities that go into the AWD models (down to different body parts, seats, tires, etc.) why they're not offered by other brands. And even though that was the main reason we originally gravitated toward the Sienna to replace our Ody....we came home with a FWD.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    Yep - like run-flat tires, what I've observed to be the #1 most common complaint when it comes to Siennas.
  • sebring95sebring95 Posts: 3,225
    That was the biggest factor in our skipping the AWD. It was also a big factor when we skipped the Ody Touring back in 2005 (lack of 8 pax seating was another). At least with the Ody you could still swap out (after big $$) and install a spare. No good option for that on the Sienna without giving up valuable cargo room.
  • Stever@EdmundsStever@Edmunds YooperlandPosts: 38,950
    Yep - like run-flat tires, what I've observed to be the #1 most common complaint

    Funny, so it's either that the van has too many PAX or not room for enough pax. :shades:

    I'd love a 5 passenger minivan but I guess we'll have to move to France to find one. The Mazda5 is pretty close with "just" 6 seats.
  • tifightertifighter WAPosts: 1,350
    I'd love a 5 passenger minivan but I guess we'll have to move to France to find one. The Mazda5 is pretty close with "just" 6 seats.

    I figured you had already lived there at some point. You do get around...
  • tifightertifighter WAPosts: 1,350
    As much as I prefer the interior of the Ody to the Sienna, I think I would choose the Sienna if only because it seems to be the only minivan that doesn't consistently have transmission complaints. I think I could make a XLE AWD work.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    The powertrain on mine is a dream. Very quick, fuel efficient, trouble-free.
  • sebring95sebring95 Posts: 3,225
    We never had trouble with the tranny in our Ody over 100k miles. Had trouble with just about everything else though. :P I would just buy what you like best. We've had the Sienna in for several things already as well. Nothing major, just silly stuff that happens when you have $10,000 of electronic gizmos. Bluetooth, NAV, sliding doors, radar cruise...and the best part is the techs have no clue how to fix this stuff. Well they finally fixed the doors but the rest is just tough S#@$ I guess. At least the Honda dealer gave us a loaner! I miss the old Honda and Toyota. Too bad they're the only game for decent driving minivans.
  • Stever@EdmundsStever@Edmunds YooperlandPosts: 38,950
    A reporter would like to interview anyone who has used's Car Match.

    Please email by November 4, 2011 with your daytime phone number and a comment about your experience.
  • tmakogontmakogon Posts: 74
    edited January 2012
    I'd like to start a thread to report measurements (in inches) for SUVs and minivans because the real cargo space dimensions is a consideration in purchasing an SUV for me and for friends whom I asked.

    Manufacturers usually report cargo space cubic footage, but when transporting large household items like a sofa or a painting or a dryer what really matters is how wide the cargo door opening is and how deep is the space.

    My SUV experience was that Rendezvous had much better cargo capacity than RX350. Things still fit in the RX but fewer do and much tighter, requiring multiple trips at times.
    From memory the Rendezvous had a 48-inch wide opening, and fairly tall too. It never got to carry 4x8's in it, but it was big enough and did carry a plasma TV.

    If you feel like measuring your cargo space and sharing the four measurements please post the following:
    • SUV or van model name
    • width at bottom (watch for wheel wells)
    • width at top (e.g. at ceiling or at side-folded third row seats)
    • height (watch for ceiling-mounted seatbelt spools and DVD players)
    • floor depth with second row seats folded down

    An example:
    LexusRX350 44 42 30 72
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    We have some help from this Subaru dealer, but I'll contribute:

    Forester 42 39 32 70

    That's a big little SUV.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    Tribeca also:

    Tribeca 43 x 32 78

    I put an "x" because width at the ceiling is not measured.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    I don't have all the measures but a sheet of plywood fits easily inside on the flat floor, hatch closed. There's actually a little room to spare.

    So the floor is bigger than 48"x96".
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