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Minivans - Domestic or Foreign



  • yatesjoyatesjo Posts: 186
    edited October 2010
    "I would like to see road noise levels compared, did they publish that? "

    Yes they did. The numbers are close, but except at idle, the advantage still goes to Toyota:
    2011 Odessey 2011 Sienna
    Sound level @ idle (dB) 37.4 41.1
    @ Full throttle (dB) 71.8 71.6
    @ 70 mph cruise (dB) 68.8 66
  • pmcb48pmcb48 Posts: 192
    I would agree generally with your list of higher priorities. For us the most immediate one was interior roominess; my wife immediately remarked on the Odyssey's feeling more "cramped" than the 2011 Sienna, and I also felt the Odyssey's seats were less comfortable. Subjective impressions to be sure, but for us they started the balance tipping to the Sienna.
    Another post remarked that the green-friendly variable cylinder use option should be on the cheaper models, if not all of them. Sienna also has two important safety options (HID headlights and Dynamic Vehicle Management using the radar cruise option to prepare for an imminent collision) which are available only as options on the top Sienna model; the latter is not even available in the entire Central Atlantic region, where I am.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    Thanks for looking that up.

    The important one is this one:

    70 mph cruise (dB) 68.8 66

    For me at least. I want to cover the miles quietly and peacefully. The kids can watch a movie, the wife naps, and I have my GPS and stereo. Life is good.
  • Thanks for that noise info, really interesting. From the Edmunds review of the new Odyssey
    "On the inside, the 2011 Honda Odyssey is as quiet as a premium luxury sedan. Road and wind noise are nearly silent, as is the drivetrain."

    Edmunds really seems to go out of their way to praise Honda, but the numbers speak the truth... I never considered the previous Odysseys when we were looking for minivans because of the road noise - at 70 on the highway, you couldn't really have a conversation with the kids in the back.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    The last Accord I rented was also very loud, the one thing that really stood out to me. Honda may use less insulation to reduce weight, but you really notice at highway speeds.
  • thegraduatethegraduate Posts: 9,731
    The Crosstour has been praised as much quieter than Accord. Perhaps Honda has taken the Toyotization to a new level and has increased sound insulation in its latest models?
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    It's heavier, too, isn't it? Though it also includes AWD.
  • sebring95sebring95 Posts: 3,231
    The other thing to watch is the road surface when comparing. Our '05 Ody is relatively quiet on asphault but get on a concrete highway and you'll want to jump out. We changed from the OEM Michelins to a Cooper CS4 and that helped some but it still gets very loud on concrete roads. Crossing a bridge will wake you right up. We have a stretch of concrete highway here that if I'm going that direction sometimes I'll take another's THAT annoying.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    For sure, tires are a huge factor. In fact the Dunlops on my Sienna are much noisier now vs. when they were new, so I may replaced them even though they have some tread left in them.
  • What does a luxury car consist of: quietness, comfort, power- we work hard and want to travel in luxury. I dont care about carlike this, car like that. Handling is a mixed bag if it is confident. We both had luxury sedans and suvs before the Sienna so we know what a relaxing, but confident ride is. Sure the Odyssey may turn quicker like a car, but try a short jaunt from sf to sj down the 101 and suffer the terrible ride. Luxury is traveling in total comfort but in superior control and that is what the Sienna offers. The ride and handling are even better than Lexus' RX 350- quieter, too. If you want a noisy ride, go sit in any pedestrian Honda, I did for 16 years so I know. Since having the kids we needed a better utility vehicle and the Sienna doesnt disappoint. In the end, it's just a minivan, but why not it be cool, quiet, comfortable and sporty?
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    And if this test were purely about how the minvans in question drive, the Toyota Sienna SE would be the hands-down favorite. As editor-at-large Ron Kiino points out, "directional tires!" The Sienna also has the best power, the best handling, and by far the best steering of the three

    Read more: 2011_honda_odyssey_ex_l_vs_2010_dodge_caravan_sxt_comparison/transmissions.html#- ixzz14tmJb5yS

    one editor opined, "Honda needs to pull its head out of its [expletive deleted] and offer [the six-speed automatic] across the board."

    Sienna 21.3mpg vs. Ody 21.1mpg (told ya 28mpg was nonsense), plus 0-60 the Sienna was nearly a second ahead, 7.1s vs. 7.9s. The Toy also had slightly better braking and (surprise!) more lateral grip. Sure, the SE comes with 19"s, but keep in mind they still spent $800 less than they did on the Honda.

    Gosh, you'd think that we here were the ones who wrote this review. Here's another thing we already pointed out:

    The official excuse is that the ugly slashes allow the Honda to offer more interior third-row shoulder space, but that's bunk because the narrower Sienna manages more shoulder room with tidy door tracks

    They did like Honda's interior best, acknowledging a common complaint here, i.e. that the Sienna's new interior went downscale.

    both Japanese vans can be configured to seat eight, a big plus when you're carpooling

    I could not agree more.

    Your winner, then, by the very slightest of margins, is the 2011 Toyota Sienna SE

    I will note that Chrysler has an improved interior and the Pentastar V6 arriving soon, so a rematch is coming up soon, very soon.

    Also, both Honda and Toyota made mistakes that really leave them vulnerable. Someone else could step up and steal the crown.

    I'd love to see Edmunds test an SE model. May as well wait until Chrysler puts the Pentastar V6 and new interior in the GC and include that model as well.
  • They did like Honda's interior best, acknowledging a common complaint here, i.e. that the Sienna's new interior went downscale.

    You know, I'm surprised at how little I notice this after 2 months with the van. It remains to be seen how well it holds up of course, but I literally do not notice or mind the dash at all anymore.

    It'll be interesting to see the new Chrysler - I still think that Chrysler has always made the best minivans, from a comfort/features standpoint. Too bad build quality has always been so suspect.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    I like the design, the look, but when you start touching things you see the outgoing model was better.

    As you've observed - it may not matter. It's not like you sit there stroking the dash all the time. The only time you do that is when you're buying/evaluating it, and even then not everyone does that.

    I'm OCD so I do. LOL

    Chrysler is going in the opposite direction. They made a very nice engine standard and supposedly made the interior much nicer. I'll wait to judge when I see one (and yes, feel one) in person.
  • yatesjoyatesjo Posts: 186
    I don't go out of my way to touch the dash, but it does get touched at various times, for various reasons. The problem is with the new Sienna is that the dash is so unpleasant to touch that I would go out of my way to avoid it. Who in the heck thought that ghastly texture on the hard material was acceptable?

    As for the Chrysler interior, it needs a major upgrade too, just not in the same way the Sienna does. The seats are find if you are big or a bit overweight, but the clunky design and the rough, poorly machined edges should turn anybody off.
  • mfletou1mfletou1 Posts: 508
    I don't know, it seems to me that the SE is a nice experiment that could very well be a one year wonder. My impression is that they simply aren't selling, and I think packaging has a lot to do with that. I live in the land of the minivan--literally, I don't think there's another place on earth with more of them than my zip code. (One reason--outside of Utah, we have the most kids per household of any county in America.) At church, its not uncommon to see a row of 14-15 minivans in a row.

    About 85% of them are Odysseys and Siennas of various stripes. I've seen probably about 6-7 new Odysseys on the road and by now tons of 2011 Siennas--hundreds. But in all that time, I've only seen one SE, total. One! If you go to a Toyota dealer, they've got SE's collecting dust on the lot while the others are doing a decent business.

    Why? Well, let's see--you can't get leather in it, you can't get a DVD system...can't get nav...but you are still paying north of $30k. In fact, with the option package that brings in some of what I consider to be basics, you're look at a sticker of more than $34k. For what?

    I would actually be interested in a Sienna that handled like an Odyssey--but not if I have to get cheap, ugly black cloth seats and I can't get a rear entertainment system. I mean...this is a minivan! What's the point of it otherwise? So to me, that makes any comparison of the Odyssey vs Sienna SE irrelevent. And that is the case for most minivans buyers out there, I believe.

    If MT had tested the Sienna XLE vs Odyssey EX-L, my guess is that the Odyssey would have won. We'll see. Its a more apt comparison, at least.

    I'm also still frustrated by Toyota's packaging in general. Good luck trying to find an XLE with the rear entertainment package alone. There are only a handful in my region. For months it couldn't even be ordered this way. Toyota's solution has been to let dealers do an accessory with a seatback system...well, I have a seatback system now and there's a reason I want an integrated one. Have to stop the car every time my kid wants a different DVD. No thanks.

    I'm not sure if we'll trade our '07 Odyssey for a new one or not. If we can find a Sienna XLE with RES, we'll certainly give it due diligence. I rented an LE last month and enjoyed the powertrain and the quietness, but not the steering or the dash. I took a new Odyssey for a brief drive the other day and was pretty impressed with the overall level of refinement, which is light years better than the previous generation. The interior is gorgeous with great quality and the vehicle was quieter. Also, check out the rear seat dimensions...there's a huge difference between Odyssey and Sienna--the Odyssey has 4 or 5 inches more leg room. That's a ton. I frequently have my parents in the back seat so that matters.

    But we'll see. Neither vehicle is perfect...
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    the Chrysler interior, it needs a major upgrade too

    It's getting one. Major changes.

    My brother rented one last time I was in Florida, I drove my Sienna down there. They weren't even in the same league.

    However, Toyota cut some costs, and now Chrysler is upgrading theirs, so I'll have to re-evaluate.
  • I agree with you on the packaging issue. I wanted an SE, but lack of leather and heated seats was a dealbreaker for us. I didn't realize you could do both after-market for a reasonable cost, but not sure I'd want to do that in any case.

    Now regarding rear-seat entertainment - I always go aftermarket. I put in an after-market system in my old T&C which was ok, it had some compromises, but it was extremely cheap.

    In my Sienna, I went more high-end, using a Pioneer Z120, and an 11.4" widescreen in the rear. Far better than Toyota's system, at a fraction of the cost.
    Factory systems in general are really expensive, and generally mediocre. The end result looks stock, I control everything from the dash, and everyone is happy. You should really consider it.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    Keep in mind the SE only came out months after the other models made their debut. So it has some catching up to do on sales.

    Also, Toyota will shift packaging around if they see demand for SE with those desirable options.

    I'm also still frustrated by Toyota's packaging in general


    Neither vehicle is perfect...

    Bingo - why does Honda leave the 28mpg models for the richest models only? The people who need to save gas are the ones who buy LX models, so it should be the other way around.

    And why do I need to get leather to get NAV or DVD on the Ody? I like cloth seats because they breathe better.
  • thegraduatethegraduate Posts: 9,731
    Bingo - why does Honda leave the 28mpg models for the richest models only? The people who need to save gas are the ones who buy LX models, so it should be the other way around.

    Fielding a guess here (not apologizing for them at all, I agree with you!) but I wonder if they don't have capacity for all the 6-speeds they want just yet, so limiting to higher-profit vehicles is their current best option?
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    Likely a good guess.

    But with the history of issues with that 5 speed automatic (to be fair, 2004 and prior), you'd think Honda would be an eager-beaver to replace it.
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