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Honda Odyssey vs. Toyota Sienna

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  • Ok now be nice......
    The NASA reference was most likely refering to the type of foam used in the seats. Its a layering method where multiple layers of different density foam are used. A high density foam o the bottom followed by a lesser density then a low density on top. What you get is a seat that not only absorbs impact (I've seen an egg dropped from thirty feet into 3 inches and not break) but a seat that is very comfortable for LONG periods of time. The different layers eliminate pressure points. The type of foams used can get stiff in cold weather so initial comfort during the first 15 minutes may not be that impressive.
    I sit in Jets for a living. Often a maufacturer will provide a foam based on someone sitting on it for a few minutes. After 2 hours in the cockpit (on this 1.5 inch pad)my butt would be so sore I couldn't focus ;). I then found a shop that replaced the foam with NASA method foam and with the same 1.5 inch thickness got a seat I can sit comfortably for 4-5 hours at a stretch.
    For the car that claims to have NASA foam: Try sitting in the seat for twenty minutes (read the brochure, watch a DVD, or even drive around). Nothing sucks more than being butt sore on a road trip.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    I don't doubt the process for a second, nor that the seats are good.

    What I find silly is the reference to NASA, as if they were seating experts, especially given astronauts rarely, if ever, actually sit down under normal gravity circumstances.

    So the reference to NASA is simply absurd. Not the seats, mind you, the reference.

    -juice
  • But they sleep on those great memory-foam mattresses!! :P
  • I'm deciding between the Oddesey and Sienna and wondering whether AWD is worth narrowing it down to just the Sienna. The Honda dealer (when I asked about AWD) said their VSA+traction control is better than AWD, but I was under the impression that they accomplish different things. Safety is important to me so I will get VSA in whichever I choose - I'm just wondering if there is much added benefit with AWD.

    I'm sure this issue has been addressed before, but I'd appreciate any input or links to pertinent articles.

    thank you
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    What's the average snow fall per year where you live?

    I'd get it if you live in Colorado or Vermont, but I wouldn't call it a necessity south of the Mason-Dixon line.

    -juice
  • Good Point ateixeira, I should have elaborated.

    I'm in Wisconsin, some years a lot of snow, some years not. We also get our share of ice storms.

    thanks,
    seven2
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    In that case I'd pick between AWD or a set of snow tires for a FWD van. The latter may actually be more economical.

    Traction/Stability control mandatory (as you've already noted).

    -juice
  • cccompsoncccompson Posts: 2,388
    LOL, well of course the Honda salesman would claim that. You might ask him, if that's true, why does Honda bother to build a 4WD versions of the Pilot, Element, and CRV.

    There have been many complaints about the run-flat tires on which the AWD Siennas roll - mostly about abysmal treadlife.

    If this is the deciding issue for you, yes, the AWD has some added benefit. Just how much will vary by locale and use.
  • bobber1bobber1 Posts: 217
    I live in the snow belt and all I drive are front wheel drives. I can probably count on one hand in the last 20 years the times when I really wished I had a 4 wheel drive while driving.

    Yeah they're nice once in a while, but you give up a little mileage. I'd venture to say driving cautiously with a front wheel drive will get you 99% of the places a 4 wheel drive will. The 1% of the time you can't you probably shouldn't be on the road anyway.

    However good points that it depends on where you live. If you have to climb a snowy mountain every day to get home, you should give some serious thought to AWD.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    You probably have good all season tires, then.

    Yesterday a brand new Acura TL got stuck on my block, going up a slight incline, not steep at all. Pretty pathetic. FWD and stability control didn't help things.

    I'm sure it was performance tires that bogged him down, but it was kinda funny. Some guy in a Jeep gave him a push before I could get to him with a bag of sand (traction aid).

    Good tires, maybe some cat litter or sand as traction aid in the trunk, and practice (probably the most important), and you should be fine.

    -juice
  • pernaperna Posts: 533
    Honestly, I've sat in all current model minivans sold in the US, and the Chrysler vans are top-notch as far as seat comfort. None of the other vans come close, IMO. The problem I had with basically all the Japanese vans are bottom seat-cushion length (the Nissan in particular had a horrific combo of short seat cushion length and TOTAL lack of legroom, even at the furthest setting).

    The GM vans had about the most uncomfortable backs you could possibly imagine.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    Front row maybe, but the Stow-n-Go seats in the 2nd row are kiddie sized, and not comfy at all for adults. That's OK for most people.

    Also, I don't like the vinyl arm rests, they look decidedly cheap. The seats themselves are fine.

    -juice
  • thegraduatethegraduate Posts: 9,731
    Seat comfort is subjective, but the stow n go seating does make some compromises of comfort for its neat mechanism in my opinion.
  • bobber1bobber1 Posts: 217
    I didn't notice a big difference between the front seats on the Dodge, Honda or Toyota. However I found the Dodge's back stow-n-go seats to be the most got awful uncomfortable seat I'd ever sat in. The are extremely short which doesn't work well for my long back and are very hard. They were one of the reasons I didn't buy a Dodge.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    They're value priced, though. I found one for $20.6k that even had the power doors and tailgate.

    But...it lacked a lot of safety equipment that the segment leaders make standard. No SAC at that price, the 2nd row windows don't open, and it generally felt a generation older than the Odyssey, Sienna, and even the Sedona/Entourage twins.

    Price was great, though.

    -juice
  • pernaperna Posts: 533
    Seat comfort is subjective, but the stow n go seating does make some compromises of comfort for its neat mechanism in my opinion.

    Back when my wife and I were looking a few years ago, the Stow and Go seats WERE insanely uncomfortable. When we tried out the 07, though, it was clear they are using a different type of cushion. It is actually now the tempurpedic stuff, and is comfortable.

    That said, the seats being smallish isn't a huge deal for us because both of our kids will be in booster seats for the next 5-7 years. And if we still have the Town and Country after that point, the seat will fit a then-10 year old just fine.

    When I said the seats were the most comfortable of any minivan we tested, I was actually referring to the front seats. Since the rest of the van is pretty much reserved for kid use, I didn't even think to differentiate. Sorry about that. :blush:
  • pernaperna Posts: 533
    They're value priced, though. I found one for $20.6k that even had the power doors and tailgate.

    But...it lacked a lot of safety equipment that the segment leaders make standard. No SAC at that price, the 2nd row windows don't open, and it generally felt a generation older than the Odyssey, Sienna, and even the Sedona/Entourage twins.


    I have to be honest, I don't know what "SAC" is. I know that our 22k Town and Country has airbags all around, even one for the driver's knees which I thought was unusual. It also has traction control, ABS, and solid crash test scores.. I'm not sure what else is really that important??

    Also, I don't personally WANT the second row windows to open. In my Maxima, I keep the auto windows locked at all times anyway! If my 3 YO had his way, he would spend his entire time in the car opening and closing the power window. He's FASCINATED by it. In fact I even had to pull over once and get his little arms back inside and get the window back up because I'd forgotten to lock them, and he refused to get his arms out so I could roll them back up. Toddler temper tantrums, gotta love 'em.

    I'm sure it's "different strokes" time, but the T&C is the only minivan we could find for the price that had all 3 power doors. The Honda and Toyota required junk like leather and sunroof which we didn't want to get all 3 power doors.

    I did check out the Kia van, and I don't understand what the fuss is about. The whole thing just felt like junk. Not that I would have bought one anyway, since I have no desire to spend my life in a dealership waiting for repairs.

    Also, you forget that Chrysler IS the segment leader in minivans, and always has been.
  • thegraduatethegraduate Posts: 9,731
    Back when my wife and I were looking a few years ago, the Stow and Go seats WERE insanely uncomfortable. When we tried out the 07, though, it was clear they are using a different type of cushion. It is actually now the tempurpedic stuff, and is comfortable.

    Having not seen one on the roads yet, I didn't realize they were in dealers now, or I would have said "last generation seats were lacking" in the comfort department. Sorry for the misinformed post! :)

    When did they hit dealers?
  • thegraduatethegraduate Posts: 9,731
    It also has traction control, ABS, and solid crash test scores..

    Traction control isn't worth $300 to me, STABILITY control on the other hand is something I wish I had on my 4-cylinder Accord (only available on V6 models at the moment). Traction control helps you start in slick conditions by applying brakes to the wheels spinning due to lack of traction. We had it in our 2000 Odyssey.

    Stability control helps maintain control of the car in already-moving situations, preventing spins, fishtailing, under/oversteer, and rollovers.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    Sorry, SAC=Side Airbag Curtains.

    The one I was talking about, a left over 2006 Dodge Grand Caravan SXT, didn't have them. Other ones, priced higher ($26k or so), did, but the value equation eroded. This particular dealer had a very wide gap between the models with and without SAC.

    I totally "get" you on the 2nd row windows, but having the option to keep them locked, or to open them, on that rare occasion where you spot a deer on the side of the road and the kids ask "WHERE?! WHERE?!" so they can get an unobstructed look. :)

    I feel your pain with the power tailgate, believe me. No chance we can get one in a Honda or Toyota for our target budget.

    Hyundai/Kia make SAC standard so it's just easier to shop. What's the fuss about? Well, Edmunds picked a Sedona 2nd place in their van comparo, and it was the quickest to 60 and the most fuel efficient and had the best brakes.

    The Dodges would be a good value at $22k, sure. Especially if you got everything you mentioned.

    -juice
  • bobber1bobber1 Posts: 217
    Good points. If your not planning on having adults ride in the stow-n-go seats, comfort isn't a high priority.

    I've thought the Dodges offer a lot of value and you proved that point with your post.

    I really wanted the stability control feature Honda had as well as the many other safety features. The roll up sun shades and great seats in back were also a plus. We got the power side doors, but no power tail gate. We ended up paying $4,000 more then you and we think it's worth the extra money, but hey I think you did well too. :)
  • pernaperna Posts: 533
    Having not seen one on the roads yet, I didn't realize they were in dealers now, or I would have said "last generation seats were lacking" in the comfort department. Sorry for the misinformed post!

    Actually, we bought an '07 which is the "last of the breed" of that generation of van. They changed the material of the SnG seats after the initial model year (or maybe mid-year on the '06s..?), so as far as I know only the '05 vans had the paper-thin padded chairs.
  • pernaperna Posts: 533
    Ah, ok, I had *thought* that maybe SAC stood for stability something-or-other, but didn't want to look like an idiot. :P

    I think stability control would be one of those "nice to have, but not critical" things. I think it would be more useful in a vehicle more prone to tipping over like an SUV. But, not having had a car with it, I can't really say how useful it would be.

    Before I had ABS, I thought it was for people who didn't know how to brake. Now, I can see where it keeps the brakes from locking up, so IS nice to have in emergency situations. The thing that amazes me about ABS more than anything is how it allows you to brake even on icy roads. In Michigan, I've avoided getting rear ended (and sliding into intersections myself!) thanks to ABS.

    Traction control can be neat "sometimes", but I think it is more useful in a RWD vehicle. Having only owned FWD cars, several of which HAVE had traction control, I never used it.

    So, the wife's van has 2/3. Like a lot of people who need corrective vision she is a poor judge of distance, so the ABS for her is invaluable. Traction control, eh.

    I have to say I'm more than impressed that nobody has called our Chrysler "junk" yet, given that this is a Japanese van forum. We minivan owners must be a mellow lot. :shades:

    That said, the one thing that does concern me about buying a Chrysler product is the long-term mechanical quality of the thing. PARTICULARLY the transmission. Ironically, though, when I was researching vans the thing that came up again and again about the Odyssey was its flaky transmission. Now, Honda has been making them long enough where they've hopefully fixed it, but then again that's what I tell myself about our T&C. :)

    At the end of the day, I had to put my aversion to Chrysler products aside and suck it up. I have no doubt the interior will disintegrate LONG before an equivalent Japanese van, if my Maxima is any indication. That car just doesn't seem to age.

    The one negative thing I have to say is I don't get Edmunds' love of the Kia van. Honestly when I sat in the Sedona I felt like the Town and Country was a luxury sedan by comparison. The Sedona's interior reminded me of my wife's 1998 Chevy Cavalier; it was just really, really nasty and cheap. The Koreans, for whatever reason, love to just plow as much chrome and fake wood into their cars as possible. The problem with doing this is it has the opposite effect of what they intended; it comes off like a Lexus as imagined by a 3 year old.

    That said, I actually like some of the newer Korean cars like the new Sonata. While I can't *personally* see myself owning a Korean car in my lifetime, I wouldn't be surprised if my kids do. I went against my old man when he said never to buy a Chrysler because they're all garbage, so I would imagine my children will do the same thing. :P
  • bobber1bobber1 Posts: 217
    I checked out the Kia when I was looking for vans and had a similar experience. I wasn't overly impressed with it. However it does offer about every feature in the book for a price significantly cheaper then pretty much every van out there.

    My wife also had a Hyundai Scoupe which was a pile of junk. However Korean quality scores seem to be getting better and that may be why Edmunds rate them the way they do. Remember Toyota didn't always have the stellar reputation it does now either.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    Chrysler still uses a pushrod engine, but torque is decent and that's what you need in a van, so I don't consider the higher-revving, high HP engines that the competitors have a significant advantage.

    I had a neighbor that was a carpet distributor that went through Dodge vans like we go through toilet paper, and his trannies kept failing right around 70-80k miles. Maybe it was the weight.

    Funny thing was, he kept buying more of 'em, not exactly sure why. He just planned on one trans rebuild.

    But yes, I've seen plenty of Honda owners complain, so I would not list that as an advantage for those.

    And Toyota has had plenty of issues with new Camry transmissions. The older 3.3l Siennas were fine, but it gets the same 3.5l in the new Camry, so who knows.

    I'd put a big question mark there, and not give any of them a clear advantage. Perhaps that's why, as you stated, noone called the DCX vans junk. They aren't.

    -juice
  • pernaperna Posts: 533
    I think part of the problem with minivans in general is that they're engineered like cars, but are sometimes asked to perform tasks that you need a truck for.

    I remember driving my folks' Pontiac Montana halfway across the country with 6 people + luggage, and that was SCARY. You could SMELL the brakes whenever you came to anything less than a really gradual stop. It accelerated like a pig with no legs, and wallowed like one too. It's no surprise that minivans are renowned brake and transmission eaters.
    I can't imagine what the drive had been like if I had been towing anything.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    I'm not sure that was a competitive van even when they were new. Today's best vans are far better.

    GM made those narrow so they could also be sold in Europe, a big mistake IMO. The Uplander still shared a lot of that DNA and should be put out of its misery if it hasn't already.

    -juice
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    Someone shared this pic with me today...
  • cmh707cmh707 Posts: 2
    I am new to these boards, but have been avidly reading posts regarding Odyssey vs Sienna vs Chrysler, for the last week, as we are in the research phase. We're finally looking to move to a minivan, from the very reliable, but ancient, Olds station wagon, that has back killing seats (we use all kinds of little padded supports, etc. to help with that), but a non-rough ride.

    I have already eliminated the Sedona/Entourage twins, based on test drives yesterday (our daughter remarked that she felt like she was in a boat, but maybe that's the way all minivans are, giving you that sort of swaying feeling???), and depreciation.

    I'm also wondering how the new '08 Chrysler might compare...?

    We've owned Hondas for 28 yrs., which other family members drive, and I have neck/back issues, so we don't want to spend megabucks on a vehicle that will give me a headache, literally, every time I drive it, due to a rough or bouncy ride. Already have a pickup truck that does that! And, you can't always tell these things on a little test drive. Our dealers aren't too keen on letting you take the vehicle home for a day, either.

    So, question to all you owners out there - which has the least bumpy ride, Odyssey or Sienna or Chrysler?
  • cccompsoncccompson Posts: 2,388
    The Odyssey rides notably firmer than the Sienna. When I'm alone, my Touring is almost too stiff for my taste. When fully loaded, it is just right.

    The Sienna is much softer, at least with only a driver aboard. Haven't been in one loaded up.

    Don't know about the current Chryslers.
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